In episode 358, Megan chats to Lauren Klein about how to pursue blogging as a hobby while still making money.
We cover information about making a hobby lucrative without overwhelming yourself, what areas should be focused on when it isn’t a job, allow yourself to be passionate about what you share vs only focusing on SEO and build community within food blogging on the platforms you enjoy being on.
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Bio Lauren is a professional nutritionist who has a blog that began as a hobby but has found developing and improving it to be extremely enjoyable. She loves to develop recipes that are fun and a bit different while also creating nutrition and wellness content that breaks down confusing ‘wellness culture’ into understandable and useful bits.
- Enjoy the parts of blogging you like and keep being creative while working at it part time.
- You don’t have to focus on the bottom line if you’re blogging as a hobby.
- Getting into SEO can help guide you towards organizing your content but it doesn’t have to be what you live by when you’re hobby blogging.
- When blogging isn’t a full time job, there is less pressure to hit all the boxes of blogging. It’s easier to balance your personal and professional life better.
- Build a community on Instagram to grow your blog, even if it’s a hobby blog. Great place to network with other bloggers.
- You don’t have to do all the things that everyone else is doing as a blogger. Figure out what you’re interested in and if they match reaching your goals.
Click for full script.
EBT358 – Lauren Klein
Lauren Klein: Hi, this is Lauren Klein from Piece of Lulu, and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
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Megan Porta: Hey food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and competence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 358. I have Lauren Klein with me today. She is going to talk to us about having a blog mainly for a hobby that also makes some money. Lauren is a professional nutritionist who has a blog that began as a hobby, but has found developing and improving it to be extremely enjoyable. She loves to develop recipes that are fun and a bit different while also creating nutrition and wellness content that breaks down confusing wellness culture into understandable and useful bits. Lauren, how are you today? It’s so great to have you here.
Lauren Klein: I am. Good. Thank you. Excited to be on. How are you?
Megan Porta: I’m doing good too. Thank you for asking. I’m excited to talk about this topic. We don’t give it a lot of attention a lot of the time, so we wanna hear your fun fact first before we dig into it.
Lauren Klein: Okay, so I have two. So we’re recording this on a Monday morning and on Friday afternoon last week I officially became a dietician.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s awesome. Congrats. That’s amazing. How long has that been in the works?
Lauren Klein: I did a coordinated master’s program, so six years of college, and then I took my exam, and now we’re finally here.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Congratulations. That’s huge. What an accomplishment. Then you said you had two fun facts. What’s your other one?
Lauren Klein: Yes, so my other one, as you heard earlier, my last name is Klein. I’m related to Calvin Klein, like the designer, except not really. My brother’s name is Calvin. I am related to a Calvin Klein.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s funny. But you can just claim, just claim it, I’m related to Calvin Klein. People will be like, Oh my gosh, you’re so cool. Yeah. I’m sure your brother’s cool too.
Lauren Klein: I just don’t expand on it.
Megan Porta: Yeah, exactly and just stop there. Awesome. Yeah, like I mentioned before, we don’t give this topic a lot of attention because a lot of bloggers just have the mindset of going into it to make it a full-time business, but not everybody wants that. Sometimes it’s okay if you just wanna make it a hobby and also make a little bit of money. So let’s dig into this. Would you mind, Lauren, by starting off with just telling us a little bit about your blogging journey, how it’s evolved, why and when you started, and all of that.
Lauren Klein: Yeah, so mine actually started with Instagram. So in college I just had an Instagram that I would post random pictures on just throughout my day, and that’s why it was called Piece of Lulu. Lulu was my nickname growing up. So it was a piece of me, that’s just what I did. Then, I just started to see more of these food pictures on my explore page on Instagram, and I really liked it. These people that I started following, started making blogs, so I was like, I can do that too. It just slowly transitioned to food Instagram, a food blog, and that kind of inspired me to keep it going and then different opportunities arose and that just kept the fire going to keep growing and improving it.
