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Episode #373: Why is Networking and Business Community Essential for Your Success? with Chandice Probst

In episode 373, Megan chats to Chandice Probst about the importance of networking to grow your business and how your business community can help you succeed.

We cover information about how to network for the best results, why you should be investing in conferences for yourself, how important community is for bloggers, how isolation isn’t good for you and how to build a support group in your community and even niche.

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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Bio Chandice Probst is the bubbly personality behind This Vivacious Life. She is a food and entertaining blogger and the co-author of Gluten-Free on a Budget. Chandice’s work has been featured in print and online industry publications, as well as television. As someone with Celiac Disease and a degree in health science, she has led the charge in hosting Celiac awareness nights with MLB and NBA teams around the nation raising money for research. While she loves to cook and entertain, Chandice loves being a wife and mother most.

Takeaways

  • Networking is the heart and soul of food blogging.
  • Be able to “talk shop” with people who can reciprocate when talking about work.
  • You will have someone who can understand the highs and lows of blogging.
  • Make investing in a conference a priority in person or at least virtually.
  • Choose to have an abundance mentality so you have enough on your own blog and welcome other bloggers into your community.
  • Reach out to 2 bloggers that impress you and align with your niche. See if you can connect and learn from them, make a professional relationship.

Transcript

Click for full script.

EBT373 – Chandice Probst

Megan Porta: 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, and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. 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 you know anything about Tastemaker Conference, you know that this is going to be a great conversation. I had a chat with Chandice Probst. I love Chandice. She is the best. She is business partner and sponsor director of Tastemaker Conference. Her partner is Abby Rodriguez, who is not able to join us, but I love them both equally. In this conversation, Chandice and I talk about the importance of networking and community for business growth.

We have a great conversation talking about all things networking, starting from really simple things like reaching out to somebody on Instagram all the way to attending an in-person event. So tune in. This is episode number 373, sponsored by RankIQ. 

Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk, scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast. It adds value. And I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now onto the episode.

Tastemaker Conference is the premier food blogger conference and community for food content creators. It is a place for food bloggers and content creators where they don’t just meet, they make. You’ll make contact with incredible brands and foodies. You’ll make career goals attaining invaluable information on the business aspects of the industry. Most importantly, you’ll make lifelong connections in a community of like-minded creatives who want to influence the world with their gift for food. Chandice, welcome back to Eat Blog Talk. How are you doing today? 

Chandice Probst: I’m good, thanks. I’m so glad to be back. 

Megan Porta: Always excited to talk to you. You always make me happy. To start our chat, do you have another fun fact to share with us? 

Chandice Probst: Oh yes. I work with Tastemaker. I’m Abby’s business partner and sponsor director over there, as you mentioned, and so I would love to share that in the last few months we have grown our team to seven team members. And they’re all women owned, women ran.

Megan Porta: That is so awesome. 

Chandice Probst: Growing. 

Megan Porta: Yay. Woman power. Woo. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. It’s growing very fast. We’ve had a lot of people be like, wow, we’ve seen a lot of job opportunities come through our email. So we’re growing and that’s exciting. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I love it. That just shows how amazing you are, you guys are so inspiring.

Chandice Probst: Thank you. We’re grateful for our community who makes it all happen. 

Megan Porta: Aw. Okay. I’m excited to talk about the importance of networking and community today because as Chandice, I believe so strongly in this as well, I know you and Abby both are huge proponents of it, yeah, just talk about that. How important do you feel networking is for food bloggers? 

Chandice Probst: I think it’s one of the biggest things you can do to grow and thrive as a food blogger. Obviously there’s all the tasks that we need to complete, but when it comes to networking, that’s where the heart and soul come in. Where you can connect with other people who genuinely understand what this life is because it’s a different world, wouldn’t you say?

Megan Porta: Yes, it is a different world. 

Chandice Probst: Have you ever sat down at family dinner or Thanksgiving, and you start talking shop, work. People are like, what? What are you talking about? 

