342: Blogging with a Full-Time Job (Part One) – Optimizing Your Time with David Crowley

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An image of a notebook and a computer and the title of David Crowley's episode on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Blogging with a Full-Time Job (Part One).'

This episode is sponsored by WP Tasty.

Welcome to episode 342 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews David Crowley from Cooking Chat in Part One of our Blogging with a Full-Time Job series.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Meiko Temple about how she’s empowering Black culinary creators through Eat the Culture. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Blogging with a Full-Time Job

We’re excited to officially launch our Blogging with a Full-Time Job series! In this three-part series, we’re interviewing a few Food Blogger Pro members about what’s working (and what’s not) when it comes to balancing a full-time job with blogging.

And up first, we’re chatting with David Crowley! In addition to sharing hundreds of recipes with wine pairings on his blog Cooking Chat, David also runs Social Capital Inc., a non-profit organization that strengthens communities by connecting diverse individuals through civic engagement initiatives.

In this episode, you’ll hear how David has found balance with his work over time, why he’s been focusing so much on republishing old content recently, and what he’s looking forward to next with his blog.

A quote from David Crowley’s appearance on the Food Blogger Pro podcast that says, 'The most important resource we have is our time.'

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What David does for his full-time job
  • How he got into food blogging
  • How he’s found balance with his work over time
  • Why he’s been focusing on republishing old content recently
  • What specifically he updates when republishing content
  • What he’s currently struggling with when it comes to blogging
  • Why it’s so important to document your processes
  • How to find the right people to hire


About This Week’s Sponsor

We’re excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by our sister site, WP Tasty!

WP Tasty offers handcrafted WordPress plugins such as Tasty Recipes, Tasty Pins, and Tasty Links to help food bloggers optimize their content with minimal effort.

Learn how Pinch of Yum uses WP Tasty plugins to:

  • Increase search traffic
  • Grow affiliate earnings
  • Build traction on Pinterest
  • And more!

Click here to learn more.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

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Transcript (click to expand):

Bjork Ostrom: This episode is sponsored by our sister site, our brother site, our friend site, WP Tasty. It’s the go-to place to find rock-solid WordPress plugins for people like you. My guess is you’d consider yourself a blogger or a publisher or a creator under the broad category of business owner. And similar to us, Pinch of Yum, that’s what we are. And Food Blogger Pro is that, and we use WordPress, which is the WP part of WP Tasty to power all of our sites. We actually, maybe you’ve heard me talk about the acquisition of a site we had recently called Curbly, we brought that over to WordPress. We’re just big believers in WordPress, and we create plugins to support the content component of sites that we are running on WordPress.

Bjork Ostrom: So any purchase of their plugins, Tasty Recipes, Tasty Pins, Tasty Links comes with two things that are really important in the WordPress world. Really great support. Our support team is awesome. Not only are they smart, but they’re kind, they’re quick to respond and they’ll help you figure out how you can maximize that plugin and the plugin usage. But it also comes with continual updates, and you can make sure that the plugins that you have will be continually supported through updates, which is also really important. And really in the WordPress world, you can get things for free and use them, but when you’re paying, what you’re paying for is those, not only continual updates, but a great level of support as well.

Bjork Ostrom: So that’s really what we view as the subscription component of Tasty products. They’re different products, maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe you’re familiar, maybe you’re not. There’s Tasty Recipes, which is a recipe plugin that displays your recipes really beautifully and accessibly. Those are two really important things for your readers and for search engines like Google. It powers some of the sites that you might be familiar with. Pinch of Yum uses it. Obviously, we were one of the first users because we create it for ourselves. Cookie and Kate, who we’ve had on the podcast. Sally’s Baking Addiction, who we’ve had Sally on the podcast. Gimme Some Oven, we’ve had Ali on the podcast. So some great creators who we really look up to and appreciate are also users of Tasty Recipes.

Bjork Ostrom: And Tasty Pins is all about helping you optimize your recipes and images for Pinterest. So obviously a really important component of social media for creators, this is a Pinterest optimization plugin. It’s one of the main traffic drivers for Pinch of Yum and might be for you as well. So having a plugin that focuses on Pinterest is a important thing and a big win. Some of the things that it does, an example is you can elect to have certain images excluded from pinning. So maybe you have, in a post, you have an image of yourself, or maybe it’s your kitchen or something like that. You don’t want that to be pinned. So you can elect to have that excluded when people pin buttons. That’s a really important piece to give people the prompt to pin something. Descriptions around an image are really important.

Bjork Ostrom: So if you’re interested in that, actually, a great place to go would be wptasty.com/blog and you’ll be able to see some of the Pinterest content that’s been created on that blog to give you best practices around Pinterest. And Tasty Links, we call it an auto-linking plugin. It allows you to automatically add affiliate links and links to other pieces of content. We call it Tasty Links. So if you have a specific brand of flour in a few of your recipes, you can use Tasty Links to automatically add an affiliate link to that whenever you type the brand name. It’s super sleek. So those are the three plugins that are part of the WP Tasty family, Tasty Recipes, Tasty Pins, Tasty Links. You can check all of those out. Read a little bit more about them, read about other folks who have used them in testimonial section by going to wptasty.com. So check that out, again, it’s W, as in the letter W, the letter P and then tasty.com, thanks to the WP Tasty team for sponsoring the Food Blogger Pro Podcast.

Bjork Ostrom: Hello, hello, hello. This is Bjork. You are listening to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast as you know. What is the purpose of this podcast? Well, we’ve shown up every week for many weeks, years and years and years, having conversations with people that we call creators. The name of the podcast is Food Blogger Pro, but really these are creators. These are people who are doing recipe development, doing photography, doing video, learning social media, learning SEO, all around food and wine in this case as well. The conversation that we’re having today with David Crowley around his following and his site and his success with Cooking Chat. And it’s all about this kind of wine world meets food world.

Bjork Ostrom: And this is a part of a series. We’re doing a three-part series with people who are finding success with their blog and are doing that when they also have a full-time job. And what we’re trying to do with the podcast is getting kind of the full spectrum of creators. Some creators have been doing this for 15 years, and they’re having massive success with traffic and followers, and maybe they had timed right and they hit a market and everybody knows who they are. Other creators are in the really early stages where they’re just getting started and they’ve had some early success. They’ve figured some things out, they’re adjusting their schedule, they’re learning what it looks like to create successful content. And we can learn from everybody along that spectrum.

Bjork Ostrom: And David is somebody who is a seasoned pro. He’s been at this for a long time. And one of the things that I love about this conversation that I have with David is he’s not in pursuit of doing this blogging thing as his full-time gig. He has a nonprofit that he started. He is doing meaningful work within that nonprofit and wants to continue doing that. So he’s not looking to say replace this terrible desk job that he’s anxious to get out of, where we do have those conversations with some people who are like, “You know what? I just really have this driving force to do this on my own, to have this be the main focus.” But that’s not always the case.

Bjork Ostrom: So we’re going to talk to David about what his schedule looks like, what he’s learned through the years as he’s continued to evolve content, his business, where he focuses on things, where he’s found a success, and some of the things that he’s learned. He’s a long-time Food Blogger Pro member, and somebody that I know from interactions and conversations online, but it’s been my first chance to really virtually sit down and have a long conversation with him.

