In this episode, Janelle Hama teaches us how to build a supportive community, especially around our blog’s niche, highlighting the benefits of collaboration, networking, and accountability within such communities.

We cover information about should you create your own group or join an existing one and the value of mutual support, sharing resources and friendship within blogging communities.

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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Guest Details

Connect with Plant Based Folk
Website | Instagram

Bio Janelle is a keen plant-based recipe blogger specializing in vegan Lebanese food. Due to having to change her diet a few years ago for health reasons, this, coupled with her love of cooking, started Janelle on a blogger journey 3 years ago.

Takeaways

  • Benefits of Community: Networking, collaboration, and seeking advice from others are key benefits of being part of a community.
  • Experience Sharing: Engaging with bloggers from diverse backgrounds brings different perspectives and learning opportunities.
  • Friendships and Support: Community offers emotional support, understanding, and celebration of achievements among bloggers.
  • Accountability: Being part of a community helps in setting and achieving goals through mutual accountability.
  • Star a Community: Initiate a group or join existing ones on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Set Clear Parameters: If you start your own group, set clear guidelines for who it caters for and what the community rules are.

Resources Mentioned

Apply to Janelle’ Community for Vegan / Plant-Based Recipe Bloggers here.

Transcript

Click for full script.

EBT512 – Janelle Hama

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth, and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom. Whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. 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 there’s ever been a year to immerse yourself in community, 2024 is that year. Maybe you already have a great community or group of fellow food bloggers or peers that you collaborate with regularly. That would be great if you said yes to that. If not, this episode will encourage you to dig into community. Janelle Hama from Plant-Based Folk joins me inside this interview and she talks about how she went on for a little bit without community and how it just didn’t feel right and she just made the decision to create her own community and how that has benefited both her and her business. We talk about the many different benefits that come from doing something like this or becoming involved in someone else’s community even, and we also talk about tangible ways to make it happen. I am really hoping you love this episode. It is number 512 Sponsored by RankIQ.

Sponsor 01:38

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Megan Porta 03:07

Janelle is a keen plant-based recipe blogger specializing in vegan Lebanese food due to having to change her diet a few years ago for health reasons. This coupled with her love of cooking started Janelle on a blogger journey three years ago. Hello Janelle, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

Janelle Hama 03:27

I’m well. How are you?

Megan Porta 03:28

I’m good. It’s early over there in Australia, so thank you for waking up early for us. We appreciate that.

Janelle Hama 03:34

Thanks for having me. It’s 6:00 AM I’m bright and early.

Megan Porta 03:38

That is very bright and early. Okay, so we’re going to talk today about just how important it’s to create and foster that community for bloggers. This can be a lonely, isolating job, but we’ll get into that in just a minute. First, do you have a fun fact about yourself to share?

Janelle Hama 03:55

I have the most random fact for you.

Megan Porta 03:57

Ooh, let’s hear it.

Janelle Hama 03:58

I have only, well, I only have cold showers. I don’t have hot showers, but it’s warmer weather. So right now we’re in summer and I don’t touch hot water whatsoever. So I’ve been trying to do that for the last couple of years and I just love it. And then at the end of my showers in winter, they turn to freezing cold. So that’s my fun fact.

Megan Porta 04:22

Okay, so I have a question about this. What benefits do you see? Because my husband is really into this right now and he keeps telling me, you need to take cold showers. I’m like, that sounds like the most awful thing ever. So you need to tell me why I need to do this , so maybe you can help.

Janelle Hama 04:36

That’s so funny because it’s the opposite with me and my partner, I’m telling them and he is like, no, that’s horrible. I find that they help with just feeling invigorated, alive, lots of energy, but also helping with my brain fog when that strikes. But mainly just you feel super alive. So it just helps me throughout the day I find to feel awake.

Megan Porta 05:03

So not just directly after you do it, but does it last? It’s lasting all day.

Janelle Hama 05:07

I would say. It gets me going. So when I have them in the evening, I try and have them a bit earlier so I’m not too awake, but it doesn’t last like, you know, hours on end, but it gives you a really good boost.

Megan Porta 05:22

Okay. And then how long did they last?

Janelle Hama 05:25

The showers?

Megan Porta 05:26

Yeah, the showers like do you have like a minute, two minutes, three minutes? How long or do you just like, the whole shower is like 10. Do you last how long? Yeah, I’m curious.

