Welcome to episode 237 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, the team talks about the “one thing” they’re excited to accomplish in 2020.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Bill Erickson about the impact your design can have on your blog. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
The One Thing
This is a different kind of podcast episode, but we think you’re really going to like it.
Heading into a new year can feel a bit overwhelming, but it sometimes helps to narrow-down your focus and think through that “one thing” you’re excited to accomplish this year.
And that’s exactly what we’re doing in this interview! Alexa, Bjork, and Emily each share the one thing they’re excited to tackle in 2020, and we hope that it encourages you to figure out your “one thing” as well.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How Bjork manages a remote team
- Why we created a parent company
- Where the name “Tiny Bit” comes from
- How Pinch of Yum is repurposing video this year
- How Emily is creating step-by-step videos for Pinch of Yum blog posts
- How compilation videos work
- 204: Company Structure – LLCs, S-Corps, and Accounting, oh my!
- Blogging as a Business course – for members only
- Example of step-by-step videos on Pinch of Yum
- 232: Repurposing Video – Maximizing the Impact of Recipe Videos with Brita Britnell
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.
Alexa Peduzzi: Welcome one and welcome all to this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. I’m Alexa and we are so happy that you’re here, especially because this is a different kind of episode than we’ve done in the past. A typical Food Blogger Pro podcast typically starts with a short intro from me, then a Bjork-led interview with someone in the food blogging industry, and then a quick wrap up with me again. Today, however, I’m in the interview receipt and I’m interviewing a few people from our team to chat about one thing they’re excited to focus on in 2020. I love this time of year, but it could also feel a little bit overwhelming. I have this whole year ahead of me. So what do I focus on? So today we’re breaking down that feeling a little bit and just focusing on one thing, one pretty major thing that we’re excited to tackle and get done this year, and I’m up first.
Alexa Peduzzi: So as I said, I’m Alexa and I’m the general manager of Food Blogger Pro, which means that I handle a lot of the stuff that happens under the Food Blogger Pro umbrella. So I edit and publish the podcast each week, schedule emails for our members, plan content with Eman’s. I shape the social strategy with Abby. I’m editing courses, writing articles, all that fun stuff, and one of the big changes, very big things that I’m really pumped to focus on this year is the Food Blogger Pro redesign. I’m so excited. I’ve been on the team for nearly four years now and we haven’t really tweaked our design at foodbloggerpro.com, our membership site for food bloggers. I’m happy to report that we will be launching a redesign site later this year. It’s technically a design refresh because the functionality on Food Blogger Pro isn’t going to change very much.
Alexa Peduzzi: There are a few functionality changes happening within the membership area on Food Blogger Pro that I’m really excited about, but overall the design will just be bolder, cleaner, and well, more us. You know, site redesigns are just such a great way to breathe new life into a site, and I just cannot wait to launch. It’ll be a few months, but it’ll be worth it. We’re working with our contractor developer man, Daniel, and our front end designer/WP Tasty general manager Katie to work through this project. So more to come on that soon. So next we’re going to chat with the one, the only Bjork about his one thing that he’s excited to focus on in 2020.
Alexa Peduzzi: Bjork, welcome to the podcast.
Bjork Ostrom: Hey, I always love a little role reversal here, sitting on the other side of the mic. Even though I’m technically in the exact same seat, in the exact same spot, talking in the exact same way into the same mic, it feels like a little bit of a different version of the podcast, which is kind of fun.
Alexa Peduzzi: For sure, and you don’t exactly know what’s coming as the interviewee, but as the interviewer –
Bjork Ostrom: I know. I can’t direct it. You could take it anywhere you want and I –
Alexa Peduzzi: Anywhere.
Bjork Ostrom: And I couldn’t stop you from going wherever it is you want to go.
