This Part-Time Teacher Used Time Blocking to Grow a Six-Figure Blog

This Part-Time Teacher Used Time Blocking to Grow a Six-Figure Blog

Blogging is a long-term business that often takes years to develop. Casey Rooney’s food blog, Get On My Plate, is less than three years old, and already generates a healthy six-figure annual profit. And what makes her accomplishments even more impressive is that she works part-time as a teacher while also maintaining a busy household.

In this interview, Casey shares some excellent tips related to time management (or should we say “priority management?”) and the specific approach she uses to get the most out of her limited time. It’s a very practical technique you can implement right away. She also emphasizes the importance of consistency, which is a huge key for blogging success.

Key Takeaways

💪🏼 Casey grew her blog while working part-time and managing a busy family life.
🚀 Get On My Plate grew to a six-figure income in just a few years and now reaches hundreds of thousands of readers each month.
⏰ Casey explains how she uses time blocking to maximize productivity.
💸 She has diversified revenue streams, including ads, affiliate programs, digital products, and coaching.

Overview

Business Name: Get On My Plate
Website URL: https://getonmyplate.com/
Founder: Casey Rooney
Business Location: Online (USA)
Year Started: 2021
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 4

How much revenue and profit does the business generate?

In 2023, it generated $163,000 revenue and $120,000 profit.

Tell us about yourself and your business.

I’m a wife (married for 20 years), mom of 3 (6th grade, 9th grade, and college), part-time teacher/reading specialist, food blogger, and online coach/content creator – I wear many hats! 

Get On My Plate is the bread and butter of my business and is a comfort food blog targeted at busy families who need easy and delicious meals that aren’t complicated. I started my blog during COVID like so many other food bloggers! I started mostly to have a creative outlet and something to call my own. I love to write and cook, and although I knew people could make money blogging, I never understood the magnitude of it or that it could actually become a career. 

Get On My Plate Website

For the first year and a half, I was totally a one-woman show running Get On My Plate. To this day, it’s still MOSTLY just me, but I have hired a small team of freelancers to help with photography, writing, Pinterest, and a virtual assistant to help me with day-to-day tasks. 

In 2023, to begin to diversify my income, I began coaching other food bloggers 1:1. I also created a course that outlines my exact strategy for success as a food blogger. I’ve started another blog geared towards bloggers, content creators, and work-at-home entrepreneurs called The Blogging Lifestyle

What started with a simple food blog has turned into a multi-faceted business that I never expected!

How does Get On My Plate make money?

My main source of income for the past two years has been online ads through Mediavine. However, when I first started, I also did a little brand work and sponsored posts, as well as earned a little money from Amazon affiliates. 

Today, my main source of income is still ads, but it’s a bit more diversified. Now I earn money through:

  • 1:1 blog coaching
  • A blogging course
  • Digital products (meal plan)
  • Affiliate income  (courses and products I love + Amazon affiliates)
Smart Strategies for Bloggers Cover

What was your inspiration for starting Get On My Plate?

Back in the day, when the blogging platform Blogger.com was popular, I used to share recipes with friends and family and always got such great feedback. Everyone was always so appreciative when I shared delicious yet quick and easy recipes. At that point, it was solely just for fun and I had absolutely no clue blogging was “a thing!” I LOVED sharing these recipes, but once I had my three kids, life got busy, so I stopped.

Then COVID hit, and life slowed down for me a bit for the first time in many years! I started Get On My Plate during COVID, like so many other food bloggers. I started mostly to have a creative outlet and to something to call my own, and to rekindle that passion for sharing recipes!  

How and when did you launch the business?

I launched Get On My Plate on January 1, 2021 after buying a WordPress theme from a Black Friday sale on a whim in November of 2020! I think I “launched” with about six published posts (all recipes) and was totally clueless about SEO or how to optimize posts! I just posted whatever I wanted, just like I did back in my Blogger.com days! I don’t think I truly treated it as a business for 3-4 months until I learned what SEO was.

How much money did you invest to start the business?

The great thing about blogging is the extremely low overhead and start-up costs. I spent about $50 on my WordPress theme, another $20/month on hosting, and about $20 to buy my domain name. 

My expenses obviously increased as the year went on – I invested in courses, a new camera, and some keyword research tools. The key was limiting frivolous expenses while still making smart, wise choices and investing in the business. This still continues to be my strategy today. 

Casey and a friend
Photo courtesy of Casey Rooney

How did you find your first few clients or customers?

My blog coaching clients and customers who purchased my course were all from my small but mighty email list. I started this “blogging” email list when I was accepted to the ad agency, Mediavine and documented how I got to that point on my blog.

People were super interested and had so many questions, so I started writing my weekly emails answering the questions they were asking. I spent lots of time emailing back and forth with people and truly trying to be helpful. 

