In episode 368, Meredith Kruse teaches us 10 strategies for sustainable side-hustling and why we don’t have to quit our full-time job to be successful food bloggers.
We cover information about how a side hustle can provide money for a variety of expenses in your personal or business life you want to invest in, having a baseline income from another job takes the pressure off of making a certain income from blogging, how to set realistic goals for your blog and make sure you know what you’re going to be sacrificing in order to start a blog.
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Bio Meredith is the photographer, recipe developer, and voice behind Our Love Language Is Food. She’s also a mom to a very energetic toddler and works full time in the commercial construction industry in addition to her food and photography business.
Growing up in a tight-knit family in the Midwest, so many of her favorite memories were made around a big table sharing food that everyone helped to prepare. She started Our Love Language is Food to help aspiring cooks and bakers feel confident in the kitchen so they can bring these types of experiences into their home too. 2022 has been a big year for her side-gig! Meredith has turned her passion for food and photography into a thriving side hustle, booking client work equal to nearly half the value of her day-job salary by mid-year in 2022.
- Side hustles help you keep passionate about them there’s less pressure and you aren’t burnt out on it.
- Prioritize platforms and don’t do all the things.
- Set realistic goals. If you are consistently missing goals, its probably not a good goal.
- Only take on jobs that align with your goals and vision and be paid what you’re worth.
- Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.
- Work efficiently. Make your content work for you.
- Get creative about income streams.
- Mindset – Be aware of a lack mindset or a negative mindset. There’s an abundance for you and everyone!
- Self-Care should be a priority. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Podcasts: Food Blogger Pro, The Game Changer, Align & Expand, The Show Up Society, Food Blooger Pro, The Vine and The Goal Digger
Programs recommended: 10K Under 10K, The Confident Pitch Program
Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze
You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero
Click for full script.
EBT368 – Meredith Kruse
Meredith Kruse: Hi, this is Meredith Cruz from Our Love Language is Food, and you’re listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Sponsor: Hey, food bloggers. Are you ready to accomplish your 2023 goals faster than you ever thought possible? If you are nodding your head yes right now, the Eat Blog Talk Mastermind program might be a great fit for you. We are now accepting applications for 2023, and I will let you in on a little secret. If you sign up before the end of November, 2022, you can lock in at the current pricing. Go to eatblogtalk.com/mastermind for more information and to apply.
Brittany and Terrence are the awesome blogging duo behind plantpowercouple.com, and here they are talking about how the Mastermind program can massively boost your confidence and how this can so positively impact your business. If you feel isolated, if you feel like one of the main things that’s holding you back in business is your own struggle with believing in yourself and your own struggle with believing that you can do this, I think you need to do it. I think it’s the biggest thing that can change the trajectory of your business and your mindset. Yeah. It’s not just, yes, you learn these things, but you gain a sense of community and support and just accountability and you start to believe in yourself more and you start to be able to borrow these other people’s belief in yourself so that you can build yourself up while you’re getting there.
Megan Porta: Hey 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. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 368. I have Meredith Cruz with me today. She is going to talk about 10 strategies for sustainable side hustling. Meredith is the photographer, recipe developer and voice behind Our Love Language is Food. She’s also a mom to a very energetic toddler and works full-time in the commercial construction industry, in addition to her food and photography business. She grew up in a tight-knit family in the Midwest, so many of her favorite memories were made around a big table sharing food that everyone helped to prepare. She started Our Love Language Is Food to help aspiring cooks and bakers feel confident in the kitchen so they can bring these types of experiences into their home too. 2022 has been a big year for her side gig, Meredith has turned her passion for food and photography into a thriving side hustle booking client work equal to nearly half the value of her day job salary by mid-year in 2022. That’s amazing. Nice work, Meredith.
Meredith Kruse: Thank you.
Megan Porta: So happy to have you here. Thanks for joining us at Eat Blog Talk today.
Meredith Kruse: Thanks for having me, Megan. It’s an honor to be on. I’ve listened to probably all of the episodes, so it’s really fun to be here.
Megan Porta: Yay. And I actually got to meet and hug you in person last year at Tastemaker, which makes it even more cool.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. Yeah, it’s fun. It’s fun to see you again here.
Megan Porta: I know. Okay. I’m super excited about this topic because it’s not one that we talk about a lot. A lot of people are like, I need to make this a full-time gig, and that’s kind of the theme in our industry. So talking about it as a side hustle I think is really valuable. But we want to hear first what your fun fact is.
Meredith Kruse: Sure. So I was trying to think of a fun fact that’s applicable to our foodie niche because I have a lot of quirks. So I could tell you all kinds of funny things about me. But one thing that goes along with my food journey is that I spent a decade as a vegetarian. So I went, you know, progressively back into eating meat, from vegetarian to pescatarian, and now my husband is quite happy that there’s meat back in our diet. But yeah, it was fun. We still eat a lot of meatless meals. I share some of those as well. I’m pretty passionate about eating meatless food at least part of the time. So if that’s something you’re interested in, I’m happy to talk about it offline if anyone has questions about being a vegetarian.
Megan Porta: Yeah, and I feel like the progression is usually different, like it goes from. the opposite. You eat meat your whole life, and then you dive into being a vegetarian. I have a good friend of mine who just did that as well. I hadn’t seen her in years, and I just saw her the other night and we ordered nachos and there was chicken on it and I was like, oh my gosh, what are you doing? She’s like, oh yeah, I am. I eat meat now. I was like, whoa. That’s not really typical. Do you find that?
