Food Blogger Pro & MealPro App (now Member Kitchens): we're on the podcast!

Liam joins Bjork on the Food Blogger Pro podcast to chat about meal planning memberships, diversifying your income, and much more. Head over to Food Blogger Pro to listen to the full audio. Or check out the transcript below.


Bjork Ostrom (00:00:00):

This episode is sponsored by Clariti, C-L-A-R-I-T-I. And I kid you not, I was going to record this half an hour ago, but I was in Clariti, and realized there's an opportunity for Pinch of Yum, that... It's a project we should move forward with. I created a video, communicated it with the Pinch of Yum team and said, "Hey, we should move forward on this, and really, get to work, cleaning this up." In our case, what I had done is I said, "Hey, show me all of the posts in the past year, on Pinch of Yum." And then I sort ordered that in reverse order by page use. I was looking at pages on Pinch of Yum in the last year, got zero page views. And I realized, we have a lot of really thin, not valuable content. And it's important to clean that up. In our case, we're going to delete a lot of that content. And we should have done that a long time ago, but we just didn't get around to it.


And it wasn't until I was using Clariti that I realized that that was something that we should have done. I was able to see that. It's a lot of old giveaway posts, and things like that. We're going to move forward with that, and clean up Pinch of Yum. And that's what Clariti is for. It's to help you discover that actionable information, to create a project around it, and either you can follow the project, or you can assign it to somebody within your team, then track the impact that that has by making notes, or seeing when you made those changes over time. We bring all the information in from WordPress, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics. You hook it all up. And then, you can sort order, and use Clariti, like a Swiss Army knife, for your content. If you're interested in checking it out, go to, And that will get you 50% off your first month. Thanks to Clariti, for sponsoring this episode.

Emily Walker (00:01:51):

Hey, there. This is Emily from the Food Blogger Pro team, and you are listening to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Today, on the podcast, Bjork is interviewing Liam Smith, the founder of the Member Kitchens. Liam founded the MealPro App as a white label meal planning app to allow food creators to easily and more affordably personalize an app for their community without building an app from scratch. It's a super interesting concept. And Bjork and Liam chat a lot more about the creative process behind building the app, and what prompted Liam to head down this road of building a meal planning app for food creators. Bjork and Liam chat about the process of developing the app, and testing it, and how food creators can monetize through the app, including some specific numbers, and five steps to getting started creating a membership app like this. It's a really interesting episode, and might make you think a little bit differently about how you could monetize your brand, and just another option for monetizing as a food creator. I'm just going to let Bjork and Liam take it away.

Bjork Ostrom (00:02:54):

Liam, welcome to the podcast.

Liam Smith (00:02:55):

Thanks, Bjork. Thanks for having me.

Bjork Ostrom (00:02:57):

Yeah. We have had multiple different conversations. You are, I don't get to say this a lot, but occasionally, across the pond. You are shifting your schedule. What time is it right now, for you?

Liam Smith (00:03:08):

It's about quarter past six. I would be having my dinner right now, but can make an exception.

Bjork Ostrom (00:03:13):

We extend our gratitude for you, skipping your dinner to be here, on the podcast. It's going to be a great conversation. We've connected multiple times before. We've talked about what you're up to. And we said, "Hey, you know what? Let's do a recorded conversation here." Because what you're doing is really cool. You have some great success stories, working with food publishers, food creators. And you have a lot of experience in this space, not necessarily in the food space, but in the world of creating product, developing products, specifically in the online world, digital media, digital content, software. Before we jump into MealPro App, let's talk about your experience and what led you up to this point. Before you had launched this endeavor, what were you doing?

Liam Smith (00:03:56):

Yeah. That's a good question. I suppose, I started in tech, maybe, just over a decade ago. Just out of uni, I got into a tech consulting job in London, not really knowing what I wanted to do, but I've enjoyed it, opened a lot of doors in terms of being able to try lots of different things. And that's really where I learned a lot about the software product development process. I'm not necessarily a coder myself, but I am the one who connects a lot of the dots between what people are looking for in the market and what is happening from a development point of view. I've worked with some really interesting companies, from high street brands, like Apple and Tesco, in the UK, like supermarkets, and high street chains.


Really enjoyed that, but then went out on my own to freelance, so I could specialize in certain areas again, more on the product development side of things, and freelanced for another five years. In between my freelance work, I started to work on looking at ways to eat better. It was a very hectic schedule, working in London, long jobs, long commutes, and still very passionate about eating well, going to the gym, yada, yada. And the two didn't really marry well. But then I thought, "Yeah, why [inaudible 00:05:21]-"

Bjork Ostrom (00:05:20):

Mm-hmm. [inaudible 00:05:21] Schedule of a freelance business, and the margin you need to figure out how to eat well, and exercise. And I think anybody listening can relate to that.

Liam Smith (00:05:29):

Yeah. Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom (00:05:32):

[inaudible 00:05:32] Instagram... It was an Instagram reel, and it was something like, "Me trying to keep up with work, keep my home clean, time with kids, get enough sleep, exercise." And it was somebody keeping their... Just their lips were above water. I feel like we can all relate to that. You were in that, trying to figure it out. "How do I prioritize eating well, exercise, while also working a demanding job?"

Liam Smith (00:05:56):

Yes. Exactly. At one point, I hired someone in India to help plan my meals, week to week, which sounds a bit extreme. I often think, the best way, in terms of developing software products, which would come on too, later, I suppose I will soon, is to [inaudible 00:06:14] try the process very manually. I tried lots of other options, like the food delivery boxes, and all of that stuff. And nothing, really, seemed to hit the bill. And then, I thought, "Yeah. Okay. That sort of worked, but didn't work. Why not try develop my own app? Just for meal planning, for me."

Bjork Ostrom (00:06:31):

Before we get too far away from it. What did it look like to work with the person that you hired in India?

Liam Smith (00:06:37):

Yeah. It was cool. I literally said, "Go onto..." I think it was BBC Good Food, on the BBC Good Food website, filter by, I don't know, main meals, maybe vegetarian, and some of the categories. It takes less than half an hour. And there's less than 10 ingredients, and just pick four recipes, and add them to my online shopping basket, and check out, and see how it goes.

Bjork Ostrom (00:07:08):

What was that like? One of the things I've been thinking a lot about is, "What are all the things that I do in a day, that I don't enjoy, and it doesn't matter if I do them?" And there's actually a lot of those things. I'm doing a lot of stuff that needs to happen, that I don't enjoy. And it doesn't matter if I'm doing it. And it sounds like that, for you, was one of those, where you're looking at that, and classifying it as, "This is something that takes up time into my day? I don't necessarily enjoy doing it." Let's experiment with having somebody come in to see if you can free up, whatever it is, an hour, or two hours, to do something else, whether it's work more, and get compensated for that time, or not work, and just enjoy the time doing something else. What was the thought process? And then, what was that like, doing that?

