How a Meals Blogger Went From Homeless to Working a 6-Determine Enterprise

  • Eden Westbrook, the blogger behind Candy Tea and Thyme, was as soon as homeless.
  • She began her weblog and, utilizing her final $128, purchased the tools she wanted to step it up.
  • In the present day, thanks to a couple good methods, she’s making six figures and supporting her household.
  • Learn extra tales from Private Finance Insider.

Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, photographer, and author behind the profitable meals weblog Candy Tea and Thyme. Earlier than the weblog took off, although, she and her husband have been homeless after shedding their rental housing, and have been operating out of money — quick. 

“We did not know something about investments, we did not know something about facet hustles, we did not know something about passive earnings,” she tells Insider. “We have been actually instructed ‘go to school, get a profession, work till you are retired,’ and that is it.” 

Westbrook and her husband had each been within the army, and after finishing their service, felt alone within the civilian world. “The army, they maintain you, they make it easier to out. You by no means have to fret if you happen to’ve bought meals or when you’ve got a house, medical, or something,” she explains. 

After they completed their service, they did what they have been instructed: discover a profession and work. Her husband was working a number of jobs and she or he was at house with their younger son. “We have been working our butts off and nothing was occurring,” Westbrook says. “We have been barely surviving.” 

Then, in 2016, they skilled an enormous hardship. Their landlord foreclosed on his home and left the younger household with no house over the summer time, sleeping in motels and their SUV for 3 lengthy months. 

“I used to be simply sitting there considering, ‘Now we have no assist right here,'” she remembers. “And no one goes to return save us; nobody goes to return assist us.”

However spring of 2016 was additionally the 12 months Westbrook began Candy Tea and Thyme, in the end altering every little thing about how the household earned, saved, and invested cash. 

“I assumed, ‘We have to go forward and do that ourselves. How can we do it?’ As a result of doing it the way in which they instructed us wasn’t working,” she says. 

Now, the household lives in a house simply exterior of DC, Westbrook’s husband — who was hospitalized in 2019 for a severe sickness — is retired, and Candy Tea and Thyme brings in over six figures yearly. 

She used a tax refund to begin her enterprise

When Westbrook was first considering of how to make extra cash, meals was on the high of her thoughts. She’d been to culinary faculty, however working in a conventional kitchen wasn’t interesting. “To work in a restaurant would imply working horrible hours in sizzling kitchens, making another person wealthy,” she says.

However round this time, a few of Westbrook’s favourite bloggers have been sharing earnings stories, and she or he realized working with meals was one thing that may very well be greater than only a passion or ardour undertaking — meals running a blog may very well be a profession and a enterprise. 

“I mentioned, ‘Okay, then I would like to do that, that is what I like,'” she explains. Combining her culinary experience along with her ardour for educating others the best way to prepare dinner, Candy Tea and Thyme was born. 

Nonetheless, it required some preliminary capital. “We used $128 that we actually did not have,” she explains, “however we knew the following month we have been going to get our tax [refunds].” This preliminary funding lined the prices of getting the web site arrange. 

It was a giant transfer at a time the place $128 might have lined a month’s value of groceries, when “having to get cash from the ATM (and thus incurring a $3 price) made us should pawn one thing to get that $3 again to pay our hire,” she defined in an Instagram submit

After they did get a reimbursement from the IRS the following month, she was in a position to make investments additional into her new enterprise. “The tax [refund] bought me the digital camera and the laptop computer that I knew I wanted to make this actual,” she says. 

She monetized the weblog by constructing completely different income streams

Whereas being a talented recipe developer and proficient meals educator brings guests to her web site, this alone would not make her cash. Westbrook has needed to construct up earnings sources and income streams, and discovered to be strategic in the case of monetizing her enterprise. 

Now, she earns cash from adverts on her web site, internet online affiliate marketing, model partnerships, and her meals running a blog mastermind course, the place she teaches others the best way to run profitable meals blogs. 

“I consider my advert income sort of like a paycheck,” she says, primarily as a result of it is persistently paid each month. “I am in a spot the place my advert income from the weblog will all the time be greater than sufficient to cowl every little thing, so I take a paycheck from it and infrequently hold the remainder for financial savings, enterprise bills, and many others.,” she says.

Higher but, she says, this earnings stream is fairly passive, which means she would not have to go browsing to her pc each single day to earn cash. “I’ve taken months off of meals running a blog and nonetheless receives a commission,” she tells Insider. 

Creating “evergreen” content material — posts and recipes that folks will come again to time and time once more — helps maximize this earnings supply. She additionally creates “ad-friendly” posts, one thing she teaches in her mastermind course. Nonetheless, possibly most significantly, she is aware of her viewers and the best way to create content material they will need to learn. 

She negotiates and is aware of her value

Nonetheless, it isn’t simply strategic editorial practices that enable her to run a six-figure enterprise, it is a mindset, too. “I understand how a lot my stuff is value,” she says, notably in the case of model partnerships. 

When manufacturers need to work along with her, they’re getting extra than simply an iPhone shot of a meal, she says. It is hours of recipe growth, skilled pictures and enhancing tools, and all the time she’s poured into perfecting her craft — and she or he is aware of the worth of this. 

“These are normally million-dollar firms, and content material creation is a multi-billion greenback enterprise,” she explains. “So I do not really feel unhealthy in any respect charging 4, 5, and even six figures.”

She solely works with manufacturers that respect her charges and her, explaining her value isn’t just financial but additionally her psychological well being. “I like creating dishes and taking pictures movies and photographs, however I cannot do it if I am depressing or handled poorly,” she tells Insider.

She’s constructing generational wealth

Creating wealth would not all the time equate to having cash. However for Westbrook, she’s decided to be strategic with the cash in her checking account.

“We make investments loads of it into the inventory market and cryptocurrency,” she says. “And in our son’s schooling.” They’ve arrange a 529 plan for him and contribute to it often. “We’re not leaving anyone behind; we’re not having our son get up and be 18 after which ask him what he will do.” 

About 60% of the weblog income goes again into the weblog itself, protecting groceries, software program, schooling, paychecks, healthcare, taxes, and different bills. One other 10% is saved strictly for enterprise “emergencies,” separate from private financial savings. “You by no means know when your little child might unintentionally knock over your digital camera and tripod,” she says. 

One other 10% is invested into the inventory market, and her husband mines cryptocurrency. The final 20% goes “straight to the long run,” placing it into Roth IRAs, her son’s 529, and CDs.”We’re ensuring every little thing is roofed now that we’re ready to take action,” she says.

And since they know the way vital monetary planning is, they’ve scheduled a gathering with a monetary advisor to assist with their long-term objectives, “To verify we’re occurring the fitting path,” she says, “and what to alter now that our circumstances have modified a lot.”