blogging business life Wellness Work

So Much More Than a Food Blog

July 22, 2016

I rarely find myself looking back on old content, but I randomly got sucked into the rabbit hole and suddenly found myself reading post after post from almost 3 years ago.

OG Healthy Maven.

The pictures kind of made me cringe and I found myself rolling my eyes at the things I thought it was appropriate to say on the internet. But I was also struck by how deeply honest, carefree and real these posts felt.

I could feel the inspiration bubbling out from within the screen. And if I close my eyes and think back to that time I can relive these emotions so well. The newness, the excitement, the constant feeling of discovery.

It’s not easy to admit this, but in looking back at these posts I can see how a lot of this passion has been lost in the pursuit of running a business. The truth is, it isn’t easy doing both; maintaining the passion of your hobby and making money from it. I’ve tried to balance them both, but it’s a delicate process that I don’t always succeed at. Looking back on old posts makes this all the more apparent.

More-than-a-Food-Blog-1I remember before I quit my job to run THM full-time how badly I wanted to take the leap. What I never could have predicted was that in the process I would have to make some sacrifices. When you depend on others to make money, you can’t just wake up everyday and write what you want.

You can’t just whip up any recipe and hope it does well. You need to consider your analytics, your sponsors and staying on top of your content calendar.

and the numbers…they start to matter.

The page views, the likes, the money. You’re able to tangibly measure your success and can so easily be wrapped up in trying to maximize these to validate what you’re doing. And when your business is so intertwined with you, it oftentimes feels like you’re validating yourself.

More-than-a-Food-Blog-3When I started THM, I wanted it to be a place to explore health, in all its capacities. I truly believe that health goes so far beyond the kitchen. That mental health, exercise, relationships, travel and everything in between all add up to a healthy lifestyle.

But the food stuff stuck. It brought in the page views, the likes and the money. And while I do truly love food, I don’t think it is the be all and end all.

This past year I exceeded every expectation I could possibly have imagined for my business. I’m reaching half a million people a month, make more money than I could have ever conceived and a social following that people strive for daily. By all definitions, I’ve made it.

But here’s the truth: I’m unhappy.

I’m unhappy with how I’m spending my time, with the content that I’m putting out and the community I’m building.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the flexibility my schedule allows, every recipe I’ve posted, and those of you who engage with The Healthy Maven on a daily basis, but I want this place to be so much more.

I want to go back to spending my days feeling like I was in a constant state of discovery; to share recipes when I feel like it but explore all other areas of health beyond what I pulled out of the oven, and to build a community that shares in this passion. I want to truly and deeply connect with what I’m doing and with those of you who want to follow along on this journey.

I could have said “fuck it” and separated my business from me and continued along on this path of success, but that would mean accepting the conventional definition of success that I’ve never been able to fully embrace. I need to love what I’m doing every.single.day, even if it means less money, fewer likes and alienating some of my audience.

So what does all of this really mean? If you’ve been paying attention the last few weeks, you’ve noticed that this place has looked a little different. There’s been a lot less food and more personal posts. I’ve needed this space to get back to a place where I can share my thoughts, discover new passions and openly talk about my triumphs and tribulations.

I want to talk about my new journalling habit and apps that have changed the health game for me. I want to talk meditation and my struggles with exercise. I want to share more videos and green beauty tips.

And I want to talk about food.

I want to get back to the roots of THM, where every post felt like it could burst with inspiration and passion. And I want to wake up everyday and love what I do.

THM was never intended to be just a food blog, and it won’t return to being the way it was supposed to be unless I change it.

Does it scare me? Hell yeah. I know that moving in a new direction (or rather-returning to the old) means that traffic will fall, people will leave and money will decrease. But I’m confident that all will be right in the end when I follow my intuition instead of my ego.

So expect some food and a whole lot more. We’re going back to how this place started and as I shared in my very first post, “I hope you’ll join me for the ride”.

More-than-a-Food-Blog-2

Would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts below. Lots of love <3

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  • Reply
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen
    July 22, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I feel like I am about to word vomit so I’ll try and keep it short. Know that you already have an amazing following and community and I think so many more people will find themselves in awe of you, wanting to learn from you and become the best versions of themselves, because of YOU and who you are. I will obviously be joining along every step of the way and never look back. Also know that at least once a week the dinner convo is “What’s the Maven up to this week?” lol <3

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Mango About Town
    July 22, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I’m so excited for you and for THIS. When I started reading your blog (before you went full time I think?) I could see your passion in every post. Honestly I’ve seen myself read less and less of your posts in the recent past but I didn’t really know why – I imagine it had something to do with this! I’m so excited you’re returning to your roots and I cannot wait to follow you back there. Keep up the genuine work we all love you for!!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    July 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Call me crazy and an idealist but I think this will lend you more followers, more views, and hopefully more money. I think when you follow your heart and enjoy what you do, people will see and feel it, and that’s what will draw an audience, more so than another recipe post, although I do love me some avocados these days. Either way, at least you’ll be happy and at the end of the day, that’s what truly matters. You do you!

