Episode 9: How to Make Money With Your Content

Meet the Guest: Bjork Ostrom

Bjork loves to find ways to maximize potential – of people, of technology, of life.

When his wife Lindsay started a food blog called Pinch of Yum in 2010, they decided to do just that – maximize its potential. From there, they started Food Blogger Pro to share what they learned in the process to help others maximize their potential.

Now as business advisor and head of the umbrella company TinyBit – which houses Pinch of Yum, Food Blogger Pro, Clariti and Curbly – he leads with that same focus of helping people and companies get a tiny bit better, every day, forever.

He can also be found hosting the Food Blogger Pro podcast and taste-testing in the Pinch of Yum kitchen where it becomes clear why he is not the food writer. 

Follow Bjork on Instagram.

Podcast Episode Notes


Here are some of the biggest takeaways from this episode:

  • Embrace Platform Evolution: Start your content creation journey on platforms familiar to you, like Tumblr, and be prepared to transition to more robust platforms like WordPress as your content needs mature and professionalize.
  • Implement Early Monetization: Introduce monetization strategies such as Google AdSense early in your content journey to start generating revenue, even if it’s minimal at first.
  • Prioritize Passion for Process: Focus on enjoying the process of content creation rather than just the outcomes. Continuous innovation and adaptation are essential as audience preferences and digital platforms evolve.
  • Leverage SEO and Social Media: Utilize SEO tools to optimize your content for visibility and engage actively on social media platforms to amplify your content’s reach and effectiveness.
  • Diversify Monetization Approaches: Expand beyond traditional ad revenue by exploring direct product offerings, services, or premium content to develop more stable and scalable income sources.
  • Build a Dedicated Audience: Aim to cultivate a base of “thousand true fans” to support various monetization strategies, focusing on deep engagement rather than broad reach.

Mentioned Tools & Resources:

These are the tools and resources that were mentioned in the podcast episode:

  • WordPress: A platform recommended for more control and professionalism in content presentation.
  • Google AdSense: The initial tool used for monetizing early content through ads.
  • Instagram and TikTok: Social media platforms crucial for engaging with audiences and adapting content strategies to current trends.
  • Substack: Recommended for creators wishing to write in a less SEO-driven manner, focusing more on direct audience communication.
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Episode Transcript

Ashley Segura: All right let’s kick things off when you’re not at your desk and you find yourself in the kitchen. What’s your go to dish to whip up? 

Bjork Ostrom: That’s funny. So I’m going to be honest here and say, it’s been years since I’ve done like something that I would.

a formal dish that I’m making because I have no credibility as somebody who’s going to make something that everybody would gather around and eat. I will say that I’m often making things for myself. If I’m making something for myself, it’s going to be like Greek yogurt. Whey protein powder, granola and blueberries.

And then just like mixing that together. Otherwise, like all of our good food that our family eats comes from Lindsay. So the quick backstory, my wife, Lindsay does the content and works with me on pinch of yum. And she is knows the ins and outs of all of the recipe development and like the food that you’d want to put on the internet.

And people would want to say, I’m going to make that for my family. The food that I’m making is like somebody who’s I want to hit my macros for this meal. That would be my answer is like yogurt parfait. 

Ashley Segura: A yogurt parfait. I love it. It is your go to dish very clearly and it’s nutritious and it’s probably all the boxes.

Yeah, our family 

Bjork Ostrom: would not sit around a big bowl of it and scoop it onto their plates, but it works for me 

Ashley Segura: I can totally see that. Yeah, it’s a good breakfast thing. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Yep breakfast. Yep or dinner if i’m home alone 

Ashley Segura: Okay, so we’re going with every meal then 

Bjork Ostrom: Yep, we’ll just it’s my go to If I need to get a meal and it’s not made by Lindsay, 

Ashley Segura: I hope she makes a lot of your meals.

Diving straight into this, I would love to hear more about your journey of what it’s looked like to be a content creator from behind the scenes and how you started making money with content. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. So 14 years ago Lindsay and I sat down and we’re like, Hey, I think that there might be something here.

We had this conversation. I had just read a book by Gary Vaynerchuk, who maybe a lot of people in this world now maybe have differing opinions, can be a polarizing person, but he had wrote this book called Crush It and in Crush It, I had listened to the audio version of it as I was commuting back and forth.

