In episode 405, Natasha Levai teaches us how to stay motivated as we wait for our food blogs to grow.
We cover information about being confident in narrowing your niche, where to find topics to cover for your audience they will find useful, developing a system to get organized and plan ahead with, using free resources to grow, and finding your blogging tribe – you need each other!
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Connect with Natasha’s Home
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Bio Natasha is half Russian, half Ukrainian living in Eastern Hungary with her family. Natasha’s Home, a food blog focuses on gluten-free cooking and baking, gluten-free sourdough, and international recipes. Natasha is upfront about being a beginner blogger, with her blog live for a little over a year. She is in the process of learning and growing toward making this business into a full-time job! Other than that, you will find Natasha enjoying being a new mom. She holds a degree in Christian counseling and shares her first job was at McDonald’s. More importantly, doing important work at orphanages around the world for most of her adult life.
- Engage in a niche that works in your real life, that’s valuable.
- When you find a niche, you find your audience and real people to enjoy getting to know as you grow.
- Your audience will grow as you root into your niche because you become an expert in your field.
- You can find motivation for your niche as you get results that encourage you.
- Blogging is a marathon.
- There are so many free or cheap options to help you grow in your blogging journey.
- Find bloggers you can learn from and connect with to make the blogging journey more community-based and encouraged.
- Avoid burnout by taking intentional time away from your work/computer. Set boundaries for work time.
Click for full script.
EBT405 – Natasha Levai
Intro: 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 their blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve their 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.
If you ever have problems staying motivated, which I think all of us can say at certain times or maybe even most times, we struggle with, this episode will be a great one for you to listen to. Natasha Levy from Natasha’s Home, she’s a blogger over there. She joins me in this episode to talk about staying motivated as you wait for your business to grow. She talks through some really great tips in this episode, so make a solid plan, diving into some new platforms that will inspire you. Accepting the fact that you make mistakes, and most importantly, digging into the community and getting connected in that way. I hope you enjoy it. This is episode number 405, sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk. Scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five-star rating. If you love this podcast and leave a great review, this will only benefit this podcast. It adds value, and I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now onto the episode.
Megan Porta: Natasha is half Russian, half Ukrainian living in Eastern Hungary with her family. Natasha’s Home is a food blog focusing on gluten-free cooking and baking, gluten-free sourdough, and international recipes. Natasha is upfront about being a beginner with her blog, live for a little over a year. She is in the process of learning and growing toward making this business into a full-time job. Other than that, you will find Natasha enjoying being a new mom with a degree in Christian counseling. Her first job was at McDonald’s, and more importantly, doing important work at orphanages around the world for most of her adult life.
Hello, Natasha. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. How are you doing today?
Natasha Levai: Hi Megan. So nice to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m doing great. Thank you.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Ready for a fun chat? Before we dig into it though, do you have a fun fact to share with us?
Natasha Levai: Yes. Until I was 22 years old, I didn’t know that it is dangerous to eat raw meat. When I would cook chicken, I actually ate raw chicken.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh.
Natasha Levai: I never got sick.
Megan Porta: You didn’t get sick from that?
Natasha Levai: No, never. One time my friend saw me do this and she was disturbed. She told me that it’s really, that’s something you don’t want to do. So I after that, I stopped doing it because I realized, okay, that I can actually make me really sick. She made it seem like I can die from it. So I got really scared.
Megan Porta: Oh my God. How often did you do that?
Natasha Levai: I don’t know, probably every time I cook chicken.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. Your immune system must be crazy awesome or something. But yeah, I know people who have gotten salmonella who get so ill that they’re like, I never want to experience that again. It sounds just awful. So glad you’re good. But very interesting to learn about you. I am super excited for this chat today because, it is hard, or it can be very hard, to keep that motivation going as we wait for our food blogs to grow and our businesses to grow, because this is such a long game, right? So to start the conversation, I would just like to know a little bit more about your blog, how did you get started and where is it at today?