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, I think everyone’s a little bit different. So I mean, I stopped eating meat in college because I lived in a house with a whole bunch of girls and we did weekly meals together and one of my roommates was vegetarian and one of my roommates was gluten free. So trying to cook for our whole house where you can accommodate everyone was kind of interesting and a fun challenge. and then I kind of talked to my roommate about it and decided to try it, and then it stuck for 10 years. Then for me, it backed off. I wanted to kind of change up my health routine and when we were trying to have our daughter had some challenges and incorporating lean proteins back into my diet was helpful for me.
Megan Porta: Yeah, and it’s so delicious.
Meredith Kruse: I do love chicken.
Megan Porta: If that’s your thing. Oh gosh, me too. Fish and chicken and a good yummy burger. Okay, well anyway. Thanks for sharing that. That was, Is it really fun to learn about you that I did not know that. So let’s talk about your side hustling. I know you have 10 strategies to talk through, how to make side hustling sustainable and work for you if you do have a job that you love and you don’t necessarily want it to be blogging to be a full-time thing, you don’t have to. But first I would love to hear just your journey as a mom and working full-time and how you got to this point where you’re just okay with having food blogging being a side hustle.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on to talk about this. Like you mentioned, I feel like in this space you almost feel like you have to be full-time to be successful, and I don’t think that’s necessarily true. There’s just a lot to say for side hustling. If you decide eventually you do wanna go full-time, that’s totally wonderful and exciting for you. But as you embrace the side hustle to start, it’s a great time to build your audience, to build your portfolio and increase page views while you’re building your brand. Then you can choose from there if you wanna dive into full-time or stay as a side hustle because maybe you love your career. Another thing I wanted to say before we kind of dig into all our strategies, I think keeping it as a side hustle might help keep that passion alive because you have other things you’re focusing on. So it gives you time to morph your business and grow organically. You’re not rushing, you’re not forcing anything because you feel like you have to. I think that’s just something really cool to say for side hustling. Then obviously there’s the financial side of side hustling. So as you grow your business and start bringing in income, there’s a lot of cool things you can do with that because you already have that base structure of an income for your family and your lifestyle. So side hustling can be a wonderful way to build savings or pay off your debt. That’s something my husband and I are very passionate about. Or having fun money for you and your family so you can plan trips and do really fun things. Or using the money you’re making to reinvest in your business and take courses or join masterminds or go to Tastemaker because you have your baseline again of income, so you can use this for bigger ticket items.
Megan Porta: Yeah, those are great points. I think the point you made about removing pressure is huge too, because we all feel that even if we are an established blog from season to season, it can vary so much with what revenue you’re bringing in and your traffic and then a core update comes along and you’re like, oh my gosh. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re in. The pressure is always there. So I love your case. If you’ve got a reliable job outside of this, then the pressure is not as heavy.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. I’ve talked to some of my girlfriends who have recently made the jump to full-time or in the pandemic times, maybe lost their job or there were cuts. So they made, you know, the best outta lemons. Right. Made lemonade and decided to take businesses full-time. I think one thing I’ve seen recurring from a couple of different friends who’ve maybe been in a situation where they wanted to eventually go full. But kind of were forced to go full-time a little earlier, because they wish they had more savings or had grown their audiences more, or been able to, you know, invest in those big ticket items like gear and courses before they took it full-time. Now they’re worried about taxes and supplementing their income and that kind of thing. So I think there’s a lot to say for being a side hustler in addition to doing full-time. And I think people can be really successful in whatever they want to do.
Megan Porta: Yeah. You’re here to represent the side hustle. It’s not a bad place to be, right?
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, exactly.
Megan Porta: All right. Well, you have some amazing points and strategies for other people who are listening who just want to be encouraged by you and not feel that pressure. So why don’t you talk through those? So what is your number one strategy?
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, so the number one I think you can do to make your side hustle sustainable. Is prioritizing tasks or platforms and giving yourself grace to not do all the things. I know it’s hard to look at what everyone else is doing and feeling like you should do this or you should do that. You just need to get rid of shoulds in your life in general and just prioritize what really matters to you. So for me, in my business, I prioritize my blog and my Instagram. Long-term strategy, I want to get on Mediavine. I’m getting really close, so hopefully by the time this goes on, you know, maybe I’ll be there. But by focusing on those two platforms specifically, that gives me less pressure, weight off my shoulders. Hey, Pinterest, I’ve got that automation. That’s kind of working on itself. Awesome. Facebook, I can push a lot of stuff from Instagram. There again, that just kind of happens organically. I don’t have to worry about it too much. Then through Instagram, obviously folks who side hustle are getting started in this space, sponsored content is a great way to make money, especially as you’re getting started. So right now, Instagram is where I make a lot of money or a lot of connections, so that’s a good place for me to focus on.
Megan Porta: Yeah, so really like choosing your platforms, choosing where you wanna be, and then trying to automate the rest or just ignoring the rest.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. TikTok is super half-hearted for me. I go on and recycle some of my reels. When I’m feeling like it, or I remember. I know it’s really worthwhile for a lot of people, so that might be a platform people wanna focus on. I know brands are getting more excited about TikTok, but for me, I just personally don’t enjoy TikTok as much, so I don’t spend too much time there. Eventually, maybe I will. I mean, I have a presence there. But it’s not huge. Right?
Megan Porta: Right. I think that is something that a lot of us do. Like we know we have to be like, we have to have an account basically. But as far as how much time you invest in it, it really can vary and things won’t explode. TikTok is not going to shut down because you don’t log on in a couple of weeks and that’s okay. You can have an account and not show up every day or consistently.
