Andrea Mut explains why she sold her bakery to become a food blogger and how to deal with being overwhelmed as we manage Google updates and other unexpected factors that affect our blog’s traffic.
In this episode, we cover information about starting a food blog, how to deal with blogging overwhelm and ways to keep yourself motivated and not give up, even when your blog traffic slows down.
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Bio Andrea’s culinary journey began at age 14 when she worked in her grandparents’ three restaurants. She later received formal Chef’s training, and later specialized in Baking & Pastry Arts. Throughout her career, Andrea gained experience in various restaurants and bakeries, as well as teaching cooking and baking classes at both the recreational and College level. Her most significant achievement was owning a successful bakery in Toronto, which she sold in 2018.
In 2019, she launched her blog, My Pocket Kitchen. A few months later Andrea’s blog shifted its focus when she embarked on a one-year weight loss journey. Today, Andrea shares her culinary expertise and commitment to a healthier lifestyle, offering easy-to-make, nutritious recipes with a touch of restaurant quality.
- Embrace the ups and downs of your blogging journey.
- Don’t skimp on your blog when you get started, invest in guidance.
- What to get right from the start and what can wait?
- No matter what you think, SEO and keyword research are important for blog traffic.
- What to do when your traffic suddenly drops.
- Tap into blogging services to help alleviate the feeling of overwhelm (e.g. audit with Casey Markee).
- Start with manageable steps to improve your posts’ ranking.
- Mindset can make or break you in the food blogging industry.
- Give yourself a break when needed.
- Don’t underestimate the power of organization.
Click for full script
EBT457 – Andrea Mut
Food bloggers, hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
Megan Porta 00:37
I think probably every single one of you listening can relate to the ups and downs, the overwhelm that comes along with being a food blogger. Andrea Mut joins me in this episode. She is the blogger over at My Pocket Kitchen. And she has such an interesting backstory involving food that supports her food blog. She grew up in restaurants, she went to culinary school, she started a bakery. And all of that led to her becoming a food blogger. And once she got into food blogging, she realized that it was a lot of work. So she has dealt with a little bit of overwhelm, and just kind of managing that, and has some really good advice for the rest of us as far as how to get past the overwhelm and not give up and to keep at it despite the hard times. Something specific that happened to Andrea at a recent point in her journey is that her numbers on her blog started dropping and she didn’t know how to handle that. So she talks through some of that as well. So I hope you enjoy this episode. It is number 457 sponsored by RankIQ.
Hopping in to let you know that the 2024 mastermind groups now include a members-only in person retreat, one on one planning calls, weekly focus calls, as well as daily support in a dedicated discussion forum. These groups might be that thing to accelerate your personal and professional growth in powerful ways get 25% off now through October 31st. That date’s creeping up. So act fast, go to eatblogtalk.com/mastermind to apply today. Here’s a super quick audio clip of three of my previous members talking about one of the benefits they found from the group. And the theme is the same throughout:
“I really wasn’t expecting that like now we’ve messaged about our private issues in life. And in addition to the business, I mean, it all kind of ties together but I really wasn’t expecting to find such good friendship in a group like this. I was expecting it to just because this stuff.”
“One of my goals, I told myself it for last year actually, for 2022 I was like, I will be more involved in a food blogger community, I will talk to people I will develop relationships with people in my industry and that sort of thing. And I did that and it the mastermind really, really, really helped with that and I’m shocked that there are friendships that I’ve developed that have extended past the end of the mastermind.”
“I didn’t expect to become friends with anybody, but I did. I felt like I made some lasting friendships.”
Megan Porta 03:12
Andrea’s culinary journey began at age 14 When she worked in her grandparents three restaurants. She later received formal chef’s training and later specialized in Baking and Pastry Arts. Throughout her career, Andrea gained experience in various restaurants and bakeries, as well as teaching cooking and baking classes at both the recreational and college level. Her most significant achievement was owning a successful bakery in Toronto, which she sold in 2018. In 2019, she launched her blog, My Pocket Kitchen. A few months later, Andrea’s blog shifted its focus when she embarked on a one year weight loss journey. Today, Andrea shares her culinary expertise and commitment to a healthier lifestyle, offering easy to make nutritious recipes with a touch of restaurant quality.
Megan Porta 03:58
Hello there. Andrea, how are you today?
Andrea Mut 04:00
I am wonderful. Megan, how are you?
Megan Porta 04:03
I am doing well. There’s this little actually, I should say this huge fly buzzing around my head. So this might make me crazy. But other than that I’m great.
Andrea Mut 04:12
Oh, that drives me nuts.
Megan Porta 04:15
I know. I don’t know how such a little thing can drive me so crazy, but it does. There it went. Okay. Anyway, you are here to talk about so many great things. Today you’re going to talk about your story growing up in restaurants and your journey as a food blogger and some trials and tribulations. But first, do you have a fun fact to share with us?
Andrea Mut 04:35
I do. I mean it was it was hard to pick I feel like I had a few but one would be that several years ago when our kids were the ages of I guess they were about 11 and 9 kind of ages, two boys we have, we packed up everything that we owned and put it in storage and we took off to South America for six months.
Megan Porta 05:02
Oh, gosh, that’s amazing. Okay, so how did that go? Was it an experience?
