In the first part of my article How to turn my passion for food blogging into a career (Part I), I shared with you my experience from the food blogging sphere that led me to turning my dream into a professional project. Now in a second part, I will try to present you with different options that may help you realize your dream in the best way possible, providing you with some useful tips to succeed.
By sharing with you my experience as a freelancer in the food blogging world, I want to help you having a better understanding of the challenges it implies to live from your passion, in terms of personal, professional and financial investment, so that you can ask yourself if you are ready to jump into this fabulous adventure and how you can actually start.
PROFESSIONAL FOOD BLOGGING VERSUS FOOD-RELATED COMPANY
#1 : Get money from your blog (advertising, sponsored posts, getting published, publishing an e-book). One option you now have is to start making money with your food blog. You probably did it a little bit before with some sponsored articles or advertisement on your blog, using Google Ads or a similar advertising system. But now your food blog is your own company and you somehow are the business manager behind – doesn’t it sound exciting? This means that you don’t want to make extra money anymore, but you need to get some proper incomes from this activity. The question is: how?
The first rule is to believe in yourself and do everything with confidence. Then technically speaking, I suggest you start with a so-called “media kit”, which is an amazing tool for communicating with sponsors that also show them that you know what you are doing. This way, you can quit wasting your time writing lengthy emails to anybody and focus instead on sponsors that will go the distance with you. Basically, a media kit is a great-looking PDF file that contains information about your blog and who you are. It contains hard facts e.g. Google Analytics stats alongside a description of the services you offer and their pricing. In short, the media kit is an opportunity to show off the best of your blog, bringing some information about your personality and your style. I tell you straight: it does take a bit of investment to create a good media kit, but once it’s done, all you need to do is to send it to all your potential clients and it will spare you a lot of time.
Creating a media kit is also a great way to put your ideas together and decide how you want to make a living with your blog: advertising on your blog, writing sponsored articles for food companies (for these two activities, you can actually find some agencies that will help you match some interested companies directly), but also selling recipes and/or video/photography material. You can even offer some food styling services for interior companies or cinema and TV productions. Then of course you can think of being published, either via a publishing company or by creating an e-book you can later sell online.
#2: Think big: create a food-related company (or a café!) Of course making money from your blog is possible, but as you can easily understand, it won’t bring in a huge income at first, unless you already are a very successful food blogger with a high-ranked food blogging website according to Alexa or Google Analytics. But you can find other ways to make a living with your food blog, by developing activities on the side.
Among them, you can launch what I call a “food-related company” and work as a food consultant in many different ways, a little bit like I did myself with Del Food Consulting. Taking advantage of my marketing background, I linked it to my food blogging activities, monitoring food companies to help them develop a dynamic online marketing strategy and an outstanding web content in line with their guidelines and company strategy. On the side, I also developed some extra activities like animating various “foodie” groups or launching food blogger meetup workshops to help food bloggers become successful. I even prepared caterings occasionally. But a so-called food-related company can be anything else: your mission, you should accept it, is to find your niche and figure out how you want to drive business from it.
You can even go for a completely different project and open a café or a tea salon! Maybe your food blog made you understand how big your passion for cooking and baking was and you are now ready to make a bigger step and a bigger financial investment. I know someone who started working as a cake decorator and developed her art so much that she eventually launched a crowd-funding campaign to open up her own bakery, working with dessert caterings in the meantime. Inspiring!
#3: Give yourself new challenges. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid to continually push your boundaries a little bit further, trying to always be one step ahead in everything you do. As the adage says, “success is one step outside your comfort zone”, and I really like this statement which shows that you should never ever stop dreaming. Instead, try to focus on new ways to develop your activities. To take a simple example: you can be an expert at baking macarons and being succesful with them for a while, but if you’re not good enough to identify the new baking trends preferably slightly before everyone else and simply sticking to the macarons, you might have difficulties evolving and being successful in the long term. I stated that in my previous article “4 keys toward a succesful food blog” and it’s even more relevant when you work as a freelancer. Companies willing to work with you instead of working with a big agency, choose you as a freelancer because of your creative / innovative sides. Don’t disappoint them!
