How Hannah learned how to make money as a food blogger – and hit her first $1000 month!
Hannah Stewart is a food blogger at My Family Dinner.
Hannah was a successful blogger who had some wins before I met her – but not a lot of dollar signs to show for it.
We’re going to dive into Hannah’s story, and how she went from not making much money at all, really just a few dollars here and there, to having her first $1000 month.
Hannah, what made you want to start a blog in the first place?
I had been contemplating it for about a year. The main thing stopping me from actually doing it was just being nervous about what people would say. There’s such a stigma to blogs. But once I got over that fear and changed my mindset a little bit, I got really excited.
As a stay-at-home mom, I wanted some sort of an opportunity to earn money while taking care of my kids. And, after research, I decided that a food blog was the way to go for me.
Did you consider any other ways of making money on the side, besides a blog?
Yes; I looked into things like working at a coffee shop, and all sorts of other little things. I was trying to find the inner hipster in me. But realized that there would be so many extra costs with daycare, and so much time away, that it wasn’t worth it to do some sort of an hourly job that required me to have to pay someone to watch my kids.
That makes sense. And why My Family Dinner? How did you settle on what you wanted to write about?
The first and biggest reason that I put together my food blog was because I love cooking. It’s something I feel confident in, that I’m good at. And I thought, hey, if this never makes money, at least I can pass this down, almost like an online recipe book to my kids.
So it could be a cool legacy thing, where it felt like the work I put in, whether or not I was able to find monetary success, could at least have some sort of emotional value to my kids one day.
Oh, that is so fun, I love that. And I think a lot of people can relate to needing a way to make money that didn’t depend on childcare. How did you start your blog, did you start it on your own?
Yeah, I did. I just did random searches on Google. And I just sort of hit the ground running, and tried to figure out what steps I needed to take, and figure out how to learn web design. It was a bit of a mess in the beginning, but yeah, that’s how it got started.
Did you know how you were going to actually make money as a food blogger?
I think I realized within probably a month, so real fast, that I needed to find something to teach me how to do what I needed to do. Because I found the ways to monetize, but didn’t understand actually how to get there. And so it was very fast, and my mind was very scattered with a million different ideas.
Then I just said, okay, I need to find a course, or find anything that could potentially help teach me how to make money as a food blogger.
And then how did you connect with me, and with the Monetization Accelerator Program?
A lot of people from [REDACTED] recommended you, and just how you were an amazing one-on-one coach. You could really help with that person-to-person contact, so that it wasn’t such a oh, watch this video, or read this thing. There was an actual human being interacting with me, which is something I felt was invaluable to me.
Oh, awesome. And so, you did have one other course before working with me, then?
I did. It was essentially a building block, I feel like. And I do, even though that course didn’t actually help me make money as a food blogger, it did give me my next so that I could at least continue on my journey. Because if I had to do it all on my own, I feel like within a couple of months, I would have probably quit.
And where do you feel like you were stuck as far as actually making money with your food blog?
So in that particular course, I struggled with the level of expectation – for the amount of money that you were going to spend on your blog, and the amount of email subscribers you needed before they even encouraged you making any money.
For me, that just wasn’t realistic. I couldn’t put thousands of dollars in, and know that I was potentially still six months to a year out, where I have all these monthly expenses and have no hope of even making a dime.
So tell me what happened when you got into the program, what kind of clarity did you get?
I think that there were a couple of things that made a really big difference for me.
One was understanding that I didn’t actually have to get stuck in this mindset that you need a thousand email subscribers before you have a hope of making money with a food blog – or any blog. There’s ways to start doing that right now.
And that right there helped my mindset shift into a positive place. I could actually start making products right now, instead of having to wait and hit some sort of level of traffic. I can actually start to do what I created this whole thing for, and make my meal plans, and start selling them, and have this process to do that now. And that just was so encouraging.
That’s awesome. And then how did your first launch go?
