Eat Blog Talk & MealPro App (now Member Kitchens): we're on the podcast!

Liam joins Megan on the Eat Blog Talk podcast to chat about meal planning, memberships, apps, and much more. Head over to Eat Blog Talk to listen to the full audio. Or check out the transcript below.


Megan Porta (00:00):

Food bloggers, hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog's growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that's financial, personal, or professional.


I'm Megan Porta and I've been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I'm on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported. Anyone up for creating a new revenue stream for their blogging business? Yes? Okay, you need to listen to this episode. I have a Liam Smith with me. He is from MealPro App. I don't know if you've heard of this app, but it is amazing. I did not know anything about it, so I dug into all the details inside of this chat with him.


We talked about why he started it, how to set it up, why you would want to provide your user with this sort of membership, how you can earn money, the earning potential seems like it could be pretty big, and how this can create a little bit of a buffer between your business and all of those volatile changes that are happening in our space right now. I hope this episode inspires you to go check out the MealPro App. It sounds amazing. I'm going to check it out myself for my own food blog. This is episode number 406, sponsored by RankIQ.


Eat Blog Talk is here to support you at every stage of your food blogging journey, to help you accelerate your blog's growth so you can achieve your freedom. We offer many services that will help get you on the right path no matter where you're at in your journey. Don't forget to check out our free discussion forum at Go there to connect with like-minded peers to learn and to grow and to share any wins that you have.


Our signature service is our Mastermind Program. We are currently accepting wait list submissions for 2024. So if you want to get on the list for this year-long experience starting in January 2024, definitely do that now. If you are not quite ready for that investment, the MiniMinds Program might be for you. It is a six-month program that will help you achieve your goals and overcome any obstacles that are holding you back. And if you're up for getting together in-person with some like-minded food bloggers, consider coming to one of our in-person retreats in 2023. This is a great way to get to know your fellow food bloggers really well in an intimate setting to learn a ton about food blogging in a short timeframe, and to eat some delicious food that you will never forget. Go to to get all the information about all of our services.


Liam Smith from the MealPro App has 10-plus years experience in tech, working Fortune 500 companies and growing startups. Through a series of fortunate events, Liam was able to combine his passion for tech and desire to help people eat better to create the MealPro App, a platform helping food bloggers to launch their own memberships with their existing recipe content.


Hello, Liam. Thank you so much for joining me on Eat Blog Talk. How are you today?

Liam Smith (03:04):

I'm good, thanks, Megan. Yeah, good to be here. Good to connect.

Megan Porta (03:06):

Yes. I'm excited to talk about the MealPro App. But first we would like to know if you have a fun fact to share about yourself.

Liam Smith (03:13):

Yes, I do. I suppose two parts of this, I asked my wife, because I know you like to ask people a fun fact, I asked my wife. And she turned to me dead serious and she said, "Liam, I don't think you have any." And I was mortified.

Megan Porta (03:30):

You're no fun.

Liam Smith (03:32):

"What do you mean?" I was like, "Oh, thanks. Charming." And then I spent a long time trying to think of one. There's a few things maybe, I don't know, but I suppose when I was young, when everyone else was getting hamsters and fluffy pets, I ended up getting a snake and two pet scorpions. So maybe that explains how I ended up in the tech world and going down the slightly, I don't know what sort of path you might call it, but.

Megan Porta (03:54):

Oh my gosh. I have two boys and they always joke about getting ... Because I am not a snake person, I'm not a rodent person. No, thank you. So they're like, "Mom, we're going to get tarantulas and snakes," so that's right up your alley.

Liam Smith (04:09):

That was me. Yeah.

Megan Porta (04:09):

Yeah, right. Do you still house these sort of creatures, or are you done with that?

Liam Smith (04:15):

I don't. I don't no, I don't like keeping things in tanks and cages anymore. I love watching the programs, and when I am somewhere exotic trying to lift up rocks that I probably shouldn't and have a look what's under there and stuff, but.

Megan Porta (04:33):

Okay. Tell your wife that we did indeed uncover a fun fact, so you are a fun person.

Liam Smith (04:39):

I will. I'll make sure she listens to this.

Megan Porta (04:41):

Yes, that's so funny. All right. Well, you are here to talk about how food bloggers can create a new revenue stream. This is something that is going to perk up everyone's ears because we are all looking for new revenue streams. And then you are suggesting this through your app called the MealPro App.


So I want to hear about the app, but first I want to hear how you got to the point where you created the app. Talk about your journey that led to the app.

Liam Smith (05:12):

Yeah. I'm not a food blogger myself, although I've been around the internet and blogging a little bit for many years, but I'm not a food blogger myself. I come from it from a slightly different perspective more. My background is in software and technology. I'm also very passionate about what I eat and using that as a fuel to feel better, whether that's fitness-related or just general wellbeing.


