Kristen from MOON and Spoon and Yum is a nature and travel photographer turned full time food blogger. Working on her blog since 2015, she shares some great insights into how she earns a full time income while not spending full time hours on the blog. Magic!
Welcome to the 9th interview of Full Time Foodies with Kristen from MOON and Spoon and Yum! If you’ve just landed here, don’t forget to start at our first interview with Alex from It’s Not Complicated Recipes!
Full Time Foodies is a series which shares stories from full time food bloggers around the world with helpful resources, recommendations and advice.
Now, without further ado – over to you Kristen!
Let’s Get Started
How did you come up with the idea to start your food blog?
I was an avid nature and travel photographer for many years before discovering blogging. As a new mom and a creative person seeking an outlet, it just clicked one day to combine my passions for food and photography in the form of sharing my recipe creations via imagery. As for the name – I remember writing a long list of ideas, then reading it over and over again until they were nearly all crossed out. This was the most unique of the bunch and just felt right. It’s meant to be fun and family-friendly, but it also has deep personal meaning for me in regards to the Moon.
What does your day to day look like?
At the moment my day is filled with virtual kindergarten with my eldest son, some side social media/virtual assistant work I do for a company, recipe testing and photography. I actually get the majority of my blog work done late at night after my children are asleep.
What task gives you the biggest joy with blogging?
Gosh, that’s a tough one! I really enjoy nearly every aspect of it. The overall creation process, the cooking and the photographing, have to be the most fun though.
Do you celebrate your achievements? How?
I’m not sure! Or perhaps, maybe I just did for the first time. Thanks to my recent cookbook publishing deal, I was able to upgrade my camera after using the same one for over 10+ years now. Large purchases stress me out, haha, but I’m terribly excited about this one.
What’s the most difficult aspect of blogging for you?
For me personally, it’s challenging finding the time and energy I would love to have to devote to it. And that’s partially because as I’m sure you know, there is always something you can be doing or working towards with food blogging. Boundaries can be a struggle. However, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything else.
Have you come across any challenges or pitfalls? If so, how did you overcome them?
Oh tons! You’re always learning something new on this blogging journey or finding yourself tweaking or revising something for the billionth time! I really just try to enjoy the curveballs and chaos and just keep on creating and growing.
How do you stay motivated?
I don’t find myself struggling with this one too much yet! I feel grateful to have stumbled upon something that I am super passionate about, and I sure hope that doesn’t fade. But if things feel a bit mundane or there’s a creative rut, I love to listen to food blogging podcasts for a little motivation. Eat Blog Talk, Chopped, and Food Blogger Pro are three helpful ones I really enjoy.
Going Full Time as a Food Blogger
How old is your blog? How old was it when you transitioned to full time?
I started the blog December 31st of 2015, but it wasn’t until 2019 that it generated what I would consider to be a full-time income.
How did you decide, or what made you take the leap to full time?
It’s full time for me, but I don’t actually put full time hours into it (however, I put all that I can into it!). That’s one beautiful part about being a food blogger, it allows for a lot of flexibility and I completely stand behind the concept of working smarter rather than harder. I decided it was full time when growth was rather steady, sponsored work was not hard to come by, and I was making a full time income through ad revenue.
What does working full time on your blog mean to you?
Putting whatever time you can into it and getting the return you’d like from it (even if gradual!). Always working and striving towards something, no matter how small the task or goal. Giving it your all and allowing yourself to continually learn and apply. Enjoying it!
Would you say your blog has grown at a faster rate since going full time?
It’s grown at a faster rate since I started taking it more seriously and trying harder in every aspect of it.
Do you outsource any aspect of your business? If so, what?
No, I manage it all at this time.
What is your biggest traffic referrer?
Google, followed by Pinterest.
What is your income split between ads, affiliates, sponsorships or other?
At the moment, maybe 70% ads, 25% sponsored content and 5% affiliates.
Average monthly RPM: $30.75 (thanks, AdThrive!)
Does your blog fully support you, or do you have other income streams?
It is the majority of my income, but I also do some side social media and virtual assistant work for a small company as a supplement. They complement each other as I get to see both sides of the social and blog partnership worlds which can be immensely helpful!
What change do you think has made the biggest difference to your blog?
What skills have you mastered to get you to where you are today?
You wear so many hats with this profession – recipe developer, photographer, writer, editor, videographer, SEO guru, social media manager, to name a few! I don’t think I’ve mastered any of them, but I do see a lot of growth over time and that’s part of what’s so fun about it all. I really enjoy the multitasking and variety that this profession provides.
How many posts do you aim to publish per month? Do you schedule your work in advance?
I’ve never been very consistent, partially due to being a busy mama, but I do aim for at least 4 per month. I’m not a fan of scheduling things, and work rather spontaneously instead. Maybe someday that will change!
Advice, Learning and Looking Toward the Future
What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self about to make the transition?
Keep following your heart and your passions! Drown out the naysayers.
Where do you go when you’re looking for blogging advice?
Facebook groups such as Food Bloggers Central are immensely helpful in this regard. Also, the food blogging community as a whole is rather warm, welcoming and always willing to offer helpful advice (from my experience!).
If you offer advice to food bloggers as a coach or mentor, what’s the best way for them to reach out to you?
I’m always willing to help others! hello [@] moonandspoonandyum [dot] com
What resources have helped the most, and had the biggest impact on your blog?
I think the majority of what I’ve learned and applied to my blog has been from food blogging Facebook groups such as Food Bloggers Central, followed by good old fashioned Google searches to research anything I needed to learn more about.
What’s your current focus or area of study for your blogging?
I’m still working on updating old posts – it will feel good when they are all reasonably updated! I’m always looking to improve my photography game as finding compositions in nature always came easily for me, but creating compositions and nailing food styling with food photography is quite a challenge! It would also be nice to pin down a more consistent photographic style as I kind of have way too much fun with it all.
What current goal are you working towards?
Thinking more strategically with the blog. Planning ahead (which is something I hardly ever do!).
Where do you see yourself and your blog in 5 years’ time?
Hopefully I will have seen more growth, feel more secure in it all and still feel the same passion!
Now we have to ask…
What’s your funniest cooking fail?
I can’t think of anything super funny, but I will say that gluten-free baking is no walk in the park! I usually experience multiple failures before I succeed in that category.
Which recipe do you cook the most from your blog?
This is one of the most popular recipes on the blog and something that my kids request at least once a week!
Finally, where can people find and connect with you?
If there’s a question you’d LOVE to know from full time bloggers, feel free to email us with your suggestions. We hope you’ve learnt a thing or two today to help you with your food blogging journey. Make sure to comment below and let us know your favourite take-aways!
Want more interviews?
- Full Time Foodies Interview #1 with Alex from It’s Not Complicated Recipes
- Full Time Foodies Interview #2 with Lisa from Fresh Eggs Daily
- Full Time Foodies Interview #3 with Kristin from Baker Bettie
- Full Time Foodies Interview #4 with Lynn from Fresh April Flours
- Full Time Foodies Interview #5 with Elaine from Dishes Delish
- Full Time Foodies Interview #6 with Cassie from Cook It Real Good
- Full Time Foodies Interview #7 with Megan from Mad Creations
- Full Time Foodies Interview #8 with Carrie from Clean Eating Kitchen
- Full Time Foodies Resources Page