Meredith Kruse: You’ll find where your people are. So some people have their community on Facebook, so that’s, you know, that’s where your community is, that’s where you should spend your time. For me, I’ve made a lot of friends, I have a lot of DM conversations going all the time and Instagram, because I’ve made friends there. You know, I’ve made connections. That’s just been a really good space for me. But if that’s TikTok or Twitter, I don’t know if anyone uses Twitter, but if they do, the way to go.
Megan Porta: I don’t know either. If you’re out there, let me know. Every once in a while I hear someone say, I found this on Twitter. I’m like, really? Interesting.
Meredith Kruse: I’ve just never used Twitter. So I did not focus on that for my blog either.
Megan Porta: Yeah, same. Then also to go along with this, Meredith is like having grace with yourself to not feel the pressure to do all the things and just being able to set some things down and being 100% okay with it.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, I think especially as you’re getting started, I know you might have more new bloggers or newer people into the foodie space listening. It’s really hard to not feel like you have to do all the things when you get started because you wanna be up to snuff with everybody else. But everyone else has their own journeys and we’ll talk about that later. What you need to do is do something that continues to make this fun for you and something that you can keep doing. Because If you are burning yourself out trying to be everywhere all the time, you’re not gonna have that fun passion part of it, which is probably why you started. That’s gonna come through in your content too. If you’re just trying to push out all this content, unless you’re magic and you don’t need sleep, it’s gonna show up in your content too that it’s rushed or that you can tell when people aren’t feeling creative.
Megan Porta: Eventually that catches up with you and not just shining through in your content, but showing up for you. You burn out and then you wanna quit and then you leave your blog or you leave a platform. So yeah, just kind of avoiding that all together. That whole mess. All right. Tell us what strategy number two is.
Meredith Kruse: Sure. Setting realistic goals. So this goes along with your priorities. So once you’ve figured out your priorities, giving yourself realistic goals that you can hit so you feel accomplished, is huge. So for me, my realistic goal is to publish one new blog post every week. Sometimes I publish three and then I feel like a superhero and it’s amazing. But having a realistic goal where I’m like, I know I can get one out every week. I can beat that goal and feel really awesome when I do, but not setting myself up for feeling like I’m failing by saying, Hey, I have to get three posts out a week and they have to go Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 10:00 AM. If you’re over structuring, and I don’t wanna say dreaming too big cause I want you to dream big, but if you’re not setting yourself up for success, you’re gonna feel that. Again, it’s gonna start weighing on you.
Megan Porta: Disappointment, right? Yeah. It’ll lead to disappointment.
Meredith Kruse: Right. I love when I beat my goals and I’m like, yeah, I published two posts this week. I feel amazing. Yeah. It’s just, you can set yourself up to win by setting goals that are achievable and bite sized and fit into what your life is now.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I think that’s so smart. That goes along with my, one of my favorite books ever that I talk about all the time, Atomic Habits. He talks about that, like if you’re gonna create a new habit and set yourself up for success, you need to find the bare minimum thing that you can accomplish regularly and do that. Then you’ve met your goal and like what you were saying about on the weeks when you can do three, you’re like, oh my gosh, I’m a rockstar. Amazing. But that’s above and beyond, that’s like icing on the cake. But if you can do your bare minimum goals all the time, then you’re successful.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, exactly. There’s no written method to having the best blog ever, right? So no one’s telling you you have to publish seven recipes a week. Everyone’s gonna grow in their own time. Everyone’s audience is different. So you are gonna reach your big, awesome dream end goal when you’re meant to, right? If you can beat your goals along the way and feel accomplished and positive, that’s gonna shine through and you’re gonna have more fun doing it. If you’re having fun, you’re more likely to stick with it.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. If you never can even reach the goals you set for yourself, then you’re never gonna feel accomplished.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. Yeah. So really focusing on what is realistic for me is really important. I think when I started I overextended myself. Set myself up not to fail, but not to meet my goals and that didn’t feel good. So if you can actually take the time to sit with yourself and write out what you know you can do, you can add more in and you can beat those goals as you go.
Megan Porta: Do you feel like sometimes that just requires time? Like just experiencing it and then tweaking as you go?
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, I think so. You know, it’s great to reassess, you know, I know some people will do quarterly check-ins or at the end of each week, I think you have a weekly checklist that you have for yourself. Check-in. Did you meet your goals? i if you’re seeing every week, you don’t hit this one goal. You need to actually have a come to Jesus with yourself. Is this really a priority? Right. Did we, are we not prioritizing this? Is it really a goal still?
Megan Porta: Right. Why is this on my list every week, month after month?
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. If it’s not a priority, take it off. You don’t need to look at that checkbox. That’s fine.
Megan Porta: Yes. Meredith just gave you permission to remove it if it’s a consistent recurring, unmet goal. Okay. That is an awesome one. I love that. So what is strategy number three?
Meredith Kruse: I think this one is maybe a little harder one to swallow, but recognizing that sacrifices will be required if you’re trying to add something new to your life. Right? So if you want to add a business that takes 20 hours of your time every week, what 20 hours of stuff that you’ve been doing, are you not going to do or are you going to deprioritize to now prioritize your business. You know, if you’re working full-time or you’re a stay-at-home parent who’s parenting full-time, you know you’re likely working nights and weekends or in those gaps so if you’re a mom, maybe there’s nap time. I wish my kid had a consistent nap time. I miss those.
Megan Porta: I know. I miss those too.
