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Episode 150: Stop The Mental Garbage with Jenny Melrose

In episode 150 we talk with Jenny Melrose, a content strategist, a published author and podcast host over at Influencer Entrepreneurs, about getting our mindset in a healthy place to be successful in business.

We cover information about actionable steps you can take to creating the life you want while limiting any negativity in, reminding yourself you DO have time and how to be sure if you fail, to fail forward.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Jenny Melrose
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio
Jenny is a former reading specialist who “retired” from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands. She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space. Now, she’s combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online business owners via JennyMelrose.com and her podcast, Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose.

Takeaways

  • When you hear from your audience time and again that they need a solution from you, you know you have a product to put together – whether it’s a course, a book or an item.
  • In order to have time, you need to have structure to your work days.
  • Imposter Syndrome is that feeling of just not feeling worthy, not feeling you’re up to the task.
  • Confidence is a muscle that you have to continuously work on and put yourself out there and start to build, because we all need it in order to do what we’re setting out to accomplish.
  • If you take that baby step forward and just try, that’s when the growth always happens.
  • One way to overcome negative self-talk is to know exactly what is your vision and what is your purpose for your business. This is a business and you need to treat it as such.
  • Being able to tie in your vision into what it is that you’re trying to do, wipes away the self-talk and the imposter syndrome, because you’re focusing on how you’re going to hit that vision and make it come true.
  • Another way to combat negative self-talk is to ask yourself if you’d speak to anyone else that way and filter your talk through that idea.
  • You need to fail forward. It’s not about failing. It’s about, am I able to learn from the failure that I had? If you can fail forward and then dust yourself off, know what you can learn from that and then move forward with that information. That’s the true power of it.
  • As an entrepreneur, your brain can often feel like a ping pong ball is going off in your head because you go from idea to idea to idea. You need to write down your work, your projects, prioritize and schedule them.
  • If a project presents itself to you, take a look at that list and ask yourself three questions: One -decide if it takes precedence over what you already are working on and Two – will be bring in income to your business? and Three – will it serve your audience?
  • Self care is protecting your level of stress.
  • Your spouse, your family and friends are not mind-readers so be sure to tell them what you need and what you need from them to be successful.

Resources Mentioned

Pitch Perfect Pro

Book Influencer Entrepreneurs

Looking to hire a freelancer?

Need some extra help with your blog? Learn how to find exceptional freelancers in episode #121 with Emily Perron.


Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog, Talk where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Food bloggers. Hey, if you have not yet joined the new, amazing Eat Blog Talk community, you have to go do it. You will find so much value inside, including connecting with other food bloggers in a much deeper way and having access to all kinds of exclusive value, such as bonus podcast episodes and mastermind groups, and a resources and service providers directory, and so much more. Go to eatblogtalk.com for more information, and we cannot wait to see you inside.

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What’s up food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This podcast is for you, food bloggers wanting value, information and clarity that will help you find greater success in your business. Today I will be having my second chat with Jenny Melrose from Jennymelrose.com and we are going to talk about stopping the mental garbage. Jenny is a former reading specialist who retired from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, the Melrose Family became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands, such as Neutrogena, Smuckers, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steemer, Sara Lee, and many more. She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space. Now she’s combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online business owners via Jennymelrose.com and her podcast Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose. Jenny, I am so excited to have you here today to chat again. I always love talking to you and I always get so many great tidbits from you. So thank you so much for being here today.

Jenny Melrose:

Thank you so much for having me, Megan. I appreciate it.

Megan:

Yes. Well, I was telling you before we started the interview that I read your article that you posted on this topic, actually, I think it was a podcast interview that you did and immediately after reading it, I sent you an email and I asked you if you would record an interview with me because this topic rings so true to my heart right now. This month inside the Eat Blog Talk community and on the podcast, we’re putting a huge emphasis on self-care because as you know, the holidays are approaching and that combined with just this really unusual year of 2020, kind of makes a tricky mixture. So this information you’re going to share with us today about changing our mindsets by cutting out the garbage is super important and also extremely timely. So let’s dig into this. Tell us about a time before you knew how to block out the mental garbage and how that impacted your life and business.

