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Episode 295: Building Your Perfect Audience with Eden Westbrook

In episode 295, Megan chats with Eden Westbrook, creator of Sweet Tea and Thyme and the lady behind The Food Blogging mastermind, who tells us how to build our content and our audience based on your one person.

We cover information about why you need to know what you love to do, what you’re passionate about and how that can make you money, then think about what causes people to visit you and what are they intrigued by from what you offer. Finally, do not be afraid to be exclusive!

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Sweet Tea + Thyme
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Eden Westbrook is a wife, mom, and entrepreneur. Creator of the food blog Sweet Tea + Thyme in 2016,, she has built it from an idea to a six-figure business. Eden’s  blog focuses on multicultural family-friendly dishes and date night ideas for the millennial family. You’ll also find her teaching other food bloggers how to build profitable and successful food blogs through her mastermind course The Food Blogging Mastermind.

Takeaways

  • Mindset is very important in blogging and in building a business.
  • Begin to dig into resources available to help in blogging.
  • Question to ponder – Who are you talking to and not what are you talking about.
  • Questions to ask yourself are, what do I love? What do I love to create? With my passions, who is a person who would relate to that? What do they like? Who are they, where do they live? This will help build your avatar.
  • Use your newsletter to reach out to your audience and ask questions so you get feedback from people who know you and your content (vs IG or another platform).
  • Ikigai (Japanese) = things that you’re really great at, things that you love, things that you can get paid for and things that the world (your audience) needs from you.
  • Understanding your avatar, based on the things in your purpose and your Ikigai. It goes together well, it’s learning your Ikigai. Going into your ideal person, your ideal audience, and then niching. Those are the first three steps towards creating a successful blog and mindset.
  • A niche is very different from your perfect audience person, your one avatar. 

Resources Mentioned

How To Build A Food Blogging Career from Scratch

Food Blogging Mastermind

Transcript

Click for full script.

295_EDEN_WESTBROOK

Eden Westbrook: Hi, this is Eden Westbrook from Sweet Tea and Thyme and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. 

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Megan Porta: Hello, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast are food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in your business. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta. 

Today, Eden Westbrook and I are going to have a super fun conversation about building your perfect audience. Eden is a wife, mom, and entrepreneur, creator of the food blog Sweet Tea and Thyme. In 2016, she built it from an idea to a six-figure business. Eden’s blog focuses on multicultural family friendly dishes and date night ideas for the millennial family. You’ll also find her teaching other food bloggers how to build profitable and successful food blogs through her mastermind course, the food blogging mastermind. Eden, I am so grateful you’re here. I’m so glad I got to meet you in person a few days ago. So it makes it even more fun to chat with you today. We’re so thrilled to hear from you, but first we all want to hear what your fun fact is. 

Eden Westbrook: Oh, my fun fact is that I am the self-proclaimed Mac and cheese queen of the food blogging world. Whenever there’s a crazy Mac and cheese viral video, people automatically send it to me to get my reaction. 

Megan Porta: Ah. Okay. So what is your favorite version of Mac and cheese? 

Eden Westbrook: It’s Southern baked Mac and cheese, of course. 

Megan Porta: Oh, of course. Oh gosh. Why did I even ask? I was telling you before we recorded that I too am a self-proclaimed Mac and cheese fanatic. So sometime outside of this conversation, we need to compare notes because I feel like Mac and cheese is a blank canvas for creating so many delicious options as grilled cheese. I love Mac and cheese. Oh, I feel you on that. I’m excited to chat with you today about building your perfect audience because you have done this. Once you honed into the necessary ingredients in blogging and really dug into your business, you found that you thrived through building your perfect audience. So I would love it if you started Eden by just telling us how you started your blog and how you learned to grow it by serving your perfect audience. 

Eden Westbrook: Okay. So I started really, it was on and off from 2012. It was an idea of, oh, I would love to go ahead and share my recipes online, especially because I married really young. I married at age 18 to my high school sweetheart. 