Meredith Kruse: Those were so great. But you know something’s gotta give. So do not go. Tuesday night tacos with your girlfriends because you’re gonna work? Or you know, are you going to do half hour exercise routines instead of two hour exercise routines at the gym? What is gonna shift in your life to accommodate this? I think as you grow in your business, you’re gonna become more proficient and things will pick up. Maybe those things that you have to sacrifice will change or they can come back or you can add them back into your life. But you also need to be you. upfront with yourself too. Sofor me, oftentimes I’m sitting with my husband and watching TV and working, right. So I can type while we watch the Great British Baking Show. But, you know, we don’t have game nights as often as we used to. He’s super supportive about it and some weeks we just say, Hey, you know what? We just need time together and we’re gonna put the computers away. But you know that’s something we sacrifice so that we can build this business together.
Megan Porta: To be on the same page I think is so important. I have a supportive husband as well, and I always say, Thank God. I don’t know what I would do if he wasn’t. Well, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at, honestly, if he weren’t supportive of just what you’re saying. Sometimes at night I have to open my laptop and he just sees the bigger picture along with me. I think that’s another piece of that, is communicating with your spouse or friends or whoever you’re sacrificing your time with. What is your end goal? What is your big dream that you’re trying to accomplish so that it’s not just like, oh, Meredith is opening her computer again. He knows what you’re trying to accomplish.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. That’s an awesome point. I think communicating with your friends and family is so, so important. Especially when you’re getting started too, like, and people are like, oh, how’s your cute little blog doing?
Megan Porta: I still get that, by the way.
Meredith Kruse: Like 10 years later.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Just like over communicating, like this is really important to me. It’s not just a cute little hobby. I am trying to meet my Mediavine numbers. Being really specific with your goals too, and what that means. Anything else about that before we move on to point number four?
Meredith Kruse: No, I think we hit that one pretty, pretty well. It’s just recognizing that, you know, things will shift as you build your business.
Megan Porta: Yep. Okay. What is strategy number four?
Meredith Kruse: Ah, I love this one. Only taking on projects that align with your brand and beliefs and that pay you money. If you have a full-time income, you do not need to do work for a product. You do not need to take a hundred dollar jobs. You do not need to take a whole bunch of small paying gigs. You have a foundation of income to live your life. You don’t have to take those crappy jobs. I know that’s contentious, probably.
Megan Porta: No, it’s not.
Meredith Kruse: I don’t think anyone should work for a product. I mean, there’s some debate on that and maybe if it’s your dream brand or whatever, everyone has their priorities on that. But if you have a full-time income, price the time it’s gonna take to do a project. Again, I’ve done one job when I got started for a hundred bucks and it felt crappy. It’s not fun to do that. Really know your worth. Know what your work is worth. Know what value you’re creating for others and get paid for it.
Megan Porta: That goes back to the pressure when you have another job, you don’t have to, like you said. You have the money baseline and you’ve got the confidence. Either take me or leave me. Right? So people don’t need to bargain with you because you’re like, Nope. I’m worth this and I don’t need to work for free.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. I think a couple great resources for this you can follow their platforms and they have different programs if you’re interested in that. But 10Kunder10 K shares a ton of great information.
Megan Porta: Love them.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. Kim and Chelsea are so fun. The Confident Pitch, which is by Eat More Cake, by Candace, I’ve actually done her pitching program. They’re both fantastic. You can get a ton of free knowledge from them just on their platforms and on their email lists, and you can choose if you wanna pursue more from. Use them to help boost your confidence and know that your work is worth all the time you put into it and you’re, you’re providing value. I think that’s something that’s really cool with the side hustle is because it can empower you to say no more easily. I guess I say no pretty easily anyway. But others don’t, and I know there’s a lot of pressure to make more, get more. Build your portfolio, whatever. But it’s gonna happen. You will land the brands that are aligned with you. Don’t take the low paying gigs because you feel like you have to, because you don’t have to.
Megan Porta: Yeah. This kind of ties in with point number one. It goes back to if you don’t want to do something, if you’re not feeling a certain platform or tool or course or whatever everyone else is telling you you need to be doing, you don’t need to. You don’t have to do anything. You can determine your own life and path and just say no to the things that don’t align.
Meredith Kruse: You can have an extremely successful business without doing sponsored content. So if you aren’t finding that, you know, it’s aligning with what you want. I mean, you need to price yourself reasonably. You can’t say, I need 1 million to do this job, right? There’s good tools. Tastemaker has a great spreadsheet so you can have a gut check. That’s free on their website. But you know, be in line with your peers. But you don’t have to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way.
Megan Porta: Yep. I’ve used him as an example in a handful of episodes, so he’s probably like, thank you, Megan. But a blogger friend Bob, he doesn’t do social media at all. He doesn’t even have one, I don’t think he has an Instagram account. He is hugely successful. So I always go back to him. If he can do his business and run it successfully without an Instagram account? Oh my gosh. That’s like permission for all of us to do just what we want and set down the things that we don’t want.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, that’s amazing. Maybe you want to be an influencer and you don’t wanna blog. That’s totally okay. I know several girls who do that and they’re killing it. They’re making a ton of money just on Instagram and TikTok because that’s what they’re passionate about. So you can really fit your business to what works for you.
Megan Porta: Right. Meredith is giving you permission to do that and set the things down that you don’t really want to do.
Meredith Kruse: I guess we have to retitle this whole episode. Meredith gives you permission to do what’s right for you.
Megan Porta: Parenthesis permission for Meredith. What is strategy number five?