Liam Smith (00:07:56):

Absolutely. That was part of it, but it was also... I suppose I liked just a lot of experimenting with things, trying things. On the back of, I think it was, probably, reading Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek as well. He talks a lot about using virtual assistants, obviously, it means real people based, often, in, maybe... At the time, maybe, India was a popular place, now, the Philippines, especially, and getting help on different tasks. I was like, "I wonder if I could just try that." And again, then, thinking, maybe, "I could apply the other parts," and thought, "Let's just pick something. Let's pick the meal planning stuff." Yeah. Just tried it, and it was good. I think, like anyone who runs, even, a small business, when you have someone helping you with something, when you are doing something else, whether that's because you're asleep, or you are working on something else, and something else is getting done, it's such an amazing feeling.

Bjork Ostrom (00:08:49):


Liam Smith (00:08:51):

Yeah. [inaudible 00:08:52], literally, one person, or a whole team.

Bjork Ostrom (00:08:55):

Psychologically, there's something that feels really good about it. Even the building that we work out of here, I get that little ping whenever the lawn company comes. And they're mowing. And it's like, "Wow, this is so cool. Something's happening here." And I don't need to be doing it. And once you feel that, it's a great feeling to figure out, how do you... Figure out how to scale that, especially in a scenario... I think of working with an accountant as an example. We have somebody on our team, Pat, who's a fractional CFO. He loves numbers. He loves spreadsheets. Not only are you not having to do something that you don't enjoy, like for me... It's not that I don't enjoy that, but the process of compiling those numbers, I don't enjoy it. Analyzing, I do, but not compiling them. He likes that process. What a win-win to get rid of one of those things that you don't necessarily enjoy. Somebody else, maybe, does enjoy that. They're able to pick that up and do that.

Liam Smith (00:09:48):

Yeah. Absolutely. I think that was a large part of it. Again, now, it's made me a lot more confident hiring, we use a lot of people on, say, Upwork, freelancers, for specific jobs now. And it's made me a lot more confident doing that. Maybe we'll talk about tips and things later, but just trying things, like getting confident doing things. Yeah. It's always just been a big part of what I've tried to do, I think. It worked quite well with the assistant. When I had a little bit more time in between one of my freelance projects, I thought, "There's these no-code tools coming out, that allow people like me to build software products." Still, fairly steep learning curve, but nowhere near, as much as, say, learning to code.

Bjork Ostrom (00:10:39):

Yep. And can you talk about, those who aren't familiar, the idea of no-code, and maybe an example of what one of those tools is? I think more and more of those are going to be available.

Liam Smith (00:10:51):

Yeah. I think a great example, really, is WordPress, I suppose, to some extent, is a no-code tool that allows you to, basically, generate code without actually coding. That's basically what you're doing when you're using something like WordPress. The editors that you see in those tools are just getting more advanced. For example, you've got WordPress now, then... I think you've talked about Webflow before, in the podcast. Webflow is built... I suppose it could achieve a similar result to WordPress, but it's designed with editing in mind, of the entire... You can edit everything on the entire site, like a developer could, almost, but without ever having to touch the code, by dragging things, and just changing little settings and things, again. You still have to learn it. And a really popular one is called Bubble., I think, is the website. And that's the most popular one for building web applications.


If this happens, and this should happen, there's a really simple database you can create in all of this, and then, again, this drag-and-drop user interface builder, and things like that. And you can get more advanced with it. And that's what I used to build my first meal planning app. Again, I was using that as a learning experience. I knew these things were happening in the software space. That's where I worked. It was a good thing for me, to be able to talk with clients I was working with, as a freelancer, but also to learn from... I built a meal planning app, used that for a little while, with the same recipes I was using on BBC Good Food. Again, because I knew what process worked with my assistant, from a very manual point of view, I was then able to automate that process with software, which again... It's probably the best way to develop software in my opinion, because you work out what works, and what doesn't, before you, actually, then, build it. Because the building takes a little bit longer.

Bjork Ostrom (00:12:41):

Yeah. I think it was Paul Graham, maybe, who is this... For those who aren't familiar, started a accelerator for startups, called YC, and talks about doing things that don't scale. Does that sound right? Was it Paul Graham?

Liam Smith (00:12:55):

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom (00:12:55):

But I think about it in the context of Groupon, and they talked about, in the really early stages of Groupon, it was like an Excel spreadsheet. They were doing it all manually. And like you said, the great thing about that is, you're not building this massive software tool that's super expensive. What you're building is a process, and data management, which, essentially, is what software is. A lot of times, that's what software. It's a process and data. You're thinking about, "Okay. What is the process? How does the data flow?" And you're being able to get really close to that.


And then, the next step, it sounds like, for you, in this specific scenario, was to put that into something that was more of a software tool, but not having to go through the actual technical build, but using a tool, like Bubble, to build that first version of the frame that you wanted to put all of that data into. And I think what's great about this is this experimentation and curiosity that you had around your own problem. And my guess is, along the way, where you're also curious... Maybe this is also a problem for other people? At what point did you realize that there was a market need for this specific area beyond just your own curiosity and own needs?

Liam Smith (00:14:16):

Yeah. Just to finish off, the meal planner I built, I did think, "Maybe other people would like to use this for their own meal planning." I created a little brand called Almost Vegan. And then, I went on a few vegan forums and shared this. And when I say, "Almost vegan," I mean most of the recipes were vegan, with some vegetarian recipes in there, a few meat recipes. Because myself and a lot of people, certainly in the UK, and I think, a bit of a global trend, perhaps, is eating less meat, as opposed to going full vegan. When I say "Full vegan," I mean that from a "What you consume" point of view. I understand-

Bjork Ostrom (00:14:58):


Liam Smith (00:14:59):

Philosophically, there's differences. And I think, at the time, I didn't understand that, so a lot of people got very upset with me.

Bjork Ostrom (00:15:05):

Insulted some people.

Liam Smith (00:15:06):


Bjork Ostrom (00:15:07):

It's like, for somebody who's vegan to say, "You're almost vegan," I would imagine there's some... People being like, "That doesn't exist."

Liam Smith (00:15:18):

Exactly. Yeah. I learned that the hard way.

Bjork Ostrom (00:15:20):


Liam Smith (00:15:22):

Yeah. Some uncomfortable conversations, we'll put it that way, but I totally get it. That was quite an interesting. [inaudible 00:15:29] That. But then I wrote an article about it on a tech blog called Mind the Product, about how I built an app without code. Again, not many people were using these no-code tools. And then, I started getting a couple of messages from food bloggers, and one or two health coaches, which I was surprised about, because the sort of stuff they were searching for... When I was asking them, this was appearing on page four or page five of Google. They were looking for it. And they were saying, "I've seen your article about how you built an app. Can you just build me an app just like it?"


And I was like, "I can." My freelance work was going really well. I starting to, actually, do some subcontracting, almost building a small agency around it. Had no inclination to stop doing that. I provided a custom quote. I said, "Yeah. Let's get on a call. Tell me what you think you need." At this point, it wasn't in no code. I was speaking to a developer I'd worked with about building out a custom project for them. It was, maybe, $20,000, which is cheap for a decent software product. $20,000 is cheap for a custom app.