Andrea Mut 05:07
It was one of the things were like so many friends and family were like, Are you out of your mind? Like, what are you doing, I had just quit a job that I had working at a very, very busy and high production bakery, like in a management position. And my husband was working at a job that he didn’t really enjoy very much anymore. And he was contemplating looking for new work somewhere else. And we were kind of like in this in between phase, right. And we were sort of sitting around one night having drinks and kind of joking about like, oh, you know, I made a joke, I think about like, maybe we should just pack up everything and go on a big long trip with the kids. And the joke sort of like, evolved, and we kept thinking about it and talking about it. And then to make a long story short, and eventually we were like, You know what, let’s just do it, like once in a lifetime opportunity. And we pulled them out of school. And, you know, we talked to their teachers and everything about what we were doing, and they were all completely supportive, like this is going to be better than any education that your kids could get sitting in a classroom. And we had a few like, we had to homeschool them a little bit, but it wasn’t anything extreme. You know, it was like keeping them on top of the math, because that’s like something, you know, yeah. In the next grade, they have to have a certain…
Megan Porta 06:22
You get behind.
Andrea Mut 06:23
Yeah, exactly. But you know, they’re like keep let them keep scrapbooks. And that’ll be amazing. And so yeah, we, we took off and we got an apartment and in Argentina, in Mendoza that was like our home base. And then we kind of like spent six months traveling around, we traveled around like all of Argentina. And then we also went into Chile quite a bit and then also up to Peru went to Machu Picchu. And you know, we like took a bath the whole time. It was like…
Megan Porta 06:53
Oh my gosh, what an amazing experience.
Andrea Mut 06:55
It was such a big adventure. And yeah, like it was. We’re just so grateful that we did it. And you know, all the naysayers, you know, can we can just be like, Yeah, whatever.
Megan Porta 07:07
Yeah, I know. I mean, you have to have grace with people who are naysayers, right? Because not everyone has those urges like that. And I just commend you guys for following through with it, because it’s really easy to dream. But it’s not so easy to actually like pull it off and do it. So good job.
Andrea Mut 07:28
And it may have set us back a little bit, you know, in our, you know, buying a house or like whatever in our financial situation.
Megan Porta 07:35
But it’s so worth it though, right. From my perspective, that sort of thing is so worth any setback. All right, great. So I love that so great to have those memories. And I’m sure your boys too, are just so grateful and have so many great memories from it, too.
Andrea Mut 07:49
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Our youngest one is kind of like I wish I remembered things more clearly. Because he was only like nine or whatever. But we have lots of pictures and videos.
Megan Porta 08:00
Right? Still so cool. What a great experience. And that kind of adds to your story. You have such an amazing story to share. I was reading through your script before I called you today and how I’m so excited to hear you talk through this. So you have such a cool story with food and how this has evolved into being a food blogger. And then you have some you know, overwhelm and struggles that came up with food blogging. So would you mind just starting by talking through I know you grew up in restaurants and all of that and just we can kind of let that evolve from there.
Andrea Mut 08:33
Sure. But yeah, when I was very young, my grandparents owned three restaurants in in a small town, north of Toronto, I’m in Canada. And yeah, so they I can’t remember you know, that they started out with one and then that was it kind of like then it became two and then it became three. And so it was definitely like a very family business, right. Like, all of my aunts and basically all of my aunts and uncles work there and my parents often on and so naturally, my parents ended up you know, splitting up and we moved but we didn’t move too far away that I could go there for the summer. That was the thing. I was like 14 I was just old enough to work at that time. I don’t know if that’s still like the age that you can work legally. Now. Is it older now? I don’t even know.
Megan Porta 09:22
I think in some places you can work at 14 yeah.
Andrea Mut 09:25
14. Yeah. So I was yeah, 13 or 14. And it was like, Oh, I’m gonna go and you know, live in Port Perry and work for my grandparents for a summer it was my first job. So I kind of worked a little bit in two of the three places. And that was sort of where it started for me. So I had kind of did that, like through high school, I was working in different types of, you know, food businesses or whatever.
Andrea Mut 09:52
And, and then during that time, when I was in high school, my mother, my mother, who’s like an amazing cook always had a dream of having a food business. She worked in like the corporate world, though, but she decided to take a risk and take a leave of absence from her job and and try her hand at opening up a food business. So she started up like a gourmet takeout food slash catering business. And so I started working for her. When I was in, I guess I was around probably 16 or 17 at the time. And her it was her and I mostly working in the place, you know, because it was a small establishment. And there were a couple of other little part time employees. But I was working a lot. And I remember my mom said to me one day, she’s like, You know what, area, you’re really good at this? Have you ever thought of, like doing this for a living? Like maybe you should go to college, to become a chef. And then that was what like, put the idea in my mind of like, oh, you know, I never thought of that. Maybe I should just continue, you know, along this path. And so that’s, you know, what ended up, you know, make me decide to go to culinary school.
Megan Porta 10:50
Yeah, did you enjoy culinary school?
