In this episode of The Blogger Genius Podcast, I interview chef and food blogger, Adam Sobel, from the blog Cinnamon Snail.
We discuss how Adam monetizes his blog mostly through selling online cooking classes and a successful cooking class membership program.
Adam shares insights on video production, promotion, and using Facebook ads to drive traffic and sign-ups. He also talks about his journey from working in restaurants to launching his own food truck, and eventually offering online cooking classes.
Adam emphasizes the importance of understanding customer lifetime value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC), and the benefits of a membership model for generating recurring revenue. He encourages authenticity and understanding your audience for success.
Table of Contents
Meet Adam Sobel: From Food Truck to Online Cooking Classes
Adam Sobel is a chef and blogger at Cinnamon Snail, who has successfully monetized his blog through various means, including selling online cooking classes. He started his journey working in restaurants before launching his own food truck, which became immensely popular. However, when the pandemic hit, Adam adapted by offering online cooking classes, using his blog to attract traffic and convert visitors into customers.
Building a Loyal Audience and Monetizing Cooking Classes
Adam had already built a loyal following, both locally and internationally, through social media. He offers both paid classes and free or donation-based classes as a lead magnet to attract people to his brand. These free classes have been a huge success, with up to 1,700 people signing up. Most of these attendees end up on his email list and eventually purchase classes from him in the future.
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Monetizing Strategies and the Importance of LTV and CAC
Adam monetizes his classes in three ways: live-streamed classes, selling recordings and recipes of those classes, and offering a membership that provides access to all his live classes and bonus content. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the lifetime value of a customer (LTV) and the customer acquisition cost (CAC) in running a successful business. He suggests that a general rule of thumb is to spend one-third of the LTV on acquiring a customer and still make a profit.
The Benefits of a Membership Model
Adam and I discussed the benefits of having a membership model for generating recurring revenue. Memberships create a sense of community and provide a reliable source of income. They also eliminate the need for additional marketing expenses.
Starting a Class or Workshop: It’s Easier Than You Think
Adam suggests that starting a class or workshop can be done with relatively simple equipment, such as a DSLR camera. He shares his setup using multiple cameras but mentions that even a laptop or iPhone can do the job.
The Power of Authenticity and Attracting the Right Audience
Adam emphasizes the importance of being authentic and attracting the right audience. By being your true self, you will naturally attract people who accept and appreciate you for who you are. This mindset of embracing imperfections makes it easier for food bloggers to transition into other ventures such as teaching classes or writing cookbooks.
Adam’s Business Model and Future Plans
Adam does not monetize his blog with ads but primarily relies on his classes and other culinary services for income. He finds this approach to be successful, especially when combined with other aspects of his business like pop-ups, catering, and culinary consulting. He plans to further refine his offerings by tailoring classes to specific visitors based on their interests and needs.
To learn more about Adam and his work, visit his website cinnamonsnail.com. He encourages aspiring food bloggers to check out his courses page to see how he structures his classes.
This episode is perfect for anyone interested in teaching classes, workshops, or memberships. I hope you found this blog post informative and inspiring. Stay tuned for more insights from The Blogger Genius Podcast!
Other related Blogger Genius Podcast episodes you’ll enjoy:
- Unlock the Strategy: $1.5k in First Month from Ebooks & Workshops with Natasha Levai
- The Secret Sauce to Food Blogging Success: SEO and AI with Marley Braunlich
- Why Hosting a Paid Workshop Is a Great Way to Make Easy Cash with JIllian Leslie
MiloTreeCart, the Best Tool for Non-Techies to Sell Digital Products
I also want to introduce you to the MiloTreeCart, a tool designed for non-techies to sell digital products easily. It comes with features like fill-in-the-blank sales pages, check-out pages, a sales dashboard, upsells, and customer support. MiloTreeCart is currently available for a lifetime deal of $349 or three easy installments of $116.33. Plus, there’s a limited-time offer of a one-hour free coaching call for those who purchase before the end of October.
Transcript: “#300: Unlock Success: Master the Art of Selling Online Cooking Classes”
Jillian Leslie (00:00:00) – My name is Jillian and I’m hosting the Blogger Genius podcast. Before we get into today’s interview, let me ask you a question. Are you wishing you could sell digital products like digital downloads or workshops, memberships, coaching, mini courses, but you don’t know where to start? And are you tired of complicated tech and spending way too much money on monthly subscriptions? Well, you need a tool that makes all of this simple, and the answer is Milo Tree Cart. So this is the tool we built for non techies who want to tap into a new income stream. With military cart, you get fill in the blank sales pages, check out pages, a sales dashboard, upsells, over 100 done for you, marketing materials and support from people who seriously care. And right now, for a limited time, we are selling Milo Tree cart for a lifetime deal of 349. Pay once or in three easy installments and enjoy it forever. Hit pause right now. Head to Milo Tree. We offer a 30 day, no questions asked money back guarantee, so there is no risk.