Bjork Ostrom (00:16:41):

Because you've seen that. You've been in that world, and you've seen hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent.

Liam Smith (00:16:45):


Bjork Ostrom (00:16:46):

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Liam Smith (00:16:46):

Easy. If you want something good quality, that's going to... Yeah. And then, that's just the upfront costs. Beyond that, you're still looking at monthly... I'm speaking to someone today about this, over email. The hidden costs in software, and never talked about... Especially with software development agencies who just want to take your money, give you a product, and then, maybe, charge you ongoing support costs. Anyway. I provided custom quotes. I think one of them was coming at $15,000 for a fairly basic version. And they're like, "That's way too much. I'm used to spending a few hundred dollars on a subscription fee, for whatever plugins and stuff I use," and all of this. I was like, "Fine. Okay. Cool." Yeah. I got a couple more messages. Maybe, actually, yeah, a subscription product is the right thing here, for these people. They don't feel comfortable spending so much is an upfront thing.


At this point, I just went, "Okay, let's test it." I spoke to someone on Upwork, a copywriter. Again, I was busy with my freelance stuff, so I said, "Look, I've got all these notes from a few conversations I've had. This is what I think they want. Just write me a really simple landing page, nice little headline, a couple of placeholders for images." Got that. I spoke to a designer, who then just gave us a couple of mockups for a generic meal planning app, with a "Your brand here," "Your logo here." And then, got it built in... I think we used Leadpages, or something, gained someone on Upwork. Probably cost about $1,000 for all of that work, and sent it out to people I've spoken to. And my sister, actually, helped me with a Facebook ad campaign. We spent about $400 on Facebook ads, and got about 100 signups in terms of "I'm interested." I was like, "Okay."

Bjork Ostrom (00:18:41):

I just want to pause real quick, right there, because I think one of the things that's great about that part of your story is, you can kind of see there's this interest. You kind of see there's this need. There's something there. There's a mismatch in, initially, coming in and saying, "Here's how much it would cost." But it's not like you, then, threw it out. But you also didn't say, "I'm going to spend 40 hours on this." It's like, "What's the next smallest step that I can take to explore this idea?" It's not exactly the same, but one of the conversations Lindsay and I are having are like, "Should we do a kitchen remodel or not?" It is super expensive. And it's a really hard decision, to do a kitchen remodel or not. But the easiest next step for us was, "Why don't we pay somebody to do some designs, and SketchUp, to see what it might look like, as a next step?" And it's easier to say yes to a small experimentation, versus this really big endeavor.


And it's also testing to see if there's a need. Are people actually interested in this? You're validating the idea, and doing it in a way where you're preserving your main source of income as a freelancer, and using some of that income to pay somebody else to do the thing, so that can continue to move forward, which I just think is worth pointing out for anybody else listening, who's thinking about the different ideas they have. Maybe they're excited about a certain opportunity, but you don't have the time. Find somebody who does have the time, and, if possible, trade dollars for time, and even better if you can do it on a global scale, looking at Upwork, or something like that, just to keep things moving. And I think that's such a huge part of it, is to not let an idea get to the back burner, where it just sits there. How do you keep things moving, even if you don't have enough time for it? And a great way to do that is work with people, whether you find them through family, friends, or a global market, like Upwork.

Liam Smith (00:20:43):

Yeah. Some amazing freelancers on Upwork. Fiverr is another one, if you know what you're looking for. But Upwork, in particular, I like. Yeah. Almost anything you need, and almost any budget as well. And I think, like you said, trying to do the smallest thing. Again, my freelancing stuff was going well. And I was trying to find reasons not to do it, if that makes sense. And everyone's always like, "The problem I have with software was..." I don't know. Anyone starting a business, or thinking about what to do next. It's always starting with an idea. In this case, I started with a problem, which was people getting in touch with me, saying they needed something, they couldn't afford it. How can we solve that? But then, yeah, it was, very much, trying to find reasons for me not to go ahead with it, if that makes sense.

Bjork Ostrom (00:21:33):

Which is a great position to be in. You're not trying to convince yourself to do it. You're trying to convince yourself not to do it, and having a hard time coming up with an answer, which is the flip side of how people often approach business, I think. I have this great idea and people are like, "Oh, you sure about that? Would that make sense?" And they're trying to justify why they should do it, as opposed to you saying, "I don't think I should do this." But people continually coming to you and being like, "Hey, actually, this would be really helpful. Can you help me figure this out?"

Liam Smith (00:22:09):

Yeah. And I will say, I've only learned that from doing the opposite, way too many times.

Bjork Ostrom (00:22:16):

Yeah. Yeah. Right. At some point, you say, "Okay. I'm going to take this from experimentation, $1,000, $2,000, to see if people are interested." You validated it. People have signed up for the list. They've expressed interest, but you also know there's this gap in pricing. But you've identified a problem, and verified that people want a solution to that problem. At that point, did you know what it was? What would you be able to identify that problem as? What was it?

Liam Smith (00:22:49):

At that time, and even now, on our website, it might change by the time this recording comes out, it was, very much, framed as a software problem, like "I need a meal planning app, a recipe planning app, with my brand, that I can launch and use to run my membership on." Now, I'm, much more, think about what we do, as helping food creators to launch and scale memberships by repurposing their existing content. And I suppose, to add to that as well, is without relying solely on ads, I know a lot of people are, maybe, looking at diversification, or it's becoming a more prevalent topic. But at the time, it was, very much, framed as, "Can you build me an app like this?"


And we went through what they think they needed to do. One person I spoke to, actually, had an existing PDF-based membership, which made the process a lot easier. Again, it was mapping the existing process based on a PDF-based membership, understanding what the problems are with that, which are like, "I can't edit servings on a PDF. I don't want that recipe, but I can't figure out, on the shopping list, what I need to take off." And things that just increase churn with the PDF-based membership. How do we make it scalable in the sense that people are going to just serving [inaudible 00:23:59] recipes? That's the minimal viable product we're aiming for.

Bjork Ostrom (00:24:03):

Yeah. If I could recap the timeline, let me know if this feels accurate, you're in this world of software development, you know the world. You also are in this world of personal optimization. You're thinking about, "How do I make it easier for myself to eat well, and to plan my meals?" Those things converge. And you're like, "Wait, I think there's an opportunity for me to build, for myself, a solution around this problem." Which you did within Bubble. You wrote about it, which I think is a really cool thing. You're working in public. And I think, sometimes, we think more people are aware of what we're doing, but usually, they aren't.


You have to talk about it in order to get it in front of people, and for people to be aware of it. You write about it. You start to get some interest, which, I'm guessing, was interesting, not the original intent. But then, you pull at that thread a little bit, and say, "Okay. What can we do here? What's some solution?" In order to test it, you create this very low-risk site, with copy, from the transcripts, from the conversations you've had. Somebody compiles that, puts that together. You test it with some Facebook ads, small run of Facebook ads. Oh, some people are interested. Now, we're at the point of investing a little bit more into the development of this as a potential business idea. Is that right?

