I’m just back from a short jaunt in Gascony for my yearly pilgrimage to visit Kate Hill at her Kitchen at Camont. This is my third visit to see Kate in as many years, making these visits sort of a summer tradition. If you read my early post, My Food Story From Gascony, you might understand why. The south of France is inherently wonderful for its weather, food, landscape and tradition. Kate brings to it her own take on France, and I’m very grateful to her for having introduced me to markets, people, recipes and a way of life I would never get to experience as a tourist.
But there’s more to our visits than just eating good food and drinking rosé in the sun. Camont is the perfect environment for bringing ideas to life. One of the most valuable parts of our visits have been our “pow-wows”, a collective brainstorming on our respective personal projects. For Kate, it’s her business as a butchery and charcuterie teacher. For me, well, my aims were a little more disparate, but with Kate’s help I’ve been able to break things down a bit, and I thought I’d write about it here since I’ve come to realise that most people (including myself sometimes!) don’t really get what I do.
There are two sides to my world, which I’m calling the monicashaw.com side and the smarterfitter.com side.
Over at monicashaw.com is the stuff that makes me a real living:
- Social media consulting
- Web analytics
- Teaching and training
- Writer’s Residence
smarterfitter.com is really my hobby job
- Blogging on food, fitness and travel
- Recipe development
- Product reviews
The above makes me a trickle of income from advertising and the occasional writing gig but it’s really just for fun. However, I’d like to make it more than that. I’d like Smarter Fitter to “feed” what I do professionally.
About that professional stuff; I’ve been feeling a little angsty about it all. I look at my hodge podge of income sources and wonder if I’m too unfocused. But then I take a step back and see how all of the above is what has allowed me to live something pretty close to the life of my dreams: I work from home, I work for myself, I live in a beautiful place and I get to go to other beautiful places. The only thing that would make that better would be to make more money – ideally on passive income, or by doing something that I’m super duper passionate about – to enable me to more beautiful things in beautiful places with beautiful people more often.
So maybe the way to fuse the two is to make “Smarter Fitter” all about the lifestyle choices I make to tune my life towards financial freedom and my ideal existence. The recipes fit with that, but my hope is that this will also free me up to write more about travel, work, life and so on (like I’m doing now).
From a practical point of view, this also means making a few design changes that make a clearer parallel between monicashaw.com and smarterfitter.com. I want to revamp monicashaw.com into a more organised portal for all of the things I do. It will also have a clear link to smarterfitter.com through its navigation and overall look-and-feel. Basically, it’s the smarter fitter life that’s enabled the work I do as detailed on monicashaw.com. Their branding needs to gel.
How does this all come back around to making a living? I shudder at the word “pro blogger”, though I wouldn’t mind if Smarter Fitter made me a bit of change on advertising and sponsorship from brands I already like (Vitamix, Fitbit, Vibram – I’m looking at you!). What I hope is that Smarter Fitter helps support my other income streams (writing, ebooks, speaking, teaching, consulting, even Airbnb). We’ll see how that pans out.
I’m still wrapping my head around all this but the important thing is to do something. Thanks to Kate for helping me organise my thoughts and decide which direction I should take.
Having got that off my chest, I’ll be back soon with a few of the foodie delights from Camont – fava bean hummus, Kate’s Spanish omelet on overdrive, and the Shaw family “sunshine cake”, a cake for all seasons!