Jenny:

Yes. So I could probably tell you multiple times because I think that as we grow in our business and how we better understand it, the things that we’ll get triggered by and the things that affect us, and we forget to block that stuff out. It happens over and over again. There’s always a little bit of an imposter syndrome, I think, as you continue to grow and get more confident, it still continues to sneak in every once in a while. The most specific time I can think of that it affected me, I was still teaching. I had my lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, It was making really great income. I understood how to do sponsored posts, which is of course what I’m really well known for, especially in the food blogging industry. I had an idea to start talking about it and wanted to create a course and was told by a, then very close blogger friend, that if I chose to teach them how to do it, then I couldn’t do it myself.

That was why I was teaching it. I let that probably stop me from creating my course for probably at least two to three years. I always felt if I step into that industry and that side of things, I’m trying to show something and teach something and not necessarily be able to do it in the minds of others. I was very concerned what other food bloggers and other bloggers were going to see if I stepped into that position of being almost an expert in authority, in knowing how to do something. When I finally just said, you know what, we’re just going to test this. I’m getting asked about this all the time. I think it was Pat Flynn’s book Will It Fly that really changed my mindset about it because in the book he talked about the fact that if you keep hearing people ask you the same questions over and over again, that’s a product, that’s something they need.

They have a problem that they’re asking for you to solve. So you need to just put it out there. That was exactly what I did. I had spoken about pitching at a conference and got a ton of messages and emails afterwards and just said, you know what? I’m starting a beta course. I’d love for you to be a beta member of my pitching course. Told them I’d have it done in two and a half weeks. That’s how Pitch Perfect Pro came about and has continued to grow because of it.

Megan:

I love that story. I just want to say, isn’t it incredible, not in a good way, but just sad how much words can slow us down and not just slow us down, but keep us stuck in a place where we believe we can’t move forward. It can be so impactful. Just hearing one sentence from a person. It sticks with you. Immersing yourself in good quality information, like you mentioned in Pat Flynn’s book can actually get us out of those icky places where just one line can pull us under. I think it’s so incredible how just a few words can do that for years. You said it was a couple of years before you actually moved forward with your course. That’s one of the reasons why I try to constantly fill my mind with good quality information and talk to people like you who are inspiring and look at your account and read articles that I know are people who I actually trust and who are positive and have that mindset of positivity instead of negativity. It’s so important. I want you to talk to us a little bit about time, because this is a really big issue for me too. I see and hear people all the time saying, I don’t have time for that. I can’t fit that into my life. I can’t fit that into my day. I used to be there too. I used to be this person that said, I don’t have the time for that. Why do you feel that all of us, everyone listening, does have the time to do things that they want to accomplish?

Jenny:

I think often we’ll use that as an excuse and not entirely an excuse, we really do feel that way. We feel overwhelmed. We feel like there’s so much going on and our mind is always jumping from place to place. Well, the reason our mind is jumping from place to place is because we’re on social media constantly. We’re getting triggered. We’re seeing different things that are going on because of 2020. We’re seeing another blogger post about how they got a sponsored post. You think in your head, Oh, I didn’t get one. Or they’re talking about a new product or a new service that they have out. You’re thinking, why didn’t I do that? We’re constantly flooded with it. Being on social media as part of business. I think in order to get time, the first place that we have to do is we have to get structure in our days. Whether you were home full time, this is your full-time business.

Or if you’re doing this as a side hustle. I was a full-time teacher. I had a four year old and I had a newborn and I would have a three hour commute every single day. So I get it. I understand that feeling like I don’t have enough time for this. But what you start to realize you need to do is you have to prioritize what you were going to do first and foremost. Sitting and scrolling on Instagram or sitting and scrolling on Facebook or going into these silly Facebook groups and watching to see what someone’s asking and then thinking, Oh, maybe I should start doing that. It’s like a squirrel, and it isn’t where you should be spending your time. You talked about the value of education and putting, you know, reading things and listening to things that are people that have done this. Too often we’ll get caught up with people that say what to do, but they’ve never done it themselves. So you want to find those experts that are then going to give you another resource of someone else to listen to you. Megan, your podcast is a great example. You invite on guests who have done it, who have been in it. So if you have a guest on, listen to their podcasts and see who they are also suggesting. Because those are obviously people that they trust and would recommend. So it definitely starts with that education, making sure you’re not listening to the craziness that goes on in Facebook groups. Just taking the time to not scroll on Instagram and Facebook, but instead work within your business. Know the tasks that you have to get done in a certain amount of time that you do have.