I worked at a nonprofit. Lindsay was a teacher and I was just interested in business and online business. It was just this fascinating world to me. And so I listened to this book and he talked about this idea of, Hey, if you’re really into worming, like a worm farm, then there’s a place for you to build a business and be the authority on worms.

And at the time, Lindsay was, And still is like really into food. Like she was just into recipe development, was passionate about it. And my thought was like, I think that this concept of worming and then this concept of you, Lindsay, being passionate about photography and content creation, that there’s maybe something there.

And so the experiment was like, Hey, can we build. A following and build an audience publishing content online. And so Lindsey did that started on Tumblr and we didn’t know how to put like a photo with text. Like we were like, how do you do that? So we published text in one post and then we published a picture in another one.

And we had no idea what we were doing, but. Each and every day showed up and tried to learn a little bit. And eventually got to a point where we had moved it over to WordPress. And we said, Hey, we’re going to try running ads on this. And so we put ads on the site and the next day had made whatever it was like a dollar or 2.

Yeah. And had this realization of Oh, there’s a thing here. And if you can make a dollar, you can probably make 2. And if you can make 2, you can probably make 4. And so we just. Kept poking away and trying to figure out how to do what we were doing a tiny bit better than we did the day before and have continued to do that.

And here we are 14 years later and pinch of yums grown into a site that, provides more than we need as it does, a salary for employees. But it started with cents from ads in a day. So that was where we first earned money was from like Google ad sense. On 20 page views.

Ashley Segura: Wow. And man, have things changed since then in terms of how you create content, how you publish content, what environments you do it on. I love that you started on Tumblr back in, 

Bjork Ostrom: is it 20? 

Ashley Segura: I’d say that’s probably my first technical content creation aside from writing newspaper article. I feel like Tumblr was my first, like, all right, this is digital marketing.

Yep. Yep. 

Bjork Ostrom: It was. And it’s just one of those things too. You talked about how. Much things have changed. People hear that now and they’re like, started on Tumblr, but it was like a legitimate platform that people published to and had followings on. And there’s all these, obviously like the de facto platform now is WordPress, but there’s all these different iterations through the years of things that are working and strategies that are working.

And even regardless of what kind of, content management system you’re publishing to, even like what’s working on those respective platforms and how you structure content. That. In your world really well, and you see the different iterations and versions of that changing over time, but when you’ve been doing it like you have or like we have for a decade, it’s really interesting to look back and say Hey, even though we’re still going into WordPress and publishing a post, that post looks very different today than it did a decade ago, even though the vehicle’s the same to get it out there.

Ashley Segura: A hundred percent how content is produced, how it’s packaged, how it’s digested. The fact that there are people making huge salaries from Instagram and Tik TOK, like that is probably our newest version of this. It was WordPress and through ads management. And now there’s this whole social component of being an influencer and creating influencer content is its own way to make a living plus some.

And so I’m curious, like aside from. Ad management from having it on your website. Like how else can you make money from creating content on a traditional website? 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. It’s so the great thing about creating content is it’s, if you think of a funnel and like to get into marketing speak.

The idea of a funnel is you’re trying to bring people through. So you start with this huge audience explaining this review, listening, not for you, obviously like huge audience. And then maybe you have a next in the funnel and people sign up for an email list. And that’s a little bit more of Hey, I trust you.

I’m going to give you my email address. And then you interact with them there, and it funnels down and maybe they eventually purchase a product. There’s so many different ways that you can direct. Your audience once you have an audience, but that’s the hard part. The hard part is getting to the point where you have people following you.

You have people listening to what you’re saying. You have people interested in the recommendations you’re making. And so it’s a massive, like fast forward through what is one of the hardest things, which is. Getting people’s attention in a very competitive world. But let’s assume that you have people’s attention in, I love Kevin Kelly, who is this author about all things technical, he has this article called a thousand true fans.

So let’s say you’ve built up your audience to a place where you have a thousand true fans. You have a thousand people in a world of billions who are following you and interested in what you’re offering. What do you do with that? And there’s a lot of different options. One is you can put ads on your site like we did in the early stages when we probably had hundreds or maybe a thousand true fans.

And what we found is you can make money from that, but the way that you’re going to make that money is generally inefficient because the ads might not be a great fit. The companies, that are paying for those might not have a super high conversion rate. So you might have a thousand true fans and those fans might earn you 50.

