Season 1, Episode 4: Overcoming Challenges with Susie and Todd Bulloch of Hey Grill, Hey

In this episode of Tastemaker Conversations, Susie and Todd Bulloch of the popular food blog Hey Grill, Hey share their back story, about how and when their food blog started. They provide inspiring insight on fighting through and overcoming challenges while running their blog as a family business.

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  1. Chantry says

    First of all, thank you so much for this episode. It was very motivating to hear about your struggles and how you pushed through them. The most inspiring thing was hearing about your insecurities and how you didn’t feel creative. It rang true for me. I am just starting out with blogging. As in I bought my domain name this week and it is not even up and running yet. I wanted to start a blog a few years ago after I started having health problems. What got me through was drastically changing my diet and reading about other peoples stories online. Several blogs inspired me and I want to be able to be that for someone else. I want to make others lives easier by providing them with techniques and recipes that lead to a fuller life. It has taken me years to finally get started because I feel so overwhelmed and inadequate and I have young children at home. But I can’t get it out of my mind so here I am. I want to go to Tastemaker conference so that I can learn as much as possible from others who have already been there. I want to start building a tribe! I need to meet other people who are in. my shoes and build an awesome support system.

  2. Alli says

    This episode was so inspiring! Blogging has been very up and down for me, it was nice to be able to hear that someone successful like Susie and Todd felt that way too. It would be so amazing to go to Tastemaker to be able to learn, network in PERSON with other bloggers, and just figure out how I can improve. I know I have so much more I could be doing. The speaker lineup looks so great. My number one goal this year is to make a full-time income with my blog. I don’t mean that in a trite way, like a wish. It’s something I have been intentionally working towards for a long time. Thank you, Susie and Todd, (again) for this encouraging episode! It really is so hard sometimes, but like you said I can see the light after I push through the challenges.

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  4. Camille Walker says

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I have been blogging now for six years, but I am just scratching the service of food blogging even though it has always been a major source of traffic for my site at http://www.mymommystyle.com. My goals for this year are to continue pushing past fears of doing video and better understanding the power of SEO. I love the blogging community, and have found so much inspiration through others sharing their ups and downs. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

  5. Melissa says

    Just discovered your podcast and loved it! I love hearing other husband/wife teams talk about their blogging experience. Currently have a food blog with my husband, but still small and growing (he has a full time job, I homeschool our kids). We both have goals of making blogging a full time income, still working on getting there. This conference looks amazing! We haven’t made it to a conference yet (almost last year, but the weather threw off everything and we were stuck in the Detroit airport instead), but would love to finally meet some other bloggers face to face!

  6. Natalie Brandenburg says

    A few years back, I became plant based. AH! This was a struggle for my family as I was still living with my parents originally from the midwest (We live in California.). I needed recipes to help my mom understand that eating plant based could benefit her health while still tasting delicious. I became obsessed with bloggers, Minimalist Baker, HotforFood, Deliciously Ella, Oh She Glows….the list goes on. These women helped inspire me to start my lil instagram community. I create smoothie bowls. As you guys spoke in the podcast, sometimes it feels like I could give up and walk away and no-one would know. It sometimes feels really lonely and that is why I would love to attend the Tastemaker Conference: to meet other foodies who are just as passionate as me…,but you know how it is. I am in college, working, trying to just post everyday let alone pay for school. – Natalie

  7. Jack Fitzpatrick says

    Hi there! Loved your podcast — it was great learning more about your story. I would LOVE to be able to come to the Tastemaker Conference. I have currently been going through some changes in my blog — moving more from a food blog where I am creating recipes to sharing my experiences cooking through the recipes of others as well as some more long-form lifestyle posts. I would love to go to hear more stories and meet folks who are interested in storytelling. In my heart I am a relationship builder, so this conference would be a great place for me. Thanks again for sharing your stories today. 🙂

    Warmest,
    Jack

  8. Chelsea Cole says

    Thank you so much for this episode. After over 7 years as a food blogger, sometimes I just think “I guess this is the stage my blog is going to stay,” which is obviously not very encouraging or motivating. This episode definitely reinvigorated my hopes and dreams (and made me excited for grilling season + jerky). Thank you!

    I got to go to my first conference this past year because the company I was with at the time paid for me to go, and I am HOOKED. I learned so much, and it gave me a great kick in the pants. Since then, I’ve almost quintupled my Instagram following (okay, okay 300 – 1500, but a big deal for me!) and learned so many tips and tricks that have helped. This conference is the one I’ve been eyeballing so hard for this year but I just can’t quite swing it financially. I’ve definitely emailed you guys already about discounts and sponsorships 🙂 I’d so love to attend!

