Oct 252011

Jenny McGruther quit her job as an office manager last year to devote herself to her online cooking business, Nourished Kitchen. (Photo by Kevin McGruther)

Do you dream of making enough money from food writing online to quit your day job? Do you want more income as a self-employed writer and educator?

Jennifer McGruther started down a path to lucrative self-employment in 2006, when she switched to a traditional foods diet. She defines this style of eating as “the foods that your ancestors ate prior to the industrial revolution in the 19th Century and the green revolution in the mid-20th Century.” The focus is on raw dairy, cultured and fermented foods, broth, offal, and grains and beans that have been soaked, fermented or sprouted. Protein sources must be grass fed, pastured or wild-caught.

She had trouble finding enough information about traditional foods (Sally Fallon’s Weston A. Price Foundation and her book, Nourishing Traditions, are pioneers). So in 2007, McGruther started a blog as a way to track the recipes she developed.

Based on the amount of interest in her blog and her newsletter (begun in 2009), she launched an online business of teaching people to cook traditional foods. She charges by the month and by the class for her online cooking classes and healthy meal plans. Hundreds of people sign up. Last year, she quit her day job as a Colorado office manager to work full time at her business, Nourished Kitchen.

Today, her newsletter has more than 21,000 subscribers. (Her Facebook fan page has more than 22,000 Likes.) Now she has a full website that sells two kinds of products: meal plans and recipes ($10 per month/ $85 per year) and video cooking classes ($149 for 13 installments), all aimed at an audience interested in pursuing the traditional foods diet.

We spoke recently about how her online business evolved and how it works:

Q. What’s interesting is that your readers are willing to pay for recipes, even though the web — and your blog — offer so many recipes for free.

A. When you develop a relationship with your readers, they are wiling to pay something more. I have solid, well-tested recipes that can be reproduced easily, and people value that.

When I decided to branch into premium content, I had about 2000 newsletter subscribers, and about 80 ended up making purchases. Their feedback was excellent and it gave me the confidence to continue providing premium content in addition to the free content offered on the site.

Q. That’s a good number, as a start. What came next?

A. In February, 2010 I launched free daily emails based on giving up processed food for a month. I increased my newsletter subscriptions by 1500 subscribers and was featured on CNN. That taught me people were interested in getting more involved. They kept emailing me with questions. I realized they didn’t know how to cook unprocessed food.

The daily emails were my pilot program for unveiling cooking classes. I worked with several other bloggers to Continue reading »

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