Do Not Compare! Lindsay Cotter from Cottercrunch.com

Lindsay Cotter is a gluten free guru over at CotterCrunch.com she’s a fitness professional and nutrition specialist for gluten free eating. lindsay cotterher goal is to fuel you with easy gluten free recipes nutrition tips and lots of no bake healthy bite recipes. She does her best to share proper health tips and tricks to keep your life in balance!

Tell us about your journey with CotterCrunch.com

I started at the end of 2008-2009 and on my husband’s blog. He was a professional triathlete  and he just ask me to start posting recipes because all his budies and athlete friend were asking for recipes. After that, I made my own and that’s also when I had to transition into gluten-free eating due to a parasite infection. I tied the two in and just took it on from there. I used to put some fitness in it but after my husband retired from triathlon, I really just focused on healthy bites, gluten-free eating and nutrition topics.
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What has been your proudest moment so far?

One of the fun things that I’ve been able do, since my husband is a tri-athlete, is talk a lot with Tri-Athlete magazine. I sent them a few healthy bites and they put them in their magazine and promoted them for me. Also I got connected with another friend who had a big triathlon podcast and she promoted my site and my e-books for healthy bites. It’s really exciting to still be in that community and be able to share that love of nutrition and sports in relation to triathlon and endurance sports.

What was your biggest flop?

When I did a sponsored post for a gluten-free company and I messed something up in regards to the nutrition topic.

Was there a specific moment where you realized you needed to move beyond just regular website ads and do more work with companies and brands?

There are seasons that your ad revenue is high or low, it just comes and goes quarterly. The blogging world really changed and you could bombard your page with ads and it would just be horrible and load slow. You may get more revenue but you also lose a lot of viewership or you could focus on just creating a niche, selling your own product, having some ads to keep some money generated and in doing sponsored content.

What are tips for someone who is starting out or someone who wants to make the transition towards working with brands and getting sponsorships?

Companies like to approach you, but they want you to approach them as well and say ‘hey! this is what I have to offer, this is what I think is going to be great. Tell them even if you don’t have a huge following but maybe your reach is really high. Tell them that you have an authentic voice and will do your best. There’s usually a budget and a way to work together but it’s just all making that connections. Just reach out to companies you want to work with and start a conversation.

Lindsay Cotter

Tell me about the moment where it went from being a hobby blogger to business.

When you fork over money to re-do your site. You’re like, ‘okay. This better work.’ There’s some point where you get a certain amount of traffic that you need to upgrade and maintain your site. I think that’s the point where you think, “something’s got to change.” Your site should be reader friendly and usable. You have to invest in yourself and that’s really scary. You have to invest in the time, money, the energy and everything, otherwise it’s just going to be stagnant. Ask yourself, are you ready to make that jump and to really believe that you can do this?

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How did you learn photography?

One thing that really helped me was reaching out to other friends who learned photography. I also have a good blogging friend that gives me a lot of feedback as well and her photography is amazing. I also reached out to one of the food photographers here in Austin and I just asked if she would give me a few hours of her time to learn some inside tricks, basics and critiques.  Reach out to those who are willing to help. You can always trade, if you have a specialty with something then, “you teach me this, I’ll be happy to do this…’

What is your biggest piece of advice to someone who is just starting out?

Do not compare. It’s so hard to not think, I should be at a certain level, when you just need to focus on your journey and what you can offer to others.  Just grow day by day, small victories of what you can do because, literally, you can’t do it all. Embrace that process.

Lindsay Cotter Cotter Crunch

Do you have a company/business owner/ food blogger that you looked up to?

I’ve always loved Lindsay from A Pinch of Yum and Jessica from How Sweet It Is. These are those people that I’ve known for so long and I’ve learned a lot from them.  They are also real people and share their journey as well. I love that they are authentic.

Where do you see yourself and your company in 5 years?

My goal is to make a gluten free or green food cookbook for athletes, as well as another healthy bites cookbook, like portable snack version for kids athletes with allergies.

How do you stay balanced and how do you make sure your day is successful?

I have a glass of wine every night. I would say also try to schedule time off. I’m horrible at it but I try to.

What has been a successful marketing technique for you whether it was a giveaway, a promotion or a partnering with a company?

I host a giveaway each month for healthy bites because that way I’m able to do a donation and ship to somebody. I love doing that because I get to give something away that is my specialty.

Share one thing that your readers and listeners to know about you that you think they don’t know.

I don’t like writing. It’s not my gift and yet I’ve been doing it since 2009.

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Do you believe in balance?

Do you believe in balance? I’m always thinking about life and staying balanced because to me it means a lot. I’m a working mom of 2 little girls. I always am working on that delicate balance between work and taking care of them. I’m really lucky that my husband and I are both entrepreneurs and we share the duties of taking care of our girls, along with having some other child care, like pre-school. This podcast topic came up for me this topic because I was listening to an episode of Amy Porterfield’s podcast and she was talking about different lies that we tell as entrepreneurs and she doesn’t personally believe in balance. If you want a really interesting episode, definitely go listen to episode #98.

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I want to know what you think, do you believe in balance? I don’t believe that you can have a perfectly balanced life in every single aspect but I do believe that you can get pretty close. And no, I’m not running a multi-million dollar business so maybe, hopefully when I get to that point then it will change, but I know for me some things just are non-negotiable, my family, my kids, I always have to have a balance between them and work. And maybe that means some of my other balls that I’m juggling will fall, but that’s okay.

I want to talk a little bit about balance and priorities and how you can figure them out to live a happy life because really, I am happy. Like I said, is every single aspect of my life perfect? No. Of course not. But the parts that I have in balanced I feel really good about.