Megan Porta: Oh wow. 

Eden Westbrook: Who is still with me today and you guys met him, obviously. 

Megan Porta: He’s amazing. I loved him. 

Eden Westbrook: That’s what I tell him. He is amazing. But yeah, so I married young. We joined the military young and I was away from my friends I grew up with. They were like, can you send me the recipe for your great roasted chicken? Can you send me your recipe for this? Can you send me a recipe for that? I’m like, okay, I will just put it out here for you guys to go to, because I cannot right now. That’s really how that whole kind of blogging situation started. But then, I was like, I really love this blogging thing. So at first I started a lifestyle kind of blog that transitioned just to recipes and whatnot. When I was like, okay, I really want to do this. But then I started seeing income reports, especially from Pinch of Yum and Bjork, and Lindsey and I were just like, okay, so this is real. I can make it a legit business. I could really do something with this. By that time, I had just finished culinary school. Basically I was like, I’m not into commercial kitchens. They’re not for me. They’re really not for me. But anybody who’s ever worked in the back of a house and back of the house, nobody wants to work there, honestly. You love cooking, but being in the weeds every weekend is not, that is not the place for me. I was like what can I do with this culinary stuff? I really want to turn this into something I can use besides working in kitchens. Turns out I wanted to work in my own kitchen. So basically I created a very thick dossier. I am a fan of dossiers. In my mastermind I tell people how to brand stock using a five point dossier, which is a lot of fun. But basically I created this thick kind of a binder of this is why I want to be a food blogger, honey. So let’s use our grocery money and the money that we don’t have to become a food blogger.

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That’s funny. 

Eden Westbrook: Because I promise it’s going to work. 

Megan Porta: I love that you came with a dossier. I don’t know any other food blogger who has done that, but you came well-prepared.

Eden Westbrook: Yeah. I am a person who is not impulsive. I am the person, I need to research everything before I ever invest into it. So with this, I was like, it’s something that I love people already asking me for recipes. It’s something I can do with my culinary training and it makes money. We were broke as a joke. We were two kids at this time, 21, 22 around there. Basically I’m broke as a joke, just out of the military, and trying to transition into civilian life, which is totally different. The military takes good care of you when you’re active duty. They pay for your housing. They pay for your electric bill. You’re in your parents house. So then all of a sudden you’re out of the house. 

Megan Porta: Kicked out. 

Eden Westbrook: It’s hard to transition. So we were trying to be civilians, broke. We had a toddler and I was like, I have to make this work. Because I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t want to work. I worked a retail job. While I was in culinary school, I worked a retail job and I worked at a restaurant. I don’t ever want to go back to that. Basically, nose to the grindstone. May have been poor as, I don’t even know what, but let me tell you every single grain of information and wisdom I could glean from the big guys, I took and ran with it. 

Megan Porta: So what was step one for you? So you were in a spot where you were like, this has to work. I think a lot of us can relate to that. I was in the same spot. I had gotten fired from my job and I wasn’t going back to work. So I was in the same boat. This has to work. There’s no other option. So what was step one for you? What did you do as your first step into this new event?

