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EPISODE 097: MANAGING THE DAILY GRIND IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY WITH SUZY KARADSHEH

Blog Title: The Mediterranean Dish

Social Media:

The Mediterranean Dish on Instagram

The Mediterranean Dish on Facebook

Notes from Episode #097:

  • Fun fact: Suzy was born and raised in a cosmopolitan city, in Egypt. She moved to the US at age 18 to attend college in Michigan, then got married and settled in. 
  • Food bloggers juggle all the tasks on a daily basis and that creates stress no matter if you’re in a pandemic or just doing your regular workload. 
    • “Taking one day at a time” is something that Suzy’s father taught her and she tries to live that out. 
    • Suzy went through a period of complete burnout in the past. It took stepping back, giving herself grace and planning to get back on the path she wanted to be on. 
    • Suzy’s current routine looks completely different than what she had been doing before. She had to set up three buckets to get herself organized – bucket #1 – what she had to do, bucket #2 – what tasks she could pass off and finally bucket #3 – which tasks had to be put on hold and could be addressed at a later time. This is something that she has to do on a regular basis to keep moving forward without returning to that burned out season.
    • Now with the pandemic, this assessment looks even different because Suzy and her husband have 2 kids at home and they are working on educating their kids as well as working and raising a family. 
    • It’s not possible to plan out ahead like they used to. Day to day planning is more realistic right now. Many people probably fall into this boat and its important to remember that it’s ok, there’s no fault in going towards this planning method.
    • You can put things on the calendar but be flexible and pause certain content/posts and save them for a better time when they don’t make sense.
    • Do not look at how someone else plans their work. It isn’t going to work for you. Your business is different from theirs. 
  • Remind yourself of who you are, what your business is about,  and where the channel you thrive is. Keep that going first, then go into the other channels as you can. 
    • Watching other people brings the most stress to a person’s life. It can be inspiring and exciting but it also can be frustrating and bring you down. Just remember you only see one side of (their story) and that might be where they shine but there’s other stuff you don’t see. 
  • There are so many ways you can succeed! Pick your path.
    • For Suzy that has been the only way she has stayed sane. Suzy produces content for her audience, the people who want to cook the Mediterranean way. They have told her they aren’t interested in kitschy items or other types of content.
  • If you feel frazzled and have too many balls in the air, focus on an item or niche that only you can do best. What kind of content can you produce for your audience. Take inventory of your niche. 
  • Don’t borrow somebody else’s path. 
  • Dig into the WHY and WHO you’re serving. Make it a visual piece on a piece of paper. Clarity of purpose defined for you on paper helps! 
  • Suzy feels less stressed when she knows her purpose and has a routine in place. 
    • Develop a pattern for your workflow. This will help you work your plan. 
    • Be flexible with your plan but make a schedule. Then try out the new schedule. Then prioritize again and reset the plan. 
    • Don’t spend as much time on social media to help avoid getting sucked in and getting away from your work plan. 
  • Suzy isn’t increasing the number of posts she’s creating but she is pivoting on what type of content she is putting out to help her audience with this change of cooking and availability of ingredients. She also wanted to get people resources in place of what else she might have created before. 
  • You are running a business for the long term. You want to be able to create and be helpful but not at the cost of your sanity. 
  • Suzy has a husband who grounds her and is a good business partner. He has an analytical mind and gives her perspective she didn’t have on her own. Therefore she’s approaching this with a critical eye with his help. 
    • Instead of more content, Suzy is working to go and be on IG Live or engage with her audience in place of adding more content posts to her schedule. This allows her to brighten her audience’s day, interact with them and yet not add to much more to her schedule time wise. She calls this community engagement. 
    • Dig into your blogs and use some great existing content to post on Instagram or put in an email blast. 
  • To avoid stress, it’s important to stick to your priorities. Decide how to pivot in this situation, do what’s best for your blog and not what everyone else’s blog is doing. 
  • Some people are experiencing higher traffic during this shelter in place time, others aren’t, so it’s hard to know what’s coming in the future for food bloggers. It’s important to remember that nothing is going to change overnight even when the shelter in place is lifted.
    • Even as things begin to open up, people will not be able to flip a switch and just carry on as business as usual. 
    • Help yourself by remembering that this is a process; it’s messy and you’ll have to switch your routine as well as assess your priorities. 
    • Think ahead to Q4 and think about what you can do as people trickle back into living their lives for the holiday season and are getting back on their feet. It’ll be exciting and give you a mental lift. Assume normalcy is going to come back but assume it’s going to take awhile.
    • You need to have a mindset change – go from man, this is hard, to the mindset that we’re going to get through this and come out strong. 
  • Some of the work that we’re doing in this shift of how we do work, is a gift. Take this time to assess your work and figure out how to do business differently. Use this time to work on things that you think will serve your audience in the future and leave behind what wasn’t working. These are great building blocks that will lift your presence and traffic. 
  • Because we all had this change thrust upon us, take the time to look at your business as a whole, and figure out your strategic plan. We’ve all been given the extra time where we can’t go to a food conference or be outside with friends. That time adds up and can be put to valuable use. 
  • Be mindful of using that time to get purposeful. Dive into analytics, take an online class and calculate what your next step is and how you want to grow. 
  • Suzy is taking this time to invest into the e-commerce site more than the blog. That has woken them up to the fact that they need to look at their businesses differently than they had planned before. 
    • Look at where income is coming in on a pie chart and figure out where you should invest for the future. 
  • Suzy’s blog started as a hobby. Then it became a part time gig for her. Then the idea of e-commerce came from her audience when they came to her looking for advice on where to buy spices and oils. Her audience wanted quality products and they wanted her advice. Their feedback showed Suzy that they could provide this service here in the US. 
    • Take inventory of what your audience needs most. Then do it. Do it well. Don’t do it fast. 
    • Sometimes the obvious isn’t obvious to you, but your audience can let you know. Listen to them! Don’t guess what they want. You’ll be investing in time and money so take the time to lean in and plan well. 
  • Suzy offers this advice: Keep on keeping on. If you have to take a day off, do it. Grace. Give that to yourself. 

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