So that would be one way you have ads as you start to get closer to the needs and desires of your audience, the value of that, both for you and for them goes up. So let’s say with those thousand true fans maybe you’re publishing content around in our world, which is the world of food, like a really specific diet.

And that person. Maybe is needing to learn how to eat a certain way because they’ve just been diagnosed with certain condition or, whatever it might be. And so suddenly you might be able to go from earning 50 with ads to let’s say earning 50 from each one of those. Fans and so it could be 50 a year or it could be 50 a month depending on what it is and you can start to see how that equation looks very different.

Like now you go from making, coffee money to making a full time salary and I think there’s probably, 20 different versions of what that could look like in between the ads to the offering a product. And that could look like a physical product that you’re selling. It could look like a digital product that you’re creating and selling.

It could be a service that you are offering where you’re trading your expertise for money or time for money. What my recommendation would be for anybody who wants to have a content funnel creates them income is to, if they’re interested in, accelerating the path to a sustainable or full time salary is to start with something that would be services based around your area of expertise and then transition that to productized.

And that will allow you to. It doesn’t feel the same as passive income, quote, unquote, passive income, but it will allow you to get paid to do something that you’re going to have to do eventually when you create a product anyways, which is what people call product development, which is developing your understanding of what the customer actually wants.

And the best way to do that is through conversations with your audience. And it’s going to be really incredible if you can do that. Yeah. On a paid basis. And so maybe you have those thousand true fans and you have this certain diet that you focus on, or maybe it’s a condition that somebody has, and you’re creating meal plans around that to support them in that, then what you can do is say for a hundred dollars a month.

250 a month, whatever the price is, I’m going to work with you. And we’re going to be in a relationship where I’m going to coach you through this, and maybe you get on once a month call, maybe you create meal plans for them, what that will allow you to do is to get a really good understanding of what people’s needs are, what the problems are, what the pain points are.

And all of that comes back into the content creation process, as well as the product development process. And there’s a hundred different ways that you can make money if you have an audience. But I think the best way to start is something that is service based. And if you’re interested, and usually you see this over time, what you can do then is start to transition that to something that is productized, meaning, it’s like a digital education.

So maybe it’s a course or meal plans or whatever it might be, or it could be an actual product, like a physical product or maybe software or things like that, which are a little bit more difficult down the line. 

Ashley Segura: Yeah. That’s essentially the approach that we took at content.

Yeah. We had a previous content marketing agency that started with services, full blown traditional content marketing agency services. And then after years, then. Birthed contentyum and realized, okay, these full services aren’t needed anymore because we talked to enough of our clients or talk to enough people in the industry, things pivoted.

Thank you. Google updates, things pivoted. And so now created products. And so to help promote these products and really continue the conversation is the birth of this podcast content. Yeah, you’re doing 

Bjork Ostrom: exactly it. Yeah. 

Ashley Segura: It’s like that full funnel approach of starting with a service base.

And by doing that, you really get to understand who your audience is going to be. Because sometimes you’re just shooting in the dark. Like I know I specialize in this and I want to do this and I can service, but who is it going to be for? And that’s where you can get niche with it and learn so much. Then move to the productization of that.


Bjork Ostrom: the other thing that does well, finish that thought. Yeah. 

Ashley Segura: No, that period exclamation mark. That’s such a great 

Bjork Ostrom: process. 

Ashley Segura: No, you’re good. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So the other thing that I think is important to point out with that is when you’re in those early stages and you have something that’s more service based There’s a value from a business perspective in what you’re doing.

Like you create an agency, that agency, if it’s, let’s say it’s making a hundred thousand dollars a year has some inherent value. I don’t know what it would be on the marketplace. If you go to sell that business, but. The more that you create revenue that’s transferable, the more valuable that business then becomes and the more you productize something, the more valuable that business becomes.

And so in that example that we just talked about, you have a business that is, let’s say, doing 100, 000 in revenue, but let’s say you’re the solo. Creator, you’re the solo entrepreneur and you’re also the main person delivering that agency work. It’s going to be hard to sell that business or harder to sell that business because essentially it’s a job.

You’re doing a thing, you’re getting paid for it. You’re maybe creating content to help you sell the thing, getting paid for that. The more you transition something into transferable revenue, repeatable revenue and predictable revenue, then the inherent value of the business goes up as well. And let’s say that you had a business that.

