How I Turned my Food Blog into a Career.

*Disclaimer: I have a BA in marketing and a professional background in finance, but no formal eduction on food photography, website management, or food writing. Everything I know on the last three subjects is from my own experience.

How to Turn a Food Blog into a Career. Very comprehensive post about my journey. sallysbakingaddiction.com

Warning: this is a very long post.

The year of 2013 has been a whirlwind.  I got engaged, signed a cookbook deal, wrote and fully photographed a cookbook within 5 months, quit my full time job in the corporate world, moved to the suburbs, and my blog quadrupled its size.

Let me take a moment to let it all sink in. Better grab a cookie as I do that…

 

My Favorite Cookie Recipes

Ok, I’m back.

Around March of this year, I came to a quick realization. I was making more from my food blog than my full-time job working in finance. (More on how I got to that point below.) I was really struggling to balance it all. I was cranky, tired, and drained. Spreading myself too thin between both jobs.

I began to think about what it would actually be like to quit my full time job and concentrate on growing my blog. Having enough time to produce top quality content everyday, rather than dedicating my entire weekends to it. (Read my thoughts on quality over quantity.) I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Be a baker just like my grandma. Inspire others. Be an entrepreneur. Grow something on my own. Build my own business. Even open a bakery!

And work damn hard doing it.

My dad always told me that no matter what I do, work hard and be irreplaceable. Stand out from others and show your worth. I knew it was time to make Sally’s Baking Addiction my career.

Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do

As I reach Sally’s Baking Addiction’s second anniversary in December, I want to take a break from the recipes and chat about food blogging. Running this blog is not all rainbows and sprinkles and cookies and love. With Kevin taking classes and working full-time, I am able to dedicate an enormous amount of time to my food blog. That may not be the norm for me in a couple years when we start a family, but for now – it works.

My food blog is not a hobby. It’s not my “work.” Sally’s Baking Addiction is my world.

And I thank my lucky stars every single day that I am blessed to do what I love. And thank YOU. Thank you a million times. And then a million times more. I would not be here, writing about my baking addiction, if it were not for you.

thank you

 

I get a lot of strange reactions when I tell people what I do for a living…

Excuse me, you do what?

I’m a food blog publisher. I develop recipes, take pictures of them, and post them onto a website.

I don’t understand. You don’t sell anything? All you do is blog?

Yes, but it’s more than that.

Still not getting it.

I supply Pinterest with content and am paid through the advertising on my blog.

Oh, ok now I get it. 

Usually people begin to understand when I make a reference to Pinterest. ;)

 

What I Actually Do for a Living.

There is a lot more to being a food blogger than making cookies and posting it on a blog.

(1) There is the constant connection with readers, which I treat as my #1 priorityWhat is a blog if you do not connect with your readers? There may not be enough time in the day to connect with every single one, but I certainly make an effort to pay attention to as many as I possibly can.

 

(2) Recipe development. Testing and retesting until I have the best of the best recipe to share.  Surely you know how many Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies I made until I found the perfect (non-cakey) one? I am up to my arms in food every single day and luckily have Kevin’s coworkers, Kevin’s old coworkers, our neighbors, dog park friends (the owners!), family, friends, and church donations to help with the extras we do not eat.

If we ever meet in real life, I’ll probably bring you baked goods. 

 

(3) Food styling and photography. Investing in a very expensive camera, lens, editing software, and lighting equipment that when combined – cost more than 4 months rent. I know pricey photography gear is not an option for everyone, but I wanted premier equipment for the shooting of my cookbook and the growth of my food blog.

- Also, keeping a variety of food props (there is now double that amount shown in the photo – I’m a food prop hoarder!) so my photos are interesting, unique, and complimentary to my food. And then learning how to actually style my food. That’s a whole other realm of food photography I’m still trying to master.

 

(4) Social media marketing, which is a beast in and of itself. Luckily marketing was my college major, so I am able use a considerable amount of those studies today in my career. The marketing of my food blog includes:

  • Constant communication with companies who want to feature my recipes, or who want me to use their products (to which I usually say no – the products I use and feature on my blog are all those which I grow to love organically, not ones I am necessarily paid to love).
  • Updating my social medias several times daily and answering as many of the Facebook comments that I can. I don’t speak all of the languages in the world, so some comments and questions are left unanswered, unfortunately. I have Kevin’s mom help me with any spanish questions I receive – she’s a spanish teacher.
  • Responding to tweets and Instagram questions as soon as I can.
  • Submitting my photos to sharing sites like Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and Tasteologie.
  • Keeping my Pinterest boards updated.