Bjork Ostrom: Speaking of Food Blogger Pro there is an upcoming Food Blogger Pro study hall this Thursday. So for any Food Blogger Pro members who listen in real-time, make sure that you check that out by going to foodbloggerpro.com/live. That’s where all of our live events happen and where all the information for those are stored. If you’re interested in doing that, if you listen to the podcast in real-time, make sure to check that out. This is something that the Food Blogger Pro team is demoing, or not demoing. We’re kind of in the early stages of testing out to see what it’s like. And a study hall is essentially an opportunity for Food Blogger Pro members to kind of gather around the virtual table and to have a conversation on a specific topic and to learn from each other.

Bjork Ostrom: And in this study hall, we’re going to be learning about Instagram, specifically engagement and growth. And all that you need to go do is go to foodbloggerpro.com/live, and there’ll be a link there to register for this upcoming study hall. You can use your Food Blogger Pro email address, the one that you used when you signed up for Food Blogger Pro, and we’re going to have a conversation around Instagram, and we’re going to learn from each other. We’ll use the breakout rooms feature in Zoom. So this will be an interactive conversational opportunity. It’s kind of like a mastermind.

Bjork Ostrom: And one of the things that I’ve learned to be most helpful in the last 10 years of us doing this work is the opportunity to sit in a room virtually or actually with other people and to hear from them, what’s worked? What are they learning? To share what I’m learning. And this is an opportunity for FBP members to do that. So you can check that out at foodbloggerpro.com/live. All right, let’s jump into this conversation, David, welcome to the podcast.

David Crowley: Hey, it’s great to be here. I’m a long-time listener. So glad to be on this end of it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah. It’s fun for me to see people who I know the online them really well and I know the online them with profile picture really well, but it’s like, “Wait a minute, this is a moving talking, David,” which is really fun to see. So we’ve been connected kind of in the online world for a long time and have kind of overlapped in the different kind of online spaces where we operate, but here we are on Zoom. Super fun to have you. So we’re going to be doing a series of sorts, talking to people who are successful in blogging and also successful in their career.

Bjork Ostrom: We chatted about this a little bit before I pressed record, but you’re in this great position where like, hey, what you’re doing in your day-to-day job, you’re not trying to escape. There are some people who are trying to escape the daily grind, but you’re not. But also, you love your blog and are continuing to work on it and build it and have been successful with that. And so we’re going to have a conversation with these folks who are in that space. Some are trying to, hey, leave the nine-to-five. Some are like, “I love what I’m doing. I want to continue to do that and have a side hustle.”

Bjork Ostrom: And we’re going to see if we can extract kind of some valuable nuggets to learn from you, how you’re doing it. And then also towards the end have a conversation around, hey… It’s kind of like what’s working, what’s not working, which will be a fun conversation. So before we get into that, what do you actually do? What is your full-time job? And then take us back to the day that you started your blog.

David Crowley: Yeah, sure. That sounds great. So my full-time job is running a nonprofit organization called Social Capital Inc., I actually founded almost 20 years ago. We run programs that get people more connected to their neighbors and more active in their local community. So that is my day job.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. And this was a nonprofit you started?

David Crowley: Yeah. Yeah. In 2002.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. And the name of it again is?

David Crowley: It’s Social Capital Inc. So it’s basically taking this term that, probably a good amount of people have heard, social capital, the value of our connections. Merely putting that in a local context. There’s a lot of evidence that says the more people know their neighbors, the more in interactive and civic life-

Bjork Ostrom: Oh my gosh.

David Crowley: … the better offer you’re going to be across all kinds of outcomes.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

David Crowley: And you’re living in one of the highest social capital states.

Bjork Ostrom: Minnesota.

David Crowley: Minnesota scores well in those kinds of things.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. And I love hearing that. One example of that, very small example, it’s –10 today when we’re recording this, super cold. And yesterday I stepped outside and it had snowed. And our driveway was completely cleared off. Somebody had cleared it. The best feeling ever in Minnesota is when you don’t have to do the shoveling or snow blowing. And I text Rob our neighbor, I was like, “I followed this snowblower tracks back to your place,” but what’s interesting though, we’re in the suburbs, one of the things that I’ve heard is there’s a correlation to opioid addiction in the suburbs due to the isolation that results in people living in these huge homes, they don’t have to go out, they don’t have to interact as much.

Bjork Ostrom: And the solution, the proposal in this situation from this individual is connection, is social connection because people aren’t feeling lonely and needing to accommodate for that in a way. So what a significant and impactful thing, and you really feel that when you start to have that connection with neighbors and you can text them and say, “Hey we’re going to be gone tomorrow. Can you watch our house?” And you trust them and have conversations out on the yard, or whatever it might be. When you started it, what was the reason behind doing it, was it a personal story or did you just see it as a need?

David Crowley: It was actually, I moved back to the town I grew up in. We’re in a suburb of Boston, and I grew up here, went to school in there, but I’ve lived in Kentucky for five years. And then also did apartment living when we first moved back to the Boston area. So then my wife and I bought a home in the town I grew up in. I thought I’d never be back to except to say hello to folks. Hello and behold, it actually looked better and better when you’re in that stage of thinking about buying a home, having children and that sort of thing. And so doing it really got me thinking deeply about how the community had changed and evolved much more diverse than when I grew up here. And a good thing, but it does create challenges as to how do you bring folks together in an increasingly diverse and changing community.

David Crowley: And so I was having that personal experience. I also read a book called Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam, which kind of talks broadly about this phenomenon of people being less connected to their neighbors and less engaged in community life over the last third of the 20th century. So I sort of had this idea of sort of trying to address this bigger problem locally with the idea of trying to develop something that might scale in some fashion. And we’ve grown from the town. We still do a lot. We actually have volunteers out shoveling for senior citizens today at first snow day in the area, but we serve communities throughout the Greater Boston area currently.

Bjork Ostrom: Gosh, that’s awesome. I’m going to add this book to my reading list. So this isn’t obviously Food Blogger Pro Podcast. I feel like we could do an entire podcast episode on this subject and it would be equally as valuable on talking about blogging business or whatever it would be, reason being, I feel like what I’m learning more and more is our well-being also ties into everything we’re doing. And so much of our wellbeing has to do with how connected we are. There’s tons of studies like that. You probably know more than I do around the variable that matters most isn’t how much money you earn, isn’t the work that you’re doing.

Bjork Ostrom: What it really is, is the strength of connections that you have with individuals, the people who you know, like and trust and they’re well connected with. I’m curious to know, how do you do that better? If somebody’s listening to this and they’re like, I want to be more connected with my neighbors and my community, how do you do that?

David Crowley: Yeah. That’s a great question. And part of what our organization tries to do is kind of serve up a menu of all kinds of ways people get involved locally. I think part of it involves taking a little bit of risk, checking out what’s out there. And some people are very comfortable just, “Hey, I’m going to go to a discussion for Black History Month at the local library.” And some people are really comfortable, but a lot of people are a little reticent to get out of their comfort zone. I think pushing yourself a little because in the short run the easiest thing to do is, the default is to stay home or say-

Bjork Ostrom: Netflix. Yeah.

David Crowley: Netflix or whatever. As a COVID numbers are going up again, or even jumping into a virtual program where you can get into discussions. I mean, that’s a one silver lining in this time. I think our organization has figured out a way to put a lot of our programming online. So look for those opportunities. I mean, this is a great time to just dive in and try something. You have a lot of organizations are offering very interesting ways to connect and engage with people virtually as well as in person. So taking a little risk in trying something until you find something that resonates.

Bjork Ostrom: I love that. One of the things that often comes up in the podcast is this question of, how do you connect with other people? How do you connect with other bloggers? How do you connect with other creators? And I think one of the easiest ways to do it, but not the simplest I’ll say. Not the easiest, because there is a comfort zone factor within it is being the person to invite other people in. Being the facilitator, the organizer. And you don’t have to be somebody who’s super charismatic. But to send a message to reach out to people and say, “Hey, would you be interested in getting together once a month to talk about blogging?”