Alexa Peduzzi: Fortunately, we have a very short agenda to get through, but I think we’ll be okay. So actually, my first question kind of is taking a step back. Before we start talking about the one thing you’re excited about to focus on in 2020, is what do you do here at Food Blogger Pro and at our parent company, Tiny Bit?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and actually great lead in. That’s a little bit of what I’m going to talk about is Tiny Bit, but my role here … I’ll do kind of a quick background story. So roll the tape way back. One of the things that I have always been and continue to be really interested in is kind of business and tech, and what we do here is this great combination of business and tech, and when Lindsay way back when was kind of interested in potentially starting a blog, I was like, hey, this kind of is able to allow me to scratch an itch of business and tech because you’re going to be publishing stuff online, and so it could really be in any category. Food is the category that we landed in because it’s an area that Lindsay’s really passionate about. So early on my role was kind of doing some of the behind the scenes stuff. I was the first one to put an ad unit on Pinch of Yum, and we’re like, “Ah, it’s a scary thing where we didn’t have ads and now we do. Are people going to be mad?” And we’re like, “Oh, people weren’t mad,” and getting email set up and thinking about what that’s like.
Bjork Ostrom: So my role early on was really on implementing some of the tech related stuff and organizing some of the business side of things for Pinch of Yum, and eventually we started to grow and build and kind of add on different elements to Pinch of Yum and create different businesses around those. So we launched Food Blogger Pro, which people that listen to this podcast are familiar with, and then we launched a nutrition analysis I called Nutrifox and then a WordPress plugin site called WP Tasty, and over time we started to have these different brands and entities and my role shifted from kind of implementer of certain things on the ground to more manager of those different entities, and we started to bring on incredible team members, yourself included, to help kind of champion these different brands, and my role as we stand now, to catch us up to speed on a very quick story of what things look like for me, is to do my best to help equip the people that we are working with to do whatever it is they need to do within their role and within their job.
Bjork Ostrom: So that looks like one on one meetings. We just wrapped up a meeting where we talked through some of the things that we’re doing for 2020 for Food Blogger Pro. At this point, I handle a lot of the accounting and HR related stuff. So we don’t have somebody on our team who does HR. We have somebody who does bookkeeping, but I’m kind of the middleman between some of the accounting and bookkeeping, so I’m kind of a finance, HR hybrid at this point for the parent company, Tiny Bit. So that’s a little bit of a recap of what I do.
Alexa Peduzzi: That’s amazing, and we actually … I just counted our little screenshot from our secret Santa last year, and we have 13 people including you on the team. So that means 12 one-on-one meetings every month and just a lot of stuff to balance and to kind of make sure is running smoothly. So that’s pretty amazing.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally.
Alexa Peduzzi: You do so much here for Food Blogger Pro and Tiny Bit. So, crazy.
Bjork Ostrom: Thanks. Yeah, and it’s one of the things that I’m constantly figuring out is what does that look like to change and evolve? Because the version of what my role is, much like the version of what your role is a year ago probably isn’t going to look the same if we’re trying to be intentional about building and growing, and so one of the things I’m learning this year is like, hey, it’s probably not super sustainable if we want to grow for me to do a one-on-one check in with every single team member. Then it’s like, okay, what does that look like to shift and adjust that, and how do we make sure that culturally everybody is having some way that they can connect with somebody, because we’re a remote team, and talk through some of that stuff?
Bjork Ostrom: So those are kind of some of the new unique problems that are created and then that we get to solve as we continue to grow as a team, and we’re not growing at a breakneck speed. It’s not like we’re hiring somebody every week, but we do want to intentionally think about how do we grow, and I also feel like that’s one of my roles is to look a year ahead, three years ahead, five years ahead, and think, “What does that look like for us to grow? How do we do that and how do we be intentional about that, not only within the brands that we have, the sites that we’re managing, but also as a team all together.” So lots of stuff to think about, lots of stuff to do, but all of it is good, and I enjoy almost all of it. Not all of it, but almost all of it.
Alexa Peduzzi: For sure, and it’s so much more enjoyable when it’s just such a great team, and we gush about the team all the time, I feel like, on Food Blogger Pro podcast, but really it is just a group of awesome people and I just am so thankful that we’re able to talk … I would have no reason to know Katie, our WP Tasty general manager, but she is just awesome and I’m just so excited to get to know her more and more each day.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes.
Alexa Peduzzi: So yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally.