Natasha Levai: So I started my blog at the end of 2021. I always wanted to start some sort of a blog, but for many years I didn’t know what would be the topic of it. I was traveling a lot, for maybe four or five years. I was pretty much on the road and I didn’t really know what can I share with people, or what can I blog about. Because I didn’t have a base to start in a sense. At the end of 2021, I was pregnant and I was very sick many times that I was in bed, and couldn’t do anything. That kind of forced me to look online for different things, just out of boredom. I came across videos of Farmhouse On Boone. It’s a fairly popular food blog, especially in sourdough, and I was really inspired by her, but I didn’t think of starting my own blog. But she had a masterclass about starting a blog, and after watching it, it seemed that, oh, it’s so easy to start a blog. It’s so much fun. I always wanted to have something, some creative outlet, and it seems that you can even make an income with it. Sounds fun. She made it seem really easy. So I decided to give it a try. At first, I was impressed by every shiny keyword, and I would go after every popular recipe. So it was everything on the blog. There wasn’t any specific niche, so to say. I read a lot of different blogs, Facebook groups. They were all saying, you have to have a niche. You have to find the focus that you would like to share. The problem was that I didn’t really know what I wanted to share with people because everything seemed exciting, everything seemed interesting. I didn’t know what passion I have. My husband has celiac, so I have to make gluten-free foods for him, but I didn’t want to limit myself to gluten-free at first. Eventually after a year, probably I calmed down and I decided that probably gluten-free is the way to go. Although at first, that was probably the least attractive niche for me. Especially gluten-free sourdough, which I am focusing on right now. Working on gluten-free sourdough, and developing recipes for that. At first, my most popular post was gluten-free sourdough bread on Pinterest and just generally. I was pretty discouraged by it because I really didn’t like gluten-free sourdough. It wasn’t something that turned out for me very well. I could do it, but it wasn’t great. But now, I got really into it, I really love it. So now this is something I’m doing currently.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So you fell into a niche a little bit.
Natasha Levai: Yes I did. Yeah, and it is much better to have one because then you can find an audience, real people that you can talk to and give advice on Facebook groups and you can have more contacts, I think, with people if you have a certain area that you are more experienced in.
Megan Porta: Okay. So your journey is pretty short. You started not too long ago. Do you feel like you have found quick success or has it been more of a frustrating journey, how do you feel like it’s gone for you?
Natasha Levai: It was both. I think because I was trying to target all the keywords in the world possible, many of them were amiss and many of them didn’t rank, at all. But there were few that did surprisingly to me and still do for, I don’t know what reason, but it was exciting to see those little stars, so to say.
Megan Porta: Breakthrough. And I think that’s what kept me motivated to continue. And now that I am more focused, I think that it is more, it is growing more now that I have more people visiting, and following subscribing because I can show that I am, how do you say? Like I’m experiencing something so I can, yeah. Sure.
Natasha Levai: Yeah. So it is growing. I wouldn’t say that it’s super successful yet, but I am on the way there, . Awesome. Yeah. So would you say that your motivation, cuz you mentioned at first the gluten-free sourdough wasn’t really a passion for you, but it turned into one? So would you say your motivation came more from just seeing results from that?
Megan Porta: Passion probably. I think so. Yeah. So that is a good message for everyone if you are not particularly passionate about what you’re creating on your blog, or you can find motivation from the results that you’re getting. I’m currently writing posts that I’m not especially passionate about. In fact, they’re often boring.
Natasha Levai: I think. But the results that have come from it have been amazing, and that is motivating for me. Yeah. So if somebody’s listening and maybe they’re not like really deep in a niche, where would you recommend they start? I would recommend that you start trying. Because blogging is a marathon, It’s not a sprint. So in order to continue, for many years to come, and actually see success, you need to stay motivated. In order to stay motivated, you need to do something that you like. So at first you might do things that you enjoy, but they’re not necessarily so niche. But then eventually you will find something that is more attractive to you and other people react to. There are many podcasts that I listen to, on your podcast or other ones where people were sharing similar stories that they started very broad and then they narrowed down when they found something they like. It’s important to do something you like because if you don’t like it, then you won’t stay motivated because it’s a fairly hard job.
Megan Porta: The good thing about food blogging is that there are so many ways to find passion. So if you don’t like one aspect of it, you can turn to another platform or like video, for example. I mean there are so many different avenues to dive into that you can find passion for. So I think that is why a lot of people find success in this area because there are so many options, right? When you are thinking about content that you’re making or scheduling out ahead of time, that can get really mundane. So how do you stay motivated when you’re thinking about the scope of your content that’s coming up?
