Megan chats to Callan Wenner about how she planned and executed a schedule and content calendar so that she could take 4 months off for maternity leave.
We cover information on how to stay efficient and organized, creating a month-to-month calendar for the year, outsourcing tasks and using project management software to stay on track.
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Connect with The Cozy Plum
Bio Callan started her food blog, The Cozy Plum, in the spring of 2020 with a focus on elevating classic baked goods and savory appetizers and small bites. After quickly honing in on her photography and videography skills, as well as thorough recipe development techniques, she was able to quit her corporate job after a year and a half to pursue The Cozy Plum full-time.
- Define the priorities and goals for the year, and for the months you are taking off.
- Create a month-to-month calendar for the year with each week having a general focus.
- Create weekly/daily tasks each week from there.
- Build in buffers and scheduled time off, but keep to the schedule as closely as possible.
- Outsource what you can and create a strong SOP to help keep your hands off.
- Be as efficient as possible by combining process shots and video during shoots.
- Batch your work and eliminate distractions by automating communications.
- Use project management software to help keep you on track – review your daily to-do every evening/morning.
- Have a go-getter attitude – it will be more work than usual up front, but will be worth it once the time comes.
- Let go of the need to grind and enjoy that time off.
Click for full script.
EBT469 – Callan Wenner
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.
Maybe you are planning time off because of a pregnancy or just because you want to take the summer off, or Q4 off or whatever it is throughout the year. If you want time off your business, which I believe everyone should take time off occasionally, then you will love this episode. Callan Wenner from the Cozy Plum joins me and she talks about how she has planned her maternity leave that’s coming up here in a little bit. She really did strategize through the whole process, so she defined her goals. She worked backwards. She created a month to month calendar for the year She stayed on track, she started outsourcing and some of her outsourcing recommendations are really smart and things that I don’t think a lot of us think about. She stayed efficient and organized and a huge key point is that she stayed on top of her mindset and made sure that her mind was in the right place. Enjoy this one. It is a great conversation. It is episode number 469 Sponsored by Rank IQ.
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Megan Porta 03:10
Callan started her food blog, The Cozy Plum, in Spring 2020 with a focus on elevating classic baked goods and savory appetizers and small bites. After quickly honing in on her photography and videography skills as well as thorough recipe development techniques, she was able to quit her corporate job after a year and a half to pursue The Cozy Plum full-time. Good morning. Welcome to the podcast. How are you today?
Callan Wenner 03:35
I’m doing really well. How are you Megan?
Megan Porta 03:37
I’m doing good too. Super excited to chat about taking extended time off. You might know that I love this topic. And I love to take time off as well, <laugh>. But first, do you have a fun fact to share with us?
Callan Wenner 03:48
I do. Yeah. So when I was 25, I was in a motorbike accident, a charter bus accident, and a boating accident all within a month and a half of each other.
Megan Porta 03:59
Oh my gosh. Are you kidding?
Callan Wenner 04:01
No, I quit my job and I booked a one-way ticket to Thailand and this all happened just when I was traveling around the country. So.
Megan Porta 04:10
This all happened in Thailand?
Callan Wenner 04:11
Nobody was hurt. It was all fine. The boat accident was in Vietnam, but.
Megan Porta 04:16
Oh my god, <laugh>, you just say it so nonchalant. Like I was in three accidents, but we’re all good. Yeah.
Callan Wenner 04:24
It’s pretty crazy, but.
Megan Porta 04:25
Oh my gosh. Well I’m glad you’re okay.
Callan Wenner 04:27
Megan Porta 04:30
And so I guess the moral of that is if you want adventures then leave the country and you know, do those fun things that you normally wouldn’t do at home or something.
Callan Wenner 04:40
Megan Porta 04:41
Well, so glad to have you here. I know we have a super fun topic to chat about. Would you mind starting off Callan by just telling us a little bit about the cozy plum, your blog?