Megan Porta: Awesome. So you do work full-time outside of your blog, correct?
Lauren Klein: Yes.
Megan Porta: Okay. And what do you do? Are you a nutritionist full-time or what is your job?
Lauren Klein: Yeah, so I actually work as nutrition Outreach as a dietitian.
Megan Porta: Yes. Claim that new title.
Lauren Klein: Heck yeah. You know I already changed it. I work for the dairy industry and it’s more about reaching out to people and kind of myth busting, and just explaining the benefits and trying to explain to people some of the different myths that go around about dairy.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s awesome. So at this point, do you have any intention of going full-time blogging or are you just so happy doing this part-time?
Lauren Klein: I am really happy part-time because I enjoy having a lot to do. I love my job. I love what I do. Then this is just a fun hobby too. I don’t wanna put the pressure of making it be my income. It’s Exciting when I get paid and things like that. I wanna keep it that way.
Megan Porta: It’s like when you take the pressure off something, you find that you’re just so grateful for every morsel of goodness that comes your way. I imagine that’s how you feel too. Even if it’s $10, you’re like, Oh my gosh, I made 10 extra dollars. So I can see it being just a source of joy instead of putting a ton of pressure on it to get that money in.
Lauren Klein: Yeah. It kinda keeps the creativity there because if I ever get a campaign, I look forward to doing it and getting creative and doing what I want with it rather than, I feel like if it became my source of income, I would put pressure on myself for having to be great, having to do xyz. It’s supposed to be fun.
Megan Porta: Yeah, and oh gosh, they’re so common that bloggers get into this and then it soon becomes not fun because of that pressure. So you’re making a good case for this, for sure. How much time would you say you invest in blogging every week. Then how much time do you spend at your full-time job?
Lauren Klein: So full-time job, it varies because of different events and things, but it is about a normal 40 hour work week job and then blog. Since I was studying for the dietetic exam for quite a while, this is gonna change. Hopefully I can spend more time on it. It was probably about three hours a week maybe. It really wasn’t too much.
Megan Porta: Do you think that will change now and go up a little bit since you passed?
Lauren Klein: I expect that’ll be, I’ll be going up a bit just because I was really focused on studying and doing all the things for my actual degree.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So when it does go up, what areas can you see yourself putting more focus in?
Lauren Klein: Probably more content creation and actual post articles. Right now I do about one article a week, whether that be just a written article, a listicle type thing, or an actual recipe. I try to do one a week, but I know that I would be able to do more going on.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Cool. Okay, so you have no intention of quitting your job. You are just happy moving along with this as your hobby, and you’re so enjoying it. What are your favorite parts of blogging?
Lauren Klein: What are the things that you enjoy the very most that you just can’t wait to dig into each week? So it really varies. I fly by the seat of my pants and do what I feel like doing. Some days it’s like I really wanna make some fun, cool little pins for Pinterest. Some days I’m really inspired to knock out a detailed nutrition related article, and some days I wanna make a listicle about different things I wanna buy off Amazon. It varies every day, basically.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s good. I think that is good because you can have your hands in a little bit of everything and enjoy it all. Like we mentioned before, take the pressure off of some of those pieces. So in addition to relieving pressure, what are some other benefits would you say of blogging being more of a sideline thing for you?
Lauren Klein: Just that I’m very flexible and open to different things. I don’t have the pressure of you have to reach out to brands. You have to continuously be growing. It’s okay to not continuously grow. It’s okay to put on the sidelines for a little bit if I have more important things in my life, or a busy season, or I just don’t feel inspired currently. I don’t have to be posting, four days a week and things like that to keep it going
Megan Porta: There’s nothing worse than having pressure to post when you’re not inspired. I think we all, or a lot of us can say that we experience that pretty regularly. Oh gosh, it’s on my schedule, my content calendar. I have to put this up. I don’t wanna write about it. So that sounds really nice. It sounds really appealing to just work when you’re inspired.
