If you want to know how to grow a massive niche blog, especially a food blog, this is the episode for you.

Show Notes

Host 0:04
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. When this goes live, I don’t know where we will be in social distancing but right now we are smack dab in the middle of it.

It feels good to be recording this because it’s something that I do every week and it makes me feel (a) in control and (b) things are normal.

So, I don’t know about you but I have found that the best thing I can do during this really uneasy time is to do things that feel familiar, even if they’re not necessarily fun things.

I do look forward to all of the little tasks I need to do for my businesses. I’m curious to know if you feel the same way. If in fact, you are looking for a community, as we are isolated, please join my Facebook group.

Head to Facebook. Go to the MiloTree Mastermind Group, and please be a part of it. I’m in there all the time. I’m really trying hard to build a positive, supportive, fun community. So, I welcome you.

For today’s episode, I am interviewing Suzy Kradsheh. She started the food blog, The Mediterranean Dish and works with her husband. We get into what it’s like to be in a niche, Mediterranean food, in the world of food blogging. She does it all.

You will be incredibly impressed with all that Suzy and her husband do to run their business. What I found the most satisfying was toward the middle to the end of the podcast we start talking about burnout.

Suzy’s really honest and talks about what it takes to be in it day in and day out. Kind of like the grind of it. I think that this is why I love doing this podcast because I get to have these real conversations with people and not just talk about the superficial stuff.

I get to talk about the struggles, talk about the challenges, and talk about the successes. Without further ado, I think you’re going to really like this episode. Here is my interview with Suzy Kradsheh.

Suzy, welcome to the show.

Suzy Kradsheh 2:41
Hey. So glad to be here, Jillian. Thanks for having me.

Jillian Leslie 2:44
So, we met… Wow! Like a little less than a year ago at AdThrive Conference. You were there with your husband. What I was so impressed with was how quickly you guys had built your business.

Suzy Kradsheh 2:58
Oh, thank you. It doesn’t feel that quick.

Jillian Leslie 3:00
I know. Like everything. But I do think there is something to… Like, you just stay at it, stay at it, stay at it. And ultimately then boo, you have a big business.

Suzy Kradsheh 3:12
Yes. Yes. We’re so blessed. And we’ve had a lot of help along the way. So, yeah.

Jillian Leslie 3:19
Okay, cool. I would call you a niche food blogger.

Suzy Kradsheh 3:26
Yes, that’s correct.

Jillian Leslie 3:28
So Suzy, tell me how you guys started your food blog. What was the inspiration, and where are you today?

Suzy Kradsheh 3:38
Sure. Yeah. So, it was about… I think the year was 2014ish, end of that year. It actually started more as a hobby and something for me to do because I had just kind of come off from working full time and had decided to stay home with my one year old at the time.

We had moved for my husband’s work so I just didn’t have a job at the time lined up. And after doing some consulting and whatnot, I kind of felt like I needed something more to do.

So, it was really kind of my connection to the outside world, my way of just being able to do something more than being a stay at home mom.

Jillian Leslie 4:22
So, where are you from? And then, like, I know you have a Mediterranean background. Talk about how that inspired your food.

Suzy Kradsheh 4:31
Yeah, sure. When we sat down to think about putting together a food blog, I said to my husband, “Listen, I only know how to cook Mediterranean food.” I am from Port Said, Egypt, a cosmopolitan city right on the Mediterranean.

I had learned all sorts of Mediterranean flavors just from the neighboring Mediterranean countries. I had traveled to parts of the Mediterranean. So, I love these flavors that I grew up with.

It’s the only thing I know how to do. So, we decided to do that niche blog around Mediterranean food and we called it The Mediterranean Dish.

Jillian Leslie 5:08
Great. Okay. So, you are home and you’re starting to cook and take photographs and post them on your blog.

Suzy Kradsheh 5:14
Yes. I mean it wasn’t very sophisticated at the time. It was just like, “Hey, here’s what I cooked for lunch today. And here’s a really crappy photo taken with a cell phone.”

And not a whole lot of words really. Sometimes we just put a recipe up and leave it because it was really more of a hobby. I did not think about it as a business until late 2016.

Jillian Leslie 5:42
What made you go, “Hmm. We could turn this into a real business.”?

Suzy Kradsheh 5:46
Yeah, sure. So, we were on our second move for my husband’s career. He was an insurance executive. We moved again to Atlanta, Georgia. At that point, I realized we keep moving. I can’t hold a full time job anymore. Why don’t I make a go of this blogging thing?