 

(5) Answering comments, questions, and emails. Responding to questions that come through my blog as comments is very important to me. It takes quite a bit of time, but I try to check in as much as I possibly can. I also try to handle emergency recipe problem emails with grace and in a timely fashion. (Weekends are an exception – I’ve begun to take the day off from my inbox on Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes I travel the weekends too, so I make sure to have an auto response so readers know that I cannot get back to them until the week.)

 

(6) The writing. This includes working hard to keep my content engaging, personable, flowing, and comprehendible.  Here’s some information about my writing style:

  • Last year I wrote a very detailed post about why I feel quality content is so important for my own food blog. I feel as though quality of content is more important than quantity of content. That post includes how I handle writer’s block, my two favorite words to use, and my least two favorite words to use.
  • Sally’s Baking Addiction’s writing is focused on the food, but I do feel that sprinkling some personal tidbits from my life into my posts helps readers and I connect a bit more. There’s more to my life than baking cookies, so it’s so wonderful to find things we all have in common. After all, I’m not a robot – I’m a real person. Starting a conversation about non-baking things is an easy way to keep readers intrigued.

 Remember, this is your dream.

 

Food Blogging is Not All Sunshine and Smiles.

  • It’s a 24/7 job; finding a work/life balance is tough.
  • Not everyone will love your recipes, and they will tell you that. Hey, we all have different tastebuds right?
  • Not everyone will love your photography, and they will tell you that.
  • Not everyone will love the way you write, and they will tell you that.
  • Food sharing sites will reject your photos.
  • You will make 10 vanilla cakes before landing on the best combination of ingredients.
  • You will take 207 photos of dark chocolate cookies and none of them will look good.
  • People will steal your content and all of your hard work.
  • A lot of your time will be spent washing dishes.
  • You will stalk the weather channel hoping for a sunny day when you need to shoot an apple pie. All you see is rain.
  • Trying to understand SEO. (still don’t)

 

How I Make Money From my Food Blog.

When I first began Sally’s Baking Addiction, it was not to earn money. The purpose was to share my recipes with my friends and family. Within time, I was able to start earning a salary and quit my job in the corporate world to dedicate myself full time to SBA.

Do not start a food blog for money, do it because you genuinely love it. Creating an income from a blog isn’t something that happens easily or quickly. It takes a lot of time, hard work, and focus. I did not earn a single check from my blog until 8 months after I first hit publish. And it was for only $80.

 

Here are my current income sources (with the exception of my cookbook advance and royalties, since those are not feasible options for all food bloggers):

(1) A large majority of my income is through advertising. I am able to host advertising on my blog because my website is self-hosted.  Read more about self-hosting here. All of my advertising pays per impression. This is called CPM (cost per impression). I make anywhere from .50 to $25 per 1,000 page views. The $25 is quite rare though. ;)  Some ad networks are based on CTR (Click through rate), which is calculated on how many clicks the ad gets.

As of today, I have 5 advertising networks filling ad space on my website:

  • BlogHer - BlogHer Publishing Network is the largest source of my advertising income. Their ads must be featured above the fold. I began working with BlogHer in 2012. Sometimes BlogHer will offer its publishers (you) extra revenue earning opportunities, like working with one of their companies for a sponsored post or campaign.
  • Lijit - I run a few Lijit ads on my sidebars. Lijit is wonderful, they are very easy to work with.
  • Technorati Media - Technorati holds a small ad below the fold on my sidebar.
  • SAY Media - I reached out to SAY Media earlier this year and host 1 ad for them.
  • ZipList – I use the Ziplist recipe plug-in to format all of my recipes. It allows readers to save recipes onto a personal meal planner and shopping list. I’m able to earn revenue from hosting ZipList ads. Contact their partner program for more information on implementing ZipList onto your food blog.

Here are some other ad networks you can look into: Glam Media, AOL Advertising, Federated Media, AdSense, Foodie Blogroll.

 

(2) I accept paid sponsorships for some products on my blog.  However, I am very strict with what I feature on my blog. Products I feature on my blog are those I love organically and are not forced to use. Sometimes readers can tell if you’re featuring a product just for money.