Eden Westbrook: For years, really, I was just bumbling around. This was during the time where we really didn’t know much about SEO and we thought social media was the way to go and trying to deal with that. It was really just bumbling around. We were all just floating in this atmosphere of confusion. I feel like the first real thing that I did was completely change my mindset. I know mindset is a big thing that everybody’s talking about right now, but, oh goodness. I got out of the mindset of victimization. Because I was like, we did everything we were supposed to do. I was homeless in 2016 with my husband and our son, because our landlord literally foreclosed on his house. We were like, how did we end up here? We did everything everyone told us we were supposed to do. Yet here we are. I’m like, why is this happening to me? Then I was just like, you know what, I’m not going to allow this. I’m going to turn this frustration, this anger, this hunger, and I’m going to use it to fuel me making this work. That especially became a big thing once my husband, he was slowly getting ill. But I believe it was early 2019, maybe even late 2018 that he became hospitalized for months. He was really our breadwinner. I was taking care of our son at home because we really couldn’t afford daycare. Daycare is so expensive, especially in south Florida. He became ill and literally as he’s hospitalized, tubes in his arms, tests every day, his jobs are calling his phone, blowing up his phone, telling him he needs to come back to work. How dare he? He needs to think about the other people because they’re short staffed or they don’t have enough people and they need him. My husband is literally so ill with a disease that we didn’t even know at the time what it was. So we were like, we don’t even know what’s happening. They’re running tests to figure it out. He was having internal bleeding at that time. So we’re scared. We had no idea what was happening. Thank God that he has VA benefits. That took care of the medical bills. Thank the Lord. Because I can’t even imagine. Because they were saying, we’re going to fire him because he’s not coming to work and he needs to come into work and we’re just like, he’s literally hospitalized sick as a dog, bleeding and we have no idea what’s going on. All you can think about is your bottom line. Like I said, I was angry. I was frustrated. I was upset and I was like this has to work. I gotta figure this out. 

At that time, I realized I was getting a lot of cookbook offers basically, but they were pigeonholing me. They were like, can you do books on soul food? Can you do a book about African-American cuisine? I was just like, I cook way much more than if you would actually look at my blog. You would know that. Because I grew up in multicultural big, melting pot communities. So I knew I needed to go ahead. I see that they’re pigeonholing me as a niche. Who am I talking to? Why do they see me as that? I think that after changing my mindset from being a victim to I’m going to do whatever comes possible, next I need to figure out who I’m talking to and not what I’m talking about. 

Megan Porta: Oh, that’s good right there. So when you started answering that question, what came to you?

Eden Westbrook: The first thing really was, what do I love? What do I love to create? With that, with my passions, who is a person who would relate to that? What do they like? Who are they, where do they live? In my mastermind, we really dive deep into that. It’s amazing how there’s a total identity shift when it comes to my students’ blogs. Watching them is like a switch turns on. That whole thing of who is this person that relates to the content I’m creating? When I was on panel with Susie and Todd from Hey Grill Hey, and of course Bjork from Food Blogger Pro, Susie had said it is about the value that we are bringing to our reader. But the thing is and I tell this to my students is, I think of food blogging like we’re in a big mall. There’s so many stores. There’s so many different stores. So we are specifically reaching out to that one person that’s walking in the mall that says, oh, I really like that. Let me go and check that out. So when they walk into our store, what are they going to pick up and say, I really like this. I really enjoy this. This is great quality. I’m going to come back. I’m going to talk to my friends about this. They need to come and see this. 

Megan Porta: Oh, that is really good. 

Eden Westbrook: Yeah. Figuring out who that person was. Everything just clicked after that. 

Megan Porta: So thinking about it there are many stores in the small and we’re all similar. So what about your store makes people want to walk in? Once they do, what is it that they like? What makes them stay there? What makes them feel welcomed and what makes them relate to you? I absolutely love that comparison. 

Eden Westbrook: I have a comment from a reader. She said that there are so many different blogs out there, but your voice and your warmth really spoke to me. Even though we are similar, there are so many different well niches that are all speaking to a different person. So I may be speaking to the mommy who is staying at home millennial. She has a thriving family. She really loves kitchen drudgery and gardening and baking and living life a little slower, but that may be different from someone who is looking for fast weeknight meals. Or someone who is a vegan or somebody who is working strictly out of gardening stuff and may want to learn how to preserve or can or what they can do during winter months when they don’t have their garden around. So even though so many of us are similar, we are all very different. It’s about knowing who we’re speaking to and then reaching out and saying, Hey, I offer this thing that you want. They say, yes, I love it. I’m going to be here and I’m going to spread it all over the world. I’m going to share the news. 

Megan Porta: So how do you recommend that we get to know those people who walk into our store and love it. Do you reach out to them? Do you let them contribute their thoughts? How do you go about that? 