Alexa Peduzzi: Which is really cool as a remote team. So along those same lines, it’s 2020, new year. What day is it today we’re recording this? January 9th, so fairly new into the new year, and I’m curious, what is the one thing that you are excited to focus on this year?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, so great time to reflect on that, right? So coming into the new year, thinking about all the different stuff that we want to do, but if I had to distill it down and say there’s one specific thing that I want to share with the Food Blogger Pro podcast audience, it actually would be about this change that we’ve made to this parent company structure, and it’s an interesting thing to talk about in that most people listening, this probably isn’t going to apply to what you do. Most people are in the stage where you have one business, you have one entity, and that’s the thing that you’re working on and growing. It’s probably your blog or maybe you have kind of a business name that you apply and have different categories that go under that, like your blog and maybe you have a YouTube channel and it all kind of rolls up under one business, but I wanted to talk about that because I think it’d be helpful for people to think about, hey, what does that look like to strategically structure what you’re doing in a way that is is simple and effective?
Bjork Ostrom: So the different categories that you would land in, one would be, hey, you’re really early stages. You’re just getting started and you’re kind of testing the waters. You want to make sure that this is something that you’re interested in doing and you could be … at that point you could operate and not have an actual business entity, and for Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro, there is a period of time where we were just operating as a business, but we didn’t have an official bank account, we didn’t have an LLC set up here in the US. If you’re US-based you’d use an LLC. So that would be one stage, and then the next stage was like, hey, we actually need to form these official business entities. So we created Pinch of Yum LLC. We got an EIN number, it’s called, which essentially is the social security number for the business. We set up business bank accounts –
Alexa Peduzzi: And that is just such an exciting thing.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, totally.
Alexa Peduzzi: Having your own business. That’s the first time you were like a business owner, and that’s just so cool.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally. There isn’t really a version of this with a digital business but you kind of want to have that dollar bill that’s framed in the back of the –
Alexa Peduzzi: Yes, totally.
Bjork Ostrom: The first dollar, and I think it all is that same feeling of you’re putting a stake in the ground and saying, “I’m doing this,” and it feels really good to do that and then have a business bank account, and especially exciting if at the end of the month you have more money in the business bank account than you did at the beginning and it’s like, “Oh wow.” Not only is this an official business with its own bank account, it even has its own EIN. It’s its own entity as in the eyes of the IRS, but there’s actually growing revenue for the business. So that’s a really exciting time, but what we found is that over time, we started to create other entities to solve other problems. So Pinch of Yum solves the problem of recipes and getting people good, easy to make recipes. Food Blogger Pro is this community of food and content creators, and it’s a place where this really specific niche of people can gather around and ask questions and get answers for specific questions that are kind of unique in the world, and then we started to create these other entities, WP Tasty and Nutrifox.
Bjork Ostrom: So they were all their own businesses, they all had their own business bank accounts and they’re all operating in some way kind of separately, but what we realized is, this is kind of a family of businesses, but they’re kind of siloed in terms of how they’re all rolled up, and so we started to do a lot of research and said how do we simplify this process, not only from a payroll perspective … we don’t want to have payroll for four companies, but also from a team perspective? And so we decided to form what’s called a parent company. Now one of the questions I had is what is a parent company versus a holding company? And they’re kind of used interchangeably, but the thing that I use to differentiate the two, parent company would kind of be a company that is operating the businesses. So Amazon would be a parent company to Zappos and I think diapers.com and many, many, many other businesses. They’re the parent company over those, they’re operating those, whereas like a holding company would be Berkshire Hathaway.
Bjork Ostrom: So Warren Buffett’s company, he’s not actually really operating any of the businesses, he’s just investing in them. So we’re a parent company called Tiny Bit, the premise of which is we talk a lot about 1% affinity, and we want to make sure that that’s a part of the ethos for our company, and we talk about getting a tiny bit better every day forever. So that’s where the name comes from. So we feel like it’s a really good fit, not only for what we believe, but what we talk about a lot, and that oversees everything that we do. So it sits on top of all of those other businesses. So what does that mean for Food Blogger Pro members? What does that mean for us as a team? Not really anything hugely different, but I do think that from my perspective, the work that I’m doing, it simplifies things in that now we have one parent company. Everybody’s hired under that parent company. We do things like benefits and all the management and stuff like that. It all goes through Tiny Bit.
