In episode 409, Laura Tobin teaches us how to treat our blogs like actual businesses, getting into the right mindset and talking about our business with confidence.
We cover information on confidently describing your business, understanding why bloggers are underrated, and overcoming that, knowing you need an entrepreneurial mindset, stages to developing a business and learn to track your time for efficiency.
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Connect with Your Guardian Chef
Bio In 2018, Laura’s husband suddenly passed away, and she became a single mom with two teenage sons and no income. In 2019, Laura decided to focus on a food blog that she’d started previously as a hobby and turn it into a viable business. Applying her technical and business skills, Laura was successful in joining Mediavine one year later. For the last 4 years, Laura has worked as a single mom of two sons, while growing a business with limited time and resources. Laura has two master’s degrees, one in Civil Engineering and an MBA from London Business school
- To be a food blogger takes a lot of work and brain power and skills, so give yourself credit and be proud of your success.
- Food bloggers are undervalued and underrated.
- Treat yourself like a business owner as well as the business you run.
- Create a business plan to know what you want to do, do what’s best for your business, and know how to go forward.
- Have a budget and be willing to invest in your business.
- Streamline your processes and be aware of the time you spend on each task to help you stay focused.
- Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career By Herminia Ibarra Publisher Harvard Business Review Press (Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, Updated Edition of the Global Bestseller)
- Myers & Briggs Foundation.
- EAT BLOG TALK episode #092 Business plan
- The Beginner’s Guide to Programmatic Advertising
- Apps: Loom, Toggl, Looker Studio
- The EXITPreneur’s Playbook: How to Sell Your Online Business for Top Dollar by Reverse Engineering Your Pathway to Success
- The Customer-Funded Business: Start, Finance, or Grow Your Company with Your Customers’ Cash By John Mullins
- Should a Startup Founder Call Themselves the CEO
- European UK food bloggers Facebook group
- Connecting bloggers Facebook group
Click for full script.
EBT409 – Laura Tobin
Intro: 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 their blog’s growth and ultimately help them to achieve their 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.
Do you ever get asked, what you do for a living? Then you fumble over your words because you have no idea how to respond because you feel like people are not going to understand you. Or do you ever feel like the term food blogger or the way we describe our work is so underrated and undervalues what we do? I feel like all of us can relate to those things.
Laura Tobin from Your Guardian Chef joins me in this amazing episode to talk about this topic and how we as content creators should be treating these blogs like actual businesses. She touches on how to talk about it, how to approach it, how to change our mindset so that we are more serious about this amazing work that we do, and how strong and efficient and resilient and smart we all are.
This is such a good episode. I really think you guys will be inspired by this. This is episode number 409, and it is sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Eat Blog Talk is here to support you at every stage of your food blogging journey to help you accelerate your blog’s growth so you can achieve your freedom. We offer many services that will help get you on the right path no matter where you’re at in your journey. Don’t forget to check out our free discussion forum at forum.eatblogtalk.com. Go there to connect with like-minded peers to learn and grow and to share any wins that you have.
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If you are not quite ready for that investment, the mini minds program might be for you. It is a six-month program that will help you achieve your goals and overcome any obstacles that are holding you back.
If you’re up for getting together in person with some like-minded food bloggers, consider coming to one of our in-person retreats in 2023. This is a great way to get to know your fellow food bloggers really well in an intimate setting learn a ton about food blogging in a short timeframe, and eat some delicious food that you will never forget. Go to eatblogtalk.com/services to get all the information about all of our services.
Megan Porta: In 2018, Laura’s husband suddenly passed away and she became a single mom with two teenage sons and no income. In 2019, she decided to focus on a food blog that she’d started previously as a hobby and turn it into a viable business. Applying her technical and business skills, Laura was successful in joining Mediavine one year later. For the last four years, Laura has worked as a single mom of two sons while growing business with limited time and resources. She has two master’s degrees, one in civil engineering and an MBA from London Business School.
Sponsor: Hi Laura, how are you today? Thanks for joining me on Eat Blog Talk.
Laura Tobin: Hi Megan. Thank you for having me. I was really looking forward to this chat with you.
Megan Porta: Yeah, same. So before we dig into the topic today, do you have a fun fact to share with us?
Laura Tobin: I have a couple of them, actually. First of all, at the beginning, of my previous life, I was working on an offshore platform in the north sea.