And having been working in London for a number of years, the stress of commuting, working long hours and trying to eat well, adds up. And I ended up trying various things, even using virtual assistants, humans based in India to do my meal planning, a very analog sort of way of doing it. And then I started developing meal planning apps for myself to solve a problem. Again, just purely for myself. And a lot of the mailbox delivery services maybe were a bit expensive or weren't always the best quality.


So I looked at ways to build my own application, never really trying to monetize. And I wrote a few articles about it on tech blogs. Mind the Product is one, which is industry-specific to what I do. And randomly, I totally didn't expect it, I actually got contacted by a couple of food bloggers I suppose moving into the Instagram and TikTok creator space in terms of the larger audiences as well. But yeah, a couple of food bloggers and a couple of health coaches, and they're basically saying, "Can you build me an app just like this one that you've built for yourself?" And I said, "Well, yeah, I can, but it's going to cost you," however many thousands. The quote was maybe $15,000, which really is not a lot for a custom app build by the way. But even that was like, "Whoa, that's way too much."


So I had a few conversations with people like that. Again, I don't know how they found this article, I think it was like the fourth page of Google one person told me, because it's not something they would normally search for, a blog they would normally be on. And eventually I came around to the idea of building this as a software as a service. Basically we build the software, we own the IP, but we allow people to use it as a white label software and just pay us a monthly subscription. So it's affordable for people who are food bloggers and content creators and coaches who don't have thousands or don't want to spend thousands each month on an app. So it's accessible for them, but it means that we can also scale it and actually cover our cost as well.


Yeah, so I've ended up in this space in a very indirect route, but I'm loving connecting with food bloggers, content creators, everyone, just learning so much about what's happening in this space. And the good and the bad, the scary stuff with AI and stuff coming to get everyone.

Megan Porta (07:50):

Coming to get everyone. Watch out.

Liam Smith (07:53):


Megan Porta (07:54):

Kay. That's so interesting. So you really built this app based on your personal struggles and then you were like, "Oh, people can actually benefit from this as well."

Liam Smith (08:04):

Yeah, exactly. And then I suppose we co-built it with two food bloggers. We built it around their needs so we sort of built it like a custom application for them. But again, we would own the IP, which if you're paying for a custom development project, you would get the IP, you would own the IP, intellectual property.


So when I'm speaking to food bloggers now I'm told that it works really well. For example, if you're using WordPress, if you using WP Recipe Maker, if you're using all these other things, because of the journey we've been on to building it with our customers. So yeah, it's been a really unique experience getting to build it with someone as well. You don't always get that.

Megan Porta (08:44):

I think it was so smart for you guys to bring two food bloggers on board to just learn from them. I mean, just from what you've said so far, you clearly know the terminology and the plugins and all of that. So tell us more about the app. We're all curious, I'm dying to know.

Liam Smith (09:00):

Yeah. I suppose at the heart of it, what we do, what we provide, is software, but really I think a bit more than that is, I suppose how we're helping, is we're helping food bloggers, content creators, and some coaches, like you said, to develop a new stream of income by repurposing existing content. So that's a big thing. As you may know yourself, I know you've got an online course, having to create new content to develop a revenue stream is ... Especially if you're not doing it full-time, in terms of blogging is not a full-time job of yours, it's very difficult.


So really the platform we've built allows you to repurpose the existing recipe catalog that you've already built up on your blog. You might have some that hardly get any traffic and aren't really offering a lot in terms of ad revenue and things. You're able to repurpose that content and build a meal planning membership around it. For example, you can import your recipes, add your branding to our software, so your logo, your colors and things like that, then you can connect it up with your website. Typically you would use a subscription plugin like, I don't know, MemberPress is a popular one. We have an integration with that. And yeah, you'd take payments on your website and then you'd import your recipes at your branding, and you would pretty much have a meal planning membership service you can offer to your customers ready, ready to go.


And maybe I am oversimplifying it a little bit. Of course there's some complexity in the launch process, which I'm happy to talk about. But from a technical standpoint, there's not that much more. If we're importing recipes from WP Recipe Maker for example, they offer an export and an import function. You can get this set up in the space of an afternoon if you dedicate the right time to it.

Megan Porta (10:42):

Remember, you are a tech guy and you're talking to a lot of, mostly just ... Not just, mostly creative, mostly women. Some of us are tech, I am not, but some people in our area are techie. From that standpoint, do you still think it's a simple process, not having a tech background?

Liam Smith (11:00):

Yeah. I mean, it's hard for me to say from the outside in, I suppose. I can only go on I suppose the feedback I get from customers. So we're working with a customer in South Africa right now who's just signed up, and they help busy mums basically, do some stuff specifically around gluten-free recipes as well. And in their own words, they are technophobes.

Megan Porta (11:23):

Technophobe. That's funny, yeah.

Liam Smith (11:24):

Yeah. And they've been able to ... The signup process to actually create your app is literally just to fill in a form and you've got your app. And then it's click, upload your logo, add your brand colors. Then it's just a case of importing recipes, which you can either do manually or we have an import from Recipe. So you can add your web link, a link to a webpage, and import your recipe, pull your recipe from there. And again, that's as simple as entering the URL and clicking import.