Megan Porta: People don’t ever understand. You get glazed eyes every time.

Chandice Probst: So finding that tribe and that community who understand what this means, what is she talking about when she says SEO or my editorial calendar or my writer, or whatever those things may be, is so important. Also it’s fantastic now with Tastemaker, we really love to be inclusive and include everybody and our amazing team member, Amanda Willens, she created this beautiful document where you can find influencers of different ethnicity and you can reach out too, if you have a brand that reaches out to you and says, Hey, we’d love to work with you on this project, but you feel that it would be more fitting because you don’t have the bandwidth or whatever, then reach to this first rather than just your first to go, people you reach out to normally. Try to diversify the way you reach out and branch out as well. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I love that you guys are doing that. I think that is such a good message to the rest of us too. How to conduct our businesses and think about including people and being diverse and not going to the same people all the time. So you guys are setting a good trend there. What you said earlier about just being understood, I think that’s really important too, to highlight. There’s so much value in finding people who understand you. I feel like being misunderstood is such a disadvantage. So community and networking is such a good way to feel like, oh my gosh, I’m not alone. People understand what I do. Other people do the same thing. Yeah so much value there. Tastemaker does such a good job of doing that. 

Chandice Probst: Oh, thank you Megan. We’ve really tried to expand to that vertical. We are trying to make tastemakerconference.com, the one stop for everything you need for food blogger education. So you can do our virtual conference, you can come to our conference in Chicago. We have a bunch of workshops. Now on the website, speaking of networking, we have this freelance directory. So any of our food blogger friends in the community can add themselves to this directory. So if you are an incredible photographer, drop your information there. So when people are looking for a food photographer, they can find you. It is pretty great. It’s very thorough. It says the location, experience, language. Full-time, remote, gives a blurb, it gives an opportunity to showcase some of your photos, a picture of you. You can highlight things like women owned or members of BIPOC or things like that. So it’s really in depth and exciting. We are so excited to expand this. 

Megan Porta: I love that you guys did that. So Chandice, what if somebody’s listening and they’re like, yes, please. I wanna feel more understood and heard, and I want friends and I wanna network. Where do you think they should start?

Chandice Probst: I definitely think that finding an in-person conference is great. Obviously I love Tastemaker. It’s my favorite. But there are others out there. I just met this darling girl who does YouTube, which is her main thing. So she goes to this huge YouTube conference where Mr. Beast and all those guys are at. That would make more sense for her. So finding an in-person conference because you cannot replace the feeling you get of meeting people in person. We’ve seen the cutest reunions of people who are like, we’ve been best friends for six years, but we’ve never met in person. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I love that so much. 

Chandice Probst: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s really sweet. So I would say first and foremost, find a way to connect in-person with people in your community. Now, I understand that budgets don’t always allow for that. So then I would encourage you to find something virtual where you can do that. So you can still turn on the computer and see people’s faces and try to connect that way. We do have a virtual conference every September. We started that during Covid as a way to make up for not being able to meet in person. It was funny because we were only gonna do it for that amount of time, but everyone loved it and they said no, we want this option as well because it provides an opportunity for those who can’t travel or don’t have the financial means to be able to do a full in-person conference. So find an in-person conference or a virtual conference where you can connect with like-minded individuals first and foremost.

Megan Porta: Oh yes. There is nothing like in-person and you hear that and you believe it, but then when you experience it, there’s so much magic that comes from meeting people face to face and seeing their mannerisms and getting to know them, their human form. There’s so much value there. So I say, my vote, if you can swing, if you have to take an airplane, if you can swing airfare and lodging and the conference, do it. Put it in your budget and make it a priority because you will come away so grateful that you made that investment in your business and your life. 

Chandice Probst: Yes.

Megan Porta: It’s not just a business investment, it’s a life investment.