Andrea Mut 11:54
I didn’t at first actually. The first year of the program is focused mostly on the cooking part in the second year, then they get into more management stuff. And I just was like, Oh, I love the cooking. Don’t get me wrong, like I loved. I’ve always loved cooking a lot. But I was in this environment with you know, really back at that time, because this was like in the late 80s. I started college in 1989. And it was very old school still at the time. And all the chef instructors were like old European guys that had this like real Gordon Ramsay type, you know, attitude and mentality towards working in a kitchen and I was just like really turned off by that vibe. And I thought to myself, is this what I want to do for the rest of my life like work in this environment with these kinds of chefs and just hanging out with all these dudes and nothing about the guys I love working with guys. But it was kind of like this moment where I was like picturing myself in the future like working in a in a restaurant kitchen like doing this for the rest of my life.
Andrea Mut 12:02
And I was kind of like I don’t think this is what I want to do but like sidebar there was within this the program there were these two week segments that we would go into the bakery that into the bakery labs. Right and, and learn a little bit about baking like just kind of the basics. And I loved it in there, every aspect of being in there. So I switched after my first year of chef’s training, I switched over into full time baking and pastry arts, and then, you know, studied that for a year. So yeah, so then I went on to work in a lot of different establishments. After I finished school, like I worked in a lot of restaurants, I worked in bakeries, catering businesses. I also went back to teach at the school where I went to school on a part time basis. That was more recently, like when I had my bakery, which we haven’t got to yet in the storyline.
Megan Porta 13:03
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, you have so much history with food. And in so many different capacities. It’s cool. I don’t know anyone else who has, like grew up in the restaurants and like, catering and all of this, like…
Andrea Mut 13:15
It is like why are you a food blogger then?
Megan Porta 13:18
No, well, yeah, talk to us about that. So you had a bakery? How did you go from that to food blogging?
Andrea Mut 13:23
So I yeah, I I started up a bakery in 2012 in Toronto, and it did very, very well. It was a successful business, but I kind of always resisted the idea of having my own business because maybe because of growing up in that industry, I saw, you know how much work and how much stress it is to like run businesses like that. And but I was in a job previous to that, that it was a startup of quite a sizable restaurant in a very, you know, busy area of Toronto. And it had three different elements to it like fine dining, like a coffee shop cafe, so you know, muffins and cookies and things like that. And then catering as well like catering large events. And I was the pastry chef and in charge of all those three departments for the baking, and I was given a lot of responsibility. And that was when I was like, I don’t know, like, why am I doing this for someone else, like I’m doing all the things except writing the, the the checks, basically. So then I started thinking, you know, what, like, I was at an age, like, I was sort of like, in my early 40s, at the time, and I was thinking now we’re never, you know, like, if I don’t do this, now, I’m never going to do it, because I’m just getting older every year, right, and I’m going to become less and less, you know, motivated to take to do take something on so big.
Andrea Mut 16:13
So that’s why I decided to do it. It’s like, I’m just gonna do it. And then I can say that I did that. And even though I, you know, because I had a pretty solid business plan and everything, I hit all of my goals, and projections from my business plan, I had everything kind of going the way that I wanted it to go. But at the end of the day, I was just so tired. And like stressed from just everything of running a business like that. I was just like, No, I can’t like, I don’t I don’t want to do this anymore. It wasn’t because it was failing or it wasn’t doing well. It was just because I was like done. I was over it, Okay, well, the business like I can sell this business, I don’t have to just close it. So I sold it. That’s when I started thinking about what am I going to do? Because there was no way I was gonna go, you know, work in another bakery. Like I need to do something where it’s just me, I don’t have staff, I don’t have like a physical space that I have to take care of. I don’t have to worry about equipment breaking down in the middle of the night or, you know, whatever that stuff and and I don’t remember, like exactly what put me on to food blogging, maybe just because I’ve been following some food bloggers and knew that it was like a thing. But I, you know, I decided to start looking into it. So I started listening to podcasts, you know, like, I think I started mostly with, you know, like Food Blogger Pro was really big at that time and, and your podcast and I just was listening and listening.
And I was like, because I don’t think I I knew that you could actually make money doing it at the time. And then it was like, Oh, I can actually make money doing this. Maybe I should like, think about this seriously, like not just as a as a hobby thing to keep me busy. And then after I actually sold the bakery, I took some time off and you know, just traveled a little bit with my husband and and then I just, you know, ran it by him. Of course I talked to him a lot about it. And he’s like, I think you should just go for it. Like what do you got to lose? And so I was like, Yeah, okay, I’m just gonna dive in. And then that was when like, you know, a whole new world of things opened up to me because my, you know, my whole world had been in kitchens and really not anything tech.
Andrea Mut 18:19
So then it was like, Oh my God, you know, when I decided to start, you know, putting a website together, it was like, wow.
Megan Porta 18:26
You launched in 2018. Is that right? Your blog?
Andrea Mut 18:30
2019. I sold the bakery in 2018. And then launched in 2019. Yeah, I was like, mid 2018. I sold the bakery. And then it was like, early 2019 that I started. I started like, get, you know, trying to build the website and stuff probably in like February and then actually, you know, make web public. I think it was maybe in June or July that year. So it took several months to you know, get the website up and running. And, and because of all the research I did, I felt like I got off to a really good start. You know, I started off with like, Feast, I bought the Feast plugin. And you know, because I was listening to all the podcasts and listening to the Top Hat Rank webinars. Am I saying that? Yeah. Pat rank? Yeah. Yes. All of their chat, you know, and so I was like, Okay, I’m gonna do it right from the beginning. You know, like, even if it costs extra money, it’s like, no, I’m just gonna, I gotta do it. I don’t want to have to go back and, and fix stuff later, you know?
