Two years ago I launched Physical Kitchness, totally unaware of what was to come, completely ignorant about the work involved, and never dreaming of the possibilities. I’m excited to share my journey and reflect on what two years as a blogger and work-from-home mommy has been like. This is how I became a full time blogger.
How I Became a Full Time Blogger
In 2010 I began dreaming about starting a food blog. I had just started my newfound cooking ‘hobby’ and figured the blogging world would be fun way to document my love of food. It wasn’t until 2015 that I actually hit publish. Woah, talk about procrastination! Truth be told, I was terrified to go for it – knowing nothing about how to even BEGIN (seriously, I didn’t know about web platforms or domain names or coding….ok I still don’t know anything about coding, but you get the picture), the fear of the technical stuff kept me on the sidelines for five whole years.
Then in the spring of 2015 I found myself at a crossroads. My husband and I moved to a new city across the country roughly nine months prior, and in that time we had our first baby, I was no longer working, and I had some major decisions to make.
One day in the midst of diaper changes and feeding schedules, the company I had previously worked for called to offer me the same position I left, this time as an independent contractor. I was torn about taking the job, and this particular gig involved A LOT of travel. Not so great for a new momma, but daaaaang I really missed my sense of identity that came with having a career.
Being a mom is mind-blowingly wonderful. It has opened up my heart in ways I never, ever imagined, but I was also feeling a little ‘stuck’. I loved my new role, yet also felt a sense of myself had been lost. My biggest accomplishments were keeping the baby alive and healthy, and making dinner, which is NO easy task (truly, motherhood is the hardest job in the world), but I longed for something to keep me, ME.
My husband was going to school full-time, enrolled in a very challenging program which meant plenty of all-day/all-night studying. Which also meant I was solo, a lot. I didn’t really know who I was anymore, and I didn’t have any outside help or much support (since our families lived thousands of miles away). It wasn’t until I read a Facebook post from a woman named Kristie Hill, asking for a new blogger to mentor for her site, Blog Ambitions.
I believe in signs, sooooo that was the push I needed to make my 5-year-old dream a reality. I immediately applied and after a few interviews with Kristie, I ‘won’ her services. To this day I feel immensely blessed that she came in to my life. Kristie built my site from the ground up and gave me actionable ‘to-do’s’ so I could start Physical Kitchness on the right foot. You can read more about my first year of blogging on Kristie’s site – here.
The First Year
The first year was a steep learning curve. I knew NOTHING about the world of blogging, but I did know I wanted to treat my blog as a business from day one.
Being a blogger and an online entrepreneur has been the most amazing journey, but let’s be honest – telling others you have aspirations to become a full-time blogger is like saying, “when I grow up, I want to explore mermaids and ride unicorns!” Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s hard to be taken seriously.
I hustled my tail off that first year and a half – posting three times a week, and working any chance I could. My perception of blogging prior to having a blog was casually working a few hours a week and gaining a following by simply owning a blog. So wrong, so wrong! Many people ask how many hours a day I work on my blog, and it was the same then as it is now – answer: any chance I can, which is especially challenging having little one(s) at home.
So how did I make it work? Most of my days involved crazy multitasking, working odd hours of the night (like 3am after I fed the baby), getting up early/staying up late, and just finding any time I could to get posts developed, written, edited, and published. To be honest, it was kind of a blur!
Blogging is so much more than making a recipe or shooting a workout, then publishing. It’s developing recipes, creating comprehensive workouts, photography, writing, editing, SEO, social media scheduling, responding to comments/emails, sending invoices, accounting, and so much more. There’s always something to do! But a part of me felt like ‘me’ again, and the accomplishment I needed aside from being a mommy.
Until December 2016…it’s called burnout. On top of adding an additional child to our clan (yep, two kids 23 months apart), I was at my max capacity, and I was SO FLIPPIN’ TIRED. I told my husband one teary night when we were home from the holidays (and I had worked all day despite seeing my family only a handful of times a year) that I was going to quit if things didn’t pan out in 2017.
It’s funny how things happen. How this weird story of life keeps evolving. And how sometimes a little faith can play a big role….
Rewinding back to my story…remember when I received that job offer to work for my previous company? I didn’t really want the job, but I was torn. Living as a one-income family definitely meant we had to watch our finances closely, and the extra stream of income was very enticing for me. So I prayed, a lot. And something told me that there were bigger plans. So I listened, and took the leap of faith.
It was hard to see the path and the purpose during the first year and a half of hustle, especially when I was THIS CLOSE to throwing in the towel that December. But like perfectly aligned dominos, things started to happen, one after the other.
