Welcome to our Student Success Interview Series. In this series, I interview a few of our students from the Blogging Fast Lane Course to learn about their blogging journey, celebrate their blogging successes, and talk about a few tips that they have for others.
I will also be dishing out actionable advice in these articles, so make sure you take the time to read the article.
Meet the Bloggers Behind Vegan Punks
For this student success interview, I decided to speak to Jess and Dan the bloggers behind the awesome food blog, Vegan Punks.
Fun fact, we actually met Jess and Dan in person in a random cafe in Budapest, after finding out we were all in the same city at the same time.
Although we failed to snap a photos as we were too busy talking about where to find the best espresso martinis, over the next few months, I’ve watched them hustle their butts off, building a loyal following around their food blog.
Right now, they have quit their 9-5 jobs and are living in Bali where they are running their food blog as well as their social media agency.
Let’s jump straight in to their interview!
Interview: Vegan Punks
Jess and Dan started blogging in 2017 but with little-to-no knowledge about blogging at all! Together, they run a vegan food blog that specialises in simple vegan recipes from around the world.
Although food blogging is in a pretty saturated niche, they have managed to carve out a little corner of the internet in order to build a loyal (and growing) readership.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your blog before joining BFL?
Our blog was embarrassing! Before enrolling in the BFL, we had around 3-5000 visitors per month, that was heavily reliant on Instagram to drive it there.
We managed to see some successes with one article reaching the number one spot on Google, through sheer luck, and a couple others landed on the first page. But we hadn’t planned for this to happen. It was a happy fluke! But still, our traffic wasn’t growing or consistent.
We didn’t earn any income from our blog. We had one sponsored article for £75, which in hindsight is a very small fee to charge. Instagram was a channel where we saw organic success – which was linked to our blog – but it didn’t drive consistent traffic and is a much more manual channel.
We struggled with understanding how to get traffic to our blog, photography, how to earn income online, and making time to spend on the blog. Balancing a blog with demanding full time jobs is pretty unmanageable, especially if you want time to relax too!
Comparing your blog to where it is now to before you joined our community, what are the biggest changes that you’ve seen?
The biggest change we’ve seen is that we now get consistent traffic, that is growing all the time, and our content is ranking on the first page of Google for a number of articles.
We also re-designed it, using the recommended products for food bloggers, including the Feast Plugin, Tasty Recipe Cards and social media plugins.
We also now receive requests for paid partnerships and have seen some success with generating paid sponsored content through pitching. We took the bonus course – Pitch like a Pro, to learn Tom’s pitching strategy. This has helped us a great deal with landing partnerships, which we’re still building on.
Editor’s Note: Working with brands while you’re building your passive income machine is an AWESOME blogging perk. During our first year of blogging, we got a ton of great partnership deals receiving both complimentary products (gear, hotel stays, and more) as well as PAID sponsored posts.
As you already know, in our community, we encourage everyone to share and celebrate their wins. Could you share with everyone what are a few of your wins or results that you have gotten thanks to the course?
We had our biggest blog income ever in December. We earned £2000 ($2800) in brand partnerships. This is a direct outcome of working hard and consistently on our blog, following the Fast Lane’s strategies.
In January, we reached 30,000 page views, another record breaker for our blog. It’s dropped a little since then, but we’re still working towards our goal of 50,000 sessions per month.
Our first ever digital product was launched in December 2020, which was a Christmas recipe e-book. We were chuffed with the results, as we sold around 40 copies but it proved to us that digital products work as a revenue generator. This is something we’re keen to build on.
Creating your own digital products is a great way to expand your revenue stream! Scared that you will end up wasting your time creating a product that no one will buy? Watch my detailed video walking you through the exact steps on how to brainstorm and validate your idea for a digital product.
What’s the biggest / most valuable lesson you’ve learned when it comes to blogging and how has learning that lesson impacted your blog?
There are so many lessons that we’ve learned since starting our blog! Some of the biggest include:
Blogging is a long game. You can’t publish an article and expect people to visit it immediately. But once it generates traction, that content will continue working for you, whilst you move onto the next blog post or blog related task.
Blogging is a very real option for a business and can help you to build the life that you want to live, especially if that’s a bit different to the average lifestyle!
Like anything, blogging needs a strategy, which is something we weren’t aware of before we took the BFL.
Being a blogger or a content creator has value, so don’t undersell yourself. There are brands out there that want to work with bloggers because they know their value, but don’t want to pay for the privilege of their time, skilled work or influence. This isn’t OK!
What are some of the blogging goals that you want to achieve this year?
This year, our goals are to reach 50,000 sessions and get accepted into an advertising platform. We are also working towards our blog becoming our main source of income.
The aim is to achieve that through ad revenue, digital products and paid partnerships. We currently also run a freelance social media agency as well as our blog (that also offers SEO services, another positive outcome of taking the course!).
If you could give advice to someone who is just starting out in blogging, what would it be?
There’s no time like the present. The actual best time to start a blog was something like 15 years ago, when Google wasn’t as developed so it was easier to get traffic, but the second best time is now!
Done is better than perfect, and you can improve it as you go.
What I loved most about Jess and Dan’s interview is they placed A LOT of importance on:
✅ Valuing your work
✅ Skill building
Now I want to expand a little bit on this as I really found this interesting! When Tom and I created the BFL course, we knew there was a ton of information in there.
It is jam-packed with things we’ve learned from our over 6 years of blogging. The thing is, the BFL course doesn’t just teach you how to build a blog.
It teaches you SKILLS.
Content creation, SEO, Email Marketing, Social Media…the list goes on! Dan and Jess have applied some of the things they learned from the course to their social media agency which is also allowing them to earn an income.
Here’s one of our favorite testimonials from one of our BFL students to date:
Follow Their Journey
I’d like to thank Jess and Dan for taking the time to share her blogging journey with us. And hopefully, you’ve picked up a few lessons along the way and are inspired by their success!
If you want to check out their blog and social media channels, here’s where you can find them: