This is part of my Makin' Bacon podcast, you can check out all the episodes or subscribe on your favorite podcast player.
In this episode we talk to Luci Petlack about hiring contractors, how to introduce new themes into your blog, and how to restart your blogging career after a life change.
Sometimes things are just clicking as a blogger. You have your routine down, your business connections are growing, things are going great...and then something happens to disrupt it all. This could be good or bad, from taking care of a sick parent, transferring to a new job or city, having a baby, or you know, a global pandemic.
Recovering from these types of changes can be really hard, and it can be a lot more emotionally draining than we think. Today's guest will share her experiences, the challenges she went through, and how she is overcoming them, so we can all be better armed moving forward.
I'm very excited to welcome Luci Petlack, from Luci's Morsels, a women's lifestyle brand about food, style, home, and travel.
The video of the interview is also available on the Makin' Bacon YouTube Channel.
Luci is everything California. She has a penchant for comfortably chic style, great food, and travel. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and baby boy. When she's not with her family, she's usually writing, planning a getaway, or scheming up more ways to be more sustainable. No matter what she's doing, however, she likely has coffee in her hand or on her mind!
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.
Today, we'll be talking about hiring contractors, how to introduce a new theme into your blog and how to restart your blogging career after a giant life change.
Sometimes things are just clicking as a blogger, you have your routine down, your business connections are growing, things are going great. And then something happens to disrupt it all. This could be good or bad from taking care of her sick parent, transferring to a new job or city, having a baby or, you know, a global pandemic. Recovering from these types of changes, it can be really hard. It can be a lot more emotionally draining than we think going into them.
Today's guest will share her experiences; the challenges she went through and how she's overcoming them so we can all be better armed moving forward. She is everything California. She has a penchant for comfortable chic style, great food and travel. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and baby boy. And when she's not with her family, she's usually writing, planning a getaway or scheming up ways to be more sustainable.
No matter what she's doing, though, she likely has coffee in her hand or on her mind. I'm very excited to welcome Luci Petlack from Luci's Morsels, a woman's lifestyle brand about food, style, home, and travel.
Jason Logsdon: Luci, welcome to Makin' Bacon.
Jason: One of the biggest experiences you've had that I really wanted to dive into is getting back into working after an extended hiatus. It's something that many bloggers can relate to just in general, because stuff comes up. But right now, almost everyone is going through something because with the quarantine. People's routines have changed, their kids and spouses are at home now and everything is just disrupted.
Oh, hopefully as things loosen, we'll be able to get back to work, whatever that ends up meaning. And I think a lot of people have trepidation about that. Can you talk a little bit about the break that you took from blogging and how you've started to move back into normality?
Luci Petlack: Yeah, absolutely. So I had my first baby last June. Um, I think my due date was June 13. Which matters only because when I planned for this time and this my maternity leave. Oh, self-employed maternity leave, that's it, that's a funny one. I plan to be done with the work that I had to do 1 week before my due date, on the off chance he came early. He didn't by the way.
Then what I planned was 6 weeks after that of content that would already be scheduled, ready, social, it would be scheduled and ready. I think there was one thing I had to do after just the, the context of the collaboration was with baby. So other than that, that's what I planned.
So he didn't come out on his due date. I kicked him out a week later. Well, so that was 1 week of my 6 weeks gone. So down to 5 weeks and long about week 4, I mean, it's not as though I was just off the hook until the end of the week 6. So long about week 4, I started realizing like, Oh, I have to do this again soon. Oh gosh.
Like I think, yeah, at that point I was probably fitting into 3 things in my closet. I was still like dropping baby weight. I wasn't traveling anywhere. What am I going to talk about? I could, at that point and truthfully, without getting into this whole conversation, the only things at that point I could really talk about with anybody were breastfeeding, which was not something I was going to talk about with people yet. I have done some on that. And then this like newborn baby mom-like thing.
And one of the things that I promised myself, and has been no trouble whatsoever, was that when I became a mother, I was not going to completely shift who I was as a blogger and who I was for my followers. It always drove me crazy when somebody who had followed for so long had a kid, and then all of a sudden it became all pictures of their kid. All talk about mom life because I wasn't there.