In January 2017, I signed up for a mastermind group with a person I am proud to call my friend today, Nicole Culver. We spoke a few times, and although I was very reluctant to invest money into my business when I really wasn’t making any money, I took the plunge. And it was the turning point for me.
Nicole’s mastermind, Blogger to Business Support Group not only opened my perspective, but provided me with a real context of where I wanted to take Physical Kitchness. I couldn’t operate how I was anymore, so I changed a few things.
- I hired help. A very scary thing for me since I was the only one that cared for my children while my husband worked. And hiring someone meant paying someone, which is hard to justify when you aren’t making much moneeeey! But I enrolled my toddler in preschool and found a sweet nanny to come to our home a few days a week to watch the baby so I could work. Game changer.
- I stopped worrying about others. It was very easy for me to fall into the comparison trap with my other blogger friends – watching their successes, wishing I had their skills, seeing the companies they had partnerships with. But I had to STOP with the ‘boo hoo’ mindset and realize, ‘hey, I’m a mom with two small kids’ and comparing a work-from-home mom to a full-time blogger without kids is like apples and oranges. We both work hard, but we also have a completely different set of challenges.
- I embraced ME. I stopped worrying about what the paleo community would think if I didn’t buy pasteurized eggs. I didn’t fret over trying to make a recipe that’s never ever been done before. I put myself out there with Instagram stories even if I still had my jammies on, zit cream on my nose, unwashed hair, a messy house, and screaming kids. I stopped being what I thought people wanted and just started being unapologetically me.
- I invested in my business, I set goals, I hustled the hell out of every day to make things happen. Because it’s not about luck or great photos or talent. It’s about working hard to get where you want to be. Always learning, growing, and improving.
In April of 2017 I took over the Whole30 Recipes Instagram account. I really didn’t have a plan for what I would talk about or what kind of ‘persona’ I would convey (partly because I didn’t have time to plan anything, partly because I just wanted to be myself). After that week takeover I went from 3,400 Instagram followers to over 28,000. Ummm yeah. WOAH. It felt a-mazing. And the best part wasn’t the increase in numbers, it was the direct messages from people telling me they love my no-stress approach to heathy eating, or their toddler finished his/her plate of my Whole30 Sloppy Joe Bowl recipe, or that I helped them power through their final days of Whole30, or (the best) that they look forward to my humorous (ok slightly sarcastic) view of this crazy season of life called motherhood, and it made them feel normal.
Maybe this post is a little deep for a ‘here’s my story about blogging’, but it’s one that has been profound to me. It isn’t about the blog, or the money, or the followers, it’s about finding a way in an uncertain path – with a little faith and a lot of hard work. And for me, it’s about empowering women (especially mommies) to live their best, healthiest life, without overcomplicating things!
Physical Kitchness Today
Today I’m proud to say I fulfilled the dream of being a ‘full-time blogger’ and I make a full-time income running Physical Kitchness. Do I still work like a crazy person? Yes. But it’s worth it. I truly love what I do, love the companies I work with, and I truly love my people (special shoutout to the ladies over at my Facebook group, The Easy Kitch Tribe). Physical Kitchness has been featured in Buzzfeed, Women’s Health, The Today Show Food Club, Runner’s World, Self, Fit Pregnancy, and more! And I’ve been SO honored to do what I love and get a little recognition boost too 🙂
So what’s next?
I have loved being a content creator and channeling my passion for healthy eating, cooking, and fitness into a site to share with the masses. But my journey will be constantly evolving – which is why I realized that although busting out recipes is great, my MAIN goal for Physical Kitchness is to continue help others – which means easy, holistic recipes the kiddos will eat, workouts that challenge, and inspiration to just get it done (just keep swimming, just keep swimming) in a season of life that can be very draining.
I’d love to do more coaching to get those that need help on track for good. I’d love to release a cook book. And I’m excited to announce the first step in the new evolution for Physical Kitchness, a product I’ve released called The 30 Minute Real Food Meal Revolution. I’m confident this meal planning system will help thousands of busy ladies (mommies and non-mommies) make healthy meals in a stress-free, minimal time way. I’m determined to change how we view ‘meal prep’ and release a meal planning system with real-food (mainly paleo) meals you can make in 30 minutes or less. This puppy is loaded with 8-weeks of recipes (that’s 56 if you did the math right).
Here’s a few tidbits of advice for any aspiring bloggers!