- A few companies I’ve been paid to worked with – Chobani, Red Star Yeast, Raisinets, Werther’s, Nestle Toll House, Bozzuto Real Estate (the owner of my old apartment building), and Fab.com.

- If there are companies that you want to work with, contact them. Tell them who you are, what you do, and what you can offer them. Send them a media kit which holds basic information about your blog, stats, press and any associations you have with brands, your contact information, and social medias. Kind of like a little resume.

- If companies want to use your blog to feature a product you love, always ask for monetary compensation. Since my food blog is how I pay my bills, I cannot simply work for exposure or a bag of chocolates. Don’t be afraid to be ask for payment. Your hard work deserves it. Be confident and know your worth!

 

(3) Creating content for other company’s websites. This means writing content to be published for other websites, companies, magazines, and blogs. I have earned money from creating recipes and writing content for Bed, Bath, & Beyond as well as Peanut Butter & Company. There may be one or two more – I can’t remember. I need more coffee!

- Approach companies you want to publish content for by using the same bullet points that I mentioned in #2.

 

(4) Affiliate commissions. I am an affiliate for BlueHost, who was the website server for the first 9 months of my blog’s life. I highly suggest BlueHost to host your blog if you have under 25K views per day. It’s so affordable! Read here about how to become a BlueHost affiliate. I don’t earn much, but a little paycheck every now and then is nice. I know a lot of bloggers who are affiliates for Amazon and their Thesis theme or Genesis theme for WordPress.

 

Other Ways to Make Money from a Food Blog.

  • Publish an eBook.
  • Product sales (t-shirts, magnets, notepads, stickers, mugs).
  • Participate in local bake sales and bring a few business cards for your blog.
  • Contact local coffee shops and see if they allow local bakers to sell baked goods.
  • Private advertising (working directly with companies).
  • Write a cookbook (read this amazing, thorough post about how to get published).

 

Expenses.

Because I own this business, there are quite a bit of expenses. If you decide to turn your food blog into a career, just know that you’ll be making some hefty investments over the course of time. Things I had never even imagined like… an increasing electric bill since I’m home and baking during the day… and while I thought I’d be saving money by not commuting to an office, I feel as though I go to the grocery 12 times a week.

Other expenses:

  • Website server fees
  • Groceries
  • Technical assistance
  • Website designing
  • Food props
  • Bakeware & kitchen supplies
  • Camera & lenses
  • Lighting equipment
  • Photography editing software
  • Extras like Rafflecopter (for giveaways) & Viraltag (for Pinterest organization), business cards

 

 You won't accomplish anything by doing nothing

 

How I Got To This Point.

I get a lot of emails from new bloggers asking me how I grew my blog overnight. The truth is, I didn’t. My pictures and written content were embarrassing in the beginning and not nearly as developed compared to those who had been food blogging longer. I constantly compared my baby blog to the “big leagues” and often felt bad about myself. Why compare apples to oranges though? It inspired me to just KEEP working hard.

I’ve been able to improve my photos, recipes, and content simply by of the amount of time I put into it. Learning, making mistakes, learning more, and always improving. It’s the perfectionist in me. From this work, I’ve been lucky to have my content featured all over social media.

Keep at it. Ask questions, read books (see suggestions below), make mistakes, enjoy the process of doing something you love.

I’ve written about the subject of blogging before and how to grow your food blog. If you’ve never seen them, check them out. If you have seen them, I’ve recently updated each post with more information:

 

How to Stay Sane.

As you can see, this career takes a lot of time and effort. I’m able to fit it all in because I try to manage my time as best as I can, keeping in mind that I should keep a practical blogging/real life balance.

I’m going to admit that I miss having a structured schedule at my office job (and the people too – my only coworker at this point has 4 legs). I was able to leave work at the office and not bring it home. That’s not the case with my blog. While I’m not complaining in the slightest, my blog can’t “close” at night and on the weekends.

Even if you’re not a blogger (thank you for even reading this post!), you know how difficult it is to disconnect sometimes. Put down your iPhone, iPad, tablet, laptop, Instagram, Facebook, twitter, etc. Real life is what is happening now!