Meredith Kruse: I think this is just a good lesson for all of life, but don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. And especially in the age of social media, that is so hard. But I would say 99% of what you see online is people’s highlights Reel, right? You’re just seeing the best of the best. You don’t know any of their backstory unless it’s a good personal friend, right? So it’s not worth losing sleep over because so and so is so much ahead of you. You don’t know what is happening in the background. You don’t know what they’ve sacrificed to get there. You don’t know that they’re in crazy debt, right? You have no idea that beautiful mansion house that they have, that you wish had. Maybe they’re house poor. You have no idea. So I think that’s just something to remember, especially in this space where you see friends getting all these brand deals. Maybe they’re not getting paid what you would get paid. Right? So you have to take everything with a grain of salt and cheer on your friends who are doing awesome and just do your thing.
Sponsor: Taking a really quick break here to chat with RankIQ. Food bloggers, I just logged into Google Analytics and I took a few minutes to evaluate my top 200 URLs on my food blog from the past year. Here is the traffic I’ve gotten to my blog from new posts that I’ve published that came from keywords inside RankIQ IQ and that were also run through the RankIQ optimizer. From the top 200 in one calendar year, my blog received 679,139 page views. Most of those posts were non-recipe posts that supported and lifted up my existing content. If you have a large ish bank of quality recipe content on your blog, I would say anywhere over a hundred recipes or so, this is a great strategy for getting a bunch of traffic quickly, while also lifting up your existing recipes and sending the signal to the Google gods that you are a credible resource for the categories you write about. Go to RankIQ.Com to get started so you can kick off the new year with a plan. Now back to the episode.
Megan Porta: I think this is my favorite point so far, and it’s so important. It’s so easy, isn’t it, to get in this space and look around for like five minutes and be like, oh my gosh, everyone is doing better than I am. I don’t stand a chance. I hear that so much Meredith. People are like, why would I think that I can come in here and make a name for myself when everyone else is better? Or making more money or getting better brand deals. But yeah, this point is amazing because you don’t even know what people are going through. You don’t know their background, you don’t know anything about what, what is behind those highlight reels.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. What you said is really gonna tie into one of the points to talk about later about your mindset. Because you know what? There is space for you. There is abundance. You know there’s enough room for everyone and we’ll come back there. But again, you can’t compare yourself to what you see on somebody else. Yeah, and I think kind of a fun resource for this, for any book people out there. Love Your Life, Not Theirs, by Rachel Cruze is a really relatable book. She’s part of the Dave Ramsey family, so if you’re into nerdy budgeting stuff, she’s actually his daughter. I find her more relatable and he’s kind of a brash person, but she’s very nice. Her book is very relatable and, and it specifically talks about this. You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses to have a wonderful and amazing and beautiful life.
Megan Porta: In fact, if you don’t keep up with the Joneses, your life is more beautiful. I’ll make that statement. I believe that if you can keep your eyes in your own lane, everything becomes more beautiful in my opinion.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, I agree.
Megan Porta: Love that point. Okay. What is strategy number six?
Meredith Kruse: Sure. Work efficiently. So I’m an engineer by trade. You and I have had some coaching sessions together where you’re like, wow, you’re kind of freaky, organized. That’s just how my brain works. But I think remembering, and this is something you learn as you go too, but every single recipe and piece of content you make, can be used in multiple ways. So if you were, let’s say you’re making a pasta dish that you’re shooting for your blog, you can get stills of that. Make sure you have your phone set up to capture some video. Take 10 minutes at the end to do a cute scoopy picture. You know, whatever you have on your TikTok or Reels or your platform. Then you can use that same one recipe for 10 different things. So just make your content work for you. Remembering to do that, is just gonna help you again, feel less stress, less pressure, because you have this content. Yeah, you have to edit it and you know, get it all set up, but at least you have it captured. Right? Then you’re really making the most out of that one session.
Megan Porta: Do you find, would you say that this is something you can kind of tweak as you go, because you don’t necessarily know like, oh, I want this angle for TikTok or this for Reels. Is it something that evolves?
Meredith Kruse: Oh, totally. I still forget to set up my phone sometimes and I’m like, ah, shucks. You know, I can’t believe I miss that one. Or like if I feel like I’m rushing because I’m trying to fit something in at an unpredictable nap time, I’m just like, well, she’s storming. I gotta go. Sometimes I forget and that’s fine, but I would try to work really hard to make each time I take, be the most effective it can be.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Efficiency, I feel like is everything in this business, and it’s a constant process for me. I miss things all the time too, where I’m like, oh, that was the best opportunity to get that, or whatever. It’s never perfect, but it’s like this ongoing goal. Hashtag goals, right?
Meredith Kruse: Oh, totally. Yeah. Some people really focus on time blocking and if that helps you work efficiently, amazing. There’s a lot of cool resources to teach you how to time block. I sort of get it and I kind of do it, but that’s not necessarily how my brain works. So whatever process that makes sense for you to add more efficiency into your blogging or your side hustle, do it. Try it. If it doesn’t work, you can shift it.
Megan Porta: Yeah, batching too, is a huge one for me. I get so much done batching. I know that’s not for everyone. It doesn’t work for a lot of people’s brains, but that’s something to try. I always say, at least try it. Because if it works for you, oh my gosh. The power in batching is insane.
Meredith Kruse: Can I ask what you usually batch that’s helpful for you?
