I've been a little quiet the last few months - I'm still here and I'm so excited to do more content. But I've been busy with the other part of my business. I've been branching out all the skills I've learned while food blogging and I thought I'd do a little catch up.
I never thought that 2 after starting my food blog, I'd be making as much from photography as I do in my day job (and also that running a food blog got me into my job, without the qualifications I "needed")!
When I first started Maritime Glutton, I had no idea the sheer amount of work that goes into a food blog, how competitive it was, or how much my interests would develop.
I had been using Instagram for a few years, sharing (admittedly pretty bad) pictures of my food. I started the Instagram account to help me overcome my struggles with disordered eating. I slowly built a following and decided that I'd benefit from owning my own space and posting actual recipes.
I thought that if I made good recipes, people would just find me! I was SO wrong. I knew nothing about SEO, about proper recipe writing, about photography or any kind of marketing to sustain the costs associated with food blogging (let alone profit).
A Year and a Half Later...
Fast forward to now, March of 2022, I've spent countless hours researching, perfecting and dialing in my workflow. I've spent a huge amount of time browsing Food Bloggers Central, the Eat Blog Talk podcast and countless resources learning about ways to improve my site, photography and marketing. After an audit with Casey Markee from MediaWyse and lots and lots of food photography courses (Foodtography School, The Bite Shot, Two Loves Studio), and even a 1:1 mentorship with a wonderful Italian photographer named Giulia Verdinelli, I learned the ins and outs of earning organic traffic to my blog.
Once I started seeing how much time and money it took to run a blog, I started taking on commercial and restaurant photography to fund it. At first, it started with shots of dishes and eventually I started doing headshots here and there. And I loved it! I fell in love with how magical it is to add human elements to photos.
These photos with Dave from Clos were one of the first times I realized just how much I loved photography. After this shoot, I ended up taking on more and more lifestyle shoots. I became obsessed with showing intimate, authentic and emotional moments through pictures.
And I got pretty good at it.
The Importance of Diversifying Skills
I've said it before and I will continue to say it. Food blogging is hard, it takes a lot of work, and it's incredibly competitive. If you're starting a blog to "get rich quick" - this is the wrong hobby or small business for you. I promise.
But if you love to cook, you're interested in learning marketing, you're a strong writer or a talented photographer, it can be a really cool gig. Even if you're not trained in these but have drive and a desire to learn - it's an amazing side gig and even better conversation starter.
I landed a job managing social media for the Provincial Parks of New Brunswick (a student position) based on the skills I taught myself from food blogging. After my student term ended, I was lucky enough that this skillset was enough to land me a job in advertising for our Provincial Tourism department.
Food blogging is a SLOW game - I'm a huge advocate of using the skills you build to try and find work in your industry. It's two fold - it allows you to make money while your blog builds up, but it also allows you to build skills for your blog during your salary 9-5.
Being Open to New Opportunities
I never thought that I'd get (or even want) a 9-5 job. When I started to get serious about Maritime Glutton, I was sure that all I wanted was to be my own boss.
If I kept this mentality, I never would have had an open mind to working in Tourism. I never would have had the chance to take on interesting and meaningful work that allows me to be creative, learn, and travel my home province (and get paid for it).
I never would've started a second business doing photography and diversifying my income while serving portrait, family and wedding clients. I never would've found work that was so meaningful and allowed me to work hours I want and bring in more income.
I love being a food blogger. But I'm thankful I kept an open mind about how my role could evolve as I discovered the aspects of food blogging that interest me the most.
What Have I Been Up To?
Since I started my food blog in 2022, I've had some incredible experiences that I am sure were given to me due to this crazy journey. Here are a few.
July 2020. Started my food blog, Maritime Glutton, and began my journey to learn how to best serve my clients.
February 2021. I incorporated my business, Maritime Glutton, and became a federally recognized business. I started my 1 on 1 photography mentorship.
April 2021. Was hired as a social media manager for Provincial Parks.
May 2021. I did my first food photography session. I partnered with local food services and restaurants to produce images that spoke to their clients.
September 2021. Started a dedicated website for my photography.
October 2021. Took on my first lifestyle session. I would do 15 between October and the end of 2021.
November 2021. Was hired at Tourism New Brunswick.
December 2021. Booked my first wedding (for 2022), made more in my side business than I did in my day job this month.
February 2022. Got set up with my own studio space in Fredericton North.
March 2022. Turned 25 and decided to take a picture a day for 365 days to celebrate my 25th birthday to keep myself inspired.
So what's next? Hopefully lots.
Maritime Glutton and Lauren Mullaly Photography Features
Eat Blog Talk 297: Diversify Your Revenue While Building Important Food Blogging Skills
Featured in Stylecaster's Super Bowl Dishes
Featured in Buzzfeed's 10 New Brunswick Foods
The Maritime Edit: Volume 19 (Winter)
Images featured in Tourism New Brunswick's 2021 & 2022 campaigns.