If you’re listening, you are probably an entrepreneur; whether you have a side hustle, if you are a full time entrepreneur or you just have your own business. Balance is basically when all parts of your life come together in a way that’s right for you. It is truly personal, it’s going to look very different for you than it is for me. Like I said, in this season of my life when I have 2 young girls, they are gonna be the most important part of my day and that’s how I structure it.

I want you to think about, “What is your balance and where are your priorities?” Some parts of your life you may want to think about are financial, your family, your environment, your personal growth, love, your fitness and friendship. What makes you feel good, when you feel like you’re in balance?

I want you to really think about: do you feel like your living a life that you want to live or do you need to make some changes? Think about what you need to work on most.

If you like this post, then use my little cheat sheet to dive deep into figuring out your priorities. You will be able to examine different parts of your life, where your priorities are, what you’re most happy with and what you need to work on. You can get that cheat sheet by filling out the form below or by clicking to get my priorities cheat sheet here.

Download my Cheat Sheet_Figure Out Your Priorities

How to figure out what balance means for you:

  • Think about what areas you need to work on the most.  I love looking at the cheat sheet because I’ve done this for myself.  Write down a few things that you can do to work on the areas that you’re not a hundred percent happy with. For me, one thing I struggle with is, in meeting up with friends in person.  I don’t get to see my friends as much as I’d like to. One thing I want to work on is just seeing a in-real life friend once a month. For this season of my life once a month definitely works for me. I just did it this past week and it always leaves me feeling really good. I want you to think about what’s an area you need to work on.
  • Be very specific. For example, if it’s fitness and health for you write down 2 or 3 things that you can do that will make you feel better and do better with this area of your life. Maybe it’s waking up 5:30 in the morning ,3 times a week or maybe its spending 30 minutes meal prepping on Sundays to make 3 different snacks. Be really specific so you can measure it and say, “Okay, I did this,” or “Okay, I didn’t do it. I need to do it next week.”
Do you believe in balance? Here's how to figure it out. Click To Tweet

believe in balance

Do this for each part of your life that you are not totally happy with. What do you need to stop doing, to make time for the things that you really love and the things you want to improve on. For me, when I first started this, it was mindless, useless internet searching. I use to spend so much time on the internet, just browsing, looking at things that didn’t matter and didn’t make me any smarter. It was making me really unfocused.

What makes you happy? It changes! I’m in the season where I have really young kids but that might be different for you. That’s why it’s so personal; figure out what a happy life means for you and once you do this, life changes so every 6 months re-adjust and look at this again and figure out what it means for you.

When you have you’re priorities in alignment and you have identified what’s important then its very easy for you to look at opportunities and look at things that come up and decide yes or no. On another business podcast I talked about the importance of saying no. When you have your priorities figured out and your life is in balance, then it’s very easy to say yes or to say no. Going back to Katy Widrick’s interview, I love that she said she had passed up so many opportunities that other people would have jumped at, but they just didn’t fit her priorities and didn’t fit for her family. It’s very easy to say yes or no when you have your priorities down on paper.

I would love to hear what you think about this. Do you believe in balance? I believe in balance but not every single part of my life is going to be perfect. I have my priorities and I have the things that are most important to me and those are my non-negotiable, those are my top of the list.

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Let’s hear it! Do you believe in balance?

Blissful Bites Podcast Giveaway

Enter our Podcast giveaway (2 jars of Wild Friends Nut Butter, Variety pack of 7 soups from Splendid Spoon, 1 bag of Blissful Eats granola and Thinner in 30 by Jenna Wolfe) by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

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Be Honest with Yourself with Amanda Tress

Amanda Tress Amanda is a digital marketing consultant, mom of two, and personal trainer. Amanda has spent over 10 years helping women get fit and healthy and now she enjoys the privilege of helping female entrepreneurs in the wellness industry generate significant income with the purpose of recirculating wealth back out to their family, church, and community. Amanda uses her expertise in digital marketing and passion for wellness to empower female entrepreneurs to succeed with their small business.

Why are you so passionate about helping women in business?

I want to share a quick quote for you about why I have chosen to focus on female entrepreneurs. The quote is that, ‘A woman will spend 90% of her income on family and community, conversely men will only spent an average of 30-40% of his salary on his family and community. By investing in women it’s not simply a heart issue it’s an understanding that leaders will say, ‘If you want to be serious about solving problems in the world you need to invest in women.’ And that quote is from the entre-leadership podcast with Baret Ward. I truly want to influence our world and economy for the better. So I have chosen to focus on empowering women to generate significant income to then re-circulate back out to family, church and community.

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Can you explain why having a unique purpose is so important?

As entrepreneurs we will inevitably hit up against challenges and hurdles, and if we have a purpose statement it really helps us to push past those challenges and hurdles. It also helps other people understand why they should invest in our business.

What is one or two action items to help us figure out our unique purpose?

This is definitely not something that will come immediately. If the listeners sit down immediately today for an hour and think, ‘Gosh! I need to land on this purpose that drives me? It most likely won’t come immediately. In fact for me it’s been a process over the past several years where I’ve really thought, ‘Gosh? What wakes me up in the morning? What truly fires me up? Whose problems do I really want to solve? What makes me angry?’