Megan Porta: Yeah, so right now I’m not cooking a lot, but when I was cooking a lot, I was batching. I would have these massive cooking, baking days where I would bring in a videographer, she would film my recipe video content, and we’d kick it out. We’d start at seven or 8:00 AM and just work until the sun went down and we would get so much done. I would do my photography all in those days. Kitchen cleanup, everything got done that was related to cooking, photography, video, or filming. Then the rest of the time, she would work on editing. I would batch my photos, so I would just spend like a whole day going through my photos. Also, now I batch write, so I’ll do roundup posts. I just get in that groove where it’s like systematized and I can just pop through and add FAQs. Or keyword research. I get into the groove with keyword research as well. Podcasts. So today I have five podcast episodes that I am recording back to back, back to back.
Meredith Kruse: Oh my goodness.
Megan Porta: That’s so efficient for me because I’m in the groove. I’m talking to people. I’m feeling social. My conversation skills are great, but if I put these Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I’d have to find that groove for each episode. So at the end of today, I’m going to be exhausted, but it’s so worth it for me to just have it all done. I don’t have to think about it for two weeks now. Just things like that. I try to think through every major part of my business that I do. Can I batch this? If yes, and I try it.
Meredith Kruse: That’s awesome. I think that’s a great thing for people who are already crunched for time too, right? Figuring out how you can do that. So again, if you put all your writing together or you know, on Tuesday nights you write three of your blog posts for the month, that’s amazing.
Megan Porta: Yeah. And like I said, it’s not always fun. It’s not easy. Today’s not an easy day, but at the end of it, you’re like, oh, thank God that’s done for a while. It just feels good and accomplished. But yeah, whatever works for you. You have to learn that. Whatever efficiency means for you. I think it’s different for everyone, right? Clearly, I loved that point too. I love efficiency and comparing things. So what is strategy number seven?
Meredith Kruse: Sure. Finding ways to multitask or get learning into your daily routine. So for me, I have a pretty long commute to the job site I’m on currently, so that’s my learning time. I listen to podcasts, to and from my day job so I get an hour to an hour and a half of learning every single day. Which is really, really fun and powerful and for me, I feel like I’ve read thousands of books by just listening to people’s free content, right? There’s so many ways you can do that. If you have a lunch break, can you do a course module that you’re doing? Maybe that’s a good time to fit that in. Or some people I know like to have podcasts in while they walk their dog because you know, Fluffy has to go out every day. So that can be something that works for you. Just finding those little nuggets of time where you can do that. I am not a person who can listen to podcasts and do my work. But depending on what your day job is, you might be able to listen to podcasts while you’re doing data entry or grading papers or you know, whatever it is that you do. It depends on you as a person. My best friend’s husband literally listens to podcasts all day and he listens to sports. It would drive me nuts, but he loves it. Listening to sports podcasts. But you know, just finding time to just continually learn and grow in your day-to-day is a wonderful way to fit that in.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I love that so much. I have a question for you. Do you ever get to points where you’re tapped out or full of learning and just need a commute that’s quiet or music or something like that?
Meredith Kruse: Yep, 100%. If I’ve just had a day, on my way home that’s probably when I’m more likely to just turn on music. Because sometimes you just need to turn your brain off, and again, that’s giving yourself grace to not feel like you have to listen to podcasts on your drive, right? Listen to yourself, listen to your body and say, hey, I just need nineties music today, and I’m just gonna groove to that on the way home.
Megan Porta: Yeah, totally. I feel like I go through seasons like that where it’ll be two weeks and I’m like, oh my gosh, I haven’t listened to a podcast in two weeks. Is something wrong with me? But I think I just got to this point where I’m kind of tapped out and I am listening to myself. Clearly I need a break for whatever. I’m filled up. I can’t take it anymore right now. But then I get back into it eventually. So just not to be hard on yourself either, and not to push it. Oh, I have to get in my car and I have to be listening to podcasts. Yeah. That definitely happens to me. It’s a seasonal thing.
Meredith Kruse: Well, and I, I think that’s a great point with creating content too. We’re gonna talk about this again later, but if you need a week off, take a week off. Your blog is not gonna implode. Your social media won’t fall apart. If you need time off, do that for you and that’s totally okay. Give yourself the okay to take time off.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Grace. This is like a subtopic of our talk today. Grace. Just having grace. Okay. Let’s go on to number eight.
Meredith Kruse: Sure. Being creative about income streams. So I kind of mentioned this earlier, but you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing to make money in this space. There’s so many fun and different ways you can make an income doing what you’re doing and it’s good to have multiple income streams. So even before you can get ads on your blog, you know, you can sponsor content. That’s kind of an obvious one for people. But you can freelance. So you can freelance for businesses or other bloggers. A lot of people shoot the recipes for other bloggers because they love photography. I think you’ve started getting some of that done on your blog, Megan.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Yep.
Meredith Kruse: That helps you too, right?
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. It’s huge.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. So that’s something amazing you can do. You can create courses or a downloadable resource that people can purchase from you if you’re an expert on a topic. That’s a cool way to do things. People sell stock images, so you know some of those cool pictures that show up on your desktop, somebody took that so you can sell those. I know Jenna just talked about this on one of the recent podcast episodes you did, but Pinterest Rewards, Facebook Reels benefit. The Instagram reels benefit. If you qualify for those, and that’s something that interests you, try it and if it’s not working, you can always stop.
Megan Porta: Yeah. They can be really lucrative too, and people discount the ratio of time invested versus money you get back. It can be very rewarding. It’s worth looking into.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, for sure. I know you have been doing really well on the Pinterest Idea Pin reward. I did really great the first month I did it and then I didn’t read all the rules the second month, so I didn’t. That’s on me. But I’m going for it again this month. So just make sure you, you know, like to know what qualifies each of those things. But some people make a ton of money on Instagram Reels too, right? Or Facebook reels. I know that’s another opportunity out there. So it’s something you can consider. You can do VA work. People always need VAs, right?