Megan Porta: Ooh.
Laura Tobin: So petroleum engineer.
Megan Porta: Oh my.
Laura Tobin: Yeah, so that’s a fun fact. Now I change completely. Now I live in the south of France. I still have a son here at home, and then I have a dog, and two chicken.
Megan Porta: Oh, wow.
Laura Tobin: It was a big transformation.
Megan Porta: So versatile. I don’t even like that first thing you said. Yeah. I don’t even know what that means. What? I actually completely forgot it, but when you said it, I was like, what does that even mean? But so cool. You have a diverse life. All right, thanks for sharing that, and thank you so much for being here today. You’re going talk about how we need to maybe view our businesses as businesses. Professional ventures, right? If we took this from a hobby or whether we started it, intending for it to be a business, we do need to see it as a business if we want to make money. So we’re going to talk about that today. But first, I would love for you just to talk through your journey, where you’re at today, and all of that.
Laura Tobin: Yes, so I, as I said, I started my career as a petroleum engineer in Norway. Then I did an MBA at London Business School, and then I decided to get married. So as many professional women. I left my full-time career to start a family. With my husband, I’ve been living a bit everywhere around the world. Then we moved back here in the south of France and we had two boys. Unfortunately, four years ago, my husband suddenly passed away. So I became a single mom with two teenage sons, and I had to reinvent my life because I was actually working with my husband, a bit of an in the background. I was mainly looking after the family. So I had to close my husband’s business and reinvent my career. I took back my blog that I started more like a hobby and I had to turn it into a professional business to get an income. So in 2019, I took it seriously, and the year after I joined Mediavine. I’m currently, struggling between, my two sons this huge house that I’m managing and my blog, and my animals. So my older son is in London, and is working, so I still have my young one, 16. In one year I’ll be. Starting a new life. He’ll go to university, so I’ll be by myself, focusing on my business.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Wow. A lot of major life changes for you in the past few years. I’m so sorry about your husband. I’m sure that was a devastating loss and not just a loss, but what an abrupt change of pace for your life, right? To have to just completely reinvent yourself really.
Laura Tobin: Yeah. It is a journey. It’s still a hard journey. But, I’m thankful for the blog. For me, it has been a big saver. Not only because as a business, I’m now earning an income, but even to get distracted by what was happening in my life. To just jump into it and, move on. Continue with my life for me and for my sons.
Megan Porta: Oh wow. This is okay. I can already tell this is going to be an inspiring conversation. So cool. Okay. I have a lot of questions. Let’s move into just the stereotype of blogging because you moved into blogging more seriously out of necessity because you had to. This was an opportunity, okay, I can make money, let’s do this. But a lot of us, just don’t do it out of necessity, we just do it because maybe, we’re at home and we’re parenting at home, so we might as well blog, like that sort of thing. So talk about the whole stereotype of food blogging. What do you feel describes a food blogger?
Laura Tobin: Yeah, the reason I came up with this topic is because, often on the Facebook group where we are, there’s somebody coming up with the question. It’s like I was out socially and somebody asked me what I was doing for a living and I don’t know what to answer. So it is the typical thing that as a food bloggers, we don’t know what to answer. We have an identity crisis. Who are we? Because most of us just started out of boredom You’re in the family and so this stereotype of a food blogger there is either the mom cooking for the family and taking pictures and posting it on the blog or, the young girl that is eating the salad and posting pictures on Instagram. The reality is that when you start talking with people that most of us are highly educated and there’s no mystery on that. Because if we are able to be successful as bloggers, we must have a brain. Google hires space engineers, and rocket scientists to build up their algorithm. So if we are able to beat it and be on top of it, probably we have some brain there. That’s why I think, to be embarrassed or say I’m a food blogger, we shouldn’t be. I have my neighbor here an old 90-year-old man. I explained to him what I do, but he doesn’t understand. So he thinks I’m running an illegal business.
Megan Porta: Are you serious?
Laura Tobin: An illegal restaurant out of my house. So he called the present domain saying, okay, she has to stop cooking. You know she’s doing something illegal.
Megan Porta: That’s so funny.
