Davida Kugelmas is the writer and recipe creator behind The Healthy Maven. In this episode you’ll learn how she got left her full time job to work on her blog, how she brings in an income, where she finds inspiration and working with Lee from Fit Foodie Finds.
Tell us a little bit about you, Davida Kugelmas, and what you do.
I started the Healthy Maven a little over 3 years ago. Mainly as a hobby, I was really happy at my job, and had this passion for health and wellness. I was 22-23 and people my age just weren’t talking about it. I wanted a place where I could talk more this stuff and that’s how I started the Healthy Maven. I was just doing it in my spare time, managing a 9-5 job, and running the blog in the evenings and on the weekends. I was loving it so much that I knew I wanted to find a way to turn it in to a career. It’s definitely was not my intention when I started the blog, but pretty quickly I was like, this is what like passion feels like, this is what it’s like to wake up and really want to work on something. I just wasn’t feeling that in my job. Fast forward, I guess after about a year running the blog, I took it on full time, and it’s been about two years and I’m loving every second and it’s awesome.
How did you actually go about quitting your full time job?
I think it’s like when I tell that story, I glaze over the details that happened behind the scenes. There was definitely some struggle in there but I knew going in to it that there was going to be. I didn’t have student debt, I didn’t have any children to support, I didn’t require a lot of funds in my life, or debt to other people, so it was like, if there’s any time in my life to take a risk it’s now.
It was the very first time I took a really big risk in my life. I knew I needed some buffer in between and I needed time. So what I did was I transitioned from my full time job into a part time role with a healthy foods start up in Toronto. We were working doing some social media stuff.
I was working doing trade show demos and in-store demos and it was great because there are a lot of flexibility and it also taught me a lot about the food industry. Because it was a food start up, it taught me that didn’t really want to sell a product and also it was a great way to bring in a little bit of income.
I did that for about six months and then at that point I was feeling like that I was bringing in enough money from the blog. I definitely took a risk there and I definitely assessed my situation and that taking a risk was going to be a complete explosion, and then I just did it. I really don’t understand who I was when I made that decision because it’s so unlikely but I’m really happy of what I did.
It’s okay to take your job you’re not going to be in for the next 5 years to get where you are with your passion.
Exactly, I didn’t know where that role was going to go, I loved it so much. I knew my ultimate goal was around the blog full time, so I think it’s important to start to look at the big picture and that can help you with the goals that you have set for yourself. I also was really lucky that I have found a role that was the other side of the industry that I want to be in but really taught me a lot about the other side of it. It definitely help some elements of my education that I wasn’t necessarily getting in running the blog. So I learned a lot about the other side of the industry, as well as bringing a little bit of income to help support the blog.
Can you give the listeners any tips on approaching brands and what brands are looking for them?
The most important lesson that I’ve learned in a bloggers perspective was that you offer some added value. You just need to figure out what that is and I think some bloggers get stuck of the ideas of numbers but often times it can be things like photography or writing or different aspects of your business that isn’t about the numbers.
You’ll just have to figure out what that value is. When you are approaching brands you can explain to them what you can offer them. I think we definitely as bloggers, undermined our skill set is and where our talents are and you’ll just need to figure out what they are. Remember that a brand is a business and ultimately they’re looking to meet that end goal. If you don’t have great readership on your blog, but if you take great pictures, offer free photography services or freelance recipe development, there’s so many avenues you can take you’ll just need to figure out what your skill set is and what can you offer in these brands.
What has been your greatest flop to date?
Biggest flop, I don’t know that this is necessarily, it wasn’t a huge flop in a sense that I didn’t learn a lot from it but definitely selling the eBook. I think entering into the world of selling products when you’re always offering things for free can be really challenging. I dedicated two months of my life to getting this book together, recipe testing, photographing, designing out the book and I learned so much in the process.
I really wanted to refine my skills and work faster, and also designing an eBook is a great skill to have but definitely wasn’t a huge money maker, if that’s how we’re defining flop. I put a lot time and effort to it. I could have made 3 times more in doing a sponsored post, so in that sense it was a flop but I was able to learned a lot and know if I need to whip up an eBook in a day, I know how to do it. I don’t regret it by any means but I wasn’t a huge financial success.
If you were to translate that into a lesson for the listeners, do you think an eBook is past it’s prime, since there are so many free resources out there?
You really need to assess what you have to offer, and assess whether you really want to be selling it. I think they’re great lead magnets to get people to sign up for your email list or just adds values to your brand. In terms of selling, you’re constantly offering free content, it’s really hard to get people to open up their wallets and give you money. I have everything here for free and in addition to that, there’s lots of sites offering free content, so if you’re really keen on making a recipe eBook, definitely look around and see what’s missing. But if you’re just going for a conventional recipe eBook, I would think twice if I’m jumping in but again it’s a great running lesson and it’s important for people to learn how to design these things and how to really refine their skills when it comes to recipe development and photography.
What would you say your best piece of advice to someone who just started out?
You just have to do it. So many people get stuck in room by perfectionism, myself included. I’ve been seeing a lot of videos lately where a lot of people have jumped into the video world and expect that their first video needs to be like an Oscar winning production. You just have to jumped in and do it and give yourself permission to take the time you need to figure out how to do it well. Everyone thinks that they need to be incredible off the bat but you don’t get better until you try.
Davida is the creator/writer and recipe developer behind the Healthy Maven, a blog dedicated to inspire healthy living through food fitness and everything in between. Davida is also the co-creator of the blogger project which is a website dedicated to help bloggers grow their blogs and run them as business as well as a freelance recipe developer and food photographer and she loves hockey like me so obviously she’s awesome.