Callan Wenner 04:53
Yeah, of course. So like a lot of other people, I am a pandemic blogger. So I started my blog. I had no idea what I was doing in spring of 2020, just as sort of a hobby at that point. And once I realized, hey, could, this could be a lucrative business, you know, I started diving in and getting more serious about it. It wasn’t really until mm, spring of 2021 that I really buckled down and got serious about it and I was like, okay, I don’t want to work in the corporate world anymore. And so I took the leap, I just worked, worked, you know, crazy hours for a while. And then last year in October I did monetize my site and I think I quit my full-time job in spring of 2022. So it was about a about a year of, you know, double time.
Megan Porta 05:46
That’s amazing. Congratulations. That’s really kind of a fast story too, so you must have worked your butt off.
Callan Wenner 05:55
Yeah, I think that’s common for a lot of newer bloggers. Yeah. You know, there’s so much really valuable information out there now and I think it’s a lot easier for us. Not like easier, you know, it’s obviously blogging is a ton of work, but.
Megan Porta 06:06
I get you.
Callan Wenner 06:08
There’s so much information for us that to take advantage of.
Megan Porta 06:12
I think it is easier these days versus like starting five years or you know, further back <laugh>. Because like, like we didn’t have access to resources like podcasts. Exactly. And webinars and all the group like there, it just wasn’t there. So now those people are having to do a lot of rework because we did everything wrong or we didn’t know, like we just didn’t know what we were doing. Not that we did it wrong, but yeah, I think that your generation of food bloggers <laugh> definitely has an advantage, but I still think it’s awesome that you did that so quickly.
Callan Wenner 06:45
Megan Porta 06:46
So you’re monetized and this is your full-time gig?
Callan Wenner 06:50
Yes, it is.
Megan Porta 06:51
Amazing. Okay. So when did you get to the point where you realized that you liked or you wanted to take extended time off?
Callan Wenner 06:58
So I’m actually pregnant and I am due in like the next two weeks. So it was when I found out that I was pregnant and I had a little bit of a minor freak out when I found out that my due date was in October. You know, because obviously quarter four is a very lucrative time for bloggers. And so it was at that point that I said, okay, you know, get past the freakout point and let’s make a plan here so I can figure out how I can do this. Because I do not want to be working when I have a newborn. Yes, I want to take this months off, I want to enjoy the time, but you know, all of this stuff that we’re going to talk about today also applies to, you know, anybody who wants to take time off for a vacation or you know, not working during the summer or not working during quarter four, which honestly I think is going to be great.
Megan Porta 07:49
Yes. Oh, I think you were saying that you didn’t, you know, like you didn’t like the way the timing works, but I was thinking, oh, I think that sounds lovely not to have to work during Q4.
Callan Wenner 07:59
It was a little bit of a panic just, you know, at first thinking, oh my gosh, I’m taking off like at a very serious time in my business. But now…
Megan Porta 08:08
But really like a lot of the work goes into Q4 before Q4. So Q4 I’ve found in recent years, it’s like, I don’t know, I don’t do a whole lot extra besides just like, make sure things are flowing and all of that <laugh>. Okay. So you obviously learned you were pregnant like nine-ish months ago. So you’ve had this whole time to think through a plan. Right? Yes. Okay. So what are some of the first things you thought through?
Callan Wenner 08:36
Yeah, so the first thing you know, I said okay, I need to define, you know, like what my priorities and goals are for the year, for the months that I wanted to take off. And so for me, because I had just monetized, you know, last year right before quarter four, I really wanted to get one more like solid year and like quarter four under my belt for blogging. You know, obviously I also do partnerships and you know, photography things for other clients and whatnot. So maybe for somebody else, you know, it might be, Hey, I’m going to pick up as many projects as I can. But for me it was really, I want to get one more solid year under my belt for the blog, you know, highest income months for my website, especially during quarter four. And so that’s, that’s really just where I started. Okay, what do I want to focus on this year? And so that’s what that was.
Megan Porta 09:30
Okay. So maximizing your year and Q4 and just yeah, like setting goals. And then do you recommend just setting like one big goal, a handful of goals? I tend to do way too much, like, oh, I’ll do this and this and this, but do you recommend just like one thing to focus on?