And yeah, there are some more involved things like if you want to do a bulk import from say WP Recipe Maker, then we can help with that from our support team. Connecting integrations, we can help with that and we have help guides. So it's probably for someone who doesn't have a tech background, yes, maybe it would take a few more hours figuring things out. But I'm told our customer support is very good, but I would say that of course, but.

Megan Porta (12:18):

Okay. No, that helps. Yeah, and I think one thing about food bloggers is that we figure things out. That is what defines us. We just keep going and if we find a stumbling block, then we figure out a way to get over it and we figure it out. So I don't think that is too much of a hurdle, I was just curious.

Liam Smith (12:35):

I feel like WordPress itself can be more confusing.

Megan Porta (12:39):

Yeah, exactly. If you can manage WordPress and figure all of that out, because it's not super intuitive the first time you go in or the first 100 times you go in, so yeah, then you're probably set.

Liam Smith (12:51):

Yeah, it's way simpler, in my opinion.

Megan Porta (12:52):

Okay. Now, it's an app, but it's something that we have to integrate on the backend of WordPress. Talk through that. Is it an app that users pull up on their phone or they go to a web browser? Or how do they use this?

Liam Smith (13:08):

It's both, I suppose. With your WordPress website, it is a website that you access through your web browser on any device. We have a version that's exactly the same, so you can add your own domain to it. Let's say, I don't know, Eat Blog Talk, you could say if you launched one, then you could launch on a brand new domain. So you could pick something else completely, I don't know, or something. Or you could do it on a subdomain, like

Megan Porta (13:34):


Liam Smith (13:36):

Then again, someone would just access your app exactly the same way they would access your website, and you'd just include it in your navigation or in a link or however you want to include it. I think you have a teachable course, don't you, and in exactly the same way that you would do that. So that's one way of doing it.


And then we have a mobile app version, which is only available on a higher price plan because it takes a bit more work to set up and for us to maintain. But a mobile app version that is also white label and allows your brand to be published within the mobile app stores, so Apple and Google, so people could, on their mobile devices, they could find you in the app stores and download your app onto their phones themselves.


So there's two options, and it really depends what stage you're at. And I think what we always say is, start with the web app because it's much simpler to get set up and you can ... Like I said, I am oversimplifying it somewhat, but I've spoken to people who are very, like I said, maybe technophobic, but they can generally figure out the web app with a little bit of support from our team and get launched with that. And then when they're ready and the numbers are growing as well in terms of the memberships, then we say, "Maybe it's time to start thinking about the mobile app. So people, if they are searching your brand in the app store, can find you there as well."


And that offers another really unique way to engage with people, if your brand is on someone's mobile device and you're able to send them a push notification when you publish a new meal plan or something like that. Again, it's such a powerful way to say, "Oh, hi. By the way, remember me," in the same way that a newsletter is a really powerful way to engage with people if it's nurtured in the right way, sort of.

Megan Porta (15:08):

Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. And then you said just probably an initial investment of maybe a few hours of getting set up. And then do you have to set up the recipes one by one or how does that work?

Liam Smith (15:21):

Yeah, so the first thing I'll say, and this is sort of Andy [inaudible 00:15:27] or I don't know what you might call it, but when I speak to a lot of people, say we're doing a demo or an onboarding call or something, people would ... Let's say on your food blog you've got 400 recipes, or some people ... I spoke to someone recently who has 2,000. And they said they're under the impression they need to add every single one to be able to launch this membership.


And we have a customer who launched last year who launched 25 recipes on their membership and one meal plan, and they just continue to add more each week. And they grew to over 1,000 members. I'm not saying everyone's going to grow to 1,000 members, but they did. And it's not like they have a huge social media following or anything like that, or a huge email list or anything like that, but they just continue to add more each week. And that also allows you to then, you send out an email and say, "Oh, new recipes published in the app," or a new category. And it gives you an organic way to continue speaking to people, whether they're existing subscribers or people who might be interested in to continue talking to them.


But yes, you can add recipes one by one, you can import from your website using the simple import function. We'll pull in most of the information, you can just check it and publish it. Or with WP Recipe Maker we can do a bulk import from your recipes and then you can just go through it, just check that they're right, and publish them one by one.


So yeah, a couple of options really. I think that probably is the most time-consuming part, which isn't the most technically difficult, but I guess you want to just check it looks right and that you're setting them up correctly. But yeah, we do most of the work, in terms of the import for you.

Megan Porta (16:57):

And then who is the user and how are you finding that they're using this content within the app?