But I have to say, it’s important for people to be honest with themselves as well. Maybe a few people heard my purpose and they thought, ‘Wow? That sounds so great. I’m just going to make my purpose be that purpose.’ It really doesn’t work like that; we have to be honest with ourselves and really got to sit back and think, ‘Why am I gonna continue serving my audience even when I hit up against enormous challenges?’ In fact my husband even earlier this year he said to me after I hit up against major, major issues he said: ‘Anyone else I know would have quit. They would have thrown in the towel but because you have such a deep unique purpose that drives you, you continue on in spite of it and you are stronger for it.’ And frankly this has been my most successful year because I was laser focus on my purpose.

How do our listeners move beyond just posting about their product?

One thing to consider when you are establishing a content marketing strategy is, ‘How can I really solve problems for my niche market? How can I prevent my niche market from a future pain point? How can I articulate that purpose that goes outside of myself and outside of granola?’ And as you really work through those questions you will find some really phenomenal valuable content to inspire your audience with.

What would you say to entrepreneurs about live streaming and why they should be considering that?

Live streaming whether it is on Periscope, Facebook or Blab is the most effective way to implement smart, authentic marketing. When we give our followers the opportunity to connect with us face to face and look into our eyes and hear that authentic, genuine spirit that we have, it’s truly powerful.

What is a ‘Lifer’ and why it is important to find?

In business it is really important to niche down and you’ve probably heard people say that you should go about an inch wide and a mile deep when you’re initially starting a business. Really think through who is that ideal client for you to serve? As you go and implement some valuable content marketing, you will want to have that ideal client in mind and with that ideal client you will be able to attract a tribe, a group of followers, who are highly targeted and they will be the perfect client for your brand moving forward.

Tell us what has been the biggest game changer in your business.

Hiring my own business coach. I am a business coach and for years I have invested in others and really poured into them. This past year I decided to engage in a year long mentorship program with my business coach and the month that I did that, I actually had a record month. It’s a willingness to invest in myself and say, ‘even business coaches need business coaches.

Favorite business book.

My favorite business book right now Entre-leadership.

What is your number one piece of advice to get started?

Just start. The most important thing is to simply START. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

What is your piece of advice to an entrepreneur who is ready to take their brand to the next level?

It truly is not what you know, it’s who you know. And one of the most valuable strategies that I’ve implemented in my businesses in the past year is writing a list of 50 influencers who I want to engage with through the year.

How do you suggest on doing that?

My strategy is to approach someone as a fan first.

What would you say is your secret online tool?

I love acuityscheduling.com. I have 170 clients right now who I’m serving and it’s really phenomenal that they can go into acuity and schedule consults with me without my assistant or myself having to look in the calendar and manually schedule.

What do you do in your day that contributes to your success?

Amanda Tress Blissful Bites Podcast

 What is your biggest marketing pet peeve?

Watching people whether it’s a multi-level marketing company or otherwise implementing spammy sales strategies and marketing strategies based on the cookie cutter approach and frankly they are just adding to the white noise online that is today’s social media invitation avalanche.

What are three action items that listeners can literally implement right now?

  1. Take some time to consider that unique purpose that drives you.
  2. Be sure to keep reading that on a daily basis. I would also consider plugging in that purpose statement into your social media platforms through the week because it’s important that we continue reminding our followers.
  3. Leverage live video streaming!

Check out the AMAZING Freebie Amanda has prepared for you! Go download it here -> Amandatress.com/blissfulbites

Connect with Amanda

Twitter: @fitparenting
Periscope: @fitparenting
Instagram:  @amandatress
Blissful Bites Podcast Giveaway

Enter our February Podcast giveaway (2 jars of Wild Friends Nut Butter, Variety pack of 7 soups from Splendid Spoon, 1 bag of Blissful Eats granola and Thinner in 30 by Jenna Wolfe) by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

Find me on social media and let me know what you think!

The Power of Saying No!

The power of saying NO. Do you say no enough? Are you staying true to yourself and your priorities? One of the questions that I’m asked all the time is, “How do I juggle it all?” I am a mom of 2 girls. I’m a wife, a sister. I own Blissful Eats, and I’m a health coach and I have various projects that I’m working on at any given time…plus I now have the podcast.

How do I fit so much in a day? It is the power of saying, “No”. I think a lot of times we are just super busy, we overbook ourselves, and we just want to be people pleasers. We just find ourselves overbooked with schedules that are jam packed with so many things to do, but how many of those things that you have on your to do list are really, really for you and for your family?

What makes me thrive is living my priorities which is my family coming first. I know when I’m overbooked, I’m not living my happiest life. You can find me in a cranky mood if I’m over scheduled. I always say my family is my number one. I really, really make sure that I actually live that and I don’t just say that.

I try not to do anything that doesn’t align with my priorities. That might sound a little harsh but obviously there’s an exception to every rule. I ask myself a couple of questions when I make decisions.

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Before you commit or make a commitment to something, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do they align with your priorities?
  • Is it fun?
  • Does it bring you joy?
  • Will it help you move forward in life?

The power of no

If you’re saying no to all of those questions or any of those questions then I really encourage you to think about what you’re saying yes to. Don’t say yes to things you want to say no to. I’m not perfect at this. I’ve totally said yes to things and when it comes down to the day I’m mad at myself for saying yes to something I should have said no to.

I want you to ask yourself those questions. Will it help you get to where you want to be? Stop feeling bad and stop making excuses. If you just explain yourself to people when they ask you favors or when you get commitments in the mail just be honest and they will understand. Just don’t make time for things that don’t align with your priorities.

power of no blissful bites podcast

If you are walking around and you’re not happy and you don’t feel like you’re living your priorities. What is getting in the way of your happiness? What are you saying yes to that you shouldn’t be? Ask yourself those questions and take time to reevaluate what you’re doing in your everyday life. Are the things on your to do list on your agenda or someone else agenda?