Laura Tobin: You go explain to somebody 90 years of age, what is a blogging, content creator. He wouldn’t understand. But anyway, so the fact that there are a lot of women in this business is obvious. It fits with our lifestyle because it gives us the possibility of working flexibly. You’re driving your son to sports and you can do your social media on your phone or while the children’s are napping, you can do your blog post. So it allows you to work flexible hours. Then also the positive thing that I have experienced personally, is the fact that you have a passive income. Sometimes I have a period of time of weeks that I have some emergency to deal with and I don’t have anybody to delegate to, so I have to be involved directly. I might not be able to work for two, or three weeks, but I still get that income coming through and I’m so grateful for that. It’s so important.
Also, the other thing is that because we have a family, we understand what the problem is with providing a meal for the family every single day. So we know what our reader’s problems are and how to solve them.
Megan Porta: Okay. So many great points here. I love that you talked about rocket science and how basically we’re smarter than rocket scientists, I think that was the point. But seriously, food bloggers are so underrated and undervalued because I don’t feel like the general population truly understands. Even someone who is fairly educated and on the younger side, that’s not a food blogger or a content creator, if I tell them I’m a food blogger, they don’t know what I’m talking about. I still get the comments that are, oh, are you like a restaurant critic or do you write? People just don’t get it. No. So I am really excited for the day when food blogger is just a more common term that people truly understand or do we not want to get there? I don’t know. What do you think?
Laura Tobin: No. I’ve seen lately, I’ve seen these two words coming out more often, which I, it’s a content creator. Which I think it’s better described than our current as a professional because it’s a content creator. I think it’s more refined than Food Blogger. I think Food Blogger is a stereotype at this point. We just need to change the name.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I agree. It’s like you imagine somebody just doing this as a hobby for fun, occasionally on their couch or something. That’s what I think of when I think of food bloggers. Content creator takes it up a notch, take it a little bit more seriously. Maybe it’s a business. So yeah, I think the term has to change, evolve. Then also we need to just educate people more on what we actually do and that we are not just hobby bloggers, sitting in our homes, occasionally eating food, and randomly posting pictures. We run legitimate businesses and we are smart individuals.
Laura Tobin: Absolutely. I think it starts with us as well. We are entrepreneurs, that’s what we are. An entrepreneur is a much more adventurous career. Employed into a business because entrepreneurs have to put their hands everywhere. It requires so many skills, it’s so much more challenging. When we are successful, we have to be proud of our success because it’s not easy.
Megan Porta: I feel like even the term entrepreneur is a relatively newly understood term. I feel like even, 10 ish years ago when I heard that term, I didn’t know what it meant. I just thought it meant unemployed or hoping to find a job or something like that. But now people are finally understanding what that word means. Oh, okay, you’re adventurous. You want a flexible career. You have, the sky is the limit mentality. That is associated with that word. And so what we need to work on is associating content creators slash food bloggers with that same meaning.
Laura Tobin: Yeah, no, absolutely. It’s interesting enough, I met with one of my professors from London Business School. He was an entrepreneur professor, which I will speak about it later. But so he was saying that when I did my MBA in the late nineties. I’m going to reveal my age now with this, but everybody was doing an MBA to get into finance, and I even worked in the city of London for two months and that was everybody’s aspiration. Now he was saying the students now, they want to set up their own businesses. They want to be entrepreneurs. So it is changing.
Megan Porta: It is. I see it changing every year. There’s more of an understanding. I feel like there are fewer people going to college because it’s more understood that you can make a difference in the world by being an entrepreneur and doing your own thing. Paving your own way and making a lot of money, right? There’s a lot of money. If you can dig into a problem and solve that problem for people, and you’re creative and you’re resilient, and all of those good things, you can make as much as you want. I think that’s one of the messages here. There’s flexibility, there’s a lot of money in it. If you want that and you can find the success that you want.
Laura Tobin: We are the limit. We are our limit because it depends on us how hard we want to work and how much we want to achieve. So we can control. Often, especially for a woman, if you’re working in the business, you more easily hit the glass ceiling. Especially if you have a family. If you run your own business, you have more control over what you’re doing.
Megan Porta: I think that’s what a lot of us see. We see that potential and that’s why we get into this. Don’t you think?
Laura Tobin: Yeah. Yeah.
Megan Porta: We see things that maybe other people don’t see. Like your 90-year-old neighbor clearly is one of those people. You’re not running in a legal business, but most people don’t see it and then a select few of us see the potential and how it aligns with our skills and talents, and that’s why we so passionately dig into this profession.