Liam Smith (17:01):

Yes, that's a really good question, I think. I suppose zooming out a little bit, and this is something I find interesting, again because I'm not from the blogging world per se, although again, I've been around the web for a while, it seems like not every food blogger, but a lot of food bloggers, especially newer bloggers I suppose, stop at their email list in terms of ... You think about an ecosystem. You've got your website, you've got people coming from Google to your website, you've got maybe some ads running, and you've got maybe an opt-in to get a newsletter. And that newsletter's really just used to drive people back to your website, and maybe have some socials going as well. That's where a lot of people seem to stop.


In terms of the end user of a service like this, I guess it would be someone who may sign up to your newsletter, for example. People come to your website because they're looking for a solution to their problem. They sign up for your newsletter because whatever freebie or opt-in you are offering them, maybe it's a mini masterclass or a free ebook, or maybe it is a meal plan of sorts. They sign up because, again, they need a bit more help solving whatever problem that you are offering that you provide a solution to.


So the people, our customers, the food bloggers and the creators who have been most successful with this, they really get to know the problems of the people that come to their websites or follow them on social media or sign up to their newsletter. They really get to know them well. And maybe that's through creating a free Facebook group or just sending out surveys via the newsletter or socials and doing things like that. And they sort of build their memberships around that. So it could be helping people to go plant-based, which is ... And then they talk about some of the common problems.


So the user, as I said, is someone who's interested, who keeps coming back to you because they need help, and perhaps they need a bit more help than they are getting from the free content they are pushing out there. They want something where it will be beneficial to get ongoing support, if that sort of makes sense, which is where the membership element comes in, and that's where it can add the most value for the end user. And also then you as the blogger, you can also get the most out of it because people stay around as well. If that answers your question, I'm not sure.

Megan Porta (19:20):

Yeah, no. So we are really tapping into our own audiences, solving really specific pain points for them, and then using the app as a way to deliver the solutions, as opposed to you don't necessarily have an audience that you're help ... You know what I mean? You are giving us access to.

Liam Smith (19:39):

Oh, right. Yes. No, no. Yeah, so this is where we differ I suppose to ... And maybe I'll talk a little bit about how what we do is different and why we decided to make some of the decisions we did.


Our product is completely white labeled. So if you wanted to launch a membership for Pip and Ebby, say, then you would use our software, you'd add your branding and you would launch it for your audience, to your readers, to your socials, et cetera. So you would leverage your audience. That's what I was saying about reusing existing content in terms of your recipes, you're also leveraging your existing audience. So you've done the hard work, building an engaged, loyal following, and building up your recipe content, now we're saying, "Well, here's some software that you can use. You can add your branding, combine those two things, your content and your audience, solve a problem for them, and offer it as a paid subscription. And it'll help them and it'll help you." And that's sort of what we do.


I suppose there are platforms like Whisk, so Whisk for creators, where they're saying add your recipes to our network, our sort of ... I guess their app, their social media. They're almost talking about it like a social media for recipe content really, now aren't they. Which I suppose is good in terms of helping you get found in another way. For some bloggers I guess they look at it as just another thing to do, given that there's already tons of other things going on.


But we're saying the opposite because, in my opinion, the trend is that as a blogger it feels like you're getting less and less control because social media algorithms keep changing. Then you've got the constant changes in new features coming out. Instagram admitted fairly recently that they deprioritized traditional photo posts for some time. And then you've got things like ChatGPT and how is that going to impact traditional search and things like that. And it's all these other factors, Google cookie apocalypse and all that stuff.


And it's like, well, we're actually saying, try and build out your own ecosystem so that you're not as reliant on all of these external traffic sources. So you work really hard to get people to your site or run to your newsletter or whatever, then leverage that and keep them within your ecosystem, keep nurturing them and helping them. And we provide part of that ecosystem in terms of the software that you can leverage. In much the same way that you might use ConvertKit or something for your email sending. People don't need to know that it's ConvertKit but you use it and ConvertKit own your data, you still own your audience, et cetera.


We're exactly the same. We say use our software. You still have the relationship with your customers, it's all your content, you own that. We just own the IP to the software and you brand it and all of that stuff. I suppose that's how we're a bit different to some of the other things in the market, I suppose.

Megan Porta (22:30):

Yeah, good clarification. And then, so if we're taking our own content that is already published on our site, are we just repackaging it in a way that's really different for the user? Or can you give some examples about how other bloggers who were using this app are repackaging their content?

Liam Smith (22:47):

Yeah. A customer asked the same question, "If they're getting the content for free on my website, why are they going to pay for it?" And again, what problem are you solving for them? Again, how you package your membership comes back to you, again. It could be something like ... I don't know. In your case I'm trying to think with Pip and Ebby in terms of the recipes that you provide and the methods that you teach. It could be stress-free dinner times done for you, and how you do it is that you'd say, "Get ad-free access to all of our recipes, add them to the meal planner, and auto-generate shopping list that you take to the grocery stores. Meal planning done in five minutes, dinnertime done with no stress," or something like that.