I don’t mean to sound harsh. We all have things we have to do, but overall on a weekly basis who are you caring for? Are you saying yes to things that really work for your family or are you over scheduling and doing things that don’t make you happy?

Something that helps me a lot is setting family policies. For us that means we are home for dinner.  We eat dinner as a family every single day, we eat breakfast as a family every single day, and we make sure that we’re both there to put the girls to bed at night. Those are our priorities. They don’t happen 100 of the time but when we get asked to go somewhere or do something we ask ourselves those questions, does this align with our criotiies and does this work for us; 90 percent of the time we stick to what’s in our family policies. I encourage you to set your family policies and figure out what works for your family. We have small kids. our policies look different than someone who has older kids.

Food for thought: There is a lot of power in saying no. Ask yourselves those questions and think about your schedule for the week. Are you doing things that really, really make you happy and if you’re not, then I encourage you to say no.

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Let me know if you are saying no to something or you’re just re-evaluating what things you are doing on a daily basis.


Enter our February Podcast giveaway (2 jars of Wild Friends Nut Butter, Variety pack of 7 soups from Splendid Spoon, 1 bag of Blissful Eats granola and Thinner in 30 by Jenna Wolfe) by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

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From Farmers’ Markets to National Stores in 5 Years with Erika Welsh from Wild Friends

 Erika Welsh is the co-founder of Wild Friends Foods, an all-natural foods company that makes both flavored and plain nut & seed butters.  She started this company serendipitously back in 2011 when she and her college roommate were munching on peanut butter Erika welsh Wild Friend on Blissful Bites podcastand celery and ran out of peanut butter!  Instead of going to the store to buy more, they pulled out their food processor and a bag of peanuts they just so happened to have in their pantry.  Once the food processor was running, they started combining all sorts of ingredients into the peanut butter and came up with many flavors that they immediately put in jars with a label and gave away to all of their friends! What was intended to be an afternoon project quickly snowballed into a business and the girls never looked back!  They left school to pursue their dreams of everyone having the opportunity to try Wild Friends! In 2012, Erika and Keeley appeared on Shark Tank which helped them gain tons of national exposure and has helped them go from farmer’s markets to 9,000 stores in just about 5 years!

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Tell us a little bit about Erika Welsh and Wild Friends.

My business partner and I started our company when we were best friends living in college. We were both busy college students and athletes and we love peanut butter. As many people especially college students do, we used to joke around. We used to buy, ‘Whose turn is it to buy the jar of peanut butter this week?’ One week we ran out of it and I had just been given a food processor as a gift for Christmas from my mom. And we ran out of it (peanut butter), it was a rainy January Sunday in Eugene, Oregon where we went to school and instead of jumping our bikes and go to the grocery store we just decided to make our own. We’ve seen a food blog post about how to make your own peanut butter and that was right up our alley since we were huge peanut butter fans. We started experimenting and realized it was so fun to just blend up a bunch of peanuts and salt and have our favorite snack at the ready and once you have the blender going it was hard for us to stop there. So we decided to start including all of these different ingredients that we already ate with peanut butter, like raisins, cinnamon, chocolate and coconut. We came up with all these different flavors of peanut butter and that’s how it all started.

Tell a little bit about your journey, how you went from just making it in your own kitchen to starting to sell it?

We were always just on a fast track since day 1 because we were so excited about the product and everyone around us was giving us such good feedback.They kept asking where can we buy it. We realized that we wanted to be able to sell it instead of literally meeting people on street corners on our college campus at University of Oregon. We started selling at our first street fair,  at the University of Oregon. We started selling our products there and that was the first time we went in front of our peers; everyone was coming in sampling and giving us feedback and we sold out  in one day. We’ve made enough to last what we thought were 4 days and it lasted one. After that street fair was over we just felt this momentum and excitement from all the responses  so we continued to do farmers’ market in the summer and then we started looking into stores. It was like, ‘How can we get this peanut butter to people’s hands because they were asking for it?’

My business partner Keeley was 18 and I was 19 when we started, we were sophomores. We had just declared our majors, Keeley was a journalism major, I was Environmental study and Spanish major. We had no interest in business or food science or anything like that and once this all started it just totally consumed our minds and our lives and that was all we wanted to do. Quickly it just became our whole lives and we finished our sophomore year at college just barely. We had a couple classes together and I remembered just sitting in class, swapping notes, ‘What time can we meet at… to go make peanut butter?’ ‘We just got 10 orders!’ It was very clear that our little project, as we called it, needed our full time and attention.

grow your food business

Do you have clear parameters with your partner?

In the beginning, we did everything together. We wanted to do everything together that just felt natural because we were best friends and starting this business together. We did that for a couple of years into the business and then I think we just kind of hit a breaking point where we looked at each other and we’re like, ‘We can’t continue to go to every meeting together. We can’t work on every project together or brainstorm every single thing together.’ There was definitely a time where we figured out we had to divide and conquer if we want to grow our business.

How did you come up with your sales strategy?

We did not have any business training. We from beginning Googled everything, called everyone we could, talked to other food entrepreneurs and this is when we were in Eugene. From the beginning, we really just did a lot of outreach. Something that really was a game changer for us is Keeley’s dad joined our team. He really helped us develop our sales strategy and our market strategy.

What would you say is your most proud moment so far?

I would never forget the first time that Keeley and I saw our products on grocery store shelves. That was on October 2011, and I remember we had gotten a purchase order from New Seasons Market. We got a purchase order from them and we delivered product to their store. We jumped in the car and rushed over one of the stores. We ran to the peanut butter aisle and we threw ourselves on the ground because our peanut butter was close to the ground and it was our jars all lined up.