Enjoy Life. Right now

 

Being a food blogger can be overwhelming. Learning what to do, what not to do, dealing with technical problems, coming up with content, understanding your camera, trying to gain readership, developing recipes, etc. Here are ways to stay grounded:

Have fun. Try to take a break from blogging and do something fun with friends, family, or loved ones. Have a date night, go out for a drink, a nice dinner, make Sunday brunch, get out of town, visit a friend. Your blog won’t go anywhere and you’ll feel instantly refreshed. I lean on Kevin, my family, and friends to have some fun. It was so nice to take a break and travel to some great spots like St. Lucia, Utah, and Deep Creek Lake this year.

Exercise. It’s totally cliche, but exercise can really help calm your nerves. I lead an active lifestyle not because of all the treats I bake, but because I genuinely love it and have since I was an energetic little kid. If I have a baking fail in the kitchen, it’s nice to go for a run, take a walk outside in the fresh air with Jude or break out my yoga mat.

Me time. Having time to yourself (or with a loved one – or pet!) everyday where you can truly disconnect will help keep you grounded. Turn off your phone, your email, your computer. Enjoy the simple pleasures. For me this includes things like planning our wedding, treating myself to a manicure, meeting a friend for coffee, watching my favorite TV shows, having a glass of wine, or taking Jude to the dog park.

Love it. I love being in the kitchen, baking a new recipe, and sharing the joy with others both physically and virtually. When I begin to feel overwhelmed from blogging, I remind myself why I do it. I grew up in the kitchen with my late grandmother, my parents and sisters. Baking and sharing my recipes make me happy. It’s important for me to enjoy my time doing it. The moment I begin to feel it is a chore, I take a break.

 

Love Life and Life Will Love You Back

 

My Advice:

Have patience. You can’t expect to earn a salary from a food blog until you have a decent sized audience. Build your product before selling it. Do not focus on the money. Rather, the smartest things to focus on are (1) publishing quality content, (2) interacting with bloggers and readers, and (3) learning about food photography. The money will follow if you work your butt off.

Always remember that your readers come first. Sure, it’s nice to earn money from a blog. But I wouldn’t have this career if I didn’t have readers. Show your readers you love them.

 

Here are some wonderful articles on the subject of food blogging as a career:

 

Here are 4 books I own and highly recommend to all food bloggers:

 

Q: What are your dreams for your blog? What are your thoughts on full time blogging?

 

Thanks for listening (reading!).

 

 

 

   

392 Responses to “How I Turned my Food Blog into a Career.”

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    181
    kimposted December 12, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Wow, I am so happy for all of your success. Thank you so much for this inspiration

    Reply

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    Michelleposted December 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I have a full-time job and I’m trying to stand up my blog on the side, and it’s been really overwhelming. It’s so great to hear your story and your tips for turning a blog into a career (which I would love to do!!). I’m a year and a half in, and I do feel like I’ve made some progress but, without being able to quit my job (stupid mortgage!), it’s been hard to take it to the next level. I feel like your post will help me take a step in the right direction. Thanks again! P.S. Your baked goods make me drool on my keyboard. :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 17th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks Michelle. And keep at it. It’s a lot of work. And I know how hard it is to juggle both a full time job and a blog you’re trying to grow. Best of luck to you!!

      Reply

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    Saraposted December 18, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Whenever I’m looking for a kick-butt dessert recipe and I can’t figure out what… I come straight to your website. :) Thank you for sharing your story and being so open with us. Not many bloggers would ever provide step by step points on how they became successful, let alone be so genuine and intricately informative. I hope your success and happiness grow even bigger and better!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 18th, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Sara, your comment MADE my day. So happy you can count on my recipes when you need a good one. Happy my blogging tips are helpful as well :) Thank you so much.

      Reply

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    Sally Gaskinsposted December 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Hey Sally, I just want to say, Thank You very much for all the information given in your blog. I am from The Bahamas and I am a pastry chef with teaching background. The inspiration of creating and island based food blog has been weighing heavy on me and your site was the first one I opened to do my research and I am so glad I did. You have no clue what you have done for me in term of inspiration. Your site will definitely be my reference site. I just created a FB page called Bakers Dozen to promote my home based business, but I just felt like there should be some more I should be doing and you just confirmed it for me. Thanks again, you have been the inspiration I have been looking for. I do wish you all the best in the future.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Thanks Sally – and I wish you the best of luck! An island based food blog – now that’s something I need to check out!

      Reply

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    Mila Furmanposted December 19, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Sally…what an absolutely amazing article! You are a doll for writing this post and taking the time to help your readers! You are an incredible blogger and photographer and it is nice to know that your success did not happen over night :) I love your recipes :) Wish baking came as easy to me :( Sigh… in the mean time I will just make your recipes and give you credit on my site :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Mila – you are so sweet. And keep working hard! Good things will come. Dream big!