Bjork Ostrom: That’s how I connected with three different people who have been on the podcast, Bruno, he does InfluenceKit. And he’s been on the podcast before. Mark, who has a company called Quiet Light. And he buys the sell website. He’s the founder of that. And Raphael, who has this site called Gentleman’s Gazette. Somehow realized they were all in Minnesota, and I just sent a message, was like, “Hey, do you guys want to meet up?” And it turned into this, once every couple months we’d get lunch and just chat about stuff.

Bjork Ostrom: And it was like, “Oh, those are great connections that came out of it.” And it reminds me of my neighbor, John, who when we moved in, he’s like, “Do you want to go for a walk? Do you want to walk our dogs together?” I was like, “Great. That sounds awesome.” But it’s not something I would’ve done. And I really appreciated him in doing that. So it makes sense when I hear you talk about that. Being the founder of a nonprofit, that’s 20 years, is that right? You said it started in 2002.

David Crowley: Yeah. 20 years this year. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Coming up on 20 years and deep impact and important work that you’re doing. And so it’s not like you’re going into an office and doing this miserable work that you want to get away from. It’s like, “Hey, I want to keep this because it’s really important, it’s what I want to be doing.” And you have your blog and you have success with your blog and you’ve been doing that for a long time. So how does that fit into the puzzle? And when did you start that and then when did you kind of double down on like, “Hey, this can actually be something that I could do?”

David Crowley: Yeah, sure. I think the backstory to it, I think starts with just, I quickly developed a love for, or interest and enjoyment of cooking shortly after graduating from college and all of a sudden, figuring out how to fend for myself.

Bjork Ostrom: You don’t have a food court that you can go to.

David Crowley: Exactly. And food’s always been important to me. I was in fact talking about meeting people. I remember in college, the joke would be, I’d sit through three cycles of people coming in and out of the dining hall. So I met a lot of people that way when I was eating.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Just hanging out. Yeah, totally.

David Crowley: So anyway, but in terms of getting into blogging, I think the early days for me, honestly, I forget the exact year because it started out very informally. Definitely as a way to kind of almost journal my cooking and also have a focus on wine pairing with the recipes I do. So kind of learning about that as well. So it was kind of a way to kind of… One of the things I came across, I forget what even I was doing, the idea of sort of sharing your journey through blogging kind of almost like open source, put out there, “Hey, this is what I’m learning. This is a recipe I tried or wine I tried.” And getting feedback from people that share the interest.

David Crowley: Some of the earlier days of the internet being a thing, where that excitement of, “Hey, I don’t have to be limited by the people in my family, just want to eat meat and potatoes, but I can connect with people who love Curry or whatever else it might be.”

Bjork Ostrom: At that time, it was pre–2010, because you started a little bit before then, but 2010, ’11, ’12. There still was this kind of journal mentality of blogging, which is informal. There’s maybe a couple casual pictures of what you ate. We aren’t really thinking about SEO optimization or content structure. It was like you’d follow people who were journaling. It was almost like Twitter. You’d have a follow on a blog and you’d see like, “Hey, here’s what they did today.” And they posted at night and just kind of a little journal entry. Is that kind of close to what-

David Crowley: Exactly. Yeah. It was on BlogSpot initially. So I did that for several years. There was actually, I know sometimes you seem to know all the obscure websites. I was also, I had my blog on that. And I was also on a site called Gather.com. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay. I don’t Gather, but I love, any time I can use the Wayback Machine and pull up a 2008 really popular platform. The one that a lot of friends were on around that time was Zanga.

David Crowley: Oh, I think about that.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s A-N-G-A, but I love that stuff. So I’ll look it up for sure. So you were posting on Gather.

David Crowley: Yeah, I did. And actually early taste that you could actually make a little bit of money on this at least, if not more, I was posting on there and got asked to do a bi-monthly column on, it was called wine chat, I think. And it was, I think about $100 for doing two articles on there.

Bjork Ostrom: And it was making money on the internet, which at that time was-

David Crowley: Was wow.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So cool. So when did you, officially, when you think of, “Hey, I started this in what year?” What was it? When was it?

David Crowley: Honestly, I tend to think more of when I really started seriously and that was 2014. Because of that, I switched to WordPress. I started following you and Lindsay, but I did that. I forget where you put that online, it wasn’t a course, it was an ebook on Food Photography.

Bjork Ostrom: Got that.

David Crowley: So I really drink the Food Blogger, I don’t know if it was Food Blogger Pro quite yet, but started learning some of that stuff and starting to see it as a business and a chance to, with the idea of trying to monetize. So that date kind of stick. And I also know I bought a computer that’s finally in need of a Mac. Mine is for sure are good, but it’s finally in need of replacement, I think, here in 2022. So I have started to look. So I have harder markers for that date, and part of, I’ve gone back and either deleted most of those early like, “Here’s some good cheese I found at the store that looks…”

David Crowley: I’ve either deleted those or updated the date. I think I’ve intentionally left a couple of posts early on with the original dates that resonated, but I suspect, and I think, I forget how it works. I think even when you do that move over all of a sudden, I think maybe that kicked all the dates to the date I went to WordPress, if I’m not mistaken.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And I think maybe depends exactly how you did it. And we just went through that actually with a site called Curbly. It’s a home DIY site that we acquired actually from Bruno, our friend Bruno that we’re going to start working on and made the switch. He had built it on a custom platform and then did the big WordPress switch. So can relate in regards to that being a pretty significant thing and changes to dates and stuff like that are made along the way. So 2014 really is the point where, it’s almost dabbling a little bit, it sounds like. Doing a little bit of this, doing a little bit of that, but all in the category of food and wine and then being like, “Wait a minute, there’s something here. I could actually do this.” And starting to think a little bit more strategically, learning a little bit. Food photography, how do you get better at food photography?

Bjork Ostrom: What did that look like once you had made that switch to focusing a little bit more on the site? And knowing that like, “Hey,” you like what you’re doing? You know that you’re not going to leave the nonprofit you founded. What was your mindset with it in terms of optimizations and time and effort along with it? Was it purely side hustle at that point?

David Crowley: Yeah. I think in the early days of doing it, of making that commitment to doing it more seriously, I think part of the idea was, there were a couple factors I think for us. It was kind of thinking that one of our goals was definitely, in wanting to stay for a nonprofit that’s successful, but still relatively small and not super lucrative in terms of what, seeing what?

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, for sure.

David Crowley: There wasn’t a huge growth salary for me sticking there. But on the other hand, things like projecting college and retirement type things that’s hard to invest in as much when you’re choosing to work in the nonprofit sector. So it was like, my wife and I having a conversation a little bit, “Hey, this could be a way to keep the day job you love with more or less the same salary kind of range, but still help bring in the increased revenue we really need to meet our family needs.” It seemed maybe blogging had that potential. And especially, hearing the Pinch of Yum story and other folks that were successful, it’s like, “Wow, okay.”

David Crowley: It was almost like, dabbling forever probably doesn’t make a lot of sense because I was spending enough time on it just as a hobby. So it’s like, “Hey, can we get serious and have this be a part of our families’ financial equation in a meaningful way? And let’s give it a shot.” So I think what I would say though about the early days of that was, it was kind of like drinking from the fire hose of all these ideas of photography, how to get more traffic, dah, dah, dah. It was almost like trying everything and this feeling like, “Man, I could be doing this all the time.” And sometimes it was like-

Bjork Ostrom: 20 hours a day.