And it's funny enough, even now as a mom, I don't want to talk about mom life all the time. I don't want to hear all about your baby. So I'm just not going to talk about mom life all the time. I'm not going to tell you all about my baby, however much I loved him and how adorable he is. He's really good. But no, no, it's just, it's not. Um, so that anything I could think of was him and new mom life. And those were 2 things I was not going to talk about. So that was really difficult.
So anyway, those 6 weeks ended and I just started creating content again. I would say that my maternity leave didn't unofficially end until probably January, which was probably 6 months later. So I struggled through creating 3 posts per week for the first 6 months full disclosure. So I was back to work. I was scrounging for work time.
I did get it. So somewhere in there, I had a babysitter who came for a couple hours in the afternoon and I got some stuff done. But I was still on the weekends almost begging my husband, not that he wouldn't say yes, but like, do you mind if I work? You know and feeling guilty that I had to ask if he could watch our son so I could get some work done on the weekend.
So, and then in January we got a part time nanny. So all of a sudden, guaranteed 3 days per week, 5 hours per day from roughly 9 to 2, Luci got to work. It was phenomenal. It wasn't perfect. Um, I think one of the things that I've realized is that, that work time was really wonderful. What it allowed me to do was create those 3 posts per week that I was posting with the corresponding social without any stress. It did not necessarily give me time to do all the other things that go into blogging.
And so beyond that, I had to figure out, okay, what is my priority with this time? And what is this new, new me as a blogger, new blog kind of look like, and I'm still, I'm still kind of hashing that out in a lot of ways.
Jason: You thought 6 weeks would be enough. And that's something that a lot of us don't do is at least even think ahead, it ended up not being as much as you needed, but it was at least gave you that kind of buffer.
I moved from Connecticut to New York and I did not do that. And I was trying to work during a move. And at least as a blogger, some things can fall through the crack and your whole business doesn't fall apart, but it was a big mistake, not planning ahead. So I really liked that you, that's something that a lot of bloggers I think don't think about is, you know, building up that buffer that they need.
So how did you, you said you started getting a nanny to come and take care of, of your child. And how did you, did you just step right back into you know, the creative process or what challenges did you hit?
Luci: Oh, gosh, tons. So the first thing that I will say, because this is so simple and yet I think it kind of saved my professional life from the period of August to January is that I had ideas. I just didn't necessarily have them at the time that I was working. So the notes app on my phone was filled with ideas for content sometimes, you know, if I was just holding a sleeping baby and I had one hand, I would write out the content or the copy for a post that I knew was happening, stuff like that.
So I think what it did is provided me a way to stay organized so that when that precious time came to work, I already had a game plan to start running. So I wasn't taking over the world. The only thing that I had to do every week was write my blog posts, but even just doing that was a lot. So. The period of where I didn't necessarily have that work time.
I still kept, you know, an easily accessible place for me to throw my ideas down and throw my organization down. So that was one thing and something that I normally would do, but I had to, I didn't have my notebook next to me. So that was the first part.
Jason: I feel like a lot of times too, we don't write down ideas because we think like, Oh, this might not be a great idea now. If you're like, I don't have time to do this for weeks, If not months, you can write them all down. And then I'm sure when you went back, you probably had a lot better ideas than if you were just like trying to filter them before you even wrote them down.
Luci: Oh gosh. Yes. I actually run into the risk of, Oh, I'll remember. I won't. I don't mean maybe under the ideal circumstances I might, but, so, yeah, so that was that.
So actually that was something that really did help me kind of jump back into things. When I got the nanny, the nanny-help in January, I really thought those first few weeks felt so good. It felt so good to have that dedicated time back. Because I was no longer, again, scrounging for that time. I was no longer what it felt like begging my husband, that I could have work hours on the weekend and in the evening, which was not good for our family as a whole.
So it felt really good. But. I think what I realized, and I may only be realizing this now is what those 15 hours allotted me, was the ability to get my blog posts done every week without stress. It's still not enough time to do all the other stuff with blogging. And blogging is one of those things where there's always something to do, however, mundane or however huge there's always something to do. So all of that stuff doesn't happen.
I should make a note in here because I'm, I'm all about full transparency. I have a very, very part time assistant. Um, she's actually one of my former students and I think she works a total of 10 to 15 hours per month, but she's the one who kind of kept my newsletter going out every Friday.