      Reply

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    Helen @ Scrummy Laneposted December 20, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you SO much for this wonderful resource, Sally! I just love your honesty, realism, upbeat attitude, encouraging and down-to-earth style, professionalism, generosity, humility etc. etc. etc.! I am at the very beginning of my food blogging journey (have literally just pressed ‘publish’ for the first time) and feel very lucky indeed to have such great advice as this … from someone who really knows! You make me feel like it’s OK to start blogging with hardly any idea what I’m doing and work things out as I go along. It’s certainly much easier though when bloggers like you are willing to share what they’ve learnt. Thanks again, all the VERY best with your new career and … MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Hey Helen! CONGRATS on your blog! I began blogging without a clue of what I was doing! You just learn as you go. And I am so happy that you are learning from my blogging tips and posts. That’s why I like to share them. You are so sweet. Your comment made my day. xoxo Merry Christmas!

      Reply

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    Olgaposted December 24, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Thank you so much for such inspiring post! I’ve been feeling exhausted rushing between my office work and my food blog, i’ve been even about to give up blogging at all, but now i won’t. Thank you again for sharing this!

    Reply

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    Simos @ Yumbles.composted December 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Hey Sally

    Great post, very inspiring – thanks for sharing. Having recently launched Yumbles.com and also having founded another company in the past, I can identify with so much in your post and especially the ‘Stay Sane’ part ;-)

    Will be following your blog with great interest, all the best!

    Simos

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 29th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Thank you so much! Best of luck to you with your new website!

      Reply

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    Laurenposted December 30, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Hi Sally,

    This is such a great post. Thanks for sharing your tips, as I hope to one day turn my blog into my life, too! My blog is still a baby, a few months shy of a year old. And for Christmas I got my first DSLR camera so I plan on taking a course and reading up to improve my photography skills. Your post makes me excited for what’s to come.

    Next step, I’d really like to get my blog transferred to a site with more customization abilities, because right now I just use a template on WordPress.com and I want more flexibility with the layout and whatnot. I think even hosting on WordPress.org would be better if I can figure out the technical bits.

    Congrats on your engagement and cookbook :)

    Thanks!
    Lauren

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 30th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      What a sweet comment. Thank you so much Lauren! I am so excited for you and your new DSLR. Take a ton of pictures. That’s how you will learn. Practice, practice, practice! I wish you the best of luck with your blog – Hugs ‘n Kitchen. Love the name of it!

      Reply

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    Dee @ The Kitchen Snobposted December 31, 2013 at 11:52 am

    This was such an inspirational post for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your achievements and struggles. I’ve been blogging for almost 5 months and can relate to how hard it is to blog about food. There are so many more steps with food blogging than some other subjects. But I truly love it and hope to follow in your footsteps one day! I can totally relate to your pumpkin cookie recipe obsession because I’ve had a similar obsession with pumpkin bread (I’ve made it 4 times so far) and it still is not quite right. I’ve had friends and family say “who cares, just put it on the blog, it doesn’t have to be perfect” but I also believe in quality over quantity. Thank you for sharing your story!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 2nd, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Hey Dee! Sorry for the late reply. I am so glad you loved this post. Blogging is so challenging. It’s nonstop. But if you have a passion for it, which it sounds like you do – than just keep working your butt off! Quality over quantity. So important! Thank you so much and good luck!

      Reply

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    maitrayeeposted January 6, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Hey Sally,
    I congratulate and thank you for writing such honest and open things about starting and even managing a blog. Blogging is something that I am totally ignorant about. All I can say is that, whenever I have an urge to bake something, I visit this blog of yours. The pictures that you click are extremely encouraging, like I could actually smell the divine cinnamon while gazing through your cinnamon roll cake.? You have now inspired me to learn photography (my husband is a part time professional photographer and an avid foodie :P). I wish and hope to click some good clicks of the baked items from your recipes and share them back with you.

    Good luck for everything and Thank you, once again!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 6th, 2014 at 7:39 am

      This comment made my morning. Blogging is pretty tough – it’s not all sunshine and smiles! But I wouldn’t trade this job for the world. I am so thankful to have a reader like you; I’m glad you love baking my recipes Maitrayee! I wish you lots of luck with your new passion in food photography. Just remember: practice makes perfect!