And so, it was the fall of 2016, I started getting involved in some blogging groups. I started picking up information and learning a little bit more about how to turn this thing into a business. I was thinking, “You know what? I’ll make a little bit of money, you know, for my shoe fund.”

I wasn’t thinking that it was going to be the Mediteranian Dish that it is today. I was just kind of like, I had smaller goals. I still just was thinking, it’d be great if I could make a little bit of money.

Jillian Leslie 6:40
Okay. Now, your husband though is home with you working on your business?

Suzy Kradsheh 6:44
Yes. He just joined me a few months ago. We’ve been working together full time and we have grown the blog from a blog to like a resource for all things Mediterranean cooking.

We have our own spices and olive oils and other Mediterranean ingredients that are our private label, so to speak, that we sell through our eCommerce site. That has been his passion and he’s been growing that part of the business, you know, beyond the recipes.

Jillian Leslie 7:19
Okay. So, first of all, you monetize then via ads, because I know because we were both at the AdThrive Conference, and through selling products.

Suzy Kradsheh 7:29

Jillian Leslie 7:30
Are there any other ways you’re monetizing?

Suzy Kradsheh 7:33
Yeah, sure. I mean I’ve done occasional brand work and sponsorships and that kind of thing. But I’ve really just in the past year have been focused more on growing our own brand. And so, I’ve taken a step back.

I’m kind of selective with the brands I work with only because I have a specific niche and it needs to work for my readers. It’s just been a blessing to be able to say no to things that did not mesh well with my niche, and to be able to say yes to the things that makes sense.

Jillian Leslie 8:13
Now, in terms of income, are you making more money blogging through ads or selling your products? Where is more of your revenue coming from?

Suzy Kradsheh 8:23
More of the revenue is still from ads at this point in time but the product line, which is only about a year and a half old at this point, and we started very small, that’s picking up quite a bit now.

We’re trying to move to a better place with that but it’s been really a fun journey. It’s a little complicated.

Jillian Leslie 8:48
Yes, let’s talk about that. So you said… Okay. I don’t want to put words in your mouth but my hunch is you said, “Hey, we’re making all this cool Mediterranean food.” You know, there’s this need for…

And by the way, I have to just tell you that Mediterranean food is my favorite kind of food. Like, I love it. I love it. Love it. Love it. So, when I was looking and doing research for questions for you, and I was on your blog, like my mouth was watering.

Suzy Kradsheh 9:14
Oh, thank you. That means a lot. I’m so glad.

Jillian Leslie 9:17
Truly. Okay. So then you thought to yourself, “Hey, like maybe there aren’t a lot of Mediterranean spices out there. Maybe we could fill this market.” What were you thinking?

Suzy Kradsheh 9:26
Yeah. The whole idea came from my readers really. They kept emailing This was now late 2017ish that people have been like, “Where do you get your olive oils? Where do I find za’atar? I don’t know what sumac is.”

I realized that people really do need a place that they can go that where they feel that they’re getting the better quality ingredients and that they can cook these recipes without fail. And they don’t have to, you know, run to the store because they they don’t have the one ingredient.

Oftentimes, some of these were not really available to people. Especially, if you’re in a smaller city. And so, it got us started on just researching how we can make this happen for people.

We got connected to a couple of family owned olive groves in Greece. They continue to supply us with, I believe, the best extra virgin olive oils that I’ve tried so far. So, we’ve been really just a great partnership with them through a contact here that we got to know.

And then, we started researching the spices and found a great resource for that. And so, now we’ve expanded. We’ve just added things like couscous, and Tahini and other things that we’re partnering with different people to make sure are available for our audience.

So, it’s really been a journey and we took it super slow. We’re kind of more of a boutique type online shop where we kind of introduce one item at a time that we feel confident is the best fit for audience.

Jillian Leslie 11:15
Now, are you storing inventory? Like is your garage filled with olive oil?

Suzy Kradsheh 11:21
No. That’s a great question. So, we actually do have a large basement that we have some of the supplies there, but we also have been working to move into a bigger storage space. The deal is you got you kind of have to make sure that these things are stored in a certain temperature.

It needs to be dark and all that. We’re working on that quite a bit right now. And we like what we have, but we know that we’re kind of outgrown the space that we’ve built, especially for it. So, we’re looking for a new space.

Jillian Leslie 12:03
Wow. So, you though are holding the inventory? You’re not like dropshipping or using like a packing company that, you know.