Callan Wenner 09:48
I think it’s really like what you can handle and also, you know, just capacity. Do you have other team members? You know, what does your business look like at that point? For me, I was also, you know, the, the entire time I shoot for another food blogger as well, you know, so I had all of that work that I also needed to complete every month. So for me, I felt like I couldn’t really focus more on trying to obtain a bunch of partnerships in addition to what I already had on my plate, you know, trying to get ahead on my own blog. Plus, you know, I was shooting like eight recipes a month for another food blogger, so that already felt like enough for me.
Megan Porta 10:25
So figuring out what’s digestible, what is doable, and then kinda working backward.
Callan Wenner 10:30
Megan Porta 10:31
Okay. So how did you create your calendar or your content schedule based on that?
Callan Wenner 10:37
Yep. So then I started off with like a month to month calendar and you know, if you want to do this online, do it online. I wanted to print it all out and I wanted to be able to like rework it a few times and really just see what it all looked like what my year was looking like. And so I built in, you know, buffers and scheduled time off. So, you know, I would say, okay, what do I want to like accomplish during this work week? And so I sort of started from December and worked backwards. I planned my summer as just strictly doing updates and stuff. I’m, I’m primarily a dessert blogger so you know, people aren’t baking as much during the summer. So I decided to focus summer during doing updates to summer recipes and then working backwards in quarter four. So I think it was in like the beginning of July I was testing and shooting my December recipes and then I worked backwards from there. So then I did November and then I did October. And so within that as well, you know, I was making the time to shoot the recipes for the food blogger as well, so that was like another week in there. But you know, I made sure that I built in buffers and scheduled time off so that I wasn’t burning myself out. You know, I took two vacations this summer, so I was still enjoying myself, but I was definitely also working more than ever probably. Yeah. You know, so like fun and relaxing did have to <laugh> go out of the window sometimes, but yeah. You know, I just made sure that I really kept to my schedule as best as possible and I did, which I’m honestly really proud of because it was a lot, you know, for like two to three months I was just going, going, going. So.
Megan Porta 12:26
It’s worth it though, I think especially once you do it once and realize how worth it is to have that time off whether it’s for a baby or something else, I think that keeps you going the next time, but the first time you do it, it’s like, oh gosh, this is a lot of work.
Callan Wenner 12:40
Yeah. So it definitely felt overwhelming looking at the months, but then, you know, once I had, you know, I knew, okay, I was doing December recipes this week from there, then I have a little whiteboard, like a weekly whiteboard and I would put, you know, my daily tasks into that. So then, you know, it was more mandible from that point, so it was sort of just like big picture. And then every week it would just go down.
Megan Porta 13:03
This is my style, this is exactly how I work too. Kellen <laugh>. So you planned your content and then you also planned your freelance work. What else did you plan in there? Like social media or anything else?
Callan Wenner 13:14
Yeah, social media, definitely. I did, I will say in my first trimester I did not feel good. <Laugh>. Yeah. So I like really fell off the wagon for social media. But once I started feeling better, I got back to that. But yeah, social media was scheduled into that too, you know, like YouTube shorts and all of my Instagram stuff and Facebook stuff.
Megan Porta 13:37
And then newsletters. Did you do those as well?
Callan Wenner 13:40
Yes, I did. I don’t really at this point, well I, I have now written everything like through Christmas, but at that point I was still just writing them like on a biweekly basis, so yeah.
Megan Porta 13:53
Cool. Anything else? So you do video too for every recipe or how? Yes. Oh wow. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a lot. <Laugh>. Yeah. Ambitious. Yeah. So you’re doing not only, you know, writing and recipe testing and making and photographing, but you’re also doing video for every post. And then how much, how much content do you create weekly?
Callan Wenner 14:14
So I try to do like eight to 10 recipes a month for my own food blogs. So I try to get about two in a week.
Megan Porta 14:22
So you were busy, that’s a lot.
Callan Wenner 14:24
Yeah. But I, but I batch my content, so.
Megan Porta 14:28
Oh, batching is amazing.
Callan Wenner 14:29
I think we’ll get to that point during this conversation.
