Happy New Year! 2013 will always be a landmark year for me because that (crazy that 2013 is now a past tense year) was the year I launched this blog. If you know my story, you know that about 6 years ago I started a cookie business and closed that business down about a year and a half ago, thinking I was exiting the cookie world forever. Until I discovered blogging. Blogging has allowed me to explore the creativity of cookies and passion for baking, which is what I have always loved without the stress and craziness of producing hundreds of cookies a week to ship across the country. Since starting my blog a short 4 months ago, I have learned some valuable lessons about food blogging and the start of the new year is always a great time to reflect back to move forward.
Most people I meet, started blogging by accident and it just kind of happened. I started this food blog as a business. Don’t get me wrong I am not here just to make money but I do want to become a full time cookie blogger. That is my goal and I not afraid to admit it. I am passionate about cookies, passionate about baking and passionate about helping you guys bake the best cookies ever. But I am also passionate about having time freedom & making a living doing what I love. Therefore, just to preface these lessons, they are lessons learned to help grow and build a sustainable food blog as a business.
Motivation can be very difficult. I was raised Asian. Yes, I know you can tell by looking at me that I am Asian but I was also RAISED Asian. You know all the disappointed Asian father jokes and Chinese tiger mom stories you hear, well they are pretty darn accurate in portraying what it means to be raised Asian. Working hard and being successful is instilled in you as soon as you’re out of the womb so I never thought I would have a hard time with motivation. But I did. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and paralyzed by many things, the amount of work you need to do before someone more than your husband begins reading your posts, the number of bloggers already in the blogging world that make you feel so so small, the list can go on and on. The best way I have found for me to stay motivated is honestly by listening to podcasts. There’s no way you can hear story after story of a blogger’s success without feeling inspired and capable of doing the work until you get there because if you do the work consistently you WILL get there. Here’s my list of my favorite podcasts I just can’t get enough of. If you’re needing some inspiration, check them out!
Smart Passive Income with Pat Fylnn
Social Triggers with Derek Halpern
Internet Business Mastery with Jeremy & Jason
Dollars & Roses with Jeff & Mandy
Social Pros with Jay Baer
Community is everything! I’ve found that the network of fellow bloggers is fabulous and when reach out and get to know some of them you actually become friends, real friends. Comment on other blogs. Share other blogger’s content. Join blogger communities and get engaged. Engage with your readers and those that comment on your site and it’s really nice when someone comments on your blog to comment back on theirs. Don’t forget life is all about who you meet and there’s no better way to grow your blog than connecting with other bloggers looking to do the same.
There is ocean of bloggers and a sea of food bloggers. Bottom line there’s a lot. How are you supposed to stand out? This is something I am still working on but a lesson I learned really quickly. I have always loved food so at first I thought I was just going to start blogging about food, then I knew that I know more about cookies than anything else so I decided to focus in on cookies, then I realized if I could help people understand the hows and whys of baking cookies then we could all become better cookie bakers. I am still trying to focus in on what my niche truly is and who I really am in the food blogger world but I do know the more specific you are the more you can build a trusted and loyal audience.
This is super important. Between life, working a full time job and starting a blog, life is busy. And no matter how much you wish every recipe came out perfect every time, sometimes it doesn’t. And no matter how much you wish you could just post it to get a post done, don’t! It’s worth the extra time to make sure the recipe is perfect before you post it. Yes it is important to post frequently and important to post consistently, but at the end of day fewer fantastic recipes are way better than more bad recipes.
Now. It’s never too early to start growing your email list & building your community. You hear it all the time, the money is in the list. I heard this advice very early on really took it to heart. Emailing is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and build your trust and credibility. The way I began building my list is by writing an ebook How to Bake Cookies, Ultimate Guide to Baking the Best Cookies, my brain dump of everything I know to baking the best cookies ever and in exchange getting an email address.
So there you have it. 5 really important lessons in 4 short months. Here’s to 2014 and making the it the best blogging year ever! What lessons have you guys learned this year?