#4: Be a leader. As a freelancer you are your own boss, and this means that having some leadership skills is a must. In the projects you will be involved in, you will need to convince your clients and have enough self-confidence to show them that you are the one they need and that you can drive a project. By showing your leadership skills, you will also improve the trust-reliable relationship with your clients and it will serve your cause in many ways.
This ideal hypothetical leader profile being set, let’s come back to reality. You might not be a leader naturally and worse still, it might scare you a bit (or a lot!). Not to worry! Being a leader is something we can work at, little by little. And if the first steps might be difficult and disappointing, trying every time a little bit harder will eventually pay back. My advice: fake it, fake it until you make it. And never doubt yourself. You might not be as convincing as you might like today, but many many people were not at the beginning either, and I can’t even tell you how many opportunities every freelancer misses in their beginning (including me of course!). But it doesn’t matter: what really matters is the progression and the leader you will slowly and surely become. Your goal: work until you no longer have to introduce yourself!
WORK HARD, BE BRAVE, STAY FOCUSED
#1: Don’t count hours. I already mentioned that in my long introduction and I write it again: don’t count your hours. Starting as a freelancer, whatever the activity you go for – working on a professional food blog or other food-related projects – you will have to spend a lot (I mean seriously a lot) of energy on everything you do, and the 24 hours in a day will never be enough. It is the price for making your dreams a reality and the huge amount of time you invest in the beginning will eventually pay back at some point. When you think of an athlete it’s exactly the same process: he/she has to work hard, train during hours, fail, try again, never count hours, and in the end all these hours spent working will make the difference and make him a winner. Think about it. Stay focused, work hard, and don’t forget coffee!
#2: Be structured and organized. My second advice might seem very simple and basic but imposing yourself a routine and structure is really important. When you work as a freelancer, there is no one to tell you when you need to start or when you should stop working during the weekdays, so basically you can do exactly as it pleases you, waking up late and work late during the night. Personally, from the very first day I started working as a freelancer, I always respected a routine, waking up early, and keeping pretty much the same rhythm I had when I was employed, trying to prevent myself from doing anything else than working on my projects during the day when I could have gone out for shopping instead and postpone the rest for later. I might sound a bit too much organized and slightly obsessional with the organization, but it actually really helps. You do a real job and yes you are your own boss, but giving yourself some structure will help you to have a quite better balanced life while working like crazy at the same time. The only thing I actually always allowed myself is a lunch break with friends from time to time. It’s important to be social because most of the time you tend to spend a lot of time with yourself and it can be a bit depressing. Personally I really enjoy being alone so it didn’t really bother me, but I experienced that we always have more creative ideas while talking with others, so keep in touch with them it’s good for you!
#3: Learning from trying, the real life of a freelancer. As I said, starting to work as a freelancer is quite an unknown world at first and you have to discover it all by yourself. It goes from defining a strategy to target your clients while organizing your time as much as possible. But I tell you straight off: it’s also a lot about trying. At first, we don’t know the best way to approach our clients, or maybe we know theoretically how we should proceed, but it’s often very different in real life depending on what you work with. When it comes to food, don’t be afraid to show your passion for food (it won’t be difficult I’m sure), it’s always a very good approach and make people relax in front of you. Then you have to keep in mind that you are here to talk business and convince them of your expertise. At first it takes time and you might have to try again and again before finding the technique that works best for you, depending on your personality and your way to interact with others (virtually or in real life). Be patient, observe yourself and try to ask what you could improve to succeed next time. And if you don’t, try again and again until it works, and never give up.
#4: Allow yourself some free time for training. Yes, this is serious, in this article about How to turn your passion for food logging into a career I actually advise you to save some time for physical training. You will work like crazy, really, and you need to have quite a balanced life to succeed. Training regularly at the gym, running or doing whatever sport you like is key. It will help you relax, to free your mind from all the stress you might have developed and help you focus better on your tasks afterwards. And even if training is not your thing, allow yourself to go on a walk in the nature regularly instead.