Megan Porta 14:33
And then that kind of leads me to ask what did you get help with during your planning and also while you’re going to be gone?
Callan Wenner 14:42
So before I even, you know, knew that we were having a baby, I knew that I wanted to start outsourcing this year just because it’s just way too much you have to Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And so I started outsourcing, you know, like, it’s not that I don’t enjoy writing, but it just takes so much time for me. And so that was the number one thing that I knew that I wanted to outsource. So I did outsource half of my blog post writing. So I do, I outsource four of those a month. And then I also outsourced my photo editing because you know, other people can do that just as good if not better than I can.
Megan Porta 15:16
And did you start outsourcing just when you learned you were pregnant or just recently? Or how long has it been?
Callan Wenner 15:22
I had started in January on the blog post writing and then the photo editing as soon as I found out that I was pregnant.
Megan Porta 15:29
It’s a game changer. Outsourcing those things that just take you a little bit longer, isn’t it?
Callan Wenner 15:34
Yes. I was like, why did I wait so long to do this? I know obviously it costs money, but you know, it’s worth it. I’m getting so much time back in my schedule and then very generously, my sister runs my Pinterest and then my husband does my Google web stories. And so, you know, I know that I’m very lucky to <laugh> have that. But you know, for all of these people, it was really important for me to create a strong SOP so that I could be as hands-off as possible, you know? So I was recording videos of everything, you know, I had written versions of everything just so it was all as clear as possible so that I wasn’t having to answer extra questions and just making sure everything was really clear from the start that way, you know, I was basically just like checking over things and, you know, everybody knew their role and like what needed to be done. Right. And so now moving into these months off my blog post writing is like completely done. Obviously the photos are all totally done. So, and then I have the schedule for my husband to just con continue doing web stories and the schedule for my sister to continue doing Pinterest. So my sister also is going to help me schedule some of my social media stuff, you know, in like the couple weeks around when I’m having the baby. And then otherwise I’ll have everything else scheduled and, and posted.
Megan Porta 16:59
I love that you mentioned your husband and sister because we get into this groove where we think we have to hire like a Pinterest expert or a web stories expert. And it does not have to be like that. If there’s someone in your life who’s relatively smart and organized and can learn quickly and they are looking for a little extra cash or just to help you out, I say give them web stories, Pinterest, because that is easily learnable and that is huge, right?
Callan Wenner 17:28
I totally agree. It took me a little while to be like, you know, because they were always offering, you know, what can I help with? What can I help with? I was like, nothing, nothing I guess myself, you know? And then finally I said, okay, we need to, we need to take them up on this.
Megan Porta 17:42
Yeah. No, it’s, it’s so good to do that because you mentioned earlier, like just handing off a few little things has opened so much time for you.
Callan Wenner 17:53
Megan Porta 17:54
And sometimes we just need to let go of some of those things that we just, that we are not lit up by anymore.
Callan Wenner 18:00
Yes. That is absolutely right. And I feel like it takes, you know, we’re entrepreneurs, it’s our baby. It’s like we feel like we just have to be like doing all of this stuff ourselves, and it’s just not the case. And I think the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be.
Megan Porta 18:15
Yes. And I think this is really hard for people who are micromanagers are kind of, you know, like more on the controlling side. I am not like that. So it’s really easy for me to just be like, here’s a great SOP, take it and run with it. Do an amazing job. And I trust you. I’m so grateful that I’m like that <laugh> because I hear people all the time, like, I can’t give up photo editing or whatever it is because I just need to like, oh gosh.
Callan Wenner 18:41
I definitely ha you know, have things that I like in particular about, but that’s why I created the videos and create the really strong SOP. So that’s all in there.
Okay. Food bloggers, this is it. This is the last call to apply to join the 2024 Eat Blog Talk mastermind program at the time. I am recording this. We only have two spots available by the time this airs. I’m not sure if either of those spots will still be available, but head to eatblogtalk.com/mastermind to find out. This powerful group will not open again until we take applications for 2025. So if this has been on your radar, now is your time. December 15th is the date that the doors will close. Officially, we have incredible guest experts lined up for 2024. We are getting geared up for our in-person retreat that is included with membership and that is happening at the end of January. Weekly calls are set to start right away in January. Things are in motion and powerful transformations are about to take place. Head to eatblogtalk.com/mastermind to apply now, back to the episode.