Suzy Kradsheh 12:13
No. We have a team that fulfills the orders. So, we have a shipping team, a couple of people that are responsible for that. We tried to look into a third party fulfillment type situation, and we just did not feel comfortable at the time with the options that were available.

We’re very quick with our shipping and we have a certain process so it’s really hard to kind of let go of that at this point in time. But if we ever outgrow it, we hope to find the right partner to do that with.

Jillian Leslie 12:51
Got it. And what platform, for example, like Shopify, or what platform do you sell on? Or platforms.

Suzy Kradsheh 13:00
Yeah. So, we work with Shippo. Our site is shop.theMediterraneandish.com so it’s a sub domain of our existing domain.

Jillian Leslie 13:16
But is it like a Shopify store?

Suzy Kradsheh 13:19
Something like that. You know what, I can’t even remember because we went back and forth. But I believe it is a Shopify. Yeah.

Jillian Leslie 13:28
Now, are you selling on Amazon?

Suzy Kradsheh 13:30
We are not at this point yet, because we keep running out of inventory.

Jillian Leslie 13:37
That’s a good problem to have.

Suzy Kradsheh 13:39
Yeah. Like I said, we’re still feeling things out. Even though it’s been more than a year that we’ve been working on this, we still are feeling things out.

And so, what we do is because we want to provide the best, most fresh ingredients to people, we try to not hold a huge inventory. We try to have things packaged to order as much as possible, like small batch type situation.

We’ve quickly outgrown that model. So, when we call our olive oil person, for example, and we say, “We ran out of the early harvest. What do we do?” And she’ll be like, “Well, you’re going to have to wait for the harvest now.”

We’re still learning how to inventory things, how to make sure we keep just enough but not too much. So, that’s part of that journey.

And as soon as we feel confident that we can fulfill or if we have a partner to work with, we probably go to Amazon later on, but right now it’s just all through our own site. And it’s been exciting.

Jillian Leslie 14:49
That’s very cool. Okay. Do you offer free shipping?

Suzy Kradsheh 14:54
We cannot do that, at this point in time but we have a very small flat rate. I think it’s like $5 or something. That kind of doesn’t even cover our costs. But it’s something that allows us to like offset some of the costs that we incur.

Jillian Leslie 15:12
But isn’t the kind of model today you bake the shipping into the cost of your product?

Suzy Kradsheh 15:18
Some places do that. We kind of toyed with the idea back and forth and we just wanted our products… The cost of the product to us is higher than what you would even find at the store on the shelf because we try to carry the best quality.

So, our margins are not that huge. We didn’t feel like we should jack up the margins so much in order to include the shipping and everything else. We didn’t want that, I guess the price tag to discourage people from trying something really good.

So, we’ve kind of played with where is that balance. And so, we obviously do have a markup on our products just because we need to. And then, we have a small tiny shipping fee that allows people to kind of be like, “Oh, you know, that’s not too bad. I can do it.”

We ship super quickly so people are able to get their stuff within like a couple days. We’ve had really good experience so far. We haven’t had so much breakage, I suppose, of products or any of that because we’ve been able to control the process so well so far.

Jillian Leslie 16:30
Got it. Now, do you test products? Like, have you had any products that you thought would be really successful and then they weren’t? Or products that you didn’t really feel like this is going to work and then it worked? Like, how do you determine what products to sell?

Suzy Kradsheh 16:46
Yes. Like I said, we introduce one thing at a time and we hold very small inventory of that particular product. So, for example, just recently we introduced a lentils bundle because people kept saying, “Well, my store doesn’t carry lentils.”

So, the more we hear. It’s basically just crowdsourcing, hearing from our readers what they need. And when they tell us they need something, we go after it. We test run it for a bit to see if are we running out of inventory or nobody’s ordering this.

And we kind of test at that point how well something will go. And if it does, then we carry it more permanently. So, we’ll introduce something for a short time and we’ll see.

So far we’ve had great luck because we’ve been very calculated as far as which products we introduce next. Yeah, we’ve not had any. I don’t think we’ve had any product that didn’t do well for us so far.

Jillian Leslie 17:53
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How do you manage both sides of your business? I know your husband is doing the store but in terms of getting the message out, are you actively… Like, do you have a list for your store?

Do you have a list for your blog? How does that all work? How do you get people to find out about your products, find out about your site?

Suzy Kradsheh 20:16
Right. Sure. So I mean we were on all social media, obviously. We have a pretty healthy email list. I believe we’re nearly at 80,000. We could do better. But I mean we’ve been cleaning up our list. So we have an engaged audience.