He was making a hundred thousand and you were able to be removed from it pretty significantly. That business then is maybe worth 400, 000. And it allows you then to not only be making money within your business, but then also to be growing a thing that is valuable. Like we invest in the stock market.

You can invest in Tesla or Apple or whatever it might be. But I think we should also be thinking about our businesses as A little company, it’s like a micro cap company that we have, potentially 100 percent ownership of, or maybe we have a business partner. So we have 50 percent ownership of it.

And if we can grow the inherent value of that thing, that can be really life changing for us. And so the transition from services based to productized. Services based or just product is a great one because it also allows you to then be creating something that in and of itself is valuable beyond just the cashflow that it’s providing.

And especially if you have that content that becomes a marketing engine, evergreen marketing engine into the sales process for the thing that you’re building. So John Worlow has this great book called built to sell, and he actually talks about through story. This idea of an agency, it’s a design agency that makes us transition from doing everything custom and like all these design projects custom into just doing logo design and how beneficial that was for the agency to move into predictable revenue.

In this case, the idea is like you build a business and then you sell it, but it’s, it sounds similar in the sense of it was custom agency work that you’re doing before and now it’s trying to figure out, okay, what do people want? And how do we create kind of a system and process around that for what you guys are doing, which is cool.

Ashley Segura: Yeah. It, I love that you mentioned evergreen part of this because creating evergreen content is what really will make your life so much easier, but also make the brand work because you don’t know when that evergreen piece of content is going to take off. So if you create a piece of content, that’s only going to be good for Q2.

That’s not going to be not only sustainable, but a sure fire win. Whereas if you have evergreen content, you can study it over time to figure out, okay, now this is really hitting. Now we’re getting ad networks on here. Like this is really happening now. But I wanted to take this example and let’s put it in the framework of someone who, or an industry type.

Who may struggle with idea of what could be a service that it offers. So it’s like a food blogger, for example, you’re creating recipe content. So what’s a service that someone in like lifestyle blogging could begin with and then run with. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think the questions you can ask yourself are, what do you find yourself?

naturally doing and then what do you find people asking you about? And so Lindsay and I just had this conversation. She had a friend who visited Hawaii with her family and every day her, she has two girls and they had these like really precious matching swimsuits and like outfits. And I was like, it’s so observing.

It’s so interesting to me that that’s where some people go. Like for her, she goes to this place of this is something where you have an hour of time at the end of the day, and that’s you’re going to, you’re You know, create these like really precious matching outfits for your family trip to Hawaii.

For me, I’m like, I’m really interested in personal finance. And so like at the end of the day, I’ll open up my budgeting app and like categorize expenses. 

Ashley Segura: So fun. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. And Lindsay’s Oh my gosh, you are the worst. And, but we all go to these places. Where if we have the time and the space, naturally, this is what we’re going to think about, like the problems we’re going to solve.

And it’s also, my guess is it’s also going to be the kind of thing where people are going to ask you questions about it. So we just had family friends who are processing some questions around like their estate and taxes. And so they come to me and say Hey, And not like I’m an expert on it, but like sounding board, Hey, here’s what we’re thinking of doing.

What are your thoughts on that? And so that to me is an indicator and coming out of it, they’re like, do you think you’d ever want to do this? As a job? And in the case of our friend, like she would be a great style consultant. Like people would go to her, if not for Lindsay, who’s also would be able to do that for our girls.

If it was just me, I’d go to her and say Hey, we have this trip coming up. Can you help me pick out some outfits for our girls? And so I think to reflect on that, like, where do you naturally go? And then what are the things that people come to you with questions about? And if you don’t have the ladder, then I would start with the former as you’re guiding.

Kind of arc for it is just where do you find yourself naturally going when you think about that free time that you have, and it’s not like scrolling Instagram, it’s free time and something that’s like light productive, like you’re going to organize your closet or you’re going to meal prep for the week ahead what are the things that are maybe unique about how cool.

You are that other people maybe want to have those same things, but they don’t. That I work with a, like a health and fitness coach and he knows the world of like exercise science and food science, and it’s really beneficial for me. But it’s not where I naturally go. Like I don’t listen to podcasts about it.

I don’t read articles about it. And I think everybody to some degree has those things that they gravitate towards. And the reason it’s important to start with that is because you need to become the expert on those things in order to get to a point where people can feel justified in paying you to consult with them.