Jillian Leslie (00:01:08) – And if you purchase before the end of October, as a bonus, I will send you my special. I promise to help you come up with your first digital product in minutes. So head to military.com to sign up.
Announcer (00:01:29) – Welcome to the Blogger Genius podcast, brought to you by Milo Tree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie (00:01:36) – Hi friends, it is Jillian. I have a fun and very informative episode for you. Today I am interviewing chef and food blogger Adam Sobel. His food blog is called Cinnamon Snail. He monetizes in a variety of ways and one of them is by selling online cooking classes. And that’s what we’re going to dig deep into today. Adam shares how he got started during the pandemic, how he teaches his classes live, then sells the recordings, and he’s even launched a membership that has been super successful for him. He gets into detail how he shoots his videos, how he promotes them, how he uses Facebook ads to drive traffic and sign ups. He even shares how much money he makes per month doing this.
Jillian Leslie (00:02:28) – If you’ve thought about teaching one off classes, paid workshops, memberships, this is the episode for you. So without further delay, here is my interview with the very entertaining Adam Sobel. Adam, welcome to the Blogger Genius podcast.
Adam Sobel (00:02:48) – Thank you for having me.
Jillian Leslie (00:02:50) – I have to start by saying, we get on this call. We’ve just emailed a little bit back and forth and said, how’s your day? And you said, super, ridiculously good. And I have to say that put a smile on my face. So truly welcome because you definitely.
Adam Sobel (00:03:06) – Now, now you’re having a ridiculously good day too. Dear Jillian, I love that.
Jillian Leslie (00:03:11) – So Adam, you are a chef, a blogger. You sell a variety of products. Talk to me about how you got into food, what your passions are, what your history is, and where you are now.
Adam Sobel (00:03:27) – Woo! All right. I’m going to try and make it not biblical in length. Uh, I grew up living in New York City, and my folks are literary agents.
Adam Sobel (00:03:37) – So my mom was, like, mostly representing cookbook authors and always had chefs and cookbook authors, like, testing recipes in our home kitchen and doing book releases. So I met a lot of interesting chefs growing up. And then I started working in restaurants, like after I met this girl, Joey, who is now my wife of many years, when I was like in late high school, she was like the first vegan person I had met, and she only ate French fries and canned soup and what have you. And I was like, man, I got to learn how to make extraordinarily delicious food for this girl because she’s really cute and she deserves to eat something yummy. So, you know, I didn’t know how to cook, and I was just, like, copying recipes down out of cookbooks and Barnes and Nobles and trying all this stuff. And, like, eventually I started making some tasty food. And then I was like, man, I should start, like, working in restaurants just to, like, learn how to cook better.
Adam Sobel (00:04:45) – So I started working in some restaurants in New York City, and I worked at probably like a dozen restaurants over the course of about 10 or 12 years. During that time, I myself became vegetarian and then vegan. I went vegan actually the very day our first daughter was born, which is now 22 years ago. So anyway, I went vegan and and I’d been working in a bunch of vegan restaurants, and eventually I launched my own thing in 2010 for my restaurant. So it started as a food truck. My wife and I saved up like enough money from doing some like, private chef thing, and we had this like little stand at our local farmer’s market doing vegan prepared food. And we bought, like, the most beat up crappy food truck on all of Craigslist at the time. It was like the first vegan organic food truck in the whole country. And it got a bunch of press. And like it took a little while, like maybe about a year. And it slowly, like really picked up and went way beyond my wildest dreams of, like, becoming extremely popular.
Adam Sobel (00:06:04) – We got a permit to run it in Manhattan, and by like 2014, it was the number one highest rated place of any kind to eat in New York City. And it was like the number four highest rated place on Yelp for the entire United States. Wow. Um, and it just got crazy, like the amount of. Like the amount of opportunities that came to me because of that were wild. And, you know, like soon I found myself doing all this stuff that was not cooking because this business had grown immensely. And like, I found myself like managing this army of employees instead of like directly cooking for people, which is what I really love. When the pandemic hit, it was like kind of perfect timing because I really wanted to scale down and do something smaller and more local to where I live out in new Jersey and. You know, I had like the first year or so of the pandemic where I was just doing a little bit of culinary consulting for other people’s food businesses. Like, I’ve always done kind of recipe development for, for, for other people’s businesses, both restaurants and food manufacturers and what have you.