- Find something your passionate about, that’s broad enough to continually offer content, but defined enough to have a solid niche. If you’re trying to talk to everyone, you’re talking to no one. For example: my niche is paleo/whole30 enthusiasts that are mostly moms, looking for quick and easy meals to feed their families, and at-home workouts so they can live their healthiest life, in the easiest way!
- Post constantly, post quality content, find the people that will resonate with your brand. What kind of relevance can you offer? Do that. Do it often.
- Don’t focus on too many social media platforms at once. Social media will suck time away from being a content creator to being a slave to your phone. The first year and a half I put a large majority of my focus building my Pinterest account, because my main goal at that time was building traffic to my site. Once I build one platform (to over 27,000 followers), I focused on a different social media platform. Divide and tackle.
- Practice, practice, practice, photography. The best way I learned how to take quality photographs was constantly practicing (and I still have SO MUCH more to learn and perfect). Always be a student.
- Invest in yourself. It’s HARD to spend money on something you aren’t making money with right off the bat, but in order to make a business, you have to start with a little bit of capital. Luckily starting a blog is very cheap, but things like a DSLR camera, photography props, software programs, scheduling tools, and personal development courses are a few things that are great investments. But you’re worth it.
Commonly Asked Questions:
How do you make money? Bloggers make money in a variety of ways, which enables us to keep providing consistent content. Contrary to what some may believe, blogging is a full time job! So in order to keep doing what we do, like any full time job, we need to make an income. I make my income through affiliate marketing (aka I use a brand —> I like the brand —> I promote the brand —> I get a small commission if readers purchase the product). I also generate revenue through ads that are placed on my site (working with an ad network called Mediavine) and through sponsored posts. Which leads to the next commonly asked questions I get…
What is a sponsored post? A sponsored post = a post that a brand or company paid me to create. This could be a recipe, lifestyle piece, or workout tutorial using their product. It’s one of my favorite ways to make an income because I get to use products I love and share ways my audience can use those same products too! Typically when you see a social media share that has a hashtag #ad, that means the post is sponsored. Bloggers MUST disclose sponsored posts, in order to comply with FTC law. One really important thing to note with sponsored posts and affiliate marketing – I ONLY work with brands and products I truly love (and most bloggers do the same). We will never partner with a brand we don’t feel would fit our audience or promote a product just to make money. Integrity is very important to bloggers, and we value company partnerships and audience trust more than anything when it comes to our businesses.
So that’s the whole money thing. In addition to these revenue sources, some bloggers (like soon-to-be ME) offer special products for purchase. These products can be anything from ebooks, online challenges, coaching, or digital downloads. When a blogger releases a product, it’s usually the BEST of the BEST stuff they can put out there, with loads of time and effort devoted to creating it!
How you do it all?
I still don’t know. Every blog post I create takes anywhere from 8-10 hours from start to finish. That includes recipe or workout concepts, development, photography, writing, editing, organizing media, creating pins, social media sharing, etc. In addition to content creating I’m also responsible for responding to comments, working with brands (including pitches, email correspondence, invoices, and campaign reports), accounting, moderating my Facebook Group, responding to direct messages or personal emails, handling technical issues on my site, and organizing my business finances. It’s a lot of work and some days I feel like I’m drowning, but that’s why it’s so important to do something you’re passionate about. The daily hustle can be daunting, but the passion keeps me going! Earlier this year I invested in a online course called The 90 Day Year which is centered around performance and achievement. It was a BIG investment for my business but has definitely changed my mindset and opened my eyes to simplify, stop tirelessly spinning my wheels, and focus on my goals. I’ve also hired my amazing sister to help me with various aspects of Physical Kitchness. Having a virtual assistant (even if she is thousands of miles away) is awesome, and the fact that I can text her about anything, any time of day is an added bonus!
How Can I Start a Blog?
Great question! Which leads us right back to the start of my journey with Kristie Hill of Blog Ambitions. If you’re interested in starting a blog, definitely check out her site for helpful articles and tons of information.
Are you a military spouse looking to start a business from anywhere? My other dear friend, Kayla Roof is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to building a business that is PCS-proof! Check out her website here.
And if you’re a blogger looking to take your site to the next level, check out Nicole Culver’s Blogger to Business Support Group for tons guidance and THE most supportive community of like-minded bloggers.
So there you have it! How I became a full time blogger, all while working from home and raising my little ones. It’s a dream far from completion but none-the-less, a dream fulfilled with lots of hard work in passion. First time here visiting me? Be sure to check Physical Kitchness out on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest too!