      Reply

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    Kristy Trahanposted January 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I am a brand new, fresh out of the box blogger that REALLY NEEDED to read this post. THANK you a MILLION TIMES OVER for this blog. I was struggling on what to focus on as blog content, and I think I’ve found my niche. I used to bake (and LOVED doing it) and put it down for multiple reasons. Because it’s an integral part of who I am, the passion never left me; so here I am perusing for inspiration and I stumble across your site. I will be studying this post at length in the next few days, weeks, or however long it takes to develop MY take as a food blogger! I’m in the process of even trying to change my current blog name to better suit the content direction of my blog. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 20th, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Hi Kristy! I’m certainly glad to hear how much this post helped you out. Wish you the best of luck rebranding your blog and getting back into it!

      Reply

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    Larry Hillposted January 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I have had some friends suggest that I start a blog. You made some awesome points. I’m not much of a sweets guy but you have a new fan none the less.

    Reply

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    Neetuposted January 22, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Hi Sally,
    As someone who also loves to write and loves to bake (two things which make me very happy)…third one being my dogs…I really have loved how you’re helping food bloggers start their own blogging sites. I really have’nt come across too many other sites which do the same.
    I just started my blog 2 days back and your post has really been appreciated! I will be visiting your blog much more frequently!!
    Thanks a ton!
    Neetu

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 23rd, 2014 at 9:55 am

      We have a ton in common. Baking, writing, and my dog. Congrats on your new blog, Neetu! Have fun with it and stay passionate.

      Reply

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    Elizabethposted January 25, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    It is definitely hard for me to find time to accomplish everything that I need for my blog. My schedule is full with two children, my husband’s schedule, my mother’s schedule, and the spouses’ club I volunteer with. But I fall in love with my blog a little more every day. My question is, at the end of the year how hard is it to file your taxes? Are you keeping receipts for dishes, web fees, camera equipment, etc.?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 26th, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Yep, I keep receipts of every single purchase I make for my blog. I keep a separate spreadsheet as well detailing every single purchase throughout the year, so I am not swamped in December. My father is an accountant and he likes thing sot be extra organized. It takes a lot of time, but that’s just what you gotta do owning your own business.

      Reply

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    Elizabethposted January 26, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Do you buy your blog groceries separate and keep those receipts?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 26th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Yep! I usually have to make two separate transactions when I’m at the store. 1 for everyday food and another for blog recipe food. I keep the blog receipts in a file and at the end of the month, I transfer them to the spreadsheet.

      Reply

      • Bernadettereplied on January 31st, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        Hi Sally! Do you keep grocery receipts for all of your published recipes or just sponsored posts? I’ve been blogging for almost two years but I’m just starting to try to make it a career. Didn’t make enough in 2013 to have to pay taxes so I’m unsure what I should be keeping records of.

        • Sallyreplied on January 31st, 2014 at 3:41 pm

          Hi Bernadette, I save grocery receipts for every single item I buy that will be used for recipes. Every single one of the recipes I make, even recipe testing because it is considered my work. I actually do very little sponsored posts on my blog.

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    Karen Ahmedposted January 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    This is one of the most interesting and useful blogs I’ve ever read. Thanks so much for all the info!

    Reply

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    Annamaria @ Bakewell jUNCTIONposted January 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Sally,
    Wonderfully detailed post and congrats on your success. I started my blog to share with family and friends and I’m using wordpress.com to keep expenses down. I have big concerns with publishing my full name and my picture on the internet (plus I’m not photogenic). In addition, to get compensated, you have to give personal information to these companies. Did you set up a company and give them the company ID or did you use your personal SS#? Sorry if I’m getting too personal but I’m really not sure how it’s done.
    Thanks.
    Annamaria

    Reply

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    Orna @ OrnaBakesposted January 27, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Thank you for this inspirational and uplifting post – just when I needed it. You captured all the stresses and anxieties—and joys—of being a food blogger. I’m always wondering how on earth everyone seems to be so prolific and do it so well – especially the bloggers with kids. I only have one daughter and I’m always struggling to find the balance. And I HATE that I always have to be conscious of the money part of it. But now, not only have I basically abandoned my husband (I used to do marketing and social media for our Mac Consulting Company) but I now need him to provide tech support to my blog! There’s just no limit to the amount of time (or money) you could spend on it – and if it’s not bringing in any income, then how can people justify doing it? I’m a perfectionist, and have had to learn SO Many new things (photography, iMovie, WordPress, Social Media etc)… and writing doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m definitely more a Beethoven than a Mozart. I feel like I’m on an emotionally roller coaster – one day super pumped and confident, and the next thinking I’m crazy and there are millions out there doing it better than I am!