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, it’s so true.
Meredith Kruse: So like if you love to write, put it out into the universe and see who needs help getting their blog post written. Right? Facebook link dropping since the summer, I’ve hired a VA to help me with that because I know for my long term goal of growing my blog, backlinks are important. I was sporadically doing it and I found someone who can help me do it. So for what is worth it to me, it’s not a high cost and I get like a hundred links dropped throughout the Facebook groups each month. I mean, I don’t necessarily get a backlink from all of those. It gives me an opportunity to get a back link and I don’t have to focus on that at all. So there’s lots of cool things you can do.
Megan Porta: So much opportunity, I’ll just put this out there. I get probably three, at least three DMs a week about web stories. Megan, who do you know who creates web stories? I don’t know, I’m running out of people because there’s so much demand for it. So if you are a blogger who loves to create Google Web stories, please let me know. There’s some money in the bank for you because I have like a long list of people who are lined up.
Meredith Kruse: That’s awesome. Yeah, I know web stories are really important and they can really help you grow. They’ve been helping me. I know we talk about it on this blog a lot. So get in on those and again, make money on it if you love to do them.
Megan Porta: They’re not that hard. It’s simple. Once you get into a groove, they’re pretty simple, easy to make. So that is an opportunity right there for anyone listening. Okay. What about number nine? We kind of touched on this earlier, but I wanna hear more.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. So mindset. I feel like mindset is one of those terms that’s getting used, overly used right now. So in construction, greenwashing was a thing, so you’re building things in an environmental way and it just kind of got used for marketing or you see labels on foods that sometimes don’t make sense, but I wanna talk about mindset in a way that makes it personal to you. Right? So really taking the time to know if you are maybe being negative or you have a lack mindset. So we talked about that earlier. There’s no space for me here. There’s no room for me to grow. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You don’t need that in your life. Let’s get rid of it. You know, so you can work on some of that because there’s so much abundance out there, and you can attract more and better things for yourself if you put your mind in a good space. I know you’ve done a series with Lauren, Lauren Runion. She also has a podcast, that’s a resource I wanted to mention. Align and Expand Podcast.
Megan Porta: Great podcast. Love it.
Meredith Kruse: Amazing. It’s so good. There’s two episodes on there. There’s affirmations for goals and success.
Megan Porta: I have used that and the Money one.
Meredith Kruse: Yes, the money one too. The Money affirmations for Wealth and Abundance. Literally listen to those as you’re falling asleep. Listen to them as you drive. Find new mantras or phrases that really resonate with you. If you’re hearing them and believing them and starting to really feel it, those things will come to you. Those are free. You can just go get those on Spotify or Apple Podcast or wherever you listen to your podcast.
Megan Porta: Words are so powerful and thoughts too. Both of them. Your words and your thoughts create your reality. Just do an audit of what your thoughts and your words are for a day, and I think a lot of us would be surprised at what we say and what we think about ourselves and our businesses. If it’s negative, like you said Meredith, change it. If you need to do the affirmations thing or write your own scripts, just know that what you’re saying is going to become true. So I love this one. Something that I talk about a lot, as you probably know. People disregard this one too. Oh, I need to work on keyword research and SEO, and they get all of those ducks lined up, but then they discount what they’re actually saying about themselves and their businesses, right?
Meredith Kruse: Yeah. Then they don’t understand why they’re not calling it all this good stuff. It’s because you’re putting out all this bad stuff, right? So, you know, open, open up your world to good things by really taking the time to get your head in a good spot. Under this bullet point in the next one, I just wrote therapy with an explanation point. I’m a huge advocate for therapy. People don’t talk about it. I know it’s kind of a controversial topic in some circles, but if you need help, seek help. I think it’s important. It has changed my life personally, especially postpartum. I had a lot of anxiety stuff happen. There’s a lot of hormones going on there, but therapy has been life changing for me and I know for a lot of people. So I’m gonna be here again to give you permission, right?
Megan Porta: Yes.
Meredith Kruse: So if you need help, if you need help, seek it out. If you ever have questions about therapy, like I am not a therapist, but I’m happy to talk to you about my experience because I know some people aren’t open to doing that. So if people are just like, Hey, what do you really do in therapy? I can tell you what I’ve done in therapy, that’s fine. But I just wanted to put that in the mindset because I think if you can heal past traumas or heal things that maybe you don’t even know exist in the back of your mind, your life can change for the better.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I appreciate you bringing that up, and thank you for sharing that. I think it is a topic that we need to talk about more. I don’t really know why it’s a topic that we feel like we can’t talk about because it’s a good thing. It’s there to help you and help you grow. So, yeah. I appreciate that. Thank you, Meredith.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, you’re welcome. I’m here to tell you about mental health matters. Woohoo.
Megan Porta: It does. It matters. We need to have a follow-up episode on that because it’s so important if you want to be a successful human, but a successful food blogger and business person, it’s so important.
Meredith Kruse: I mean, if you’re not ready to do therapy, that’s okay. But you know, look at other ways you can better yourself. So, I mean, another resource I had written down here is, You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sinero. I actually don’t love her writing style personally, but it has wonderful points in this book and to help you really kind of dig into. Oh, I heard this growing up, and that’s actually affecting me as an adult. Finding those things and digging those things out. I think she has a whole series that you can get into. But there’s other books like that too, or podcasts like that that you can listen to. Or Lauren, she has her Embodied Framework program. I was in her first cohort and that was life changing for me. I know she, as we’re recording this, she’s just starting her second cohort. It’s fun cause I know all of the women who are doing it, because I talked about it so much.