Janelle Hama 05:36

The whole thing’s in, in summer, the whole thing’s cold and I’m in there for min, you know, I don’t know. What’s the shower take? 5-10 minutes. And I couldn’t get enough of it. Like it’s not even cold enough for me, I want it to be colder.

Megan Porta 05:49

Oh my gosh.

Janelle Hama 05:52

I’m a psycho that way.

Megan Porta 05:55

Does it take a while to build this up? Because I’ve tried it and it was just awful. So tell me that like 10 times, 20 times a year, how long does this take?

Janelle Hama 06:05

It did take a while. I was quite a chicken at the start. I was like, oh my God, this is so bloody cold. But now it’s like I get in, I just suck it up and just go straight in and you get that shock. It’s like that first thing for shock is like what you crave and then your body just accustomed to it straight away. So when we go to the beach and we go for an ocean swim, I’m always the first one in and everyone takes that 10 minutes to get in. So I’m like, hurry up.

Megan Porta 06:34

That’s so funny. Are you an adrenaline junkie? Do you like adrenaline rushes in other areas of your life?

Janelle Hama 06:40

I do. Yeah. So I’ve jumped out of a plane and I wish I could do that again. That’s really good. But yeah, I do like having a bit of fun that way.

Megan Porta 06:50

I wonder if those are linked, like the, the desire for that cold rush and just adrenaline. I wonder if that’s the same.

Janelle Hama 06:58

Yeah, possibly. I would say so.

Megan Porta 07:01

Okay. This is very interesting. But I like hearing this because my husband every day is like, he’s on a streak now. I don’t know how many days it is, but he’s like, I can’t break my streak. I have to take a cold shower. And he says the same. He’s like, I feel so invigorated. After a couple weeks of doing it. He said he just felt different. Like better overall.

Janelle Hama 07:20

Yeah. You do like, because you know when you do gym work or you go for a run or whatever else you are in your aching. The book cold work just helps to soup aches and your skin feels tighter. There’s just a whole host of benefits to doing it. I highly recommend it. Just bite the bullet. Jump in there and go for it.

Megan Porta 07:42

Alright, fine. Okay. I’m going to tell him I talked to you and that you pushed me over the edge. Thank you.

Janelle Hama 07:47

You’re welcome.

Megan Porta 07:48

I’m going to start with, do you recommend just like a minute toward the end of the shower and then build up from there? If it’s like really painful.

Janelle Hama 07:55

Oh, just do 30 seconds, 30 seconds. If you can’t even do 30 then do less, but try and do at least 10. Okay. I’m at the point now where, because our summers are opposite to yours. We, I start now, my cold showers round about the end of August, which is still like, it’s kind of coming out of winter. And then now I’ll go through until about early late April, maybe early May and May gets really cold. And then in winter I’ll have my warm showers and then I’ll go in and finish that with a 30 second minimum freezing cold shower.

Megan Porta 08:33

Okay. And then you always end on the cold, right?

Janelle Hama 08:36

Yeah.

Megan Porta 08:37

Okay. Yeah. For a while I was doing, I was like, yeah, I’m doing it. And I told my husband I was doing cold and then warm. He is like, no, no, no, no. You have to end on cold.

Janelle Hama 08:45

Yeah. End on cold. I think for me the next thing would be to jump into an ice bath.

Megan Porta 08:50

Oh yeah. He’s all over that too.

Janelle Hama 08:52

Oh, how awesome.

Megan Porta 08:54

Yeah, I know. I love it. And thank you for inspiring me. I’m going to try it. Janelle, I’ll report back and let you know.

Janelle Hama 09:00

Oh, that’s awesome.

Megan Porta 09:01

If it’s scary or not too bad, I’m sure once you do it, it’s like, why was I overthinking this?

Janelle Hama 09:07

You are going to love it. You’re going to be like, why didn’t I do this sooner?

Megan Porta 09:12

I will report back to you. I’m super excited now. Yeah, Alright, well we are actually not here to talk about cold showers. We’re talking about, we’re here to talk about community, which I love. This is such an important topic to talk about for food bloggers. Oh my gosh. The people who don’t immerse themselves in that community really, they miss a big piece of the puzzle I think. And I was in that boat for a long time. I for some reason just resisted it. And then came to the point where I was like, oh my gosh, this is so essential to be in some sort of community. So to start our conversation, do you just want to tell us a little bit about your blog? Like when you started? Just give us a little bit of background first.

