I talk to many people who think you require some perfect set of skills to be a successful food blogger. Whether that is professional training as a chef, a lifetime of cooking in the kitchen, or a magnetic personality that draws people in. I think it can be valuable to share a little bit about myself, which should give you hope that if you put the time in, anyone can make money as a food blogger.
I graduated from college with a degree in Psychology at the University of Utah. Go Utes! I then followed a very atypical post-psychology path and got jobs doing programming and web development, mainly with a focus on fantasy sports. I only seriously started cooking about 14 years ago, just a few years before I started blogging. So basically the training and background you would assume you would need to be a successful food blogger, right?
A little over 12 years ago I started blogging in my spare time and after a year or two I was making some money, but certainly not enough to live off of. I was experimenting with AdSense, paid ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, and all that fun stuff we all enjoy so much. Then in 2009 I decided to try something a little different and see if I could move beyond ads, and focus on my readers.
So I published a cookbook, Cooking Sous Vide. It was 74 pages, black and white with 20 photos, 12 of which were stock photos, and was priced at $10. It's not exactly a coffee table cookbook that your friends will "ooh" and "ahh" over. At the time, the only other cookbook was Thomas Keller's Under Pressure Cookbook, a $50 glossy tome full of some of the best recipes in the world. I almost didn't publish mine because I was so worried what people would think.
It came out at the end of November and in December it made $3,000, the most I had made in any month that year, by far. I also got amazing feedback from my readers, telling me this was exactly what they needed. Because of that success, I started to really look at how I could better serve my fans, instead of only focusing on working with external companies.
So over the next decade I released another 13 cookbooks. I also converted them all into ebooks, releasing them on Kindle, iTunes, and Nook, as well as selling PDFs directly from my website. I also began wholesaling my books, and licensing my content to equipment manufacturers and publishers.
I then looked at expanding into areas many food bloggers don't go. I released a total of 20 smartphone apps, a Sous Vide Timing Ruler, several lines of branded shirts and swag, several video courses and email courses, a Sous Vide Drying Cloth, and a patronage campaign. I'm also throwing a huge sous vide conference.
As you can see, food blogging isn't a quick and easy way to fame and fortune. It took me 3 years to make enough to live off of and 6 years of hard work to finally turn it into a full time job.
But if a psychology graduate with minimal cooking experience and an expertise in fantasy sports can create a successful food blog, what's holding you back?
If you work hard, you WILL be successful, regardless of your background.
How can you serve your fans better? Let me know in the comments below.