Uh, if I ever needed a graphic for a Roundup or links, she helped me. So because I completely want to dispel the myth that new moms can do everything, we can do anything, we can't do everything. I think probably the, the clarification to make. So she kind of like filled little holes, but it was all the business stuff behind that, just that wasn't happening. And I didn't realize until February or March, which was what, 7 or 8 months after our little guy joined our family, just how much at that point it had hurt my business.
So because my time is so limited, I had to look at all these things that I used to do, the new ideas I had and really go with, okay, what do I know is probably worth my time and what do I want to see if this is worth my time? Because I didn't have time to do anything. Everything I should say. I didn't have time to do everything. And yeah, I set a few new goals and a few timelines, and that has helped me mostly dictate what work I do during the time that I'm given.
Jason: So how do you kind of prioritize tasks with, cause a limited amount of time can be beneficial in some ways, that it really makes you focus on what's most important. What have you found that kind of fits into that bucket of like, these are things that I need to be focused on in the little bit of time that I can?
Luci: I am a writer slash blogger first and foremost, regardless of whether that's where all the money is or that's where whatever is. Writing for my website is what I truly enjoy doing. It doesn't give me the emotional turmoil that Instagram does. So, but that's still an important part of it. So getting my blog posts ready, up and scheduled is definitely first and foremost and any corresponding social media that goes with that, that has to be done, you know, period.
Beyond that, what I've been really focusing on is first increasing traffic to my site again, because it went up and down because of Google algorithm things, but also because of my own life. And so kind of getting back on track with that. Learning a little bit more so I can go back and make changes, things like that.
Then I've also been really trying to connect more with my audience. So the really hard thing about Instagram, for example, but I think in general is you have, you know, X amount of followers, but the actual number of those who see your content is microscopically I'm going to say embarrassing, but we're all at those like tens of percents of nothingness.
And so I kind of set out on the school for that, more of it to connect with them, people who were still seeing my stuff. And then hopefully that would kind of grow from there. So I wasn't trying to get new followers because I, I wasn't just trying to get numbers, I was really trying to reconnect with people and so that was part of it.
And then on a somewhat personal level, I wanted to connect more with people in the new city that I was living in. And that was a business thing too, because you need community. So those are the things I focused on. And honestly, I don't have enough time to do all of those. Um, and then I throw in other things as I see them, but I've tried to really stick with those things, being my primary, my primary work to do.
Jason: A lot of bloggers, we work at either out of our houses. How did you find business connections and kind of connections of peers in your new city? How did you go about finding that?
Luci: First few were a hodgepodge. One was, uh, somebody who I'd met at an event I got invited to, um, back in September, actually, who I really haven't kept in contact with, but I reached out said, Hey, I'm trying to network with bloggers, would you like to get coffee sometime? They said yes.
Another was a photographer of other bloggers who I'd stumbled on Instagram. And obviously we, it made sense that I start meeting photographers in my new city. So I reached out to her, she said, yes. And then I attended a Tuesdays Together meeting here in Sacramento.
And that actually happened right before shelter-in-place went into effect. So I spent the first two weeks of shelter in place thinking, oh, well, I guess networking's done. Which sounds silly, but I've actually come to learn that I was one of the few that very quickly was like, Oh no, just change it and have phone calls now.
So any way, some of it was just people I had stumbled on, on Instagram and I was just like, Hey, and they were totally down. Nobody was like, no weirdo. So I started having coffee and stuff with them, and then they started introducing me to other people. So they might refer me to 1 or 2 other people and I'd reach out to them and they do the connection.
So it's nothing groundbreaking. I don't have time for coffee meetings and happy hours all the time, but I'm trying to just do 1 per week. And for almost every week since I started this, I've had 1 or 2.
So I think the big thing there is, they're always people who want to talk to you. Whether you're going to be friends or business associates, or, you know what, maybe you're just going to meet someone new and then you're both going to go along your merry way. That's fine. That's not a bad thing. But reaching out I think is hard for people. And I don't know, I'm such a social person that I'm like, "F-it", I'm just going to do it. And if it works out almost all the time, so yeah.
