Have you been thinking about starting a blog and selling products? If so, you’ll want to listen to this episode where we’re talking about how to explode your niche blog and turn it into a real business.
My guest on today’s podcast is Suzy Karadsheh. Suzy and her husband have built their site, The Mediterranean Dish, into a thriving online food blog and business. And because it’s all about Mediterranean flavors, their blog is what I would consider a niche food blog.
Suzy started the blog as a hobby when she began staying at home with her young child.
She chose the niche of Mediterranean food because she grew up and lived on the Mediterranean and was familiar with cooking in that style.
Monetizing a Niche Food Blog
The hobby blog that Suzy started in 2014 has turned into a profitable business, and Suzy’s husband recently left his job as an insurance executive to join the business full-time.
It was in 2016 that Suzy realized that blogging could be a source of income for her. She began to research blogging as a business and she joined a few blogging groups to understand how to turn her hobby into something more.
Today, Suzy and her husband sell their own private label ingredients such as spices, oils, etc., that are used in the dishes she shares.
Sponsored campaigns and ads are additional streams of income for the blog.
Learning How to Sell Food Products
As Suzy has developed the site’s product sales, she has learned a lot about inventory, shipping costs, and customer satisfaction.
Because the products they sell are produced by small, family-owned businesses, Suzy and her husband aren’t able to stock thousands of, say, bottles of olive oil or jars of spices. Their inventory is smaller and not yet handled by a third-party company.
Shipping costs are kept low and packages are typically received by customers in just a couple of days after ordering.
Selling food products is a tricky business to learn, as you don’t want to stock up on too much inventory until you can see how much you are going to be able to sell.
And because Suzy wants to sell the freshest ingredients possible, she doesn’t buy in huge amounts upfront.
This side of the business continues to grow though, and as it does, Suzy is growing with it and making changes that make her products available to more customers.
Marketing Food Products Through Email
We all know how crucial an active and engaged email list is for online business, and it is no different for a niche food blog.
Suzy currently has around 80K people on her email list. She cleans her list regularly, so those people are her most engaged audience. And those people bring the greatest returns.
When you have a super-engaged audience and you reach out to them with products that fit their life and solve their problems, that’s where your biggest sales come from.
Suzy emails her list 2-3 times a week, offering recipes and the ingredients to make them.
Her goal is to serve her audience, not just sell to them. And it shows in her success.
Her audience enjoys the free content that Suzy creates, and is eager to support her by purchasing the products she sells.
Creating Content for a Food Blog
I was curious about how many people are helping Suzy with content creation since she had told me that her husband is mainly in charge of running the storefront.
She does have someone who manages her Pinterest account and a mom friend who helps with some Pinterest and Facebook content. But Suzy manages her IG alone.
She has great IG story engagement but admits to sometimes simply forgetting to do them. (Who can identify? I can!)
The thing that blew my mind was when Suzy shared with me the amount of content she is currently creating for the blog every week. She single-handedly creates 3-4 recipes per week.
And of those, Suzy does 100% of the recipe development, creation, photography, and writing.
*Suzy shared in the episode her process of creating 5-8 videos per month of recipe creation, so be sure to listen in to hear the insane amount of work involved in that kind of content creation.
How to Deal with Blogger Burnout
I didn’t have to chat with Suzy for very long to wonder if she ever experiences burnout.
She maintains a grueling schedule that not many of us could handle without struggling with burnout. And she was very transparent with me that she deals with burnout on a regular basis.
When asked how she deals with it, she said, “I cry and I play with my puppy.”
In all seriousness though, Suzy arranges her schedule so that after an especially grueling day or week, she has a day off.
Her video days are the busiest for her business, so she is sure to take a day off after a day on camera.
I’m curious, do you struggle with burnout? If so, I would love for you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how you deal with it.
How Building an Online Business Affects a Family
Because my husband and I work together in all of our businesses (Catch My Party, MiloTree, our BlogStart service, and our Entrepreneur Coaching group), I know what it’s like to have the business be a topic of conversation all the time.
It can be difficult to remember that the dinner table might not be the best place for discussing business, especially if you have children.
Our daughter is quick to remind us if we get too far into business discussions at dinner, and Suzy shared that her older daughter does the same thing.
We also have to remember that we are husband and wife before we are business partners, and sometimes we need to spend time together not talking about business stuff.
Sometimes we just need to laugh at a show on Netflix and enjoy each other’s company.
How to Sell Products Online
I asked Suzy for some advice on selling products and she gave a few things to focus on:
- Research, research, research — it’s a lot to learn and takes a while
- Go slow — Don’t try to ramp up too quickly.
- Try different things, different sources, and different products –You don’t have to go with the first company you try.
- Solidify your niche first –What do people come to your site for? How can you supplement that with a product that makes sense for them?
- Choose a product that serves your audience — This is the only way you’ll be successful
Episodes like this one with Suzy are some of my favorites because you get to see the full, behind-the-scenes picture of what goes into running a successful blog.
And it is a ton of work!
Suzy found a way to serve her audience with fantastic and consistent content, and in return, her audience is highly engaged with both her content and her products.
So, I want to hear from you on how you’re serving your audience and engaging with them.
Join me in my MiloTree Mastermind Facebook group and share your tips with those of us in the group.
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