Laura Tobin: Yeah, it’s completely different. You have the freedom of choosing where you want and as I said, I really mean the rocket science thing. We are smart women and we know where we want to be and what we want to be. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain to others and that’s why, going back to when I’m out socially, what should I say I do? It’s difficult to explain or for people to believe in what we are seeing. We are visionary.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Even my parents who have heard me explain this in various ways over the past 10 years or more. They still don’t understand. So it’s funny when we’re in the midst of other people, they’ll be like, now here’s my daughter Megan. Megan, explain what you do. They don’t know how to explain it at all. They’re like, now how, again, do you make money? As many times as I’ve told them, advertising and all the things, they just cannot wrap their heads around it. So it’s funny how there’s just a barrier to understanding it really for so many people.
Laura Tobin: Yeah. But also it is because it’s a completely new industry. It’s changing so rapidly. With this new thing on AI, it’s just revolutionizing the entire world, and especially our own industry is changing so much. It’s very difficult to keep up with the changes.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, that’s so true. But yet, despite all of this and how difficult it is to communicate and keep up, we do need to continue to treat our businesses like businesses. So talk to us about how to do that. So how do we set our stage to be a business?
Laura Tobin: So practically, from what we studied at business school, a startup has five different stages. Each stage requires different skills from the owner of the business. So in the beginning, you have the conception stage, when you are still thinking of the idea, and then you have the survival. So you start the business and you are still trying to make money out of it. In these first two stages, what is very important is the ability of the owners to do things. We have our hands on everything. We’re doing everything. Then what is very important is to have enough cash to move forward. Then we get to a profitability stage where the owner’s ability to do is still important and the cash is still important, but then also start to get into the importance of planning, delegating tasks, and working with people. As the profitability grows, the working with people and the planning and the ability to delegate becomes more important than the ability of the owners to do and the cash. Then we reach a takeoff, then the company grows. But it is important in all the different stages to take a step back and to really plan what we need to do.
Megan Porta: Yes. Okay. So that you set the stage for a traditional business model. But this applies to the content creator business as well.
Laura Tobin: Yeah. There are lot of bloggers for example, they are actually have they have a day job and they do blogging in the evening or their spare times cause they want to transition. So that is like a career change. They’re testing the water too. Which my situation also, from offshore petroleum engineers, I’m writing a blog, so you know, we have different working identities and some people decide to take an early career and then decide to change. Especially women, when they start seeing that they need to manage more the family and the business. So it’s important that we analyze and we study what we want to do. You had on your blog, I haven’t found the link. You had a business plan that you shared. That was extremely helpful actually.
Megan Porta: Oh, good.
Laura Tobin: Yeah I did that a couple of years ago. Yeah, it must have been when I decided to just move, take seriously the blogging and I went through and it was very well done and it covered the right things and to just shape the idea of food blogger content creators into a professional business, to really understand what are unique value for a position, to understand who are your competitors, who’s your avatar. I think that was extremely well done and I’m sure that’s very helpful. I don’t know if you can resurface that.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I actually found the episode. Yeah, it’s episode 092, so if you go back and listen to that episode in the archives. I’ve received some feedback about it, positive feedback, but I feel like I made it maybe a little bit too complicated. This is one of the things that I tend to do over-complicate things, but it is such a good plan if you can get through it. Oh my gosh. You will have such a solid plan for your avatar, your business, what your strengths are, and all of that. But you do have to carve out a chunk of time for it.
Laura Tobin: Yeah. I think it is important to do your homework. It depends on the personality that you are, and there are also personality tests that they do when they hire people. There is this Meyer Brier Foundation that understands what your personality is and what your strengths and weakness. But I think it’s important to go through that because that is the basis for then moving your business forward. Because I think we are bombarded by people selling you things. You have to do this, you have to do that. What do you do? You start investing money into this and that and doing this course and doing that course, and you lose track of what you were doing. I think that a business document, this business plan document that you have, it’s extremely important because you need to do your homework, be sure of what you want to do, and not follow what everybody else is doing. You need to have clear ideas.
