Meet Kiersten from Oh My Veggies
Blog Name: Oh My Veggies
How’d you get started blogging?
After I finished grad school, I was doing a lot of consulting work, which tends to be pretty feast or famine. During one of the famine times, I took up blogging because I had been wanting to start a blog for a while, and I had the free time for it. I started it up strictly as a hobby, although I had kind of hoped that I’d get some free food in the mail. And I did!
What do you love most about blogging?
I love that I have built my own business from the ground up. I can’t think of many other fields where you can start something with virtually no capital and turn it into a honest-to-goodness business. That’s pretty amazing to me. And I love seeing other people who have done that too. I’m just so freaking proud of all of us.
What’s the worst part about blogging?
I’m pretty reserved and the whole “putting yourself out there” aspect of blogging has definitely been the worst for me. I want the world to know about Oh My Veggies, but I don’t want to be this public person, and sometimes you kind of get forced to be that when you’re a blogger. And as a person who is reserved and private, the blogging world can feel suffocating to me at times. I just want to yell, “AHHH!!! I need space!”
Why do you blog?
I used to be a librarian and I worked in acquisitions, which means I decided what to add to our collection based on what our patrons needed. I did periodicals, so magazines and newspapers. I spent my days curating a collection (I worked for a state library, so it wasn’t like, okay, let’s subscribe to Better Homes & Gardens and we’re done for the day! I was looking for more obscure stuff, like newsletters from secessionist groups and fun things like that), and building a resource for the researchers who used our collection.
It took me a few years to realize it, but that’s what I do with Oh My Veggies too. I think about what my readers are looking for and I provide it. I’m building a resource for vegetarian cooking. That is why I blog. I could tell you, oh, I love to cook, and I do, but I could do that without blogging about it. And if I told you I loved to write, that would be a lie. What I love is sharing knowledge and that’s what blogging allows me to do.
Based on your blog, I’m guessing you’re a vegetarian. How long have you been a one?
I stopped eating meat when I was 12, so 21 years now! I always hated the taste and texture of meat and when I was 12, my mom stopped making me eat it. I’m sure she figured it would be a phase!
Is your whole family vegetarians?
My husband is a vegetarian too; he was pretty much a vegetarian when we started dating in high school, although I kind of suspect that had he not ended up with me, he would have started eating meat again. We don’t have kids, but I do have a lot of other family members who are vegetarian or vegan. But I was the first!
What advice do you have for other foodie bloggers?
Buy my ebook. Ha!
I just started a blog about blogging and I wrote a post about finding a hook and I really believe that is huge. There are so many food blogs out there, with more and more starting up everyday. It’s extremely competitive out there and you need to figure out a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. And if you want to make your food blog a business, I believe that you can’t make your blog about you and what you feel like posting on any given day–you have to take a reader-centered approach to blogging. Know what your readers are looking for and post regularly.
What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve posted?
People ask me this all the time and I don’t really have an answer. I can’t choose! It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. Plus, it changes all the time. One of my most popular recipes (and one that gets ripped off the most by other bloggers–ha!) is my Lentil Mushroom Meatballs. It took me a while to perfect it, but it’s about as close as you can get to traditional meatballs while using whole food ingredients.
What’s the worst food disaster you’ve had?
I thought I’d be able to make crispy crackers with pureed cauliflower. It sounded like a good idea at the time. But it ended up being like savory, cauliflower-flavored fruit leather. I feel a little sick remembering it, in fact.
I take horrible photos. Any tips for an amateur like me who generally uses his iPhone for photos?
I used to use my iPhone! I wrote a post about it too. Your camera does matter, but I think things like composition and lighting matter even more. I’ve seen some beautiful photos taken with iPhones and some terrible pictures taken with fancy DSLRs! If at all possible, use natural light, and if you can’t do that, buy lighting equipment. Indoor light will make all of your food photos look yellow and unappetizing!
You’re not just an awesome foodie blogger… you’re also a published author! Tell us about your eBook!
I get questions from other bloggers all the time about monetization, so I figured that there was a need for a book about it. I shared how I turned Oh My Veggies from a hobby that brought in $50 a month to a 7-person business. There are a lot of spammy, gimmicky ebooks about blogging out there and I wanted to create something that was authentic and that didn’t rely upon gimmicks or pushy marketing tactics and I think I’ve succeeded in that. My book, How to Monetize Your Food Blog, has far exceeded my expectations, mostly due to word-of-mouth sales. I’ve heard from many bloggers who have doubled and even tripled their income after reading my book, which makes me so happy!
How has blogging affected your life?
Profoundly. In both good ways and bad. The downside is that I work way more than I should and when I’m not working, I think about work. And talk about work. On the one hand, I know that’s bad, but on the other, I really love what I do, so I can’t help it. But on the positive side, blogging has shown me I can do all these things that I never thought I’d be able to do. Like recipe development! And photography! And running a business! It’s made me a more confident person.
Have you met other bloggers in person? Is it awkward?
I have! I think it’s awkward when you don’t know someone well or when people are a little too effusive, but I was able to meet one of my long-time blogging friends last year and it was like seeing an old friend. And of course, the whole time we talked about blogging!