Lauren Klein: I feel like the readers can, you can tell when there’s passion in what you say and when it’s just said to be said.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, that’s so true. There are always those posts that you write that are just based on inspiration and love and then there are the posts you write that are born of SEO and those things that we’re quote supposed to do, and it seems like people know which ones you love. Like which content comes from that place of just inspiration and love, right?
Lauren Klein: For sure, for sure.
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Megan Porta: Okay, so how do you schedule your blogging duties with such limited time? Do you have things set in stone like, I’m going to publish this week, or do you just totally go with the flow?
Lauren Klein: So I do usually have a list of things that I would like to get done. I would like to shoot this. I break down things into very small steps. I’m just starting to dabble into keyword research. I’m starting to see how it’s helpful and how it’s fun to find these different words. So one day I’ll do that, and then that’ll guide, Oh, I need to shoot for this. Then the next time when I’m starting my blog post, I might just do the headers and edit photos one day. So everything’s broken down pretty small. I’m usually just doing all these little activities, I guess you would say, at night. I usually have Netflix going in the background. Doing it slowly at my own time.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s nice. So you mentioned SEO. How much do you plan to focus on SEO going forward? Do you intend to make it a part of your whole blogging process or do you just not put a ton of pressure on that at all?
Lauren Klein: So I am just starting with it. I’ve only written a few posts and they haven’t even gone live yet with SEO and keyword word research in mind. I do plan to incorporate it going forward because a big thing about this is I am intentionally trying to keep this a fun hobby. I’m not gonna put pressure on myself that every single one has to be out of the park keyword. If there’s something I really wanna write about, I’ll try and find something that has a little bit of action going on, but if I wanna write about it, I wanna write about it.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome.
Lauren Klein: Balancing the intentions of hobby and potential.
Megan Porta: Yeah, and balance. That word is so important. I feel like we all are like, where’s the balance? How do I find the balance between all the things? So you’re placing more focus on SEO. What would you say are some other important pieces of blogging that you tend to focus on?
Lauren Klein: I would also say billing the community on Instagram, which doesn’t everyone kind explains it in most of the different episodes that it really isn’t like a straight conversion from Instagram to your actual blog site, but you can get a great community in Instagram and if you put a call to action like, Hey, I really could use some people to try this recipe or do this, people will take action. It’s a great place to make more similar minded friends and connect with people and you find your little group. I have a little group, we ask our questions in it. We say, Hey, does anyone have any support for this? I have some of these little friends in it too, if they come across an opportunity with a brand, they pass it along too.
Megan Porta: That’s interesting because you started on Instagram, right? So it’s interesting that you still see such value in it.
Lauren Klein: Yeah. Yeah. Big fan.
Megan Porta: Yeah, no, I agree with the community. It’s so easy to gain a following, or not even a following, but like a little collection of friends on Instagram. I have so many friends that I’ve made through that platform, and so often people discount Instagram because you don’t get a lot of direct traffic. But they don’t think about the community opportunities there.
Lauren Klein: Like indirect traffic.
Megan Porta: Yeah, indirect traffic and also just that support and networking that you need in order to be successful. I think it’s a really important component that we just disregard because we’re so focused on the traffic a lot of the time that we don’t see those other benefits.
Lauren Klein: Yeah. It’s not a straight number. It’s a potential opportunity.
Megan Porta: That was well said. Yep. Potential opportunities. I love that. Okay. Do you invest time in learning and money in learning or not as a hobby blogger?
Lauren Klein: So I have considered taking a course or two. I haven’t yet, but I do invest time in learning. I would say it’s more listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, just straight Googling how to do something. More things like that. I haven’t really dabbled in investing money in learning yet.
Megan Porta: Yet. Maybe in the future.
Lauren Klein: Yeah, I’m not against it.
Megan Porta: Okay. And then fast forward five years, can you see yourself ever getting to the point where full-time blogging is something that you want?
Lauren Klein: I could see myself wanting it in the future. I don’t know if it would be feasible just because I also really like my full-time job and I like being a dietician and working with people in that way too. So it’s just very different.