Chandice Probst: It really is. The thing is that how you’re connecting with people at the event, these are gonna go on to be lifelong friends. We’ve seen that. Because what happens is we have, for us anyway, and probably other conferences, we have a Facebook page where people are like, okay, where are you staying? Do you guys wanna rent an Airbnb together? Let’s say five women come together in an Airbnb who know each other’s blog, but that’s it. These five end up going on to be best friends. Then they continue to meet once a month just to brainstorm and to mastermind together. We’ve seen that time and time again. Alexandria from the Foreign Fork and Karli Bitner. From Cooking with Karli. That was how they met, at Tastemaker conference and they decided to room together. Then they have gone on to be fantastic friends. Like I said, we’ve seen that time and again. This gal that went to the YouTube one said the same thing. I think that obviously Tastemaker does a good job at that, but most in-person conferences try to facilitate that. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I love Tastemaker for this. I felt like Melissa Erdelac and I are like blogging besties. We had met online, but I have this funny story. Can I tell you this? 

Chandice Probst: Yes, please. 

Megan Porta: So at Tastemaker, the first ever 2018, Melissa and I had chatted through Instagram. We met there, and just oh, you’re going to Tastemaker. Great. I can’t wait to meet you. I’m standing in line for the bathroom. Out walks Melissa right in front of me, out of the stall, and she was like, Megan? I was like, Melissa? We’re like, what a great place to meet. We started hugging. It was so funny. We’re like this is gonna go down in history. We met at the bathroom stall. 

Chandice Probst: It’s perfect. 

Megan Porta: It’s perfect. But yeah, that solidified our friendship when we met in person there because we started immediately talking about blogging and oh, do you do this with video? We just connected immediately and we’ve formed a really quick, strong bond. I can’t imagine my blogging life without her. So yeah you’ll find your people there. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. Everybody deserves a blogger bestie and where you can’t imagine your life without them. I think most people know Abby and I’s story, but it was funny because Erin and I met, Erin from Meaningful Eats. Abby and Erin are my two best friends. The funny thing is they’re my best friends in real life too. Not just my blog besties. They are the women that I would consider my best friends. Obviously husband, family, mom, that kind of stuff first. But they’re incredible. Erin and I met at a very niche food blogging conference. It was a food allergy conference. 

Megan Porta: Oh, crazy. 

Chandice Probst: Yeah. Both of us have celiac disease and so we went to this food allergy conference and we danced at this fun after party thing and we hung out and we had so much fun. We have stayed really close since then. We ended up going together to a huge conference called Expo West in Anaheim and Abby happened to be there. Erin knew her from college and she was like, okay, you two need to meet. Something magical is gonna happen with you two. She introduced Abby and I, and then Abby and I went on to work together with Tastemaker and become best friends. So it was literally networking through and through. 

Megan Porta: Oh, yes. You can’t anticipate how that’s gonna play out beforehand. Even me and Melissa, like we’ve compiled all of these friendships. We have this little circle now, and I never could have anticipated that beforehand, but there’s so much value there. Not even talking about the value that the speakers deliver at the conference and all of the information you come home with, but there’s so much, I think even more value in those relationships that you make when you go to these conferences.

Chandice Probst: You’re not the only one. Because we do a post-event survey and everyone tells us how much they love hearing from speakers, but I think by the end, of course, everyone is in information overload. They’re like, Ah! It really goes back to that saying you don’t remember what people say. You remember how they made you feel. And so everybody’s response for the best part of the conference was the networking. Without fail. That happens every time. It’s amazing to me that this happens whether you’re at a huge conference or a small conference because there’s many different ways that you can network. We do smaller workshops for between six and 20 individuals, and in fact, Megan and I got to get really, you and I got to get really close at that because we did one together. We got to go to dinner and hang out, and that’s when you build those relationships.

Megan Porta: Oh, that was so fun. There’s nothing like it. That was super valuable. Just getting to know you guys on a personal level and getting Yeah, like that small group. There’s so much value in just getting to spend time with people in a small group setting.

Chandice Probst: Haven’t you felt like you’ve experienced that with your own mastermind? That these people who are a part of it, they now reach out to one another and ask questions to each other even when you are the facilitator, not there.

