The Journey to Full-Time Food Blogging

If you had asked me 5 years ago what I knew about food blogs, it would have been very little, if anything. Little did I know that about 6 months later I would start my own food blog, and less than 4 years after that I would be making a living with that little ol’ blog. It has definitely been a fun ride! I have received quite a few emails from readers wanting to know how I got into blogging full-time, and what my typical day as a full-time food blogger looks like. Here is my little story, and what a “day in the life” is like for me…

The Background

I began this blog back in February of 2007, mostly as a creative outlet. I was looking for a hobby, and had always enjoyed writing, as well as experimenting in the kitchen. I knew of two food blogs at the time and thought I would follow in their footsteps and create a hybrid of my two favorite hobbies – baking and writing.

This was my first post – Italian Wedding Soup- one of my mom’s classics. (Oh, how far the food photography has come!)

I continued blogging and interacting with others online through different forums. I joined baking groups like Daring Bakers and Tuesdays With Dorie. I started to notice that some people were commenting regularly, how fun!

The Shift

In the spring of 2009, about two years after I had began, I decided that I wanted run Brown Eyed Baker full-time, I just needed to figure out how. I started doing a lot of research, and then I put together a plan for myself. A plan with benchmarks, short-term and long-term goals, and the steps I need to take to get there. Without realizing it, I had put together a business plan for myself. And off I went!

SUCCESS!

About 18 months later, in December of 2010, I was finally in the position to be able to resign from my full-time marketing position to take ownership of my blog as a full-time gig. Prior to that was a lot of administrative legwork, which included meeting with attorneys to make sure the business was set up as a legal entity, that trademarks were in place, and meeting with an accountant to make sure I knew what I needed to do from a tax perspective. Officially starting my own business was an awesome Christmas gift!

A Day in the Life…

So, how do I spend my day as a full-time food blogger? Sometimes, it all depends. If there is a problem with my server or hosting plan (I know you all hate those hiccups!), I might spend half of a day or all of my Friday night or Saturday morning (true story) on the phone with tech support getting the problem fixed. However, those issues are usually few and far between (thank goodness!), and for the most part I like to keep my day structured so I have some semblance of discipline. Here’s how it usually goes…

7am – 8:30am- Somewhere in there, I get up. I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep, so what time I set my alarm depends on what time my head hits the pillow. After I get up and get my pup fed, I try to head up to the local track (weather permitting) for a 2-mile walk. I love the fresh morning air, plus when I exercise in the morning I feel good knowing I don’t have to worry about the rest of the day!

Morning: After my little walk and a shower, I focus on food and the kitchen. If I need ingredients I’ll make a trip to the store, or just head straight into the kitchen. I spend time each week planning out the next couple of weeks, so I usually hit the kitchen with a plan. I’ll make anywhere from one to three recipes on any given day.

{While I’m in the kitchen, I’ll either rock my iTunes or listen to a combination of local sports talk radio or switch on ESPN. I do love my sports!}

Lunch: Lunchtime is when I like to get out of the house and run some errands (if I hadn’t already gone out to the store in the morning). Sometimes I’ll meet a friend for lunch, which is always a great way to break up the day. {If I stay home around lunchtime, I will most likely put on Beverly Hills 90210 reruns on the Soap channel. It’s a guilty pleasure!}

Afternoon: I wrap up anything in the kitchen that needs to be finished, and then I am pretty much glued to my laptop. I work on getting posts written, organize recipes, respond to emails and questions about recipes, and finish any short-term planning that needs to be done.

On evenings and weekends I try my best to unplug and relax, but on most weeknight evenings I will try to catch up on any email I’m behind on while I’m watching TV (I get upwards of 100 emails a day). I am better at totally unplugging over the weekend!

The Ups and Downs

So, those are what my days look like for the most. They are peppered with administrative tasks like bookkeeping, maintaining online accounts, and things like that. And of course, in the spirit of full disclosure, there are perks to having your own business and working from home. I can throw in laundry between batches of cookies… I can take my laptop to my hair appointment and use their free wifi to reply to emails while I sit under the heat lamp… When there’s a foot of snow on the ground I can throw on snow pants and play with my dog in the snow for an hour.

And on the flip side, things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. Remember back in December when I got the flu? I basically didn’t get out of bed for a week, and ended up behind on email for more than two months while trying to get caught up. When I take vacation, I can’t just throw up an “out of office” auto reply and peace out to coworkers. It takes weeks of planning ahead to make sure I have posts ready to go live, and I more than likely am checking email while away just to make sure nothing urgent comes through. And then of course there’s the weeks of catching up afterward. When it’s me, myself, and I there’s no one else to cover you while you’re away or sick, so at some point, either right then or when back to the “office”, I’m responsible for getting back to everyone and fighting any fires that may have crept up.

Intuit Love a Local Business

Owning my own business has been a dream, has been challenging, and has been immensely rewarding. I was thrilled when I heard that Intuit is helping small businesses achieve their dreams by awarding $25,000 each month to a local business!

To find out more about the program, check out the Intuit Love a Local Business site.

If you want to vote for BrownEyedBaker, please go here.

You can also search for local businesses near you and vote for them, or nominate a business you think would be a great candidate for the program!

Bonus: Why not go and nominate yourself for Intuit’s Love A Local Business competition, and then encourage your readers to vote for you. Intuit is helping small businesses achieve their dreams by awarding $25,000 each month to a local business! Note – votes are like raffle tickets – the more votes a business has the more chances they have to win.

It’s been very exciting starting my own business, so I’m curious to know: What dream business would you love to start? By replying you will be entered to win an iPad 2!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Intuit’s Love A Local Businesscompetition. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs August 10 to September 1, 2011. A random winner will be announced by September 6, 2011. Official Contest Rules

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