Jason: I am not a social person, but I have tried to make myself reach out a lot more like that. And I've also found the same thing that you have, that if I send someone to a note or whatever, almost everyone's more than happy to get back or meet up or grab a coffee. Like even the most introverted bloggers generally are interested in at least having coffee every once in a while and talking about what they do. Because we do some really unique things that almost no one else in our circles can relate to, right. Like just sitting down and be like, Oh, I was trying to do this Pinterest thing and them understanding what you're saying is a huge relief.
Luci: Oh yeah. Oh, I can talk Pinterest for days. Absolutely. Yeah, no, I completely agree. And I think there's also really something to be said for the fact that somebody else is doing the same job you're doing. So there's a good chance they like being social about as much as you do for it. Or they like being social in the same way that you do something like that.
Jason: When you started getting that time again, did you feel like you could just kind of hopped back into the, what you had built before? Did you feel like you were starting over from scratch a little bit?
Luci: Oh, I felt like I was starting over from scratch. I felt like I was the new person in the room again. And I was like, hi, my name's Luci, even though I had numbers that didn't show that.
And that, that was actually a really frustrating thing for me, because a lot of people would look at follower count or whatever, and they'd go, Oh, you're doing really well. No, that's not what's happening back here. Um, so no, I felt, I felt like I was starting over. One of the hard things is that in the process of my like, slowing down to reach out for collaborations while I was pregnant, and then obviously those first 6 months postpartum was that a lot of my connections at PR companies no more. And so I was just like, Oh, what do I do?
So that was part of it. And then there was also a part of it. I didn't jump back in, in the same way. I wasn't living in Los Angeles with my friend who was my photographer and seeing her every Friday, I know no longer had quick and easy way to get photographs done.
And I had a very limited time schedule. And so even if I could somehow wrangle these sponsors, certain posts, I mean, could I give them the kind of content that they wanted? I hope so. And so that was actually, it was really difficult and that's something that I'm still grappling with, with now, I don't want to say that I changed my niche cause I've always called myself a lifestyle blogger, which covers all manner of sin.
That's what I like to say, but I started talking a whole lot more about sustaining the ability, not in the like angry plastics government kind of way, but more of a, Hey, here are all the little things I'm slowly learning and figuring out about how to live more sustainably. So it's like a happy sustainability, um, rather than, um, the angry side. Which I don't love, a full disclosure.
So anyway, I was adding that in, but slowly and the fashion one wasn't happening. And so I kind of had to balance the changing niches within my lifestyle category. The food was staying the same, but the fashion was kind of on hold. The travel was kind of on hold because I had a new baby and we were just doing little trips. We did do some, but just little ones and now I'm not traveling. Um, so those were changing and then I was adding new things in.
So I also had to figure out how to kind of bring everything back together in a way that made sense and I'm away that didn't lose me followers or lose whatever, whatever it is.
Jason: Yeah. You're kind of saying sustainability is a word, I think it's thrown out there a lot. And it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Can you talk a little bit, I know you said you're not at all about the angry sustainability. Can you talk a little bit about the type of stuff that you are focusing on and some more examples of how you worked it into some of your blog without your readers saying I was following a fashion blog. I don't care about, you know, plastic.
Luci: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so sustainability for me just means a combination of, of making what I've now deemed long-lasting choices. So I'm still buying clothes, I'm not plant-based, a lot of these things. However, there are a lot of actions that I make where the things that I buy, I plan to keep for a long time. So it's sort of removing this quickly, replaceable single use kind of thing.
I think that's, what's been really a good bridge between what was defining who I was before, and what's defining who I am now. I'm still buying the same brands, really. I mean, things have changed, but instead of focused on here's the brand I bought, but you can buy these 30 other kinds.
It's here's the brand I bought, it's the same brand you've seen for the last 8 years on my website, but I really liked because not only do they have really chic styles, they're also working to be a more sustainable company or something like that. So part of it is making long lasting choices and part of it's just simple everyday things of switching to reusable rather than disposable.
So I actually. Um, reusable coffee mugs. Um, I walk normally or under non-shelter-in-place circumstances. I walk to a coffee shop every afternoon and get coffee. I take my reusable cup and it started in grad school when I had no money and I wanted to save 10 cents on every coffee that I did. Um, so for, for not necessarily sustainable reasons, that's just been a long-standing thing.