Eden Westbrook: So the first thing I always say is, do not go on Instagram and ask people what they want. The reason for that is because I know several people who say, go on your Instagram, go on your social media and ask the people because you can reach a lot of people that way. Of course you can, but are they really the people who are here for you? That’s the question. So with that, I had tried it a few years ago and had reached out onto Instagram and said, Hey, what do you want to see from my blog? I got vegan. I want to see more vegan stuff. Can you share more springtime salads? Can you share recipes that don’t have any animal products or butter or something with a lot of healthy stuff? I was like, you have no idea who I am. Literally I think in one of my bio’s I have a lover of good butter. I was just like, yeah, you guys don’t know who I am. So I was just like, okay how do we go ahead and reach out to the people I really actually want to talk to? The first thing is if you are someone with a newsletter, to ask them what they want. That is a big thing, because these people are actually subscribed to you. Not just to your Instagram account, because we don’t control Instagram. We don’t control who gets to see our Instagram. Think about it. Sure, there are people who follow you on Instagram, but how many people who don’t follow you end up finding your site. A good amount. A good percentage. So when you’re asking, Hey guys, what do you want to see? It could literally be someone who doesn’t know you, just saying, Hey, this is what I want to see. That’s nice, but that’s not who I am and that’s not what I love. That’s not my passion and that’s not who I’m talking to. I say this in my mastermind and it ruffles feathers a little bit and people get a little uncomfortable, but here is a time to be exclusive. Think exclusivity. I’m not meaning it in a bad way. But if I was worried about those people who are saying, Hey, I wanna see more vegan stuff. Hey, I want to see more salads. Hey, I want to see less comfort food and more of what I want. That is not what I do. If I was so focused on them, I would lose a ton of my readers who came to me to focus on the things that I am passionate about and they are my ideal reader. 

Megan Porta: So if you reach out through your email newsletter, I know a lot of people try this through surveys or just asking questions, call to actions in their emails. What if you get just a collection of different things and you don’t really know how to sort through it, where do you go from there?

Eden Westbrook: I say, go with your passion and also go with, in Japanese it’s called the Ikigai. Basically Ikigai is things that you’re really great at, things that you love, things that you can get paid for and things that the world needs. 

Megan Porta: Oh, that’s good.

Eden Westbrook: All of those together are Ikigai, which is your purpose. Mostly your newsletter, usually when you ask them what they want, you may find a common theme. One of my students had noticed that when she had asked her newsletter, okay what do you guys want to see? They said they want to see more beverages, more cocktails, because she’s really great at them. She loves doing them. So she changed her blog from being a general food blog to focusing solely on beverages and different types too, not just cocktails, but we had actually discussed where she wants to venture, hitting what we call the four corners of her market. To ensure that she reaches all of the people that she wants to reach out to doing the things that she loves and will also give her a high RPMs and get her paid. In other words, it’s her Ikigai. 

Megan Porta: That’s awesome. I love that there’s one term, by the way, to describe all of that, I wish we had that in English.

Eden Westbrook: I guess it would just be your purpose. 

Megan Porta: Right. Purpose. Yeah. We can go with that. You mentioned talking to a single person, like one person. Can you talk through that and why you think that is the key to success? 

Eden Westbrook: You’re one person. It’s so funny because when you think of one person, you’re probably like, oh, that seems so small. That seems like a pigeon hole. It really isn’t. That one person there’s millions of that one person out there. They may not be that exact person, but they are generally that person. So my person I’ve created, her name is Chloe Brown Mueller, which is a kind of a joke based off of a character. American housewife, I believe is the show. But basically she’s like a millennial stay at home mom. She could be like a mommy blogger. Her family is very vibrant, thriving. She’s always looking forward to living life slowly, gardening, drudgery, kitchen drudgery, home cooking, things like that. So now that I figured out this person in my head, I was like, okay what does she want? Obviously she wants, let’s say, cinnamon rolls. She doesn’t want to learn how to make cinnamon rolls out of the pop container. She wants to learn how to make it from scratch. That is something I love. I love kitchen treasury. Let me tell you the Hooga movement of the 2010s, where you would be deeply involved in work that is cozy and comforting. Yeah. Remember that? I’m not sure if I’m… 

Megan Porta: Yeah, I know what you’re talking about.

