This time of year is always special to me. Want to know why? Because October 24th marks the day I started my blog sweetphi.com, eight years ago!! I’m now officially in my 9th year of blogging! This post is a long one and could have been even longer, because truly, my blog and working on my blog is my happy place, it brings me so much joy and I could talk about food/recipes/things that help a person with a busy lifestyle/parenting/turning your blog into a business/the business of blogging/being a small business owner/photography/working with brands/books/learning/research/the best iced coffee/babies and twins/being a working mom/etc., ALL DAY LONG!! I’m also doing a pretty amazing giveaway as a THANK YOU TO YOU!
Eight winners will be selected-each will receive a $100 Amazon or Starbucks gift card (winners choice!) – read more below (get it – 8 winners – 8 years?!)
I am so appreciative and grateful for this online space and community. Every comment, every person making my recipes or buying my cookbooks or reading my site, I am so thankful. I think about it all the time and I hope it comes across, but truly, this online space (sweetphi.com) and all that goes with it and working on it is my happy place and I’m so grateful to you for being part of it.
Over the course of the years, I have learned so much and am constantly changing and evolving to make the blog better. When I started SweetPhi.com, I didn’t know much about this online space – I didn’t know about website hosting or all the expenses that go into running an online business, I didn’t know about photography, I didn’t know anything about working with brands, I didn’t know anything about writing a recipe that made sense, I didn’t know anything about SEO (search engine optimization) – I still don’t lol, Instagram stories weren’t even a thing and I definitely was not prepared for all of the social media algorithm changes or even that one could turn a blog into a business! But here we are!!
At the end of a long day of work, when one would just veg on the couch? I too am vegging on the couch…but that includes me having a laptop and working on blog posts/editing photos/scheduling social media posts/responding to comments/writing my newsletter/researching how to do something/and the million other things that go into blogging and being a business owner!
In addition to running this blog, I also work a more traditional “full time” job running operations for small natural products company called True Botanica (I use and love so many of our products: this lip balm is a favorite and all my friends are obsessed with it too, I take our multivitamins everyday, and our elderberry thyme syrup is a staple in my house all cold-season long I also use the Winter Health all cold-season!)
I call my day job “work-work” – and my blog “work” too lol. I’m so insanely passionate about my blog…and I love my day job too. On my way to my “work-work” I listen to podcasts and audio books, so I’m always learning new things.
I feel so incredibly lucky that I’m able and love to do both. I’m also incredibly lucky to have such amazing babies (I have 12 week old twins that sleep through the night and share a room with their older brother – it doesn’t escape me how rare and amazing that is) and family and friends and supportive people in my corner.
People always ask how I “do it all.”
The thing about that is that I do feel like I do a lot of things, but it all feels normal to me… I don’t feel like I’m “working” 24-7 and I think I’ve learned what works for me and how to switch between different things and stay focused on what I’m doing in the moment, and like I said – I have amazing people around me (none of what I do would be possible without my incredibly supportive husband. While I mainly work while the kids are napping and on the occasional weekend…who is watching the kids in those in-between times I need “5 more minutes” (which is really an hour) to finish a post? He is! He’s also an incredible sounding board and an all-around amazing man.)
A big thing I think keeps me going with the blog during the not so glamorous times is that I’m not really concerned about being the biggest blogger out there. I’m more interested in helping busy people and having a conversation about food and family and raising kids and the creative process and growing my business slowly and steadily over time.
In the past eight years, I’ve turned my blog from a little random thing into an actual business, I’ve created and shared amazing recipes, improved and learned photography, created a weekly newsletter community that is amazing (you should really sign up if you’re not already), I’ve worked with some incredible brands, worked with a whole variety of companies I love to grow my business- shout out to my ad network Mediavine (love them-they run the ads on my site), gotten TWO publishing contracts and published 2 cookbooks:
- Fast & Easy Five-Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook For Busy People
- The Baby Food Maker Cookbook: 125 Fresh, Wholesome, Organic Recipes for You Baby Food Maker Device or Stovetop
On top of all of that, I had a baby (who is now a toddler) and boy/girl twins and could not be happier to be a mom and share about family life in my newly created Catching Up With The Kelnhofers series!
