I'm sharing my 2019 income as a food blogger and clinical nutritionist for the very first time! After blogging as a hobby for years and also feeling slightly frustrated that my Google Ads were only bringing in $30-$60 a month, I decided in January of 2019 to start treating my blog as a business. Here's how it went!
This post is part of a Nutritionist Behind the Scenes series that is hosted on Frugal Nutrition to help CNS nutritionists navigate the industry after graduation.
To see the full series, please visit The CNS Path: Exam Study Tips, Internships, Licensing, Getting a Job.
Why do an Income Report?
For transparency in my field! I think it's helpful to see someone else's journey while you're contemplating your own.
This is not because I think I have a lot of insight or expertise to share. I'm not here to teach you how to make money as a blogger or nutritionist.
I'm really here to show my fellow colleagues behind the scenes of life in this field of nutrition, but to also show some behind-the-scenes information for food bloggers. I think transparency is going to be super useful to future clinicians and food bloggers. I also want to show the slooooooow process of building a career around nutrition and / or food blogging.
I am not saying that making $10,000 a year is any kind of achievement. But, as I've noted in previous posts, I expected a full-time paid nutrition position upon getting my master's and that didn't happen, so I thought it would be useful to share what Plan B looks like.
My Plan A was to focus only 10-20% of my time and energy on my blog, and the rest on my nutrition career.
Plan B is to spend 50-75% on my blog and the remaining time and energy on my nutrition career. I'm not giving up, but I am shifting focus just slightly.
You may also be contemplating your own Plan B, and you're not alone!
Usually we see these income reports when people have found success, but we don't always get the chance to see how long it took to get there or what kinds of hiccups occurred along the way.
I love that there are nutritionists who have thriving, successful careers, and I used to love watching Lindsay and Bjork grow Pinch of Yum (food blog) so I'm sharing some similar info here!
2019 Incoming Payments - $10,290.73
Nutrition Practice Total: $4487.14
- Self-Pay (9 months): $375.00
- Insurance-Based (5 months): $2804.60
- Other: $1307.54
Frugal Nutrition Total: $5803.59
- Google Ads for (2 months): $63.45
- Mediavine Ads (10 months): $5678.01
- Affiliate Programs: $62.13
For IRL friends and family, don't worry, we're on a budget, but we're not suffering in poverty! I also worked two part-time positions, one as a TA at a University and the other as a receptionist at a doctor's office in 2019, but I don't think that income is super relevant here. Plus, my partner has a real job that pays much more than $10k per year!
Blog & Nutrition Expenses - $9,119.33
My expenses for 2019 were insane. While trying to grow my business in Baltimore I ran several events at the beginning of the year, none of which were profitable. I watched my bank account increase a little, and then decrease a lot every month as I spent money and paid bills.
I would NOT recommend this, but I had a lot of wiggle room since our main expenses were covered and we were okay digging into savings a little bit in 2019. (We don't have kids or a mortgage, so we have more flexibility than most.)
Where I spent big chunks of money:
- Two conferences, including air fare and accommodations (~$2000)
- A photography and SEO bootcamp ($1500)
- Site speed improvements for Frugal Nutrition ($800)
- Rental space for 4 months at a wellness center, but never had any clients there! ($700)
- CEUs - most of the really good CEU courses as a CNS / LDN are pretty expensive. I took two of these last year. (~$800)
YIKES! This is more than I have spent on my blog in the past, but I wanted to take advantage of my lighter schedule to go to more conferences and seminars and to invest in my blog.
I'd been busy (to the max) for two years while in grad school, and I knew 2020 would be busy again, so this was my chance for more education, networking, and outreach.
What Have I Learned?
Well, for one, my blog is nearly as profitable as my nutrition practice, which is one reason why I'll continue to focus on growing it in 2020.
Two, I've learned that a nutrition practice is unreliable when you're not excellent at sales & marketing. That doesn't mean it is impossible, but it is scary to be so reliant on individuals showing up and not cancelling their appointments. Those of you who are out there fighting the good fight and not seeing huge returns, I get it, it's tough.
2020: Year Of Profitability
This year will be very different. I've already established my budget and I won't be spending more than what my business brings in. So if I make money teaching or freelance writing, I will be saving that money (or using it in my personal life) rather than using it to fund blog and nutrition conferences, events, etc.
In 2020, only blog and nutrition income will fund blog and nutrition events and tools.
Friends, students, colleagues, bloggers, etc. - I hope this is useful / interesting for you. Let me know if you have any other questions, thoughts, or feedback!