Today we are sharing with you our interview with an incredibly successful food blogger and influencer, Liz Thomson.
Liz is a food blogger, recipe developer and photographer. She is the founder of the well-known website i heart vegetables and the TikTok and Instagram channels that you can find typing @iheartveggies.
Admittedly, it’s such a pleasure to publish this interview, as I truly admire her work.
What follows are a few questions we asked her.
Give us some details about your journey as an influencer and blogger
I started a food blog in 2010. At first, it was just a hobby, but over time, I began to realize the potential of my business. It started with brands sending a few free products here and there.
Eventually, I did some small paid collaborations. In 2017, I was approached by a publisher to write a cookbook.
After that, I started to focus on turning my side hustle into a business. I had been working in social media marketing for a Fortune 500 company while building my business, and I left in 2019 to pursue my blog.
Now I make more money doing what I love.
What’s your niche and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?
I focus on easy, healthy, vegetarian recipes. I find that a lot of my readers and followers aren’t vegetarians, but they want to add more meatless meals into their routine I share really simple ways to do that with things like 15 minute meals, 5 ingredient recipes, and simple tips in the kitchen.
What are the three things that mostly helped your online business succeed?
- It might sound cheesy, but I’ve been passionate about food and wellness for most of my life, so being able to share that passion with an audience is what kept me going for so many years before I made any money. (No, it doesn’t sound cheesy, I think many of us have that same dream and can relate! 🙂 )
- I don’t have any formal kitchen training, and at first, I felt like that would hold me back. But now I realize that I’m able to make meals that are more much approachable and simple for my readers because I remember what it was like learning to cook.
- I spent 10 years in digital marketing and social media strategy at a large financial services company. It was really helpful to see how results are measured, budgets are planned, and strategies are tested. That foundation has served me well in my own business.
What are your three biggest accomplishments?
- In 2014 I was invited to the White House to see Michelle Obama speak about her Let’s Move Campaign. They invited a group of wellness influencers to help spread the word, and it felt amazing to be a part of something that had such a big impact on children in our country.
- In 2017 a publisher reached out and asked if I’d be interested in writing a cookbook. It wasn’t something I was seeking out, but I couldn’t turn down the offer. It was incredible to see a book with my name on it at the bookstore!
- After my first full year in business, my goal was to make more than my salary at my previous company, and I did that. The next year, I made 50% more. The growth has been faster than I expected, but it’s been incredible to know that doing what I love makes financial sense.
What were your three most important challenges?
- As a business owner, you wear all the hats. And if you don’t want to wear the hat, you have to pay someone else to wear it. Figuring out how to build a team (accountant, agent, assistant, etc.) has taken a long time. It can be hard to go from doing to delegating, but I’m getting better, which is making me more efficient.
- It can be scary to make big investments in yourself. Whether signing up for a conference or taking an expensive course to learn a new skill, I know these things will pay off in the long run, but it can be hard to make the investments up front.
- The internet is constantly changing. Whether it’s a Google algorithm or a new format on Instagram, it feels like as soon as you start to figure it out, there’s something new to learn.
How did you overcome those challenges?
I’ve learned to measure the return on investment. I can look at the time my virtual assistant saves me and see it’s worth it. That encourages me to find more things to outsource to grow my business.
Similarly, by investing in the company, I’ve seen the returns.
As for the internet constantly changing, I enjoy that challenge. I like that there are new things to try and test. I’ve learned to test and learn without worrying about failure. It takes a lot of failed attempts before
you find your rhythm.
What’s your piece of advice for readers who want to achieve wealth and success in life?
I think it’s important to define what wealth and success look like in your life. For me, I wanted financial stability, but I also really wanted flexibility.
My husband and I are foster parents, so having a flexible schedule was important to me. I’m sure I could make more money if I sacrificed some of the freedom, but to me, wealth is being able to live the life I want while keep that flexibility.
What do you think is they key to a truly successful online business?
Don’t try to do what everyone else is doing. Find something you’re interested in. It doesn’t have to be the thing you’re most passionate about, but find something you won’t mind thinking about for the next 10 years.
What’s your business model? How does your online business make money?
I make most of my income through ads on my website and sponsored content with brands. The ad revenue is mostly passive income, and I work with an agent to collaborate with brands to share with my followers.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
I know the internet is constantly changing so I don’t expect my business to look the same way it does now, but my goal is to maintain the income and flexibility that I have while doing the work I enjoy. I’ve been focusing more on my photography and videography skills in case I want to pivot more in that direction down the road.
What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?
Don’t wait to quit your job, start now! It’s never been easier to test out an idea. Open a simple Shopify store, start a YouTube channel to talk about what you’re offering, find a way to get started, even if you won’t make any money.
It’s a great way to work out the kinks of your idea.
How can people find you?
You can follow me at @iheartveggies on Instagram and TikTok or iheartvegetables.com
Do you have any app, digital course, or book you would like our readers to know about?
Here’s a link to my cookbook: bit.ly/TrulyHealthyVegetarian