David Crowley: Yeah. It was good. So that I think was hard. But sometimes my first instinct to solve the problem is work more, work harder kind of thing is, my dad at various points had three jobs just to make things meet kind of thing. So just kind of the way you do things, but that’s not always the best way to roll. That was definitely, I would say there are a couple of years where that was, kind of my blogging was frenetic energy, maybe not.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

David Crowley: So I was trying to figure out which of the things I was putting time and effort into were going to have traction and really to test the hypotheses that this could actually be some kind of meaningful revenue stream for our family.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. What did it look like to transition out of that? Do you feel like now when you look at what you’re doing, you have a little bit more clarity on like, “Hey, here’s what I focus on. Here’s what I do. Here’s what I don’t do.” Or it’s still kind of in that, is it fire hose stage or is it garden hose stage or on this spectrum…?

David Crowley: It’s at least garden hose. It’s definitely not fire hose. I would say, yeah, it definitely, I think I’ve been able to figure out over the last few years where to… I think it’s always an evolving question I think. And I always think whether it’s blogging on my day job, the most important resource we have is our time. So I always tend to be very, for the most part, I get in frenetic stages where I forget about, but I try to be pretty mindful of where I’m allocating my time. And I feel like I have a better grasp at this stage of blogging as to, “Okay, these are things that make sense. This is where I need to be spending the biggest percentage of my time versus the stuff that’s, okay, if I have a little extra time, I’ll do more of that.” If I don’t, I let it go and, “Not only is the world going to keep revolving the blog, it’s actually going to keep thriving as a matter of fact.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. What are those things that in the limited amount of time that you have, so you have, when you slice it, looking not at your schedule in general, it’s like people who are doing full-time. It’s a normal nine-to-five, you have mornings, you maybe have a lunch sprint. You have evenings and you have weekends. So in that time that you have, what does that look like for you in regards to what you’re focusing on and what you’ve found to be for yourself, it’s individual dependent, the highest ROI for your time?

David Crowley: Yeah. I definitely feel like, and it chips over time, but I think in general that category of producing content that has some SEO potential, that’s based on some SEO concepts. Lately, that’s meant a lot of updating, I probably spend more time updating old posts than creating new content. Because that seems like when I look back, I was looking back at my 2021 stats, I think I had to go down to about rank order number 30 out of traffic that was actually a new recipe this year. The other 29 were older posts.

David Crowley: And within the top 10 there I can see, “Oh yeah, great. That was a good investment of time. I updated that sauteed arugula. Beautiful. Glad to see it’s getting some attention.” I was just going to say, I do feel like maybe in the coming year, I think to some extent I picked a lot of the low-hanging fruit when I sort of figured out that that was an important space of time. So I’m sort of feeling like the year ahead maybe it’ll be a little more balanced, but I do feel like I have a little bit more of an idea of how to… I might not be able to get a post that’s going to bump my top couple of posts out of those slots right away, but at least that are going to perform pretty well within the year as opposed to never or over multiple years.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. What does that look like in terms of your process for finding those? So you say, “Hey, I’m going to update a few piece of content. And I know that there’s a good chance that if I do the right things, which would be interested in kind of your thought process with that, that I’ll you maybe spend less time and get more return on it than if I was creating something new.” So first, how do you identify with those posts that you want to focus on and then what are some of the things that you like to do once you get into it?

David Crowley: I’ve gotten in the habit the last few years of doing around this, around the turn of the calendar year, try to pull both the Google Analytics and Search Console data and really look for those where I’m ranking. Originally, I was looking where I’m not quite on page one of Google, maybe 11 to 15 or something like that, trying where I can bump up. But I also now I think, from listening to your podcast and others, some guests and other things I’ve read also getting a little more, it’s realizing how much it means to go from five to three or three to two.

David Crowley: Whereas I think before, oh, I think my earlier on in this process, I think I was like, “Oh, page one, I don’t want to mess with that,” but you’re realizing, low down a page one is not really doing all that much for you unless it’s… I mean, my top-performing post that brings in the most revenue is a pork ribs recipe. And one of the reasons why it does well is, it just ranks for so many things. So that’s another factor too. I mean, I think some of the newer things I’m targeting, it’s a little more niche from the get go, but you don’t have that benefit of…

David Crowley: And that’s where I guess, I suppose it is a science, but it also seems an art of figuring out, well, this is something I could be in the one slide on, but it’s not going to… So many people looking for steak picado recipe, for instance, versus something where, various iterations on mushroom risotto, if I can even be on 10 or on something like that, it’s got 100,000 searches per month, that’s something to consider.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. There’s no exact formula for it. That’s what’s hard is, I think some people are like, “What’s the formula? What do you do?” And there’s, to your point, it’s the art and the science. And I think one of the things that people forget a lot is the art in content is the actual content itself. So there’s structural best practices. You should only have one H1, you can have multiple H2s. you can have some H3s. It’s probably good to have an FAQ section. Those type of structural type things.

Bjork Ostrom: But if that’s super extreme example, if all of that is filled with a random assortment of characters that you mash on your keyboard, it’s not going to matter how you structure it because it’s 0% helpful. There’s a spectrum of the most incredible piece of content that would be a hundred percent helpful. And part of what we need to do is, okay, we have best practices, but what does it look like for then us, for you, the artist, the creator, to backfill those best practices, with things that are truly helpful, impactful, unique?

Bjork Ostrom: And that’s where it feels like the art and science comes in, because sometimes you can do all the things that you read in articles or hear in podcasts, but it’s like, if you’re not doing it from a source of authority or expertise or value, then it’s not going to be super helpful. When you do go into it, I’m curious to hear, let’s say you do identify something from 2015. You’re like, “Hey, there might be something here.” Are you going in and essentially adding content, your reshoot photos, do you update the recipe or does it depend for every piece of content you look at?

David Crowley: It depends a little bit, but I would say the majority of ones I’ve really prioritized for an update, I’m probably doing, shooting new photos at least because I feel like I’ve gotten better at that, unless it’s, there are a few of updated where it’s only been a year, but I feel like there’s, maybe I’ll just add process photos. But I’m happy with the finished dish kind of thing. But I think the majority where I’ve seen good results, have been old enough, they’ve been sitting around long enough maybe getting some traction, but maybe not page one or low page one. And then doing a pretty comprehensive, redoing the photos.

David Crowley: And I think, I’d say within the past couple years I’ve got, probably what? There’s sort of a playbook. I know, Casey and others have talked about on your podcast of those FAQ, the flow of a good post. I’ve been blogging for a long time as we discussed. So I have 550 or so posts on there. So there are a lot that don’t have that kind of format. So most have been ones that I’ve been looking for a pretty thorough redo. Although, I am kind of interested in this idea of, but that takes time. It takes almost as much time to do that from scratch. Sometimes even a little more if I had some really long-winded stuff that just is not pertinent anymore because then it’s trying to rework that instead of just starting fresh.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s almost like cleaning out an old closet and then reorganizing it versus just having an empty closet that you fill in. Depending on how unorganized the closet is, it could potentially create more time required.

David Crowley: One of the things I’m interested in maybe as I think to the coming year is a way to work into the workflow some middle ground kind of. And I’ve recently signed up for Clariti, and I think it’s Ben that I did a call with and he was talking about, we were looking at some examples of how to organize doing holiday post updates. We were brainstorming stuff for a checklist and I’m like, “You know, I could probably get some lift to some old posts without needing to bake the dish again, shoot it again and the whole nine yards anyway.”