Liam Smith (00:25:25):

Yeah. I actually went a step further, and I sent out a link, said, "Look, you can have a first year's membership for $500, all in. And you get to be a early bird customer," I called it, which basically means I would take their inputs to build the first version of the product. I framed it, very much, as you, basically, get a custom-built app for-

Bjork Ostrom (00:25:52):

Right. For 500 bucks.

Liam Smith (00:25:53):

Yeah. I had two customers who signed up, and then gave me money before anything was built, which I was like, "What? Okay. I can't believe you're just giving me money, and there's no actual product, but great." And then, from that point, I was able to, basically, build the product around what they needed. And the customers were slightly different. One was definitely more in the food blogging space and, I guess, what you might call, influencer, in terms of content creator, bigger brand, on social media, et cetera. The other one was more focused on, smaller-scale, health coaching, smaller group of customers. They have an existing practice... Not practice, but client base. And they want to grow. It's two different needs, but where it overlapped was the product. We're able to go, "Right. This is what we need to build."

Bjork Ostrom (00:26:49):

Yeah. They could both... Or a different product, that they're selling, could use the same framework to sell it.

Liam Smith (00:26:59):


Bjork Ostrom (00:26:59):

Yeah. And the reason that I wanted to spend time talking through that is because it's a little bit of inception in that, your process of... Having learned that from doing a lot of product development. And when we say "Product development," we mean a digital product, and developing that to a point where you can sell it, product development, and customer development, which is a... That term can be used in different ways, but customer development, in this context, is, essentially, having conversations with your customers, and understanding what their problem is, creating a solution for that problem, and then selling it, versus being like, "I have the greatest idea ever. I'm going to come up with it."


Sometimes, that works, but it's better to go through the process of figuring out what somebody actually wants, and then building around that. But I think what's so great about your story is, it's a low-risk, like there wasn't a ton of cost with it, way to validate or shape an idea, and then go through the process of seeing if people actually want to purchase that, and doing a little pre-launch to see, are people actually going to spend money on this. For anybody listening, who's thinking about going through the process of doing that, that's a great path to follow, to not spend tens of thousands of dollars developing something that people don't actually want, but still moving forward with the idea. And the interesting thing here is, if your product fits in, within MealPro App... You can do that process using MealPro App. Is that fair to say?

Liam Smith (00:28:36):

Yeah. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom (00:28:38):

I think what would be good, in this next step, is to talk about some of the specifics of what that might look like for somebody who is a food creator. And I say "Creator," because... You could have a blog. But the great thing about this is, it now opens up opportunities for people, outside of traditional advertising. A lot of people think about, "I want to build traffic, and monetize that via ads," which is great, but what does it look like to then create a new source of revenue, if you have a ton of TikTok followers, or Instagram followers? It's harder to go through the process of doing sponsored content. A lot of people do that. You'll work with a brand. But what does it look like to diversify that? And creating product is one of those things that you can do.


What does that look like for the person who is the food creator? And I know that, now, at this point, to complete that story, you've moved out of this stage of experimentation, validation. And you have creators and publishers who have hundreds of people who are signing up to join, maybe thousands. I don't know. They're making substantial income from having an app, from having a membership. You've seen some successes, and some people who have done a really good job with this. Let's talk about that, for anybody listening. What does that process look like, if somebody's interested in getting started? And I know you've outlined some tips for people to go through.

Liam Smith (00:30:01):

Yeah. Absolutely. We have a masterclass recording, actually, with Taylor Stinson, from the The Girl on Bloor, on our website. If anyone is interested in learning more, I would recommend going and checking that out. I guess we have a to link to it, whatever. To summarize the process, I think, very much, similar to what we've talked about, but we've talked from a food creator's point of view. I suppose the first thing I would always ask is, I suppose, "What do you already have? What assets do you already have? And usually, it's, "I've got X amount of page views per month. I've got an email list of however many thousand. I've got, maybe, a social media following." Whatever it is. And it's not necessary to say that you need 500,000 followers on Instagram. You don't need an email list of 200,000 people. You don't need hundreds and hundreds of thousands of page views a month to be successful. And I suppose, it all depends on what you judge success. We can talk about some specific numbers based on the limited data we do have, if that's useful. But I think, like you said, the first part of the process is just understanding your customers and...


Might be your readers, your email subscribers, your followers, whatever you call them. Your audience. Understanding them in, perhaps, a new way. It's not just keyword research to understand what people are going to be looking for in terms of recipe content. Maybe you already do this, a little bit, if you have a Facebook group, or people respond to your emails, but getting to understand why they come to your blog. Yeah. They want to cook a particular recipe, of course they do, but why do they keep coming back to you? Why do they sign up to your newsletter? Even not thinking about yourself so much. What is it? What process do they go through, day to day, week to week, that, for want of a better word, are painful? What you're looking for, really, is the the painful points in their week. And often, that [inaudible 00:32:04] comes back to, maybe, meal planning, thinking, before you go to, shopping, the supermarket. I was going to say, "The grocery store," but that's very American to me, isn't it?

Bjork Ostrom (00:32:13):

Yeah. Slightly.

Liam Smith (00:32:14):

I've started to speak an American [inaudible 00:32:17].

Bjork Ostrom (00:32:17):

If we talk long enough, you'll have a Minnesota accent. Not just sound American, but you'll sound very Midwestern.

Liam Smith (00:32:23):

I have. Yeah. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom (00:32:27):

This is a real quick aside. When I was a kid, we did a soccer, football... Pick your word, but did a soccer camp. And all the coaches came in from the UK. And by the end, all of the kids had these unique accents that they had picked up from the coach. They so wanted to be like these coaches that they all adapted their respective... Whoever their coach was, and their accent. Maybe the reverse would be the same for you. You'll end up sounding like you're from the movie Fargo.

Liam Smith (00:33:00):

Yeah. I think so. Yeah. What were you saying?

Bjork Ostrom (00:33:05):

Grocery store. Talking about pain points. The idea is, what you're trying to do, you're not just trying to repackage something and sell it. And this would be an interesting tactical question. How do you do that through conversations, whether that be... You can talk about it, but what you're trying to do is identify, either, the thing that you currently do, that people are like, "Oh my gosh, this is so helpful, that you do this," or the thing that somebody currently does, that is a pain point in their week, in their day, in their routine, or something they wish existed that doesn't exist. You're trying to uncover that. You're mining for it. And that, correct me if I'm wrong, is the process of product development, or customer development, to really say, "What's at the core here? And what can we do to fix that?" Is that right?

Liam Smith (00:34:01):

Yeah. And you could go a step further and call it problem development. I maintain a list. And I'll come back to some actionable points in terms of how to, maybe, start this process. And we can talk to the whole process in a second. But I maintain a list for MealPro App. I call it "99 problems." And I try to just make a note when I hear something that's quite emotive, or reoccurs a lot. And I'll just make a note, like, "This is a really common problem." And it might not be specific. It might not be something we can solve. Because I can't solve everything. But it's just really interesting, just to get a picture of it. And some of the ways that I've seen people do it successfully, and some of the ways I always recommend when people ask, if you already have an engaged community, or social following, or whatever it is, some way of interacting with people, and you're already doing it, you might already have a good understanding of...