Megan Porta: That’s so true. So I’m just wrapping up. We’re getting toward the end of 2022 here as we’re talking, and this group that we have now has been together for almost a year. They’re so close. They’re such a tight-knit bond between the people in the group. So I feel proud of that. Okay, I brought the circle together. They got super close. Now it’s like sending your kid away to college or something. Okay, now go be amazing friends. There’s something that feels so good, and I’m sure that’s what you and Abby feel too. If you get these people together and then you watch the magic happen as people connect, and then they can go do their own thing.

Chandice Probst: It is literally the most rewarding part of Tastemaker.

Megan Porta: I bet.

Chandice Probst: That’s why, during Covid, we were able to stay open because as partners we agreed ,we are okay doing this pro bono during this time so that we can continue to build this community. Because that is the most important part of Tastemaker, is community. Education and experience are also there. But if you notice, community is first. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. I think I’ve had this conversation with you and Abby before, but I feel so passionately about a lot of things, but one of the things that I think our passions overlap with is just that need, food bloggers need community. It’s a necessity. Without it, they don’t thrive. You and Abby and I see that need and we will do anything to be the conduit, the gatherer of sorts. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. 

Megan Porta: Food bloggers can have that. It’s so important. The work I’ve done on this podcast as an example, I don’t get paid. I’ve put thousands of hours into this podcast and I don’t care because it brings people together and food bloggers need that. I see that and you guys see that. I think I’m just so grateful for you guys that you see the importance of that as well. 

Chandice Probst: We feel the same about you, because I wish you could read the comments that we’ve seen. In fact, we should probably start forwarding them to you. But we have heard dozens and dozens of comments about how your podcast has brought this community together and how people feel your podcast is the best. They love learning and they love feeling like a sense of community just listening to the guests that you have on. 

Megan Porta: Oh, so you’re gonna make me cry, Chandice. It’s so sweet. It’s great. 

Chandice Probst: You’re doing so many great things and I think, someone may be listening saying, what can I do though? I’m just a small bean over here, just started my blog. What can I do? Guess what? There’s a million other people, maybe not a million, but there’s a lot of other bloggers who are in your same boat who are like I’m just trying to qualify for ad networks and I’m not there yet. And you know what? They’re needing you. They’re not needing to hear from someone who’s making a hundred thousand with their ad network. They wanna hear from someone who’s with them in the trenches trying to get there as well.

Megan Porta: Exactly. So find a way to start those communities. Facebook groups are a fantastic way to do that.

Chandice Probst: I know you love Clubhouse or something. 

Megan Porta: Yes. Clubhouse is a great way to do that as well because you can actually, there, it’s free. You can actually just talk, you can use your human voice to have conversations with people, so it’s not just written in a forum or in a Facebook group. It’s super valuable. There’s a collection of food bloggers I would say, maybe up to 30. We meet every Thursday, once in a while we don’t, but we just get together and we chat and we have no structured agenda. We just got together. Hey, what’s going on this week? Oh, Pinterest creator rewards just died. Okay, let’s talk about that. We just go with the flow. So find that place, whether it’s in a forum, on Facebook, in Clubhouse, all of you are invited to Clubhouse by the way. If you don’t know what that is, reach out to me and I can share. Or like my mastermind group is so powerful. Just trying to think of other ways. Oh, retreats too. Retreats are another really great way to connect in person outside of conferences. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. That doesn’t need to be organized by an organization. In fact, some of the best retreats are organized by the people who just want to attend. They say, Hey, there’s five of us who are about close to the same level. Let’s all go and mastermind and retreat together. Because there is something when you stay in a house together. We just finished up a retreat for Tastemaker. Because we usually try to do four smaller events in addition to our virtual and our in-person conference. So we just finished up food photography and it was at our, at this gorgeous barn in Virginia. Sam from Frosting and Fettuccini led the workshop and she is just one of the most incredible humans on this planet. She is so sweet. 