Share your biggest flop or disappointment to date.

We started with peanut butter and that was really successful and then we realized there is this huge niche for almond butter because a lot of people were allergic to peanut butter. So we launched almond butter and that’s the second biggest nut butter category besides peanut butter. After that we realized that a lot of people have nut allergies in general so we launched sunflower butter. When we did this we wanted to have a variety of flavors like we do with our peanut butter and our almond butter so we launched a maple, a honey and a chocolate.

One of the things that I would stress to people, especially with a food product or even if you have a body care product or anything that requires a recipe, I would say ‘Do not launch that product until you have the recipe 100% nailed down because for us we launched the chocolate one, the recipe was not perfected. We got it into a lot of distribution and we were changing the recipe. When it would be on the shelves if someone found that product and liked it once they would go back and it tasted different and then we would get emails about that.

What is your biggest piece of advice to someone who is just starting out?

Erika Welsh from Wild Friends Foods

I would say just start.

Do you have a company or business owner that you and Keeley looked up to when you were starting?

Picky bars. It was started by a couple of pro-athletes. Lauren Fleshman is a professional runner and she started this with her husband. They were in Eugene at that time and making their products in their kitchen similar how we were but they already had products in grocery stores and in running stores. Their niche was really for people living an active lifestyle, needing quick healthy fuel in a bar that didn’t have a bunch of crap in it. I remember thinking that I wanted that to be us someday.

Where do you see yourself and your company in 5 years?

Our products now cater to a lot of people and we just want that to continue growing. We see Wild Friends being in a lot more aisles at the grocery store and having a lot bigger footprint. So in 5 years, I hope that we have accomplished that or on our way to accomplishing that.

How do you stay balanced and how do you make sure your day is successful?

Exercising is what keeps me sane.

What is your secret online tool?

There is a calendar called the Sunrise Calendar that I use to keep everything that I need to do and all of my appointments or meetings on their Google docs. I love Google docs especially when you are working with a team.

Do you have a book recommendation?

‘All marketers are liars’ by Seth Godin. I say that this is a must read for anyone that starting a business and trying to figure out how to market their products.

What is a successful marketing technique for Wild Friends?

For us, Instagram has been huge. Whether sharing photos of our products or sharing photos of our recipes, doing giveaways with other influencers or other companies or other people we looked up to that has been huge and that has been really great way to get new people to discover Wild Friends, to gain followers.

Share one thing that your customers and our listeners to know about you that you think they don’t know.

Keeley and I are at the core of Wild Friends and at the core of our products. We were just 2 teenage best friends when we started our company with a mad love for peanut butter and we turned that love into our own business.

Erika Welsh from Wild Friends

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Where can you find Erika and Wild Friends?

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Enter our February Podcast giveaway (2 jars of Wild Friends Nut Butter, Variety pack of 7 soups from Splendid Spoon, 1 bag of Blissful Eats granola and Thinner in 30 by Jenna Wolfe) by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

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3 Ways to Improve Your Website and Blog

With new platforms and plug ins and all new shiny objects, it can be hard to figure out what you should be working on to grow your blog. Focus on what’s working! If you try to be everything to everyone you end up not being successful on any front. Figure out what’s really working and let the rest of it go! Search Engine Optimization is a great tool you should be using on your blog and website, whether it’s for business or personal use! Listen to this episode of the Blissful Bites podcast to hear Katy Widrick break down how you should be using it to grow your traffic, repurpose your content and the plug-ins you need to get to make it easy! 

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How to look at your google analytics to find the numbers you should be tracking on your website.
  • How to easily implement SEO to grow your traffic.
  • 3 changes you can make to improve your website
  • What is important in growing your online brand.

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Search Engine Optimization on Your Website

Search engine optimization is the best tool that you’re not using on your blog or website. You have to think, what can you do to your website or products to make them stand out in google? How can you make sure your site comes out ahead of other sites? It’s so much simpler than people realize. There’s great tools you can use. Search is pretty friendly to beginners if you do the right things.  There’s also an art of storytelling that search engines reward you for also!

SEO Tips Katy Widrick

Click below to download a checklist to make your old content new again! Get access to Repurposing Your Blog Content Checklist + Google Doc to make it super easy for you to fix up old posts! 

Click Here to Access Checklist!

Three suggestions to easily implement SEO on your website:

  1. Yoast SEO: On wordpress, if you’re self hosted, there is a plug in called Yoast for SEO. It allows you to unlock a few new fields when you’re creating a blog post or posting a product. It asks you what is the headline, you put in meta-description with key words. The boxes tell you exactly what to put in. It’s like a game because when you submit it, it will tell you if it’s green, yellow or red and will give you changes to make to make it green!
  2. Google Analytics: No matter what platform you’re on you need to understand you’re Google Analytics. That’s apiece of code you can put on your website to track your page views and visitors. You can see how many people are finding you through search and what keywords they’re using to get there.
  3. Google Search Console: You can to verify it with a small piece of code. You can see what everyone is searching for in Google in reference to your niche. If you see you’re getting a lot of impressions but very little click through, then you can look at why. You can tweak things on your website to help you get more clicks.

They’re all user friendly and have an immediate impact on how you appear on search. At the end of the day as much as you can learn about your traffic and where it’s coming from and look for opportunities to get more of those people to click through; it’s easier and more effective than trying to these big community on social networks.

Focus on what’s working! If you try to be everything to everyone you end up not being successful on any front. I would rather see people pick one or two places and figure out if it’s working. Figure out what’s really working and let the rest of it go!