And I think. Probably what it starts with is not you spending three months crafting your perfect idea of what a product would be, but just saying to people, Hey, I’m thinking of doing this and it might be family and friends. If you don’t have followers to start, I’m thinking of doing this. Can I talk to you about what your problems are in this category?

So if you’re really into organization and you love the idea of having a fridge where every time you open it, it’s perfectly organized and a closet that you walk into and everything’s coordinated, you could sit down with me and you could say, can I talk to you a little bit about like organization and where you find the pain points to be?

And I could say. Yeah, like here’s what I find the pain points to be like, I always am rushing out the door and so I don’t take the time to fold my clothes when I should, or I always get to the point where I do my laundry and then it’s in the dryer and then I don’t take it out of the dryer or No one wants to 

Ashley Segura: take it out of the dryer.

Bjork Ostrom: No one wants to take it out of the dryer. I’ll move it to the washing, from the washing machine to the dryer. 

Ashley Segura: Find every 

Bjork Ostrom: excuse to keep it in the dryer. 

Ashley Segura: Yep. 100%. And then it’ll 

Bjork Ostrom: get all wrinkly and then I’ll just need to do it again. So then 

Ashley Segura: you have to fluff up. 

Bjork Ostrom: And what you’re, and what you’re doing is then you’re crafting, the messaging around your product the problem solution around the thing And if you came to me and said, then, after having all these conversations, maybe you hear similar things from people, then you could say, are you somebody who wants to have an organized closet, but you feel like it’s not quite there.

What if I could tell you that, in 15 minutes a week, you could go from having a closet that looks like this to a closet that looks like this, and you could have a before and after picture. You could tell a little bit about who you are. Hey, my name is, John and my passion is creating organizational systems for busy families that allow them to feel like light and not burdened by a busy house, like whatever it would be.

And. And it’s all based around the thing that like you could talk about all day. Like for you, I would guess it’s the world of content and online business and business building. Like you’ve naturally found yourself in that space. And for me, it’s, similar. It’s it’s business, it’s marketing, it’s growth.

And. The reason that we can do it for 14 years is because it’s something that we’re continually interested in and passionate about. So I’d encourage people to start with that, but not to assume that they know what the problem is of other people, to have the conversations with your audience, or if you don’t have an audience yet, to have the conversations with your friends and your family around the thing that you think you might be interested in doing.

Ashley Segura: Really, this is Traditional marketing. This is marketing 101, but not packaged with that stigma of, Oh, you’re doing marketing. So you’re starting out with market research. Your identifying what the consumer problems are, what the consumer needs are, even what the competition in the space is just to learn more about how do other brands position these problems or what services are they offering to position for this?

And then coming up with your value props. Oh I can help you clean out your closet in 15 minutes or less a day because you’ve identified that consumer’s biggest issues are time. So that 15 minutes is going to attract to them and that the closets, Biggest pain points. So start with that and doing exercises like these, you don’t have to be a traditional marketer.

You can be someone who just is passionate about something and wants to turn into a service, like you’re saying. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And I think it even works like if what you’re selling is the content, like when we talk about that funnel. Sometimes it can be as short as you create the content and then you monetize the content with ads or working with the brand.

Even in that case, you probably want to make sure that the content that you are creating is addressing like a need or an interest or a problem for people. Because that’s going to be, that’s going to fast track the amount of momentum that you get versus I think sometimes people think I’m just going to be like a lifestyle influencer and just create, Lifestyle content, which is 100 percent possible and doable, but if you’re starting from zero, like if you haven’t been on a reality TV show or you haven’t been, featured in some way, and you’re trying to build lifestyle from scratch.

Again, totally doable, but I think it’s harder in my opinion than if you come from the standpoint of addressing an issue that you’re helping people with and creating something that’s really tailored to that audience or that kind of market segment that you’re focusing on. 

Ashley Segura: I guess from there, then, like, how do you really decide?

What platform to go first? Cause if you go to Instagram and just start creating content on Instagram, hypothetically, couldn’t you potentially grow that following faster and then get influencer partnerships or brand partnerships faster than doing a website and then optimizing the site, then creating content or is that actually better?

What do you recommend? 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think. There’s so many variables that exist within the question of what, where should I start? And one of the biggest variables is time. And if people have an hour a day, then it’s going to be much different than somebody who is in between jobs. They’re going to attempt to build a following and they have 10 hours a day.