Eden Westbrook: Yep. Okay, good. Good. I’m making sure. That is a big thing in my life. I know that obviously it was a big thing in many people’s lives. During the pandemic, it was such a huge thing for us to do. Basically we’re stuck in a house all day. A lot of people ended up baking more and cooking for themselves more and have learned to love it. So when you are trying to find your one person, it is more of a focus of, okay. I know what my passions are. I know what I’m good at. It’s looking at your purpose, your Ikigai, and being able to flesh out this person, literally from the ground up. You’re fleshing out a human being. It’s literally what type of house do they live in? How many kids do they have if they have any? Are they married? Because all of those things influence your cooking and who you’re talking to and what you’re giving out to them. If I am making food that serves eight servings, but it is a person I’m talking to who is only literally just them or them and a spouse, I’m not serving them. That is a completely different wheelhouse. And so understanding who that person is based on the things in your purpose and your Ikigai. It goes together so well, it’s like learning your Ikigai. Going into your ideal person, your ideal audience, and then niching. Those are like my first three steps towards creating a successful blog and of course mindset. But I feel like mindset is something we constantly work on. 

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Megan Porta: To get to your person, your avatar or whatever you want to call that one soul. Do you recommend just sitting down and writing it out, just writing out all those details? How long does this typically take somebody? 

Eden Westbrook: Okay. So in the food blogging mastermind, I actually do one-on-ones where we sit down and we create this person. It usually takes about three hours to do. I feel like being able to discuss it with somebody who can help you think outside of your comfort zone really helps you understand who exactly you’re talking to and asking the questions that you may not even think about asking for yourself.

So when a blogger wants to sit down and think, okay, who am I talking to? What are we focusing on? The biggest part is knowing of course your purpose then saying, who relates to this? Who is the person that I’m thinking of? What do they look like? What things affect them on a daily basis or not even on a daily basis, just in life in general. Do they have a big budget or do they have a tight budget? How old are they? Thinking about all of these questions really. Affect a person because it does affect the way that we eat. It affects our food. If I have a huge budget and I live in a large house and I have the ability to have a grill and smoker in my backyard versus I’m a college kid and I live in a dorm room, so I can only use appliance cooking. Or I just graduated college and I live with roommates and therefore, I probably live in an apartment.

I can’t have a grill and a smoker and I probably have a really crappy stove that hasn’t been changed since 1994. So really sitting down and thinking of the questions that affect this person, not just they really like Thai food. That’s great. Can they cook it? That’s great. Do they have an Asian market somewhere nearby where they live? It’s great that they love Thai food. Does their stove work with a wok? You ain’t going to get no wok hey, if you don’t have the right tools. Also shout out to Uncle Roger for that. 

But basically, understanding who this person is, the things that affect them on a daily basis, really digging in because it’s so easy to give a general person. Oh, I’m talking to let’s say, I’m talking to mommies. That’s great. But are you talking to a mommy who has kids with some diabetes? Are you talking to someone who is gluten-free? It needs to be gluten-free. Is gluten an issue, do they have celiac disease? Yes. Are you talking to someone who has a ton of little ones, or are you talking to someone who has older kids? You have to think more than the general idea of this person. Fleshing them out, understanding their, I don’t want to say trials and tribulations, but like understanding what affects them on a daily basis and where they live and what’s around them. Understanding that whole thing as a person. Think about it as yourself. Where I live, I am able to run down about a mile and go to a neighbor’s house who has fresh organic eggs, literally from their chickens in the yard. In south Florida, where I used to live, it was totally different. There’s chickens, but I don’t think they’re for eggs. I think they’re for something else. So we lived in a little condo in south Florida. So if you were trying to relate to me, I couldn’t have a grill or smoker. So if you are like Susie from, Hey Grill, Hey, whose focus is solely on barbecuing and cooking and things like that. I would not have been her target audience at that moment. 