    I’m getting more and more followers every day, especially now that I’m focusing more on the Weight Watchers aspect of things—which I’m very passionate about. But I just don’t know if it will ever be enough to justify the amount of time I spend, and if it will grow into a substitute for a paying job!

    Would love your honest feedback!

    Reply

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    Raminaposted February 5, 2014 at 2:28 am

    Great article. I started food blogging several month ago and I love it.

    Thank you for an inspiration!

    Reply

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    Thoughtful Cookingposted February 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Very helpful, and very inspirational, thanks so much for sharing your story. Your site is so awesome, it’s hard to believe it has been around for only a few years, hats off to all of your hard work!

    Reply

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    Chrissiposted February 19, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Hi Sally,

    This post is massive inspiration to me!
    I started our blog in December, it focusses on eating healthy and I am completely rubbish at baking so I leave that to my daughter and I focus on healthy family meals.

    I am dreaming of blogging full time and moving to Spain and we will get there in time.

    I love the fact you say your posts were not great when you first started, I read my very first post the other day – shocking!!!!!!

    Big Congratulations to you for doing so very well and thank you for sharing.

    All the best,
    Chrissi

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 19th, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Thank you so much Chrissi! Spain – I’d love to visit there one day. Keep working hard. I laugh reading my old posts. :)

      Reply

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    Janneseposted February 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Sally, thanks so much for this post! I’ve been blogging for about 9 months now and sometimes it just gets so frustrating waiting for your big break. You really have to do this for the love of food and sharing yor story with people. Gonna keep working on the quality of my content and the food photography part, it’s definitely the most important part of this whole endeavor. Thanks so much & congrats!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 19th, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Thank you Jannese! I appreciate the kind words so much. GOOD LUCK with your blog! Keep up the hard work.

      Reply

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    Julieposted February 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Sally, I’m so glad i discovered your blog! I really enjoy it. Great job! I don’t know if i’d start my own blog, but your recipes are in my favorite list! I wish you all the inspiration and drive in what you’re doing!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 21st, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks so much Julie, I appreciate that!

      Reply

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    Daveposted February 23, 2014 at 3:12 am

    Hi

    I just wanted to say how impressed I am with your generosity in sharing so much information about how you became successful, even down to major advertisers. Incredible.

    I have always had a love of food and strangely enough starting a low carb diet has sent me into overdrive searching for recipes, adapting and finding that low carb can actually be AS good as “real” food. My friends scowl at me with my Swiss Chard and Ricotta Pie as they chow down on their morning breakfast cereal/cardboard.

    Anyways I digress.

    Thanks again for this – they say you get back 10 fold what you give out – I expect you will be getting back a LOT from this entry:)

    All the very best and success to you, you have inspired me to finally be more serious about following my food passion!

    Your website has even made it to my bookmarks folder – now THAT is an achievement believe me 334

    D

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 23rd, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Thank you SO much, Dave! I really appreciate all your kind words.

      Reply

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    Sherri Hallposted February 24, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Hi Sally,

    Thank you for sharing this article. It is very inspiring and helpful. My husband and I recently started a food blog and both work 40+ hour weeks with two young children. We’re up all night trying to get this going because I’d love for it to become my full time job. Congratulations on your success and best of luck for the future!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 24th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you so much Sherri! I’m delighted to hear how helpful this post is for you two as you begin this business. While I never had children when I started my blog, I had a very demanding full time job. But with hard work and a few sleepless nights (ok, a lot of sleepless nights!), I pulled through. Sounds like you two will do very well with it. Best of luck!

      Reply

      • Sherri Hallreplied on February 25th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

        Hi Sally,

        Thank you very much for your well wishes! It is so nice of you to take the time to reply and to do it so quickly. It is very much appreciated!

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    Emma and Carla aka THE MERRYMAKER SISTERSposted February 27, 2014 at 5:53 am

    WOW. This post is extremely inspiring, motivating and all kinds of amazing! THANK YOU!