I never had any intention of “selling” anything to them! However, after a year or so, people started asking me if I was going to create a course…so I did! This relationship that I had cultivated with my small group of subscribers paid off in dividends when I launched my course late last year (December 2023). 

What was your first year in business like?

Once I started treating my business like a business (about 3-4 months in), I worked my butt off during my first year of blogging to be able to make the minimum requirements for Mediavine (50,000 sessions). 

I would wake up at 5 am on weekends to cook, write, or photograph recipes. My days off from my day job (teaching) were spent doing the same. I was churning out 2-3 blog posts per week for well over a year…which is A LOT when you do everything yourself!

The first year was exciting, and I LOVED what I was doing! That being said, at around the 16-month mark, I was heading toward the burnout stage, which is when I decided to slow down a bit and get some help.

What strategies did you use to grow the business?

The main strategy I used was consistency, consistency, consistency!  Between my family and my “day” job, my time was so limited.  I knew I needed to focus on activities that would move my blog forward–and those were:

  • Photographing and writing recipes (content creation)
  • Pinterest
  • Google web stories

I had (and still have!) a weekly workflow where I put in blocks of time to accomplish all these things. Then I just repeated that workflow week after week! I stuck with the exact same workflow for over a year and a half! 

I also went outside my comfort zone to get brand recognition. I went on the Eat, Blog, Talk podcast and also did two cooking segments on local morning TV. Both of those things were so far outside my comfort zone but opened up many opportunities I would never have had otherwise. 

Photo courtesy of Casey Rooney

Tell us about your team.

I currently have four freelancers who help me do various blogging tasks. I have been lucky enough to find really excellent freelancers!

  • Pinterest Manager
  • Writer: She doesn’t write all of my posts, but some.
  • Photographer: I didn’t LOVE photography enough to keep doing it, so I handed that off at about the 2 ½ year mark!
  • Virtual Assistant: She handles various day-to-day administrative tasks.

What are your future plans for the business?

Right now is a very interesting, fun time in my business and the blogging/content creation world in general. With third-party cookies going away as we speak, it has forced me to think of new ways to diversify my income. 

Two things I am focusing on: 

  • Leaning into email. I am really working to grow my list for both Get On My Plate and The Blogging Lifestyle. I am trying different things, and right now it’s just experimenting with what works and what my audience responds to.
  • Diversify traffic sources: Traffic for Get On My Plate has been almost solely organic traffic from Google…with a little Pinterest mixed in. My goal is to move toward a more balanced approach where I get traffic from both Google and Pinterest…and my email list!

How much traffic does your website receive, and what are your primary sources?

Get On My Plate receives between 350-500k page views per month (depending on the month!). In 2023, 75% of my traffic came from Google and 13% from Pinterest. The rest is from email or direct traffic. 

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned growing the business?

The two most important things I have learned are: 

  • Consistency: To grow successfully and keep your business running and making money, you MUST be consistent and focused on activities that move your business forward. It takes a lot of discipline to stay focused on only the most important tasks–especially if you are running your business by yourself.
  • Embrace change: This is becoming more and more important every single day! This business is constantly changing!!! That can be exciting, but it can also be very frustrating to many people who don’t embrace a growth mindset. Part of being a business owner/content creator is being able to pivot, change, and adjust as needed.  Without this mindset and being able to embrace change, having your own business will be very frustrating. It’s something I have really had to work on as a business owner because this mindset doesn’t always come naturally. 
Casey Rooney
Photo courtesy of Casey Rooney

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

As a part-time teacher and mom of three kids (two in ultra-competitive sports), my biggest battle is TIME! I truly have to make sure every “activity” I do for my business is something that is helping me grow or achieve my goals. There is no time for frivolous activities or time wasting! 

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

My best advice is to figure out the tasks and activities that move your business forward and stick with those tasks CONSISTENTLY.  You have to be super intentional about the tasks you focus on for your business each day. This is especially true if you are a solopreneur and have limited time.

I am also a huge believer in time blocking. Figure out the “blocks” of time you have each day (be realistic!) and schedule your tasks into those time blocks. This can take some trial and error, but once you work out the kinks, just stay consistent with that schedule.

So, for example, a time-blocked schedule work be something like:

Monday: 

  • 9:00-12:00: Photograph two recipes
  • 12:00-1:00: Edit photos

Tuesday:

  • 9:00-12:00: Write/publish blog post

Wednesday:

  • 10:00-12:00: Write weekly emails

…and so forth. Time blocking keeps you super focused on tasks that are the most important to your business. 

What is your favorite quote?

I have SO many favorite quotes, but I think this one most directly relates to how I run my business: 

Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.

John Maxwell

What are your favorite books, blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels?

My favorite blogging podcasts are:

I like to listen to blogging podcasts, but I also like to listen to general business podcasts as well, like Business Made Simple and My First Million

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