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    July 22, 2016 at 9:49 am

    *Big big hugs Davida!*

    Your post resonated with me. First of all because my definition of healthy is just like you said so much more than “just” about food: it’s about a healthy work-life balance, hobbies and travels, relationships (be it with a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband, etc. or your friends, family, pets, etc), exercise/get your body to move, de-stress, meditate, healthy beauty routines, connecting with nature, sleep, healthy thoughts and so much more, all contributing to a general wellbeing that we should all strive for.

    And confession time: when I decided to start blogging this is what I wanted to blog about: the whole range of things that interest me and that I find exciting and necessary for a healthy, happy, peaced out Stella. And this is exactly why you and your blog resonated with me from the very beginning. Because I felt through your posts (even though you say they lost their true, original, enthusiastic Maven-quality) that you were the same, kind of like my health-soul sister, because all these aspects of health and wellbeing mattered to you!

    I found it so disheartening when people told me that I needed to lose all my other interest because a blog needed a niche and had to focus on just 1 thing, i.e. food. Because I felt that, sure I love eating and cooking, but the picture is so much broader, I’m much more colourful and interesting (and I believe that everyone as well) than only that.

    So I couldn’t be cheering any louder than I am now, because this post, and your bravery makes me incredibly happy and proud! Go Girl, blog about everything that excites/stresses/worries you, I can’t wait to read about them and connect with you.

    I want to read about your new journalling habit (I’ve always tried but never stuck with it due to busy days and nights and would love to see how it’s going for you), and health related apps that you’ve discovered – I’m always behind with tech stuff, so this would be very eye-opening for me. And since I want to make meditation part of my everyday, I would love to read about how it goes for you, your tips, recommendation or your struggles! (Because I feel lazy often and put off exercising. I’d rather hike or walk any day than jumping up and down in a gym. It would be great to read about your struggles since you come off as such an energetic, sporty woman that without you mentioning it, I never would have thought you struggle with exercising.) And I could go on.

    To keep it brief: write about anything and everything that is current, relevant to you, because I know I would only love THM and you even more for it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Danielle
    July 22, 2016 at 9:47 am

    You are one brave lady and I loved this post! I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts about a holistic approach to a healthy life (versus just food). But compared to many other blogs I’ve read, I think you’ve also done a really great job balancing the business and sponsored post side of things, with more personal posts. I’ve never felt like I was just reading advertisements on your blog! But good for you for realizing you’re unhappy and making a change, that’s such a hard thing to do and I look forward to your future posts!

  • Reply
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie
    July 22, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I love this post and all of your honesty. I love reading food posts, but I also love the more honest posts too and reading what people feel passionate about. I am excited to see THM go back to its roots and see where you take it. I know that I have always enjoyed both the food and other content posts that you write so I am looking forward to more 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelsey Preciado
    July 22, 2016 at 9:24 am

    DAVIDA!!! This is amazing. The best part about you is your no bullshit honesty and your true passion for health in its full capacity. I myself would love to hear more about what keeps you sane especially running a blog full time. I know you talked about stress and sleeping before and I’ve been dying to know if it’s improved and what you are doing! I know your readers will stick around for YOU no matter what you are posting about because you bring such value and great content to this blog every week. You’ve made me face mask Friday and dream about Iceland – you’re an inspiration!!! Okay long winded- love ya BAI!

  • Reply
    Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It
    July 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. I feel like I didn’t find my true blogging “voice” and posting content until this year, and I’ve had my blog for 2 years! I really enjoy everything you post though, whether it’s food, personal, or random. But I’m so happy you discovered this about yourself and I’m looking forward to the upcoming changes that you might have for THM and you can bet I’ll be along for the ride!! <3

  • Reply
    Katie
    July 22, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Congrats on being brave enough to take that leap once again and to return to your roots! You have every reason to be proud and know that only good things will come of this in the long run! (And yes, I strive for your level every single day!) 🙂

  • Reply
    Diane
    July 22, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Hey Davida, thanks for sharing where you’re at right now. I’ve always enjoyed your blog — you have a clear voice and your personality shines through always — but am excited for you to “get back to your roots” so to speak and focus less on food and more on everything else that goes into a healthy lifestyle. I’m so lazy in the kitchen and while I try recipes here and there, they’re kind of just pretty pictures for me because I know the recipe won’t look nearly as good as yours if I’m the chef doing the cooking. So yea, love what you do and happy to read all your non-food posts. 😉 Keep doing what you do!

  • Reply
    Kayla
    July 22, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I personally am excited about this direction, while I love all your food posts and recipes and find that they inspire me to cook (which is saying a lot since I never cook) I also love getting to know bloggers beyond the food and reading about their own struggles, triumphs and daily life. Those are the posts I find the most relatable since it’s obviously super human.

  • Reply
    Sara @ Oats & Rows
    July 22, 2016 at 6:22 am

    I’m sure it is a scary change for fear of the unknown, but it is also exciting and you putting yourself first and adding more into your blog that you want to share is so great. Can’t wait to keep reading! 🙂

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