  9. Jacqueline Butler says

    Thank you so much Susie and Todd! I so appreciate your time in sharing your story and for the great inspiration and encouragement! I’ve been in the cake industry for 15+ years and have spent the past 6 years teaching sugarcraft (sugar flowers) here in the States and overseas. This has led to an amazing opportunity to publish a book and work with incredible students all over the world. It’s been a fantastic journey, but I’m feeling it’s time to be back home, and grow my business while also contributing to my local community. I had a blog many years ago, and am finally circling back around to revitalize it. To say I’m excited is an understatement, but I’m also feeling the fear and trepidation.
    I’d love to attend the Tastemaker Conference, it’s obviously a great investment in learning and networking, and I’d love to be surrounded with folks I admire and who inspire me. It’s so valuable to hear other people’s journeys, as well as their successes and failures, and I know it would be an amazing way to learn from a wonderful group of industry leaders.
    Again, many thanks for your time and for sharing your experience! My best to you!

  10. Sabrina says

    Hi! I enjoyed the podcast episode so much. I find it really interesting to hear how people get started off. Plus it’s amazing you’re grilling! I definitely don’t see a lot of that, so your website really stands out.

    I started my food blog almost 5 years ago. I’m a pastry school dropout turn dietitian. Over the past year and a half, I actually took a detour from the dietetics field to work with a chef/food photographer. My boss really became my mentor and has largely influenced my cooking style, in addition to, providing some great photography tips.

    At this point, I really want my blog to become more than just a hobby. I would love to learn more about monetization, web design and photography. I would also love to network! I don’t personally know anyone else in the field and would really like to meet new people with similar interests and ambitions.

    I may never be able to sustain a living off my blog, although that’s the long term dream. My major goal, however, is just to be better. To reach more people, to take better photographs, to produce more content and to do it well. I would really love the opportunity to attend this conference and hope to make it out there!

  11. Clarisa says

    Hi!

    I enjoyed the podcast! It was inspiring to hear your story. Wow. Great to hear about some of the ups and downs, and also how certain opportunities came into your path because you were willing to DREAM BIG!! Thank you for sharing.

    I started my food blog as a creative outlet, to practice my photography skills and also to learn the ropes of a blog and all things techie. I’d love to turn it into a ‘side hustle’ but don’t really know where to start! For that reason, I’d LOVE to go to Tastemaker Conference! Also, meeting all my favorite online foodies would be so much fun….aaaaand food is involved so what’s not to love?!

  12. Mary says

    Hi Guys! So fun to hear your story 🙂 It’s so weird since I’ve known you (virtually that is) since you started your blog (crazy right?!), so I’ve witnessed a lot of the growth of Hey Grill Hey from the beginning. But I still learned tons of new things about you two and blogging in general.

    I was totally shaking my head in agreement about the road blocks and challenges that we often face as bloggers. And in fact, I’m in one of those slumps right now, and needing to just be around more people who inspire and lift each other up. Most of the conferences I’ve been to are in a different niche I write about (wine), but I’m desperate to start getting to more advanced level food blogging conferences. I’m ready! I’ll be at EFC and would love to attend Tastemaker too! I’ve been blogging for what feels like forever, but still haven’t come close to where I know I want to be. Which is why I absolutely agree about the power of conferences.
    Hope to finally meet you guys in person sometime soon!
    Cheers 🙂

  13. Becky says

    Such a great episode, your story is so inspiring! I’ve been casually food blogging forever, so I need to decide what I’m going to be when I grow up, but I’ve always loved the blogging world. The connection with other bloggers is amazing! It’s where I finally found my people, and it’s changed my life. I’ve taken a dive into the consulting/writing world and I think my blog may end up being a part of that business, so I need to explore that to see how the pieces fit. Either way, I know Tastemaker will be incredible, I would love to be there!

  14. Stacy Spracklin says

    Great podcast… my husband and I have been kicking around this idea for a while, but can’t seem to pull the trigger (two engineers – who also love preparing great food!). I’d love to go to Tastemaker and learn some tricks and get that kick in the pants to actually leap. And you need to know that Hey Grill Hey makes me happy!

  15. Traci says

    Awesome episode! I am a serial entrepreneur like your dad, Susie. My current business is failing and in the failure I have learned SO SO much. I’m ready to start something new (a food blog) and hopefully implement all I’ve learned from past mistakes and be more successful this time around.
    I would love to go to the Tastemaker Conference to start off with the knowledge, resources, and support for success. Thanks for your generosity in sponsoring a ticket!!

  16. Sarah Licata says

    Loving these podcasts!

    I’m a beginner blogger (started mine about a year ago) and have been eyeing up the Tastemaker conference since it was announced. I would love to learn about new SEO strategies, how to improve my photography and editing, and defining my brand.
    I’d love to have the opportunity to network both with beginner bloggers like myself and other who have taken their passion to the next level. I’m especially interested in the Instagram panel! It would be incredible to meet the speakers who have been my “idols” and inspiration for so much of what I do, and inspired me by showing how food blogging can become a full-time gig.

    As an added bonus, my parents live in SLC so I would get an extra trip to visit them this year (and have a place to stay)!