Megan Porta 19:53
Okay. So how do you maintain a level of efficiency with all of this? Because what you’ve just said is a lot of work, including outsourcing and finding all of the people and all of that.
Callan Wenner 20:04
Yeah. So efficiency is definitely, I am totally like a machine and I know that like the amount that of work that I can get done in a small amount of time is like a little bit ridiculous, I will say <laugh>, but like for me, and this is going to be different for everybody, it really just comes down to like batching my work. That’s just the way that I like to do it. So like, I will take a whole week where I am in the kitchen and like, I’m not doing anything else. I’m not like ex you know, like calling my photos, anything like that. But when I’m in the studio after like I’ve tested and stuff, I am combining process shots and videos and final like, hero shots during all of my shoots. So like I am filming and then my camera automatically using my shutter can like go into that process shot. And so I’m getting everything done in one go. I am eliminating my distractions for my team members. Like I have email triggers set up for everything so that I’m reducing unnecessary communication, you know? So like when my writer is done with a post, I get an email for that. When my sister has scheduled a Pinterest pin for the day, I get an email for that web stories, you know, all of that stuff. So that way, you know, I’m not having to spend time like in my email inbox and things like that. So yeah, I mean, just really like eliminating distractions, you know, when I go into a shoot, I know that, you know, I want to get six shots of this and I’m not going to let myself get stuck taking 25 photos of the same shot no matter how good it looks, you know?
It’s like, I’m like, get it done, move on. Yeah. And I try not to get into that like perfectionist nature and honestly, the biggest game changer, which this I guess can sort of go along with outsourcing too, is if you have somebody who can help wash and dry your dishes and set up your ingredient shots, that is a game changer. Hmm. I had my mom helping me through the entire summer doing this, and I, I probably would’ve been like three weeks, it would’ve taken me three weeks longer if I was doing this myself. So again, just like use the people that you have, you know, obviously I’m very lucky that I have my mom nearby who could come and help me with those things. But like, is there a kid in your neighborhood, you know, that you can pay, you know, throw some cash to, you know, to do these things. But when every day, like when my mom would come in, I had a whiteboard in the kitchen, here’s what we’re tackling today, here’s the recipes printed off. You know, she would start getting those ingredient shots set up and then I was just go, go, go. And in between she was washing and drying my dishes so I could just keep going.
Megan Porta 22:58
There is nothing more satisfying than having someone in your kitchen helping you when you’re a food blogger.
Callan Wenner 23:05
Yes. My gosh. Yeah. So honestly, that was, thank you mom. Like that was <laugh>, that was huge for me.
Megan Porta 23:14
I bet. Yeah. And those little, like, you just had to use the people, what did you say? Use the people you have or find the people in your life that can help Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> and use that. Because they might benefit from it too.
Callan Wenner 23:27
They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to do it either, you know?
Megan Porta 23:31
Yeah, and there’s always, I feel like there’s always neighborhood kids who are looking for extra cash. Like, even if it’s absolutely, it’s taking your dog for a walk because you’re busy. Filming or whatever. Stuff like that. Like thinking outside of the realm of food fogging even, and Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> into your, the realm of your life and your house and your pets and your kids and all of that. And then how do you deal with keyword research?
Callan Wenner 23:55
Yeah, so I do all of that first. So before, like I’ve even done all of my recipes and stuff or testing, I mean, and so I guess that was sort of like, I worked that in whenever I was creating like, my month to month calendars and was doing that at that time. So, you know, I would start my research, you know, for December and you know, I would end up with about 20 recipes that I found, and then I, I would call it down from there, you know, just based on, I wanted to be very, very strategic about it this year. You know, in times it was like, oh, I really want to make this, but the search volume is low, like, I’m going to make it anyway. I didn’t really do that this year. Which is hard just in terms of like, sometimes it stifles your creativity, but, you know, my goal was to really like, get ahead and make good money this year, make some really good posts. And so I would, from like the 20 that I would find, then I would dwindle it down to my eight to 10 for each month based on, you know, search volume and, and what I could rank for and stuff. So that was, that was in my, when I was creating my month to month calendar.
