For many food bloggers, the ultimate dream is to “go pro” and turn their blog into a business that can generate a full-time income. It’s possible, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, luck, and diversification to make that much money from your food blog. That last one, diversification, is a concept that people don’t often think about when they consider creating a full-time income from their blog.
People often use the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” when referring to diversification, but that phrase doesn’t really work for what we’re trying to communicate in this post. We like this phrase better:
Fill your empty egg carton.
Okay, we’ll be the first to admit that it’s not as catchy, but the visual of the egg carton helps to communicate the point that we’re hoping to make, which is this…
It’s really hard to create a full income from just one income source (i.e. one egg), but when you fill all of the possible income sources (i.e. openings in the egg carton), it becomes much easier to make that much money from your food blog.
Let’s use some realistic numbers. The most recent studies have shown that the median household income for a family in the U.S. is $70,784. We’re going to use this number as the base income for our “full-time blogger” experiment. We know that it’s not enough for some people to live on (and it’s more than enough for others to live on), but we had to pick a number to use. 🙂
The monthly (before tax) income for someone that makes $70,784 comes out to $5,898. We’re going to use this number and divide it among all of the possible ways to create an income as a food blogger. My hope is to show you what it takes to create a full-time income from your blog if you’re intentional about filling in the empty spaces in the egg carton (i.e. diversifying).
If you have just one egg (one source of income), you’d have to create $5,898 from that one income source per month. Two eggs would both need to generate $2,949 per month. In our example, we have 18 different income sources, so 18 eggs would need to net $328 per month. That’s going to be our “per egg” price point.
Is the goal to be creating an income from every. single. possible. income source? No.
Is the goal to create an income from as many sources as possible? Absolutely.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at each “egg” and estimate what it would take to earn $328 from that income source.
1. Display Advertising
When you think about how to make money from food blogging, display advertising is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Display advertising is commonly found in a blog’s header, sidebar, footer, and body of the text in a blog post.
Most display advertising is paid based on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost-per-click) basis. Depending on the time of year, you can expect to earn between $1-$3 for high-quality CPM based ads and $.25-$1.00 for CPC ads (for a food blog).Need some definitions?
It’s tough to provide an exact traffic number, but we’re confident that you could earn $328 a month on display advertising with 50,000 – 75,000 visitors to your site a month.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you promote an affiliate link to a product or service to your audience, and earn a commission from any sales made through that link. For food bloggers, this could look like sharing the kitchen tools or food products that you use and would recommend.
Let’s use Blendtec (a blender company with an affiliate program) as an example. Their affiliate program pays an 8% commission. That means anytime that someone clicks on your affiliate link and purchases a product, you get 8% of the purchase price. In order to get to $328 dollars a month, you would need to sell $4,100 worth of Blendtec products. That might sound like a lot, but many of Blendtec’s blenders cost at least $400, which means clicks on your affiliate links would need to result in 11 blender purchases in a month.
Keep in mind that these numbers are just for one affiliate program. There are thousands and thousands of affiliate programs that you can choose from and promote on your blog (here’s a list of nearly 70 options from our FBP Affiliate Expert, Justine!), so the $328 price point is easily achievable if you’re intentional about doing smart affiliate marketing.Are you a Food Blogger Pro member?
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is a great way to bridge the gap between quitting your “regular” job and blogging full-time. If you find yourself getting to the point where you’re almost ready to make the switch to blogging full-time but can’t quite justify it financially, then you can use freelancing as a way to quickly bump up your income.
Just a word of warning with this one: be sure that you don’t spend too much time freelancing if your ultimate goal is to be blogging full-time. One of the most important things with building a blog is continuing to add high-quality content to your publication (i.e. your blog), not other publications. As soon as you can justify it financially you should prioritize producing content for your blog full-time.
Despite my note of caution, at $125 per post, you could earn $328 a month by publishing just three freelance articles.
4. Recipe Development
Many food companies need recipes to promote or integrate into their product, and oftentimes these food companies don’t have in-house staff that can do the recipe development for them.
Enter: food bloggers.
Companies will often look to food bloggers to develop recipes for them. As you grow the list of recipes on your food blog, you’re essentially growing your recipe portfolio.
Recipe development, much like freelance writing, is another example of an income source that can be used as you transition into blogging full-time. Carefully consider any jobs that pay less than $100 per recipe, as your time might be better spent developing content for your own blog.
You can develop three recipes per month at $150 per recipe, and you’d be earning well over $328 each month!
5. Recipe Licensing
Recipe licensing is a bit different than recipe development. With recipe licensing companies pay you for recipes that you’ve already developed (as opposed to developing a brand new recipe). The price point on recipe licensing is usually a bit lower than recipe development because it is work that you’ve already done.
If you licensed a recipe for $85 you could get to the $328 price point by licensing 4 different recipes in a month.Curious how Food Blogger Pro members made their first $100 from blogging?