People keep asking me for meal plans, or for a particular type of recipe, or maybe more gluten-free options, or whatever it is. You might already have a sense of that. Maybe just diving further in, and just looking over conversations that have happened, seeing what's going on in your Facebook group. If you don't have that, or maybe it's not giving you too much information, then you can always try things like surveys, which could be... Thinking about something new, would like to just get a bit more insight into how you cook on a weekly basis, or "What's the one thing you'd like to see more of, from us?" And just some generic... "What do you like about it? What keeps you coming back? What else might you need help with?" I can probably come with some better questions, not off the top of my head.

Bjork Ostrom (00:35:41):

But the basic idea is, you probably, for people who have been producing content for a long time, have had an audience for a decent amount of time. You probably have some level of intuition around what their problems are. It's more of the intentional process of reflecting on those, and maybe even building a system, or a process. For you, you have this sheet, where you're keeping track of those things, being intentional with that. Or if you're earlier on, what you want to do is, maybe, more intentional outreach. And that could happen through email, like you said, surveys. It could also be like... You go back and hang out with friends, and you're like, "Hey, I'm thinking about doing this thing. What's the worst part, for you, about the process?" Like meal plans, in this case. "I'm thinking about doing a meal plan thing. What's the worst part of the process for you?" But essentially, you're starting to shape and understand a problem that certain people have, in a certain niche.

Liam Smith (00:36:35):

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think, at some point, maybe... Like you said, you've already got a good inclination. You already have a lot of conversations to leverage. ConvertKit, or any email provider, have templates for "Coming soon" pages, takes all of about five minutes to set one up. Just knock one of them up. If you need help writing the copy, just go and... Open AI.

Bjork Ostrom (00:37:01):


Liam Smith (00:37:03):

Put some stuff in ChatGPT. Yeah. Just put something out there, and just say, "Look, I'm thinking about launching this new thing." It could be a membership. It could be a course. It could be whatever it is. "What do you think?" When people sign up, that then gives you an opportunity to then go back to those people and say, "Let's get on a call." Or "Here's a few more questions for you." And that's when you can really dig. And actually, for a lot of people, that's probably the starting point, I would say.

Bjork Ostrom (00:37:28):

Mm-hmm. And it's an interesting, even, initial validation step. Because if people are like, "I don't want to get on a call," the problem, probably, isn't big enough to justify the time and energy that goes into creating a solution for it. But it's talking through these tips, or steps, talking about five different steps. The first one, warming the problem. It's more important than the solution, in some ways. It's a really clear understanding of the problem. And then, the step number two would be creating some way to, more officially, capture the audience that has that problem. And that's when you're starting to, maybe, shape what the solution might be. And all of this, I think, is worth mentioning. What you've built, as a platform, is the thing that helps facilitate this for people. But what's important is the platform plus what you put into it. The process of working with MealPro App, that, as a variable, is going to be much more impactful if the offering that you've developed is compelling, and helps solve a certain problem.


To paint the picture of what we're doing here, is we're talking about the best case scenario. And you've probably seen this with people you've worked with, and creators you've worked with, who have a really well-crafted problem solution. They're going to have much more success within the platform, not only from initial signups, but also getting people to stick around. The first step is forming the problem through conversations, interactions with creators, could be DMs in Instagram, conversations with family and friends. Step two, you do that very initial step into it. You create a landing page. You put some copy on it. You see if people sign up. You get some initial traction around it. Once you do that, what's step three? You've put up this page. You are able to interact with people within the context of the problem. What does the next step look like?

Liam Smith (00:39:39):

Yeah. I will say, as well, step two, I've seen quite a few people just do an email, and worked successfully. Someone sent one out and said, "I've just had 34 people say, they're in. And then, they just get started with us." Working with MealPro App, in terms of a membership, I suppose, the next step, really, if you've got some interest... It depends on how far you want to go with it. Like we did, you can just create a little Stripe link, or something, or PayPal link, and say, "Look. Early bird offer. Sign up now. We haven't built it yet, but you can get a year of subscription for 50% discount." Or whatever it is. You can do that. It's not necessary. The next stage is, really, to build something, and to run it. You can run it as a beta. Just start running it, and learn from experience. Because the first version of anything, I think, pretty much, anyone builds, is never perfect.

Bjork Ostrom (00:40:42):


Liam Smith (00:40:42):

I'm sure you can attest to, we can certainly attest to. With MealPro App, if the solution you're looking... Let's say the problem you're looking to solve is... You've got PDF-based membership. And people are really frustrated that they can't adjust the servings, or maybe you're solving for, say, the ad-free. People really like your recipes, but they want to be able to search your site more intuitively, or they don't want to be bombarded with ads when they're looking through recipes, when they're cooking, et cetera. And you decide, maybe, a membership service is the right one for you, the right solution for you. In terms of getting started with MealPro App, it's, very much, a case of repurposing content. For example, you can impart recipes using a link.


If you use WP Recipe Maker, you can do bulk imports, seems to be the most widely used plugin, from what I can tell, but I don't know if that's accurate. It's really bringing in recipe content. I suppose what we've tried to do for people is to make... The process of launching a membership, in terms of the software, having all the meal planning functionality, adjustable servings, automatic grocery lists, searchable recipe catalogs. Everything is entirely brandable, so it's your brand. You're not uploading your recipes to another platform, another person's platform. There are some good solutions out there, that reward people in different ways, but that's not us.


Maybe, give it a few weeks, typically, to get that process up and running. And then, all the while, you can be teeing up, working with your early bird customers, whoever's said they're interested, to draw up interest, add them to a private Facebook group, if you don't already have one, for example, just some ideas, and then get them invited, get them in. You can run it as a pilot, if you want. It's a way to do it. And then, run it for one month, two months, get some initial feedback based on what recipes they like, categories, things like that, what they want in the meal plans, what they don't want in the meal plans, and just iterate from there. I think it's, typically, the process.

Bjork Ostrom (00:42:52):

Yeah. It's interesting, how each one is a building block. You start with shaping the problem. Really, in this case, it's shaping what type of content you'll focus on. If you know you're going to be delivering recipes and meal plans within the context of an app, like MealPro App, it's like, what types of meal plans are you offering? Is it like busy families who have kids, and you want meals that everybody can make in under 30 minutes? You provided those, in your world, what those filters were, for the VA that you were working with, to go... And essentially, what you're trying to do is that at scale, and say, "What am I going to do for the people that I'm creating this product for?" You understand the problem. You go into this testing phase, which is step two. You launch the page three.