Similarly, if somebody has. 10, 000 a month to spend on their business. It’s going to be very different than somebody who has 100 a month to spend on their business. So the variables of time and money obviously are the biggest ones. I would say, generally speaking, let’s assume that everybody to some degree has some resource constraints.

What I would recommend is starting with the platform that has the medium that you are most comfortable producing in. And so for me, that’s podcasting. It’s what I’ve always done. That’s what I’ll continue to do. I don’t ever log into Instagram to publish content. I’m not on Twitter. I’m not on Facebook.

Like I just do a weekly podcast. That’s what I do. For Lindsay. She’s really great and really enjoys the process of creating video content. And so she does that on Instagram. That’s her main platform with pinch of yum. Each of those are very different in terms of how we create. I think people look at us and they’re like, Hey, you guys are in the world of content creation, but it’s like, she knows Instagram really well.

I know podcasting really well. We’re in very different worlds, but it’s because we’re very have very different interests and interests. In terms of like the way that we want to create content and engage with an audience. And for me, it’s podcasting for Lindsey, it’s this video content creation.

She’s very much so focused on Instagram, but we also have the resources with a team who then can take the Instagram content that she’s creating and upload it to Tik TOK. Now, Tik TOK we don’t have a huge following or YouTube, it’s tens of thousands as opposed to, I think on Instagram, Lindsey has 1.

3 million followers. 

Ashley Segura: Goodness. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And but the reason is she’s been doing it for 14 years and is passionate about that as. A place to create content and publish and it’s, but she’s not logging into Tik TOK and spending a lot of time there, but we do have somebody who can post content there.

So it’s Hey, as long as we’re creating it, we might as well publish there. So if and I think that it also applies to people who are like text or writing forward. If you are really passionate about writing Twitter and blog posts are going to be a great platform for you.

Also, there are people who. Aren’t interested in the actual creation process of the content, but they’re really interested in the business mechanics of it. And so they love to do SEO research and keyword analysis, and then they work with writers to create the content. Around the opportunities that they see.

So it comes back to that self awareness piece again to say, okay, where do you feel like you are most naturally going to create content? Where do you feel like you most naturally have a poll? Some people are incredible writers. They’re well spoken and in writing and, blog posts and sub stack and Twitter is going to be a great place for them.

Some people are really dynamic. They’re really funny. They’re really engaging. Real based content and video is going to be great for them. Some people are very technical. They’re behind the scenes. They don’t love the idea of being known online. And there are hundreds of thousands of really successful content business owners.

Who aren’t creating content, they’re running a content business and they’re building the structures and the processes for that content business to run. We often don’t see those people because they’re not producing the content. And so it’s harder to see those businesses existing, but they do. And you see them once you get into these circles of content business owners where people who run really successful sites and they’re not creating any content, but they’re, they have a content business. And much of it comes down to where are you uniquely skilled? Where are you experiencing the least amount of friction in your work?

And then how do you let go of the other opportunities that are, that have more friction for you as a creator in service of going as deep as possible in your areas of the least amount of friction and deepest impact for you and as resources allow, bring in other people to support around those. Other opportunities.

So for instance, maybe you are a really great video creator and you also want to have a written content. Maybe you go deep on the video and then you work with a writer to take the outline of a video you’ve created and then do a blog post that supports that video. That’s where I would encourage people to think about which platform do I start on?

The secondary tier within that is having some industry awareness around what’s working now on different platforms and just with platforms in general. And it’s going to be easier for you if you are a video based creator to build a following on Instagram than If you are a photographer and so part of it is understanding what type of surfer you are, what type of board you’re going to surf on.

And then the second consideration is like, where are the waves the easiest to catch right now? 

Ashley Segura: Yes. 

Bjork Ostrom: If you figure out those two things and you figure out a wave that’s significant. And you figure out the perfect type of board for you to surf on. That’s when you can see magic. And an example is we have a friend who produces content in video content.

He has a background in video editing and video producing, and he’s the main actor and he does real based content on Tik It’s like birth order humor. So the middle child is like this. The youngest child is like this. The older child’s like this. That’s primarily what it is, but like he’s been able to grow his name is TJ.

He’s been able to grow a significant following now in a way that he couldn’t have 10 years ago, if it was just photo based content and that’s where the wave. Idea comes in is just being aware of what’s working within the industry and then finding your it’s understanding how you best produce content and then finding where the best place to put that is.