So anyway, those are the kinds of things and sort of my approach to sustainability. And also it's a, it's a one decision at a time. And because I've almost lost my mind trying to do all the things at once. And I'm like, I can't. So anyways, that's sort of my take on sustainability in a, more of a happy direction or a positive direction.
And then as I kind of started, or I kind of alluded to bringing that in, I talk about sustainability while I'm talking about clothes, while I'm talking about food, while I'm talking about travel. And nope, actually nobody's been upset about it. Some people are really digging it. I think it's funny.
I think there was like a, a Brita TV, commercial. I hope it's Brita anyway. And they showed a woman who had a reusable bag over her shoulder that was like, I hate plastic or save the oceans. And then she was drinking a single use plastic bottles. And I honestly think that's where so many of us are. We care about the environment we want to make an impact, but you don't know where to start and it seems very overwhelming.
And so if you just use fewer paper towels, great. You're being more sustainable. Good job you. Like let's reconnect in a month and we'll add something else. Oh.
Jason: I like that because it is so there's so much out there and so much information and just it's as someone that is generally interested in being more sustainable.
Like if I had a simple checklist of like, here's some things you can do without do, you know, much effort without losing your mind. I would do every one of them, but I just, I've never heard that. So I really like your approach to kind of 1 step at a time. And whatever small step you're doing is better than not doing it, so just keep compounding it.
Luci: Yeah. I equate it also to losing weight. So when I was in grad school, I actually lost about 40 pounds. Some of that was healthy, some of it was stress induced for sure. But what I did and what made really it, a longstanding, healthy lifestyle that I developed is that I had no idea what I was doing.
And each day, or each week I just learned something new to add. And I was like, Oh, proteins. Cool. And then I found myself eating three slices of cheese and peanut butter all day long. And I was like, Oh, there's a thing called fat. Okay. You know, you just. True story. I was eating muenster with peanut butter in the middle of it. It tastes good.
But it's the same thing. It little steps at a time. And just like blogging. I mean, getting kind of back to this whole thing, you didn't learn how to blog in a day. It took years to start building all the pieces that now are so second nature.
Jason: Yeah. I have a blog post and a podcast episode called Stop Learning and that's because a lot of people will say like, I need, I want to put out a lead magnet. And then they spend the next 3 months researching lead magnets and what goes into it and the perfect lead magnet and different types of them and what goes into it. And it's like, that's three months that you've wasted that you could have had a bad lead magnet that would have been driving, you know, signups versus nothing.
And you're never going to learn how to do a lot of this stuff, unless you do it. You can't, you can't learn to cook just by reading a cookbook and never turning on a stove.
Luci: Yup. Yeah, I completely agree.
Jason: So you mentioned going to the coffee shop every day and in your bio and intro, we talk about your love of coffee. What, what are you drinking right now or not this second but.
Luci: Water at the moment. Um, so I have been uh, an iced coffee lover since the beginning. I actually hated hot coffee. I could never drink it. And then, uh, yeah, this is my whole silliness a few years ago. I can tell you when it was, it was in 2016. Uh, we went to London. It was just after my third, 6 months after my dad had passed away. So it was just my husband and my mom and I, and we rented an Airbnb and they had a French press. And we went to Monmouth Coffee, which is a really, really great coffee roastery. Is that a word? It's a word. We'll just say it's a word. Yeah, thanks.
I've got the beans and my husband started making French press every morning. And I was like, well, I mean, it's not iced, but when you, you travel internationally, Oh Lord help you, don't ask for iced coffee. I learned that it's very quick. So that's fine. And I was like, gosh, this is really good. So then we came home and he would occasionally make French press.
It started to remind me of being in London and then I'm such a travel person. So the following spring, I took a trip to Zimbabwe with my mom and my brother. My dad had lived there for many, many years and actually both of my brothers were born there. When we went to go see this great place that he loved, that we never went back to when he was alive. And while we were there, you were only drinking coffee.
I mean, it, it took, I never in Zimbabwe I never had a fancy coffee. It was always it's just coffee. And we were at the Victoria Falls Hotel having breakfast before the sun came up. And I'm drinking the coffee they brought to the table and I can hear Victoria Falls in the distance. And, uh, it was just like this magic happened. And so I just started to correlate drinking hot coffee with these just wonderful travel memories.
