Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I was putting my regular content on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. As I explained, I wanted to focus on content that you guys would find helpful during such critical times. But there was another reason too: I thought that, in two weeks, the majority of this would be over. That by now, the government would have organized to provide the resources necessary to fight the pandemic, that our cities would have quickly implemented measures to ensure our safety, and that we as a society would have responsibly and selflessly adhered to those guidelines. That the threat of COVID-19, while real, would be far away and abstract. And as a result, I could go on sharing recipes like I normally would and would be able to walk you guys through my new website without feeling like a trivial jerk.
What a fool I was.
The fact of the matter is that it will be a few months before things go back to normal. China (where the outbreak began) and Korea (where the outbreak intensified) are JUST starting to get things under wraps. And the places where the responses were swift and successful—Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong—took fierce and strident measures that dramatically changed the lives of their people for months. Whatever way I look at it, it’s clear to me that “normal” is something that won’t be back for a long time, if ever.
As a result, I’ve been spending the last few weeks thinking about this space, and how I could use it to wield some good in times of uncertainty. And indeed, during these last two weeks, I saw how many of you have been (rightfully!) staying inside and finding joy by baking. It was inspiring and uplifting to see you all cooking my recipes in your homes. It led me to the decision to re-start publishing recipes here again, providing new ones more suited to these times (small batch when possible, with lots of substitutions), and double-checking and updating older-but-still-popular recipes to ensure success in your kitchens as much as possible.
But here’s the truth: this type of recipe development and content creation requires resources, and COVID-19 hit my family hard financially. As a result of the pandemic, my fiance Erlend is currently furloughed from his job, leaving me as the main source of income for the family. Although we are not strangers to this circumstance (I was the breadwinner for years when he was in grad school), this is the first time that I am supporting us solely on an unstable freelancer’s income. The majority of my income from blogging has always come from partnering with brands for sponsorships; unfortunately, many of those partnerships were delayed or outright cancelled because of the pandemic as well. I’m fully anticipating that I won’t receive any income from those sources until the end of this year.
While there’s been a well-deserved and important outcry to support your favorite small restaurants, family-owned cafes, and other mom-and-pop food operations, there’s been little to none for the food bloggers and Instagram recipe developers. At worst, there are folks who have looked at the negative economic effects of COVID-19 on influencers with glee (“Now these brats will have to get a real job!”), all while continuing to consume and take advantage of our content unabashedly. At best, people forget that we are small businesses that need help too.
So here I am, asking for help.
How You Can Help
In the list below, I’ve tried to be as transparent as possible about how doing any of the actions below will support my work:
- Visit Hummingbird High as often as you can and share links to my recipes with as many people as possible.
Visiting my blog and sharing links to your favorite recipes with others will increase my pageviews, which is helpful for earning advertising revenue. Ad revenue is typically measured in two ways: pageviews and clicks on the ads themselves. The more pageviews I have and the more times people click on my ads, the more money I earn. But don’t worry! There’s no need to click on an ad unless it’s really, truly something that interests you—your pageview is plenty enough.
- Follow me on Instagram, like and comment on all my feed photos (especially any sponsored ones!), and watch my Instagram Stories as much as possible.
In the last few years, Instagram has been my primary source of revenue. More followers and engagement (specifically, your likes, comments, and Instagram Story views) within my account enables me to negotiate better payouts with future sponsors.
- Buy my cookbook.
I’ve explained before that, unless you’re Ina Garten or Chrissy Tiegen, cookbooks are NOT a reliable source of income. But every little bit helps—a purchase of my cookbook reduces my “debt” to my publisher and will enable me to potentially earn royalties from my book one day.
That being said, I recognize what a tough time it is for everybody—many industries are undergoing the same layoffs and instability that affected me and my family. So even if you’re unable to continue supporting my work right now, please know that I am truly grateful for what you’ve afforded me in the past. It is an incredible privilege to have so many of you in my community. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being here.
Please stay healthy and safe.
- “Free Ways to Support Content Creators” by Chris Loves Julia (also one of my favorite interiors blogs)
- “Shakespeare Survived Quarantine With A Little Help From His Patrons” by Ian Wheeler in The New York Times