Natasha Levai: How I do it is I try to look for posts that fit into my niche and that potentially can do well online. For example, there are not that many recipes somebody posted on that topic yet. So I make a list. At first, I want to find those recipes that I have some hope for, and if I have hope that they will do well, then it keeps me motivated because I have a hope that it will grow my website, it will grow my audience and traffic.
Megan Porta: So things that have potential. So doing good keyword research. Finding things that you think will produce traffic for you. Yeah. Then how do you plan and schedule your content? Do you have a system?
Natasha Levai: I’m one of those people that hates systems, but I do need one. Normally I just have a Word document and I do keyword research for some period of time. Then I make a list of those keywords. I look at them, and see what is potentially a good one. Then I just have a Word file and then I decide week by week on a weekly basis what I’m going to work on for let’s say two recipes every week. Every week I go through that list and find something that sounds good this week. That I feel like making this week. Because my kind of personality doesn’t do well with having one month, two months, three months planned out recipes that this is what I’m gonna make three weeks from now. But sometimes it changes on a daily basis. I just have a database of the keywords that I’m working from and it’s pretty free from there. I just go to the kitchen and try different recipes. This one turned out, this one didn’t. I need more time to work on this one. So maybe I wanted to make this recipe this week, but it will get postponed for two weeks because it doesn’t work yet.
Megan Porta: It’s amazing how differently people schedule and plan their content, isn’t it? Some people can be six months scheduled out and they know everything to the day they’re gonna make, when and when it’s gonna be published. Some people are more free-flowing like you, where you have an idea and you just go with it from week to week and month to month because things change. I feel like when I plan out too far in advance, I’m like, oh, I might have thought this was a good idea back in September, but now I don’t really want to do it. I think you just have to find that good flow that works for you and just stick with it.
Natasha Levai: Depends on your personality. I am currently also reading a book on that and it’s interesting that different people just work differently.
Megan Porta: Which book are you reading? Which one is it?
Natasha Levai: It’s called The Way They Learn. It’s about how kids and parents learn the best and it talks about four different styles of concrete people or random people, abstract people, sequential people. Combinations of those things. It’s really interesting.
Megan Porta: Oh, very interesting. I don’t think I’ve read that one. I’ll have to check it out. Thank you. Awesome. Okay, so when you are in the trenches of blogging and you’re just feeling overwhelmed, where do I go next? Where do you recommend people go for resources or learning? Because I think you could pick about a million different resources from each topic or subcategory of food blogging. So where do we go?
Natasha Levai: Oh, that’s very important which resources you go to because there are so many courses, and SEO experts that will sometimes give you conflicting advice. I love the Food Blogger Central Facebook group. It has a lot of people and experts, SEO experts, who can guide you and direct you. If you don’t know what next step you should take. Generally, I like listening to their Top Hat Rank webinars. They’re free on YouTube and they have really good information on food blogging specifically. Food Bloggers Pro is a podcast like yours where food bloggers come and they share their stories, which is always inspiring and motivating to hear somebody else’s story of success. For food photography, I really like the Bite Shot YouTube channel.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s a good one.
Natasha Levai: Yes. Actually, I was intimidated to watch her videos because I wasn’t using a professional camera and so I thought, I can learn absolutely nothing from her, but one time I did, and I’m glad I did because she has great advice even for people who are using their phone. You can even set up artificial lighting for super cheap that will work great.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Any video education or keyword research?
Natasha Levai: Yeah, so there is this course called Cooking with Keywords that everybody recommends. I’m sure it’s great. I haven’t taken it yet, but I really want to one day. It’s everything about keywords. It is a bit expensive, that’s why I haven’t taken it yet, but I’m sure that if a person can get it in, it’s very, it’s beneficial because I heard many people say it helped them a lot. For keyword research, the tools from Food Blogger Central and Top Hat Rank webinars, I learned that Keysearch is actually the best way to go, even though it is the cheapest way to go too. But they’re using Google’s database for information on volume and keyword difficulty and things like that. So they will give you the most accurate information. Although there are other tools, SEMRush and that you will benefit from as well. But the information is conflicting they say that Keysearch has better numbers, so I don’t know. That’s what they say.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think that some of those tools that are higher dollar are not necessary and they’re not necessarily made for food bloggers in general, but Keysearch is super cheap. I think if you get in on there when you sign up for something and then they give you a certain timeframe free.
