Over the last 3+ years, Bjork and I have had a really unique opportunity: to build a food blog, together, as married people. Weird, right?
What that really means is that we sit at coffee shops and talk about nutrition plugins, analyze pictures of melty cheese and determine which one makes my nails look better, and eventually get in a tiff about whether or not that recipe really needed the orange honey glaze and then throw food at each other. KIDDING that’s not really what it’s like. Let me set the record straight for ya.
Three goals with this post:
- Provide a work distraction for you, cause sometimes… yeah.
- Give you some food for thought (like that?) on what blogging as a couple is really like.
- Encourage you to go check out some great blogs run by cute couples.
So. Over the last few years Pinch of Yum has grown into a partnership that has brought us all over the map. And by map, I guess I mean the emotional sort, although geographically we’ve had some adventures as well. A little of this, a little of that. Like it goes. The journey was like this –>
Have you always both been involved with Pinch of Yum?
Not really. I told Bjork one day that maybe I should start a blog because I was worried that my Facebook friends were getting annoyed of me always posting status updates about recipes. And in reality, THEY WERE. Good timing. I was totally out of my league (a blog? what’s that?) but Bjork took me seriously and offered to set me up with a free Tumblr account. And that was the start of Pinch of Yum.
We were just laughing the other day about the fact that when we started, I had wanted Bjork to do all the photography. I didn’t have any experience with photography and Bjork knew the basics of the manual controls, so it just made sense. Except not really, because that would have been really hard to sustain and we probably would have killed each other over caramel drips on upside down apple cake, so off I went on my own. With his help, big time, I was able to learn the photography and editing, and I eventually wrote a book on food photography that has been a huge reason for the growth we’ve seen with monetizing Pinch of Yum AND one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about this journey.
And now for a little cringe-laugh: this picture of us from high school.
What are your roles?
We’ve traded roles off and on over the last few years, but for the most part this is a mini-breakdown of who does what.
Currently, Me: 30-40 hours/week
- all cooking, photography, and writing
- comments and reader emails
- creating products like ebooks and ecookbooks
Currently, Bjork: 10 hours/week (that’s just for Pinch of Yum – waaay more of his time is spent on Food Blogger Pro)
- advertising and affiliate marketing
- hardware and server maintenance
- my full-time cheerleader, emotional counselor, and dragger away from the computerer. thanks babe.
How do you communicate about blog stuff?
If we worked in the same space all the time, we would have just spent the last 4 years watching YouTube videos, talking about funny blog comments, and analyzing interesting articles shared on Facebook. So we need some separation. Bjork has an office and I work on the blog from home.
We rarely work in the same physical space, so a lot of our communication happens via email. We both have personal AND Pinch of Yum email addresses, so typically if I have something I need to ask Bjork about I literally just send him an email to his Pinch of Yum account like I would to a coworker or business partner. He does the same for me, so I often have emails from him asking what I think about a new design change or adding a new type of advertising. Email is great.
But that’s not the only time we talk about things because we, um, live together. So we talk Pinch of Yum during dinner, long walks, and in the car on the way home from the grocery store. Annnd I just made it seem like Bjork goes to the grocery store with me, which makes me a liar.
It’s something that we’ve battled for a long time because we definitely don’t want to spoil our time as a couple, our real life, if you will, with food blog stuff. At the same time, I think we’ve learned to recognize that it’s okay for us to have those Pinch of Yum conversations during our ordinary moments because that’s what we’re interested in and excited about. We are never short on things to talk about, and while we try to keep the blog talk to a minimum during our regular life moments, we also accept and appreciate that it’s normal for couples to talk about shared interests and we are lucky that we have such a strong one.
So basically we are in constant communication – all forms of it – about what’s going on with Pinch of Yum. And we never fight.
Wait though, do you really fight?
*hides face in shame* Okay fine yes.
In fact, there may or may not have been a little squabble that just happened as I was writing this post. Life is real, and while thankfully flinging tomatoes at each other isn’t a super common thing for us, we do have our day to day nit-picky disagreements about bloggy things.
While there have been and continue to be blips on the happy radar, just like any business along the road of growth and development, I am 1,000% thankful to have Bjork as the other half of Pinch of Yum. We would NEVER EVER EVER in a million years have gotten to this point without each other. Our partnership running Pinch of Yum only works at full capacity with both of us in the game.
Sometimes people point out (in nice and not-so-nice ways) that “my secret” to the success of Pinch of Yum is Bjork. And you know what? Amen to that. Yes and yes. My food blogging road is made waaayyy better because of his knowledge and expertise. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. That being said, please hear this: as a food blogger, you do not need your spouse or sister or neighbor to be involved in order to make it happen.
Is it helpful? Yes. Is it a prerequisite? No.