6. Food Photography
Much like recipes, many companies (think food and beverage companies, restaurants, publications, marketing agencies, other bloggers, etc.) need photographs of food to use. Taking on freelance food photography projects is a great way to create an income from the skills you’ve developed while building your food blog, but it’s important to know that the process will look a little different than when you’re photographing for your own food blog.
You should be prepared for 1) specific guidelines, 2) constructive feedback and 3) the client asking you to reshoot a recipe.
It’s important to know those three things when you’re determining your rate for food photography projects. For example, Lindsay, Content Director at our sister site, Pinch of Yum once did a photo shoot and asked for $100 per photo (one photo per recipe) shooting a total of 10 recipes. This initially seemed like a good price, but we quickly learned that there was a lot of time, energy, and cost that went into shooting 10 different recipes. On top of that, once we sent the photos over, they came back with specific requests for the photos to be different, like using a different bun for a burger or having less lettuce in a salad. In the end, we felt like $100 per photo wasn’t worth the time and energy it took, so keep that in mind!
A full-day food photography shoot could earn you anywhere from $300 (very low end) to $10,000 (very high end).Want to level-up your food photography skills?
7. Sponsored Posts
More and more companies are realizing the power of sponsored posts. A sponsored blog post usually means that a brand will pay you to write a blog post about their product or using their product, and then have you publish that post to your blog. A sponsored social media post often involves a Reel, post, video, or Story that features the product.
In essence, the brand is buying your audience’s attention and the trust that you’ve established with them. It’s an effective type of advertising for companies, as many users have become blind to ads, but if the promotion occurs naturally within the content, it’s really hard to miss.
Payouts for a sponsored post can range from $50 to $10,000 (sometimes even more!) depending on your blog’s traffic stats, your social following, your audience’s engagement, and more.Are you a Food Blogger Pro member?
8. Paid Newsletters
Paid newsletters are on the rise, and platforms like Substack, Ghost, Beehiiv, ConvertKit, and MailerLite make it (relatively) easy to get started. Newsletters provide an opportunity to niche down to a certain category of recipes (think vegetarian or gluten-free) or can simply serve as a way to provide exclusive content (like recipes or recipe videos) to your subscribers.
Most content creators on these platforms charge $5-10 a month for the newsletters, but it’s worth noting that the platforms do charge for their service (i.e. Substack takes 10% of all revenue), so definitely do your research before committing to a platform. Assuming you charged $5/month for your newsletter, you would need ~75 paid subscribers to net $328 a month.
Not ready to commit to a paid newsletter service? Another way to monetize through email is by selling ad spots in the free newsletters you’re already sending to your subscribers!Want to learn more about paid newsletters?
9. Video Ads
As video becomes more and more popular, so does the prevalence of video advertising. Video ads usually appear in the form of a pre-roll ad (before the video plays) or a hover-over ad (appears over a part of the screen as the video is playing).
The most common way to monetize videos with ads is through the YouTube Partner Program. CPMs for video ads vary greatly, but for this example, let’s say that yours is $3. That means that for every 1,000 views you get on your video, you’d make $3.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up as your video is shared and seen. You’d need ~110,000 views on just one video with a CPM of $3 to make that $328 per month.
10. Video Product Placement
Remember that episode of The Office where Jim is trying to get Karen her bag of Herr’s Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips? Was there a reason why Herr’s, a real chip company, was chosen for this storyline?
It probably wasn’t random. It was probably the result of paid product placement.
You can do similar product placement when creating recipe and food-related videos or featuring recipes on your social media accounts. The most common way is to get a company to sponsor your recipe. If you make a soft pretzel recipe and partner with a flour company, they can sponsor your video and you can include their product in the video.
But you can still make money from video product placement even if you don’t have a company to sponsor it.
How you ask? Good question. 🙂
You can mention products that you use in your videos and include your affiliate link to that product in the video. As someone is watching the video they might be inclined to click on the link and look at (and hopefully purchase!) the product.Want to make your own recipe videos?
11. Digital Products
Digital products, like eCookbooks, courses, or meal plans, are easy ways to add an income stream to your business. On Pinch of Yum, we sold one eCookbook in a PDF format. The only place we sold this eCookbook was on Pinch of Yum, but others have had success selling eCookbooks on other sites like Amazon.
Meal plans are another great way to use the content you’re already creating (recipes) and package them in a user-friendly product for your readers. Everyone is busy, and meal plans help to take some of the guesswork out of the weekly planning and grocery shopping process. You can offer a 1-week meal plan (side note: this would make a great email opt-in), or a multi-week meal plan with grocery lists. While a PDF is an easy way to put together a meal plan, you might also consider providing meal plans through a membership service, like Patreon, or an email subscription service, like Substack.
