Hiya! Bjork here checking in for Pinch of Yum’s monthly traffic and income report.
The quick back story with these reports: After a year and a half of blogging, we decided to see if it was possible to build the blog into a business. We documented the journey publicly with these monthly reports, starting with this post in September of 2011.
We’ve been doing these reports for over four years (you can see all 50+ of those posts here), and Lindsay has been publishing posts to Pinch of Yum for almost six years (resulting in 800+ posts).
If we were to tell you the complete story of Pinch of Yum, it would be a pretty boring. The main plot would consist of us taking slow, steady, but persistent steps forward. Day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year.
Our philosophy for building a business is pretty simple. We like to hit singles instead of home runs and focus on the long-term over the short-term. We believe that people overestimate what they can do in a year but underestimate what they can do in a decade. We believe that people are more capable than they think they are and that courage, dedication, and commitment to improvement are more valuable than a high IQ.
Our hope with these reports is that they encourage you to take consistent, daily action on the goals that you’re hoping to achieve, whether that be growing closer with your family, improving your health, starting a non-profit, or building a business.
A few steps, taken every day, really add up over a long period of time.
Let’s take a look at the numbers for November.
A quick note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products listed below are products and services we’ve used before. If you have any questions about any of the income or expenses you can leave a comment and I’ll do my best to reply.
- Sponsored Content – $17,950
- AdThrive – $12,743.77
- Bluehost – $6,440 –> this income comes from a page where we show people how to start a food blog in three easy steps.
- Swoop – $5,435.68
- sovrn – $4,173.39
- Tasty Food Photography – $3,185.14
- Federated Media – $2,944.62
- Yellow Hammer Media – $2,942.82
- Gourmet Ads – $2,226.30
- Amazon Associates – $2,040.54
- Food Innovation Group – $1,880.86
- Genesis Theme – $949.50
- How to Monetize Your Food Blog eBook – $610.00
- Elegant Themes – $89.00
- Go Sugar Free Course – $74.75
- AWeber – $14.40
- Studio Related Expenses – $3,478.14
- Support Staff – $1,941.00
- ActiveCampaign – $813.00
- Amazon S3 and Cloudfront – $799.80
- Food Expenses – $784.74
- eBook Affiliates – $741.27
- Media Temple (Hosting) – $429.00
- PayPal Transaction Percentage – $404.70
- Workshop Expenses – $365.00
- Travel – $312.85
- Facebook Advertising – $89.99
- LeadPages – $67.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $53.55
- Zapier – $50.00
- PayPal Website Payments Pro – $30.00
- Shoeboxed – $29.95
- E-Junkie – $28.00
- QuickBooks – $26.95
- SumoMe – $20.00
- VaultPress – $20.00
- HelloBar – $15.00
- Apps – $13.69
- Buffer – $10.00
- Backupify – $9.00
Hiring a Remote Office Manager
Some of you might have noticed yesterday’s post announcing that we’re hiring a remote office manager. In the past we’ve worked with friends, family, and people we’ve connected with offline, but this is the first time we’ve done an official announcement and application process for Pinch of Yum.
The remote office manager is the first step that we are taking towards distributing some of the workload that comes with running Pinch of Yum.
We’re assuming that the main source of applications will come from people finding out about it on the blog, including yesterday’s post, today’s mention in the income report, and a possible reminder in upcoming posts on Pinch of Yum (depending on how many applications we receive).
The general process looks like this:
- Create a detailed outline of potential roles for the position that we can use to create relevant application questions.
- Build out the application on TypeForm.
- Post an announcement about the position on Pinch of Yum.
- Post a few reminders about the job opening (like in this post and on a few upcoming POY posts).
- Collect and sort through applications daily.
- Follow up with 2nd round interviews and/or questions.
- Offer a candidate the position.
In the first 24 hours we had over 150 applications. Every day, Lindsay has been looking through applications one at a time, taking detailed notes and keeping track of who she wants to follow up with. It’ll be tough to pick just one person!
The position title is Remote Office Manager. It could probably be called Remote “Office” Manager, as the office the person will be managing is virtual. This means the ability to communicate via written word is extremely important, as almost all of the conversations and work will be via email/Slack/text. Hence the reason why the application has so many questions that require a written response.
As I mentioned before, the growth of Pinch of Yum has been slow and steady over the years, but this is an area where we probably should have moved more quickly (see Time and Money section towards the end of this post).
Bringing on capable team members to help with all of the day-to-day stuff that comes up will allow us to continue focusing on a high level or personality-related tasks, like writing blog posts, creating new products, or planning out the future of Pinch of Yum.
As you know, it’s really easy to get caught in the nitty-gritty details of blogging, and having someone help take on some of those tasks will be a huge win for team POY.
Have you ever hired for your blog or business? What are some of the things you learned in the process?