4 REASONS WHY I WOULD DO IT AGAIN
#1: Food is a passion. In spite of all the work it requires to start working as a freelancer and making a living of a food blog or other food-related projects, I would definitely do it again. Food is to me a real passion and when you start working with something you are really passionate about, you actually learn a lot and have a lot of fun as well, even if it’s not easy everyday. I love cooking, baking and spending time in my kitchen making some experiments, styling my food, writing and speaking about food, as well as sharing my passion for food with others via social media aspects and food activities. And I also love learning new things, and through my food blog I became a real digital marketing nerd, with a huge interest for social media, website positioning and so on. Yes, food is my thing, and I learned a lot around, and it has not to do only with cooking or baking!
#2: The need of challenging and surpass myself. By making the choice of making a living of my passion and working as a food consultant, I went through a very constructive process that taught me a lot, both personally and professionally. Being passionate about food and food marketing, I wanted to challenge myself a bit more and push the boundaries further, see what I was capable of with this very enthusiastic project that all started with my little food blog. I wanted to explore the foodie sphere through the prism of digital marketing, helping food companies with the skills I had acquired, with a strong desire to become an expert in this area. I also developed many other skills on the side that made me discover what freelance really is about and became a very organized, focus and curious hard worker. I am much stronger now than I have ever been in many ways and also capable of facing difficulties without losing enthusiasm. A positive mind brings a winning attitude and you have to train your brain a little bit before getting to this point.
#3: The strong desire to contribute to a better food world! Working within the food area with different approaches (via the food blog, the communication and marketing aspects, the importance and impact of food education) increased my awareness towards food issues. Food is much more than a simple tasty dish. The products we buy (grown locally or not, organic or not, etc.) as well as the way we eat (cooking from scratch, diversifying the food…) determine our health and well-being in life, nourishing both the body and the soul. Taking this into account, I now truly believe personally in the importance of food education, in a world where we are surrounded by contradictions when it comes to food. By working as a freelancer, I may not have achieved any goals I would have had in this perspective, but it sensitized my curiosity and I thrive to develop these aspects more in a near future.
#4: Get in touch with the amazing Foodie Community. With my food blog activities and the ones I developed on the side with my food company, I have been in touch with a very wide foodie community, both online and IRL. From amateurs and food bloggers to famous professional chefs, but also professional from the food industry, the food community has a lot to offer and is extremely generous, creative and innovative. I guess I am really in touch a lot with the food community in general, because even when I want to wright the word “good” with my phone (to say good morning for instance), my auto-correct feature writes “food” instead!! And while auto-correct is always annoying on an iPhone, I have to say I kind of like this cute one and it makes me smile each time.
And now, what’s next? No, I won’t stop now without telling you a word about my future. I started my food blog two and a half years ago, started as a freelancer within marketing in the food industry over a year ago, and the adventure doesn’t end now. I’m moving torward towards new exciting projects since my huge passion for food blogging and developing strong skills in digital marketing in this area during these last years actually led me to work as a digital marketing specialist for the Nordic market for a very well-known brand, L’Occitane en Provence. A new challenge is starting! Funny enough, the first thing I experienced in the company was a partnership with the French pastry chef Pierre Hermé. He was invited to compose a limited edition of fragrances for Christmas, according to his tastes when baking!
Picture credit: L’Occitane en Provence
As you can understand at this point, with this very long article about how you can make a living from your passion for food blogging. I tried to show you that there is not one good way to go about it and that it’s not all about making a living from your food blog. Of course you can make this choice, but there are also many different possibilities that exist and I wanted to insist on this aspect to help you make the right choice. It is your responsibility to identify the one that suits you best, depending on your passions and your skills, and to try thinking of the best way to approach it. All the advice I give in this article are then very broad so that you can adapt them to your own situation. I also tried to be as close as possible to the truth, being more realistic than naive or positive maybe, but whatever you decide, it’s important to be aware of what you will go through, and I think it is more useful to inform you of all this than avoiding the less interesting parts. Yes, working as a freelancer is painful sometimes, but there is no such joy than having fun working when it comes to something you’re passionate about, believe me!
If you are interested in knowing more about one specific aspect of the article, just let me know and I will do my best to answer your question and maybe publish an article about it if it’s a huge topic that could be of interest for many of you.