Adam Sobel (00:07:26) – And during that time, I really got to have like a little time and space to reflect on, like what I really did and did not want to be doing. So since that first year of the pandemic, like I launched this blog within the last year or so, but that was kind of like a way for me to market the online cooking classes I started doing during the pandemic, like I used to teach at culinary schools before the pandemic. But during the pandemic, that was like a reasonable way to start making a living again. You know, like I said, a bunch of cameras in my home kitchen and every month as it grew, I would like kind of upgraded and learn more about setting it up a little slicker. And the blog was kind of like an afterthought way of being like, how can I attract more traffic to my website where people will convert and like, purchase cooking classes for me? So I think it’s probably like the other way around how a lot of your listeners might be thinking about it where like they have a blog and they want to monetize it by adding cooking classes to it.
Adam Sobel (00:08:38) – I kind of came at it from like the totally topsy turvy other direction.
Jillian Leslie (00:08:43) – How did you. Okay, so you start this blog or you start with cooking classes. How did you have an audience to sell them to? Is it because you have a following and people know who you are? Who’s buying?
Adam Sobel (00:08:54) – So I mean, so so I had amassed a pretty loyal following, not just not just locally, but like internationally from.
Jillian Leslie (00:09:04) – On social media as an email list. Yeah.
Adam Sobel (00:09:07) – Through mostly through social media. I actually was really bad about ever having an email list, like I only started one maybe two years ago, and now I like I love it, but you know, I’m kind of kicking myself. I didn’t have an email list like all along, but honestly, the customer who purchases cooking classes for me is kind of different from the people who used to buy food from me. You know, when I announced that I was going to start, like offering cooking classes. You know, some people were really psyched, but so many people were like, I don’t want to, like, learn how to cook from you.
Adam Sobel (00:09:43) – I just want you to cook for us, you know? So it’s kind of a different customer anyway. So honestly, I have no issue like having sort of built an email list from scratch now because that list is like highly engaged with people who actually want to take classes and learn cooking for me. And it’s great.
Jillian Leslie (00:10:03) – So let’s let’s talk. If you were to talk to the typical food blogger, she let’s say it’s a she. A lot of my audience are women and they have some sort of niche. And by the way, gluten free is like the power niche, but let’s say they start their let’s say like healing something, which is typically where somebody gets into this and they start creating content, and they start posting on Pinterest and Instagram and growing their list and growing their traffic and sending newsletters. And they reach a certain point and they say, hey, what else can I offer? And this is where we come in with Military Cart, because we help food bloggers who are, by the way, one of our biggest customers create new revenue streams.
Jillian Leslie (00:10:54) – Somebody says, I want to create cooking classes. Hey, is that doable? B how would you set that up and see how much time does this take?
Adam Sobel (00:11:06) – Okay. So let’s start with C which is that it can take like as much or as little time as you want it to take. You know like I personally I’m super lazy. I don’t want to spend all of my time like editing videos, you know, like that’s why I don’t have a YouTube channel. Like, I’m, I’m happy to be in front of a camera. I’m happy to teach cooking. I like, do not want to spend like two hours sitting down to like, cut out every time I say, um, and like, zoom in on this thing. And it’s too finicky for me personally. So what I do is the kind of lazy man’s approach at this, which is that I, I teach my cooking classes in, in one shot, and then I sell it in a couple of different ways. So I’ll talk about that afterwards.
Adam Sobel (00:11:57) – What I do is I teach like a live class.
Jillian Leslie (00:12:01) – And so people sign up and pay you for the live class.
Adam Sobel (00:12:04) – People sign up and pay for it, though I do also offer some like free or donation based classes, sort of as like a lead magnet into my world, right? Um, and some of those are great. Like I’ll have sometimes like 1700 people sign up for one of those and they, you know, most of them end up on my email list and then they end up purchasing classes for me in the future.
Jillian Leslie (00:12:28) – Where are you advertising this? How are people getting how how are 1700 people showing up?
Adam Sobel (00:12:33) – So, um, up until like right now, my live classes were all being sold through Eventbrite, um, which has made that really, really easy. Um, you know, like, it’s a good system for people purchasing tickets and you can add some add ons to them when they sign up. You know, they can like, purchase previous class recordings I’ve done when they sign up.
Adam Sobel (00:12:58) – Now, are.
Jillian Leslie (00:12:58) – People finding you on Eventbrite? Are they going is Eventbrite? I mean, I know what it is for my stuff, but like, where are people discovering you?