Janelle Hama 09:53

Sure. So I started plantbasedfolk.com back in late 2019 and then realized, oh, I did this all wrong. I just jumped straight in, realized that I hadn’t self-hosted, I didn’t have a good theme. I didn’t even have recipe cards set up. So I just was like I had to stop because I had to transfer my domain over. So I didn’t actually really start until early 2020. I do specialize in vegan Lebanese recipes and plant-based recipes. So that came about because of my Lebanese background. Both my parents were from Lebanon and then immigrated to Sydney, Australia, which is where I was born. And here I still am. So I’ve been doing that since 2020 and I was able to monetize in May, 2021 and here I am. And like you, I basically stuck it out on my own for a long time. I was a lone wolf. I didn’t really talk to anyone. I was just grabbing bits of information here and there from other bloggers that I were trying through, you know, groups on social media or whatever you could find on the web. And then, yeah, fast forward to now, still going and I love it.

Megan Porta 11:09

Yeah, I mean it really does change everything once you start realizing the importance of this and making an effort and you do have to make an effort, right? It’s not like people just flock to you for a while I thought that like, well my community will come to me just magically, but that doesn’t happen. You have to put the effort in.

Janelle Hama 11:27

No, you definitely have to put an effort and it’s effort to a level that’s, if you are not self-motivated, it’s really hard because no one’s there pushing you. You are not, it’s not like you have a boss or you’ve got, you know, coworkers and peers. If you are not self-motivated then and you can’t push yourself, then it’s going to be super hard.

Megan Porta 11:47

So to kind of motivate people to do this, what have you seen as, we’ll talk in a little bit about how you’ve done this, but what are the benefits of finding that community, do you think?

Janelle Hama 11:57

So being a food blogger, you are generally on your own and being on your own can be a very, very lonely place. Some of the benefits include, you know, being able to network and collaborate for different opportunities and just getting be, you know, being able to ask for advice from others who have been there, done that. As I said, I started back in 2020 and I still haven’t done a lot of things on my blog. And there’s people who have done way more than I am. So no matter what I’ve learned, there’s always 10 times more to learn. So being able to go back to someone that’s relatable or people that are relatable and ask them is a huge benefit.

Megan Porta 12:35

Yeah. Those are all great. And I found that everyone has a different skillset. Everyone has a different perspective. Everyone brings something different to the table. So if you have a little collection of people, you can really tap into a lot of different information that way. Right. Even if like one person isn’t the most experienced blogger, maybe they’re brand new, they still have a unique skillset and perspective to teach you.

Janelle Hama 13:02

Yeah, absolutely. Because I think the newer bloggers are learning super fast, right? Because yeah, it’s just a new challenge. So they might learn things that we, I might end up think, oh I’ve got this down pat, I’m not going to bother learning more about this. And they’ve come around and learn something new. because we all know Google changes every hour. So they might come along and say, well actually this is the new update and this is what you need to be doing. You’re like, oh, I’m used to being in this mode. So, yeah, absolutely.

Megan Porta 13:30

Yeah, I say this all the time and this is why I don’t have, from my mastermind groups, I don’t have a set experience level that you have to be to get in the groups. And this is exactly why, because most of the time I learn more from the newer bloggers than I do the more seasoned bloggers for that reason. They’re fresh, they’re, they’re driven, they’re like reading all of the relevant information. They’re on top of everything. And I mean, my old like blogging brain doesn’t always want to do that. So I’m like, oh gosh, I wasn’t even aware of this resource or whatever.

Janelle Hama 14:08

Yeah, absolutely. And too, like you might be, because we’ve been doing it for a bit longer. We are so fast at doing what we’re doing that we’re on this track where they’re more willing to share. And I’m not saying I don’t want to share, I’m always there to help people to share and learn. Especially because I feel like in the beginning I had, I didn’t know where to turn to. But now if someone, if I see someone struggling with something and I, and I know that I know that information, I’m happy to share it.

Megan Porta 14:35

Yes, that is true. Also, just the freely sharing with new bloggers is very common I found. And information aside, relevant information, the friendships is huge too. Just having people who truly understand you, do you find that too?