That’s been where the greatest return on an email list has been for us is when you reach out to that very particular audience who’s super engaged with you, you know, usually you get the sales super quickly.

So, I send out a couple emails a week and they’re not necessarily just about the store. They’re about the recipes mainly. And then, by the way, this recipes will use this ingredient and if you don’t have it, you can find it here.

So, it’s not really a salesy situation and I feel like it has served us well in that people know the intention here is for us to serve them and not to sell them. S

o, that’s been a huge way in making sure that people felt comfortable shopping our store because they saw it more as a service and not so much a salesy pitch.

Jillian Leslie 21:29
Interesting. Now, what social platforms work for you?

Suzy Kradsheh 21:35
Interestingly, Facebook and Instagram have been doing really well for me. I haven’t used Pinterest so much to direct traffic to the shop. But obviously, we use it to direct traffic to our recipes.

And from there, once somebody gets to a recipe, I link out to all the products so that they’re able to find this particular spice or this particular tahini paste or whatever.

So, we get quite a bit also just from people visiting a particular recipe and they’ll just click on what product they need. From there, we kind of harness that.

Jillian Leslie 22:17
Great. Okay. So, how then… Let’s go through Facebook and Instagram. How are you using Facebook? How are you using Instagram?

Suzy Kradsheh 22:24
In general, Facebook, I usually schedule… I’m very kind of picky about what goes on my social media accounts. So, I’m not someone who kind of floods people with 15-20 posts a day.

I am probably generally between five and seven posts on Facebook, and they’re mostly heavy toward recipes. And once in a while, I’ll pop in and say, “Hey, we’ve got this new product at the store.” I’ll usually get some sales from that.

So, it’s a really good balance of serve, serve, serve the people and then sell to them at some point later. And usually, if somebody, like I said, pops into a recipe, they will stumble upon the shop. We have all sorts of links to the shop on the site.

Jillian Leslie 23:15
How about Instagram?

Suzy Kradsheh 23:17
For Instagram, I’m probably about once a day type posts. I don’t do three or four posts a day. I do only my own content. I do a few stories.

In the stories, I will usually point to whatever product I’m working with today and show people how to make something. I could do a lot better with Instagram but with the time I have it has worked out real well.

Jillian Leslie 23:46
Do you do stories every day?

Suzy Kradsheh 23:50
I should. No. Yeah, we’re at 110,000 followers on Instagram and I feel like I could really do a better job engaging them. Our stories get a lot of views. I just sometimes forget to do them.

Jillian Leslie 24:07
I get it. I get it. Let’s talk about then how you manage kind of creating recipes. I know your husband is predominantly doing the store. Who is helping you with social media, recipes, photography, all of that stuff?

Suzy Kradsheh 24:26
Okay. So, for social media, I have an assistant, a stay at home mom, who’s a good friend of mine who I’ve trained on Facebook and push notifications and a little bit of Pinterest.

I have an amazing VA for Pinterest because that’s a big job. I have somebody else working mainly just on Pinterest. And on Instagram, I manage that myself because of the nature of the platform. So, I’m usually the one doing Instagram at this point in time.

As far as recipe development, photography and writing, that’s all me at this point. I take all my photos, I develop all the recipes, and I do the writing.

Jillian Leslie 25:14
How many recipes are you putting out?

Suzy Kradsheh 25:18
At this point we are between three and four recipes per week.

Jillian Leslie 25:22
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! That’s a lot. Okay. So, you are literally coming up with… you’re doing recipe development. And then, you are cooking the recipes.

Suzy Kradsheh 25:35

Jillian Leslie 25:36
Taking the photos, writing the blog posts. Like optimizing them for keywords, SEO, that kind of thing.

Suzy Kradsheh 25:42

Jillian Leslie 25:42
Are you also doing video?

Suzy Kradsheh 25:44
Yes, ma’am.

Jillian Leslie 25:45
Whoa! Wait! Wait. How are you doing that?

Suzy Kradsheh 25:52
We initially, like most other bloggers, started with the hands and pans type videos. The quick 60-second ones. We’ve moved now to doing like video episodes, where I am personally cooking and talking to people.

So, it’s more like cooking show style videos. We’ve been doing that for over a year now and it’s been my favorite thing to do.

Jillian Leslie 26:14
Explain how this works. Okay. So, let’s say you’re going to do three recipes this week. You know what recipes they’re going to be. And then, explain how you are creating the recipe and video taping it and taking photographs.