Megan Porta: Clarity. Yeah, clearly I think the same. I wouldn’t have created it. It took me a long time to create that document and I feel so passionately that, just everything that you’ve said, Laura, it is very important to think through all of these things. If you do it, you will be rewarded in your business. But it’s so easy to just downplay that part of it and just to wade through this experience of being a food blogger, and content creator, and to get distracted by the other things that people are doing and maybe doing that and dabbling here and dabbling there. But I don’t think that’s an effective strategy all the time. Sitting down and thinking through your goals and your plan is super important.
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Laura Tobin: Look, I’ll give you an example. I was working on redoing an old post last week and, I did put your business plan. I have my avatar, my unique value proposition, which is authentic Italian recipes. The redoing of the recipe was an authentic Italian Tomato Sauce recipe, and I was looking at all the keywords and all the LSE and all the different things. Among the keyword that Google wants me to put on the post, there is the word marinara sauce, because Google thinks that marinara sauce is the authentic Italian tomato sauce recipe. If I hadn’t done that unique value proposition and I said, no, I’m going to stick to my Italian recipes that are authentic and I said, you know what, Google, you are wrong. Marinara sauce is not an authentic Italian recipe, and I’m not going to write about that. So I updated my post, and if I had to include the LSE word marinara sauce, I will write down that marinara sauce is not an authentic Italian recipe. Because you just need to stick to your value proposition and not follow what Google or whoever else is telling you to do. Maybe that post will not rank high because that’s not what Google wants. But I think that the reader that is looking for authentic sauce, would appreciate the fact that I put into that post that actually marinara sauce for Italian is a completely different sauce. It has nothing to do with it.
Megan Porta: That’s why we do what we do because we want to pave our own path, right?
Laura Tobin: Yeah.
Megan Porta: We enjoy doing our own thing and not being told what to do necessarily. Okay. Do you have recommendations, thoughts, tips for people listening who want to take their businesses more seriously and just aren’t sure maybe how to do it?
Laura Tobin: First of all, I think that the business plan thinks that you have, it was very good. So I definitely encourage people to go through that exercise, even if it takes a little bit of time. It helps you to understand better what you want to do, and what your business is about. Then, also what is very important is to really understand that food bloggers are not started as a hobby anymore. It’s very competitive. People that start have an exact plan, the exact budget to invest. They know what to do. So if you want to be successful, you have to treat it like a business. You need to have a budget. No matter what, there will be some expenses that you would need to do and some basic tools that you need, of course, there is the hosting, the team, and the plugin, you just have to invest in those. Then you need to make sure that you have enough buffer of surviving a certain number of years before you become profitable. On average, normally an entrepreneurial business would become profitable after five years. So you know, you have to have five years of suffering. A forecast of five years of suffering, then if you succeed earlier, better, but then it’s always something that you would need to invest to grow. So even if you are profitable, you will be running a business owner shoestring. This is very helpful because having a tight budget, it helps you to survive the shock. For example, in the economic shop, there are now there are RPMs going down, so maybe we had forecasts to earn a certain amount and actually, we’re earning less because there is an economic downturn. So it’s important to make some decisions on where you want to invest your money.
What I did that hopefully is helpful to somebody else, is I wrote a list of all the tasks that I need to do for my blog. For example, I have all the administration tasks that are already accounting, the IT, the, administration things. Then I have the writing of the article, the research, and then I have the video. I do videos. I separated all these tasks. Then for a couple of weeks, I used Toggle to track how much time it was taking me to do the different tasks. So I was able to understand how my week was structured. Actually, surprisingly, I thought I was working a lot, and then surprisingly, I realized that I was working less than the French. 35 hours a week. Because I’m in France. Because then you get distracted and then I have to pick up my son from school. I have to do this, the house needs to be repaired. There are always so many things that you get distracted by. So if you track your time, how much do you really work per week, then you really realize, how can you be more efficient? You can also analyze and see what the tasks are that are not important and you can delegate.
So for example, accounting. That is definitely something that is not relevant for us to be directly involved. You can hire an accountant and have them do the tax return and everything. The other things, for example, I saw that my strengths are that I’m more of a mathematic person than a writer, so I would’ve loved to outsource my writing. But I ask around for some quotes on how much it would cost and everything, and then realize, I can’t afford to hire out my writing. That goes back to the exercise I did with your business plan. What were my unique value propositions? They are Authentic Italian recipes. Therefore, I need to make sure that they’re authentic and I cannot outsource to somebody else because either their mother tongue or they’re Italian, but the two things together, they’re difficult to find. For the moment, I can’t afford it. So I need to embrace that and maybe invest in something that will make me speed up the writing process instead of outsourcing it completely. Because there is a unique value proposition that I have, and I need to retain it with me for the moment.