Janelle Hama 14:52

Yes. So prior to this little group that I’ve got going, I made a couple of friends from, you know, within Australia, but also I’ve got one really good one in the US. She’s based outta Texas. And we talk every couple of weeks, we bounce ideas off each other, we give each other support. You know, when I’m feeling a bit upset about something that’s happened in the blogging sphere, she’ll support me and vice versa we give you. It’s just amazing to have that connection with someone who really understands you. And then when you do have a win, they totally get the win. And why you’re celebrating this. We’re regular people as in non-bloggers because we’re regular I don’t get that. A lot of blood sweat tears went into getting such a little milestone.

Megan Porta 15:40

Yeah, right. Oh gosh, that’s so true. Even someone as close as a spouse or a partner or a best friend that’s outside of the blogging world, they just like, you can see it in their eyes. They truly don’t understand how big a win can be, even if it seems really little to them it’s like, oh no, you don’t understand like I got into MediaVine or whatever it is. Just having that little level of understanding is so huge.

Janelle Hama 16:04

Yeah, absolutely. You gotta celebrate all those wins. It’s good to do with people that really understand.

Megan Porta 16:10

Also accountability. This is something I leaned into really early on when I saw the importance of community was just having people hold me accountable for things I wanted to do because we’re our own boss, right? So yeah, we don’t always want to do that. So do you lean into that part of it as well?

Janelle Hama 16:28

Yeah, so I do that, especially with my fellow blogger in Texas. We kind of set some goals and say let’s do this, let’s do that. We don’t exactly meet them all the time. But at least we kind of check in and say, okay, how did you go with this? And then we can say, I actually exceeded it or didn’t do it. And these are the reasons why it really does help you to check in. It’s no different than, you know, going to your weekly meeting in your regular job for example, and saying this is what we’ve gotta do. This is why, how we met them and not if, yeah, as we said in the beginning, if you’re not a self, you know, motivator, having someone or people to do that for you with you really does help.

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Megan Porta 18:08

I am super curious to hear about your group that, I know you started a group, but first I wanted to ask, is there any other benefit that you can think of that would encourage people to really get into community?

Janelle Hama 18:19

I think, you know, aside from having mutual support and the emotional connection, it’s just being able to have some form of connection with a group that’s in the background that, you know, you can just go to and ask questions anytime. And it could be any type of group, but just being able to go back to them and say, Hey, what do you think I should be doing in this scenario? And the answers that you get is really phenomenal because everyone is very varied and sometimes you can see a trend, sometimes you can be seeing something that you go, oh well you know, it’s unanimous, I shouldn’t be doing this or I should be doing that. So having a place to touch base I think is really paramount.

Megan Porta 18:59

Looking outside yourself a little bit, it’s hard to do that as an entrepreneur to step outside of your world. So seeing your world from other perspectives I think is so valuable.

Janelle Hama 19:10

Yeah, absolutely.

Megan Porta 19:11

And then also like resources. You know, if you maybe want a course or a resource on a certain topic like I don’t know, finances or whatever, that is another great thing to bounce off of a group, right. Just to get those suggestions.

Janelle Hama 19:26

Yeah. So over my, you know, career of blogging, I’ve undertaken a couple of different courses and it’s all been word of mouth recommendations. You should do this, you should be doing that. Look into this, I love this about this course. Or you know, these are the pitfalls, the recommendations are huge. And I find that they, other bloggers know other areas that you just wouldn’t have thought to touch base with. Yeah. Like I, because like you said, you’re stuck in your own chain of thought basically as a self entrepreneur if you like. And you’re just stuck in your own ways that seeing people from the outside can really help to motivate you and inspire you to do new things.

Megan Porta 20:08

Agreed. And sometimes it’s hard to see things from another perspective. Like it’s almost like you’re not used to taking critiques and then when you do you’re like, wait a second, what I was doing it this way. But I think it’s really valuable too to just see things from another perspective.

Janelle Hama 20:26

Yeah. Feedback and constructive criticism is really key. I think honest opinions, suggestions can help you, you know, improve your content, refine your writing skills, enhance your overall quality of your blog. And it comes from a third party that’s, you know, giving you really good constructive criticism.