Megan Porta 19:32
Yeah. So many people skimp in the beginning, thinking that they can, myself included, that they can get by. And in retrospect, it’s like, no, doing it right from the beginning, there’s so much value in doing that. So I think you did the right thing.
Andrea Mut 27:08
Yeah. Cuz it’s like, you know, in the, at the end of the day, a couple 100 extra dollars or whatever, even 500 extra dollars seems like so much money. But when you think about the amount of headache that it saves you and the fact that in the end, you’re going to end up switching to that one anyway, it’s going to cost you so much more money, and so takes so much more time. So it’s just like, Yeah, it’s like, okay, whatever. Another thing on the credit card all pay it off.
Megan Porta 19:00
Yes, exactly. No, I mean, I hate to encourage credit card usage. But it’s so true. And I have the same mindset. And, yeah, I love that you did that.
Andrea Mut 19:10
I mean, obviously, there’s a limit, like, and there was for me to like, there were certain things that I didn’t spend money on that maybe at the time, I thought I should, I mean, luckily for me, none of that has ever has come back to bite me. Like, they haven’t been big things that I that I regret, like, Oh my God, why did I do that it was maybe little things like, you know, my email provider, you know, I went with MailChimp, which wasn’t the cheapest one. But you know, it was a lot cheaper than the ones that everybody was recommending, like ConvertKit or whatever. But I looked at it like, well, this, you know, MailChimp is cheap in the beginning until you get up to x number of subscribers, right? And then the price really starts to jump. So I thought, well, I’ll use this where it’s like this much for this many. And then once I get to that number, then I can decide whether or not I want to make a switch. And so you know, I did that in the end like I moved to ConvertKit. Not that long ago, actually. But that didn’t cause me any headaches really, to make that kind of switch.
Megan Porta 20:14
There are some things that really don’t matter in the beginning, like your email service provider in the beginning, it really doesn’t matter until you’ve established yourself and you have content you have subscribers like, yeah, like that is a smart move to think, okay, I can deal with this one later. But there are some things like you mentioned, the Feast theme, and getting on a good web host and things like that, that does matter. So it’s like you kind of have to pick and choose.
Andrea Mut 20:43
Yeah, like those foundational things.
Megan Porta 20:46
Andrea Mut 20:48
Those are the foundational things like your emails, provider or whatever, those are things you could easily switch like, you know, same with, like, I’m with Big Scoots. What do you call those guys?
Megan Porta 20:59
Yeah, web hosts. Yeah, web host. Yep.
Andrea Mut 21:01
That’s another one. Like, I didn’t go with the, you know, the best and the biggest. Of course, they change all at that time. When I started, it was like, the recommendations for hosting were all over the place. It was like hard to know, which one.
Megan Porta 21:15
It was. It wasn’t clear.
Andrea Mut 21:16
And I ended up going with one that I thought was good at the time, and I think was highly recommended at the time. But then, of course, like a year or two later, or whatever. It was like, Oh, my God, if you’re with them, you better like move. Yeah. But that’s another one. That’s again, like if that’s an easy switch. So it’s not, it’s not like a big deal.
Megan Porta 21:33
Yeah. Okay, so talk about so you launched your blog, how did it go right away, so you can research everything beforehand, was everything easy, smooth sailing?
Andrea Mut 21:44
I mean, I would say it went pretty smoothly. I’m like, I’m really good at researching and reading and learning things and be becoming clear on things even if I have to do it over and over and over again. So I feel like that really worked well for me and trying to just like, build the website in the first place. And it wasn’t as easy back then, like, Feast has changed so much since I first was with them in terms of like, how user friendly it is now and how nice how like pretty you can make your website look without a whole lot of effort. Back then it was a little bit more like you had to put into it. But I kind of found myself geeking out on it. Like, I was sort of surprised my husband was too like he would comment. Like, I can’t believe that you’re getting into all this tech stuff. Like I know, isn’t it weird? Because I just like spent so many years of my life in a kitchen that I’m like, my brains like excited for this, like new information and like a whole new thing. And like I’m just really enjoying sitting at a desk all day instead of like, I don’t want to sit at a desk all day. I’m like, I’m liking it.
Megan Porta 22:55
Yes, after a lifetime of working in bakeries and being in culinary school. I’m sure your feet were very happy.
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Andrea Mut 24:22
Yeah, so I did kind of geek out on a lot of the tech stuff. So and I had, you know, I had a little bit of a following when I started because a lot of people from my bakery followed me, you know, on social media, right. Like, when I left the bakery, I’m like, Oh, if you want to continue seeing what I’m going to do after this chapter of my life, like, you know, follow me on this account, instead of the bakery account. I had, I mean, I didn’t have a lot. I’m talking like maybe 400 or something. It wasn’t big, but I was like, Okay, well, it’s something like it’s not, you know, starting from zero. So I didn’t really. And so this is the thing is I hadn’t really decided on a niche because I was thinking, okay, well, I don’t really know what I want my niche to be like, people were automatically thinking that it would be a baking blog, right, because of my bakery and everything. But I was like, No, I don’t think I want to do that. Because I want to be able to be more creative. And I find cooking, you can be a lot more creative with savory dishes than you can with baking because, as you probably know, like baking is very specific. Right? You have to follow recipes exactly. I mean, there’s only so many things you can do with dessert. Yeah, as far as I’m concerned, but with food, it’s like it, you know, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the savory side of things. And cooking was more of a hobby for me because I I I did spend more time in the pastry department over my career than I did on the savory side. So I felt like that would be more fun for me and more a better creative outlet for me. So I’m like, I’m just gonna do a general like right now. I’m just going to keep it like general I’m just gonna do like, food that I like to to eat and I’m gonna make recipes for those dishes that I don’t have any recipes for, you know, that kind of thing.