Megan Porta: So once you hone in on this person and I love how detailed you get, just thinking through do you have access to an Asian market? All of those details are going to help you. So once you are honed in. Do you create everything with this person in mind or most things, or how much at the forefront is this person as you’re creating content?

Eden Westbrook: This person, I think of every post, as if this person is a friend who’s coming over. I am making this food for them, or I am cooking it with them. So when I create a post, they are very much at the forefront of who I am talking to in my post. My posts are very long. If you’ve ever read a post from Sweet Tea and Thyme, you can see that a post is usually around 1500 to 2000 words. It is a lot. But that’s my target audience. They are people who really love culture. Different cultures. They want to learn the history of cooking. Then they also want to learn how to cook like a chef, how to cook like someone who went to culinary school or someone who’s been working in kitchens and understands the different aspects of things.

So being able to teach them different culinary tips and tricks while making it as simple and easy as possible, and also teaching them about the backstories of food. Super important to me because that is my target right there. That person who really wants to understand the backstory of how chimichurri became a delicious sauce from someone who apparently wasn’t even from Argentina. So it’s an Argentinian sauce, but it’s based off of a sauce or the legend is, it’s based off of a person who I believe was from Ireland and came to Argentina. So teaching that. I love teaching. I always loved teaching. Found out pretty early I cannot teach kids. So teaching adults is such a big thing for me. I do it in Sweet Tea and Thyme, I do it in the mastermind. When I go ahead and think of my ideal reader, when I’m writing my post, I’m wondering, I’m literally sitting across from them in my head saying these things and making sure that they are comfortable with another part of knowing who they are is their culinary skill level.

Megan Porta: So what if somebody listening is I have a really well-established niche. I know exactly what it is, but they’ve never sat down and gone through this process of finding out who that one person is. Do you still recommend that they do that? 

Eden Westbrook: Oh, absolutely. Because the thing is that this person is not based on a niche. I feel when I think of niches, I think of boxes. I think of getting pigeonholed. When I think of talking to this person, it’s not about, oh, I’m trying to focus on this niche. It’s more so, what is it that they need? What is it that they are asking for? What is it that they want? 

Megan Porta: Yeah, that makes sense. 

Eden Westbrook: Because right now the hot thing in your niche may not be something that the person you’re speaking to is interested in. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. So a niche is very different from your perfect audience person, your one avatar. 

Eden Westbrook: Exactly. 

Megan Porta: Wow, this is so great. I just am sitting here thinking about my people because I go through this process as well. I think it’s so important. So I have people, I have one person for each side of my business. As you’re talking, I’m thinking of sitting down, visualizing this. Sitting down with my person. Every time I create content, is this good for them? Do they want this? I need to be able to say yes all the time.

Eden Westbrook: Exactly. That also runs past our blogs and goes into our products, our marketing to them. Courses that we may create for them or for bloggers who we want to work with. We need to understand that we can’t just cast a wide net. It’s not about casting a wide net. We don’t want to catch everything. Because then we’ll end up in a sea of confusion. I always say, when you’re trying to talk to everyone, you’re talking to no one.Because you’re not capturing anyone’s attention and you’re not keeping them there. 

Megan Porta: You’ve provided so many visuals. I’m such a visual person and such an analogy type person too. So I’m just running all this through my head right now. I don’t think I’ve ever been. So much in a visualized state while doing a podcast interview. I’m just sitting here looking out my window. So I just love the words you use Eden, and you’re so descriptive and you speak this topic so well.