Megan:

Intentionality goes such a long way. If you let the social media trap suck you in, you are going to get sucked in. If you start your day like that, you’re doomed. But if you’re just a little bit intentional even about it, you can take control of your day. I wake up and start scrolling on Instagram, it’s just so hard to pull out of it. But if you wake up knowing I am not going to do that, I’m going to be intentional about what I start my day with. It’s a life changer. Then you mentioned just being flooded. Yes, we are in a season where we’re so incredibly flooded with so many things. So intentionally pushing those things aside that are maybe more low quality information and low quality people, like you said, Jenny, people who haven’t done it, they haven’t been there.

They haven’t seen success on the other side when they put their social media down and fill your brains with quality information and then educate yourself wisely. I think that’s so important. We’re in a time where there’s so much possibility for educating yourself wisely. There are podcasts all over the place with really smart, encouraging people. So I just recommend to everyone all the time that they fill their minds with that good stuff. You kind of touched on this a little bit, but talk about imposter syndrome. I think especially for women, we tend to struggle with this and think that we’re not good enough. We’re not worthy. Give us your thoughts on that.

Jenny:

So imposter syndrome is that feeling like you said of just not feeling worthy, not feeling like you’re up to the task and should be doing it. A lot of times you almost feel like who am I to be doing these things? You should be someone else. Someone else is more of an expert in this type of cooking than I am. Who am I to put out this freebie or opt-in or ebook? That’s going to give information to my audience, but at the same time you feel like you shouldn’t be doing it and it starts with, and it’s part of what I actually talk in my book, and it’s a big piece of it, is the confidence. We assume that the women that we see on the catwalk or out in public speaking, that they’re born with that confidence.

That’s actually not true. It’s practice. It’s a muscle that you have to continuously work on and put yourself out there and start to build up that confidence in order to do it. I tell people all the time I am an introvert, like big time introvert. I go to a conference and I will talk to people on the outskirts. I will not go into a big group. I can speak in front of a big group but that took a long time and a lot of practice, for me to get comfortable in order to do that. That’s because confidence is something that you really truly have to work on. So that imposter syndrome is always going to come and sneak back in at different times. When you start to feel like I’m at another level, I’m a little nervous, I’ve never done this before. That’s where confidence kind of feels like it dwindles a little bit, because you’ve never done those things before. That’s where the imposter syndrome will sneak in. You can let it just keep quiet or you can push past that, build up that confidence, practice and put it out there. When you launch a new product or you put out a new service, it’s going to be intimidating in the beginning. So it’s just a matter of really being able to put it out there and letting the chips fall where they’re going to fall and then know that you can learn from it and improve it as you go.

Megan:

I liked your take on that. It’s practice. It’s building up a muscle, right? You can’t build up your muscles, you can’t be strong if you don’t work at it and put in those reps. So I like that perspective that you brought to the table, because I think it’s really easy to think of imposter syndrome as something that you just need to get over with, like get, you know, figure it out and get it over with, but it’s not, it’s something that you constantly need to be working on. So what are your tips for that? I think a lot of people listening are introverts like you and I both are, and it is not easy for me to go to a conference either, and to immerse myself in a group of people. That’s really, really hard for me. So what are your tips about getting in there and putting in the reps and getting, not past imposter syndrome, but at least, being on your way to tackling it?