Megan Porta: She’s awesome. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. We just love her. So she came and then we had all these amazing women. Nobody knew each other before. Nobody. When you spend that many days in a home with people and you eat all your meals together, and you talk together. Like Jen from Peel with Zeal, she sat with me. So this goes back to Erin and I. We are in the exact same niche. My blogger bestie, my real life bestie, we are in the exact same niche.

Megan Porta: Oh wow. 

Chandice Probst: Yeah. So we could have taken that and been like, No way am I gonna share my knowledge with her. No way. But instead, we built each other up. We share our wins with each other. We grow together. If I learn something, I share it with Erin. If Erin learned something, she would share it with me. Jen did the same thing when I was there, because she’s also in the gluten-free space. She was like, Chandice, you’re doing your web stories wrong. Let me show you how to do them right. I was like, wow, that was so nice. 

Megan Porta: Yes. 

Chandice Probst: That’s how you connect. For me, I love giving back through sponsor work, so if I have a sponsor contact for someone who I know would be a great fit, it is my honor to introduce them to that sponsor. 

Megan Porta: Yeah, you are so good at that. 

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Megan Porta: I think that’s a great point to bring up though. Getting into a community sometimes means that you have to face your quote competition. But I hate that word because I personally don’t ever feel like I’m competing with food bloggers. I feel like we’re all doing the same game. We’re all in it for the same reason. There are a million different ways to pivot. So for example, if someone takes your keyword, go find a different keyword. I just never get offended by that sort of thing because we’re all doing it. It’s fine. Yes, we’re all gonna make our way. We all have unique voices. We all have our different ways to shine. So seeing it as this word community instead of oh, it’s competition. I just don’t like that word at all. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. It goes back to the abundance mentality versus scarcity mentality. 

Megan Porta: Yes. 

Chandice Probst: When you have an abundance mentality that there is enough to go around, you will always have plenty. When you have a scarcity mentality, you will have scarcity in your business, in your life, in your relationships. So it’s so important to focus your mind on an abundance mentality. That we can learn from each other, we can grow from each other. There’s enough sponsors that want to work with people. There’s enough spots for keywords. Sure. Does number one give you more backlinks and all that? Yeah. Yeah. We know all of that. But gosh, this job is gonna be really crummy if that’s all you focus on. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh, that’s so true. So I have a keyword example. So in one of my recent ish, within the past six months or so, I did a RankIQ ad and in those ads I try to talk through like how much I love RankIQ, and one of the things I talked through was a specific keyword that I used that did really well. It went to the top and I got like tons of traffic. Since that aired, other people have taken that keyword and have made great posts, and they’ve beat me out on Google. I was telling a food blogger about this and they were like, oh my gosh, that’s terrible. I was like, no, it’s not. I’m like, that’s amazing that first of all, they saw that opportunity and then took it and did something better. I am proud of them. So I think that’s the attitude we all have to have is that when you cheer people on, like you’re saying Chandice, we bring in, we invite in that abundance and then more comes to us anyway because there’s always enough. There’s always enough keywords. There’s a million bajillion keywords out there to go grab.

Chandice Probst: There’s always enough. My mom and I wrote a cookbook called Gluten Free On A Budget, and we asked Tammy Credicott, who does the Healthy Gluten-Free Life, which I don’t know if she does it much anymore, but her husband was also the founder of Paleo Magazine and we asked her to write our forward because she’s just so incredible. I remember her just saying that. There’s enough to go around. There’s plenty to go around. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t support you in your endeavors in the gluten-free community because I have a gluten-free blog. It stuck with me since then. I really love that. I try to remember that. It is natural for us to feel competitive. I want to preface this with saying that it is natural. Most people are competitive in their gut. One of the most recent people that we brought on to Tastemaker, her name is Candace Ward and she’s from Eat More Cake. She also does pitching for bloggers, helping them learn how to pitch and stuff like that. Obviously that’s something that I do with Tastemaker as well. It was funny because when we were hiring her, we were hiring her to join the sales team with myself. I’m in the sales team right now. I need somebody else. So when we first saw her, I was like, oh my gosh, we’re basically the same person. We do all the same things. I could have been like oh no. I don’t want to compete with her. But in my mind I thought, how fantastic that there is another person as enthusiastic and excited as I am about Tastemaker and about selling things because most people don’t like selling things and Candace does. It’s so funny. We have Candace and we have Abby and Gabby. 