Workshops and the Cost of Something New
If you’ve been following along with Pinch of Yum, you might have noticed that Lindsay is starting to do food photography workshops. One of the decisions we had to make with Lindsay doing these live events was whether we’d rent a space each time or set up a permanent studio where we would host them.
We opted for a permanent studio space, which will be a big win in the long run in exchange for lots of work (and more expenses) in the short-run.
This initial high-work-high-cost-low-pay stage is familiar territory.
Some other examples:
The First 2 Years: Pinch of Yum
Lindsay started Pinch of Yum in April of 2010 and worked on it during early mornings, lunch breaks, evenings, and weekends. It took two years before the site started to create a decent amount of revenue (let alone profit). We don’t have expense totals from those first couple years, so I made an educated guess.
April 2010 – April 2012
- Total Revenue: $4,720.18
- Total Expenses (educated guess): $3,000.00
- Total Profit: $1,720.18
- Educated Guess of Time Worked (Lindsay): 20 hours/week
- Hourly Rate: $0.83
The First 2 Years: Food Blogger Pro
We announced Food Blogger Pro in November of 2012 and collected pre-order sign-ups, so I consider November of 2012 the official launch of Food Blogger Pro (even though it didn’t open until February 1st, 2013). From that point on I shifted the majority of my time and energy into building Food Blogger Pro, which you’ll see in the “time worked” category below.
November 2012 – November 2014
- Total Revenue: $102,926.83
- Total Expenses (educated guess): $59,156.09
- Total Profit: $43,770.74
- Educated Guess of Time Worked (Bjork): 35 hours/week
- Hourly Rate: $12.03
The First 2 Years: Workshops
It’s hard to say for sure what the first two years of workshops will look like when it comes to time and money spent since Lindsay has only been doing this since September, but if you look at this month’s and last month’s expenses you’ll see that studio or workshop related expenses are high on the list. So is the amount of time invested, as we’ve spent lots of evenings and weekends at the studio getting things into place.
- Total Revenue: $15,066
- Total Expenses (educated guess): $12,176
- Total Profit: $2890
- Educated Guess of Time Worked (Lindsay): 240 hours total (for 3 2-day workshops and setup of new space)
- Hourly Rate: $12.04
So what’s the point?
So what’s the point of starting a business if you’re only going to make $0.83/hour, or, if you’re lucky, $12.04/hour, in the first few years?
A few thoughts on that:
- The obvious main point with this is that the first few years of low-pay work are laying the foundation for which you can build a successful blog or business. The first two years is like rolling a snowball down the hill. It starts small and requires you to help push it along, but eventually, it picks up speed and grows to a larger size. You can see an example of that in these reports over the years.
- It’s also important to note that there are lots of people that are able to scale something much quicker than we have. Instead of taking two years to start creating a livable income it takes six months or a year. It’s not common, but it happens.
- What if it doesn’t grow? What if it stagnates and stays the same size? That’s a real possibility, and it’s one of the most important reasons that you should seek to work on something you enjoy working on. If you try and build something that doesn’t grow, but you enjoyed the process of building it, then the time you’ve spent working on it isn’t in vain. Important Note: This doesn’t mean it should feel easy. Easy is different than enjoyable.
Time and Money
When you’re starting something new you can spend two resources to build it: time and money. When we first started Pinch of Yum, we were able to spend our time since we had more free time (and not as much money) to spend on building something.
As we’ve built up the business over the past few years, our time resource has dwindled, which means that if we’re going to start something new, we need to spend money to get it up and running.
There’s a balance that needs to kept between how you spend your time and how you spend your money when building your business, and that balance needs to be readjusted periodically. Have you shifted your time/money spending balance lately? Do you need to be spending more of your time and less of your money? Or have you grown your blog or business to the point where you need to start putting some of the earnings back into it in order to regain and refocus some of your time?
We’ve had some awesome guests on the Food Blogger Pro podcast lately. I wanted to loop you in on the most recent four episodes so you don’t miss them.
#22: Sponsored Content from a Brand’s Perspective with Zach Tackett from DeLallo
#23: Building a Team for your Online Business with Melissa Lanz from The Fresh 20
#24: How to Find Balance in Blogging with Ali Ebright from Gimme Some Oven
#25: How to Connect with Influencers with John Corcoran from Smart Business Revolution
Because of you
Lindsay and I fully realize that it’s because you – the readers, commenters, silent observers, and share-with-your-friend-ers – that Pinch of Yum is what it is today.
Thank you. We so so so appreciate you.
Every month we donate a portion of this blog income to the Children’s Shelter of Cebu, an orphanage in Cebu City, Philippines that we know and love.
This month we’re supporting CSC by donating to help support their Christmas Outreach Party. If you’re interested in learning more about CSC (or what the Christmas Outreach Party is) you can check out CSC’s special projects page.