Jenny:

So, part of what I believe honestly, is you got to rip the bandaid off. You have to just get your feet wet and figure out, try to attempt to do it. Whether that is getting in front of a camera on Instagram stories, or if that’s doing an interview for a podcast or it’s going to a conference and actually going. I think it’s just really starting to jump in and that’s the only way you have to get uncomfortable before you can have that growth. That uncomfortable feeling of like, feeling like you’re paralyzed and you’re scared to take a step forward. If you take that baby step forward and just try it, that’s when the growth always happens. And you may, when you take that babysat trip and fall, but it’s a matter of whether or not you can get up, dust yourself off and say, okay, this is what I’ve learned from that. I can’t talk to my people like this. I can’t do a video on Instagram stories and not summarize what I’m saying with texts, because my people aren’t listening to my stories without the sound on. So therefore if I don’t put it into text, they’re not gonna know how to interact with me and engage with me. So it’s things like that, of just putting it into practice and then learning from it. Really taking a look at the numbers and the factual engagement that you were seeing from your people.

Megan:

It’s easy to start really small with this too. You don’t have to open up this live video chat where you’re on line for an hour. You can do something really small, like what you mentioned, Jenny, and just getting on Instagram stories. Do a one minute story talking to your people from the comfort of your home. I mean, I know that that sounds scary as well, but it’s a really small step. I think if you do those uncomfortable things consistently, that you do build up those muscles pretty quickly. I remember a year ago I was not as comfortable doing podcast interviews. I wasn’t as comfortable getting on live video, not by any means. Now it’s like not a big deal. I never would have said that a year ago. If I would have said in one year, you would say it’s not a big deal to get on a live video, I would not have believed myself. So those small things really, really do add up, even if it seems really daunting in the moment.

Jenny:

A hundred percent.

Megan:

It is important to work on that imposter syndrome, if you have that, because it really does limit you. Especially as people who have to put themselves out there more and more with all the noise and all the competition. So just encouraging people to do that. Then negative self talk is a big one for me too, because it’s something that I’ve really worked on over the years. I found that talking to myself positively, doesn’t just affect the way that I think about myself, but affects my life. It affects the way opportunities come into my business. It affects the quality of people that come into my life, business and personal. So talk to us about how to overcome that negative self-talk.

Jenny:

That I think actually has to turn into, what is your vision and what is your purpose for your business? What are you trying to do? Because that negative self-talk starts to sneak in when you’re doubting yourself. When you’re doing that sponsored posts and you’re kind of like, oh, I feel like a sellout. I feel like I shouldn’t have done this. That’s when it sneaks in. So if you go back to, before you take a sponsor post, or before you put out content that you’re kind of like, eh, this is kind of crap, go back to your purpose. If you don’t know what that is, that’s where you have to start. You have to have a vision for your business. What is it are you trying to do? For some of the people listening, I just said, use the word business. I didn’t say blog.

I didn’t say social media or Instagram. I’m talking about it as a business. That’s the first place actually that you have to start, is you have to treat your business like a business. Because one, people are never going to treat it like a business if you tell them that you’re just in yoga pants and you’re just blogging or you’re just photographing. Whatever it is that you use that just word, that word has to be taken out of your vocabulary entirely. When you start talking about your business, like a business owner, that’s when people are going to start treating it that way. I honestly dealt with that for years with my family. I come from a blue collar family. I was a teacher, you’re a teacher for life. When I went to retire from teaching, it was like the world was ending.

You’re going to walk away from retirement and a good job. You know the paycheck is coming. Yeah, I am, because this is my business. I don’t have that salary that I get stuck at, instead I can really push and make even more money than I ever dreamt up and provide the quality of life for my family that I always had wanted. Because that’s why I started my business. For me, it was about getting to spend more time with my kids that I wasn’t seeing because I was working crazy hours and commuting. So going back to your why, and then the vision that you see for your business. When I started to let that imposter syndrome come in with the Jenny Melrose side of things, turning from the lifestyle blog into the coaching side of things, I really started to think about, what is my vision?

Where do I want to see this going? For me, it was about all of the little girls who didn’t have someone in their life or had someone that was trying to make this business for themselves, but didn’t know the next steps. I could be that person that could help that mom or that grandmother or that aunt move their business forward to show that little girl in their life, Hey, this is possible. I can run my own business. I don’t need to have that glass ceiling. So being able to tie in your vision into what it is that you’re trying to do, kind of wipes away the self-talk and the imposter syndrome, because you’re focusing on how you’re going to hit that vision and make it come true.