Ashley Segura: think the surfboard memo and finding the wave is just such great imagery for what this process looks like and how to do it successfully. I’m sure there’s a handful of ways to do this unsuccessfully though. Have you for 14 years ever come across some issues to where we thought we’d make money with this content and it just flopped and this is the reason why, or we have no idea like have you come across any of those instances?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, broadly speaking, I think one of the one of the things that can happen is you can see people being successful with a thing, like in our space, it would be like, Hey, I see that you have grown a website. And from that website, you’re able to, where you’re publishing recipe content.

You’re able to, earn ad revenue. That’s cool. I love the idea of, this is somebody else speaking. I love the idea of making ad revenue passively. And it’s I think everybody conceptually likes that idea. But I think it’s the, what you’re looking at is more of The destination, but what really is happening is it’s a never ending journey and the journey is that you are showing up every day.

You’re doing recipe development, you’re doing photography, you’re doing videos you’re writing. And in order for that to in order for you to get to that, quote unquote destination, you actually have to really love the journey. The journey. And I think some people really love the idea of the outcome or the destination, but don’t realize what it actually looks like day to day.

And so I think. We had a friend who had a food site and he was like, I realized I just didn’t like photography and he’s okay, that’s a really important piece. You can, like we talked about, get to a point where somebody else comes in and helps with that. But you have to either be willing to invest in that on your own and maybe run in the red within your business or just do it for a while, even though you don’t like it until you get to the point where the business has the resources to support somebody else in doing it.

So I think that’s one of the things that, that we see is like. You get into it and you are doing the thing because you want the outcome, not because you want the process and you really have to love the process in order to continually do it day in and day out. I think the other thing that you see is something stops working.

But you continue to do the thing that used to work. And an example is in our space, like hands and pans videos, like that was traditional, like tasty Facebook, and have a hundred million views. And it’s like a video from top down and it’s somebody making a recipe that worked really well for a long time.

And then it didn’t. And if you aren’t willing to evolve into the next thing then, and that’s the wave. Analogy, if you’ve been surfing a wave and it’s been going really well, and then the wave changes and go somewhere else, if you’re not willing to walk down the beach and get on a new wave, it’s not a bad thing, but you just can’t continually ride the same wave.

You have to be willing to. Shift and adjust as the industry changes as the way people consume content changes. And so in a lot of ways, you have to be in this state of like continually reinventing yourself. If you want to continue to be in front of people and be building an audience. And it’s totally okay to get to a point where you’re like, And now I’m done.

And we’ve seen that with people with a blog where it’s 10 years ago, people were able to write a blog post as if it was like a journal entry. And they were communicating with an audience. People followed them. They commented like social media. And that changed to be very like search engine forward type content.

And for some people, it was like, that’s not how I want to produce, which is fine. They just found the next wave, which for a lot of people in our world is substack. And it’s that allows you to produce content in a very not SEO forward way. You’re able to produce content as if it’s like writing to an audience without the idea of like search optimization.

And so I think the biggest. Issues that we’ve seen in the world of content creation is like getting into it, wanting the outcome of what content creation can get you, as opposed to wanting to create content. And the second consideration and issues that we’ve seen both with other people and with ourselves is like the industry changes and either you just decide not to evolve, which is totally okay.

Or even in evolving, it evolves into a medium that you’re not passionate about, you’re not good at, and you could develop those skills, but maybe not in the same way that like a previous version of it worked really well for you. So it’s always changing what that looks like. But I think generally speaking, those are the two different categories that we see.

When it comes to like issues in the world of content creation. 

Ashley Segura: Yeah. And of course to each of their own there’s everyone’s journey is going to look a little bit different. And so there may be other issues that pop up, especially from a time and resource standpoint, but as long as you’re.

Getting the right board that fits you perfectly for the kind of waves that you want to surf and going to the breaks that have the kind of waves that you want to surf. Then ideally you’re setting yourself up for success. The next big part is the time investment there and then the resource investment there and being patient with that process.

So much of this conversation has been, So enlightening on just starting from scratch. And so I’m so curious to hear what your secret sauce is as we wrap up for those who, whether they are starting from scratch with an idea or they’ve been running a business for a while, but it’s time to create some better content to be able to make some more money.

Do you have any strategies that have really worked or tools or what’s your current secret sauce? That’s really helping to amplify your content in the moment. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, I think as much as possible to stay in the world of content creation is helpful. Like it’s really easy to get into the world of technical optimization and like changing what your logo looks like and, WordPress plugin updates and like all of those things are important and they need to happen.