Suzy Kradsheh 26:31
Yes. I’ll back up a minute here because the way that we do video is a little bit different. We actually shoot with a team of people who come here and videotape and they will edit everything so we have to fit in a number of videos per day.

We started with eight videos and that was just too much in one day. So, now we’re down to five videos. Before these guys come, I will assess which five videos we need for this particular shoot.

It might be a combination of like maybe a couple of older recipes that really need a nicer push. And a video usually will help that. And then, a few of the newer recipes that are developed that will be published next month.

We kind of videotape ahead of time for the new recipes. We usually pick up a couple of older recipes that we can revamp and add the video to. So, that’s how we do the video thing.

Jillian Leslie 27:29
Wait. How often then is your video team coming and shooting these videos?

Suzy Kradsheh 27:34
They come once a month. We shoot five videos and they will edit them through the month and I’ll usually get like different cuts of a particular video so it would fit on Instagram, and YouTube, and Facebook, and the blog.

Jillian Leslie 27:51
How long are these videos?

Suzy Kradsheh 27:54
We are now anywhere between six and 10 minutes.

Jillian Leslie 27:57
Are you putting them also on YouTube?

Suzy Kradsheh 27:59
Yes. Yes, they are.

Jillian Leslie 28:00
Is YouTube working for you?

Suzy Kradsheh 28:04
It’s pretty new. We’re reaching, I think 10,000 subscribers. So, it’s one of our smallest channels. But we’ve been able to grow it pretty quickly just this year once we’ve started making more of an effort.

So, we were at a thousand-ish earlier this year when we decided it was going to be a goal. We grew like 9000 in a year, which–.

Jillian Leslie 28:31
That’s amazing.

Suzy Kradsheh 28:32
Maybe is not as quick as you would see in other social media, I feel. But YouTube is a new animal to me, and I don’t know that I understand it fully. But since we have the videos, we’ve made an effort to be more consistent and it has paid off in kind of enrolling new subscribers.

So, we’ll see. We don’t really know how well we’re doing on video or YouTube but we’re doing it because as you know, with everything that you start in blogging, you just have to kind of keep at it for a while before you decide, “Is it the right thing for you?” We feel like it might be. It’s more of a long term marathon rather than a race.

Jillian Leslie 29:20
Well, if you’re doing the videos and you’re having your editors cut different sizes, so are you also putting it up on like IGTV?

Suzy Kradsheh 29:30
Yes. Yes, I do that.

Jillian Leslie 29:32
Okay. So, you’ve got like IGTV. So, you’re taking a video. You’re putting it on IGTV. You’re putting it on Instagram, like in your feed. You’re putting it on YouTube, Facebook. Anyplace else?

Suzy Kradsheh 29:46
I’m uploading them to Pinterest now.

Jillian Leslie 29:48
And Pinterest. Terrific. Okay. And so now, when you do this day of five videos in one day, what is that day like?

Suzy Kradsheh 30:00
Crazy. It’s really, really hard. It got better now. I think it takes a minute to kind of get in the groove and your team knows you well enough to, you know. So, we have a good system now.

I prep for all these videos ahead of time so I have what you need chopped up or whatever. It’s a balance of like, how much do I do on camera and how much do I prep in advance. If a recipe is too long, I might cook the whole thing once and then do it again on camera.

So, it’s the prep work that really gets me every time. It’s a lot of work. But if you prep well, then the day goes pretty smoothly and it’s one recipe after another. We just go at it.

Jillian Leslie 30:45
Wow! How many people are there on video recipe day?

Suzy Kradsheh 30:50
On video day, now we have two or three camera people. We have my husband. He kind of stays behind and kind of directs the show. I have somebody who might come in just to help clean up and just pick up after me so I can go change.

Jillian Leslie 31:08
Oh, right. For each video.

Suzy Kradsheh 31:10
Yeah. We have anywhere between five… Yeah, probably between four and five people.

Jillian Leslie 31:18
And how long does it take? Just not in terms of prep but in terms of video day to get through one video.

Suzy Kradsheh 31:26
Yeah. We start pretty early in the morning. The guys are usually here at seven. They set up. We’re usually shooting by eight o’clock, 8:30 at the latest.

And we have a nice long day. Maybe it takes us through five o’clock. So, if we have five videos, some of them will be quick. Like if it’s a salad and it doesn’t need a ton of time, we can get through that in a half hour.