Megan Porta 25:05
It sounds like you’re efficient in every aspect of your business because you need to be, if you’re planning for time off, you kind of need to be that way.
Callan Wenner 25:13
Yes. And so then I would, you know, give those, give those spreadsheets, you know, in my shared folder to my writer and stuff, you know, and we have like a whole process for all of that as well.
Megan Porta 25:24
Yeah. Which leads me to, how do you communicate with a team? Because it sounds like you have quite a few different people working together. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, do you have like a project management software? What do you use?
Callan Wenner 25:36
Yeah, so for myself, just myself, I use Asana. And this is just to sort of help me keep on myself on track. You know, I have like a skeleton project basically that has, you know, like my eight recipes and all of the sub, you know, there’s like 26 sub tasks or whatever for, for each recipe in there. So I can really easily just copy and paste it, you know, for each recipe and each month and stuff like that. And so that sort of just helps me keep on track for everything that like I need to stay on top of because there is so much batching. So it’s like, you know, did I export and organize these photos? Have I edited this recipe in my Google Doc? Has it been loaded to my WordPress recipe maker card? So things like that. And then also those, that’s also where I keep track of, okay, have I loaded the keywords for my writer? Have I added these photos into the folder for my sister to do my Pinterest? And then for my team, I use an Airtable where I like load all of the relevant information, any links in there, so like the links to the keyword research, the links to the blog posts, all of that stuff. So then that’s also where I have my email triggers set up, so they have like a little toggle, so when they’re done with it, they’ll, you know, change it to done, and then I automatically get notified from there.
Megan Porta 26:58
Callan Wenner 26:59
So I use that for everything including, you know, my social media schedule and all of that stuff.
Megan Porta 27:06
So do you minimize, do you feel like you don’t have communication that is not necessary? I mean, I’m sure you do sometimes, but do you feel like you’ve really minimized that?
Callan Wenner 27:15
Definitely. At this point it, it’ll be like, you know, maybe my writer will have like a question if I was just not very clear in something that I wrote in my, my keyword research spreadsheet, or my sister will be like, oh, hey, like, you missed uploading the, this meatball recipe.
Megan Porta 27:32
Callan Wenner 27:32
Just like little things like that. But otherwise, yeah, it’s just, it’s running like a well-oiled machine at this point, so I’m, I’m pretty happy. So I’m hoping, you know, just through the next couple of months that it’ll, you’ll continue that way. Right. So I mean, that’s the goal, right? To get you, you know, you do the things that you want to do, offload the rest and keep the business running and keep the needle moving forward.
Megan Porta 27:58
And I think you’ll find when you get back from your leave that there are ways to even maximize and be even more efficient. I find that every time that I go, like I took the summer off kind of, I mean, not really. I kinda worked a little, but for the most part I took a big chunk of my summer off and when I came back I was like, oh, I didn’t need to do this. Probably I can probably change. You know, like there are things that you realize through your time off that you can tweak to make your business more efficient.
Callan Wenner 28:27
Definitely. Yeah. And you know, once I have a child as well that I’m going to be mm-Hmm, <affirmative>, now I’m going to have to figure out even more, you know, how, how are we going to get this done? So yeah, everything changes.
Megan Porta 28:42
It’ll be a puzzle, but it’ll be a fun puzzle for you, <laugh>. And you mentioned a little bit ago, I loved that you said this, you’re like, I’m a machine. I love that.
Callan Wenner 28:50
Megan Porta 28:51
So what other kind of mindset tweaks do we need to make to make something like this happen?