Bjork Ostrom: The interesting thing, if people are curious, those other businesses, they still operate with their own QuickBooks. So for those who aren’t familiar, QuickBooks is how you do the bookkeeping and making sure that each business is profitable, and that’s why we have each entity separated out, is because we want to make sure, hey, do we understand how profitable a certain business is? Tiny Bit will allow us to do that where each company will have a separate set of books and Tiny Bit will kind of be the management company up above. So we can still see the accuracy of the profit and loss is getting a little bit into the weeds, but the profit and loss for each business, but it will simplify some of the accounting and HR stuff. So I’m super excited about it. It’s the one transition that I’m kind of thinking about and focusing on, especially here in the new year as we officially made the transition on 1/1/20, and so I wanted to not only tell people a little bit of the why behind it, but also just let people know that that’s a transition that’s happening. So that’s my one thing.
Alexa Peduzzi: That’s amazing. Yeah, and it’s interesting you say that about QuickBooks, because I actually just signed up for QuickBooks for my own blog and I’m slowly getting up to speed with that, and I used to use a very janky Google Sheet that just had rows and rows and rows of information, and eventually my accountant was just like, “Dude, you got to get this under control.” So I’m very excited to use QuickBooks as well, but for you guys listening, as Bjork said at the beginning, that may not be super pertinent to where you are in your business, where you are in your blogging journey right now, but Bjork actually recorded a solo podcast, episode 204, that’s foodbloggerpro.com/204, all about company structure, so LLCs, S Corp’s, accounting, all that “fun stuff,” or unless you’re Bjork, it actually is fun stuff.
Bjork Ostrom: It depends. It depends, yeah.
Alexa Peduzzi: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can check that out and listen and learn more about company structure, and also if you’re a Food Blogger Pro member, we actually have a whole course that, again, Bjork recorded, about the business of blogging. So getting into the nitty gritty, how you apply for an EIN, what the structure is that you should choose to have your blog run under and all that fun stuff. So definitely a lot of resources for a very heady topic that’s not always super easy to understand.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure, and I think more than anything, the piece of encouragement that I would give people is you don’t have to have everything 100% perfect right off the bat. It’s micro progress that you’re making every day, and if you do find an area that you’re not super familiar with, it sounds super simple, but I think it’s important to remind people, just make a note of that. So if there’s something on this podcast that somebody mentioned, maybe it’s something that I said, maybe Alexis said, “S Corp”, and you’re like, “What is that?” Just make a little note of it, and as you are working on building the thing that you are building, you’ll have this list of question mark things, what is an S Corp? Why is it beneficial? And take some time out to continually learn and educate yourself on what those are, and what you’ll find is it’ll be confusing, it won’t make sense, but the more time you spend with it, the more research you do and the commitment to education, the more that you commit to that, it’ll start to become clear, but don’t expect it to be clear right away. It isn’t for anybody, but over time, as you spend more time with it and are intentional with that education piece, it’ll get clearer and clearer as you get into it.
Alexa Peduzzi: Totally, and actually just kind of a followup question to that. Do you have a favorite place that you store those “question mark things”?
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah. So one of the things that I do, if I’m on Kindle … so if I’m reading a book, this is the most often where it will happen, I’ll just make a note of it within Kindle. So you can highlight different areas and I can go back and research those. A lot of times what I’ll do is in real time, if I hit a roadblock, I’ll just pause whatever it is that I’m doing and if I have the time and can kind of a rabbit trail off into learning a little bit more, I’ll try and do that. So let’s say I’m reading an article and I come up against something that I’m not super familiar with. I’ll pause at that point and do a little bit of a quick deep dive on it, and usually you’re able to get the contextual information that you need to fill out the picture.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s not going to be … you’re not going to become an expert on whatever it is, but I think the point is to not breeze over stuff and just brush it aside, because I think it’s easy to do when you’re consuming content. It’s like, “I don’t know what that is,” and then brush it aside, but instead of brushing it aside, pause, say, “I don’t know what that is. I want to learn a little bit.” Do a quick rabbit trail and then come back and then re-engage. So maybe even more than that list, it’s real time information gathering on things that you’re not as familiar with.
