Live the Life You Want by Turning Your Foodie Passion into a Great Career
How perfect does this sound - getting paid to indulge your love of food. Pretty fantastic, right? I know, I know. It sounds far fetched. You may think the only people who can pull off things like that are Rachel Ray and the Pioneer Woman. Fifteen years ago, I’d have said you were absolutely right. Not anymore though!
We live in an era where the move towards a digital landscape means that almost anything can be monetized. Whether we’re talking about cooking, cleaning, decorating, or parenting, there’s an entrepreneurially-spirited woman out there jump-starting her career on the world wide web!
If you dream of building a great career for yourself while indulging your passion for food, you’ve got plenty of great options. Below, we’ll discuss a few of the best ways you can build a career based around food!
Start a Food Blog
You’re reading this post, so clearly there’s an audience for food blogging, right? Of course, there is! Blogging is one of the simplest ways that any foodie can start making a little bit of money for themselves while they flex their culinary muscle.
Creating a Successful Food Blog
The single most important thing you can do to start blogging is to choose a specific niche. Sorry, but just writing about food in general won’t be enough. There are over 200 million blogs in the world, a large percentage of which are food blogs. You won’t have a chance of standing out from the crowd unless you have a specific focus and do something different. For example - don’t just blog about baking cakes. Blog about baking cakes using traditional Dutch methods and recipes.
Once your readership grows to above 1,000 visitors a month, you need to start looking at monetization. Options you can use to make money with your blog include:
● Affiliate marketing
● Writing sponsored posts
● Accepting paid guest posts
● Charging a subscription for premium content
● Becoming a brand ambassador
There are more options you can use to monetize but this is enough to get you started. For now, just focusing on getting your blog up and running, creating good content, and engaging your audience.
Become an Online Food Seller
If your passion isn’t in content but in giving access to real, delicious food, you can open your own online store. Whether you opt to sell food you craft yourself or dishes that someone else prepares, there's a growing market for people who shop for food online that you can access!
When I say mail-order food, you might be thinking, “Ew! You mean like those disgusting frozen meals that taste like old shoelaces?” Not at all! There’s plenty of online businesses that offer fresh dishes, handpicked ingredients, custom spices, and other delicious offerings that have never seen the inside of a freezer.
Get Yourself Up and Running
If you opt to run an e-commerce store, one of your most important, initial decisions will be whether to stock everything yourself or use drop-shipping.
With the drop shipping-model, you’re the one who actually receives purchases from customers, but a supplier actually maintains the inventory and ships the order. It can save you a lot of money but finding a reliable supplier can be challenging.
If you want to keep that aspect in-house, that’s perfectly fine too! If you plan on selling your own culinary creations, it will be essential. Just be aware - you’ll be the one to package, ship, and pay the cost on all the orders you receive.
Become a Food Critic
Ever seen the movie Ratatouille? You know - that cute Disney/Pixar flick about the little mouse who dreams of becoming a professional chef? I love that movie...so darn cute! What I didn’t love as much (and you probably didn’t either, if you’ve seen it) was Anton Ego. He was the food critic who gave a bad review to Gusteau’s restaurant early in the film. I get that it’s a children’s film with computer animation but they did get that part incredibly right about Ego’s character - in the restaurant world, critics are incredibly powerful.
You don’t have to be mean like Ego was (I certainly hope you’re not) but you can make a good career by becoming a professional food critic.
Getting on the Road to Culinary Criticism
First and foremost, you need to know how to write and write well. Jay Rayner, a prominent food critic for the Observer, said that was the #1 attribute that successful food critics have in an interview he did with Business Insider. He recommends that you just start writing about anything and everything, even if it’s not food related. Once you’ve learned how to communicate and tell an engaging story with the written word on any topic, then you can focus on food criticism.
While it isn’t essential, you should probably consider pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or a similar discipline. That will give you some solid training, and more importantly, help you start developing some professional contacts.
Publish Your Own Cookbook
You probably got inspired to cook by either helping your mother or watching your favorite cooks on TV. From them, you most likely gleaned a host of great recipe ideas that you slowly started to make your own. If you've got plenty of recipes you’re keen to share, you can definitely make a decent living by publishing your own cookbook!
What Makes a Great Cookbook and Food Author?
The obvious answer is a book with plenty of great recipes. That’s just the starting point, though. Cookbooks, like any other book, need to be engaging, entertaining, and easy to understand. If your audience has to learn a second language just to follow along with you, you’ll quickly lose their interest.
Also, keep in mind - most of the successful authors of cookbooks didn’t start with a cookbook. They typically begin as restaurant owners, professional chefs, and even food bloggers (looking at you Ree Drummond). It makes sense - why would a publisher take a chance on you if you haven’t proved that your recipes are popular? If you’re serious about getting your cookbook published, you should probably begin by establishing yourself through a more traditional role in the food industry.