Megan Porta: What? That is not a coincidence. That’s crazy. 

Chandice Probst: We joked, we have Amanda and Leslie and Jocelyn, so we need to find people who rhyme with it. 

Megan Porta: Ooh. Jocelyn might be a challenge. 

Chandice Probst: That one might be a challenge. But she’s so incredible and excited about selling and if anything, how great is that, that now I can take some of the load off of selling our sponsorships and hand that to someone who is more than capable. In fact, she has so many things that I can learn from her. Her humility is fantastic too. She came right in and she’s like, teach me what I need to know. She’s just great. It was one of those moments where I realized another person directly in my wheelhouse, I can work with her and we can grow and thrive and make Tastemakers even better or we can have a competition mentally. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. And good for you for seeing that and having that perspective. Because there are probably many people in the world who would’ve taken the competition approach and been like, oh who does think she is? I’m better. I can do it better, or whatever. But you have to have a little humility and just see the bigger picture. We’re all in this together. We’re all working together. We’re a community. We support each other. Yeah. And that’s one of my favorite things about you guys, is that you are so supportive of people. 

Chandice Probst: Thank you. We appreciate that about you as well. I will say this doesn’t necessarily come easy. For me, when I was younger, I was definitely more competitive. I didn’t feel as abundantly giving towards work stuff. But that’s what happens when you go from your twenties to your late thirties. 

Megan Porta: Oh gosh. That is so true. That’s a good thing to remind everyone about.That it’s not something that comes naturally for most of us.

Chandice Probst: No, and it’s not. You can see that difference in 20 year old bloggers versus 40 year old bloggers, usually. 

Megan Porta: Usually, yeah. There are exceptions, but I totally agree. You can get that feel, the competition feel, you just get that. 

Chandice Probst: Find those gems who have already figured out and you’re like, look at you. You’re 22 and you figured out how to be so generous. And you know what? The abundance is gonna come to you so much faster than everybody else. 

Megan Porta: It’s so true. That’s 100% true. I believe that. So if someone’s listening and they want just a friend, we’ve mentioned a few things like joining me in Clubhouse, trying to get to a conference, or retreat. But what if they’re intimidated by all of that? Do you have a really simple step one? Start with this. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. So something I did was, two of my favorite bloggers ever are Eden from Sugar and Charm and Jenny from jennyscookies.com. At the time when I was.really looking towards them, I was much, much smaller in my blog and not that I’m like huge now or anything like that, but I’m just meaning it was very beginning stages for me of really taking my blog seriously and I just reached out to them and I said, I love what you’re doing and I would love to, I would love to become friends and get to know each other. I ended up going to Portland. I went to Jenny’s Bake Shop and I couldn’t eat anything, which was quite funny because none of it’s gluten free. But I went and I spent an hour and a half with her, I believe, an hour. We just mastermind together. We talked, and at the time it was something she was offering as a paid service, and it was great. So obviously it wasn’t like she was there because I was paying her, but then the friendship and not like we hang out or anything, it’s different than Erin and I, but that community, that friendship has continued on and she comments on my stuff or I comment on her stuff or whatever. But not being scared to reach out to somebody. Maybe look at two bloggers that influence you, that you feel really inspired by and reach out to them and see. Maybe if you could just do a call or chat and you may have to pay for it. At the time, that was something I did have to pay for, but it was okay because it gave me the confidence then to move forward and do more.

Megan Porta: That made me think of a line. So I have a business life mentor and something he said to me once. So important for all of us to remember. When you don’t have the confidence to do something, use courage. So sometimes, It’s really scary to do that sort of thing, but just do it anyway. Then that’s going to build on your confidence. So dig in. 