Bjork Ostrom: No, that’s great. And appreciate the Clariti shout out. Ben is the product manager, GM of Clariti. Clariti with an i, we’ve talked about on the podcast before. But that’s really the, that’s really the idea with it. That’s what we’re trying to get at is how do we help people discover areas of opportunity that would be the quick fix, quick enhancement type stuff, but also to guide people along the way in more project-based things where it’s like, “Hey, I want to do this,” kind of holiday post. “I want to go through and update these,” or whatever it might be. So it’s been fun to kind of craft that tool and continually evolve it.

Bjork Ostrom: I’d be curious to know, as it stands right now, do you feel like your blog, your business is serving you in the way that you hope that it would be in that, you didn’t have the intent of this, replacing your job and don’t want to do that moving forward, that’s not the goal. But it’s more of, hey, number one, is this engaging, fun, interesting. Number two, does it allow for this additional kind of backstop? I come from the nonprofit world. Lindsay was a teacher. One of the things that I found was all of my friends who were in nonprofits would work side hustles. And all of my friends who would work corporate would volunteer for nonprofits. It feels like this balancing act that always exists in that world. Do you feel like that is for you kind of serving the purpose right now and in a way that you would hope that it would be?

David Crowley: Yeah. I think it really has started to get there over the last couple of years. And I think that’s been encouraging. I guess it’s a little bit of a testament to keeping the faith long enough. And I think part of, I mentioned 2014 was a key benchmark for me. Another one was around 2019. I was definitely at a little bit of a play where my traffic had actually taken some dip, dropped a bit and that’s discouraging.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

David Crowley: For a variety of reasons part of it was how much… I think I had some others, in addition to the day job, I was also doing a lot of coaching in my son’s baseball, which is consuming a lot of time for about eight months a year. So there’s definitely just less time I was able to put into it. But there are also, I think, part of it was the not enough content, but it was also taking care of the under the hood stuff. And I was at a moment, it’s like, “Okay, I think I need to do some investments in, if I’m in, let’s take care of some things.” And I did that. So that included, actually I heard Andrew from NerdPress on, I’m like, “Yeah, I think I need that.” Because I do not love the under the hood technical stuff for blogging.

Bjork Ostrom: Like many people who are creators, food people, it’s not uncommon for somebody who loves photography or writing or recipe development to not love WordPress management as an example.

David Crowley: Yes. Yeah. So I signed up for NerdPress, and I also, I posted some problem I was having actually on the Food Blogger Pro forum. And I think it was Skylar who popped in like, “Dude, you really need to update your theme.” Because I hadn’t done it in a while kind of put… And that’s sometimes I think, especially, maybe as a difference as when you have another full-time thing is, sometimes something that seems like a daunting big project, in addition to just creating the contents, it’s easy to kind of put off. If it were my core source of income, I guess I would feel like a little more like I have to, but at the end of the day, if you want to be serious about it, even as a side hustle, you got to invest.

David Crowley: So I did. I went to the latest Foodie Pro Theme and spent a lot of time totally revamping my categories to sort of fit that scheme and stuff. And so that positioned me nicely though, I was able to qualify for Mediavine right around, it’s 2020. So right before the pandemic, basically, I had taken care of a lot of that stuff and was well-positioned for everybody being at home in quarantine.

Bjork Ostrom: Great, at home, making food and drinking wine.

David Crowley: Yeah. So it kind of worked. So particularly last two years, I’ve seen nice ad revenue, pretty stoutly and growing, and to a point where it feels like, “Yes, boom.”

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

David Crowley: And hopefully you want to keep it growing, but definitely of course we’re, like all bloggers commiserate about the, “Oh now it’s January.” The traffic is actually still there for me. Fortunately, I have some recipes that perform well in the holidays, but it’s not like all about Christmas cookies and stuff like that. So I have a roast recipe that does great on Christmas and New Year’s, but any Sunday till April, it’s going to perform well.

Bjork Ostrom: Right. So that’s great. And I think to your point, what a testament to sticking with it. I think so often in the content world specifically, it takes so long. You’re shoveling coal into the engine of the train for so long and it’s moving, but not to the point where it feels like you’re getting in, shoveling coal all day and then getting out. And you’re like, it feels like I got out at the same spot that I got in. But if you do that every day and continually improve your craft, eventually the train will pick up speed and will get enough momentum where you’ll hop on and then you’ll be like, “Whoa, I traveled three miles today.”

Bjork Ostrom: But in those early stages, it just feels like the train hasn’t moved. But good for you for sticking with it and getting to that point where, oh man, what a validation to start to see that, to start to pick up and you start to realize that where it’s like, “Okay, now it’s not just coffee money anymore. It’s not a meal out anymore.” It’s like, “Oh, this could actually be money like college fund money.” And that’s a really good feeling.

Bjork Ostrom: So I’m curious to know, as we transition the second half here, where you are right now. You’ve solved a lot of problems. You’ve had a lot of plateaus that you’ve unlocked and gotten to the next level. You talked about working with Andrew and NerdPress and Skylar from Feast Design Company and making these improvements, investing in the business, which is really cool. I’m curious to know, what are the things you’re looking at right now and the problems that you’re trying to solve. And I’d be curious just to have a conversation about those in real time to see if we can find any kind of, not magical solutions, but just any potential opportunities or just interesting conversations. So it’d be curious to hear your reflections on that.

David Crowley: Yeah, sure. Yeah. This is helpful. Have some free consulting on air. I’m all for it.

Bjork Ostrom: Live. Yeah, totally.

David Crowley: Yeah. So I think one area, I think I can think of two big areas. One is definitely thinking about, I’m seeing revenue stream coming in a nice thing, the way, the ad revenue. It’s like, I know what it made in December, my cash isn’t coming till March. I can say, “How might I reinvest some of that in the business,” kind of a question. And I play with the idea of, are there things I can think about outsourcing? I also think about, do I love my day job? Do I want to sort of essentially buy some time to do a couple of days a month where I’m able to knock out a few recipes, pretty much as a full-time somebody blogging with another full-time job.

David Crowley: I sometimes get a little jealous when I hear of full-time blogger who do their photoshoots on a day and do five recipes. It’s like, we’re photo shooting what I’m making for dinner.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally.

David Crowley: Sometimes maybe I’m getting-

Bjork Ostrom: Almost done. Yeah. I promise it’s not going to be too cold when it comes out.

David Crowley: Exactly. And I hate cold foods.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

David Crowley: Do I invest some of it in sort of spending some of my own time sort of… It was one idea versus getting help on different things I don’t feel like I’m ready to… I know you’ve had some sessions on building a team, but I always think in part because of my day job orientation team as those are my full-time staff. Certainly a long way from that, unless I want to go seriously in the hole. But no. I do have somebody doing Pinterest for me which is just something. And sometimes I start crunching the numbers, am I getting enough now, especially with all the changes on Pinterest where it’s paying for itself? But then there’s also the, I don’t have to worry about Pinterest.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. It’s brain space.

David Crowley: So that kind of makes it worth it. But I was thinking about, is a VA, is that something I want to do or is it maybe I want help on a specific piece of the work? And one of the things I’ve found hard is, I feel like I’ve tried to ask a few times in different forums, but it’s hard to sometimes even know, I guess, I feel like I want to be investing a portion of the money that I know is coming in, I guess that’s a fairly conservative way to do it, as opposed to saying, “Heck, I’m going to go hire somebody and see if that pays for itself.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Like I’m take money out my 401(k) or 403(b).