So that kind of got me into like, okay, maybe hot coffee is not the worst thing in the world. Um, so, so that's really what got into it. And then once we had our little guy, my husband started making coffee, my husband honestly fuels my coffee problem. I mean, I drink more than he does, but he makes it all. So we were at home a lot more. He started making French press a lot more. And so now he makes us French press every morning. So for the most part, I'm drinking French press. We have an espresso that is broken. It spits coffee out the back. It's so embarrassing, I don't know why I'm telling you. Not embarrassing, it's just dumb. We hold a towel to the back of it, so we don't have to clean it up.
And then we are trying to like shop local as much as we can. So 1 to 2 times a week, we'll go get coffee. That was such a long answer that I'm sure you are not.
Jason: That's perfect!
Jason: That's one of the things that I love about food and being a food blogger is that yeah, you can, you can have something that might taste better than something else, but that the thing that doesn't taste quite as good can remind you of the falls or can remind you of a date or just all these myriad of emotions and that just elevates that dish. And that's.
A lot of people, you know, give food bloggers a hard time about having long intros to their recipes. And even though it's all Google's fault that we have to put these, you know, big head notes, but yeah. One of the things I like about that is that that does set the stage for the recipe, that if you're sharing a recipe that was your grandmother's or that you first had at a small cafe in France, like that's part of in my mind, what makes the recipe, you know, taste the way that it does to you and sharing that with the readers. I think it's a good way to transmit that information is actually really valuable to a lot of people.
Luci: Yeah, I agree. And you know, some people just want a recipe. They know what they're looking for. They don't care about your story with it. They only care about getting the recipe to fulfill their story. Awesome. That's really great.
But you know, if I can convince you to roast radishes, because I had them for this reason, it was so random and they ended up being super delicious, which they are. You should try roasting radishes then that's great. I mean, that's why people follow me or follow you or follow whoever is they liked your taste palette. They like how you discover food and what you want to do with it.
Jason: Yeah. One of the things I've talked about lately with a few of the bloggers that have been on is the difference between kind of posts that are going to be bringing people in. And that might be someone that wants a chicken parmigiana recipe, so they searched chicken parm and whatever.
The top 2 are, 3, they look at and they choose the one that looks best and they make that and they never come back. And that kind of type of traffic can be valuable, especially with ads and sponsored posts and all the other stuff. It's not to disparage that. But to me, that's a very different audience than the type of people that are going to sign up for your newsletter and the type of people that read multiple posts of yours and recipes over time.
And those are the ones that are going to read you, like in your case because of your travel experiences and your specific spin on it. They're not interested in you know, a piece of fashion advice, they're interested in your fashion advice. Even if they can get that same, you know, same idea from other places, they want to know exactly what your take is on it.
Luci: Absolutely. And there are a lot of food bloggers who I love and I follow, I probably never made a recipe of theirs, but I just love reading about them talking about food. Um, David Lebovitz is like the oh, I love reading his stuff. I honestly don't know if I've made a recipe. I mean, I probably have. But he just talks about food in a way that I'm like, yeah, I'll have one of everything. Yeah. Even if I never would.
Jason: Yeah, in my blog, I write a lot about modernist cooking and taking really high-end fancy recipes and translating them to home kitchens. So you can do it really easily and look really fancy to your friends with no additional effort basically. And so I've read the Alinea Cookbook from cover to cover and some of these other three-star Michelin high-end restaurant cookbooks. And I can count on probably one hand, the number of recipes I've made from them, but I love reading through them and use them for inspiration and other stuff.
But it's yeah, I'm not going to go to Thomas Keller if I want to know how to roast a chicken because it's going to be a 4-day process. Yeah. I'm going to go to Pinch of Yum and they'll tell me the quickest way to do a really tasty one with a lot of good flavors.
Luci: And step by step photos. It'll be phenomenal.
Yeah, totally agree. I also think, I don't know if you have this too, but I like cannot follow a recipe exactly. I have to change something and not because I'm like, Oh, your recipe is not good. I just see something I'm like, Oh, I want this instead or, Oh, this is what I have. So that'll be fine or whatever it is. And I, I just, I always make fun of myself. I'm like, I can't follow a recipe. And there are people who like, cannot stray from a recipe. My husband is that way, he cannot stray from how it is written. And I, I like can't fit in the box. So we, we all just have a different approach to food. And great. I love it.