Adam Sobel (00:13:08) – There are some people just like searching for stuff on Eventbrite, but I think the bulk of the traffic is like coming through marketing efforts that I’m doing.
Jillian Leslie (00:13:17) – Are you doing paid ads?
Adam Sobel (00:13:18) – So I did I do a small amount of paid ads, but mostly Facebook. Yeah, on, on on Facebook and Instagram. For a long time, Eventbrite had a product called Eventbrite Boost that was sort of like a Facebook Ads Manager interface, because I can’t stay on Facebook ad manager. I don’t know about you, but every time I look at that thing, it’s like upside down. They’ve, like, changed everything and there’s too many things to mess with. Like, I could spend my whole day like designing an ad and it’s not fun. This thing was like a product where you could put in like a few different photos or videos, a few different, like ad creative, like copy, you know, versions and then a few different audiences, right? Including like sort of retargeting audiences like, you know, people who purchased your classes in the past or people who have visited your website.
Adam Sobel (00:14:14) – If you have the pixel installed and you know, those people are like a lot easier to sell to than just like a cold audience of people who like whatever it is kind of food that you do. Right? Um.
Jillian Leslie (00:14:27) – And so wait for one second.
Jillian Leslie (00:14:30) – Eventbrite, you’re paying Eventbrite for Eventbrite boost. Are they then running your ads on meta on Facebook and Instagram? Or it’s only on their plan?
Adam Sobel (00:14:39) – So no, it was like an interface for.
Jillian Leslie (00:14:43) – Facebook, a Facebook.
Adam Sobel (00:14:43) – Ads manager, and it would just basically like throttle your budget towards whichever variant of like ad creative and audience was converting best, which was like great. Like that kind of made it easier. It’s really cool proof for me. Um, Eventbrite though, like many softwares in this wild, wild world we live in, has just announced like a massive increase in their fees. This is the year. Like, everything’s getting expensive. You know, you.
Jillian Leslie (00:15:15) – Just have to.
Jillian Leslie (00:15:16) – Except my cart. Except my electric car right now. Because for our first thousand customers, we are selling it as a lifetime deal for 349.
Jillian Leslie (00:15:25) – So we can learn from you so we can lean in to you so you know, we can be your biggest fans. And hopefully you would, you know, believe in karma. I believe that what you put out, you get back. So anyway so go on anyhow.
Adam Sobel (00:15:38) – So so just now like I’m in the process of transition and completely off of Eventbrite and hosting all the classes through my own website, which like is totally what you could do with my luxury car. Right. Like, um, and so there’s, there’s kind of two ways I end up monetizing my classes. One is through, like people signing up for the, like, live streamed class that they take in real time and they can ask questions during the class. And. Then like the second is kind of like selling the recordings and recipes of those classes after the fact, which is like very evergreen. I have like kind of this whole library. Now of all the classes I’ve ever taught on my website, and if somebody wants to learn vegan Thai food, there’s a class for that.
Adam Sobel (00:16:23) – If they want to learn, like, you know, pizza making skills, there’s a class for that. Right? And then third is that I sell like a membership to my classes so that while somebody is enrolled in that membership, like they just get all the classes that I teach that are live and, you know, some like bonus content that I give them and stuff and that that’s really, really helpful. Like in terms of making an actual living at doing these classes.
Jillian Leslie (00:16:51) – Because because your membership, you know.
Adam Sobel (00:16:52) – The membership because you know, these the classes kind of like ebb and flow, you know, like I think a lot less people take them generally during the summer. They’re, you know, they’re a lot better attended, obviously, like in Q4 and in the winter and stuff. And, you know, being as I do vegan food, like there’s a ton of people who go vegan, like just for the new year. So I do like a big veganuary type of program a month.
Adam Sobel (00:17:20) – And having that membership though like kind of gives me a little bit more financial stability, whereas otherwise like some months are great and some months are not so great, so can.
Jillian Leslie (00:17:32) – We, can we dig into the details one.
Jillian Leslie (00:17:34) – Sure. Okay.
Jillian Leslie (00:17:35) – How long are your videos?
Adam Sobel (00:17:38) – Okay. So my classes are like probably on the long side for a lot of people. My normal monthly class is like a two hour long cooking class. But I also tend to do like when I do a free or donation based class. Usually that’s like a singular topic, and it might be like a 45 or 60 minute class on like one thing.
Jillian Leslie (00:18:02) – So you are sending people either to a donation based class or a free class. And let’s say you’re using you were using Facebook ads to get people aware of it. How much were you paying per conversion per person to come?