    Being super close to our Dad, we just loved the reference to what your Dad says to you…. be irreplaceable! Ahhh!

    Thank you x a million! We have a goal to leave our full time jobs and merrymaker (aka blog, cook and share our paleo delights) by the end of 2014… bring it on! YAY! FUN!

    Thanks again.

    Emma ans Carla

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 27th, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Good luck ladies! Stay passionate and work hard.

      Reply

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    Phillip @ SouthernFATTY.composted February 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    As a BRAND spankin’ new food blogger (started posting in December), reading this post has saved me from some of my frustrations. Being patient is hard work!

    I’ve enjoyed so much reading about Bloggers paths and curves along the way.

    Great post!

    Best,
    Phillip @ SouthernFATTY.com

    Reply

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    Cori Risingerposted March 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Thank you so much for this! I have been trying to get into blogging because it looks so fun. I have a review blog right now and hadn’t even thought of doing a food one!

    Reply

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    Lisaposted March 8, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hi Sally,

    I just came across this post, and I want to thank you very much for sharing your thoughts about blogging. I decided to start my own blog a month ago today, mainly because I enjoy cooking and wanted to share tasty food that I make with my friends and family.

    Thanks for your insights and wishing you continued success on your blog!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 8th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you very much Lisa! And best of luck with your new blog.

      Reply

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    Rebecca Eideposted March 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Sally!

    I really enjoyed reading this! You’re an inspiration to new food bloggers (like me). Your advice is very much appreciated, and thank you for taking the time to write it all down.

    Keep up the great work!

    Rebecca

    Reply

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    Stephanieposted March 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Sally!
    I just HADDD to let you know that your site is SO great and informative. I have learned so SO much from reading your stuff. Not just about baking (although thank GOD I read some of the information there- like how to measure flour the right way!….) but also about your journey with your blog. I find myself going through SO many changes with my own blog, it’s SUCH a learning process and so much work. But your posts helped me to learn and I can relate so much to what you write. You’re such a hard worker- hopefully messages from your devoted followers make it all worth it! (I’m not there yet, my “followers” are all related to me, HA).. but anyway, thanks for everything that you do! PS-I don’t know how you take such great pictures of what you bake. I tried taking pictures of cookies last month and it was TOUGH! I couldn’t get them to look good.. much harder than I thought, just like everything else!) THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!! -Stephanie

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 27th, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks Stephanie! Reading this was so nice today – I appreciate it! Keep working hard; practice makes perfect.

      Reply

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    Mandiposted March 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you SO much for posting this! You are truly inspiring to someone like me who is just starting their food blog. I’m very excited to begin this journey and am EXTREMELY thankful for people like you who are willing to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way! Thank you! I sincerely appreciate it!

    Reply

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    Alyssa Riveraposted March 27, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I am a new blogger trying to grow my blog, not only because I would like to make food my life, but because I would love to use it to get through college (making money or not I still love being a food and restaurant blogger). I have enjoyed it so much so far but your post really inspired me to change some things. Congrats on all of your success. You deserve it!

    -Alyssa

    Reply

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    Kristie Hillposted March 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Curious, your recipe index is that a plugin or custom designed? I love it. Both the visual and the text.

    Reply

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    Theresa @aloveafareposted April 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for writing this article! I always wonder how to explain what I do. You’ve done a lovely job. Just recently I met someone and was talking about what I do and they said with a smile “Oh you’re a blogger? That’s cool. ” It made me feel good. As this field grows, more people will just know what it is and what it takes to succeed in this arena. Congrats to you and keep up the good work!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 1st, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      I agree, Theresa! I was just telling someone the other day what I do and they were so interested and impressed. The career is definitely becoming more common, for sure.

      Reply

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    Kristiposted April 1, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks Sally. This is very inspirational for up and coming bloggers!

    Reply

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    Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshineposted April 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    LOVE this post! I would love to make my hobby my career sometime. Blogging is one of my favorite things to do! I love the creative side of it. It is sort-of like an online scrapbook. With lots of donuts. and sprinkles. and family. and happiness! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 2nd, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      You’re so right, Haley – an online scrapbook!

      Reply

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    Maryposted April 15, 2014 at 5:36 am

    Wow. TQVM for the useful tips. I really enjoy reading this. I have just started and yet to post anything. Was googling food blog tip and found u. Will read the rest of your blog later tonight. Love from Malaysia :)

    Reply

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