Some of them will take an hour or so but we shoot for about an hour per video. And then, we have the setup and teardown.

Jillian Leslie 31:57
I am so impressed. Is your assistant the one who’s then uploading all the videos to the right platforms, that kind of thing?

Suzy Kradsheh 32:05
At this point in time, it’s a mix of a couple of us. I’ll do the very first post of a new video for Facebook and she’ll take it from there and like republish it as needed. So, I usually upload the first batch and then leave it from there to the different VAs.

Jillian Leslie 32:24
Okay. So, you are then… When are you taking the photographs for the recipes?

Suzy Kradsheh 32:31
Usually, because I know when my next video shoot is, I will prepare a few weeks in advance what recipes will I be shooting. I’ll take the pictures a few weeks ahead so that they’re ready.

Jillian Leslie 32:48
Got it. And then, you’re writing the blog post?

Suzy Kradsheh 32:51

Jillian Leslie 32:53
And you’re writing the email newsletters?

Suzy Kradsheh 32:56
Yes, ma’am.

Jillian Leslie 32:58
Okay. How many hours a week are you working on your business?

Suzy Kradsheh 33:01
I don’t even want to think about it, Jillian.

Jillian Leslie 33:03
Okay. Okay.

Suzy Kradsheh 33:05
But I really am trying to be super balanced about things. So, I have easier days and harder days. I tried to batch work. The videos are obviously batched because I only have that one team for one day. So, I have to do them all at once.

I usually cook three or so afternoons every week. And I’ll take my photos at that time while I’m testing the recipes because sometimes they turn out really great and I don’t need to retest them. So, I’ll take the photos right away. I have them if that’s the case.

I’ve tried to find efficiencies where I could. I have hired some assistance with just editing and so forth. Like when I write a blog post.

I have someone who might write for me once in a while when I get in a bind, but I really like to have my own voice so it hasn’t been something that I felt comfortable giving away yet as far as the writing goes but it might be.

Jillian Leslie 34:08
Do you experience burnout?

Suzy Kradsheh 34:11
All the time.

Jillian Leslie 34:12
What do you do?

Suzy Kradsheh 34:14
I cry. I play with my puppy. Well, in all honesty, I just kind of feel it when I have bigger week. So, last week was one of our video weeks and that is a big week for me because I have to do all the things plus I have to be on camera.

After that was done, I kind of took a day off to decompress. I needed it so bad. I just know when it’s coming and I tried to pause and rest for a little bit and then pick it back up.

Jillian Leslie 34:50
Got it. Yeah, I get it. I mean I think that’s really honest. I feel the same way. There are times when things come easily and I am jammin’ and then there are times I feel like I’m moving through molasses.

Suzy Kradsheh 35:02

Jillian Leslie 35:05
Like, I feel such a headwind.

Suzy Kradsheh 35:09
Yes. Yeah.

Jillian Leslie 35:10
And what I have found is to kind of ride them through to know that this will pass. And for me, it is… and it’s really hard for me to do this but when I am struggling to touch myself with as much kindness as I possibly can.

Suzy Kradsheh 35:31
Yes. Yes. I think giving ourselves grace is maybe one of the hardest things about this job because we feel like we have to do all the things all the time. And there’s a lot to do, and there’s always something new that you have to get done.

Jillian Leslie 35:46
And there’s new stuff to learn.

Suzy Kradsheh 35:48
Yeah, yeah.

Jillian Leslie 35:54
I feel like I wear so many different hats. I’m attending to this and then, “Oh, wait. There’s a fire over here” And again, I mean, you sound like you are very organized, and that you have to be and I would say we are too, but it’s amazing how I can have my whole day planned out, and then it gets hijacked because there’s some problem in some area that I need to attend to.

Suzy Kradsheh 36:27
Yeah. It’s better now that my husband is with me because sometimes I can offload that to him and and be on my way to do something else. So, that helps to have somebody.

But I will say this, I am never so far ahead. I know that there are bloggers out there who are able to have content, all planned out for six or seven weeks. I’m not that person. I just want to be so honest.

There are days that I’m writing a blog post that gets published on that day. Because that’s just the nature of that week. And in fact, that’s actually most of the time, I’m writing on the day that it has to go out.

Jillian Leslie 37:06
How about emails? Are you writing those on the fly?

Suzy Kradsheh 37:09
Sometimes. Sometimes if I have an extra hour the night before, I might write them. But honestly, it is… I know what’s coming. It’s just doesn’t get done that quickly.