Megan Porta 20:46

Yes. Love all those points. Okay, so now you started a group a little while back that I would love to hear about after seeing the need for this community. Talk to us about how you got started with that and what it involves.

Janelle Hama 20:59

Yeah, so late last year, I’m part of a few different communities and they’re amazing. Like they truly are amazing. You can find them through social media and I just noticed that a lot of them were very general and when I’m talking about recipe bloggers, so a lot of them were very general covering a lot of different diets. And so for them didn’t necessarily always fit me being a person who eats plant-based or specialize in vegan recipes for example. And then I try to join one group and I was rejected just based on the fact that I cooked only with plants and it really frustrated me.

Megan Porta 21:37

Wait, a blogging group rejected you?

Janelle Hama 21:40

Yeah. A recipe blogging group saying that, you know, it’s not really relevant to us. And I thought, okay, fair enough, because I’m not really interested in perhaps, you know, eating. And so I was like, oh well that’s frustrating. So literally I just started one the next day. I was like, I’m going to do these just vegans and plant-based folk and that’s my blog and whole food plant-based dieters. So I did, and that started back, I believe in October. We’ve got a small, we’ve got a small group on Slack and it’s growing. So I get signups, it’s just through word of mouth. We’re up to about late thirties I think people in the group.

Megan Porta 22:22

Oh, that’s amazing.

Janelle Hama 22:24

And they’re from all around the world. We’ve got people from Australia, United States, I think, you know, the Arab Emirates, Europe, so they’re from around the globe.

Megan Porta 22:35

That is amazing. I love that you didn’t see that. Well rejection I guess is the word that comes to mind, but like being not included in the group and seeing that as an opportunity to start something new instead of just letting it get you down. Good for you. That’s amazing. And I love that it’s so successful and that the are so many bloggers in it and that it’s growing.

Janelle Hama 22:57

Yeah. Well yeah, I just thought, I try not to see things as a negative. I always try and look for the positives, but yeah, it was just funny how out of sheer rejection this came about.

Megan Porta 23:09

Yeah, right? Yep. I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but I was also rejected from a really big Facebook group that everyone knows here in the food blogging space. And I was devastated. This was a handful of years ago now. Yeah. I was so upset because I went to that group every day. I got all my information from there and they literally would not let me back into the group and I didn’t know why. So I, I mean it took me a few days of being really sad. I was like, this is so not fair. And then I picked myself up just like you and I was like, no, I am I, this is ridiculous. So I started a podcast and that is really the impetus of why Eat Blog Talk is here. So failure can definitely be turned into a success.

Janelle Hama 23:57

Yeah. It can be a driving force.

Megan Porta 23:59

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so in your Slack group you do you guys just, do you have different, I know you can have different channels that you talk about different topics. Are you guys in there frequently? How is it structured?

Janelle Hama 24:10

So I’m in there daily just to make sure it’s all running properly. But essentially what we do in the group is exchange back links on a weekly basis. And it’s done in a very natural organic way. We do have a couple of different channels. I’ve kept it really small at this point because it did start late in the year. And as we get into October quarter four, it was mayhem time. So you know, we’re all knuckled down trying to get out the best quarter going. So, but now that we’re back this year, I think I’m going to start building it up even further. But we do have like, you can ask anything support on social media and just ideas. So for example, we were talking about before getting help or you know, some feedback from other bloggers. I want to try and embark on releasing a, you know, an e-product. And I’ve asked other, you know, the group who’s got this down pat, do you have any feedback? And you know, that’s where I would go now to get the feedback because they’re bloggers that are very similar to me and would understand, you know, very similar to me. Yeah. So yeah. But mostly, mostly the bloggers are there to help generate a backlink each week for themselves.

Megan Porta 25:21

Nice. So if you could give other people encouragement, if they really want to be a part of a group and don’t know where to go, just starting their own thing, whether it’s a Slack channel or maybe a private Facebook group. Do you have any other recommendations about how to go about creating your own community?

Janelle Hama 25:37

I think A: just dive in. I’m a big believer just dive in, because otherwise you never get there and you’re probably just doing too much research. So start it and put it out into your network. You’re already probably part of different groups. So put it out into the groups, maybe check the rules to see if you are allowed to put out such a call out. And then people who are like-minded will go, yep, I want to be part of this and start joining. Set up a form through Google so people can just go in, fill out the form to join and you can start sifting through to see if there were fit and yeah, dive right in.