Chandice Probst: That’s so perfect. 

Megan Porta: I know I know. I use that all the time. I remember it quite frequently in my life. 

Chandice Probst: Yes. I love that. 

Megan Porta: So Tastemaker is coming up and I would love to hear, because I’ve been to every Tastemaker, love it. I tell everyone to go if they can. I wanna hear what you guys have in store this year. Is there anything different about previous years? Give us a scoop. 

Chandice Probst: Yeah, definitely. We’re so excited to have everyone come back. We do have a special $30 off code for your community only. We don’t have very many tickets left. So historically, we always sell out of our tickets. We anticipate they’ll be sold out by mid-January, and so I would say if you’re gonna do it, grab your ticket right away because they will be sold out just like they are every other year. So this year I’m so excited. We have expanded. So last year was hard for me because the food all still had to be boxed. We were still doing the Covid stuff and I understand that we needed to follow the guidelines of Chicago, but I can’t tell you how excited I am to have our grandiose, beautiful food displays back

Megan Porta: Oh yes. 

Chandice Probst: So we’ll be really doing a lot with the food. We have incredible sponsors this year. Mediavine is of course our presenting title sponsor and we could not love them more. They are just good people and they literally spent their entire time last year helping people. They just got on their computers and helped people. Same with Nerd Press, Top Hat Rank. So because we had so much interest in our tech sponsors, we have dedicated the entire third floor now to tech. Like all tech sponsors. So we have RankIQ, Flodesk, Convertkit, Mediavine, Top Hat Rank, Google, Amazon Alexa. I mean everybody. It’s so exciting. 

Megan Porta: That’s so awesome. You guys. You guys are awesome. 

Chandice Probst: Thank you. We’re so excited. So everyone loved that because what we’re doing is where we used to have three classes at a time, and then you would choose to attend one. There will be two. An open tech hall, meaning you can choose to attend one of the classes or go to the tech hall and each of those sponsors will be doing something for you on your site, meaning they’ll do a quick audit or they’ll help you with a quick logo or something or help you, whatever you need. They’re there to support you. They literally are an entire floor to tech support for bloggers. 

Megan Porta: That’s valuable. 

Chandice Probst: So thousands of dollars worth of tech support on one level. So we’re really excited about that. That was a big change. Also, we are doing a happy hour the first night, and we have yet to have a happy hour, so we’re very excited. But our happy hour sponsor on Thursday is new product events and they are bringing in another 15 brands to network with you during happy hour. Yes. So like taking our incredible sponsors that we already have, which I mean they are, I’ll just try to name some of them. Like I said, Mediavine is our presenting title sponsor. We have all the tech sponsors like I just mentioned. We also have the National Honey Board as our breakfast sponsor. We have Calphalon, 360 Cookware, Rubbermaid, Food Saver, Sistema, Ball, LULU. They’re there to help you write your own book. They’re showing you how to publish your own book. We have Whisk, Google Creators, Redmond, so many brands. ThermoWorks, so many incredible sponsors. We’re excited. But with our happy hour, they’re bringing in an additional 15 sponsors for you to then have a speed networking and little bites and drinks and things like that. So we are very excited about that because it’s a whole other event basically.

Megan Porta: That’s like a whole new layer that you guys are adding. 

Chandice Probst: Yeah. Yes. We’re so excited. It’ll be so fun. On the second day on Friday, we actually moved our excursion dinner to Friday from Saturday because we heard the feedback that a lot of people are flying out Saturday afternoon. So we’ve moved our excursion dinner to Friday and we lowered the price so more people could attend. 

Megan Porta: Aw, good. When do you open? I know, do you wait until closer to the event to open that up? When does that happen? 

Chandice Probst: Yeah, so the excursion dinner, which happens on Friday night and it is like a two and a half hour beautiful dinner. I think you came to it last year, right? 