Is it working? Is it fun? SEO tips from @kwidrick on the #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Katy Widrick on the Blissful Bites Podcast

3 changes you can make to improve your business + website:

Click below to download a checklist to make your old content new again! Get access to Repurposing Your Blog Content Checklist + Google Doc to make it super easy for you to fix up old posts! 

Click Here to Access Checklist!

  • Email Marketing: I have been spending a lot more time in email marketing in the last month or two. I’ve really been doing a lot more templates for my newsletters I have been looking into automation which is a drip campaign. I’m really focusing a lot of my design work, a lot of my set-up on my newsletters campaign and I’m seeing a lot of success on that.
  • Historical optimization: I told you I’ve been blogging since 2007, well a lot of the posts from when I first started are terrible. I’m going through and I’m taking some of the posts that I know would resonate with people today that I have written years ago. I’m cleaning them up, I’m fixing typos, I’m doing photography and graphics and I’m actually republishing them in my site.
  • Repurpose and republish: This week I republished a post back in 2011 I put all new graphics on it. It’s a how to on being a good guest poster. When it got republished and re-pinned and re-shared, it’s like a brand new post except it actually took very little time to clean up.

Best tip for building your brand and website

You have to look at your analytics. If you have nothing else to do after this podcast then go find your analytics, otherwise you are operating blind. You need to know if your users are looking at you on mobile or desktop. If they’re looking at you on mobile, how’s your site doing? Is it working? You need to know if they are coming to you from pinterest or Facebook or a referral source and then figure out how to reward those people or figure out how to get more of the people from the referral sites.

 

Katy Widrick is a multimedia producer and social media manager. She blogs all about technology, health, fitness, parenting and current events at katywidrick.com. She’s a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor  and she also shares tips and tricks for staying healthy in a hectic world. Katy also offers brand building and increasing blog traffic at makemediaover.com and is a syndicate living blogger for the Huffington post and fix.com. She lives in Petersburg, Florida with her husband and two beautiful daughters. 

Where can we find Katy?

Want to create less NEW content on your blog and fix up old posts? Access the checklist below to help you fix up your old content to make it new again!

free checklist

Just Roll With It with Lee Hersh from Fit Foodie Finds

Lee Hersh is the blogger and business women behind Fit Foodie Finds. She is a healthy recipe creator, food photographer, risk-taker Blissful Bites with Lee Hersh from Fit Foodie Findsfrom Minnesota. She co-runs the Blogger Project which is dedicated to bloggers learning more about the ever changing industry. Lee has transformed her website from just a recipe blog to an entire wellness brand. She is always having fun creating the next best recipe, showing her infectious personality on snapchat and she makes getting a good sweat in fun!

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How did you start Fit Foodie Finds?

I started 5 years ago, at that time I was a junior in college at the University of Minnesota and my sister and I loved to read healthy living blogs.  She just said why don’t you start a blog? The next day I just jumped right in and started a website called College Foodie Finds. It was more to chronicle my journey in college and live healthy. I was posting more educational stuff, I was not really creating content at that time.

Things morph, 6 months later I changed it to Fit Foodie Finds and then I really started focusing a lot more on food and sharing the recipes that I was eating in my own home. Today things are a lot different. I not only focus on healthy recipes but I’m really trying to incorporate more lifestyle into my website, more workouts, and travel and just like general life updates.

How do you sum up everything you do?

I say that I run a food and lifestyle website then I also mention that I run kind of like an educational consulting platform where Davida from the Healthy Maven and I kind of mentor other bloggers into how they can also run their blogs as businesses.

What has been your most proud moment out of everything?

I think every single day is a proud moment for me  being able to wake up kind of just have the realization that I plan my day and it’s completely different from the day before and that I run my life. I run the business and every single aspect of my day. It randomly hits me throughout the week, I can get really stressed and then I can just take a step back and say, Oh wait! This is awesome. This stress is awesome.

What is your biggest flop/disappointment?

My biggest flop is not realizing what Fit Foodie Finds was until 4 years in basically. I wish I’d gone into things with a different mindset. I think it took me quite some time to get the confidence to just tell people that this is what I do. If I had that confidence a little sooner I would have taken myself more seriously and just have the will power to be like, ‘this is a thing; we’re moving forward.’

Tell me more about The Blogger Project.

We really wanted to create a space where we just are very transparent about how we’re making money, how we’re pitching brands, what’s working and what’s not. That’s the whole goal of The Blogger Project. It’s really to create a community and to create conversation around blogging and business.

Biggest piece of advice who are just starting.

It’s just get started and roll with it.

Do you have a company/business owner/mentor that you looked up to?

I love Pinch of Yum. They’re based in the twin cities and I’ve met Lindsey in real life and they have become mentors to lots of different bloggers because of her transparency in business. Also Dana from The Minimalist Baker; her creativity and her work are sheer amazing. I always kind of looked up to her in micro photography and the food styling aspects of things. And any site with podcasts out there. I learn so much on podcasts, hearing other’s stories.

Even Martha Stewart, she just created this monstrosity of a brand and I’ve always liked her and I secretly wanted to be like her because she has kitchenware then she moved into bedding and it just shows how a brand can evolve overtime.

Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?

I wish I could predict the future because I have no idea what the internet is going to look like.  If I was doing exactly what I’m doing today in 5 years, I would be very happy.  I want to have kids, I want to raise them, I want to be at home with them and I also want to make 6 figures at the same time. Now, I like to take on a lot of projects so I could see myself kind of dipping my hands into some other businesses, not starting them but kind of joining a team of a business or two in the food space probably.