Megan Porta: oh, awesome.
Meredith Kruse: I have several friends doing it now and even after their first one they’re like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. You know? If therapy scares you or that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, that’s fine. But I think no matter who you are, you can look into yourself and ask yourself big questions to improve your life and your business and everything.
Megan Porta: So well said. So that kind of leads to number 10, which is?
Meredith Kruse: Self care and breaks are important. Even when you’re grinding. We’ve talked about this a little bit, but taking care of yourself is not selfish. You cannot pour from an empty cup. So if you’re filling your cup alongside building your business and your work and momming and whatever else you have going on in your life, you’re just gonna show up as your best self. So for me, one of the things I was originally sacrificing that I realized was hurting me as a person and business owner, was I wasn’t exercising. Exercise has always been a huge part of my life, but I think through being a new mom and a pandemic and all that, that just kind of fell to the wayside. Then I was trying to build my business and not, I wasn’t prioritizing exercise and now I’m exercising three days a week and feel like myself and feel better, and I feel like I’m showing up better than I was. So for you, maybe that’s yoga. Maybe that’s just me today. Maybe that’s going to get a pedicure or taking 30 minutes to read a book every night. Whatever it is for you that fills you up and makes you feel good, adding that again to your priority list, self-care should be a priority. It’s not all facials and bubble baths or whatever. Eating a healthy meal. It can be taking a walk with my dog, holding hands with my husband, whatever it is. Make sure you are also integrating that into your life and making sure life continues to happen even while you build your business.
Megan Porta: Hmm. Another important message of mine that I like to share too. Do you notice this too? Like if you falter with some of your self-care things that are really important, that you start noticing, it’ll show up as anxiety or like I’ll start to feel that burnout coming on. Or just bad things start to bubble up a little bit.
Meredith Kruse: A hundred percent. I think that’s what was happening with me when I wasn’t getting into doing a harder exercise. I like to do heavy lifting. I’m not a bodybuilder by any means, but I like to lift heavy stuff because it makes me feel awesome, right?
Megan Porta: Same. I love it too.
Meredith Kruse: I’m now doing that three days a week versus doing yoga, you know, once or twice a week. So I’m just getting a lot more movement and for me it’s just higher impact. That’s just making me feel awesome and excited and less grumpy. More tolerable to be around.
Megan Porta: That’s another signal for me is like, why am I so irritable? Then I think, oh yeah, I haven’t worked out yet this week. You need to do that. So it’s good to know what your signs are, your little signals that are trying to communicate with you. Okay, Megan, start doing those things that you know you need to be doing.
Meredith Kruse: The last point in this point, just being self-aware, right? That’s gonna help you be your best self and grow. It’s also gonna help you build your business, right? So understanding how what you’re sharing is helping people or coming off to the world. Being self-aware is just gonna help you.
Megan Porta: Since you like consuming stuff so much, have you read Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book? 12 and A Half?
Meredith Kruse: Ooh, I haven’t yet.
Megan Porta: Okay. I think you’ll really like it because he talks about a lot of the things that you talked about today. Self-awareness, just like the elements of business that you wouldn’t think of as elements like gratitude. Yeah, like self-care and all of that. So it’s really good.
Meredith Kruse: I’m gonna definitely check that out.
Megan Porta: It’s very new, I would say within the past six months or so. But there we go. Okay, Meredith, thank you. Is there anything as we wrap up that we’ve forgotten on any of your strategies that you wanna mention?
Meredith Kruse: I think just to wrap it up,I know when you’re building a business, especially when you’re doing it on the side, it just feels like you always have to do all these things. I think the main point is you don’t. You can have a thriving, successful, amazing business by prioritizing setting realistic goals and being aware of how it’s affecting your life and how it’s fitting into your life because it shouldn’t take over. That’s the balancing act we’re all trying to perfect. So just trying to find the balance and grace to know that it’s gonna be good. You’re doing awesome. Apparently I’ve given you permission to do lots of things today. So that’s what I’m gonna end.
Megan Porta: To say goodbye to a lot of things and add a lot of good things.
Meredith Kruse: Yeah, exactly.
Megan Porta: Well, thank you. This has been so fun, Meredith. I’ve loved connecting with you in this way. Thank you so much for sharing all of your values today. We appreciate you.
Meredith Kruse: Well, thank you so much for having me on. It’s an honor to be here.
Megan Porta: Oh, I loved our chat. Okay. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us?
Meredith Kruse: I do. It is, “happiness cannot be traveled to owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” That’s from Dennis Waitley.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, I love that. I need to listen to that again. That was amazing. Great way to end. Thank you so, so much. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Meredith, so if anyone wants to look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/ourlovelanguageisfood, and we’ll put all of those amazing resources that you mentioned. I know you have lots of stuff that you like to listen to and read, so we’ll put all of those in there as well. Okay. Remind everyone where they can find you online, social media, et cetera.
Meredith Kruse: Sure. So you can find me at ourlovelanguageisfood.com. That’s my blog. Then on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest at Our Love Language Is Food. I hang out on Instagram the most. I will open up my DMS to you because I am 1000% the person who, if I like a podcast episode, will send a DM and say, oh my gosh, I loved hearing what you had to share. So if you wanna slip into my dms, come say, Hey, I would love to chat with you.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Thanks again Meredith, 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. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
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