Callan Wenner 28:58
Yeah, I think like you really just have to like have that go-getter attitude for a little bit. You know, like there are going to be days that you just don’t want to do anything. And of course I have those, and you know, sometimes I’m not saying that I don’t take those days sometimes where I’m just like, all right, we just, I can’t get it done. It’s just not going to happen today, <laugh>. Yeah. Like, let’s take a reset and try again tomorrow. But, you know, I think just like waking up every day knowing that you know what you’re doing, the extra work that you’re putting in right now, it’s temporary and it, you know, the reward is going to be there for those months that you get to take off and really just like, enjoy yourself. But just, you know, waking up every day and being like, okay, we’re going to crush this day. Yes, we’re going to crush. So what I mean, you know, and that looks different for everybody. Like I I’ll say up front, I am not like a let me journal this morning and you know, let me put clothes on. Like, no, I am <laugh>, I am in my sweatpants, you know, I just wake up and like immediately start working and that’s just what works for me, you know? So, but I think finding out what does work for you is really important. So if that is journaling or getting your mind right or having that quiet time in the morning, you know, do that so that you’re ready to just like really tackle the day and just keep reminding yourself that you know, you can do it. It is hard because, you know, blogging, it’s, it’s, it’s a marathon. It is not a sprint. And I feel like I have to tell myself that every single day and like, I will literally say it out loud, marathon not a sprint. So, you know, you’ll have these crazy to-do lists, but just because you’re not tackling them all doesn’t mean that, you know, you’re not getting the work done at the same time.
Megan Porta 30:43
I feel like mindset will either make or break a food blogger. It’s like you can have the best of intentions and the best content calendar schedule laid out, the best knowledge about keyword research, but it really comes down to mindset and like what you do with that.
Callan Wenner 31:00
I totally agree. And you know, it, there’s, there’s a lot of highs and lows that go with it too. So it’s like really easy to be like, I love my job when things are going great and your numbers are great and you know, Instagram for whatever reason is going great. And then when it’s low, it’s low because it is also just, it’s lonely. But I think that I’ve found a really great group of fellow colleagues and food bloggers, you know, that I talk to on the regular and we check in with each other and you know, like have calls and texts and stuff. And I think that’s really important. So I think if anybody hasn’t found like their community yet, that that is also a huge game changer, you know, because it can get, it can get really lonely as much as it know my family and my husband is involved in my business, it’s still hard for them to just Yeah, totally understand like the ins and outs of everything that I’m talking about. So being able to, you know, go to one of my friends and, you know, use the jargon that I need to use. To get my point across. Like, it, it matters. And, you know, just having them remind you that you’re doing a great job and you know.
Megan Porta 32:11
Oh, there’s a level of understanding that people outside the food blogging industry can’t really align with. Right. Like, you, you do need to have those people. Otherwise the mindset piece is really hard to tackle.
Callan Wenner 32:27
Megan Porta 32:28
I was going to ask, let’s see, one last question. You mentioned before scheduling and buffer time when you’re planning all of this. How much buffer time and are you diligent about that? Like, this schedule that you’ve talked about is crazy, like video, all this stuff like Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> outsourcing, finding the people. So how diligent are you and do you feel like you’re taking care of yourself enough?
Callan Wenner 32:53
Yes. So, you know, typically I would, you know, before like this year, I’d be like, oh, okay, I’m not going to work on Saturday. And then I would work all day Saturday. Yeah. And I made sure that I was absolutely not doing that this year because I knew that I would get burnt out. I knew that I’m growing a baby, I’m going to be really tired just as another level of it, but I stuck with it. There was maybe like one or two times where we just like, weren’t really doing anything that I did do a little bit of work, but otherwise I set my stuff down and I did not do it. And so I was mostly taking the weekends off, which was nice. And then, you know, I would have like a whole day scheduled just for like grocery pickup and just like, outstanding tasks and like getting organized for the week. So like, if I didn’t need to be in the kitchen or like all day or all week, then I would like leave that Monday to just sort of like smaller tasks, not as much. But yeah, I, I stuck with it and I told myself I’m not, I’m not going to overwork myself. So while the schedule was difficult, it was still super attainable for me.
Megan Porta 34:04
Yeah. That this is something I struggle with all the time, even as a seasoned food blogger who’s been doing, I should know better, basically <laugh> <laugh>. But I still, like, I am in a spot now where I’m like, I did way, way, way too much in September and I am paying the price now. I’ve been sick for three weeks, like literally so mad at myself for letting this happen again. But you do as a food blogger, need to be really stringent and really adhere to those deadlines you set for yourself. Or things can get really ugly.