We didn't really spend a lot of time on this, but the idea of promoting it, putting it in front of people, seeing their initial interest in it. Four, and this is all in the pre-stage, maybe doing a beta signup. We've done that with a lot of the things that we've built through the years. It's like, for the really early people, you give them a discount, knowing that they're going to be able to shape the product. But also, it's going to validate, on your end, that they actually need the product. And then, five goes into, actually, crafting the product, and starting the process of selling it. And at that point, you'll have income. There'll be money that will be coming in. And it's iterating and evolving.


You're not going to get it perfect right away, but it's iterating and evolving. And it's almost like going back to that customer development stage, where you start to get feedback and insight from people. And I think what a lot of people will have questions about is, what does that actually look like once you get it into the stage where you're bringing recipes in, and you're starting the process of importing those? And what you're saying is, you can manually bring recipes over. If you use WP Recipe Maker, you can import those over. And at that point, you're within the platform, MealPro App, and you're shaping and adjusting all of the different parameters around what your meal plan offering would be. Is that right?

Liam Smith (00:45:02):

Yeah. Exactly. We've built a platform. And it's still building a platform. We've got lots of ideas in terms of how we can shape it to make it more flexible. It's very customizable in the sense... Like I said, branding is a given, so it's entirely your branding, which is what white label means on our website at the moment. But then, in terms of shaping the recipe categories, the tags, the meal plan layouts, there's different settings for, say, the homepage layouts, and things like that. We've tried to make it simple enough and rigid enough. That means you can actually get started realistically, and start earning money from it. I think Taylor, in the case study that we've got online, did it in about six weeks, from zero to $2,000 of recurring revenue in about six weeks.

Bjork Ostrom (00:45:51):

You had mentioned that before, her site's The Girl on Bloor.

Liam Smith (00:45:54):


Bjork Ostrom (00:45:57):

You said she has a masterclass, talks about the process for it. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Liam Smith (00:46:01):

Yeah. I call it a masterclass. I didn't know what else to call it, but it's very much a conversation like this. But it's Taylor explaining her process from... "I want to do this thing." Trying to monetize. I suppose a lot of creators experienced issues with Instagram, maybe didn't adopt video as quickly as they could have, so their engagement tanked. Stopped getting traffic from that. There's also issues in the past, with Pinterest, and Facebook and things as well.

Bjork Ostrom (00:46:28):

Yeah. Algorithms change things. Yep.

Liam Smith (00:46:30):

Yeah. And there's just various things, just like... Right, we need to get something going, that doesn't make me wholly reliant on this. These are the... Other people's platforms for traffic, and also ad revenue, because, especially now, there's a lot of uncertainty. Taylor did some of the surveying stuff. She's speaking to people. And then, she found out about us. And then, the process, from finding out about us, was having the first conversation, getting her stuff set up, and launching, was about six weeks, I think she said. Yeah. It's about 45 minutes. Much more in depth. And Taylor talks, in more detail, obviously, about all of those steps.

Bjork Ostrom (00:47:06):

And if people want to check that out, how can they... Is that on MealPro App, sites?

Liam Smith (00:47:12):

Yeah., and then just a link to masterclass in the navigation. Yeah. That's free. Just put your email in. It'll send you the link to the recording.

Bjork Ostrom (00:47:21):

Yep. And the H1 header on that is zero to 2,000 a month, in six weeks, with a meal planning membership program, which is such a great, deliverable number tag. And I think that's what a lot of people are interested in. How much time will it take? What's the potential upside on that? And a lot of that is dependent on what your numbers are, what your following looks like. Can you talk a little bit about that? You had alluded to that earlier. I know it's really hard to say. And a lot of it depends on how compelling is the offering that you develop to then put in front of your audience. Talk about how it works, from a monetization perspective. People understand ads. Okay. "If I get 1,000 page views on my site, I can earn anywhere from $15 to $35," or whatever the number is. What does the world of numbers and metrics look like in the world of membership, or subscription like this?

Liam Smith (00:48:20):

In terms of monetization, like you said, memberships, typically, done on a monthly, quarterly, and annual, recurring basis, is typically the price plans people go for. And I find people will often charge, anywhere, some sort of $5 to $20 a month, and then maybe annual discounts, maybe two months free, sort of thing.

Bjork Ostrom (00:48:44):

If you upgrade to annual, it's less per month, but you're paying in one single payment.

Liam Smith (00:48:49):

Yeah. It's typically what we see. Yeah. But I know, I'm speaking to, one or two customers are looking at charging a little bit more than that. And again, this comes back to the offer, and what you include in that. Someone who's doing a slightly more hands-off membership, you get recipes, you get meal plans, maybe, I suppose... What hands-off membership might look like is recipes being published each week. It could be new recipes, it could be existing recipes you're already publishing on your blog. You could have some premium recipes that are only available for paying members, and then, maybe, a meal plan published once a week, often on a Thursday, because it seems to be a good time to do it ahead of people, then going into the grocery store at the weekend. Maybe sending out an email to say, "New meal plan published." Then, on the other end of the scale, we'll get people who, maybe, are not quite in the coaching world, but getting a little bit more toward that, like more hands-on advice-

Bjork Ostrom (00:49:47):

Higher touch. Yeah.

Liam Smith (00:49:48):

Yeah. Exactly. Maybe you're doing live Q&As. Maybe you're providing video walkthroughs of your meal plans, or recipes, or whatever it is, each week. Maybe you've got a more interactive community, and you're checking in a lot more. And then, you've got everything in between. Again, I'm saying, people are starting to look at, maybe, even pricing higher, and that's when you start thinking about, "Okay. At the moment, our software, [inaudible 00:50:13], is for searchable recipe catalogs without ads, meal plans, customized meal plans, and grocery lists." And all of that stuff baked in. But then, adding into that, other sorts of content that will solve a problem, based around... Maybe educational content, online courses, and things like that. A lot of people use, maybe, the Teachables, or Kajabis. Some of our customers still use Teachables and Kajabis. Some people switch from those software products. Again, this is something I'm looking for feedback on. Again, if anyone does have feedback, please drop stuff into the forum. I've just signed up today.

Bjork Ostrom (00:50:50):

About your pro member? All right. Great.

Liam Smith (00:50:51):

Exactly. But I feel like, with the Kajabis and things, maybe they will, but I'd be very surprised if they ever go into the recipe, and content, and then food space. The content that's uploaded into those platforms is just static, basic content. And that becomes a problem for people as their memberships grow. And people get frustrated, and churn, because they can't do anything with it. In terms of monetization, yeah, there's stuff you can do through our platform now, but also, then, adding on other educational... If you are, say, helping people in the vegan, or plant-based niche, what does the first 60 days look like, or 30 days look like? That is a difficult process for people. Baking that in, as part of the membership, that helps people get onboarded.