So the packaging is not saying, "Okay, well, I'm going to change this recipe somehow," or, "I'm going to create a whole load of new recipes." It's saying that by combining your recipe content into something that allows people to chuck a load of recipes in for the week, generate a shopping list really quickly, and if they change servings or swap recipes, it automatically updates the shopping list and gives them something they can go shopping with. And then when it comes to cooking, they just go back in and just say, "Okay, I'm cooking this recipe and it's this many servings, I might even need to adjust it." And it adjusts the ingredients and things.


It just adds another level of support you can provide to them during the week, as opposed to just giving them a one-off PDF. For example, PDF content is, as you probably know, it's difficult to customize. If there's one recipe you don't like then the shopping list is automatically redundant, unless you want to go through it. So it's really about the ... The way we see a lot of customers being successful with it is providing that flexibility to the end user to be able to use their recipes, which they love, because they follow them obviously and they trust the blogger. But in a way that allows them to shape their week and know that what they're going to be making fits whatever their particular goals are. Whether that is because they want to eat more plant-based meals, whether that is ... Whatever it is.

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I can see this being really beneficial for bloggers who have more of that specific pain point that you talk about. Maybe someone just being introduced to a gluten-free diet or some specific diet that they need to follow and they're not quite sure how to do it, this could be a roadmap to doing something like that. Or somebody who just really needs healthy meal plans for the week or something along those lines.

Liam Smith (26:18):

Yeah, yeah, exactly. We have a real mix, I'll be honest. We have some people who are quite specific. We have one person who comes more from a coaching place background and helps people with anti-inflammatory foods and diets and meal plans, and that's also linked into MS, multiple sclerosis, and things like that.


On the other end of the spectrum we have people, like I said before, who help busy moms just eat slightly healthier meals that are easy to prep. Not super specific, but just takes the stress out of, "What am I going to eat this week?" And a popular way of doing it is, for example, the meal planner, the blogger would, say, publish a sample meal plan each week and say, "Here's a starter for 10. Have a look, see what you think, and if you want to change any recipes, then you do that. It takes a few clicks in the app, swap some recipes, change some servings, and it gives you a new shopping list." So it's sort of saying, "Here's a new meal plan, here's something to start with."


Again, you're just helping people take the guesswork out of it. And that's really where I think a lot of the benefit is. But yeah, I think the more specific, the more it goes into the coaching world, the more we see people charging for their memberships. But that comes at a cost to them because they spend a bit more time in terms of producing content, so it's a bit of a sliding scale.

Megan Porta (27:33):

Okay. And then what is the earning potential?

Liam Smith (27:36):

Earning potential? Yeah, it's a good question. I mean, yeah, I could tell you that we have customers earning, I'm trying to think, probably $20,000 plus a month from their meal planning memberships. And we have customers earning less than 1,000, and we have customers in between.


And the earnings potential, I think, I mean, sky's the limit really, because one of the most powerful things about this, and again, back to how perhaps we're slightly different to a lot of the software in the market, is that we've built this for scale. So one of the reasons back in the very first days, when we were speaking to the food bloggers we decided to build this and why they needed it, is because there are lots of really good coaching tools out there, nutrition coaching tools. That Clean Life is such a nice piece of software, but it is built for people working one-on-one or working with small groups of people. If you want to try and help 1,000 people, then you do need a tool that supports you in that.


And that's how we built it. We built it where you publish meal plans and allow people to customize themselves or to create their own, as opposed to having to create individual meal plans for each person. Because of that, like I said, yeah, we have people with thousands and thousands of members in their subscription. And is that really much more work for them? Yes, they maybe hired a community manager for their community, they have a Facebook group, and they now spend a bit more money on their recipe content. But in terms of the amount you have to invest to scale, it's really minimal, which has been great to see. Because I mean, the platform itself is only probably 18, 20 months old, so it's quite a nice journey to have witnessed.

Megan Porta (29:16):

Okay. Wow, that's so cool. I just have your website up and I'm just looking through here. It looks really clean. The dashboard is really clean and easy to use. What kind of feedback have you guys gotten from the food bloggers who have been using it and then from their users?

Liam Smith (29:34):

Yeah. The first thing, like you said, is people like the simplicity of the app. And I would say, both as the food blogger setting it up, yes, don't get me wrong, there are some things where people need a little bit more handholding if they don't have a team or someone else, like maybe setting up a Zapier connection, but even that is becoming more and more common in the blogging world.


But yeah, the clean interface is something that people have commented on. And we have left a lot of things out that people have asked for. And what we tend to do is we leave things out and then if enough people ask for them, we'll add them in. Just because we know every time we add something in, it creates that additional mental load, whether it's for the blogger creating the meal plans and recipes, or for the end user who's having to think about what to do. We just want to allow them to focus on the jobs in hand.


Yeah, that's it. And I'll [inaudible 00:30:24] up for a little bit and then I'll talk about some of the other parts that we're working on. But I think I spoke to someone on a demo last week and her words were, "You've solved ..." She was about to go down the route of getting a custom app developed, and then she saw our platform. After I showed her the demo, she said, "You've solved every problem that I have at the moment."

