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Episode 244: Series (Part 1)—From Many Mistakes to Many Wins with Megan Porta

In episode 244, Megan shares with us about her 11 years of blogging and some mistakes she made along the way, what she learned and some actions steps to encourage you.

We cover information such as why you need to invite people and information into your business and have grace with yourself if you didn’t do these thing but now correct the course!

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

Takeaways

  • Mistakes are a part of your business and if you’re not making mistakes at all, something is wrong. Don’t look at and refer to them as failures.
  • Don’t believe the lie that you can do everything on your own!
  • Actions you can take to correct the course:
  • Use food blogging conferences to help network, connect and learn more about the business you’re in.
  • Host a retreat
  • Join a mastermind
  • Show up in the groups/forums
  • Reach out from bloggers you want to learn from
  • Read business books

Transcript

Click for full text.

Food bloggers! Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, THE podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode 244 with me. 

This episode will be the first one in a series called From Many Mistakes to Many Wins where I will talk through specific mistakes I’ve made in my own blogging journey and how YOU can learn from my struggles. 

Before we dive into that, I’d love to take some time here to share about all of the resources available here at EBT that give you a chance to connect, gain confidence, dig into food blogging in a new way and just LEVEL UP in your business growth and with your networking.

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I have an 11-year blogging journey to sift through, so it is really easy for me to pull out a handful (uh, or A LOT) of mistakes and things I’ve done really wrong and that held me back in my business. I’m really eager to share these with you in a podcast series so you can learn from my mistakes!

First of all, I want to address the fact that I refuse to refer to the mistakes I’ve made as “failures.” I don’t believe that failure is even a thing, unless you just completely give up on something.

Mistakes are a part of your business and if you’re not making mistakes at all, something is wrong. When you look at your story as a whole.. When you back up and view your blogging journey as one big ongoing story, you SHOULD see mistakes. Then you should see where you’ve done a course correction (hopefully) and kept moving forward.

With that said, I feel like I’m the perfect person to be chatting with you about this topic because I have made A LOT of mistakes in my blogging journey. I’m basically the poster child for Blogging Mistake Girl, hence the reason for creating this series.

Mistake #1: Thinking I could do everything on my own (by far my biggest mistake)

I trudged along for 8 years (!!) believing that I either HAD all the answers or could figure everything out completely on my own. This thinking resulted in me working in Squarespace for all of those years, it kept me from staying up to speed with information and changes in the industry, it ensured that I was almost always working on the wrong things, it kept me really lonely and it also kept me frazzled because I worked ALL the time. All of these points hindered my blog and business growth in a massive way.

In comparison.. Bloggers who leaned on others for support and networking and who found trusted sources to learn from? Those people currently have businesses that FAR exceed mine on the “blogging success” scale.

In 2018 I attended my first GOOD food blogging conference (I’d been to food blogging confs before, but never a transformative one). Shout-out to Tastemaker Conference, the best conference EVER for food bloggers, in my opinion. That conference that changed the trajectory of my entire business. At that point I’d been blogging for 8 years and needed a massive reality check. For the first 7.5 years of blogging I’d been blessed with huge amounts of Pinterest traffic and thought that was all I needed and that everyone experienced that same thing.. And that that was all there was to it!

Six months before attending Tastemaker, a Pinterest algorithm change depleted my blog traffic, leaving me very confused and frustrated and honestly, angry. I rode the magic Pinterest wave for 7+ years and just like that, in a split second, most of my traffic was gone. I’d worked on my blog on my own up till that point, doing very little networking with other bloggers and not seeking out information about ANYTHING.

When my Pinterest traffic was wiped out, that was right around the same time Abbey from Tastemaker sent an email talking about the conference she was putting together. I read it and knew.. I needed to go. So I signed up and went. And I have to mention here that it was NOT easy or comfortable for me to attend that event. I felt inadequate and embarrassed that I’d been blogging for so long and basically knew nothing. My thoughts told me so many lies.. They told me that I was a loser. That I didn’t have anything to contribute to a gathering like that. And that I wouldn’t make any connections or friendships.