Bjork Ostrom (00:51:37):

Your point is like, if you're new to being a vegan... If you're almost vegan, and you want to be full vegan-

Liam Smith (00:51:42):

Yeah. Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom (00:51:46):

Maybe part of what the membership is, it's like higher touch, then you charge more for it. Maybe it's calls that you're doing. If it's like homesteading, and you're doing gardening, maybe you do a Zoom call, and they show you your garden, and you give feedback on it. Anything like that is higher touch. Point being, from a monetization standpoint, you're picking... Is this really basic, and it's not super involved, and maybe the problem isn't super compelling, so it's going to be a little bit lower, or is it a really compelling problem that you have a really good solution for? It's, maybe, a little bit higher touch. You can scale that up and say, "It's $50 a month, $100 a month." There's a lot of variables to consider in the pricing, but what's great is, you can start to play the numbers game in a really unique way. I talk about Kevin Kelly a decent amount. He has this post called 1000 True Fans. This is a great application of that idea, of 1,000 true fans.


And if you can figure out how you can create something in the world, that is a solution, or 1,000 people... There's, what, 8 billion people in the world. And if you can find 1,000 people and create a compelling product for them, that's going to be a solution, that's going to make their life better, and they pay for it, you can, very quickly, play the numbers game. And you don't get there quickly, necessarily, especially if you're starting from scratch, but you can quickly start to see how the numbers game can play out. If you have 1,000 people paying $10, or if you have 500 people paying $20, you're replacing your income. That's what's so great about a product, and a membership, and a subscription business. What does it look like on the cost side of it? And I know that you're still formulating what this looks like. But generally speaking, how much does that cost? You talked about 15,000, 30,000, to create a custom app, but what you've done is solve for that by building a customizable app that people can then sign up for. If somebody's interested in this, what can they expect, from an investment standpoint, getting into it?

Liam Smith (00:53:54):

Yeah. Exactly. I think, like you said, custom software, you can spend anything on it. You can spend as much as you want on it, but it's often not just the financial overhead. I've spoken with one or two fairly high profile food creators, I suppose, who have their own apps, or have their own memberships. I've heard their name mentioned on the community a fair bit. Certainly, after we launched, these people got in touch and said, "Yeah, I wish you were around a year ago."

Bjork Ostrom (00:54:28):

I didn't have to have software that I was managing, my guess is...

Liam Smith (00:54:31):


Bjork Ostrom (00:54:31):

That's what it is. Yeah.

Liam Smith (00:54:32):

And it wasn't the financial cost. It is the fact that they don't want to be managing software. But I find it stressful enough, and I do it. I've been doing it for over a decade. That is a big part of the cost. And the upfront cost, in terms of building it, is one thing, but ongoing. If you don't keep improving and maintaining it after a year or two, it becomes out of date. And again, we're speaking with another big membership at the moment, who has their own app. And they're looking to switch away from having their own solution, even though they've already built it. Because they just don't want to maintain it anymore. But in terms of setup costs... I suppose you mentioned something earlier about people starting from scratch. Most people listening to this probably already have some sort of audience, whether that's an email list, people come to their website, social following, whatever it is, and a decent amount of content, like at least a couple of hundred recipes, most likely. Some people have 2,000 recipes, but you certainly don't need that many.


In terms of that side of the cost, and the content, and the people that are, potentially, interested in this, that is there. I think, then, the additional piece that we're trying to solve for, and helping to solve for, is, like you said, the software part of it. Yes. You don't need to go down the custom development route. You don't need to spend $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50,000, whatever it is. You obviously can, but you don't have to. From our point of view, yeah, it's... We charge a monthly subscription fee, so people don't have to have a big outlay. Pricing is on the website at the moment. We are changing it at the moment, so it is going up slightly, but it's still, I think, a fair reflection in terms of what it provides. And there is a small fee per subscriber as well. There's a base subscription price. And then, there is a per active subscriber fee. You only pay more as you earn more. Hopefully, [inaudible 00:56:40]-

Bjork Ostrom (00:56:39):

The basic idea being like a base... Hundreds of dollars, call it, TBD in terms of what plan you're on, and to what scale. You could sign up. My guess is, it covers your cost of getting somebody up and running. And you probably lose money in the initial stages of getting somebody up and running, but the bed is, over time, it's going to pay off, hundreds of dollars planning on the plan. And then, every time somebody gets a new subscriber, a very small percentage of that... The percentage range depends on what the pricing point is.


If you have a super high price point, it's going to be a smaller percentage. But essentially, it's per subscriber, so it scales up. But the idea is, it is low risk, getting into it, because you're going to be paying this monthly thing. And it only scales then, as you bring more people on, which makes sense on your end, because, then, as there's more people, you're accommodating, making sure that you're giving them the attention. You have your own internal customer service. Not for their plans, but you have customer service to make sure bugs are fixed, and all of that stuff. Best place to see that would be

Liam Smith (00:57:49):

Yes. Yeah. There's a pricing page on there. Pricing, pretty much everyone listening to this, has probably faced at some point. If you've ever tried to sell, even, an ebook, pricing is the hardest thing to get right, isn't it?

Bjork Ostrom (00:58:05):

Totally. Yeah.

Liam Smith (00:58:05):

It's a continuing evolution. But the reason we landed on the per subscriber fee is that... We've only introduced that very recently, but already, you've started to have conversations with customers, which is about growth. Our team's mindset is, now, not just on "How can we build a software product that people will pay for per month?" But it's also "How can we help people grow their memberships?" I think a lot of it is just trying to align incentives, so everyone benefits when it grows. Yeah. It's still quite new, but, yeah, it seems to be working quite well.

Bjork Ostrom (00:58:42):

Still quite new, but also, you have a handful of people. The example that we talked about was The Girl on Bloor, and having 2,000 a month, in revenue. You have some stories like that. And my guess is a lot that are above that as well. Do you have any information that you can share, generally speaking, numbers that you could provide, that help provide some context? I know it's impossible to share specifics.

Liam Smith (00:59:10):

I've tried as best as I can, so this is-

Bjork Ostrom (00:59:13):

Sure. Because I think it would just be interesting. Yeah.

Liam Smith (00:59:14):

... super rough. Personally, I think the best indicator is, maybe, email subscribers. And not just subscribers, but things like engagement will often be a better... I'm going to use Instagram followers because it's easy to get that data. How much can you "Earn?" If you are anywhere between... I don't know. Not 200,000 Instagram followers. When I say Instagram, it could be another platform. Maybe you have a bit of a Facebook group. Maybe you have a YouTube channel, whatever it is. Yeah. You should be looking anywhere between 100 to 1,000 members, I would say. And you could even say... Up to 50,000 followers, I would say, be looking up to anywhere between 100 and 500 members, in your membership, to start. Anyway. If you've got 100,000, maybe looking somewhere up to 1,000 members. And that's a very broad range. And that's intentional. Because, again, it comes back to how we're helping people and how [inaudible 01:00:17].

Bjork Ostrom (01:00:18):

Yeah. What your product is, and also what type of content you produce.