Megan Porta (30:44):

Aw, that feels good, I bet.

Liam Smith (30:46):

It really does, yeah. And that's what I was saying about being able to co-build it effectively with food bloggers and creators, I think it's allowed us to build something that works well for people like that.


I think on the other side of things, like I said, our platform is only 18, 20 months old, and we are a bootstrapped startup. We may well look to take on funding at some point one day. But we're a bootstrapped startup, so I feel a lot of the pains of many of the small business owners listening to this, I imagine. I imagine you can relate as well. But that's allowed us to focus purely on the customers, rather than trying to get investment and all of that stuff, like a lot of software startups. Or maybe in the future.


But yeah, because of that, because we're relatively new, there's tons of things we still want to do. People ask us for stuff and we know it's a good idea and we are going to add stuff that we know will make, whether that's the setup process easier, like we're saying about removing the need to connect integrations. Once we do that, it'll literally make the setup a breeze. And that's what we want to get to and we will get there, but it'll just take time.


And then there's other things that end users like being able to add comments to recipes or things like that, or notes and things like that, as the end use. I mean, there's things like that. There are always going to be requests. And we generally accommodate things from customers, but ultimately we're a team. We can only do so much at one point in time. So yeah, it's sort of trying to manage that feedback, keep people happy.

Megan Porta (32:20):

Yeah, it's cool because you guys are solving food bloggers' problems, but you're also solving food bloggers' users' problems, so that has to feel really good. It's like a win-win all around.


Okay, so what else do you feel like food bloggers need to know about the app? We've talked through setup and how it's going to serve our users, how it works on our site or on a mobile app. What else do we need to know?

Liam Smith (32:45):

I think when I speak to people on demos, or maybe even an onboarding call, but still, a lot of people know that they want to diversify their income. They know that a membership will probably work well for them because of ... Maybe they know a little bit about their audience already, maybe they already have, like you said, the recipe content and the following. And then people, they're not sure what to do next. That seems to be the common theme. And I'm very much the same, I'm very self-critical, overthinking things. And it's like, "Oh, well, how do I know it's going to work?"


And I think ultimately we never know if it's going to work, anything in life, I suppose. Let's say we're starting a blog. I was listening to one of your recent episodes about setting up multiple blogs. It's like, you never know until you try, but just try. But that said, we recorded a masterclass recently with Taylor Stinson, The Girl On Bloor, and she talked us through the process of how she went about doing it. And I think the best way to get started, even before, regardless of whether you use our solution or not, is just start to get to know your audience a bit better, if you're not already. If you're not speaking to them and understanding their problems, whether that's through surveys, just start doing that.


And then get a feel for what you can help them with. And put up a simple landing page like a ... I don't know, it could be ConvertKit, it could be your email provider, it could be on WordPress using a simple prebuilt page, just something super simple. Say, "We're coming soon. We're launching a ..." Whether it's a meal planning membership to solve your X, Y, Z problem, your dinnertime stress, or to help you manage your gluten-free lifestyle or whatever it is. And then promote that to your audience and just get a feel for the interest at that point. And again, just keep having those regular conversations.


And it doesn't take tons of work. You don't have to have hundreds of conversations. I mean, five conversations will be plenty. And I think that's a nice stepping stone between, "Okay, now I'm going to start adding stuff to the app and I'm going to do all of this stuff. I'm going to just test the water with a simple landing page." Speak to a few people, get a bit of feedback. Use that to update your landing page again, and then launch something like ... I spoke to someone yesterday who just did that. They've got 30 people super interested on their wait list already. And they said, "Right, I'm ready to go, let's go with the app." And now they're going through the onboarding process.


So I would just say, yeah, not even related to the software itself, just think about how can I test the appetite for this simple landing page, promote it a little bit to your newsletter or socials or whatever, and get the appetite. That's sort of an indirect way of answering your question, I think. But I feel like that's the most pertinent thing that I've been talking to people about recently.

Megan Porta (35:29):

Yeah. No, that's great. You broke it down really well, and I'm just tossing it around in my head right now, like, "Oh my goodness, should I do this? I don't have time," but I mean, if ...


What you said earlier really hit me. Google updates, Google algorithms, and now we have impending AI concerns. Are our searches going to be obsolete? All of that, there's so much. And then we take Pinterest hits and we take ... It's like we're just getting constantly punched down and punched down. So this would alleviate a lot of those concerns because we have control over this, right?

Liam Smith (36:11):

Yeah, absolutely. And it seems to be that bloggers are getting punched more and more as well by the tech giants, which is, it's a double-edged ... For them, they need you as much as you need them right now. And it's already a trend that's happening. Google-featured snippets, for example, are already increasing, like no click searches, supposedly. Chatbots being introduced into search could do that even more. If you've seen what Microsoft Bing are doing, integrating with AI-powered chatbots and things like that.