David Crowley: Yeah. Yeah. You know it. To some extent I did that sort of thing to start my nonprofit. It took a little while before I was raising enough money to pay a salary. And a little further along in the journey where I feel like I need to be thinking about how you invest money that’s either coming in, or pretty sure where it’s going to come in. So one of the things I find hard is, I’ve found it hard to find… And one things I like about you, I think, and some of your guests are a little more transparent, but I think sometimes it’s just hard to find. I tried Googling. I did try getting a temporary VA for the holiday season, but just even, how much should I be paying somebody?

Bjork Ostrom: Paying a VA. Totally.

David Crowley: Like, “I have no idea.” And then how to find them, how to hire them, is that a good fit or would it be better to, a general VA or somebody outsourcing, or would it be better to invest in getting somebody to do a few videos for me for some of my posts that don’t have one that are good performers.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Love that. And to the point of, it feels like time, obviously we’re all thinking about time. How do we optimize around time? And I’m thinking about that a lot as we move into a season of having a three-year-old and a one-year-old. So it just looks different. Lindsay and I talk about that. We just don’t work until 7:00 every night. Either Lindsay or I, every day goes home at 4:00 because that’s when our nanny’s done. And we might have some time at the end of the day, but usually we’re pretty gassed by the time that we get to nine o’clock at night, we’re not going to do a three-hour stretch because then we’re having to get up with them when they get up in the morning.

Bjork Ostrom: So team, to your point, it might not be team the sense of like, “hey, you have your team at your job, your nonprofit,” but it’s like, how are you being supported in what the work that you’re doing? One of the things that I think a lot about is like, I think usually we compartmentalize and we go like, hey, blogging, work, home. And think of those as separate. But one of the things that I try and do is I try and think a lot about the reality that all of that stuff is just mixed together.

Bjork Ostrom: So for you and for other people listening, one of the things I would encourage people to think about is, what are the recurring tasks? And I’ve actually kept just by chances open on my second monitor here, a recurring list of the things that I do on a weekly or monthly basis, just to have, as a starting point as a reference. So these are really basic examples, but like change the furnace filter, drop Sage off for the groomers, our dog, Sage. Brush Sage, which we don’t do as much as we should. I have this recurring task that I always just put off. Bring the cars in for maintenance. I had to do that recently. So I added that in. Pick up around the house, organize the room, unsubscribe from physical junk mail that comes in.

Bjork Ostrom: Anyways, point being, I think you could start to list all of that stuff, personal, potentially within your daily work and then also within blogging. And you can start to sort order that stuff to say like, “Hey, your time, it’s just linear. Time is time. But the value of those things isn’t linear.” Some of those things are really low value, even though they take up the same amount of time. And one of the things I’ve thought about is like, “Great. So how do we then take the things that are lowest value, but take up a consistent amount of time and find somebody to come in and help with those?”

Bjork Ostrom: An example being, for some of these things, we could hire a high school student to come and help out with it. Or an example, being in the office, we had somebody who was just out of college and she was kind of in this transition period. And she came and did kind of office management stuff. So she would deliver packages and send stuff out and even personally around the house. So I think that would be one area of opportunity, I think, around the price, I think there’s a huge, it depends with that. And I think the it depends is around what they’re doing and how much direction is involved with that.

Bjork Ostrom: So the price of hiring somebody’s going to go down, the less direction they’re going to have to get. And the more that you’re like, “Hey, here’s how you clean the air filter on the air purifier once a month. Takes 15 minutes. This is the process for it.” Great. Somebody comes in. And I think you can start to section kind of some of that stuff off. So that’s kind of on the home front/recurring tasks that could be separated out. One of the things I’m doing right now is I’m reading a book called Your World-Class Assistant, it’s by Michael Hyatt. And actually we just hired Mary, who’s an executive assistant.

Bjork Ostrom: And this book talks about some of that stuff that you’re talking about, and it’s all about time and how do you gain back some of the time that is most important? And I think, everybody listening to this podcast, let’s say, if you’re at the point where you have, let’s call it $250 of disposable income to invest into your business, I think there’s an opportunity for people to strategically do higher value work and find somebody to come in and to take some of the lower value work off of your plate. And that book sets up a lot of the kind of systems and processes that you can think about for doing that stuff.

Bjork Ostrom: For me, a big thing was email. Now Mary’s coming in twice a day and looking through my email, organizing, forwarding as needed. And we create a system. She has a little spreadsheet. It’s like, “Here’s what you do with email that lands in this category.” And what you’ll realize, if you find somebody who’s good is that they’ll be able to help. I’m not super special in my ability to do many things, even as much as I would like to think that I’m special, and they’re able to come in and help and support you in those. So I’ve talked a lot. I want to pause. What do you feel like are, either the thoughts you have around that or additional questions, or just straight out unanswered questions that I didn’t actually get at within that?

David Crowley: No, I think that definitely resonates about that really need to map out or define those tasks. I found when I did, for the holidays, as I mentioned, have a VA helping with just, it was kind of a narrow scope, but all of a sudden I had to… It does force you to write down, the stuff that you’ve been doing it for so long, it just in your head, it does force you to write it down. And I definitely see parallels in my day job, sort of thinking about institutionally where…

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally.

David Crowley: I think, I’m definitely a, I tend to move quickly from one thing to another and my instinct is to sort of keep a lot of, just going in my head of how to do stuff. So it does seem like a preliminary step that’s necessary to make effective use of any kind of hired help to define. So that book sounds interesting too as far as scoping.

Bjork Ostrom: And one of the things that I’ve learned is, I also don’t love the idea of documenting the thing that I’m doing. And so in my most successful relationships where somebody comes in to help support something, I have probably 50% of what the role will be documented, in terms of the specific tasks. You can define high level what something is. Like helping out with email, helping with calendar. In your case, it might be discovering content optimization opportunities. It might be Pinterest. It might be social. We can list off all of these things, but we might not know the process. We might not have the process documented, but what I’ve used that’s been helpful is a tool called Loom, L-O-O-M. Loom and zoom. So these are the two video tools.

Bjork Ostrom: Zoom, we’re talking right now on Zoom. Loom is an extension that allows you to do a screencast. And so what I’ve done is, when I come up against something where I’m like, “Wait a minute, this isn’t something that I should probably be doing.” I’ll use Loom, I’ll press record and I’ll essentially take what is in my head, to your point, and then record that as a Loom video, “Here’s how I handle this. Here’s the reason for that.” Two things will happen with that. Number one, it documents it, and then it allows somebody else to then create a process of around it. But number two, it also forces me to formalize some of the loose opinions that I have around a process, because sometimes I’ve realized like, “Oh, I actually don’t know how to handle this.” And I haven’t made a decision around it like, every time this happens, here’s what I do.

Bjork Ostrom: And so it forces me to also say, “Wait, what is my opinion on this specific task and how do we handle it in a kind of a process-related way?” So that’s been super helpful to use Loom, and then to work with somebody to say, “Hey, can you create a process around this?” Process meaning we use Google Drive. And essentially, you’re documenting the 20% of what you need to get the 80% of the value. So you’re not wanting to do super, super specific detail type stuff, but it’s like, “Hey, somebody who’s going to be looking at this is going to have a general knowledge of the system and they’re going to be smart.” And you know like, “Oh, it’s okay. It’s like 1, 2, 3. It’s a simple list. Here’s what the process is.”