Eden Westbrook: Thank you so much. This is what I teach. I’m really passionate about changing the thought process of thinking about a niche and thinking more so about our ideal readers. Because like I said when I teach this to my students, it’s almost like it’s like that song I can see clearly now. Their mindset towards their business, their brand identity, their clarity. It’s like an instant switch that just turns on and they get so excited. They’re so hyped up now. As we go through the process, it’s a four month course. So I’m with them literally for four months. I believe the average student gets about 60 hours of FaceTime with me. So seeing the difference in the writing, the recipes, even in their photography, they get so excited. I get super excited cause like they really see the difference and their audience gives such great feedback. It’s that this one part of my mastermind is such gold. It is serious gold. 

Megan Porta: It sounds like it, it sounds amazing. If anyone is interested in joining your mastermind, do you have open spots and how do they go about doing that? 

Eden Westbrook: Yes. So the food blogging mastermind is going live. It is going live to the public March 15th for vetting calls. It is an exclusive very me, you mastermind group focus. Very close, intimate, just hard hitting, cutting out the clutter of the experience. I like to call it an experience. Because when you’re finished, everyone’s crying. We’re all crying. Because we honestly don’t want it to end. It’s really great. It’s so hard hitting. It’s so impactful. Basically, so you can go to oh goodness. Will you be providing a link? 

Megan Porta: Yes, we can provide a link in your show notes page. 

Eden Westbrook: Okay, awesome. So basically you go to my link on my website, sweetteaandthyme.com. You’ll see the food blogging mastermind in my menu. You can click that and it’ll take you straight to my page where you can sign up to be on the waitlist. Basically within my wait-list, you’ll be able to sign up and do a get to know you survey. Then schedule a vetting call. So vetting calls are extremely limited. I would like to say, oh, it’s anybody can join in type of thing. You sign in immediately, like a course, like a do it yourself course, but it’s not. My team and I go through each individual student, we vet them through the call and then you either are accepted or we discuss maybe joining at a different time. Because I am so involved. I am in this with you. Like I said, we do about 60 hours with each student. 

Megan Porta: That’s a lot. That’s significant. 

Eden Westbrook: Oh yeah, because I’m so passionate about helping people grow their blogs and being able to create this wonderful, amazing, like you guys have no idea this program. When we have these groups so far, it’s only been ladies, but I do accept male bloggers as well. But when we get these groups together it’s just constant knowledge. It’s not just me, it’s everyone who knows different aspects of things. Recently one of my students, Stephanie, works with brands. So she’s been working on the brand side of things since 2008. She was able to give so much insight and feedback and it’s just, ah, so good. I learn so much from my students. Then being able to help them, I was able to help her build her ideal blog. She wasn’t even sure of what she wanted to do, but she just knew that she wanted to do something that would give her consistent, passive income versus working with clients all the time. Because that’s really what she does as her main job. I was like, oh, that doesn’t sound stable. She said, it’s not. I was like, let’s go ahead and get you creating something stable. So we sat down, hunkered down. I think we took about six hours just talking together and figuring out different courses for her eBooks for her to create different types of passive and active income streams for her to create, to bring value and bring joy, not only to her readers, but to her own life. 

Megan Porta: Oh, that sounds so valuable. I love that. I love hearing you talk through that and the magic and the power that comes from collaborating. Like you said, you learn too. That’s one of the things I love about my own mastermind group is that yeah people come in and they learn, but I learn from them. That’s what I didn’t expect. Yeah. It’s so cool. Isn’t it? 

Eden Westbrook: Oh, man. I’m nervous every cycle. Imposter syndrome, which I actually considered imposter syndrome to be quite a blessing, because I never want to go on a power trip. Oh my God, do I know enough to teach them? Will they regret this mastermind? But my main goal of the mastermind, the biggest goal is to make sure it is a course that no one regrets. It is a course where people say I learned so much, this was so valuable. This was so helpful and offered feedback on how I can create more and do more and give more.