Megan:

I love that. You’re so speaking to me there, and along with the vision comes that passion and emotion, just hearing you talk, Jenny, about speaking to girls and women, and even older women who don’t believe that they can do something that they actually can do, that fills you with passion. I can hear it in your voice. That is what we all need to tap into, right? I mean, that is, what’s going to propel us forward. We need to find that thing and then hold onto that and let that drive us forward. I absolutely love what you said about the word just, and I completely agree. Just needs to be removed from all of our vocabularies because it’s never just anything. Your blog is not just a blog. It is, like you say, and you preach this all the time, it is a legit thriving, actual business that you need to take seriously, that other people need to take seriously, including your family and all the people that support you.

Jenny:

I realized probably about a year and a half ago, that I was the breadwinner for our family. My husband was a PE teacher and my girls didn’t understand the role that I was playing. I was home during the day. I could go and bring them to dance class. They didn’t understand that I was running a six-figure business. It was because I didn’t talk about it. They didn’t need to know how much money, but what they needed to know is that I was a business owner, I was an entrepreneur. I started talking about that with them and it really opened my eyes this past summer, actually, when I was with my family and my brother, they were watching a TV show and my daughter was sitting there with him. It was one of those golfing ones that is like a funny thing and they described the contestant and they said, he’s an entrepreneur. My brother goes, yeah, which means he’s unemployed and doesn’t have a job. My ten-year-old turned to him and said, that’s not true. My mom’s an entrepreneur. She makes lots of money.

Megan:

That is so awesome. Oh, I love that. I love that she knew that and to stick up for you and to say that. But I think that’s changed in the past few years because I remember too, 10 years ago watching, I don’t know the bachelor or something ridiculous. There would be a guy on there and underneath his name, it would say entrepreneur and I had the same thought. I was like, Oh, he doesn’t have a job, but now it is so different. I think women especially are taking this entrepreneurial term and turning it into a crazy killer business that’s helping people. Making killer money. So it’s totally transformed, I think, in recent years. Good for your daughter for sticking up for her mom. That’s awesome. So that’s a great place to start. If you’re listening and you’re struggling with the negative self-talk go back to what Jenny said. What is your passion? Why are you here? What is your big overarching vision for your business and what you want to communicate with people. How do we cut out the negative self-talk on a smaller scale, do you have tips for? Daily thoughts and words that come into our brains that tell us those little things?

Jenny:

I mean, honestly, I think you need to think back to the fact, would you speak to anyone else like that? If you know that you wouldn’t speak to anyone else like that, why are you talking to yourself like that? It seems too simple and it’s not really necessarily a huge tip, but it’s just putting it back into perspective and knowing that I wouldn’t talk to anyone else like this. There are definitely things that you can do as far as whether it’s affirmations, gratitude, writing in a journal. There’s so much research showing that those things can truly help boost your confidence and try to really mute that thing self-talk. But I think you do, you have to take the responsibility yourself and be like, wait a second. I wouldn’t talk to anyone else like this. Why am I talking to myself that way?

Megan:

It really is simple, right? It’s such a simple concept. Don’t say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to other people, but when you actually try to put it into action, it’s not always easy. So it sounds easy, but it’s not easy to do, but it’s a good place to start. I’m not alone. I don’t think in saying that I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else in my life. But with practice, you can definitely get better with that. So you talk about the power of failure, and I love this too. This is such a great concept that you need to fail in order to learn, in order to succeed and grow. So talk to us about that.

Jenny:

So I believe that you need to fail forward. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about me failing. It’s about, am I able to learn from the failure that I had? If you can fail forward and then dust yourself off, know what you can learn from that and then move forward with that information. That’s the true power of it. Now you know that you can continue to move forward, help those people that you are looking to help. Maybe you put together a new recipe and it does terrible. No one is interacting with it. It’s just not doing well. Why is that? You have to be able to take a look at those things. Is it SEO? Is the keyword research, did you not do it? Did you change up the social media?