Adam Sobel (00:18:21) – Um, you know, so with with that, like, I always had like a positive ROI on it. As long as, like, I’m not losing money on those, I’m cool to just keep shoveling money at it because, you know, if it’s not costing me anything for those people to attend.
Jillian Leslie (00:18:39) – But what if it’s a free class?
Adam Sobel (00:18:41) – Well, you know, the free classes also kind of balance out in two different ways. One is that even though, like the main ticket for it is free, I’ll have like, um, add ons that people can select to kind of like give me some revenue from those classes. And for a very big audience, you know, like if you have a thousand people show up to a class and 5% of them by some other thing, you’re selling some other recording, like it ends up being not just worth the time, but it’s like now you just got a thousand people on your mailing mailing list and like, you know, like it didn’t take that much time of yours and you got some compensation for it. Um, but, you know, like when you offer something free to like, I feel like you don’t have to do that much paid marketing for it to be attractive for people. Yes. So I’ll be honest, like. Uh, I think having a donation based class is probably, like, more advantageous for a lot of people who are teaching cooking classes or who are looking to monetize in other ways because, you know, there’s a lot of people who just, like, seek freebies, you know, like that ends up on your mailing list.
Adam Sobel (00:19:54) – And then they like, leave because they don’t want to actually purchase anything. And I mean, I’m happy, like sharing with everybody how to cook vegan food. I have no problem. Like the more the merrier. It’s great. But ultimately, like if I’m looking to like pay my bills and stuff, even if somebody donates like a dollar to take the class, there’s so much more likely to ever purchase like a full course from you in the future than somebody who just took it because it’s free.
Jillian Leslie (00:20:27) – I want to take a short break to say, if you’re listening to this episode and it is inspiring you and you say, I want to teach a class, I want to teach a workshop, but I don’t exactly know on what. You must grab my worksheet on how to come up with a workshop or class idea. It’ll just walk you through how to think in terms of putting something out there that people will want to purchase from you. Go to military.com/workshop idea and download it. It’s one page PDF again Milo tree.com/workshop idea.
Jillian Leslie (00:21:06) – And now back to the show. If I want to buy that one off class from you I go to your website. How much do you sell those for. And tell me about how much it costs to join your membership.
Adam Sobel (00:21:20) – Okay, so the classes that are like live if you want to take them, like when they’re being live streamed, they end up being like about $48. And then if you just want to purchase like a recording of a previous class, I think it’s like $28. Okay. Um, because, you know, those people don’t have the same benefit of like, getting their asked questions in real time. And then, you know, like I for the people who purchased the live class, they also like get the recording of it as well. And then my membership, like I do two different variants of it. I have an offer that’s like you get a few kind of popular recorded classes as a bonus. Um, and there’s like a private Facebook group. And then if you pay for like a monthly membership, it’s like $39 a month.
Adam Sobel (00:22:15) – So it’s, it’s a little bit less than it would be buying them a la carte. But those people ends up like taking my class every month. Right. And then to incentivize people, like taking longer memberships, my annual membership, I want to say it’s like 399. Um, and then I give a couple extra, like, bonuses. Like, I think those people get like a PDF version of my cookbook and a couple other things that I throw in for people who get like, because, you know, that’s that’s one of the things like in figuring out like the profitability of teaching classes this way. Like, you know, there’s that, that this is going to be really nerdy. Sorry about this. But, you know, there’s like that ratio of like the cost to acquire a customer versus their like lifetime value LTV to actually call it.
Jillian Leslie (00:23:12) – Right.
Jillian Leslie (00:23:12) – Exactly. Yes. And we’ll go on what these are so.
Adam Sobel (00:23:15) – So one of the, one of the things is figuring out like what is the actual like average.
Adam Sobel (00:23:23) – Purchasing one of your customers does with you over the course of their, like, relationship with you, right? You know, like.
Jillian Leslie (00:23:31) – So wait. Okay, wait. So wait.
Jillian Leslie (00:23:33) – I just want to stop for the people who don’t understand, okay? Your LTV, which is your lifetime customer value. If I have a membership and I’m charging you $39 a month, that customer though, on average, like, if I can, you can start to monitor how long somebody stays. Let’s say on average that person is staying in your membership for ten months. That customer is worth $390 to you over the lifetime of that customer. And that is your LTV. And then typically the rule of thumb that I use is one third. I can spend one third of $490 to acquire that customer and still make a profit. And tell me your thoughts about that. And that is called your customer acquisition cost, which is your catch. So go ahead. Yeah. Your thoughts on that.
Adam Sobel (00:24:28) – So my thoughts on that are it’s very like variable according to your your like business costs.