And I agree, and whether it is meal planning memberships, of course that's something we can help with, but even just building out your ecosystem in terms of what you offer to people. Whether that is building a small community, whether that is having online courses or a membership or both, and just building that out progressively. Yeah, I think there's a reason that it's becoming more of a talked about thing because I think it is more important to do now than ever.

Megan Porta (37:10):

Yeah. Oh, you made a good case, Liam. I think that this will definitely be something that food bloggers want to hear more about. Is there anything else you want to cover about the app or just in general before we start saying goodbye?

Liam Smith (37:26):

I would be curious to get your thoughts on something actually, and this is something that we're also toying with. And I've not really talked about this publicly, but maybe this is a good opportunity, and I would love to hear if there is anyone listening who's interested. I'll share my details of course, and please do get in touch.


In the course of what we do, most of our customers are food bloggers, content creators and things, but we also get people who come from the coaching world. And typically coaches don't have the back catalog of recipes that a lot of food bloggers have. And they say, "Oh, well, okay, I love your software, but can you give us the recipes as well?" I'm like, "Well, no, because we don't provide the recipes. Food bloggers add their recipes." And then we speak to food bloggers. Two weeks ago, I think it was, I spoke to a food blogger with 2,000 recipes on their blog. And they admitted themselves, a lot of those, spent a lot of time creating them, and a lot of those don't really offer much in terms of ROI right now. Of course, there are various factors that influence, SEO and things.


And I sort of moved to the idea of, well, we've got people who need recipes and we have people who have tons of recipes on their blog and some of them aren't really being utilized. I'm like, is there a way, as a complimentary service to what we already do, to broker that relationship between the food blogger and the coach who needs the recipe. So someone can offer recipes as a white label. "As a food blogger, here's 100 of my recipes that you can use," within set guidelines, and then the coach will be able to use them and pay you.


So you get paid upfront for people using your recipes, as opposed to things like Whisk where you are giving your recipes over and then you might get paid for them later down the line. That's how I understand the model works. Even with Google, you get paid only when people click on them and things like that, I suppose. So the idea of a recipe marketplace as well is something that's flowing through my mind and something we're testing the idea for with food bloggers. But I would love to hear your feedback initially and any major concerns, but I'd love to hear any feedback from people listening as well.

Megan Porta (39:24):

Yeah. So would it be just one flat fee for each recipe, or were you thinking that they would be given a portion of the membership, or how would that work, the payment terms?

Liam Smith (39:36):

I'm thinking it would probably be ... If you think about it separate to the app a little bit. Let's say that you have, I don't know, maybe 500 recipes on your blog. And you say, "Actually, I've got 50 recipes that I know that I'm happy for other people to use," because they're not flagship recipes, they've got lots of traffic or anything like that, but there's a certain niche. And so it could be air fryer. "Here's 50 air fryer recipes," that you package up and you provide as a, "Here are Megan Porta's 50 air fryer recipes," and that's a bundle. And maybe you offer that at $99. So every time someone buys that, it's $99, and maybe we take 10% commission as a broker. And then the coach pays for the block of recipes, you get 90% of the revenue or whatever it is, and we get 10% as the broker between the two services.


And then you could have other bloggers, maybe it's the vegan niche or keto or whatever it might be, whole food, I don't know, all offering bundles of recipes that you would purchase. But it's of another way to earn passive income on your recipe content, is sort of the line I'm thinking down, but I don't know.

Megan Porta (40:48):

Yeah, I think that you would find food bloggers who would be up for that. I know that a lot of bloggers are very protective of their recipes and don't want them published anywhere else. But on the flip side, I know that there are also a lot of bloggers who really want to earn extra revenue and enjoy that part of it, creating, doing the recipe development and all of that.


So I think you would find both sides. I mean, I can't say percentage, but I've talked to food bloggers who are on both sides, for sure. So I don't think that would be a problem to find food bloggers who would be up for a venture like that. I don't know if I would. I feel like, I don't know that I would necessarily do it, I'm just at a weird place in my journey. I've been blogging for so long, I don't personally feel like I need that right now, but I can see where at one point in my journey I would've been like, "Sure, I'll do that." Does that make sense?

Liam Smith (41:47):

Yeah, yeah. And I think this is borne out of ... Like you said, some bloggers don't want to give over their recipes and I totally agree. And I think it's another thing that's part of this whole discussion, not just around AI, but even before that. When I was speaking to people, it's not necessarily that they don't want other people to use their recipes, it's that they don't want other people to use their recipes without their permission. Because it's so easy to scrape the web now, isn't it, that people just rip your recipes off and you don't get any credit for it. Like there are recipe APIs that scrape the web and sell your recipes effectively without ever giving you anything back for it.

Megan Porta (42:23):

Right, yep.

Liam Smith (42:23):

So this is sort of saying, you know what, again, take more control, offer some of your recipes and get paid for it.


But I don't know, it's just a very early stage. I'm just very curious to hear your thoughts on it. Again, it's just, from speaking to people just trying to solve that problem of how can we help bloggers get more control over their income really and earn not quite passive, nothing's perfectly passive, is it really?