Jillian Leslie 37:22
Again, I am the first to admit that I have spreadsheets out the wazoo, and I use them. And at the same time, I’m flying by the seat of my pants.

Suzy Kradsheh 37:33
Yeah. So, I just wanted to share that because I feel like when people hear that you’re publishing four blog posts, and you’re doing five videos, and you’re doing this and that with YouTube, they think that you’ve got it all figured out.

It is hardly the case and it’s a day by day process for me. To be very honest, it’s hard and we should all just give ourselves grace because there will be people who are doing better, who have their schedules really tidy and are able to work 16 hours a day.

That may not be me. It took me a while to get to this point, Jillian. It is hard. Not to compare, you know.

Jillian Leslie 38:15
But here’s the thing, which is do you feel it’s worth it?

Suzy Kradsheh 38:20
I believe so. I think for me, the turning point in taking this from like just a hobby or a shoe fund type thing to a real business that is our sole income now as a family of four.

The turning point was when I focused on, “Okay. I’m going to be consistently producing new recipes. I’m going to be consistently writing. And no more of this, like, you know, I’ll publish this week and not next.

Until you get to the point of being consistent, whatever consistent looks like for you. It might be just one post a week but you’re doing it, you will see a return on that investment. So, for me it has… Yeah, it’s helped a lot.

Jillian Leslie 39:06
I’m with you. And how is it then being a mom running this business with your husband in your house? All of that. What is that like?

Suzy Kradsheh 39:17
We struggle, to be honest. Because it’s like the two of us and our heads are together all the time. We’re talking business all the time. So, dinner time, sometimes is hijacked. I’m not proud of it.

But we have an older daughter who’s very good about telling us to stop blogging while we’re at the table and to just be present. So, the kids really do hold us accountable. And we have to pause and do what we need to do as a family. We’re a work in progress. We are.

Jillian Leslie 39:54
Aren’t we all? I get it. I get it because I work with my husband David as well. There are times where we are working and we are, you know, we are partners, business partners.

And then, at the end of the day, even though he’s like right across the way from me the whole day, it’ll get to be the end of the day and I’ll look at him and I’ll go, “I miss you.”

Suzy Kradsheh 40:15

Jillian Leslie 40:16
You just need to laugh about something to be like, “Oh, right. We’re husband and wife here.”

Suzy Kradsheh 40:23
Yeah. Yeah. So that part is really difficult to do and we try to separate our workspace from our life space, so to speak. It doesn’t work out always but I think you just have to continue to make the effort. That’s where we are today.

Jillian Leslie 40:41
Yeah, I get it. You know, my mom is very wise. She always says that you’re never in balance. You move through balance into imbalance and then you course correct and then again, you move through balance. You’re never getting your ducks fully in a row.

Suzy Kradsheh 40:59
Yeah. I think the hardest part for me is coming to a point where I’m okay not having my ducks in a row. And that’s when I actually felt like I can do this job.

Because I know I’m never going to be ahead but it’s working just fine. My process is different than somebody else’s and it’s working for me. And, yeah.

Jillian Leslie 41:24
The thing I always share is, it’s messy.

Suzy Kradsheh 41:28
Yeah, absolutely.

Jillian Leslie 41:29
Like, when you’re doing recipes and you’re taking photographs and the photo looks beautiful and two inches to the left and two inches to the right is mess.

Suzy Kradsheh 41:40
Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.

Jillian Leslie 41:43
But that photo is beautiful. So it looks magical but if you could see what the magic really looks like in real life…

Suzy Kradsheh 41:52

Jillian Leslie 41:53
You know, I say this to my daughter. My daughter is almost 13. I’ve said this from the beginning. I would be taking photographs, and by the way, the photo looks beautiful.

I would call her in and I’d go, “I want you to see something.” I’d make her look at the photo. And then I go, “Do you see this? You see all this mess. This is what Instagram is really like.”

“So when you see all these beautiful people on Instagram, know that two inches to the left and two inches to the right, it’s a big hot mess. And it does not look like it does.” Like this is smoke and mirrors.

Suzy Kradsheh 42:27
Yes. And that’s a great reminder, especially for our daughters. It’s a hard world out there social media wise. We all put our best foot forward.

I think that we forget as an audience that other people are putting their best foot forward too, and we’re not seeing the rest of the behind the scenes mess.

Jillian Leslie 42:52
Right. I appreciate you sharing the mess, you know, because it’s real. It’s real.