Natasha Levai: Free trial.
Megan Porta: Yeah. It’s like a limited-time offer basically. I know there’s a word for that. But if you get in on that, it’s I want to say like $11 a month for a year. So if you do sign up, look for that limited-time offer that pops up. $11 a month is nothing for the amazingness that you’ll find inside that tool.
Natasha Levai: Yeah, you can actually get one month for free, a full access one month for free and then you can get also a 20% discount if you sign up for a free trial month, which gives you only five credits a day, which is not much, it’s not gonna get you far. But once you sign up, they give you the option in the lower left corner, there’s like in the little font it’s written how to get the cheaper stuff. Like $13 a month.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s amazing. Do you find this too, like when you find a tool or a platform or something that just speaks to you, even if it’s not a topic that you thought you would love, like keyword research? I never thought I would love keyword research, but I used RankIQ and then also Keysearch, I just loved them. I was like, these are amazing tools. So that almost instilled a passion in me that kept me motivated. Do you know what I mean? So it’s not like something that I would’ve been able to predict you’re gonna fall in love with this tool and give you motivation. I never would’ve said that.
Natasha Levai: I have the same with food photography. It was my least favorite thing to do. But after watching the Bite Shot, it became really exciting because I saw that, wow, I can actually take good pictures.
Megan Porta: Yeah exactly. Random things pop up that you just don’t foresee, which is cool. Okay. Anything else about education or resources to keep us motivated?
Natasha Levai: I can’t remember off the top of my mind, but I did leave it in the application. I don’t remember right now, but I think pretty much the podcasts, the Facebook group, and the Food Blogger Central has also a website that has a lot of free information on food photography, SEO, and very practical steps that you can take. The Blogging Millionaire is the RankIQ guy who founded RankIQ.
Megan Porta: Yes. Yes.
Natasha Levai: He has very short episodes, so it’s really easy to listen to him, and good information.
Megan Porta: I love his episodes. They’re right to the point. They tell you exactly what you need to do and what you need to know. I so highly recommend that one too. Really bite-sized.
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Megan Porta: I have to mention the Eat Blog Talk forum because that is a great resource, not only for what Food Blogger Central provides, but also community, which I know we’re gonna get to which is another key ingredient, I think. So, yeah, let’s just talk about that now. What do you think about community and does that keep you motivated? Staying in touch with other people and networking with peers and all of that?
Natasha Levai: Yes. So much when I was doing it by myself. It was hard because I also didn’t know what I was doing. When I discovered the Food Blogger Central group, I was able to learn so much from people because I saw what other people are struggling with. Somebody will post a problem that they are having currently and then you read the comments like, wow. If I will ever have this problem, I know what to do. Or, oh, I was having the same problem, but didn’t know that there is a solution to that. Then also, when you have a problem and you post it to the group, you feel the support of other people who are eager to answer, even though you don’t know them, they don’t know you, and they don’t get anything from helping you with your questions, and it motivates you to keep going because you feel like, I don’t know, you feel like you matter in some way in this blogging world. Especially when people give you feedback on your website, I think.
Megan Porta: Oh yes, that’s so true. It gives you a boost of confidence, right? So the community can lead to confidence, which can lead to motivation. Because when you’re just feeling good about what you’re producing, I feel like that is a natural motivator.
Natasha Levai: Yes. I remember in one of the Facebook groups, not in that one, but some other one, there was a thread where they said that you can post a link to your site and then get feedback. I was really scared to post mine. Then when I did, I prepared myself for discouragement. But it was surprising how nice people were and kind, and it was very motivating actually, and not as scary to share the next time.