I don’t think I need to tell you that none of that was actually true. In fact, quite the opposite happened! Within minutes of being at the conference, I realized that I wasn’t inadequate and had no reason to be embarrassed. There was an awesome, supportive group of peers there and many of them were riding in similar boats as I was. I also realized that I knew quite a bit about getting Pinterest traffic, I was NOT a loser, I had plenty to contribute to our space and I also made a ton of friends who I still talk to and collaborate with regularly, 3 years later.

Since that first Tastemaker experience, my business has grown hugely. Back in my Pinterest glory days I actually got much more traffic to my blog than I do today, but I was making a lot less money. And I didn’t have friends and I was lonely.

Then:

TONS of traffic (1m+ PV months) but mostly from Pinterest (I literally had no audience).

Made between $20k-50k/year from ad revenue (no other streams of revenue.. I had no idea this was possible)

Worked A TON, days, evenings and weekends..nothing was off limits (thought I was working on all the right things.. This will be the focus of an upcoming ep..)

Worked full-time as a food blogger after 1 year of blogging (that was all thanks to pinterest luck)

Now:

  • 250k avg PVs/month but I have an audience!
  • Make $100k+/year from ad revenue alone AND I have other streams of revenue coming in.
  • I work efficiently and on the right things, so I don’t actually work that much (25ish hours/week) and I never work in the evenings or on weekends anymore.
  • Multi-faceted business, which brings in so many more opportunities, people, income, and all the good stuff.

Moral of the story

If you are wearing the shoes that I wore for 8 years, take off those shoes and put on new ones. You cannot successfully navigate this job on your own. Or, I guess you CAN, but it’s going to be a REALLY long and arduous journey.

Also, have tons of grace with yourself if you have been resisting allowing people and information into your life and business. I had to work through a lot of feelings of disappointment in myself before coming to a place where I’m JUST OK with how my story has evolved. Your story.. Is your story. And if you’ve tried to navigate your blogging journey alone, well that’s just a part of your story! Accept that and move on. Do a course correction and keep moving forward.

Actions you can take

  1. Attend an in-person conference. This is a scary thing to do, especially the first time, but it will change your business in so many profound ways.
  2. Start talking to people on social media. Post-Tastemaker I began chatting with bloggers I felt aligned with my values on Instagram and that was another game changer.
  3. Host a retreat. Invite people to your city, rent an airbnb and chat about blogging!
  4. Show up in the groups/forums. Find food blogging forums or groups that align with your values and show up consistently. Comment, engage, support and seek out answers to problems you have.
  5. Reach out to bloggers you want to learn from. We all have those bloggers we admire. Get to know them! They’re people, too, and it’s possible you will strike up a friendship.
  6. Attend summits/conferences/webinars. Never (and I mean NEVER) stop learning from people within this industry and from people who support our industry. Absorb as much information as you possibly can from trusted podcasts, webinars, summits, etc.
  7. Read business books. Food blogging-specific information is very important, but I encourage you to consume more generic information for entrepreneurs. There are A TON of great podcasts and books and I believe we should all be devouring this free/affordable info.
  8. Join a mastermind group. If you find a quality mastermind program with supportive peers, there is honestly nothing that will advance your business forward more quickly than that.

There we go, mistake #1 was a biggie. It negatively impacted my business in so many ways. Learn from me. Put people and quality information in your path asap. Do a course correction, keep taking forward steps and your business will thrive. Your bank account will grow. Your people will show up. 

The next episode in this series will be #249, published on 10/28/21, so stay tuned for more Megan mistakes! Specifically I’ll talk about Mistake #2, which is how I over-complicated everything in my business, creating strife, anxiety and little to no forward momentum.


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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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