Megan Porta 26:20
And then where did it go? So you did more of like broad categories? Did you eventually niche down?
Andrea Mut 26:27
Yeah. So what happened was I, I had gained a lot of weight over the previous 10 years having my business and everything else going on stress whatnot, I decided to join a weight loss program. And this was probably like, a few months, few very short months after I launched my blog. And so I started doing this weight loss program. And it was this like, tiny little program like a startup business or whatever, what, like a one person show. And it was like a Facebook group. So there was like a nice little community within this program. And people were like, in there often asking questions about the program, right. And so I started noticing that a lot of the questions were about, like, people not knowing what to make, because there were no recipes or anything with this program, it was really kind of like bare bones at the time. And so I was kind of like, then I started, like, because I’m like cooking to make food for myself to eat. And so I started like, you know, tagging the program, or whatever, in social media, when I would like post recipes. And then if people started catching on, and I started, I was allowed to post some recipes inside the Facebook group. And so then I started getting like, you know, people were like, Oh, my God, like, this is amazing. And these recipes are amazing.
Andrea Mut 27:49
And anyway, to make another long story short, because this is like, you know, for a whole other podcast on a whole other subject, but I ended up working for this, this weight loss company, just part-time to start. And then it started getting busier, and it started growing. And then I was working full-time. And I was doing recipes, like I was doing recipes for my blog, but then I was like sharing them in the group and stuff like that. And we were doing like cooking shows inside the group and the Facebook group and stuff like that. So I was starting to get more and more and more like, have a following that was just happening through this other job, right. But I was so busy with that, that I was not paying any attention to my blog, because I didn’t really need to I’m like, I’m getting paid, I’m doing this work. And you know, it’s fun. And I’m meeting people and gaining followers, I don’t need to like pay attention to SEO or I wasn’t keeping up to date with any of the stuff like I wasn’t listening to any of the podcasts I wasn’t keeping up to date with, you know what was going on, like in the blogging world at all. And but what happened with like, things just kind of fell through for me with that job, I ended up having to leave, it was just becoming too busy and stressful. So then I was like, Okay, I’m like, I’m gonna leave this job. And I’m gonna go back to focus on my blog. Well, after not really paying much attention to my blog for like, a year, when I started going back into it, I was like, Oh, my God.
Megan Porta 29:23
Andrea Mut 29:25
What is going on? I don’t know anything. I felt like I had to start from scratch. Because it was there was like, so many things had changed, as you know, like a year as a lot in the food blogging world is, like, so much can change in a year. And I was just like, Oh my God, why, like, I should have been paying more attention to these things. So anyway, I was like, Okay, I need to dive in, like, deep here right away. So I like hired somebody to go through my site, like, and look at all the technical sides of things to make sure everything was working. Because at this point, my website was like, super busy, like I could I could apply to Mediavine, and I hadn’t even done anything. Like…
Megan Porta 30:12
Andrea Mut 30:13
It was crazy, because of all these people that were coming to me from the job that I had. Right.
Megan Porta 30:19
Andrea Mut 30:20
So I’m like, Okay, this is awesome. But at the same time, I’m worried that my website is going to crash because I haven’t been paying any attention to it. And I have no idea if there’s like, stuff like going terribly wrong in the background that I don’t know about. So I’m like, this is one of those areas where I’m like, I need to pay somebody to go in and do this quickly. Because otherwise I’m gonna go down too many rabbit holes, and it’ll take me forever.
Megan Porta 30:45
Yeah, yeah. So what did you start with? What did you pay?
Andrea Mut 30:50
I hired Grayson Bell, I don’t know if you know that. You must know that name. He’s one of the big names.
Megan Porta 30:55
Andrea Mut 30:57
Yeah, iMark Yeah, exactly. Just to go through my site and make sure you know that all my vitals were good and you know, anything else like just to go through the whole thing. I told them, you know, that I hadn’t done anything for a year and I needed like a checkup basically. So he went through everything and he fixed all the things for me and so that was a huge relief, and it literally took like, three days or something. It was like, you know, as soon as I signed up it was it was done within a few days. So that was awesome. That was a relief. I’m like, okay, my site’s not gonna crash. Yep, I went and applied to Mediavine right away, because I’m like, Whoa, I can actually, like start making some money right away. No, I have no idea how this would work or is going to work. But again, another thing, you figure out.
Megan Porta 31:45
Take one step, right?
Andrea Mut 31:48
Exactly. And it wasn’t that difficult, either in the end.
Megan Porta 31:51
Did you get accepted right away?