Alexa Peduzzi: Love that. Yeah. Always in pursuit of knowledge for sure.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. Totally.
Alexa Peduzzi: Well cool. I think that wraps up this section of the podcast. Next we are going to talk to Emily about her one thing that she’s excited to focus on in 2020. She is the just incredible video specialist Pinch of Yum. She’s also the video expert on Food Blogger Pro, so she’s in the forum, she’s actually in live Q&A’s, which we just wrapped up, and she’s just an all around great person. So we’re going to talk to Emily next.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Thanks Alexa.
Alexa Peduzzi: Emily, welcome to the podcast.
Emily Caruso: Thank you. It’s good to be here.
Alexa Peduzzi: Yeah, we’re so excited to have you. You’re just such an important part of our team and we’re really excited to hear about the one thing you’re excited about to focus on in 2020, but before we get into that, kind of wanted to take a step back like we did with Bjork and talk about what you do here at Pinch of Yum and also on Food Blogger Pro.
Emily Caruso: Sure. Yeah. So I am the video specialist for Pinch of Yum and the kind of resident video expert for Food Blogger Pro, and what that means is for Pinch of Yum I film and edit all of the recipe videos that go onto the website and are shared on social media, et cetera, and then for Food Blogger Pro, I really like to help pop into the forums and help people with any questions they might be having on video. Sometimes we do new courses around video equipment and process and things like that. So that is something else that I work on video wise for Food Blogger Pro.
Alexa Peduzzi: Totally, and just yesterday, actually, we had a live Q&A with Emily all about recipe videos. It was great. We had a lot of awesome questions. So if you are a Food Blogger Pro member, be sure to check that out. If you do have any questions about making your own recipe videos, especially if it’s a goal of yours in 2020, which I know for a lot of you it is, I think you’ll find a lot of awesome information in that. So now that we’ve kind of got a little bit of an idea of what you do, I’m curious, what is the number one thing, or one of the big things that you are excited to focus on in 2020?
Emily Caruso: Well 2020 … I think it’s always fun to think about the beginning of the new year and kind of setting goals and things. So one of the things that we kind of started at the tail end of 2019 but what I’m really excited to really run with this year is how we can get the most out of all of the video that we shoot. So instead of just using the recipe videos to put on YouTube and in the posts and on Instagram, how can we take those clips and repurpose them and pair them together in new ways to kind of get even more content out of them, and also provide even more value for our readers?
Emily Caruso: So an example of that is recently we’ve been taking some of our recipe videos and breaking them up into a little bit more step-by-step instructional videos that Lindsay’s been putting into the posts, and it really I think is helping. We’ve gotten some good feedback so far. It’s helpful to see some of these actual steps in the recipe slowed down, and you can kind of see them and watch them, and I think it’s really helpful for people as they’re actually in the kitchen cooking. I’ve even actually found myself using them on my iPad in the kitchen if I’m remaking a recipe for dinner. It’s kind of nice to sort of see those slower steps of okay, we’re going to stir this together and then put this aside, and then next step is this step. So it’s kind of fun, but it’s all using the same video that we have shot for the traditional recipe video, but just in a new way.
Alexa Peduzzi: Totally. Well, and I think they’re really interesting because like you said, you already have that video content from making those quick snappy under one minute videos for the blog posts and also for social media. So it’s interesting that the different types of videos, although they’re pretty much the same videos, are performing in different ways on different platforms. So I think that’s really cool that you guys are doing that.
Emily Caruso: Yeah and I feel like I think of our kind of one minute ones that are set to music as these little almost trailers, like here’s this recipe and it kind of gets people interested because you see all this delicious food like, “Oh yeah, that looks really good. I really want to make that tonight,” but then when it actually comes to cooking it, the step-by-steps have been I think really helpful for the actual in the moment cooking. So it’s sort of like the other recipe video draws you in and makes you want to make the recipe and then breaking up these steps sort of helps you actually to make the recipe in your own kitchen.