Jason: Yeah. Foods. Food is wonderful. I'm a big fan.
Luci: Yeah. Oh, totally.
Jason: One thing I wanted to touch on is you talked about, you know, that you had a helper, uh, do you know, 10 to 15 hours a week, and I know that you also have a photographer because she was the one that introduced us. When did you, when did you kind of know when you needed to start bringing on help to handle some of your work and how did you decide what work to outsource?
Luci: So the food one, I, I have a long love cooking, making food, things like that. And I think I've now figured out kind of what happened because all of a sudden, 3 years ago, I hated making up recipes. I hated shooting the photos. I just was not there. And if you were to look at my traffic, like yes, I'm lifestyle, but because of Google and Pinterest food is by far in a way, the thing that brings me the most traffic, I will introduce me to the most followers.
So it was never really an option for me to just drop food. And I liked talking about food a lot. Um, so what happened that year is that my husband actually ended up getting, um, really pretty sick. And by the end of it, we discovered that low FODMAP diet. Is is the way to keep him happy and healthy. If you know anything about the low-FODMAP diet, it is uniquely restrictive.
So there's really no one group of food that's completely out, but there's a lot of individual ingredients within them all that are out. A lot of grains are out. Beans are out. A lot of vegetables are out and a number of fruits are out. You look at my website, there are a lot of grains with veggies. I like beans.
And so all of this suddenly just to keep, keep us fed and him alive, frankly, it became a very restrictive process. And so food became function in our household. I couldn't make up a dish to shoot photos of and then we'd eat it. If I made a dish, I had to be eating it. And obviously it was only going to be eating it at lunchtime because at dinner we wouldn't be having that together. And then I was just making extra food and throwing it away and I hate throwing food the way it is.
So anyway, my creative process just died. It has since come back. We've been on the diet long enough now, but. I'm in the groove of things and it's really great. But so it was in that time that I started wondering maybe, maybe somebody else should handle the food thing.
So I asked a few friends, actually. I mean, I'm in the food blogger world. So friends, what do you charge for these kinds of things? And I had a few friends come back with numbers and I was like, I laughed out loud. I was like, okay. No. I mean, maybe for other people, maybe for brands, I'm, I'm nowhere near that.
And Lori was very kind, she said, you know, what's your budget? What are you working with? And then we found a great meeting ground for the 2 of us. Um, I think Lori likes working with me because even when I've had, I have suggestions and they're loose suggestions about stuff, I want her to get creative and do her own thing. I mean, she's the one who's actually there with the ingredients in the dish. That's going to be better than me a couple of hundred miles away on my phone being like, no, add dill. I don't want to feel that much actually. But anyway, so I let her do that and she knows my style. And so she did it. I'm also, especially after my son was born, I was so thankful to have somebody helping me create content.
I might not know. So since, um, since he was born, I switched to 3 posts per week. I might not know what I'm doing 2 of those days, but 1 of those days I have a recipe already made and the photos are there, half the work is done. I mean, and so it really, because of Lori's work with doing the recipe and doing the the photos every week I had something already figured out.
And so then in the process of like getting back into writing and getting that post already for scheduling to be published, I'd be like, Oh, maybe on Monday, I should write about this. And so that really helped.
And then my other assistant,
Jason: And just so people know that's Lori Rice. That's her website. You can check her out on the podcast when I interviewed her about How to Price Client Work and doing Food Photography. She also does a lot of work now with classes that you can promote to brands that are trying to develop their own style but can't quite afford a professional photographer. They're shooting in-house and they're not doing a great job, if you know brands like that, hook them up with Lori because she does a great job. And then when those photos make them enough money, they'll want to hire a photographer, maybe they'll come back to you because you gave them the original hookup.
Luci: Absolutely. I can sing Lori's praises, especially with her photography and her help with photography. Just so wonderful what she's trying to do and doing very well. So yeah, that's Lori.
Um, and then my other assistant is only about 10 to 15 hours a month, even. It's not even that much. The opportunity came up. I was teaching at the Fashion Institute in downtown Los Angeles. I was probably my second year of teaching and I ran into this student in my class and I just really connected with her, in a way that I don't normally connect with a lot of 18-year-old because we're just in different places.