Did you call it something when you were sharing on social media, something that people didn’t have any idea what you were talking about. Being able to learn from the mistakes that you’ve made and then fix it so that you can continue to grow is where it truly is that sweet spot of being able to look at this as your business. Again, that really comes back to you having to be paying attention to the numbers. It’s not something I ever wanted to do. I’m not a numbers person at all. I’m more of the creative and wanting to really get into the business side of things. For the numbers you need to know what kind of engagement are you seeing on a post on Instagram, in stories. Are people actually DM-ing you? Are they engaging in the comments? And if they’re not, why not? What was it about that post that might’ve made it different? Same thing with a blog post. If you have a recipe that just isn’t doing well, what is it about it that is making that difference? Is it because of the pin, maybe it was the image that you actually created? Being able to analyze those things and know why it’s not doing the way that it should is truly, truly so important.

Megan:

Or an endless number of things that could trip us up with all of the different platforms that we have to manage and all of the different parts of each blog post and the recipe development and the comparisons that we make with ourselves and other people. There are so many things. So we have to dig into those numbers and just kind of analyze why isn’t that working and move on because otherwise you’re going to last about a day and then be done. So you’ve got to accept resistance. I say that all the time too. Resistance is part of growing in this world and being an entrepreneur is not always easy. We absolutely have to wrap our arms around that resistance in order to keep growing. So I love that you say that too. Your quote about needing to fail forward is such a great one. It’s something that I think we should all keep in our minds every single day. It’s something we should probably write right next to our computers. Talk to us about shiny object syndrome, because this is a real disease for a lot of food bloggers. So give us your best advice about how to stop chasing those shiny objects.

Jenny:

I often will wait for them as squirrels too. It’s kind of like you chase them down a rabbit hole and then you end up lost and forgetting what you were actually doing in the first place. As an entrepreneur, I feel like your brain can often feel like a ping pong ball is going off in your head because you go from idea to idea to idea. That’s honestly, I think the brain of most entrepreneurs. So I think it has to start with writing those down. Writing down the project ideas that you do have and knowing what is going to move me forward the fastest. So taking a look at that, and when you’re looking at it, what’s going to move me forward the fastest, what’s going to make me income the fastest is what I’m really asking you. Because if you’re treating this like a business, it should be about making money.

That is our overall purpose of putting in all this time and energy into this. So looking at the tasks that you have in order to complete that project and the projects that you do have written down, so that instead of jumping from one great idea to the next, from Tik Tok to Parler to whatever else is the new thing that they’re talking about is that where your people are? You have to evaluate that and understand whether or not they’re actually going to be there. So if you are a food blogger that creates recipes for maybe people that are a little bit older, they’re not going to be on Tik Tok. If you’re going after the younger moms or millennials, the majority of the Tik Tok users over there were very young up until COVID.

Speaker 3:

Then of course, COVID made all the moms go on and said, please, God, these kids are driving me crazy. Give me something to distract me. But really taking a look. Is that where my people are? Am I going to hit my goals? What am I trying to do with social media? I think that’s also a huge piece of it, is that as food bloggers, we’re so concerned about getting the page view because we make the majority of our money from ads, that we don’t see the purpose of Instagram because they’re staying on the platform. They’re not necessarily going to click over to a recipe. So understanding whether or not the platform is in line with what you’re trying to do. That also goes back to the idea that, think about other ways that you can diversify your revenue. So it’s good to have a little bit of the shiny object, as long as you can go through and organize what you’re going to do first to make income so that it is a thriving business.

Megan:

Do you recommend thinking through the monetary goals first, so maybe have a six month or three month plan with how you plan to make money? Then just working backward from there. So I’m here at this moment, what is going to help me achieve the monetary goal that I have for six months from now? Also, how do you deal with things that pop up? Opportunities that are not on your radar now, but that you absolutely cannot say no to. Let’s say somebody asks you to speak at a conference and that is going to require a lot of work from you, but you just can’t turn that down. How do you recommend dealing with those sorts of things?

Jenny:

I think in the first place, you definitely need to start with your income goals. You need to be looking at it realistically. I think this time of year is the best time to start doing that because you can look back at 2020 and 2019, and however many years you’ve been blogging and you can look to see where your income has been coming in from. Is it worth the amount of effort that you’re putting into it? So I know that a lot of food bloggers get stuck into that. I’m going to chase page views, and then I’m going to get upset when Pinterest changes. Then I’m going to get upset when Facebook changes. Then I’m going to get really focused on the fact that I don’t have to swipe up on Instagram, which really doesn’t end up in page views anyways, please don’t really worry about that.