Andrea Mut 31:53
Yes, yeah. And my numbers have gone way down since then, like I keep work. Sometimes I’m like, looking at some of the blogging Facebook groups, and people are talking about getting dropped by Mediavine for not having enough sessions. And I’m like, I really hope that doesn’t happen to me. My sessions are a lot lower now than they were when I first signed up.
Megan Porta 32:15
That I happens. I think that’s really normal.
Andrea Mut 32:17
I also think that yeah, it’s a lot to do with some of those Google updates that happened over over the past year, like my numbers really, just were going okay. And then all of a sudden, was just like, I think I got, I was one of those people that got hit badly from those updates. So anyway, it’s fine. I mean, I’m still making a little bit of money, like it’s nothing to sneeze at. It’s still okay. So I’m just plugging along. And that’s the whole thing. Like, then it was like, okay, then I started noticing my numbers tanking. This is still this was maybe a year later, right? Like last year. And so, of course, I’m looking at my I’m listening to the podcast, and all the things and figuring out realizing that, like, my SEO game is terrible, because I didn’t pay any attention to it when I started. And I certainly wasn’t paying any attention to it, you know, for the entire year that I was doing something else. And I’m looking at all my recipes. And I probably had about maybe 75 recipes on the website at that point. And none of them had I paid attention to SEO or keyword research or anything. So any of the posts I was getting traffic from was just kind of luck, you know.
Megan Porta 33:33
I’ve been there like why is this doing so well?
Andrea Mut 33:36
It’s like, oh, I guess I did something right. But I didn’t do it on purpose. Right?
Megan Porta 33:38
So then you don’t know how to replicate it. Right? You’re like, I don’t know what I did right but it’s working.
Andrea Mut 33:46
So and then again, I was like, Okay, I need to like dive back in. And I like, took, you know, the Cooking with Keywords course, and started really like, learning about that I was not paying any attention to any of that before. Like, that’s one thing I would say to anyone who’s listening who’s just starting out, like, when I was starting out, I knew about SEO and keyword research, but I kind of chose not to pay too much attention to it. Because for some reason, I thought that I could figure out other ways to make money, which also is true, right? Like, if you want to get into brand work and food photography and all that other stuff, then definitely yes. But if you’re not really interested in doing those kinds of things, you know, focusing on SEO and keyword research is really important. I think yes. Because you got it, you have to figure out some way to make money if your goal is to make money from the blog. So yeah, so then keyword research was a whole other thing. And then that was like, then that made me realize that all of my posts were terrible. I mean, not terrible. My my recipes are good. I’m going to admit that outright. Like I think my recipes are really, really good. But in terms of, you know, an SEO perspective, my posts were terrible. Yeah, readers don’t know they don’t care, right. But it’s like from, you know, making a living perspective.
Andrea Mut 35:10
I was like, oh, no, I’m like, I’m in terrible shape. So that I started again, listening to all the Top Hat Tank webinars, right, because I’m like, I just need to listen to these guys. And like, I can do this on my own. I just need to listen, I need to take notes, I need to do all the things. And then it was like, That thought of I need to do all the things just became so overwhelming, like, because there’s so many things. It’s not just, you know, focusing on keyword research. It’s like, there’s just like a million things like you listen to those Top Hat Rank webinars, and they’re amazing and very informative and lots of information. But that’s part of the problem is it’s like lots of information and then you feel like, there you feel like oh my god, I have 100 things that I need to do like right now. And then my head just wants to explode.
Megan Porta 36:06
I hear you. I think we all get there at least once but most likely more.
Andrea Mut 36:11
Yeah, then I was like, Okay, I need help again. And I was like, I’m gonna bite the bullet and sign up for a mini audit with Casey murky, because that was one thing that I, I really felt like I couldn’t afford, because it is quite expensive. But then I was also in a place where I don’t know what I’m doing. Like, I felt so overwhelmed that it felt like it was my only option because I really needed help with direction. I didn’t know what to do. Like, I just felt like there were just too many things that I needed to fix. And it was making me feel like I just wanted to give up on it altogether. So that was when I thought like, okay, so either you get, you know, dump it, and don’t do it anymore. You just do it as a as a hobby and forget about, you know, trying to earn money from it, or you spend the money and you get to help.
Megan Porta 37:05
Kind of like what you said earlier with, you know, like investing, knowing where and when to invest. Yeah, there’s so much value in that. So you get to that point where you’re like, I just need to do this. Yeah, even though it’s a bigger investment. It’s a wise investment.
Andrea Mut 37:19
I think so. Yeah. Yeah, and definitely no regrets. I had my audit back in May, you know, as many other guests have said, it was, it was great, like, super informative. I mean, obviously, Casey knows what he’s talking about. And, you know, I was listening with all ears open. And he, you know, sent me like a 25 page checklist or whatever, afterwards of all the things that I had to do. And so then again, I’m sitting there going, Oh, my God, I’m totally overwhelmed again.
Megan Porta 37:50
Oh, no, here’s the overwhelm again.
Andrea Mut 37:53
Yeah, but at least with at least I had a checklist. Now, you already mean, like, that was what made the difference, because it wasn’t just all these, like random notes in a notebook with no, like, order of importance. You know, Casey sort of gives you a list where it’s like, start at the top, like, you know, do these things first, so at least I knew, it’s like, a lot of things, but I have like a plan, you know, and like a direction or whatever. And, of course, after I read through it a couple of times, it wasn’t as overwhelming as I initially thought when I first saw it.