Blissful Bites podcast with Lee Hersh

What is your secret online tool?

For blogging I love Coschedule it is a content calendar scheduling tool and I swear by that. I love it, it’s visual, it helps me categorize and stay on tract. Another tool that I just picked up over the past year is called Wunderlist and it’s pretty much just this app and syncs with your desktop and your phone but it allows you to create lists. It’s kinda like to-do list but it’s virtual instead of written.

How do you find a way to stay balanced?

It has been a work in progress. I think that it’s hard to, beyond vacation to completely disconnect from your business just because social media lives on and doesn’t just like stop at 10 pm and pick back up the next morning. There are little things that I try and incorporate in my everyday to stay balanced.

What has been a successful technique for your company?

In the summer of 2015 I partnered with Ambitious Kitchen. Monique is amazing. She is actually from Minneapolis but she lives in Chicago now. We met on a press trip and we came up with the idea to host something called the Summer Sweat series on both of our websites. There is something we call the summer slump where in the summer months traffic kind of dips, engagement is low. It was a food plan mixed with workouts and kind of a guidance of a nutrition plan. It was a big risk because it was so much work but we’re moving forward with 2016 and we’re really excited and we might implement it twice this year. It was a really cool thing where we stepped out of our comfort zone and a really good thing came from it.

How did you manage to build a team around you?

Last year I was swimming in work and I decided that I would love to have someone who can help me manage social media, be there to assist in my photo shoots and just have someone to bounce ideas off of. So I hired Linley who I went to college with and she is just amazing. I feel like she kind of keeps me afloat. She just brings great energy to the business which is invaluable to me. In October, I brought on Emily as a brand manager.

Just Roll with it: Blissful Bites Podcast with @fitfoodiefinds Click To Tweet

Where can we find Lee:

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Enter our February Podcast giveaway (2 jars of Wild Friends Nut Butter, Variety pack of 7 soups from Splendid Spoon, 1 bag of Blissful Eats granola and Thinner in 30 by Jenna Wolfe) by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

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Creating a Brand Identity with Lindsey Skye

Lindsey Skye, Branding Expert

lindsey skye blissful bites podcast

Lindsey is a mom to 2 boys and enjoys traveling the world with her family. As a photographer and social media junkie, Lindsey works with female entrepreneurs to fine tune their online presence and build brand confidence. She works with women to show you that you should have confidence in your brand and know that you should not spend thousands on perfecting your image.

Lindsey has been able to really help female entrepreneurs fine tune their online presence and build brand confidence on and offline.


Social media is a visually captivating platform that you really have to have eye for graphic and design as well as the social aspect of it.

What should entrepreneurs be focusing on if there working on growing their brand?

The things that you should definitely be working on is being consistent across all areas of business whether that’s your specific website, connecting with your network or just creating posts seen by the masses.

What would you say is your favorite social media platform?

It would definitely be Periscope first and Instagram second. I say Periscope because when you get on to a live streaming network like Periscope you are able to reach new people every single day, with very little effort and you talk about topics, meet new people and then they share it with their audiences. You really don’t have to do much work other than show up.

Do you have quick tips for people who are nervous about their first live broadcast?

The number 1 answer is to just do it. Stop worrying about the planning and looking perfect and having everything set up nicely. Just get on there, start talking and then write down some ideas afterwards or things you can change and make it better every single time.

How do you style and edit pictures?

My favorite way to style pictures is with a simple background because it is visually appealing. This is going to be the best way for you to get your vision and your message across through beautiful picture without too much clutter and chaos. For editing pictures, I do a lot of in phone editing underneath your actual photo album. One of my favorite apps would be the Color Story app.  It’s a brand new app that is absolutely changing the way I create my images.

blissful bites podcast lindsey skye

What would be your number one piece of advice to just start? 

Next to just getting out there and doing it, have your content pre-planned out. Plan ahead of the time, create a content calendar, write out what you are promoting and when you are marketing those promotions so that people will start to get to know you and what you have to offer.

What is your social media pet peeve? 

One of the biggest things that drives me nuts is spammy sells and that is simply when people aren’t sharing the experience of what they are offering, they just simply want you to buy.

What are the 3 things that they can do other than posting photos of their product? 

  1. Give a testimonial of the few previous clients that you had.
  2. Share your story and why you are so passionate about your product and services.
  3. Layout a way for them to contact you and receive something in return.  Start a newsletter, give them something  free and start the relationship without actually selling the product right up front.

What would be your piece of advice for entrepreneurs who are ready to take their brand to the next level?   

Create a brand identity for yourself.  Think about how many times you’re showing up per day on social media, how well your engaging in the audience that you have built and how you follow through with this audience. Make sure that you are following through with this relationship outside social media.

What are 3 action items they can do right now to help their brand? 

  • Connect with the people you have in your network. Start sharing your story, passion, and message.
  • Create a product for you to offer
  • Plan out a strategy and create a plan to implement it.

What is your favorite online tool? 

I absolutely rely on the power of Google and I think that is something people often forget. Besides using the most powerful search engine ever, I also absolutely love Creativemarket.com. This is where I get so many inspirational pieces of design work and fonts which are my absolute favorite part of design.

Tell us one thing that you do in your day that contributes to your success.

I get up really early and that is one thing it’s non-negotiable, I drink a ton of coffee and I’m always consistent.

Where Can we Find you?