Megan Porta 26:16

I think that’s a key point, not just letting anyone in. I learned that the hard way that you do have to kinda set up some parameters around like are, you know, like are you invested in this? Are you going to show up and be positive? That was a huge thing for my groups is just like the mental part of it. Like you need to bring a level of positivity and support and encouragement, otherwise it’s not a good fit. Hmm. So having, I think you said a Google doc or some sort of, I dunno if you want to call it like an application or just something kind of outlining those expectations, right?

Janelle Hama 26:50

Yeah. So I pretty much put the form in place so that it can be the first step in making sure that whoever’s wanting to be part of the group really fits. And the reason being it is, it is a group for people that do specialize in, you know, recipes that are for plant-based people and vegans because cooking, you know, cooking with animal products versus not cooking with animal products is a big shift. Well at least I found it to be. And so I wanted to make sure that if you’re going to come in, your blog was really focused in that area. I’ve had bloggers not really focused in that area, but you know, I politely explained that this is coming to this type of blogger and the reason why we want to be able to do that is just so that you know, anyone that’s sharing organic links between each other, it really does make sense that it’s coming from another blogger that’s similar to yours, which helps with authority with Google and so forth.

Megan Porta 27:48

Oh yeah. Especially if you’re sharing back links, that’s hugely important to kind of set the stage. You don’t want to be linking to roast beef on your blog, I’m assuming so.

Janelle Hama 27:57

Yeah, exactly. It doesn’t make sense to have something that’s, you know, purely plants and then have a chicken nugget thrown in there. Doesn’t make sense. And you want to be able to give your audience what they want. So if you know your audience only eats, for example, roast beef, then it doesn’t make sense to go, hey have a carrot.

Megan Porta 28:15

Right. So what, whatever your kind of requirements are for your community, your group, make sure just to make that really clear up front, right. Whether it’s more of a mindset thing or if it’s a content thing, just making sure people know before they come in.

Janelle Hama 28:33

Yeah, you can set the rules in your form with Google, which then gets housed in your Google drive. The rules will actually state, oh you did say that. And then if you fit that criteria fill out, get them to fill out the form, it goes into a Google sheet and then you can kind of do the sifting from there.

Megan Porta 28:51

I love this. Okay, is there anything we haven’t touched on? Whether it’s benefits of forming a community or being part of a community or how to start? Anything along any of those lines?

Janelle Hama 29:04

No, I think we’re pretty good. I mean there’s always stuff that if anyone wants to ask anything they can.

Megan Porta 29:11

I feel like this will be really in good encouragement for people to look for groups. Oh here, that’s another question. Maybe somebody doesn’t want to start their own group. Where do they find a group if they just want to join one?

Janelle Hama 29:24

So I think Facebook is a really good tool in terms of finding like-minded people. So there’s the group section of Facebook, you can just literally search. If you start by searching, you know, very generically food bloggers, you’ll find a ton of Facebook groups and then, then once you start to get monetized, you can then join other groups such, for example, I’m part of the Media Vine group, which has a wealth of knowledge. Yes. Otherwise, I know there are different communities on Instagram too, but mostly I find Facebook to be really powerful in terms of finding people within your same niche or you know, the blogging industry.

Megan Porta 30:03

I found a lot of my friends through Instagram just connecting there with other food bloggers, like supporting their content basically. And then, you know, you kind of formula a little friendship and talking to them through DMs or whatever. And then if you do something like that you can start asking around just like, do you want to join a group or make connections there I guess.

Janelle Hama 30:24

And I think you’d be surprised as a blogger how receptive a lot of bloggers are because a lot of them are in the same situation as you. You’re just more perhaps vocal or more upfront about it and they’re just, you know, they dunno how to go about reaching that, making that connection. So I, I’ve reached out to several blogs in the past and a lot of them are like, yeah, I’m up for this. Let’s do it. Let’s meet up, let’s, let’s have a chat. And then everyone’s the same. You know, it can be a lonely space.

Megan Porta 30:51

Some people have the need or the gap and they don’t even know it. But when you bring it to their attention they’re like, oh yeah, that would be great. It would be great to have a group of people to connect with. Right. Like just bringing that to people’s attention might all might be all it takes.