What I’m trying to say is that knowing where else you can have income coming in. Think about creating your own product or service for your people. Instead of getting stuck in the page view game, get known as an expert in a particular niche within your content. Whether you’re a gluten-free baker or you are a vegan nutritionist. Get into those smaller niches within your content, and really start to focus on those. Then when you are taking a look at those goals, you can determine where your time is going to be best put, so that you know, whether or not should I be spending all my time on Instagram or should I be over here creating content, paying attention to keywords and really trying to ramp up my SEO? Think it has to start there for sure.

Megan:

I think that’s a really good strategy. Then what would you say about those opportunities? If something comes up that you just can’t turn down, do you turn it down or is it just a matter of leaving a little bit of white space in your life or what’s the solution to that?

Jenny:

I do not want to leave a lot of white space. I will take a look at what is being offered, whether it’s speaking or whether it is getting involved in a summit. And I will take a look to see if it’s going to be beneficial. So if I’m going to participate at a Summit, even as a food blogger, Summits are becoming really popular right now. So if I’m going to participate in the Summit, what is required of me? What will I get out of it? Can I pitch my products? Can I pitch my opt in or my freebie to get people on my list? How much time do I need to give, what are the social shares? What is it that I need to get done and to make sure that it’s beneficial. Yes, you like to say yes to things, but every time you see, yes, there could be another opportunity that comes up.

So my thinking is, if it’s not a hell yes, it shouldn’t necessarily be a yes. You do have to say no. If you get offered a sponsored post and sure it’s money coming in, but it makes you a little queasy in what they expect you to do. You know that it’s not going to benefit your audience. Then it shouldn’t be a yes. It should be a think about what if we were to do this instead, this is what my audience would be expecting. Having that conversation with a brand. I do think that you can say yes to different things and try to manipulate it into your calendar and your schedule. But at the same time, you really need to evaluate, is it getting me to my goals? Is it where I’m really truly looking to go with my business? Because if it’s not, then it’s a total waste of your time.

You’re going to miss out on another opportunity. I would say, evaluate what you could potentially get out of that opportunity. If it’s in line with your goals, then do it. If it is in line and you’re feeling like you don’t have quite enough time, then you need to look at the list of things that you wanted to get done. Maybe you’ve got to push something for another week. Instead of going and wasting time in Facebook groups, you can make extra time up then. I just think that it’s so important to have a schedule and know what your day is going to look like. Whether you have a toddler home or a newborn, you know that your calendar, your day is going to have to probably float based on naps. The second that baby is down for a nap, your butt should know exactly what you’re doing. You need to be at your computer, doing the task that you can get done while they nap. There should be no I’m going to go eat and I’m going to put a load of laundry on, and then I’m going to go look and try to do this. You should have it organized. There should be a list there, ready to go to know exactly what you’re going to do so that when you do get offered these other opportunities, it’s not a big deal if you step into it. You know that you have that space in order to do it.

Megan:

I am pumped listening to you that, because that is exactly how I work. It’s frustrating hearing other people complain about not having the time when they are floundering and doing laundry during the day. I always wonder, why are you doing laundry? Do laundry outside of your work times. Your work times are for working. You sit down, you get your butt down and you do your work pronto when your kid falls asleep or your kid goes off to school or whatever it is. I am wondering if you can tell us just some kind of general self-care tips, protecting your business, but also protecting you as we go into the holidays. What do you have for food bloggers? Because I know we need to hear it right now.

Jenny:

So self-care to me is not a bubble bath. People say, Oh, go get a massage, that’s self-care. That’s not self-care for me. Self care to me is actually protecting my level of stress, whether that is going to be, I need to block and unfollow some people on Facebook. Or I need to limit the amount of time that I go on to Instagram. Previous to this interview, I moved, we also ended up testing positive for COVID. I have two little girls that are elementary age. I took a month off from Instagram. I knew I needed it. Not only because life was chaos at home, but I couldn’t get triggered about the election. It was too much for me. So I knew I needed to protect my stress level.