But as much as possible, looking at what you’re doing day to day and saying, does it matter if like I touch this thing, if I’m the one doing this thing or not, and as much as possible, either not doing some of those things like obviously there are critical things that need to happen or as quickly as possible having somebody else help.

With those things like take those things on and reserving your time as a creator for creating and that’s going to be the differentiator in the world of content in the world of content creation, the differentiator is always going to come down to the quality of content and the multiplier can be some of the technical things, right?

Technical SEO, best practices, like a hack that’s working well on Facebook right now or Instagram, things like that. But the craft of the content is always going to be the baseline for what ends up being successful. But sometimes we can get caught up in all of the things that surround it, and we can be producing mediocre content and applying best practices.

On it. And we can have a website that’s like the best technical website ever from an SEO standpoint and from a structure standpoint, from a design standpoint, but the actual content itself isn’t where it needs to be. It’s not going to matter. And so in those early stages, when you’re starting from scratch, it’s like you are an artist and you’re learning how to play guitar and you’re not learning how to like assemble a stage to perform on, and you’re not learning how to optimize ticket prices for people who are paying to see you.

What you’re learning is like, how do you write a good song? How do you play the guitar in a way? That is it doesn’t sound like you’re playing the wrong chord or the wrong note. If you decide that you want to be the content creator, you are the artist. And what your job is to be developing your skills and expertise as an artist.

If you are building a content business, like your artistry is going to be more in the spreadsheets and it’s going to be more in the numbers and the resources. You also need to understand what is good content, but in that case, you’re more of like a manager of a band. You’re not writing the songs necessarily.

You’re managing the people who are writing the songs. And that’s a world that exists. And it’s important to think about like that as an option, if you don’t want to be the content creator, but if you are the content creator, I would encourage everybody to think of themselves as the artist.

And it takes a long time to play a show and to have a hundred people pay for a ticket to come and see you in the world of content, it can be similar. So think, three to five years. Don’t think three to five months. It can happen in three to five months, but usually you, that would be in a situation where you have preexisting experience, like you’re an artist who is starting a new band as opposed to you’re learning how to play guitar.

And so understanding where you are as a content creator. If you are on the business side of it, what you need to do is get really good at understanding what good content looks like, even if you’re not creating it and then understanding how to allocate the resources of money. Maybe you have, let’s say a budget of 3, 000 a month that you’re going to use to grow your content business.

How do you allocate that in a way where you’re getting a positive return on it? Which also, unless you have previous experience takes time and and at the cost of that, you’re not spending your time doing it, but maybe you’re spending your money learning how to get better at that and understand the return on the value of that content.

So two different takes, whether you’re the manager or the artist, but in either case, If you’re starting from scratch, be gentle with yourself because just like learning guitar, it takes a long time. 

Ashley Segura: Yes. And imposter syndrome is very real. Who am I to be writing about this or who am I to be directing and orchestrating the content to be written about this?

It’s a very real thing. And your brand voice may change too. Especially after those first handful pieces of content that you publish, whether it’s on Instagram or on your website and you start to identify what works as well as what you like to create content on and what, from a resource standpoint, you can create content on.

And so definitely giving yourself grace in the beginning of content stages is so important. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, there’s a great, so this American life Ira Glass is the kind of producer behind that. I think he has this great commentary on what he calls the gap. And I can send you a link to it. You can link to it in the show notes.

I won’t go through all of it, but the basic idea is he talks about as a creator, when we’re starting out. We know what good looks like, and we can feel the gap that we have between where we want to be and where we are. And it takes a long time to close that gap. And that’s not a bad thing. Like it’s just acknowledging like that exists and that’s felt and people aren’t alone in that.

And it takes a while to close the gap. But the reason that you even have the gap in the first place is because you recognize what good looks like. Looks in the world of music, a good song in the world of content, a good video or photograph or blog post or email, but you’re trying to get there yourself.

And that takes a while. 

Ashley Segura: Yeah. And being able to have the patience for it’s all, all connect a big part of that is. Having the patience for yourself to connect it all as well. Yeah, 

Bjork Ostrom: yeah, for sure. 

Ashley Segura: Bjork, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for everything you’ve shared from your own journey to how we can create our own journey.

Really appreciate you being on. 

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Thanks, Ashley. 

Ashley Segura: All right.