Megan Porta: Oh, it is so scary putting yourself out there, especially as a newer blogger, you just don’t know quite what people are gonna say or think, right? But then when you get that good feedback, it’s oh, this amazing boost of just good feelings and confidence and all of that. So the community is huge. If you don’t have a community, just reach out. I always say, to reach out to someone on Instagram. That’s how I met a few of my best food-blogging friends. You just start noticing people who are producing beautiful content that you love and also who you can resonate with with their vibe and their energy. Oh, I think I would really like to meet that person. Just reach out and say hi. Just say, I’m a fellow food blogger. I love your content. Are you going to Tastemaker? Strike up a conversation and that could go really far.
Natasha Levai: Yeah. I wish I had a friend that was a food blogger, but I feel, for me, I feel that writing somebody on Instagram, for me, feels a bit fake. I don’t know. When someone writes me, I always assume their motive is that, oh, they’re writing me because they want to collaborate or do guest posts or something. But it is good to be open-minded, like you’re saying because it will give you the opportunity to actually build friendships and not be suspicious of everybody. That’s why I guess I don’t reach out to people as easily because I think they probably don’t want to deal with me anyways.
Megan Porta: Oh see, I think that’s one of the perks of having an Instagram account is just being able to hear from people in a more sincere way. I don’t know. I love the community aspect of Instagram or whatever your platform is. If you’re comfortable doing that on Facebook or sending DM’s there, or I don’t know, whatever. I think that you just need to find that avenue that is sincere for you. Just put yourself out there. It’s scary, but it could pay off.
Natasha Levai: It’s true.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So speaking of scary and failing and making mistakes and doing things the wrong way, that’s a thing that all of us have to embrace because it is such a long journey, that is inevitable. So talk about that. How do you recommend dealing with mistakes and failure and all of that?
Natasha Levai: I think mistakes are a very important part of any job, and especially blogging. For example, a lot of people start and they don’t know what they’re doing and then they’ll say, I’ve done everything wrong. I have to read all of my posts and they regret not having certain sources in the beginning, but they might not have known that there are those sources. I think that mistakes just show that you did something because all of us can learn and learn and learn and learn and never do anything. But the fact that you stopped at some point, you took what you’ve learned about how to start a website and you posted your first post. Maybe it wasn’t perfect for us. Of course, it wasn’t perfect. It was your first post. Probably was far from perfect, but you learn when you do something yourself. I can listen to five podcasts on how to write blog posts, but until I do it myself I might not learn as well. I’ve made a whole ton of mistakes, but I think we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for them, but take them as learning opportunities. It’s a free school of life. Every school of blogging. Yeah. That, you just get better when you make mistakes. There isn’t a blogger that doesn’t make mistakes. It is great if when you start, you know that there’s the feast plugin, there is a Cooking With Keywords course, and there is this Facebook group, but most people don’t know that. They just wanna start a food blog. Most of them don’t even start on the right platform and then find out how to do it well. I don’t think it’s a mistake necessarily. It’s a learning curve lesson.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So see your mistakes as proof that you’re actually moving in the right direction. I think action too can lead to that motivation that we’re talking about because you mentioned this a little earlier, you can learn and learn and not do anything. But when you start actually acting on the stuff that you’re learning, that is inspiring for me. What do you think of that?
Natasha Levai: Yes. I love learning in a way that I listen to one podcast or one episode of this webinar. I listen to one, then I stop. Even though I want to continue listening, I just stop and make an action plan. How am I going to apply what I’ve learned today? I know that I learned, let’s say about internal linking. One of the episodes talks about this, and I can listen to it and think, wow, this is great information. I should do this at some point. But if I don’t make a plan tonight or next week, I’m going to install this plugin that shows me links, broken links, or posts that don’t have links and actually interlink my post, that probably it’s not gonna happen.
So when I learn, I like to make action lists and then go from there, and then I make sure that I actually learn something rather than just get a lot of information and forget to act on it. Then it is inspiring to learn more.
Megan Porta: Exactly. Yes. I love that cycle. I feel like we all probably go through that. This leads me to the opposing side of it, which is something unfortunately I can tell you I’ve been at, which is the burnout stage. So we do so much, we act so much, that we burn out. So what are your thoughts about getting to that point?