I mean, at the time I was what, like 30, married, trying to save up for a house, probably going to have kids. And the 18-year-olds are just not there obviously. I wasn't there at 18. So I mean that with no disrespect, just different places. So I had one student and she just tried really hard and when she didn't get something and I mean, like barely didn't get it, she was there after class. Like what, what did I not get? In the same way that I used to be.
So I waited until the obligatory, like the class was over, we'd done the grades. I knew I wasn't going to have her again as a student. And I emailed her and I said, Hey, you ever are interested in interning let me know. And she was thankfully.
So at first she was an intern through FIDM. And then we just sort of kept on.
Jason: What's FIDM?
Luci: The Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising. I could never get all the prepositions in the name right so FIDM. So I have, uh, thankfully kept her, she's still in college, so the 10 to 15 hours and my random texts of like, Oh, can you do this for me?
It has worked out very well. And she's very patient and she's also really wonderful at no, I don't, I don't know how to do that I'll find out. Because I don't have time to figure it out anymore, sadly. So those are the two people helped me externally. Yeah. I'm still kind of the person pulling it all together, but yeah.
Yeah. It's, it's been really good. I think sometimes when, when you start thinking, Oh, I need help. You think I have to pay someone a full-time gig or to find someone and it's going to be so expensive or whatever, um, or all I'm going to have to micromanage them. You know, there's a lot of people out there who need to be micromanaged. There are also a lot of wonderful, wonderful people who do not. So find the people who do not, make sure their budget and your budget line up. And be honest, I only have X amount of dollars per month. What can you offer for that? You know, instead of going in and finding out what they'll charge, understand where you're at first, um, and then, you know, do a little bit of research.
Jason: I think that's great. It's something that a lot of food bloggers. There's aspects of food, blogging that, or blogging in general that I think every blogger doesn't like, and it's hard to figure out when should you hire, bring someone else on to do that. And when do you just kind of need to do it yourself?
Have you found yourself now that you have people that are good, that you're pushing more work towards them? Or are you still just powering through a lot of the stuff?
Luci: My relationship with Lori has stayed pretty consistent the entire time. The work that I pass off to my assistant has changed over time. Part of it is stuff I know I need to have done. And so I pass it on to her. And then some of it is maybe experimental, like, Hey, I think I want to try posting this kind of a graphic on stories. Can you do that? Can you come up with some pins stuff, like that. I'm trying to find more things that I can pass off to her.
I think one of the interesting things. Again, I'm not trying to be disrespectful in any way to the age, but because she's young and because she's still in college, she's still in a place where she's told what to do and she does exactly that, which is great. So anything that requires, you know, maybe going beyond the next step from a business perspective, that's all stuff I have to keep here.
Because she's not there yet. And I hope that as she and I grow together, I can maybe impart some of that. And I'm part like, okay, well, let's start thinking about the next step, doing things like that. But that's stuff that I've definitely had to keep, um, keep here and the business focus. So she's good at graphic design, at creativity and all the things that I'm not. I have no patience for figuring out details. I know terrible. Um, she's so good at it. So good. She'll give me 16 templates in like an hour. And I'm like, Oh, I couldn't have come up with one crappy one and that amount of time.
So I think if you have somebody working for you understand where their strengths are, understand where you can potentially stretch them and understand where they're not at right now. That's not a bad thing just is what it is.
Jason: I think that's really important that you need to understand what they're good at and try to make sure that that's the type of work you're giving them and not expecting them to do something that they're not good at any more than you'd want me to do something. There's a lot of things I'm horrible at that you don't want me being in charge of.
Luci: Oh, same. Yeah. Yes. Oh, I'll be the first person to tell you all the things I'm terrible at. Absolutely.
Jason: I'm sure a lot of people listening are going to have questions for you. You know, they might need fashion advice or coffee advice. So the best place to reach you is at LucisMorsels.com or on Instagram and Pinterest under Luci's Morsels. Is that correct?
Jason: Well, I really appreciate you coming on talking some about the struggles you went through, and I think a lot of your advice will help hopefully my listeners move forward once we have the opportunity to start moving forward again. So I really appreciate you coming on today.
Luci: Yeah, it's wonderful. Thank you so much for having me.
This has been Makin' Bacon. I'm Jason Logsdon. We're all about helping you serve your fans, grow your income and get the most out of your blog till next time.