Megan Porta 38:28
Yeah, right, you have to, like, ingest it a little, like, bit by bit. And then act on it.
Andrea Mut 38:36
Yeah, exactly. So I’m working on those things. But you know, the biggest thing for me was updating posts, because, of course, I had all these posts that were just sitting there that hadn’t been, you know, optimized, or anything. So it’s going now I’m, that’s what I’m going through right now is, and that’s a big, big, big, big, big task is going through and figuring out which posts to prioritize, you know, which are the ones that maybe I could change the keyword focus to, you know, because I have so many posts that have titles that, you know, you go into the search, and it’s like, you know, 10 searches per month, like, well, that’s yeah.
Megan Porta 39:19
It’s not gonna bring me an abundance of traffic, right?
Andrea Mut 39:23
Exactly. So I’m still I’m updating as I go. But I’m also like, trying to get super organized in just prioritizing all the posts and going through each post and figuring out like, you know, if I update this post with the current keyword focus, can that rank or not? And if not, then is there a keyword that I could change it to? And sort of like prioritizing them all that way? It’s very, very time consuming, but I think will be really worth it in the end.
Megan Porta 39:53
Yeah, totally. And again, this is something that a lot of us go through. So we’re all listening and like, Yep, I’ve been there, done that, or we’re doing that right now. So this was recent, you just had your audit recently. So how do you feel like things are now, are you still feeling that overwhelm? Are you feeling more ease? How’s it going with the blog?
Andrea Mut 40:13
I definitely feel more at ease. I wouldn’t say that I’ve seen any, you know, changes, leaps and bounds changes since my audit. And since I’ve been starting to do updates, but I have been seeing a little bit of, you know, the needle moving in the right direction. And like, that’s really all I need. Because I know that, you know, like everybody says food blogging is a marathon. It’s not a race. And I have always known that but I feel like it really like your mindset can make or break you in this industry. For sure. Like if you let the overwhelm get to you, then you know, you probably will end up giving up. But the important thing what I learned through this, this last like 18 months or so since I’ve been trying to get everything back in order is that you have to like give yourself breaks to you know, like when when you get overwhelmed. It’s really, really important to take a step back and realize that you know, if you don’t get that email sent out on Friday, like because I usually send out my emails every Friday It’s like, you know, it’s okay, if you miss a Friday, like, no, the world isn’t going to fall apart. And like 100 people aren’t going to unsubscribe from your website, because you didn’t send out an email on Friday. And like you know, some weeks, you just need to take that pressure off yourself and like, take a step back and get, you know, get a better perspective or a better mindset, or like, take that time, instead of writing a new recipe or updating an old post, try to get yourself organized so that you feel less overwhelmed. You know, like, like, what I’m doing right now is trying to, you know, organize, and prioritize my posts, because I know that that will help me feel less overwhelmed. When I’m trying to figure out which posts I need to update.
Megan Porta 42:04
Organization goes so far, doesn’t it, like when I feel that overwhelm too, sometimes just sitting down and writing out everything I need to do. And just putting in my calendar is all I need to do to feel such a load off.
Andrea Mut 42:20
Oh, it’s huge. It’s huge. And even just like taking a whole day, to just do keyword research for new posts as well, you know, so that you have, you know, because I’m, I’m really bad, I listen to a lot of your podcasts of people who are who are really good at doing like, batching and stuff like that, I am not that person. I am so like, fly by the seat of my pants. Like, it’s so bad. Like, I’ll be like on a Monday doing keyword research for like a recipe that I a new recipe that I want to do that week, you know, and yeah, but that puts me in a in a always behind the eight ball mode, which sometimes really messes with my head, you feel like you’re always catching up, right? So for me, because I’m that type of person. And I tend to do that, for me taking an entire day just to do keyword research for upcoming, you know, new recipes that I want to do as well so that I can have a list of ones that I’ve already researched. And I know that I have a chance that that would that will also serve my audience. And then having that like, out of my head. So I don’t have to be thinking all the time like, oh, oh, maybe that would be a good recipe, or maybe that one or you know, going to the list that’s on my phone of like 100 ideas of recipes, but not knowing if any of them are any good.
Megan Porta 43:41
I know, as you talk, it’s like I can relate to absolutely everything you’re saying Andrea and just like flying by the seat of your pants I go through, I still go through periods where I’m like that and I think that’s okay. Because you kind of have to adapt to where you’re at, in this in the year and the calendar year but also in your journey. So don’t feel bad if you’re not a batcher or like if you don’t do that all the time. I think there’s so much power there. But it’s okay. Like just accepting where you’re at. And being okay with it and not beating yourself up or comparing either.
Andrea Mut 44:15
Exactly. That’s that’s huge. Like, honestly, like everybody knows, like you really if you get if you get caught up in like comparing yourself to what other people are doing. It’s really just like a recipe for disaster.
Megan Porta 44:26
Yeah, it is.
Andrea Mut 44:15
You have to just be Yeah, like, it’s like, you know, even right now I’m thinking about Q4, you know, when everybody’s like Q4, Q4, and like, It’s the busiest time and you gotta like, get all your seasonal recipes and blah, blah. And I’m like, starting to get into that headspace again. And then I’m, and then I have to say to myself, You know what, Andrea, it’s okay. Like, maybe you won’t get out all those Christmas recipes that you want to or like at the right time or whatever. But like, it doesn’t matter, just like do what you can do, you know.