Bjork Ostrom: So that’s been helpful from a process and documentation standpoint. In terms of finding those people, we have this really unique privilege. I say, we, in regards to anybody listening to this podcast, in that we have an audience and you have your true fans, David, who are really into what you’re doing. And some of those people are also people who probably have the desire and interest in having flexibility in the work they’re doing. And there’s probably somebody in your audience who wants to work 5 to 10 hours a week doing the thing that you don’t want to do.

Bjork Ostrom: And that’s been one of my biggest realizations in what we do is there are people who love spreadsheets, and if they spend… It was my sister-in-law’s boyfriend was just talking to him, he’s like, “I love doing spreadsheet analysis. And I’m like, ”Wow, we’re so different.” And that’s awesome. And I’m learning that more and more. In the book, he talks about the freedom compass and he talks about four different areas, desire zone, disinterest zone, drudgery zone and distraction zone. And I won’t get super into details on it, but as much as possible, he talks about wanting to work in your desire zone, which means you’re proficient and you’re passionate. If you’re not passionate about something, like Pinterest might have been this for you, that goes into your disinterest zone where, you probably were good at Pinterest, but not passionate about it.

Bjork Ostrom: And the other side is distraction zone, which is, you’re passionate about it, but you’re not proficient. That would be me for QuickBooks. I’m kind of interested in books and bookkeeping, but I’m not very good at it. And then the drudgery zone is, you’re not passionate and you’re not proficient. And as much as possible to be thinking about, how do we work in our desire zone? And then finding people who, my drudgery is their desire, I feel like is the other kind of win within that. So I’ll pause again, curious to hear your reflections on that and any kind of ponderings you have coming out of it.

David Crowley: Yeah. I think that definitely resonates. I think something you were saying earlier also, that idea of the documenting the process, I’m going to check out this Loom tool, but one thing I’ve found is, and I’m thinking a little bit more about my day job that I probably apply if I get into it more with the blog, which is that documentation process, sometimes you’re trying to define that ideal way you do a project that’s the best practice, but sometimes I’ve realized a few times on for projects when I’m trying to train somebody at work, the best practice is not what I’m always doing.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. Totally.

David Crowley: It’s to remind you to yourself, “Oh, I really need to be sure that I send that thank you note within 24 hours of meeting, an important meeting.” I realize I’ve been slacking on that, but writing it out to teach somebody else to do it, a, I put it in there, it reminds me it’s important. And then kind of reinforces the importance of it.

Bjork Ostrom: And part of it is, for you, the thank you note might be distraction zone or disinterest zone where you could do it, but you’re not passionate about it. And passionate, not about thank you notes, but about, hey, a system around, it’s almost like a content system. Like, “Hey, thank you notes have to go out a week before, or two days after you meet with somebody.” And this just happened for us when I was chatting with Mary and I was like, I’m not great about birthdays and significant events that are coming up, in that, a day before, I’m like, “Shoot, what am I going to do for this?”

Bjork Ostrom: And so in talking with her, I realized like, “Oh, this is generally a broken system that I have, because it always ends up with a little bit of a scramble.” So what does it look like to work with somebody who is more system oriented? The idea of gifts and gifting and getting those ahead of time and having them ready is desire zone. There are those people, it’s not me. And the other piece is, I think for a lot of us who are listening to this, we’re creators, we’re maybe visionary, kind of artists, potentially.

Bjork Ostrom: I’d say there’s a broad category of people. But that might be some people listening to this. And no matter how much you bend yourself you’re never going to be in that position of like, “Hey, this is awesome. I get to. Follow this really rigid system.” But there are people who out there who like to create those and follow those. And then the key is, how do you find those people?. Yeah, go ahead.

David Crowley: I like the idea of tapping my audience. And I was just thinking of an example where, especially on the wine side of my content, I actually started a monthly wine blogging group and there’ve been a few spinoffs from it that we have fun, very collegial stuff, but I was just thinking, I’ve had some ideas for building out some of the wine content on my site, but again, it’s like, I don’t have time to do it, but that could be a great example where someone I might be able source that out if I scope out the work.

Bjork Ostrom: And somebody in that group, the idea that they would get paid to think about, write about, organize wine like, “Oh, it would be so awesome.” And I think the hard thing, and this doesn’t have to be for everybody, but I feel like there’s a transition that exists and we come up against it. And the question is, do we want to continue to be the maker? Yes, totally. Some people do. They want to hold onto that. That’s what they want to continue to be. And as much as possible, then I feel like the effort is around, how do you bring people around you so you can continue to be the maker as much as possible?

Bjork Ostrom: I feel like that’s different problem solving than if you want to think about how do I become the manager, which some people want to do. And in the case of some of the content on your site around wine, the question would be, would it feel good to have somebody come in, organize, create content and for you to manage that process and for you to see something go out into the world that you didn’t create, what would that feel like? And for some people that would be like, “Oh my gosh, that’s awesome.” I can start to play the role of organizing the calendar, queuing things up. Somebody else comes in and creates it. For other people that are like, “Wait, I don’t want to give that up.”

Bjork Ostrom: And that looks different to support different types of roles in regards to what you want to do, but I think it really comes back to that, what is the desire zone for somebody? What are you passionate about and proficient with and how do you do as much as that as possible? So I’d be curious as we come to the end, do you feel like you have an idea of what that would be for you? What are the things that you want to be doing more of, and potentially along with that, what are the things you want to be doing less of?

David Crowley: Yeah. Yeah, definitely that example is helpful to think about. In fact, you can do analysis paralysis on things, but just as you were talking, I answered very strongly, I’d be excited to have somebody come in and crank out this wine content I have. Because my passion, I love the process of creating recipes that go with a certain wine. I love that. And some of these wine-related groups I’m involved in. I mean, people can write for a long time about the soil type, where the wine was sourced. I glaze over a little bit, I have to say.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

David Crowley: And part of what I’m thinking about is, at the end of the day, most people get to my site, they’re looking for a recipe, and I think there’s a… Although, some people are probably most loyal at that matching process of both the food and wine, but the wine content I’m thinking of is, so I can be writing an article and reference a term and then link to somewhere else where you can learn more about, what is kava?

David Crowley: I don’t really want to write an article on what is kava, or how is champagne made or something like that. But if I could build out some of that on my site, because I’ve done some keyword research where I sort of have an idea of some terms where I could probably rank pretty easily and it will be useful to my audience, but it would be in the drudgery zone. So…

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, exactly. And I think a lot of us have come to accept the drudgery zone when we don’t need to. And especially when you’re at the point where you can start to think about, “Hey, what if I used some of this money that I’m making to have somebody pick this up?” And it’s hard because you have to speak in generalities because it’s going to be different for everybody. Some people want to hold onto the books as long as possible and do the accounting and taxes. Some people want to get rid of that as soon as possible. We’ve done podcast interviews where people are like, “It was so nice when I finally hired a writer because then I didn’t have to write.” But there are some people who love writing and they want to hold onto that.

Bjork Ostrom: But I think what people will find in general is that there’s going to be people who, when you come up against a thing and you’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to do this.” There is somebody who wants to do that. And there’s a good chance, depending on how long you’ve been doing this, there’s a good chance that person exists either within your audience or within your circle of friends of friends, or friends of family. You probably don’t want to hire friends. You probably don’t want to hire family, although that’s debatable. But within those circles, those people might exist as well.