Megan Porta: Gosh, I love that so much. You’re amazing for putting this positivity, this energy, this knowledge out into the world, Eden. I am just sitting here listening to you, thinking you were such a gem and such a light in this space. And I’m so grateful to know you. I feel I’m just blessed that I got to meet you in person. I feel like it was a little bit serendipitous because you came to the table and you said your name. I was like, wait a second. I know that, I knew that I knew that I had heard your name from somewhere and I could not pinpoint it. Then when you said you were going to be on Eat Blog Talk, I was like, oh, that’s right.

So I’m so glad that I got to meet you before we chatted here. Do you have a final takeaway? If somebody is struggling with this, finding their audience, creating their avatar. What is like one takeaway that you would leave them with? 

Eden Westbrook: Oh, goodness. One takeaway? Come to me. I love helping people, like literally so much. It is a joy to help people. But honestly and besides that, a big takeaway is honestly, a lot of my students will say, Hey, are you sure? Because this person sounds like me. I’m like, that’s perfectly okay. It’s perfectly okay if you find your ideal reader is a lot like you at the beginning, especially. Because you may be the person who you want to talk to, but there are millions of people who are just like you. It’s perfectly doable to watch your person grow and shift and change, especially as you change. All of these things, finding out your ideal reader and really honing in on them is doable. You just have to go ahead and sit down and do the work. 

Megan Porta: Great advice. Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for taking the time for this Eden. I really really enjoyed talking to you. So to end, also, you’ve already provided tons of inspiration, but do you have an additional quote or words of inspiration to share with us?

Eden Westbrook: Oh goodness. So I did speak about on the panel at the conference about how basically I didn’t have any support besides my husband for starting my food blog. I literally got mocked by my parents and laughed at by his. They told me why don’t you go back to that retail store that I probably can’t say their name on here. Why don’t you go back there? By three years you could be a manager working there. I was just like, I don’t want to. I want to be able to create my own money. For people who feel like, because yes, I know a lot of us, we don’t get the support we need from people who know us.

There’s a poem that I’ve always loved and it went viral recently. But this has been in my head for years. I would like to go ahead and say the first verse of this poem. It’s called Speech to the Young. Speech to the progress toward. Say to them, say to the down keepers, the sun slappers the self soilers, the harmony hushers. Even if you are not ready for the day, it cannot always be night. 

Megan Porta: Wow. Oh my goodness. I feel like this whole episode was a poem. Just poetry and I’m so caught up. I don’t even want to fake it by two, but that was such a great way to end. Thank you so much. 

Eden Westbrook: It was so wonderful talking to you. 

Megan Porta: Tell Anthony hello. It was so lovely to meet him as well. You can tell that he just loves and supports you. He is such a great man. Oh, I just got an essence from him, so he was great. 

Eden Westbrook: Oh yeah. I keep telling him, he is literally just the biggest support system I’ve ever had in my life. He is so amazing.

Megan Porta: You can tell. You can definitely feel that vibe when I met the two of you, I could feel that. So cool. Thank you, Eden. So we’ll put together some show notes for you and we’ll put the link for your awesome mastermind there. So if anyone wants to go check that out, go to eatblogtalk.com/ sweetteaandthyme and thyme is T H Y M E. So you’ve already done this, but why don’t you just reiterate where everybody can find you on your blog and also on social media.

Eden Westbrook: So you guys can check out my blog at sweetteaandthyme, as in the herb, T H Y M E not time on your watch dot com. There you’ll also be able to find a link to my mastermind, the food blogging mastermind. You can also just Google the food blogging mastermind, and it will pop up. You can sign in there and basically sign up for my wait-list and get your one-on-one vetting call with me or with one of my team. We’ll get you started on the mastermind. A little bit about me and my story. I set it on here and I say it everywhere.

Megan Porta: It’s a great story. It’s a touching, encouraging, just amazing story too. So thank you for sharing that with all of us. 

Eden Westbrook: No problem. For the longest time, it was hard to share. But it’s more than inspiration that gets us going.

Megan Porta: Absolutely. Thanks again, Eden for joining me today and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode. 

Outro: We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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