Price points can vary greatly for digital products, but $10-$40 is a common price range. At this price point, you’d need to sell 9-33 copies of your product monthly to reach $328 per month.Food Blogger Pro members!
12. Hard Copy Cookbooks
A hard copy cookbook isn’t for beginner bloggers, but it’s an important income stream to mention because many bloggers will someday write their own hard copy cookbook.
This income stream is a little bit different than the others in that there is usually a big payment up front (an advance) followed by smaller payments (royalties) that you’re paid based on how many books are sold.
A membership is the ultimate example of recurring income, as people sign up and pay on a recurring basis (usually monthly or yearly). Patreon is a popular choice for building a membership community, and your fans can pay either monthly or per post for the content and special perks you share there.
Another option for creating a membership with a lower barrier to entry is to create a membership on a social media account you already run (like a channel membership on YouTube or a subscription on Instagram). These memberships allow creators to provide exclusive content (think videos, Stories, posts, Reels, etc.) to certain paying members on your social media channels.
Does it sound like a lot of work to create and run your own membership site? Well, it is. Trust us, we know…😉
But you don’t need to create your own membership site in order to create passive income from a membership site, and the answer once again has to do with affiliate marketing.
There are a handful of sites that charge members on a monthly basis and also have an affiliate program that pays on a monthly recurring basis. The Food Blogger Pro Affiliate Program is one of them.
In becoming an affiliate for a membership-based site with a recurring affiliate payout schedule, you can get the benefit of recurring income without having to put the time, energy, and money into building your own site.
The top tier of The Food Blogger Pro Affiliate Program pays $11.60 a month per member, which means you’d need to refer about 28 people in order to get to the $328 a month in recurring income.
14. Speaking Engagements, Workshops, and Classes
“But I’m just starting out!” You might be saying… “How could I ever get people to come and learn from me?!”
Even if you’re at the beginning stages of your blog, you probably have knowledge that people want to learn from you, and a great way to teach people this knowledge is through a class (in-person or virtually).
What is the one area that you feel you really know best? Is it photography? WordPress? Photoshop? What about a cooking class?
Take this specific skill you have and create a class around it. Not only is this a way to create income from your blog, but it’s also a great way to connect with other bloggers (which is probably more important than creating income).
Eventbrite is an easy to use site that allows you to collect payments and distribute tickets for classes and events.
At $50 a ticket, you’d need 7 people to attend one of your classes to make a little over $328.
Consulting is similar to teaching a class, but it’s usually done on a one-on-one basis. The best way to figure out what type of consulting you should offer is by paying attention to the types of questions that people ask you, both online and offline.
Do people always ask you about staying fit? Or maybe people ask about how you put together a well-designed blog. Maybe your friends are always wondering how you make healthy food that your kids will actually eat.
These questions that people ask are like little arrows that point you towards the subject area that you could be consulting on. Once you’ve picked a subject area, build a page on your blog with different consulting packages that describe your expertise and what a client will learn if they decide to work with you.
At $150 an hour, you’d need to consult 3 hours a month to make $328.
Along those same lines, maybe you want to share your expertise in audio form. We do that for Food Blogger Pro with The Food Blogger Pro Podcast.
It does require a high production value, but it can help you reach a new audience or reach your current audience in a new way.
One really popular way to monetize your podcast is to sell ad spots to sponsors. You can charge sponsors a one-off fee or sell your ad spots based on the CPM model we talked about before with display ads and video ads.
And! If you create show notes for each episode (here’s an example of what our show notes look like), you can include affiliate links to products you mention in the episode.
17. Physical Products
Beyond selling cookbooks, we’ve seen lots of food creators have success with selling physical products like branded mugs, t-shirts, aprons, and other cooking tools on their sites. If you have a loyal community, this is a great way to 1) make some extra money on your blog, 2) increase brand loyalty, and 3) get some free advertising out of it!
You can print a custom t-shirt for about $12, and if you sell the t-shirts on your site for $25, you could make $13 per shirt. With that profit, you would need to sell 25 shirts to make $328.
18. Creator Funds
YouTube and other platforms all have their own versions of Creator Funds, through which creators are compensated directly from the platform for the content they create.
Most of these Creator Funds have specific eligibility criteria, so not everyone will qualify for them initially. For example, TikTok requires that you have >100,000 video views in the last 30 days, and at least 10,000 followers.
Creator Funds alone aren’t likely to provide a reliable income stream. But combined with the other 17 income streams on this list? Now you’re talking!
Our point with this post wasn’t to try and convince you to create an income from every possible income stream.
Our point was to show you that when you start to add different income streams to your blog, it becomes easier to achieve that goal of “going pro” with your blog and creating a full-time income.
So what areas of your “egg carton” are empty? Which one are you going to be filling next? Were there any areas that we missed that you think are important to include?
Here’s to a full egg carton and, in turn, a full-time income from your blog! 🎉