Megan Porta: I did. It was amazing. I loved it. 

Chandice Probst: It’s so fun and we have amazing sponsors for that. It will be open January 8th, I believe, is when the tickets go on sale. So that’s on Friday evening. That’s for 75 people. So those tickets, again, will go very fast. Then Saturday morning is the excursion cooking class, and we’ve rented out the entire chopping block facility now for just us. So we’ll have 50 tickets to that and it’s gonna be so fun. Last year, in the cooking class, everyone went home with a piece of beautiful stainless steel cookware. It’s so fun. 

Megan Porta: So many good times. So outside of the community, you guys have added all of these amazingly valuable layers that hopefully gets everyone excited to go. I’m already pumped just hearing you talk through that. I’m like, oh my gosh, how much? How much longer? 

Chandice Probst: Yes, it’ll be so fun. Make sure you get business cards printed. We also have one more influencer event. It’s the Houseware Show, Influencer Networking, which is taking place on Friday right before the excursion dinner from six to 7:30. So the Houseware Show was the biggest show and revenue earner for the City of Chicago in Q1, so it was huge last year. Martha Stewart was there, the cake guy. What’s his name? I don’t remember his name. 

Megan Porta: Wasn’t Rick Bayless there? Was that who you’re thinking of? 

Chandice Probst: Rick Bayless was there. There was a ton. So it’s huge. I mean it’s huge. Martha was there. Everyone’s there and it’s the entire conference center and not the entire thing, but a huge portion of it and it’s all housewares brands where you can go and the. We heard feedback from those attendees who actually took advantage to go do that on Saturday after the cooking class. They made so many connections with brands that they moved on to do things with them. It was so fun to hear. So we have that little mini networking thing on Friday evening from six to seven 30 together and then on Saturday, everyone who comes to Tastemaker gets a free ticket to the Houseware show, which is huge. 

Megan Porta: Oh, amazing. This is so valuable. It’s gonna be an amazing time, but I hope it exceeds your expectations for both you and Abby. I know you guys have high standards and we definitely see that. Just from all of us, to you guys, to both of you, thank you for showing up the way you do. We appreciate you so much, and we probably don’t say that enough, but we love you guys and thank you so much. 

Chandice Probst: Thank you so much, Megan. We just adore you. Always. You’re incredible. 

Megan Porta: Thank you. You’re so sweet. Is there anything that you feel like we’ve missed out on that we need to chat about before we say goodbye Chandice? 

Chandice Probst: No, I would just say, let’s leave it with the two quotes that were most important to you and I, is when you don’t have confidence, act on courage and remember to have the abundance mentality versus scarcity mentality.

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. You’re good. Wrapping it up with that. That was good. Nice work. Thanks. We’ll put together a show notes page for this whole episode. You can find that at eatblogtalk.com/tastemaker. So go there and check everything out for that code that Chandice mentioned too. So yeah, we all know where to find you, I think, but why don’t you just reiterate on all the platforms where we can find you at.

Chandice Probst: Yeah, so tastemakerconference.com is our website. Everything is there as far as ticket sales and all of that on Instagram. We are at Tastemaker conference. I’ve actually never been on that other platform that’s big right now. What’s it called? The one that everyone shows videos. 

Megan Porta: TikTok?

Chandice Probst: TikTok. I’ve never been on it, but I’m pretty sure we have a TikTok account, but I have yet to use it. That’s why Amanda does social media. She’s great. 

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. I’m actually envious of that, yeah, I wish I could say that. 

Chandice Probst: Yeah. Yeah, we’ve started Amanda started the TikTok over there, so I think it’s all just at Tastemaker Conference, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. Yeah, I think that’s everything. 

Megan Porta: To wrap up, I can’t wait to see you Chandice in a few months, and I can’t wait to see everyone who’s listening, who is going to Tastemaker. Please come up and give me, and I’m offering hugs, Chandice, to you too. Give Chandice a hug too. She’s a hugger. And yeah, we’ll see you there. 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. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.


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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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