Adam Sobel (00:24:35) – You know like and for me like just to be totally clear like this is just one part of how I make a living, right. Like I also do recipe development. I also do catering like I do like a weekly pop up thing. Um, and so like overall there are various business expenses that I need to account for. And so anyway, like the, the percentage that you can spare of your revenue to pay to acquire a customer, right. Which is what that LTV to hack ratio is like. How much basically like, all right, how much could you afford to pay for Facebook ads to get you a customer? If you know your average customer is going to bring in this much revenue, right. And that just depends a lot on you. You know, like the thing about digital courses and ebooks and all this stuff that I think people overlook is there’s this sense of like, oh, you just created, so it’s free. Like it doesn’t cost you anything to make it, but like, do I spend like $10,000 or so on, like cameras and lighting and microphones and, you know, like, I like maybe not quite that.
Adam Sobel (00:25:50) – Yeah, probably about that much, honestly. And, you know, every class you have to pay for the ingredients you use in those classes, etcetera. And you know, there’s like fees for different softwares you might use in your world, whether it’s, you know, like doing these live stream classes. Just as an example, I do the actual live streaming of it happens through zoom. Right. And if you have like a zoom account that has more than 100 people taking a class on it, like there’s a monthly fee for that. And so all these costs have to be accounted for. So that exact ratio of it being like one third, I think it’s I think that’s like a, a very general rule. A lot of people selling like products electronically have. But I think it just really depends on your own specific overhead and how much you’ve invested into what you’re doing.
Jillian Leslie (00:26:45) – Now. What I think is.
Jillian Leslie (00:26:46) – Super interesting about what you’re saying is that you find your membership to be a big revenue driver in all of your digital products.
Jillian Leslie (00:26:57) – So I just did a workshop yesterday teaching people how to start memberships, because I get to see the back end of my cart. And what I see is that the people who are making the most money are the ones who have memberships because of the recurring revenue, because you’re not going well, it’s it’s the summer and people aren’t necessarily I got to I got to really be marketing because this isn’t the time when people are buying. If they’re in your membership and you keep them happy and you create this sense of community and a reason to stay, that just boom, you know, you’re making money, you can rely on that revenue.
Adam Sobel (00:27:35) – Yeah. Yeah. For for sure. And, and and in addition, like those are all customers. You don’t have to spend money to keep like getting your class in front of, you know, it’s not even just a matter of attracting new customers. It’s like, you know, those are now people who like, you’re not paying to like, remarket to in any way.
Adam Sobel (00:27:56) – And it’s like to me, it’s just it also makes things like easier.
Jillian Leslie (00:28:02) – I love.
Jillian Leslie (00:28:02) – That, I love.
Jillian Leslie (00:28:03) – That. Okay, so for.
Jillian Leslie (00:28:04) – The food blogger. Who is obsessed with keyword research, who’s obsessed with, like, Google and making money on their ads and stuff. And we talked about this like, I feel like things are changing and shifting, especially with AI. If you were to give somebody advice to say, go try this, go start this, what would you say? Like, what are some of the shortcuts that you would say, hey, here’s how to get started. Here’s how to do this.
Adam Sobel (00:28:34) – All right. So from from like a kind of technical perspective on like how to set up a class. That’s I think something that’s intimidating to people. Right. Like thinking you really need like a massively elaborate set up. You you can do things pretty simply, you know, like I’ve seen some cooking classes that are like somebody just teaching it with a laptop. But I mean, food bloggers, you guys already have like legit DSLRs with good lenses and stuff, and it’s a matter of having some type of capture card that can, like allow the HDMI output of your camera to go into your computer.
Adam Sobel (00:29:09) – You know, like I use a thing called the Atom Mini, which is a switcher that allows me to have like up to four cameras hooked up. And then like as I’m teaching, I’ll have it next to my cutting board and I just like, hit a button to like, show the students, you know, my top down shot of my cutting board or what’s on the stove. Like, you can make it super fancy if you want. Or you could like hook up a few iPhones to that with like a lightning to HDMI dongle and some app on your your iPhone to like be able to get a clean HDMI output.
Jillian Leslie (00:29:45) – And if you don’t believe this is possible, go back and listen to my episode. I think it’s 294 with Natasha from Natasha’s home, where she did a super simple workshop teaching gluten free baking. She made hundreds of dollars and it wasn’t hard. And in fact, her main criticism was she left a dish towel in the back of her shot and she did it all with, I think, her iPhone, and she used Milo tree cart to collect payments.