Alexa Peduzzi: Totally, and they’re pretty much a different version of the step-by-step or the process shots that bloggers have been doing for years now on their sites, but it’s just in video form rather than in photo form, which I think is really cool, especially, like I said, because you already have that video content shot. So I know a lot of people are probably thinking like, “Hey, I’m just getting into video and now you’re telling me that I need to do this other thing?” How do you go about like breaking up that video content into those smaller chunks? Does it take a long time or are you pretty organized with it? I think people would be a little bit curious about your process there.
Emily Caruso: Yeah, it’s actually been very easy. Once you edit the full video, I just kind of go back through looking at the recipe itself and how Lindsay has it written, and if in step one she says, “Saute onions and garlic,” I kind of go to the full video and pull out the clips that show that, slow them back down a little bit. We don’t really put any music to them, and really just show those steps slowed down so that someone can kind of really see those ingredients transform in the pan and know what it’s supposed to look like when it’s done. So it’s actually really just not very much extra time. You’ve already really done the hard part by shooting it, and then it’s just a matter of kind of pulling out these clips and saving them in a different way, but if someone is kind of, again, new to video, this is not something that you need to do. There’s other ways that you can get the most out of your videos that you’ve shot, and one of the other ways that we are doing that in this new year is trying to make kind of compilation videos of some of our popular videos.
Emily Caruso: So for instance, recently we shot a lot of freezer meal videos, so Lindsay and Jenna and Eman had been working on these really great freezer meals and we’ve shot individual videos for a lot of them, but then what we’re doing, instead of just having these live as separate videos, we’re putting them together. So we have one kind of giant video of, “Here are six or eight freezer meal soup recipes that you can watch,” and then even from there, we’re paring it down to four of them happened to be vegan soup freezer meals. So we made a video of just the vegan ones so that people that are vegan can go directly to that video and see right there, all of these freezer meal soup recipes are vegan and they’re all put together, and it’s again, work that we’ve already shot. It’s a video that we already have and it’s just a matter of re-editing them in a different way, but it gives it kind of a brand new content and something new and fresh to share.
Alexa Peduzzi: Totally, and it’s a little bit like re-purposing or republishing old content too. You already have that content, you’re just kind of breathing new life into it, structuring it in a different way, and hopefully it resonates with the right people in that format, and I really love that, and if you have any questions, whoever is listening right now about repurposing video, some of the ways that Emily talked about are great, and Brita Brtinell, we actually had her on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, and that’s at foodbloggerpro.com/232, and she talked all about repurposing video. It’s an entire episode all about repurposing video. So if you are doing video right now and you’re looking for a way to kind of breath that new life into the content that you already have created, I really recommend you check out that post, and we’ll also have a link to that in the show notes along with an example of a Pinch of Yum post with some of those step-by-step videos that Emily was talking about, because if you haven’t checked them out, they are great.
Alexa Peduzzi: I agree with Emily that they are so great to follow along with in the kitchen. It’s slowed down and it’s just easy to follow. I love them, and Emily, you’re doing such a great job with them, so thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. You are awesome. I’m always blown away by all the work that you do, so thank you so, so much.
Emily Caruso: Oh, well thank you for having me. This is always fun to chat with you about new stuff.
Alexa Peduzzi: Totally. Thanks.
Alexa Peduzzi: And that’s a wrap. Thanks for tuning in to the Food Blogger Pro podcast this week. We hope you liked this different kind of episode and we hope that it encouraged you to figure out your one thing, AKA the one thing you’re really excited to tackle this year. Maybe it’s video or setting up a business. Maybe it’s an editorial calendar, or maybe it’s finding a new theme or starting that new series on your blog. Whatever it is, we are excited for you and we would love to hear about it. So if you’re a Food Blogger Pro member, awesome. You can find the thread that we posted to the general discussion forum this morning and write about your one thing. We can use that thread as some accountability this year, and if you’re not a member, you can just shoot us an email at [email protected] to tell us about your one thing, or you can learn more about becoming a member if you’re interested at foodbloggerpro.com. So that does it for us this week. We’ll see you next time, next Tuesday, but until then, make it a great week.