It was mid-March when the world turned upside down for most of us. As 2021 is quickly approaching, I am taking some time to reflect on this past year - a blur of a year that feels seemingly uneventful, but was actually very eventful.
So I challenge you to write a list of accomplishments/life events to commemorate the year - it will help us understand that we have given this historical year our all. Some notable life events for me include:
- Adjusting to the work from home environment - buying a new desk, chair, and monitor so that I no longer had work sprawled over my kitchen counter like a hot mess.
- Moving apartments in the middle of quarantine - not sure why my boyfriend and I thought it was a good idea to move in the middle of April when the world stayed put, but I can say a change of scenery in a new apartment definitely helped my psyche.
- Going through my first round of company layoffs - fall 2020 was a crazy time, but I survived and am still employed, which is definitely a big, big blessing.
- Spending more time with my family and the boyfriend - whenever I felt annoyed at them, I always reminded myself to cherish the extra time and moments, because time is so precious and no one is getting any younger.
- Getting into my first real car accident - excluding some dings on my car here and there, December was the first time I actually got into a car accident. I am okay and everything is resolved now, but WOW dealing with insurance companies was not fun, especially during the holiday months.
- Getting my beauty sleep - after a month of two of working from home, I got used to it and really enjoyed the extra sleep that comes with having no commute!
- Starting a food blog! - to clarify - I already had a food Instagram I had created a while back, but I did not seriously start posting consistently on my Instagram @recipeswithrach until quarantine happened.
As you can see, my year had many ups and downs like any other year (minus the up that includes traveling). One thing that consistently kept me going was constantly reminding myself of things I am thankful for, and diving into my hobby of cooking and eating food in general. Hence, I became a lot more active on @recipeswithrach.
So without much further ado, here are some tips I garnered from my experience growing my account from 500 to 8,500 followers this year and how you can start a food blog too during a pandemic!
1. Find your passion
If you treat having a food blog/food Instagram as a chore, then you will have higher chances of burning out or going inactive on your account. Ask yourself why you are creating this content and make sure you hold on to that excitement you felt in the beginning, because that passion will drive you to create some amazing things down the road.
For me, I started my page as a recipe blog because I was constantly cooking up something new, and wanted a place to share what I was making. As the months progressed and I settled back into my hometown, I felt inspired to also feature local Houston restaurants on my account as well. Especially during COVID times, restaurants and local business need our help spreading the word. Every weekend I wake up excited to cook something pretty or excited to try out a new restaurant. I hope my followers can feel my excitement through my posts!
2. Just post!
Your picture does NOT have to be perfect and edited to the max for you to post your content. Especially when you are starting off, do not be discouraged by other accounts who have professional-looking photos. You will get there over time and the biggest challenge in the beginning is your mental block of not wanting to post a sub-par photo. Try not to stress out about the number of likes and comments you get for your food photos - that will take the fun out of your whole experience! Rather, post things that you genuintely want to share with your followers, and write an interesting caption that tells a story behind what you are showing them.
3. Understand it is a lot of hard work
Followers don't just appear magically! In order to get more people to discover your account and have your current followers stay engaged with your account, you do have to work hard and deliver. This goes hand in hand with being passionate about your food blog. When followers see your passion and your joy that radiates from a foodie post, they will immediately be hooked and spend a longer time looking at the photo/video/reel and a longer time actually reading the caption. As much as you do not need to spend weeks and weeks laboring upon editing a photo, you also should put in the effort to create something that will keep your followers hooked and new folks curious.
4. Post consistently
Consistency is key because Instagram will reward you for being an active user who posts consistent content. On the other hand, make sure to avoid spamming your account. A good rule of thumb is limiting posts to maximum 1 post/day.
5. Share the love
The foodie community is a wonderful community of supportive and friendly individuals who are equally passionate about food! Don't forget to show your support to others, and others will do the same for you! I can genuinely say that I have met so many wonderful foodies across the world this year and consider some of them as friends I would love to meet with once travel opens up again. As you develop your account and connect with other like-minded individuals, definitely don't hesistate to form those genuine connections.
6. Don't be afraid of the stigma
Lastly, don't worry about what others may think as you start your foodie journey. It's great to have a hobby that keeps you sane during pandemic days, and it is not in your control on how others may feel about your foodie account! Just be yourself and post whatever brings YOU joy!