Liam Smith (01:00:20):

Exactly. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom (01:00:22):

Yeah. How broad is your content? If you have really broad content that's not specifically solving a problem, it's going to be harder to sell. If your brand is all around how to become vegan, then... "Oh, that's really specific." And those people are coming to you for a really specific reason. An example we've used in the past, we're not in this season, but you're coming up to this season, it's... Oh, what is her name? She does content around how to get your baby to sleep. It's super compelling. She's really good at it, and has products that she sells around it. And it's a really specific pain point. That's a scenario where all of that stuff matches up really well. Because it's specific. It's helpful. It's a compelling problem. People need a solution for it, and they're willing to pay for it. The closer you're to that, my guess is, what you're saying is, the higher conversion will be on your audience, because the need is stronger.

Liam Smith (01:01:24):

Exactly. Yeah. In that range, I think Taylor's a good example. Let's say you get to 500 members at, say, I don't know, for ease of maths, $5 a month, that's two and a half thousand dollars additional recurring revenue, which should be achievable, I think, for most experienced food bloggers. It can go up. We have one customer in particular, I can think of, that has about 100,000 just over Instagram followers, but has a membership of over 1,000 people. But again, super dialed in, in terms of what they do. Yeah. I think then, if you're looking anywhere in the 100,000 to 500,000 followers... I know these are super broad ranges. I can try and get a bit more specific, if it helps. Again, anything from 500 members, looking up to, typically, maybe, around 2,000 members.


Again, ranges, talking, two and a half thousand dollars, up to, depending on what you charge, closer to $20,000, which... Again, we have customers at both ends of that spectrum, depending on what they're doing. And then, 500,000 plus, really, you should be, minimum, looking at, I would say, 1,000 members, but we have people much higher than that in terms of the number of members they have, and in terms of how much they charge, and they're making. I think we have people who are making $20,000 plus a month, and probably one customer who's making quite a bit more as well. But obviously, that's not going to be everyone. And some people have really big audiences on certain social platforms, or whatever it is, and that does help.


What I find most interesting is the people with around 100,000 followers on Instagram, and again, maybe, an email list that be at least half of that, perhaps, who are coming in straightaway, 500 members, then growing it to 1,000 members. And I'm really interested in how they're just focusing in on not doing too much, but helping people with a specific problem, creating some really good recipes that solve their problem. They're promoting it regularly. And they're converting people. And they're keeping people in terms of people engaged. And maybe there's a small community, Facebook community. They don't even have to be in it. Sometimes, they have assistants to help with that stuff. I don't know if that's useful for people, or if it's more [inaudible 01:03:41]-

Bjork Ostrom (01:03:41):

It is useful. Yeah. You can wrap a disclaimer around it, in that it depends on, essentially, everything. But I think what's helpful is that those are actual numbers that you're seeing. And I think that's what's interesting for people to hear. It's like, "What's actually happening?" You could have a meme account of a million followers. That's not going to convert very well on anything, because there's not a lot of connection. It's not you as an individual. Or, like we said, it could be the opposite side of it, but it almost provides a little bit of, "Hey, what could be possible if some of those variables did align?" And a little bit of a stretch goal of, "Hey, if I'm looking at the engaged platforms, Instagram, email, YouTube, what would a 1% conversion on that look like?" You have 100,000 people, a stretch goal, if you have a really compelling product, a really engaged audience, 1% of that. You could, maybe, have 1,000 people, of that 100,000, who become paying subscribers. And I think in general, that's a good number. And I've also heard it talked about where you can take, then...


Of those thousand people, there's probably 1% to 10% of those people who would be interested in a tier above that. Maybe you have a conference, and you get together in person. That's when you can really start to think strategically, beyond just selling your content as the thing. For a lot of us, what we're doing is, we're just selling our content. It's like, selling it against ads, selling it against sponsored relationships. But what does it look like to, actually, sell a product? And your content is the top-of-funnel thing that brings people in. And then, you have something underneath that, that you sell. And it allows you to change how you treat your business, which I'm guessing a lot of people will be interested in doing. My last question for you, Liam, as we wrap up is, if people are interested in connecting with you, hearing more about how they can take the next step, what does that look like? And what's the best way to connect with you and your team?

Liam Smith (01:05:39):

Yeah. They can go on there. You can go on there. Like you said, you can go on the masterclass link, and you can download that. And you can watch that. And we have some other content on the blog, which talks about some of the steps in the process processes we talked about. Yeah. But if you want to get in touch, yeah, just send us a message on the contact form, or reply to the email that comes through when we send you the link. Either is fine. You can also try the product for free, for 14 days, on the website. Yeah. Just go through the steps. You can have a look at it. I think there's a demo video. It needs updating, but that's included in there. But also, like I said, I've just signed up in the Food Blogger Pro community as well.

Bjork Ostrom (01:06:19):

All right. You're around.

Liam Smith (01:06:20):

Yeah. Yeah. I'll be lurking. Yeah. If there's any questions, happy to start a thread or something. I know there's a few names in there already, I recognize. Yeah. We can do that.

Bjork Ostrom (01:06:32):

Awesome. Liam, thanks so much for coming on and sharing your story. We'll have to have you back again. There's so many angles that we haven't talked about on the podcast, even, like retention. We could do another hour-long conversation on, once somebody's in, how do you get them to stick around? We'll have to have another conversation down the line here.

Liam Smith (01:06:49):

Yeah. Mobile apps as well. We've not talked about mobile. It's a whole conversation.

Bjork Ostrom (01:06:53):

And on and on. But thanks for coming on. Thanks for sharing your story. And thanks for creating such a great product for folks.

Liam Smith (01:07:00):

Thank you.

Alexa Peduzzi (01:07:10):

Hi. Hi. Alexa here, from the Food Blogger Pro team. We hope you enjoyed this episode of the podcast. And if you want to go even deeper into learning how to monetize, grow your food blog, your food business, we highly suggest you check out our Food Blogger Pro membership at It's there, that we share all of our course content about monetizing, photography, video, and everything that food creators need to know in order to move the needle on their business. We also hold live Q&As every single month, as well as study halls, where we get a chance to break into small breakout groups, and connect with each other in a really intentional way, talking about specific topics, like creating recipes, keyword research and more. It is just one of the most positive places on the internet, in my opinion. And we have a ton of testimonials from some of our members. We've helped over 10,000 bloggers do what they want to do better. And that just feels so good.


This testimonial from Tammy, from Organize Yourself Skinny, says, "This month, after 12 years working full-time in higher education, I resigned from my position to become a full-time professional blogger. This was a decision I did not take lightly, but in the last seven months, I made more money blogging than I made in my real job. And I decided it was time to take the leap. I strongly believe that because of the knowledge you share within your income reports, and also on Food Blogger Pro, that I was able to take my blog to a professional level. I have been, and continue to be inspired, motivated, and educated by the information you, so selflessly and graciously, share with all of us."


Thanks for that awesome testimonial, Tammy. And we just so appreciate learning about your journeys, and being able to just be a small part in helping you get to where you want to go. If you're interested in becoming a Food Blogger Pro member, and getting access to all of the content we currently have for our members, which is a lot, you can go to to learn a little bit more, and get signed up there if you're interested. But otherwise, we'll see you here, next week, on the podcast. And until then, make it a great week.