Megan Porta: Okay. I love that. That’s so true. I always go with my gut on that. If there’s something I’m doing that I’m holding onto and I don’t necessarily know why I’m holding onto it, there’s something like that, like what you said about your writing and just being authentic and you need to be there even though you don’t necessarily want to be. I run into that wall every once in a while. That’s why, because you just have that feeling, I know I need to be here. I know I need to be doing this. I don’t want to be doing this, but I’m going to. So figure out ways to streamline it.
Laura Tobin: Yeah, exactly. You have to do it. You have to do it. But then at least try to optimize. Now there are so many sources that you can use to do that, but for example, I’m fine with IT stuff and Excel sheets and everything. So I found that, for example, investing in AHref or SEMRush is not valuable for me because I can create spreadsheets and analyze my traffic very easily. But where I need more is something like RankIQ that analyze the article and tells me, okay, you need to use those words, you need to shape it that way. Or, I did the Keyword Cooking course with Aleka. That was very helpful for me. That also was something that I needed to invest in. So if you feel that it’s something you can’t outsource and you don’t like doing it, just keep training yourself.
Megan Porta: Ooh. That’s good. That’s good advice. Laura, I love that you did the time tracking with Toggle. I know I’ve talked about that a lot on the podcast. I haven’t recently, but I used to talk about it all the time. We complain all the time. We collectively, as a whole. I don’t know where my time is going, what am I doing? As you said, a lot of us think we’re working a lot more than we actually are working. I found that too when I started doing time tracking that I was not working as much. By far, there was a huge gap and that is revealing. It’s okay, what am I actually doing with that time? Then you can tweak it. It’s a pain to have to time track. But it’s so revealing and you can tweak and streamline your life and your business in ways that you never imagined. Do you agree with that?
Laura Tobin: Absolutely. That was a revelation for me. It was like, oh my God, really? I thought I was working all the time.
Megan Porta: I know. I remember telling someone like, I think I work 60 hours a week, and then it came down to it, I was working like 25 or something, or 30. Like what? What am I doing? What exactly is filling in these gaps? So then you can start piecing your puzzle together and okay, when I’m taking when I’m picking my son up from school. Seeing your business as a big puzzle and moving the pieces around the way you want them. Okay, so what do you think we should tell people when they ask us that question that we talked about in the beginning? What do you do for a living? So your neighbor and people like that? What do we say?
Laura Tobin: So look, it depends on what stage of the business you are in. Of course, if you’re still in the conceptual part, you’re a writer. But as a second step, I think the content creator is a good title and is wide enough. So then they ask you, okay, but how do you make a living? How do you earn money? The business model is the same as a newspaper. So then they start to see, okay, if New York Times is making money, then I’m making money like they are. So they have something easy to understand.
Megan Porta: Ah, that’s a good idea. Just to make an analogy like that.
Laura Tobin: Yeah, you have to bring it down to a very low level. Then if your business has grown a bit more and you have a different income stream then you are an entrepreneur in digital media. Or if your business has taken off, then you know, you run a digital publishing company. But that is more of a European thing because I know titles in the States are higher than what we would use in Europe, but the CEO for Europeans, we cannot call ourselves a CEO. There was an article that I found, and I sent you the link. That was saying, should a startup founder call himself CEO? Officially, you can call yourself a CEO when you have more than five employees and revenue. More than seven-figure, mid-seven figure. So if you are at the beginning and you have a VA and you call yourself a CEO, then you are just not giving yourself a favor. Because you are overselling yourself and it can be badly perceived by people that understand what a CEO is. So personally, I would discourage using the CEO title.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that makes sense. I like that. Anything else along those lines? I feel like I interrupted you. Sorry.
Laura Tobin: You know what I encourage? I recommend to read, there are two books that I recommend to read to people. So one is the Exitpreneuer: how to sell your online business. I bought it last year and I found it very helpful. I don’t know if you remember, but there was a food blogger that passed away and made me think because, especially since my husband passed away suddenly, and let me think, if I was to pass away suddenly, I don’t want my sons to be left with this blog that I don’t know what to do. So I want to build a business that can be taken by my sons and sold if necessary. I think that this book, the Exitpreneur, helps you to set up the business even if you don’t want to sell it. It’s good to have something that is there, it’s ready, and if it’s necessary or something happens, you need to sell it, it’s ready to go. It’s a guide as well. Or now you should treat it profitably and everything. So I think it’s a good book.
