Something crazy: I’ve been a full-time food blogger now for over 7 months! Whoa.

Even crazier: I’ve been food blogging for over 11 years 😳 In fact, I let that anniversary pass without doing something cute on Instagram. Dang.

But all that means I was doing this for 10 1/2 years before I decided to make it my official job. 7 months in and I can say I’m not earning close to what I want to be yet and I’m still figuring out:

  • What works
  • What I enjoy most
  • How to price my services (although I will say Joanie’s Profitable Pricing course has been so helpful for this)
  • What’s “worth” my time

My Income Streams

I’ve been blogging, freelancing, and side-hustling for years, which means before I quit my day job, I had already established several streams of income. These include:

  • Freelancing. Recipe development, photography, videography, etc. I rarely do freelance marketing anymore, I find it leaves me with no energy to market my own business.
  • Brand partnerships
  • Blog ads. I didn’t qualify until May 2020 and I got in before Mediavine changed their qualifications.
  • Affiliate income. Almost all from Amazon and it’s peanuts, but it’s still something.
  • The Cookbook Lab, my digital course that teaches food bloggers how to self-publish their own cookbooks.
  • Sous Vide School, a mini digital course and more for folks who want to learn and understand sous vide cooking.
  • My cookbooks
  • Side gig working for my dad
  • Misc. consulting (pick my brain, marketing strategy, speaking, etc.)

More about working for my dad: he owns apartment buildings he’s always managed by himself. He’s transitioning to retirement, so my brother and I are slowly taking over the management of those buildings. I include this to be totally transparent! I could not have quit my day job when I did without this extra source of income.

Here’s how my income streams look as of the beginning of October 2021 for the year. This does not include money I made from my day job before quitting or any profit from my new cookbook (similar to blog ads, I don’t get paid out until 3 months after the earnings). Courses/digital products includes Cookbook Lab, Sous Vide School, and Airtable Templates.

Pie chart showing a breakdown of my income streams for the year

Income Stream Performance Each Quarter

I’m really grateful for so many different streams because if something starts to dip, I have other revenue sources to rely on. Not to mention, the amount I earn from these sources rise and fall at different times throughout the year, so this many streams help keep things a little steadier (although Q4 will always be queen).

But again: I’m still totally figuring these things out.

To demonstrate these fluctuations, check out my income streams broken down by quarter:

Pie chart showing a breakdown of my income streams for Q1
Pie chart showing a breakdown of my income streams for Q2
Pie chart showing a breakdown of my income streams for Q3

How I Track My Income Streams

Wondering how I know how much money I bring in from each of these streams?

I use Quickbooks Self-Employed to manage my books (I do my own bookkeeping). QB Self-Employed let’s me categorize my transactions, manage receipts, record mileage, invoice my clients, and estimates my quarterly taxes + let’s me easily pay them. At the end of the year, I can export a report I send off to my CPAs for my taxes. It’s pretty dang cool.

So, how do I use it to track income streams? Tags! And I created a guide to show you exactly how I do it.

Poster of the front cover of the guide to quickbooks tags

Coming Up with Income Streams for Yourself

There are so many ways food bloggers can make money. I’ve listed how I do it above, but let’s talk about the ways:

  • Blog ads
  • Brand partnerships
  • Freelance photography
  • Freelance videography
  • Freelance recipe development
  • Digital courses
  • Online cooking classes
  • In person cooking classes
  • Cookbooks (Want to create a cookbook? I can help with that!)
  • Selling food, like at farmer’s markets
  • And so much more

If you’re looking to learn more about diversifying your revenue streams, my friend Jason Logsdon of Makin’ Bacon has a free email course for that!

My Goals for My Streams

I’m still working on achieving a balance that feels good. In my case, that means a balance that relies a little more on passive income, like blog ads and evergreen sales from my digital offerings!

In the future, I’d love to see my breakdown of income look more like this:

I’ll keep you posted as I keep working towards this!