I know I’m a small drop of water in the big bad ocean of blogs. I’ve never had anything “go viral”, I wasn’t an early adapter of some social media platform that took off (I know a lot of people who started when Pinterest was new and really made it big as a result or started early and have crazy big Facebook pages), and I don’t have millions of followers or page views (which in turn brings in crazy big partners). You know what? I’m 100% fine with that and love everything I do have and have accomplished-please know that every time I get a follower or like or interaction on social media or comment on my blog, it truly means the world to me!
Big truth moment though…at the end of the day, even though I do treat my blog as a business, if I wouldn’t have a single dollar of income coming in from my blog, I’d still blog. I love making and sharing recipes and connecting with people from around the world!
People always like to ask if I’d ever quit working and make this blog my “full time” thing. Reality of it is, I could have or could do that at any time, I have turned my blog into a sustainable business. The thing is, I truly love working at a more ‘traditional’ job during the day and am really good at my job (I think) and get a lot of satisfaction out it. It allows me to keep my blog enjoyable, a place of joy and passion and creativity versus something I HAVE to do.
Don’t get me wrong – there are times I don’t want to do something that I’ve set up in my mind as a “must do” for the blog. For example I work on my newsletter and schedule it every Thursday night…some weeks I’m just so exhausted and don’t feel like doing anything, but I stay up late doing it and power through. I batch work (so I’ll do all the photography for a month in a day, or all the editing in batches, things like that) and at the end of some of the photography days where I’ve been on my feet all day, lugging photography boards and props and my camera around, my back hurts like you would not believe.
I do consider myself a full time blogger… it’s all about your own personal definition of what “full time” and “success” look like for you. I put in the work and the hours at both things.
I could go on and on about how fun/crazy/difficult/enjoyable/enlightening this journey has been, but instead, let’s get to the fun stuff!
To help celebrate my blogiversary, we’re doing some extra special giveaways! For 8 years of blogging, I’m giving away 8 gift cards for $100 each! The winner will get to choose $100 a Amazon or Starbucks gift card (winners choice!). I’ll be announcing this giveaway on my Instagram/stories too, so be sure you are following me to learn how to enter over on Insta! 4 winners will be chosen from the blog, 4 from Instagram – you can enter one place or both to increase your chances 🙂
- To enter the blog giveaway: pick any blog post (besides this one) and leave a comment on that post. It could be leaving a comment on a recipe post telling me you’ve made that recipe or want to make it in the future, or it could be on a life post about babies or parenting sharing your own story, or on a travel post telling me you’ve visited that place or want to visit…you get the idea!
- Then come back to this post and leave a comment telling me you’ve commented on another post, and voila, that’s it, you’ll be entered!
- US entrants only, winners will be chosen 11/7/19 and notified via email the next day!
Bonus giveaway: win a box of my favorite meal kit delivery service (Home Chef 4 meals for 2 or 2 meals for 4-an $80 value!)
- To enter leave a comment on the Home Chef Review post telling me why you’d like to try the meal kit delivery service
- Then come back to this post and leave a comment telling me you’ve commented and entered, and voila, that’s it, you’ll be entered!
- US entrants only, winner will be chosen 11/7/19 and emailed the next day, and I’ll give you a months worth of menus and you can choose whichever week in that month you’d like delivery!
Please note – none of these giveaways are sponsored or affiliated with companies in any way, I’m just doing these giveaways because I am so grateful and appreciative of you and your support!!
I’m excited for many more years of SweetPhi.com and can’t wait to take you along on the journey. Don’t forget, if you’re on Instagram be sure to follow me and enter there too!