Megan Porta: I have not heard of that. I definitely want to add that to my list. This is really intriguing. So our profession is really mysterious. Nobody knows what we do. We’re the only ones in the know, right? Because we’re actually doing it. So if something were to happen to us, the people around us would be like, okay, I don’t exactly even know what you did, so I don’t know how to take it over. So this would help us to think through that. So, love that topic.
Laura Tobin: Yeah. That is a very important thing to just have a look, and be prepared. The other book that I would like to recommend, was a book from my entrepreneur professor John Mullins, and it’s a customer-funded business. Start finance and grow your company with your customer cash. So it’s a book that talks about four different types of entrepreneurial businesses that you practically don’t need to invest money on the working capital because you’re actually using your customer money to build your business. When you look at the four models that he puts through, they are exactly the type of income stream that we food bloggers have in our blog.
So for example, so there is the matchmaker money model, which is that practically you are the broker, you just take the order, but somebody else is building the items to sell and somebody else is buying it, and you’re just putting the two together and you’re getting a fee from it. So that’s the affiliate income or the ads.
So then you have the pay-in-advance model where your customer pays you in advance for making a product or service. So it can be a consultant, for example, if you’re a VA or if you’re selling photography or recipes or videos to other bloggers. That would be the pay-in-advance model. That’s another way of creating an income stream.
Then there is the subscription model, which is, you create the meal plan and you have your readers pay subscription models. Or you have these scarcity-based models, in which you have your product like you have eBooks and you create a sales funnel and you sell it as a scarcity, like with a reduced price or a timeframe that you get your fees are very low. So those are all income streams that we can build into our blog. In his book, there is a different perspective because those are businesses like Airbnb, Netflix, and gift groups, those things. I think it would be helpful for us bloggers because those are the type of models that we have. We have a blog, that can be a broker for those income streams, so I recommend to read.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Awesome. Two books I’m adding to my list. Will definitely put those in the show notes too, if anyone wants to go look. Okay. This was such an incredible conversation. I just have to say that, Laura, thank you for bringing this topic to the table and all of your insights, and you have such a diverse background. I feel like it contributes to this just really diverse conversation. So thank you for everything. Is there anything you feel we need to touch on before we start saying goodbye?
Laura Tobin: Thank you. First of all, I wanted to thank you, Megan, because I think it’s important to spread the word about what we do and how we should be perceived. That’s what was my purpose for this conversation with you. So I’m very happy that you gave me this possibility and I’m really hoping that would be helpful for all of us.
The other thing is I just want to give encouragement to all the food bloggers out there. You are doing fine. If you feel down or discouraged, whatever, just do something new for your blog. I got some new background for my photography and it reinvigorates me. I want to encourage everybody to just keep going. You’re doing fine.
Megan Porta: Aw, love that little bit of encouragement. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me again. So I know that was like an amazing word of inspiration you just had. Do you have anything additional, do you have a favorite quote you’d like to leave on? Anything else to share before we part ways?
Laura Tobin: Just make your plan. Don’t get distracted. Focus and go. I just want to encourage everybody to just go.
Megan Porta: Thank you, Laura. We’ll put together show notes for you. If you want to look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/yourguardianchef. Go visit Laura’s website and social media and she’s going to tell you where to find her. Can you give us those details, Laura?
Laura Tobin: Yes, so I have my YouTube yourguardianchef.com. And actually, just as a fun note, I do videos and voiceovers. They’ve been really doing much better than just music background videos, so I encourage people to try if you’re doing video, to do voiceover. As a curiosity, the voiceover is not mine. It’s my very close friend, Deborah Moore, and she’s the daughter of Roger Moore.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh.
Laura Tobin: Yeah, her mother was Italian, so she has perfect pronunciation, English because she trains as an actor and also Italian. So all the Italian words are perfectly pronounced and you can learn how to say bruschetta.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Okay, so we ended with a fun fact without even trying. I love that. So fun. So go check Laura out in all her channels and thanks again for being here. Thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
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