Megan Porta 44:57
Yeah, absolutely. Because your, your mental state is so much more important than any of that. So if you can take care of yourself, mentally and physically, everything else is going to be okay. I promise. If you okay, because I know a lot of people listening are overwhelmed going into Q4 thinking about all the things that need to be done everything you’re talking about, they’re feeling. So if there’s like one takeaway that you could share with them to help them feel better or less overwhelmed, less stressed, what would it be?
Andrea Mut 45:41
I would definitely say to just take, take some time off. Like it doesn’t have to be a whole week or a month or whatever. But like, end to end take time off to either just do nothing like take a break and do something that you enjoy that has nothing to do with food blogging, or if it makes you feel better take time, quote, unquote, off meaning from your day to day, you know, updating recipes, writing new recipes, cooking new recipes, whatever you’re doing, and take time to get organized, like we were talking about earlier, like get your ducks in a row because like getting your ducks in a row, even if it’s just some of the ducks. Yeah, it’ll just like give you so much energy to move forward and to propel you forward and then all of a sudden, you’ll feel like you have so much extra time or like brain space, you know, because you’re not, you’re not bogged down with all those little tasks and getting them all organized and embrace, you know, Excel sheets, or Google Sheets, or whatever it is that you’d like to.
Megan Porta 46:39
Or notebook and pen, I mean, anything to just get it down.
Andrea Mut 46:42
Exactly, exactly. Just give yourself a break. Even if it’s just a day like you decide or like this week, it’s like, I’m not going to test a new recipe this week. Instead, I’m going to sit down and like get myself organized in whatever area you’re feeling overwhelmed with.
Megan Porta 47:00
I love that that’s such a great piece of advice that will help anyone no matter what stage they’re at, if they’re just starting, or they’re where you are. Or maybe they’ve been doing this for 10 years, no matter what. That is great advice. And thank you by the way, Andrea, for sharing your story. It’s so interesting. And just seeing where you’ve come from, and how that’s evolved into being now like a motivated food blogger to figure this out and just get the job done.
Andrea Mut 47:28
I hope so, I mean, hopefully, I will come back, you know, in a year and say, how things have taken off from all my hard work?
Megan Porta 47:34
Absolutely. Yeah, you’ll be back on the podcast, and you’re talking about your wild successes. And other topics, because who knows what will evolve between now and then. Right?
Andrea Mut 47:46
That’s right. You just never know.
Megan Porta 56:28
Yeah, is there anything that you want to mention before we start saying goodbye?
Andrea Mut 47:52
I did want to mention that I am also like a solopreneur. So I have never other than, you know, hiring some people to help me on the side, like by iMark and Casey Markee. I do it all on my own. Because I know there’s a lot of bloggers out there that you know, hire out, which I think is amazing. And I wish that I could get there. But I honestly, I don’t know if I ever will like even if I could afford it. I kind of like being in control of everything myself and doing everything at my own pace.
Megan Porta 48:22
That’s okay, too. Yeah.
Andrea Mut 48:25
You hear a lot of bloggers talk about the help that they have. But I feel like the people who do it all on their own. I feel like they don’t hear from them very often, it seems like.
Megan Porta 48:33
Yeah, I was just watching it. I think it was an Instagram real the other day for somebody was saying this exact thing. It was the message of like, it’s okay, if you don’t want to make a million dollars. It’s okay if you don’t want a huge team. It’s okay to do this by yourself. You don’t have to do all of those things if you don’t want to. So just giving people permission to to do that. Right? Yeah. Do it your way.
Andrea Mut 49:00
Do it your way or way. Whatever way makes you most comfortable. Yeah, cuz I am one of those. I mean, I don’t I’m not looking to make a six figure income from this. So I mean, if you are then you probably do have to get help eventually. But…
Megan Porta 49:12
Yeah, depends on your goals and your dreams and all of that, right.
Andrea Mut 49:15
Megan Porta 49:17
Well, Andrea, thank you. This was such an amazing conversation. I was really grateful to have this time with you today. And thank you for sharing your story. Do you either favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Andrea Mut 49:30
Yes, well, funny enough. The quote goes along with a lot of what we were talking about towards the end, which wasn’t intentional at all, but the quote is, almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.
Megan Porta 49:44
Crazy that we talked about that? Oh my gosh. That’s so true. Yeah. Love it. Great words to end with. Yes. Unplug yourself occasionally. It’ll be so worth it.
Andrea Mut 49:57
Yeah, yeah. It’s so important.
Megan Porta 49:59
It is it really is. It’s something that took me a really long time to learn but I’m glad I finally learned it will put show notes together for you Andrea so if you want to go peek at those head over to eatblogtalk.com/mypocketkitchen. Tell everyone where they can find you online Andrea?
Andrea Mut 50:15
So on Instagram would be @mypocketkitchen, my pocket kitchen on Facebook, and my website is www.mypocketkitchen.com. It’s pretty easy.
Megan Porta 50:27
Awesome everyone go check Andrea out and thank you so much for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat BlogTalk. Don’t forget to head to forum dot eat blog talk.com to join our free discussion forum and connect with and learn from like minded peers. I will see you next time.
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