Callan Wenner 34:36
Yes. And that’s so funny what you said about like, that you got sick or whatever, because pretty much like right after I had finished all of my kitchen work, like in the end of August, I think it was, I did get sick because it was my, my body just like knew that, you know?
Megan Porta 34:54
Yeah, it does. Like your body follows suit. It’s like, wait, you are, we’re overworking. You need a break. So I’m going to make you take a break. Oh gosh, it’s no fun. Okay. What, what are we forgetting, Callan? Is there anything that you feel like we should mention before we start saying goodbye? This has been such a great conversation. I love it.
Callan Wenner 35:12
I think just like, you know, it’s hard to, and you know, when you’re so invested in your business and it, it is like your baby and you love what you do, it is hard to, you know, like give things up or enjoy that time off. And like, I’m not going to lie, I have a list of low hanging fruit in case I want to work. I don’t want to deny myself that. Right. You know, because I love my job. I love what I do. So like, if there are times that I feel like I want to like do something productive, like I’m going to, I’m not going to deny myself that, but I think it’s really important to just let go of the grind. Enjoy the time off because like, you have worked so hard, you know, everybody in this industry, I just see you working so hard and you know you deserve, you deserve that time to be with your family or you know, sit on the couch and watch TV, whatever you want to do. So easier said than done. I know. I’m going to have to remind myself. I know my husband is going to have to remind me, but I do think it’s really important because you can just totally get pulled into that cyclone.
Megan Porta 36:24
Yeah. And I love that you mentioned your husband because we get so into our businesses that it’s really good to have somebody outside of the business to pull us out once in a while and say, I think you’re, you worked a lot today. Like you please put your computer down. Like when my husband says that to me, I’m so grateful. Like, oh, it’s almost like you’re stuck in this vortex and someone just needs to reach in a hand and just pull you out, you know?
Callan Wenner 36:49
Yes, absolutely. Because there, you know, the to-do, it never ends. And so I can just be like, oh my gosh, I’ve been working all day and next thing I know it’s 10 o’clock at night and like, what am I doing?
Megan Porta 37:00
Yeah, it’s so true. It’s a real struggle. <Laugh> for us. Oh gosh. It never ends. But thank you so much for this. This is so good. Whether somebody is planning to have a baby or you’re pregnant or you just want to take the summer off, you have plenty of time to make a plan. Listen to everything Callan said, and stay organized. Work on your mindset, find your people. Be efficient when you sit down to work, work, right? Don’t mess around. That’s a key point. Outsource like so many good things here. So thank you so much, Callan, for your time today.
Callan Wenner 37:36
Thank you Megan.
Megan Porta 37:37
Yeah, this was so fun. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Callan Wenner 37:41
I do. And this sort of goes along with what we just ended with, is that your value is more than your output. This is something that I just really try to remind myself all the time. You know, even if I didn’t cross off 20 things, 25 things today, like I’m still worthy. Did I do my best today? If you asked yourself that question at the end of the day, and it’s a yes, great.
Megan Porta 38:02
I love that. Yes. So when you’re sick and you do like one thing, then you should not feel guilty, right? I’m telling myself this right now. I did interviews today, so go take a nap.
Callan Wenner 38:15
Megan Porta 38:16
Yes. We’ll put together show notes for you, Callan. If you want to go look at those, you can head to eatblogtalk.com/thecozyplum. Tell everyone where they can find you.
Callan Wenner 38:26
Yeah. So you can find me at thecozyplum.com for my website and blog. And then @TheCozyPlum for all of my social media, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, all the good stuff. So The Cozy Plum.
Megan Porta 38:41
Nice. I love the name by the way. Everyone. Go check out Callan’s website and socials. And thank you so much for being here, Len, and thank you for listening Food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to head to forum.eatblogtalk.com to join our free discussion forum and connect with and learn from like-minded peers. I will see you next time.
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