The most important thing that I think Bjork has taught me along the food blog road is that I CAN LEARN STUFF. Like HTML (okay, very baby HTML) and photography and SEO and the beast of them all: Photoshop. Things that I would normally rely on him for. So just remember that if you’re doing it alone, you can learn stuff (for free! online! amazing world!), and you can build a team of people who can help you with the stuff that’s still new to you. Go forth and be awesome, food blogger!
How has your relationship changed?
- We can appreciated each others’ skills more.
- We’ve learned the power of an I’m-sorry-cookie.
- We can rely on others once in a while (stubborn much?).
- We’ve become better communicators.
- We have and still do try intentionally to enjoy life offline.
What’s the secret to making it work?
For us, I’d say the secret has been appreciating how incredible it is that we get to work together. It is such a gift. Challenging, yes. But so uniquely special. We get to appreciate and learn about each other in new ways all the time.
And not having kids yet. –> Joking, but not joking: we could never spend as much time working on the blog if we had a few littles under our roof. Someday, though. Because babies? their chubby little legs? I die.
To wrap up this little reflection of blogging as a couple, I thought I’d ask some of my favorite couple bloggers to give their two cents on the whole spouse-as-your-business-partner thing.
“Finding the separation between maintaining our professional work, balancing a blog and living a separate life outside the blog is something we both put emphasis on. Because we both shoot professionally during the day, and blog when we can, it’s easy to forget to make time to just live a normal life that doesn’t involve shooting, cooking or blogging. So we make it a point to set only a certain amount of time to blog and the rest of the time to do things together that’s “offline”. We’re not afraid to log-off for a few days to focus on spending time together and with our close friends and family. Our biggest advice to anyone blogging, whether you do it as an individual or as a group, is to remember to make the time to stop-and-smell-the-roses. And to get off the internet. It’s perfectly ok to log-off. Those dear to you that are close-by deserve just as much attention as your readers and fans.”
Diane and Todd, White On Rice
“Working together was definitely something that Jeff and I had to adjust to. I’m a very detail oriented person and Jeff is very “fly by the seat of your pants”. For us, communicating HOW we liked to do things was huge. Once we started being open and honest with each other about how we liked things done, life was much easier. I would also say something else we learned is that you have to know when to turn the blog world “off”. Since we work together ALL the time…it’s hard to not talk about blog/work stuff ALL the time. We would find ourselves on dates talking about our next big project. And while I definitely love the fact that we can dream together and talk about projects that we want to team up on…it’s so important that you take time to talk about other hobbies and interests that don’t involve blogging. Otherwise you will find yourself getting super burnt out!”
Jeff and Mandy, House of Rose
“Developing recipes, cooking and photographing as a couple can be challenging, but it is so rewarding! Alex and I also work together professionally, so we’ve had a lot of practice at working together as a team. A few lessons we’ve learned: find each of your unique strengths and work to maximize them. For example, I’m more drawn to the recipe development, food styling, planning, and writing portions of our blog, whereas Alex is more drawn to the photographing, design, and back-end technology portions of the blog. Instead of performing all these pieces together (which we’ve tried!), each of us takes a lead in a certain area — though that’s not to say that Alex doesn’t write a post now and then, or I take over the camera. A few other tips: affirmation of each other is key! When doing creative work together, it’s often you may not agree with your partner on some aspect. We try to stay very positive and affirming of each other throughout the process, and gently offer constructive criticism or differing opinions. Most importantly, have fun! Working creatively with your significant other is a true a privilege, even though it might be easy to forget when you’re knee-deep in the creative process.”
Alex and Sonja, A Couple Cooks
“Foster good communication for your relationship as well as your work together. Talk about where you are and where you want to be constantly. And laugh, a lot. Collaborating on Minimalist Baker has arguably been the most wonderful and most difficult things for us as a couple. We must face each other constantly and talk through issues as they arise. Otherwise, we wouldn’t get anything done. But contrary to what you might think, it’s been extremely healthy for us and caused us to be more strategic and efficient communicators. This has benefited both our website and our relationship.”
John and Dana, Minimalist Baker
“I am a different cook, and a better one, because I work with my visual focused husband. I used to cook in a completely practical way – I just made things healthful and easy. In working with Hugh, I realized how attractive and beautiful food can be. I now think about color and texture and how the colors will look after cooking. It sounds vain for food, but what you see on the plate effects what you think of it on first impression. I want to make beautiful, healthful and tasty food. Hugh helped me complete that circle. I am also a better communicator about what I am thinking or what I want. Because he’s my best friend, I don’t walk on egg shells saying I like or don’t like something. It is good practice for me to be a little more forthright. Business aside, it has been so fun for us. Unexpected, challenging and fun.”
Sara (and Hugh), Sprouted Kitchen
You guys are so awesome! Thanks for giving Bjork and I the opportunity to create and maintain and connect with you in this space. We love you so much in that blogger-reader-emailer-commenter-friend kinda way.
Will you marry us? Wait, that got weird.