things-i've-learned-first-two-years-blogging

Hey there, friends!

We’ve been plugging along here on the blog for almost two years (!!) already. I’ve been having an absolute blast sharing my love for all things butter and sugar {and let’s not forget chocolate!} with each and every one of you. It’s not always cupcakes and sprinkles around here but I wouldn’t trade a single dirty dish for a minute of it. Seven hundred and thirty days is a long time to do any one thing and I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two since being a newbie in the food blogging scene just two short years ago. We all start somewhere and I’m not kidding when I say I had literally no clue what I was doing when I started Browned Butter Blondie. I just loved baking, had a thing for photography and liked to share recipes with like minded bakers.

Fast forward two years and this little corner of the internet has proved to be a TON of work, a LOT of stress, and the most rewarding experience ever – all rolled into one. Read on for a little reflection on the things I’ve learned in my first two years of blogging.

THERE IS NO ROADMAP TO SUCCESS

One thing I’ve learned very quickly in this industry is that there is no one clear path to success. The potential for success in the food blogging world is limitless and the pathways to get there are endless. There are avenues to professional achievement through recipe development, food photography, writing, content creation, sponsored work, cookbooks, workshops, mentorships, advertising….the list goes on and on. And with so many platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, webinars, and blogs, there are a myriad of ways to get your content out into the world. Everyone has a different definition of success and each one of us measures our own success in a unique way. And let’s all remember that one person’s success does not take away from our own. Cheer others on, celebrate their good news, share the work of those you admire, and be the first to congratulate your peers on their big {and little} wins. And don’t be afraid to be your own cheerleader sometimes too! I have a favorite quote that reads “Her win does not mean you lose. Just clap for her. You aren’t even in the same race.” There is more than enough room for all of us in the space and when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

I’ll be the first to say this lesson took me longer to learn that I’d like to admit. I’m an overachiever through and through and I often work too hard at things which leaves me on the verge of burn-out all too often. During the first year of running my blog, it was all about the hustle. I was recipe testing into the wee hours of the morning, writing blog posts at midnight {hello typos!} and spending ten-plus hours a day working on the weekends. I had big goals and major plans for my new blog and I thought that more time equaled bigger results. But as time wore on and year one turned into year two, I realized how to work smarter, not harder. I checked insights, studied results, and analyzed metrics and soon realized that quality mattered far more than quantity. I’m still hustling, but at a slightly slower, more manageable pace which is better for my well-being. Setting time limits on work, taking on tasks in batches, and recycling old content to work for me are some of the biggest changes I made in my second year of blogging that really had an impact on how I run my business.

DON’T MAKE EXCUSES

We all know the unknown can be a scary thing, but if there is one thing I’ve learned in the past two years of running a food blog is that you HAVE to take chances. Playing it safe just doesn’t lead to results in the long run. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone is terrifying but it can also be incredibly rewarding. In my first year of business I doubted my photography skills and spent so much time worrying that I would fail at anything new that I never even bothered to try. But this past year I’ve finally started to feel as though I have defined my style, found my voice, and I now feel more comfortable taking risks even when I’m struggling with self-doubt. Without the guts to step outside of my comfort zone I would never have hosted a baking workshop, developed a recipe for a magazine, or shot my very first recipe video for a brand. If I told myself I can only shoot in a light and bright style, I would never have posted my first dark and moody image to Instagram last month. My best advice…say yes to every opportunity for learning and growth that comes your way. If you don’t know how, find out. Confused about something? Figure it out. Don’t have all the right answers?? Ask questions. You know how the saying goes…if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. 

DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY

The bio on my media kit describes Browned Butter Blondie as a recipe developer, food photographer, content creator and influencer. I hope to one day add to that list – cookbook author, business coach, and maybe even public speaker. {I’m thinking now seems as good a time as any to put that out into the universe.} It all goes back to the roadmap to success. There are dozens of ways to get to your own personal definition of success and if you ask me, having options is always a good idea. Stepping outside of your box and trying on new hats is a great way to find out what inspires you, what drives you, what you’re best at. It’s never too late to pivot. In fact, some would say if you aren’t pivoting, you aren’t challenging yourself. So pivot. Try something new. Revisit something old. It’s how we find what works.

DELEGATE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

A friend of mine who knows my control freak tendencies all too well once told me, “you can do it all, just not all at the same time”. As my business grows I’m keeping this motto front of mind. There are so many tasks involved in running a food blog that it can almost be impossible to master them all. Learning to invest in your business might take you out of your comfort zone at first but it can pay off big time. This last year I took a leap and hired a virtual assistant to help with all things Pinterest and an occasional assistant to help with photo editing. Delegating these jobs to other experts has allowed me more time to focus on the things I love – creating quality content and collaborating with brands. Hiring help to run my blog also allows me to stick to a more regular schedule and not be tempted to work around the clock. The to-do list is long and it’s nice to have some help checking things off the list. Now if only I could find myself a dish fairy for all those dirty dishes!

If you made it to the end of his post, let me just say a BIG thank you! Thanks for being here, for following along with the blog, for making my recipes and telling a friend. I am so grateful for your encouragement and support these past two years. I do it all for you and our shared love for all things sweet. I appreciate each and every one of you and I cannot wait to see what this next year brings for Browned Butter Blondie!

XO

 

For more food blogging resources, check out these posts:

5-tips-to-start-food-blog

Five Tips for Beginning Food Photographers

  • Reply
    Nicole koval
    February 19, 2020 at 2:17 am

    Heather thank you such much for sharing your process and sharing vulnerability in your post , I’m your Neihbor Rancho Santa and I’m a private chef holistic nutritionist , thank you as I’m attempting the food blogging it can be overwhelming with the long tasks ahead ( I agree room for us all , thank you sharing a little piece of your success with us Starting our in blog scene

    Thank you Nicole

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      February 22, 2020 at 7:03 pm

      Hi neighbor!! I’m so happy you found the post helpful. Best of luck with your new blogging adventure!

  • Reply
    Nathan
    February 18, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    The part about working smarter not harder is definitely good advice. Taking advantage of analytics and insights can help increase productivity by so much! Thanks for sharing this article.

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      February 22, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      That’s so true! Thanks for reading!!

  • Reply
    Britt
    February 18, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Wow you’ve made incredible progress for only two years. Congratulations! I dropped my blog when it felt like too much work for too little reward. It’s inspiring to see your success.

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      February 22, 2020 at 7:07 pm

      Thank you so much Britt! It is a LOT of work as you already know and it takes time to see all of that hard work pay off. I hope you’ll think about starting up your blog again!

  • Reply
    Anita
    February 18, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    I love this Heather! So many good nuggets of wisdom!! You should be very proud of your hard work and successes! Here’s to many more years!!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      February 18, 2020 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks so much Anita for your kind words!!

Leave a Reply