Jillian Leslie (00:30:18) – She used my launch calendar just to get it up. I think she’s now done 2 or 3 more workshops and just like you, she recorded them live and sells the replays as courses. Now I want to talk about your vibe like you have a very strong, delightful personality and my hunch is people come back because of that. So how do you recommend somebody imbue themselves who are, let’s say, like, I believe food bloggers like to hide behind their blogs. I just make pretty, pretty, pretty food. I take, you know, nice pictures. And there is this added piece of like, oh wait, you want me to show up and talk to people?
Adam Sobel (00:30:58) – Well, you know, to to like, connect this back to what you were saying about the difficulty that arises with, like, artificial intelligence generated stuff starting to flood the internet. Like this is what sets you apart from the sea of noise. Like if you can be comfortable being yourself in front of other people and like sharing some of your unique perspectives on stuff, and like even making mistakes in front of other people that like, show them it’s okay to not be perfect all the time.
Adam Sobel (00:31:34) – This is like the connection people really crave that they’re never going to get out of artificial intelligence. And, you know, it’s look, it’s not for everybody being in front of a camera and speaking to students and stuff like that. It it’s taken me years of like, you know, teaching at culinary schools and being on TV shows and what have you to feel just like natural and comfortable. And, you know, like my wife had to teach a cooking class during the pandemic. We got a grant for our synagogue through this, this thing called Shamim, which is like a it’s an initiative to like, bring vegan food into synagogues. And, you know, she just did it, like on her laptop with her, like laptops built in camera. And she did a great job. Like she’s not like, doing anything super, super fancy with it, but like, she did it and people got stuff out of it and you’ve got to start somewhere with it, you know? And that’s the thing, like, people stop themselves from doing a lot of things because they’re waiting for it to be like polished and perfect and flawless and, you know, like as, as creative people, like, I think we all have to accept, like, we’re always going to, like, do things better in the future.
Adam Sobel (00:32:54) – Like, I look at my cookbook that I published, like, whatever, 7 or 8 years ago now, and I’m like, man, I could do so much better now. But you got to do what you can do, you know, like I can. If I can do something better now, I should write another cookbook now, you know. And that’s how we, like, grow as creative people.
Jillian Leslie (00:33:13) – It’s funny, I was.
Jillian Leslie (00:33:14) – Sharing I was sharing with you that I just got off a call this morning with a woman who purchased my literary card, and she is a she’s like a health food person helping like menopausal women. And our whole conversation was all about like, she’s like, I’m not a marketer. And I’m like, okay, but guess what? You’ve got. You’ve got a problem that you are solving for people and you’ve got to get that solution out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a marketer. Like. And all I kept telling her is go poke at the pain of the women who you can help to say, I can help you like that’s your job.
Jillian Leslie (00:33:53) – So in the same way she was holding herself back, going like, I’m not a marketer, I hate social media. The whole thing. I go, it’s not about that. It’s about, can you show up for somebody and help them? And I feel like you tap into that and create this like positive vibe and that’s what you’re providing. So in a weird way, it’s like we get so caught up in ourselves and our own insecurities and people are going to judge us. And what you’re saying is go, start, go put it out there, go attract the people that you can help.
Adam Sobel (00:34:26) – Yeah. And like, ultimately you attract the people you like, want to attract to. You know, like by being your authentic, goofy self. You’ll you’ll attract people who, like, accept you for who you are. Not like people who, like, are looking for some like star TV human to teach them how to do stuff. And that just makes your own life so much more pleasant like that.
Adam Sobel (00:34:50) – You get to serve people who, like, are okay with you being you. You know, that’s that’s nice.
Jillian Leslie (00:34:57) – Absolutely.
Jillian Leslie (00:34:58) – So but I think that we see the world like, through our own eyes, and we get so caught up in the perfection, in the judgment in that. And when we can shift the camera, shift the angle and be focused on, hey, I know this thing and I can be helpful and I can be human and I can be goofy and all of this, and I can lighten somebody else’s load. Like, why? Like you’ve got an obligation to do that, to put that out there. That was my whole conversation of it’s not about you. It’s that it doesn’t matter. Like what your tech looks like. It will be rough in the beginning, but go do it.
Adam Sobel (00:35:34) – Yeah. I mean, your your audience, I think to a degree has like a head start on that because they’re food bloggers, right. Like food bloggers have to already accept like, hey, like I know there’s like other people who have like degrees who make this cookie, but this is like my cookie recipe and I’m going to share it and like, accept that some people are going to love it.
Adam Sobel (00:35:57) – And that’s cool. You know, like, um, so people who are like, food bloggers already have like a little bit of a jump on, like accepting their own imperfections and just like putting out the best thing they can put out, you know, like, that’s that’s awesome. That’s a lot easier to, like, make that jump to something else, like teaching classes or writing a cookbook because they’re already like, you know, empowered to create something on their own.