Suzy Kradsheh 42:59

Jillian Leslie 43:00
If somebody is listening to this episode and they go, “Oh my God, I have this idea for a product like a physical good. Even like a food product or something that I want to sell.” What would be your advice to them?

Suzy Kradsheh 43:16
I would say do all the research that you can. We’ve been, like I said, very slow about it. We never come out super strong with any new product. We test it. We try it with our closest people.

So, I would say do all the research you can. Research your partners that you’re going to work with as far as where this product is going to be sourced from. Try a few different places. Don’t just go with the first one that you like.

I would say solidify your niche first. I happen to be lucky enough that my niche is Mediterranean food and my people told me what they’re needing.

So, I would say for anybody out there, think about your own brand. What is it that people come to your site for? And then, see how you can supplement that with a product that makes sense for you.

We can’t all be selling the same thing. I know some friends of mine, their product is basically ebooks and they do an amazing job with that because they’re really good with meal planning and they can add a ton of tips, they can add a ton of shopping lists and things that people need.

And they’re all online products and they’re not even touching the whole food product because there is a side of that that you’ve got to have the insurance for. It’s really layers and layers of work.

So, pick the product that works best for your audience and for you that you can comfortably sell. Not sell. That you can comfortably offer as a service to your audience.

Jillian Leslie 45:04
I like that. Now, one thing that I like that you said is, you listen to your audience when they’ve got a problem because they can’t find a product, you see an opportunity in solving that problem for them.

Suzy Kradsheh 45:19
Yes, exactly. I don’t know if we could have been successful if we hadn’t been thinking about our audience first and how we can serve them best.

Honestly, when we got into this product side of things, we did not go after it for profit initially. Obviously, we do want to make money but we wanted to do something that really did help our people.

And from there, it kind of just mushrooms. Some people are really good at what they do. So, know what you’re really good at and then package it in such a way that serves your audience.

Jillian Leslie 46:01
Right. You know, it reminds me for Catch My Party, which is our big party site. What we did as a service is we used to we have a lot of user generated content. People upload their party photos.

We have a vendor directory, a lot of Etsy vendors. And as a service, we started pulling the Etsy products onto our site so people could find cool party supplies. And this was before Etsy had any sort of affiliate program.

So, we were doing this as a way to make it easier for people to plan parties. Then, it turned out a couple years later, Etsy came out with their affiliate program, and we were able to turn it on.

But that started from a need of saying, “How can we just offer this up?” We were making nothing on offering products. And it ended up working in our favor but that was not how it started.

Suzy Kradsheh 46:53
Yeah, and I think you touched on a very good point here. It is all about user experience. That’s what they tell us now as far as SEO even is concerned. Right for the user. Help the user.

Think of your product in the same way. What does this do for the user experience? Does it help them to go to some other site to buy a product? Do it.

Does it help them to buy the product right here on my site because I’m the only one who can provide the best product in this particular niche? Then, do that.

I really don’t feel like it’s for everybody, launching your own food product. It is a beast to take on, to be honest, and it won’t make money for a while but if it is for you and your audience, do it.

Jillian Leslie 47:41
I love that. I love that advice. Okay. Suzy, if people want to reach out to you, learn more about you. How can they do that?

Suzy Kradsheh 47:51
Well, I’m on TheMediterraneanDish.com. My contact information is there. So, if you go there, you can send me an email. I am on Facebook as The Mediterranean Dish. On Instagram as @theMediterraneanDish. So those are the main places that I hang out right now.

Jillian Leslie 48:09
Well, Suzy, I’m so glad I met you. Gosh, almost a year ago. I love what you’ve shared today. So, thank you so much.

Suzy Kradsheh 48:19
Thank you so much for having me. I love talking to you. And I hope this will help somebody out there.

Jillian Leslie 48:24

Episodes like this are some of my favorite because you get the whole picture. It’s really difficult to explain all that goes into running a successful business. I think that the highest can be higher and the lows can be lower. That’s been my experience.

I do think managing your mindset and your emotions becomes an even bigger part of the process. And before I go, I wanted to read a recent review of the podcast on iTunes.

AskBritain wrote, “I absolutely love your podcast. You are so generous with your knowledge. And I’ve been able to implement so many of the ideas you’ve suggested. Thank you.”

Well thank you AskBritain. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please head to iTunes. Give me five stars. Write a review. I would love to read it and maybe even read it on the show.

It will help other like-minded entrepreneurs find it and it will continue to grow and I’ll continue to get awesome guests. And I will see you here again next week.

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