I sold just one meal plan my first launch, but that was awesome.
It felt good to see any money come in. And it was a lot of work, and I definitely put in 30% of the effort that I could have, but it was a really good lesson to go through. So that I could, next time I go, okay, I’m just going to do a little bit better, I’m not going to feel bad about this. I sold one, next time maybe I’ll sell two, or three, or four. And just take it one step at a time.
And that wasn’t a $10 offer. That was a $70 offer.
Yes – it was a custom meal plan, so there was a lot that went into it. And it was like, for me, that was more money than I had made the entire year that I had had my food blog.
So that was like, oh my gosh, I just doubled all my income.
After that, you started having some pretty big wins as far as traffic and your Facebook group are concerned. Do you want to talk about those?
Yes – I started this Facebook group that I had done a while ago, just because it felt like a thing to do if you had a blog.
I wasn’t putting a ton of time or effort in, but I would post a recipe here and there if I created a new one. All of a sudden, overnight there were a hundred people wanting to join the group. Then it happened again within the next week, there was another hundred. And my group started to go up so fast.
I freaked out a little, I feel like I came to you and I was like, “Alison, I don’t know what to do. Is this, do I accept them all? Do I not?”
And you helped me by saying, hey, let’s put the email subscriber requirement in there. If you want to join the group, then you have to give your email. That grew my email list to 500 or 600 from maybe 100 or 200 over a month. It was crazy.
And then what’s happened since then? Have you launched again?
My blog is doing really well, traffic-wise. I’m seeing growth every month, mainly from Pinterest and Facebook.
I have launched a couple of meal plans, and I feel like I’ve gotten a really solid idea, based on the market research I’ve done now, of what people actually want in a meal plan, and of how to make money as a food blogger.
I’ve just been slowly narrowing down, doing market research, continuing to launch and sell. And I’m seeing money come in from it.
I usually have a 3% conversion, and that feels really good every time. I think the last product that I sold, I ended up selling five or six meal plans. And these were a little bit more of a low-cost offer, but that felt so good. Just random people bought it.
I even had people sending me emails thanking me for the plans. And I was like, oh yes. That feels so good.
Then you decided that you wanted introduce a service-based offer. So tell me, what made you want to stack your income in that way? And how is that going?
It’s going great!
It took months of processing: do I really want to add a service on? It just felt like the smart thing to do. I was seeing success in my own Pinterest, so I decided to offer Pinterest management services. I did it because:
- We need money coming in; it’s just a need with our family. And,
- I also felt like it was something that I could be good at for other people. And it would help me grow my blog, and help me balance out any extra costs I wanted to put in. If I wanted to run ads for some of my meal plans, that still takes some money. And I needed somewhere to build my blog, to help my family, and I think just to keep me going a little bit.
When I started blogging, I really thought, “Oh, this will be easy. I’ll make money in six months.” Then – well, you kind of get in the reality of it. It was a mental boost to see that I was bringing in money for a service that I’ve learned really well, and I’m really enjoying seeing something come of my work.
So, that’s what resulted in your thousand dollar month – onboarding those clients.
Yes. And that felt so good to hit that milestone!
So now, you’re finally getting the hang of how to make money as a food blogger. You’ve had a lot of progress. What do you wish you knew in the beginning?
One big thing that I wish I knew in the beginning is that making money off your blog is definitely not something that is just going to easily come.
It does take work, and hours, and time, but it’s a hundred percent worth it if you’re willing to put in the work. If you’re not interested in putting a lot of work into this, it’s probably not the right path for you to go down.
And what advice do you have for the new person?
I’m really glad that I stuck with it and kept going. If you do want to take the blogging path, or starting your own business or whatever, don’t stop doing it.
I would also say get a coach. Because I do think having a person in the world of blogging is essential, because it just, it’s lonely. It’s lonely by yourself sitting at home, trying to come up with the ideas. So – get a coach and don’t stop – would be the biggest advice givers I would give anyone.
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