Bjork Ostrom: For Megan, who we’re working with as an office manager, it was our nanny’s roommate and she was awesome. She was great and worked with us until she did, went to PA school. And it was a really good fit. And so I guess four people listening, that would be a great exercise is to start to catalog those things that you’re doing on a recurring basis. And you could even say, desire, disinterest, distraction or drudgery. It’s similar to EOS. We’ve talked about the delegate and elevate exercise. Those are basically the same thing. So you could just pick one that you feel like is a better fit for you in terms of how you operate, but love that. So here’s my way to kind of around out this conversation, what do you feel like your action item is out of this as a first step into potentially filling a role or finding help to kind of backfill some of the drudgery activities you have?

David Crowley: Yeah. That’s a good question. I think maybe a step is, I sort of think I have in my head, but kind of writing down some of the, what are my weekly… I think I probably plan my blogging stuff mostly weekly and monthly sort of. It’s a manual as well, but as far as workflow, it’s my weekly and monthly workflow and kind of maybe some of those labels to it, I think could be an interesting activity to help think about. Because I think that’s been a little bit of a… The piece for me is figuring out how identifying those things I could potentially outsource, how to be grouped together in a logical job description, but also making sure that I feel like I feel confident.

David Crowley: I’m going to at least over time, see the return that’s enabling me to do more of what’s eventually really driving more traffic to the site, but I think it should, because I feel like a limiting factor is I’m never lacking of… I feel like I’m limited in terms of how many new recipes I can get on the blog because the time it takes me to do all the steps.

Bjork Ostrom: All the other things that, this is something else that I’ve thought a lot about is, what are the things that are, and we can wrap up here. I could talk to you for a long time, David. But what are the things that don’t matter if I’m doing them or not. And there’s a lot of those things that I’m doing every day. An example of one thing that does matter if I’m doing it is a podcast interview. If somebody randomly showed up and it wasn’t me on the podcast, there’s a lot of people who could do it really well, but what the podcast is, it’s me interviewing people or having conversations around blogging.

Bjork Ostrom: One thing that doesn’t matter if I do it, extreme example, is clean the air filter at the office, which is, I’m still do that. It’s still the task that I have or ensure the accuracy of the books or, I could go on and on and on about all these things that don’t really matter if I’m doing them. And my guess is a lot of people listening, there’s also a lot of stuff that they’re doing that doesn’t matter if they’re doing it as opposed to writing photography, being on social, things like that. Any kind of final thoughts on that before we move into the last section here and wrap up?

David Crowley: Yeah, no, I definitely think I’m excited to do some of that planning and thinking about. I think it would be interesting, and I don’t know if it’s a thread in the Food Blogger Pro forum or something, just to pick up on… I was even thinking about maybe having it on FBT as opposed to kind of create something else I need to manage. I had some thought of getting people have a common interest, maybe people that are at this phase of trying to, early phase, kind of, not a support group, but well, sort of, bouncing ideas, “Hey, how’s it going?”

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

David Crowley: That could be kind of interesting if there’s a space for doing that.

Bjork Ostrom: It’d be a great live Q&A. We’re switching over to Zoom for the Food Blogger Pro live Q&As. And one of the things I’m excited with that is being able to have it be more conversational, versus, we used Crowdcast before, but it would be a great Q&A for us to do around, “Hey, hiring, what does it look like? What is what’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?” Or even in the forums too, I feel like would be a good place for that. So love that idea. We’ll make a note and follow up on it.

Bjork Ostrom: David, where can people follow you? We’ll talk about your site obviously before when we tee it up, but can you talk about where folks can find you and follow along with what you’re up to and your favorite wine? That’ll be the ending question here.

David Crowley: All right. Yeah. All right. Sure. So the cookingchatfood.com is the URL for the website. And in part, it’s not perfect across all the channels. On Instagram, it’s actually cookingchatwine.

Bjork Ostrom: Nice. It’s both the things you love.

David Crowley: Yeah. Yeah. And I’m big, I know Twitter, not all the blogs are into it these days. I love Twitter. I’ve been able to connect and engage with people in a way. I’m not as a visual person as a lot of folks listening. So I love Twitter. So at Twitter, I’m just @cookingchat. So any of those places are great places to find me in. I should actually, I know you do show notes, I did write an article at one point about that process I go through for analyzing which post to update and stuff.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, cool. Great.

David Crowley: And so I can share that with you for the notes.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Yeah. We’ll link to that. And then, I’d be curious actually to hear just a little bit more about Twitter. As a last final piece, a lot of us, I think neglect Twitter because it’s like, “Hey, he’s not a traffic driver.” I think one of the reasons it’s awesome, I don’t use it, but I think one of the reasons I see people have success with it is connection and conversation. Do you feel like that’s true for you in terms of the value that you see from it?

David Crowley: Yeah, definitely. I find it’s a quick way, because I feel like I don’t need to have a pretty picture. I can just, boom, “Hey, here’s a great recipe.” Or try and see somebody shared something, kind of quickly engage. I find it very user friendly. And I mentioned, we have wine groups that we do. The one I sort of started is second Saturday every month at #WinePW for Wine pairing Weekend. Every month we have a topic. It’s just open source. You can join the conversation, you don’t have to register. That’s I guess part of what I like about is that it’s like an open source way to connect with people that share an interest. I guess that’s sort of my thing why I like it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. That’s awesome. Cool. Great to connect and have a conversation after all of these little micro interactions that we’ve had over the years, seeing you on the forums and in various places around the web, it’s fun to finally connect and chat here and really enjoyed it. So thanks for coming on, David.

David Crowley: Yeah. It’s been a lot of fun. Good to do it.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s a wrap for this episode. Thank you to David for coming on and sharing his story. It’s always fun for me to connect with people who I know from, kind of in the online world. I know the profile picture of person, but haven’t really had a chance to actually connect with them. And David would be one of those people where I’m like, “Oh yeah, I know David.” But also I’ve never really had a extended conversation with him where we get to talk about his story and his background. And that was this today. So David, thanks for coming on and sharing your story, what you’re up to. And I know that folks who listen to this will get a lot out of it.

Bjork Ostrom: One more quick reminder for any members, if you want to join that study hall, it’s foodbloggerpro.com/live. And again, that’s going to be on Zoom and it’s going to be a chance to, not just sit back and listen, but really to engage in conversation, to be a part of the group that is learning from each other. That’s one of the great things that we have with this community is the ability to learn from each other, and in these study halls, that’s what we’re going to do. And we’re going to focus on a topic. The topic for this Thursday, and that’s February 3rd is all around Instagram engagement and Instagram growth.

Bjork Ostrom: So if you want to check that out and you’re a Food Blogger Pro member, you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/live to be a part of that conversation. And my guess is in that conversation, if you put the time, block the time off that you’ll come away with at least a couple actionable or insightful pieces of information as we learn from other Food Blogger Pro members. Another chance that you can connect with Food Blogger Pro Podcast listeners is by checking out the Facebook group. You can just simply go to facebook.com and search for Food Blogger Pro Podcast.

Bjork Ostrom: And in those podcasts, in that podcast group, the opportunity there is to join the conversation for upcoming episodes. And you can let us know any questions that you have for anybody who’s coming on and any follow up questions you have after listening to it. So that’s a new group that we are building little by little over time, and it’s been fun to see the come conversations that we’ve had coming up in that area, in that group. So looking forward to it. Would love for you to be a part of it as well. We’re over 200 members or 200 people, followers. What would it be if you’re members? I guess it’s technically members of the Facebook group, which obviously is different than members of Food Blogger Pro itself, but the Facebook group for the podcast is free. So go ahead and check it out and join the conversation.

Bjork Ostrom: That is it for this week. Thanks for tuning in as always. Our hope for this podcast is that it can help you get a tiny bit better every day forever. And it’s a great joy that we get to do each and every week. All right. Make it a great week. Thank you.

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