Part of that for me too, is also finding a way to manage my stress level. Whether that’s working out, going for a walk, taking that time and it being yours. I think this is where you really need to have these kinds of conversations with your significant other. If they don’t understand that you need these times, kid free, uninterrupted, they don’t understand that, they’re not mind readers. I think that also goes back to the idea too, not only that time that you need, but also help around the house. I think as women, we have a tendency to try to take care of every one and the last person we try to take care of is ourselves. There’s someone else in your home unless you are a single parent, that could help and you have to communicate that. I have so many clients that will talk to me and tell me about the fact that they’re so stressed out about their husband and how they are not understanding, and they’re not taking it seriously and they’re not helping around the house.

And I’ll say, did you talk to them? No, of course not. They’re not mind readers. A lot of them probably aren’t even very good at finding something in the pantry. You have to have that conversation. That took me a long time to really figure out, because again, it went back to that whole idea of treating your business like a business. I wasn’t, and I didn’t have hours in my day. I didn’t have my work hours. I didn’t have a schedule. Once I had that, he was able to then see the boundaries that I needed to have. He can’t text me all throughout the day just because he’s got 10 minutes in between class, which is what he used to do. He now understands that that distracts me and I’m not getting everything done. I am the type of person where my stress level rises when things are not getting accomplished.

So in order to protect myself, we had a conversation about texting and I needed him to wait until school was done and I’m done with work. That works better for me. I think it really has to start with that communication, especially with your significant other. If you have family members or friends that are in your life, and they’re not seeing your business as a business, and you’re treating it like a business, you have to have that conversation so that they don’t trigger you. If they continually trigger you on social media, just unfollow or snooze them, it’s the best medicine.

Megan:

Oh, I love that too. Manage and protect your stress level. That is another motto of yours, Jenny, that I want to print and put right next to my monitor. So I wrote that down on my notebook and I circled it about a million times. So that’s great. Communicating with the people around you, your family is another really simple idea that we often don’t think to do. We think that everyone’s just going to read our minds and I have to say, even if you’re a single parent, if your kids are old enough, you can also enlist help from them. I got into this trap a while ago where I thought I had to do it all in my home. That I had to pick up after my children and I couldn’t enlist their help. One day I was like, wait a second. They are very capable children. They’re super smart. They can actually help me. So you can actually enlist kids too. You mentioned loved ones. If you are a single parent and you have really young kids, ask family members, friends for support, and most people, if they love you, they’re going to be willing to help you and help you manage that stress. Great advice, Jenny, this was amazing. I so appreciate everything you’ve said today and everything you’ve shared with food bloggers. So thanks again so much for being here.

Jenny:

Of course. Thank you so much for having me, Megan. I appreciate it.

Megan:

Of course. And you do have some offerings. I know you have a book and you’ve got a course. Can you just run through a few of them if people are interested in finding you through those avenues?

Jenny:

Yes. My first book came out in May. It’s called Influencer Entrepreneurs. It is the four step framework for building your audience, growing your business and making money online. There is a free workbook that goes along with it, it is on my site, Jenny melrose.com/book. The workbook is there and the book is also linked to Amazon because it’s also of course on Amazon. Then I am most active on Instagram. If you have a question or are looking to see what I recommend, I love talking in stories. You can find me @Jenny_Melrose. Any questions just DM me. That is the one place that I definitely make sure that it is me. It is not anyone on my team answering DMS or anything like that. Of course my podcast, Influencer Entrepreneurs.

Megan:

I have not told you this yet, but congrats on the book. I’ve seen you promote it a little bit, and I’m excited to get my own copy so that is a huge accomplishment. Nice work on that. I can’t wait to dig into it. So thank you for sharing all that. We are going to put a show notes page together for your Jenny. So if anyone wants to go see that and just everything we’ve talked about today, you can find that at eatblogtalk.com/JennyMelrose2. I think you already mentioned this, but just to reiterate where everyone can best find you online.

Jenny:

Definitely on Instagram @Jenny_Melrose.

Megan:

Awesome. Well, thank you again, Jenny so much for being here. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Intro:

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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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