Janelle Hama 31:07

Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

Megan Porta 31:10

And you’re missing something you don’t know. You’re missing until someone brings it to your attention. Also, if you live in the vicinity of other food bloggers, it’s a really, really fun experience to get together with them in person. I think that’s more valuable than anything. But it’s also a little bit harder than anything, just aligning schedules and all of that. But have you ever done anything like that?

Janelle Hama 31:31

No, but I want to so much. Yeah. I just am like, I’m in the biggest city in Australia, but every blogger that I talk to in Australia is in a different state. But I haven’t been able to do that. That is on my list of, you know, it’s a bucket list thing. Yeah, I’m definitely going to do that.

Megan Porta 31:50

It really is so powerful. I love hosting in-person retreats for that reason. The people who have come to my retreats have such strong bonds. Like it’s crazy how quickly you can bond when you have that human connection.

Janelle Hama 32:08

Oh, I wish I was there now.

Megan Porta 32:09

Yeah. Well I did have a New Zealand blogger I believe reach out recently and she was like, Megan, you should host a retreat in either Australia or New Zealand because there are quite a few Australia and New Zealand food bloggers. So I have really been considering that, just, I don’t even know how to go about it because I’ve never even traveled there. But I think that would be so fun to just go to another part of the world and host something like that.

Janelle Hama 32:37

Yeah, you’ve gotta do it here actually. And if you need the help, I’m here to help you. You would love it. I would love it. We would all love it.

Megan Porta 32:44

That’s awesome. So what part of Australia are you in?

Janelle Hama 32:48

I’m in Sydney, so I’m on the east coast. It is the biggest city in Australia. So if you, I recommend either Sydney or perhaps even Melbourne. They’re the two biggest cities.

Megan Porta 33:00

All right. So if you are from Australia and you think that would be interesting, if you’re listening, let me know because I’m seriously considering this. I think that would be super awesome to go explore your amazing country where you have the cool birds that I get to hear.

Janelle Hama 33:17

Oh, they’re still going.

Megan Porta 33:18

I didn’t hear them. So before we hit record, I was telling Janelle there’s like a squeaky noise and we figured out it was the birds, which is so cool. I’ve never had a bird show up in the background, so I think that’s awesome.

Janelle Hama 33:32

It’s pretty cool.

Megan Porta 33:34

Yes. So is there anything you want to mention before we go, Janelle, this is so valuable. I love this conversation.

Janelle Hama 33:40

I just think if you are thinking about, you know, getting some more human connection, this is the year for you to do it. Go for it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you do not get, you know, an answer or you just don’t get anyone responding to you, don’t let that stop you. There’s a lot of that going on. Everyone is busy. Eventually you’ll find your tribe.

Megan Porta 34:04

That was so well said. And yes, you’re right. If this is the year, if there’s any year to do it, this is the year to do it. Take into that community. Well, thank you so much for being here. Do you either have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with in addition to everything you’ve shared already?

Janelle Hama 34:20

Several years ago, I heard a Aussie singer say, everybody dies, but not everybody lives. And I thought, wow, that, I don’t know, it just struck a chord with me like, yep, I need to start living. I can’t just be alive and not living, so do fun things every day, make every day count. I try and do that. Sometimes you forget, sometimes if it’s in the back of your mind, you know, you’re just going to have a good time.

Megan Porta 34:46

And the cold showers help with that. Right. They make you more alive and ready to dig into your day.

Janelle Hama 34:52

Yeah, absolutely.

Megan Porta 34:54

I love how that ties together. I love that quote too. We’ll put together, show notes for you, Janelle. If you want to go peek at those, head to eatblogtalk.com/plantbasedfolk, tell everyone where they can find you.

Janelle Hama 35:07

So you can find me on plantbasedfolk.com. I’m on all the social medias, especially active on YouTube. And then for the Slack group, I think I’ll share a link with you.

Megan Porta 35:19

Perfect. Yes.

Janelle Hama 35:20

Yeah, my handle on all the social medias is plantbasedfolk.

Megan Porta 35:24

Awesome. Everyone go check out Janelle’s content. And thank you again, Janelle, for being here. And thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outro 35:38 

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to rate and review Eat Blog talk on your favorite podcast player. Thank you and I will see you next time.


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