If you love to cook and/or bake just for fun, it could be time to consider growing that hobby into a gig. With a little time and effort, you can actually make decent money.
Consider Anne Clark, food blogger at My Kitchen Serenity, who made $30,000 off her blog in 2020 and expects to double that in 2021. Clark is delighting in not only a generous side of income but an outpouring of gratitude from readers who value her contributions in the cooking space.
“The nice comments and emails I receive from readers telling me how much their family enjoyed my recipe really touches my heart,” Clark said. “To think that I get to create a recipe and share it with another family is so very rewarding. The fact that I am able to play a small role in a family’s nice meal together is an amazing feeling. What other platform could possibly [provide] me with these kinds of opportunities?”
Ready to get started firing up your own platform to generate income (and praise) from your recipes? Here’s a look at seven ways to do that.
Way No. 1: Harness the Power of Instagram To Land a Brand Deal
Think you need a huge audience to channel the powers of social media to promote your recipes? Not so, said Caroline Hoffman, founder of the food blog Thyme With Caroline.
“There is also a lot of opportunity on Instagram,” Hoffman said. “Many people think that you need to have thousands of followers to land a brand deal, but that is simply not true. A lot of smaller recipe designers and food photographers have pitched themselves to food brands and have earned hundreds by developing recipes with their product and other collateral that the brand can then use on their own social pages.”
Way No. 2: Link To Affiliate Sites/Products
If you’re going to get your recipes out into the world quickly, you’ll want to tie in brands and products that consumers already know and use in the kitchen.
“In my blog posts and recipes, I share affiliate links to kitchen items and products that I love and use on a regular basis,” said Emily Ackerman, Lebanese-American food blogger and founder of A Pinch of Adventure. “Affiliate marketing is a substantial part of many blogs, and when done correctly, can bring in a relatively passive form of income. Another way to make money from sharing recipes is by getting published in larger media outlets that pay for niche articles and recipes. This requires a little more effort and expertise, to be able to pitch an article or recipe and get it accepted.”
Way No. 3: Get Into the Meal Subscription Space
Filling a need in the meal delivery space is a great way to tap into a profit using recipes, said Jason Lloyd, former chef and founder of LessMeat, a plant-based meal subscription box in the U.K.
“I was really struggling to find the time to plan meals, and used to spend a few hours each weekend just planning the next week’s meals,” Lloyd said. “I had a genuine problem, and I am a Michelin-star trained chef. If I found this a challenge, I was sure that other people who didn’t have the professional cooking background that I have would also find this a problem.”
Just a few months into launching LessMeat, Lloyd has amassed 1,500 subscribers and growing at a rate of roughly 5% a week.
“So it just goes to show that following your gut instinct and making something you would actually buy yourself is super important when thinking about profitable cooking ventures,” Lloyd said.
Way No. 4: Sell Your Recipes to Magazines
If you prefer a more hands-off approach, you should consider submitting your recipes to publications that regularly run food-related content.
“Recipe writers can earn up to $100 for a 1,500-word recipe in magazines like Healthy Living,” said Luna Regina, founder of Healthy Kitchen 101. “Even though your recipe must be reviewed before it can be published, it is still a substantial sum of money, especially for a recipe that you wrote in a short amount of time; however, some magazines may not pay you in cash but rather in exposure, which is almost as good as money if you’re not struggling to make ends meet and want to get your name out there.”
Way No. 5: Start a YouTube Channel
Launching a YouTube channel that is dedicated to cooking videos is a fantastic way to get your recipes in front of potentially millions of viewers, build your own brand and even rake in some dough.
“There are numerous free resources available to assist you in starting a food YouTube channel,” Regina said. “Food YouTubers make hundreds of dollars by sharing their cooking videos with millions of people around the world. To attract viewers, aim to create food that is simple to prepare, unique and delicious. It’s also critical that you understand how to promote your content.”
Way No. 6: Publish a Cookbook on Kindle
Another way to garner an audience and turn a profit is to get into the game of book publishing. Thanks to the boom in self-publishing, you don’t need a traditional publishing house to wedge into the book space.
“Using Kindle to publish your book eliminates the need to hire a publisher and spend a lot of money on marketing,” Regina said. “You only need a good cookbook title, a niche and a proofreader to double-check your work to get started. It takes about 12 hours for Kindle to publish your work, after which you can share the link with your friends, family and colleagues. On Kindle, cookbooks usually sell between $16 and $18 per book.”
Way No. 7: Blogging (Tied In With Advertising)
We’ve touched on blogging in this piece, but it deserves its own deep dive. Perhaps the most elementary way to make money (or at least start to make money) from your cooking know-how is to launch your own recipe-focused blog. Numerous foodies and recipe mavens report success in blogging about their recipes. Regina, for instance, has found food blogging to be a legitimate way to earn money.
But bear in mind that food blogging, as Nikki Wills, owner, editor and full-time blogger at Tikkido emphasizes, is best for people in this game for the long haul. It also requires patience and the understanding that you likely won’t financially prosper overnight.
“Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme,” Wills said. “Sure, there are a few bloggers who put in the work and got very lucky and make six figures a month. But most professional bloggers put in long hours, have been working steadily for years and make a decent living (think teacher’s salary).”
Part of what makes efficient blogging so tricky is that it requires a diverse skill set.
“The job requires me to be an artist (photographer, writer, graphic designer), IT professional (web design, trouble-shooting), SEO expert (still working on that one) and business strategist (audience building, social media marketing and management, sales funnels),” Wills said. “I absolutely love the challenges of this job, but it’s not for everyone. Most bloggers start with enthusiasm and big dreams, and then just… stop when the first year (or two, or five) doesn’t manifest big returns. This is a long game, if you want to make a living at it.”
You’ll also need to get familiar with the at-times overwhelming (and potentially costly) advertising space.
“For absolute starters, anyone with a self-hosted website is able to register it with Google Adsense, which can automatically put a few ads on your pages,” Hoffman said. “While you won’t make much (it’s mere cents per view), it can start to add up as you build your brand awareness, your daily traffic and social presence. Once you reach around 50,000 sessions a day, recipe makers are then able to apply to ad management businesses, such as Mediavine, which will pay the user a much higher rate than Adsense.”
Wills makes a good point that like most endeavors, blogging about recipes is unlikely to lead to raking in mad money overnight. If you want to earn solid income, you have to put in a lot of time and be truly dedicated to honing and acquiring skills you might not already possess. A dash — or a heaping spoonful — of luck won’t hurt, either.
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Last updated: March 23, 2021