Megan Porta: That’s one of those things that you almost have to let just play out, because looking five years into the future it seems so fuzzy. That’s so far away. How could I ever imagine it? But just being open to following your own path and letting it go where it’s supposed to go.
Lauren Klein: Yeah. And there’s such different opportunities that arise through the career path versus blogging path. So you just go where it takes you and make decisions as they come.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s such a great philosophy. I love that. So you mentioned Instagram and really enjoying Instagram and focusing on that. How much emphasis do you put on say Facebook or even Pinterest as a hobby blogger?
Lauren Klein: So I know it could be more, but I have it scheduled out to be at least one pin a day, and then I try and make a pin idea story for every new article. Then Facebook is actually a hassle for me right now because for some reason my Facebook got logged out and they denied me access to get back in, so I had to delete everything. So I’m kinda at that point where it’s just. It’s mind numbing to have to restart everything. So I’m not currently really using that
Megan Porta: Okay. Yeah, it’s like you have to pick and choose, and I feel like a lot of food bloggers choose one platform that they really put their focus on. So for you, it sounds like that’s Instagram and that’s working and you’re getting what you need out of it. So maybe just let the Facebook thing go, because unless you’re like really strategic, I know some bloggers who are super strategic about Facebook and do get a lot of traffic, but if that’s not a priority for you, then just giving you permission to just let that go for now, sometimes we just need permission, right? To just Okay, good. It’s outta my mind.
Lauren Klein: Yeah, that might be. Especially because I was using it before doing all the groups and everything, I wasn’t seeing too much success, so I feel like I’m not missing out too much, which kind of feels good.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that helps . Okay. Any advice you have for other bloggers who are listening who might be hobby bloggers who do like their full-time jobs and they have no immediate plans of leaving their full-time jobs and want to relieve the pressure because maybe they hear from all the food bloggers you need to do this full time. What advice do you have for them?
Lauren Klein: Yeah, that’s where I thought my take was interesting because everything is about making it full time, making more money, getting more hits, doing more. I’m gonna tell that person, you need to look intrinsically, You need to look inside and see what you really want. You don’t have to listen to everything, take everything you hear with a grain of salt. These are just other people also putting things online and deciding what’s best for you and what you want.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s such great advice. I think we can all take that to heart too, just to take the pressure off a little bit, whether we are full-time or part-time and to enjoy it more. Adding a little bit more fun into blogging.
Lauren Klein: Yeah, for sure.
Megan Porta: Anything we’ve forgotten, Lauren, that you wanna be sure to mention before we start saying goodbye?
Lauren Klein: I don’t think so.
Megan Porta: All right. Thank you for being here. This was fun and very valuable. Something that we need to address and shed light on, I think. So thanks for all of this today. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Lauren Klein: Yes, so my favorite quote is, “These things take time”. I have no idea where I found it. Probably just like a Pinterest infographic, but I love it. It’s just a simple little saying to remind yourself to not get overwhelmed, to not put too much pressure on, to not try and take things too fast because these things take time and you can apply that to pretty much anything.
Megan Porta: That is such a good message for blogging. Just whether you’re a hobby or not. It’s so good to remind yourself of that because when you try to shorten something that does take time, that’s when you get frustrated. Just, why isn’t this working? Then people quit and they give up. So yeah, great message to end on. I love that. We will put some show notes together for you, Lauren. If anyone wants to look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/pieceof lulu, tell everyone where they can find you on Instagram, on your blog, and everywhere else.
Lauren Klein: Yeah, for sure. So I am on Instagram at Piecei.of.Lulu, It should come up both ways. Anyways, that, and then my blog is pieceoflulu.com. I’m also on Pinterest, as we said, Piece of Lulu. So yeah, follow along and reach out if you wanna chat about anything at all. I love chit chatting.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Yes, everyone go check out Lauren’s accounts and site and thank you so much for listening today. 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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