Megan Porta (42:46):


Liam Smith (42:46):

But without having to take on another job to earn it, sort of thing. Yeah.

Megan Porta (42:51):

Well, I think what you just said is a huge point. A lot of food bloggers are on their way to monetizing and they're not there yet, so this would be a really good solution for them. And you're outright purchasing the recipes for them. Like you said, you're not scraping, you're not stealing, you're not taking, you are offering compensation for the recipes. My opinion is that I think it would be great for a lot of people. I think, yeah, it would be an amazing opportunity.

Liam Smith (43:22):

Yeah, okay.

Megan Porta (43:22):

Okay, yeah.

Liam Smith (43:23):

But as I said, along with the app, yes, at the moment what we do is we provide software that helps people launch meal planning memberships by repurposing content. But we have three or four other things that we believe will help food bloggers and content creators, again, to monetize without having to take on another full-time job. So we're excited about where it goes.

Megan Porta (43:46):

Yeah, this is exciting. I'm really excited for you guys. And when did you launch this? I'm curious.

Liam Smith (43:51):

Yeah. I think we've been working on it for probably a couple of years. But in terms of launching the app, that was from early discussions with the couple of food bloggers I talked about. But in terms of launching, it was middle of 2021, so I think July or August 2021. So what's that, like 20 months maybe?

Megan Porta (44:08):

Yeah. Amazing. All right. Well, is there anything else we should know before we say goodbye? Liam, this has been a really great conversation.

Liam Smith (44:17):

Not that I can think of. I hope I haven't waffled too much.

Megan Porta (44:21):

No, it was great. I think you provided everything we need to know to decide whether or not we want to get started. So thank you for joining me and for telling us about your amazing app, and I'm sure you'll get some people who go check you out, so yeah. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?

Liam Smith (44:38):

Yes, I do actually. I saw something pop up on, I think it was my LinkedIn feed the other day, by the founder of Basecamp. If anyone uses Basecamp, it's like a project manage ... By Jason Fried. It's really about what we're saying about understanding your readers and your followers solve problems and not being wedded to an idea. Yes, by all means, ads may well be our primary source of revenue. But I think what he said, expectations are the enemy here, in that they limit the number of great landing spots and make the idealized one impossibly hard. So what he suggest is relaxing your expectations and hundreds of positive possibilities will open up, in the sense that go out there with an open mind, speak to people, and see what comes back and see what happens, I suppose.


And I think that's the journey we've been on. We never expected, I never expected to end up where I am two years ago, to be honest. And I think very much the same when I speak to people, food bloggers, it's very much the same. People are on a journey. If this is the first time they're doing something in terms of trying to earn income that is not purely from ad revenue, it's a new learning experience. And it's having to think about things slightly differently than just ... Not just about keyword research and then getting into media via and AdThrive and then working your way to higher RPMs and all of that stuff. But yeah, have an open mind and see where it takes you, I think.

Megan Porta (46:07):

I think that is the key to success right there. But so hard because we so often are like, "This is what I want, this is my expectation. If it doesn't happen, I'm not happy." But it actually does open up so much magic if you can just let the expectations go. Easier said than done though, right?

Liam Smith (46:23):

That's why I used it because I struggle with ... That's why I said it as a quote. So it's more for me as well-

Megan Porta (46:26):

No, I love it.

Liam Smith (46:26):

... as much-

Megan Porta (46:28):

It's such a great one to end on. Thank you. So we'll put together a show notes page for you and we'll put all of your app information in there. You can go to to find all of that. And why don't you tell everyone, Liam, where they can find you and get more information about the app and anything else you want to mention.

Liam Smith (46:54):

Yeah. If you're interested to learn more, please go to, so mealproapp is all one word, Yeah, you can learn a bit more about the software on there. From there, you can book a demo or you can contact us via the form. I'm actually doing a lot of the demos at the moment. We're probably going to swap that out for a video. So yeah, if you're interested to speak to me and talk a bit more about your blog and how you could monetize it through this stream, then yeah, by all means, go ahead, book a demo and that'll be with me, at least for the next month or so I think.


We also have a master class, so in the navigation, in the navigation, if you click the Master Class link you'll be able to get access to the video with Taylor Stinson, aka The Girl On Bloor, where Taylor and I talked through her journey from before she even heard about MealPro App, through to doing surveys before launch, all the way through to monetizing it. And within about six weeks after launch, I think Taylor was at nearly $2,500 in recurring revenue, which was a whole new income stream for her. So yeah, that video, in the master class video, you can get free access to that. Yeah, so by all means, go and have a watch of that and that'll give you an introduction to how to take the next steps, I think.

Megan Porta (47:58):

Amazing. Thank you so much. I hope that you get tons of traffic and just lots of interest in this, Liam. It looks like a really solid platform. So thank you for sharing everything you did today, and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.


Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I'd be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.