Natasha Levai: Yeah, losing motivation and feeling tired and discouraged is one thing, and being burnt out is a different thing. So if you’re just unmotivated, you need to go back and find the passion that you started with. You need to get inspired again and find something that you enjoy in blogging. But if you’re burnt out, it doesn’t matter how inspired you might be, you just can’t move forward because you just don’t have strength. Burnout has different degrees, different levels, and stages, but basically, burnout is when you don’t have motivation for anything. You don’t have motivation, not just for blogging, you don’t have motivation for life. You just want to sit in your room and watch shows and eat.
Megan Porta: Heal, recover.
Natasha Levai: Yes, and you want to recover. Yes. That means that you need to take a break. Some people will not want to take a break even then because they feel that taking a break sets them back. But the truth is that if you don’t take a break, then you will break. Then you won’t be able to continue. You will have to take a break. You will be forced to. Burnout is that stage already where you are forced to take a break. You need to watch out for signs that you’re absolutely discouraged, you don’t have the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. It all depends, of course. Burnout can be small, can be big. A big burnout is when you lose motivation for life. A smaller one is when you have absolutely no interest or passion in what you’re doing when it comes to your job, let’s say blogging. To prevent it, you need to take regular breaks and you need to set a certain schedule and boundaries with your work. If you decide that you’re going to work two, to three hours every day on your blog for five days a week, then you should stay within those boundaries even though you might want to overwork sometimes and work on the weekends and work five hours a day because you think that it will help you grow. The truth is that if you are working a day job and all you have is two, or three hours, you should get sleep. You should get weekends in order to keep yourself healthy and be able to actually handle the next two years, instead of just the next month. So sometimes it is hard, even for me to say on a Saturday, I’m not gonna do anything on the blog because I feel that, oh, but if I just do this thing, it’ll help me.
Megan Porta: Yes.
Natasha Levai: But I learned that I need to sometimes just stop and take a break. Over Christmas, I actually took a week or two I think, when I didn’t do anything at all on the blog. It was hard.
Megan Porta: It’s hard.
Natasha Levai: Yeah. But it really helped because I was feeling unmotivated and just didn’t want to test recipes, didn’t want to do anything, and I just realized, okay, I need to take a break and it’s okay because it is an investment in your future work.
Megan Porta: Burnout is a motivation killer, literally like you’ve been alluding to, Natasha, can kill motivation. So keeping that in mind as you move through the year. I think we have to be extra intentional about taking breaks because we do fall in love with our businesses so much, and we love our jobs so much, that it’s easy to just be like, oh, here’s a weekend. I’m gonna work this weekend. I’m gonna work this evening. Then before we know it, those little signs can start creeping in. So we have to be really vigilant with this. I know so many food bloggers who have gotten to the burnout stage multiple times in their careers and it’s a killer. It can completely kill your creativity, your inspiration, and your motivation. It is not a good place to be.
Natasha Levai: You don’t want to be posting recipes that come from the place of burnout.
Megan Porta: Oh gosh, no.
Natasha Levai: Or you have no passion about what you posted, what you talking about, then people are not going to be excited about it either. So it’s like a pointless waste of time.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s so true. Because you can tell when I go back and reread the things I wrote when I know I was in a bad place, I can tell. I can feel the vibe coming from my screen. You can just, you know where it came from.
Natasha Levai: Yes. When you’re burned out or unmotivated, then you’re okay with the worst pictures. You think, ah, it’s okay. This will be fine. Then you go back to it and you think, Ugh, I need to redo the whole thing.
Megan Porta: Exactly.
Natasha Levai: I would’ve been better off if I just took a nap on that day.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s another good point. Those times when we go against our intuition, when we know that we should just stop and stop writing. Put everything down, and go take a nap. But we push through anyway. Then what we produce is actually really horrible. It’s so hard for me though to just stop myself in the moment and make myself take a break. But over time I’m learning.
Natasha Levai: I think there is a balance between being disciplined and responsible with taking breaks. Because sometimes you feel tired and unmotivated but with a day job you need to finish what you’ve planned. Sometimes it’s okay to push yourself a little bit. But it comes with experience. In order to not burn out, you need to experience what it’s like, and then next time you’ll probably see signs earlier.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s so true. Unfortunately. You have to kinda get there to really not want to go there. Yeah. Okay. Anything else we missed? This is such a great discussion. I love all of this. Is there anything we missed about just keeping that motivation up as we’re continuing through our blogging journeys?