Blissful Bites podcast :Create a brand identity @lindseyskye_ Click To Tweet

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Just Be Yourself with Jessica Merchant from How Sweet Eats

Jessica Merchant is a full-time recipe developer, content creator and blogger. She has been writing the food blog, How Sweet Eats, since 2009, when she finally discovered a way to mesh her passion for building recipes with one of her other favorite things: writing. She is madly, outrageously, inexplicably in love with food. In 2014, she released her first cookbook, the best-selling Seriously Delish. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pa with her husband Eddie and son, Max. In her spare time, she loves reading, writing fiction and practicing yoga. And margaritas. Obviously.

Just be yourself with @howsweetblog #BlissfulBitesPodcast Click To Tweet

To subscribe to the Blissful Bites Podcast and listen in iTunes click here! 

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In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How Jessica got the idea for How Sweet Eats
    • Where she finds daily inspiration from.
    • How she stays balanced.
    • Her proudest moment so far in her business journey.

How did you get the idea for How Sweet Eats and how did you get started?

I truly got the idea because I was stuck in an office job that I swore would never work from the time when I was little. I knew that I didn’t want to work in an office or in a cubicle and that is what I found myself doing. And I didn’t have much to do. I think that I came across blogs but I really wanted to start a lifestyle blog and at the time I didn’t really have the means of doing one. I mean I didn’t have any photography, I sat at this desk from 8-5 and so I decided that I would just write about what I was cooking for dinner. I guess sprinkle in with some lifestyle things and I didn’t tell anyone that I started it. I didn’t know anything about blogging, I didn’t know anything about the technical side, I didn’t think about a name… I truly didn’t know. I just started like a little personal diary on the internet. But the way I truly got started is when I went to free Wordpress and picked a line from my favorite James Taylor song and went from there.

Biggest flop.

“I am such an all or nothing person. It’s a horrible thing but I am just so passionate about the things I love and so just don’t care about the things that I don’t.

I definitely fell into comparison trap at the beginning that even though everybody else is doing something, every other blogger is doing this and maybe getting cool opportunities from something. It just might be not right for me. I need to continue to stay true to myself. If it doesn’t feel right in my gut then I know that I shouldn’t do it.”

Major advice and take aways

Blissful bites podcast Jessica Merchant from How Sweet Eats

 

What has been your most proud moment so far?

“My proudest moment is being consistently genuine in the internet and really staying true to who I am. I really have not done anything that am not super passionate about or believe in.”

How to find inspiration!

Where do you get your daily inspiration from?

“Truly, I get it everywhere. I get recipe inspiration anywhere from maybe eating out a restaurant. I get it from seeing a billboard when I’m driving, from seeing a magazine cover, through looking through a magazine, from a beautiful cookbook. Having a creative mind it’s easy to pick up inspiration from anything. You kind of look around and see it.”

Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?

She sees herself writing a novel and she is also working on a tween fiction series right now. She would love to see these things as her main career but still be able to do her blogging.

How do you stay balanced?

That’s definitely my biggest challenge since having a baby. Before having a baby I could work 80-100 hours a week and never felt burnt out. Now I’m definitely struggling to find that work-life balance.

What do you do that makes each day successful?

Obviously I look forward to a cup of coffee every morning but what I’m really into is bullet journaling, which is creating my own planner with a notebook.

Jessica finds inspiration on the DAILY and works hard to avoid the comparison trap. Want to hear how? To hear more from Jessica, listen to her masterclass from the Food Entrepreneur Summit for free here.  If you’ve been stuck in the comparison trap, or are there right now, then you need to get out! You need to figure out how to move on, get inspired and get back to creating great content for your audience, then watch the summit masterclass for free!

Jessica Merchant

Where can we find you?Blissful Bites Podcast Jessica Merchant from How Sweet Eats 

Jessica is a completely self-taught photographer and recipe developer, has a true way with words, and shares herself through recipes, daily musings and, of course, on Snapchat. Jessica loves neon colors, lip gloss, bacon and most importantly is a mom and wife. 

 

 

 

Jessica Merchant

A Little Catch up on Blissful Bites

What a whirlwind week! The Blissful Bites Podcast has gone off and it’s on it’s way to 500 downloads. I would love to hit that before the week’s over. This podcast has been all about your help and support…seriously. Without you, it wouldn’t be doing so well! I posted a few posts here this week, so I wanted to kind of play catch up to make sure you saw them all! The Blissful Bites podcast launched this week with 3 episodes, the About Me episode and interviews with Jenna Wolfe and Nikki Frezza from Nikki’s Coconut Butter.

You can listen to them here. 

Just a note: This blog will not be all things podcast, all the time. Next week you can expect it to go back to wellness, family and business, with two podcasts posts a week added in! So if the podcast isn’t your thing…no worries (except I secretly hope it IS your thing!)

Blissful Bites Podcast Jenna Wolfe

Blissful Bites Podcast Show Notes:

The show notes for each episode will always be under the podcast tab…or you can directly go to NicoleCulverblog.com/podcast. I’ll have interview highlights as well as the images and promo videos. So in the past week I’ve published Jenna Wolfe’s show notes, Nikki’s Frezza from Nikki’s Coconut Butter’s show notes and my About Me show notes. I’ve also published a compilation of fantastic tips from all 10 interviews I’ve done with all of their best advice on how to get started. It’s a great print out for motivation!

So now…I’m asking you all for a few favors! The beginning stages of a podcast are SUPER important...so I could use some even more help.

Here’s how you can help the Blissful Bites Podcast:

  1. Subscribe. This is the most important!
  2. Share. Share with anyone you think would love a listen. You can tweet, text, pin an image from this post. Click here to tweet out the podcast. 
  3. Write a review! This would be SUPER helpful too. You can write a review here! 
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THANK YOU so much for your help and support!! xoxoxo

Let me know what you think of the podcast! 

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