Jillian Leslie (00:36:27) – Um, I.
Jillian Leslie (00:36:27) – Really like that. Now, what about your business in terms of digital products, are you most excited and where are you growing in that way?
Adam Sobel (00:36:36) – Um, so yeah, like my membership has, I actually only rolled out my membership maybe about a year ago. Before then, it was all just like, you know, kind of a la carte sales. And that’s just like given my family a lot more of a cushion as as the months kind of fluctuate. Um, and, you know, it’s as I’ve attract more traffic to my blog, like some percentage of those people end up converting into, you know, people who are on my membership.
Adam Sobel (00:37:12) – And that that just helps a lot. Um, where I’m, I’m looking to go with that kind of next is like getting a little bit more granular with like, what classes I put in front of what kind of visitors to my blog. And there’s, there’s a plug in that I don’t know if it came out yet or if it’s still in beta that I’ve been messing with. It’s called the Dynamic Connector block by, I want to say they’re called like tiny plugins or small plugins. It’s like a small little plugin maker. And what it is is it’s a dynamic block that you can have show different content according to, like what category somebody is looking at on your blog. Right? So say somebody’s looking at like an Indian recipe on my blog. I can have like a little block somewhere in my blog post that’s like, I have a class on South Indian food. You want to like check that out here. You can like buy it right here. Like, you know, if somebody’s looking at like a dessert class, I can have like that block, show them a thing for, like, my donut making class or some dessert making class, you know, and so just kind of like an email list is like kind of curating the content that’s most, like, pertinent to where somebody’s at in their journey with you.
Adam Sobel (00:38:30) – Right. And that’s a nice thing to, like, continue to hone and get better. You know, like same with your email list. If somebody signs up and they’re like only into gluten free food, but you do food that’s also not gluten free, like by shoving everything down their throat, they’re like not getting a whole lot of value out of it. But if you like, just give them kind of what they’re looking for. It’s it’s super helpful to them. They’re more likely to like, stay on your list and convert into being a customer in some way. And that’s kind of the way I’m trying to think about stuff now is like really refining my process so that, like, people get what’s really the best for them and what they’re going to enjoy the most and what they’re going to learn the most from.
Jillian Leslie (00:39:14) – And wait, I have to share something that you shared with me that was so shocking. You are a food blogger and you are not monetizing with ads.
Adam Sobel (00:39:22) – Yeah, yeah that’s true.
Adam Sobel (00:39:24) – Yeah, but I’m monetized like with primarily with like my classes and stuff and that does pretty well, you know, like it ebbs and flows, but like, I could have a month where I do like $10,000 in like class sales and stuff. And for me as that being just like one component of how I make my living is great, you know, like, if that was everything to me, it would still be okay. But like, if that’s just like the cherry on top of me doing pop ups and catering and culinary consulting and stuff like it’s it’s great.
Jillian Leslie (00:39:55) – Nice. Well, I have to.
Jillian Leslie (00:39:57) – Say, Adam, if people want to see what you’re doing, learn more about you, connect with you. What’s the best place?
Adam Sobel (00:40:05) – So I’m at Cinnamon snail.com. That’s the name of my like food truck and business and stuff. And yeah, I’ve got all kinds of resources on there like and it might be interesting for some of your listeners to check out, just like how I present that information, if they’re thinking about doing a similar thing, like they can head over to my like courses page and sort of see the way I laid that all out and just learn about all the wacky stuff I do.
Jillian Leslie (00:40:33) – And you could use something like my cart for payments to set this whole thing up.
Adam Sobel (00:40:38) – Absolutely. Yeah.
Jillian Leslie (00:40:40) – Okay. Well, Adam, I have to say this has been incredibly delightful. You have given me a super ridiculously good time again.
Adam Sobel (00:40:49) – Yippee skippy. And it was a hullabaloo of a razzle dazzle delight.
Jillian Leslie (00:40:56) – I hope you guys like this episode. I thought Adam was truly delightful, and I was so impressed with how willing he was to share and how he says, you got to start somewhere, and the more human you are, the better. And if you’re already a food blogger, you have so many advantages, there’s no reason not to try this if you’re ready to start, but it feels a little intimidating. Just get on a call with me and I’ll walk you through it. military.com/meat because I would love to meet you. You’re ready to start selling digital products. Go check out Milo Tree Cart at Milo tree.com. And. Remember, there’s no risk to try it because we offer a 30 day, no questions asked money back guarantee, and I will see you here again next week.