Natasha Levai: Yeah I think I would say more about planning. When it comes to planning, what helps me a lot is to think first in the next year, like in the big picture, what is your plan? What is your desire or dream for the next year? Let’s say as a starting blog, you might want to grow your traffic. You don’t know how big your traffic will be. Will it be 10,000, 20,000, 5,000? But the big dream is to grow your traffic. So you set the goal for the first year, or if it is something else, if you already got to the point where you’re in Mediavine, you’re already making money with your blog, then maybe you want to start working on a sponsored post. So you want to start doing food photography for others or whatever that might be. Just set a big dream and then work from there. For example, when you work from there, you go down to months. I don’t necessarily break down my goals into seasons yet, but I think what’s important is to set goals for the week, for the next week, and kind of for the month and for just each month in general. So in a week for me, it looks like I just had a goal that I will work on my blog every day, five days a week. On each one of those days, I’ll spend at least two hours working in it. For example, couldn’t do it today, I spent only one hour for whatever reason, I’ll try to make up for it tomorrow. Another goal is to have two posts a week for me. So for example, let’s say, if I work on something else and I’m not able to do two posts this week because I was working on Pinterest or something else, or learning something or preparing for podcasts like this one, then I try to make up for it the next week. And I think it’s very important to set goals because then it helps you stay on track and you don’t start each day thinking, what should I do today? What would be great to do today? Because it is terrible. Routine is what saves our sanity, I think. You need to know what you’re doing because you do all the work upfront by planning. So those are my main goals. Then from there, I can also go to smaller goals. Let’s say backlink building is important, internal link building is important. Pinterest, Instagram, and all those things. Then you look at those little goals and think, okay, where can I fit that into my schedule, next to those goals that they already have? You fill the jar with the most important things, and then the smaller things fall into place better. That can look like, for example, sometimes going on Facebook groups where to request these roundup recipes and look through them and drop some links for those roundups. Sometimes during the day when I feel, let’s say tired, I just have a 10-minute break. I will scroll through Facebook and look at those posts and that helps you. You might have dropped a link that will give you a backlink in the future. Now those little steps you can take during the day that you wouldn’t think about unless you thought of them ahead of time and planned them. Or on a day when you don’t have a recipe ready to post, you can just take time to do Pinterest because you already decided, okay, I will make Pinterest my goal, and I’ll schedule at least one pin every day for the next week or something and have those little goals in place because if you don’t plan them, then you sit down in front of a computer and think, what should I do today? Then you don’t get anything done basically.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. Those are such great suggestions. A little forethought and intention go a long way, and it really doesn’t require much time sitting down for 10 to 15 minutes, 20 minutes tops at the beginning of a week, is all it really takes to really think through those things you’re talking about, Natasha. The big things need to get done and then just filling in the gaps. Love that strategy. That’s super smart. Thank you for sharing that. I always love hearing about how people plan and schedule their weeks. Thank you for all of this. What a great conversation. I hope that food bloggers listening just feel motivated and have some ideas about how to keep that motivation going after listening. So thank you so much for being here.
Natasha Levai: Thank you for inviting me and letting me come on here.
Megan Porta: Yes. Such a fun time. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?
Natasha Levai: Yes. The inspirational quote I have is, our greatest weakness lies in giving up and the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. It’s by Thomas Edison.
Megan Porta: Ah, love that. That’s so good. I don’t think anyone’s used that one yet. What a great one to end on. Okay, we’ll put some show notes together for you, Natasha. If anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/natashashome. Tell everyone where they can find you, Natasha.
Natasha Levai: My website is natashashome.com. I am on also on Instagram, all of the social platforms, they’re linked on the website. Do you know those icons? So they have Instagram and Facebook. I have YouTube. I’m not doing YouTube. I just upload videos there so they can post them to my blog. So it’s not really something that I constantly update, but I do have that and Pinterest. Yeah, so basically my blog.
Megan Porta: All right. Everyone go check Natasha out. Thank you again so much for all of this today, Natasha, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to head to forum.eatblogtalk.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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