  17. Susan Savage says

    I would like to see this conference, thanks for the offer. So if I’m gonna tell you my whole story I should start with when I actually had a job in 2016. I was working more than I was allowed to and actually got a write up for working overtime. I got pregnant and I didn’t tell my employer because I knew that they would try to fire me if they knew I was pregnant. The day I was supposed to turn in my paperwork for FMLA they fired me, because I did request the paperwork regardless. I have never had a chance to tell the labor board about it or sue them for wrongful firing but regardless; I haven’t worked since because I’ve just been at home with my baby and I am ready to go back to work. I want to be doing something and I keep hearing how entrepreneurs and moms work from home they work more than eight hours a day. I keep thinking this is for me this is something I should be doing. If I’m gonna be working as hard as I do when I do have a job because I’m a workaholic, I should be doing it at home where I’m happy with my family. So, at this point I really have nothing except followers, on Instagram ,Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and I know I can use all these platforms I just have no clue how. I have millions of ideas running through my head on how this that other company can all make more money or be betterall the timebut for me what I should be doingtrying to come up with something originalI feel likeI know the answer but I’ve got so many answers but I don’t know how to make a decision. On top of that entire story line my husband has no interest in me working from home or selling beads at Shows & vending any of those things he wants me to get a behind the desk, under a manager job.

  18. Samantha says

    Hey there, my name is Samantha and I am a full time photographer and business owner.
    I have been a newborn/wedding photographer for 3 years and last year ended up photographing for a few local food vendors. I immediately fell in love with styling and photographing the food. I decided to make the leap and offer that in my services and it has grown so much that I ended up splitting my time for newborns with food photography. My goal is next year to offer this full time. I’d love to go to the tastemaker conference to learn from these amazing professionals and maybe even jump into blogging as well.

    I always look forward to your podcasts! Thanks again!

  19. Danielle @ Delightful Mom Food says

    Thank you so much for your wonderful encouraging podcast. I appreciate the openness from both of you. I have a healthy living gluten-free food blog, https://delightfulmomfood.com, that I started in 2015. Actually I had a blog before that but decided to take a chance and start over, focusing more on food, proper SEO, and switched to a WordPress format, etc. The first year my blog did amazing and Google took off. Then an algorithm hit and changed everything. I had to work hard on the back-end to get the site running properly again. Haha, I have tried and failed so many times! But you are right, you have to just push through and there will be another big moment to carry you to the next:-) The community and the connections I have made are what makes blogging fun, exciting and helps push me beyond measurement. I am more than passionate about what I do and it does take a lot of work. Well worth it when reader comments and messages come in about how a recipe they tried has gotten their kids to eat vegetables! Just that makes for a great day! The Tastemaker Conference is one that I would love to attend to be able to further grow my learning and outreach in the food blogger community. I want to know what is working for others/what is not working/what is changing. I really want to connect and meet all the talented bloggers instead of seeing just a lovely face on social media stories:-)

  20. Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen says

    Hi there!
    First off, I just want to tell you how inspiring and encouraging it was to hear such real and honest stories from you two on this podcast episode. It sometimes feels rare to find people who are willing to be so open and honest about the process, although there are a lot of supportive and helpful creatives (yes, creatives! Us planners and organizers can be creative too, such an aha moment for me) out there who are willing to share their time and knowledge. I also really appreciated Todd’s motivational words, it lit a fire in me!

    I would be honored and so appreciative to attend the Tastemaker Conference. I visit the website almost weekly and want to purchase the tickets so badly, but I just can’t seem to make it work between the tickets, flights, and hotel. Although I know it would be so incredibly worthwhile and invaluable.

    Attending the Tastemaker Conference feels like the one piece that could really get me in the, “I can do this, I can be a businesswomen” mindset. I find myself day dreaming about what it could be, but then I come back to reality and think, “but can you?” I think being able to meet and learn from successful, hardworking leaders in the industry would be such a valuable opportunity for learning and growing.

    I loved your anecdote, Susie, on not bringing your laptop. Because I probably would have done the same thing. I would bring some paper and a pen and plan to take in all the knowledge I could and focus on being there. But it’s such a good point you make—these people are business owners and the work doesn’t stop just because they’re in a different state.

    I cannot express how much this would mean to me, I would be forever grateful.

    Thank you again for the wonderful podcast!

    Lauren

  21. Angela says

    I really appreciated hearing your journey…it really touched home with me. I have a landing page set up and a ton of ideas and recipes but need to build my confidence and move beyond fear and that feeling that what I have to offer may not be of enough interest to one day do this blogging thing fulltime.

    I work a 9 to 5 and have plans to launch my blog this year. I would love to attend the Tastemakers Conference to learn how to build a solid foundation in order to start a successful blog…and I am a HUGE fan of Lisa from Downshiftology!

    I have read the other comments and you guys have your work cut out for you…best of luck to all of those that have entered and I hope to meet many of you in September!

  22. Susie says

    I found your podcast from the most recent email that went out about the Tastemaker conference… and am currently listening to this episode “Overcoming Challenges”… I literally feel like you are telling my story back to me (except for the success part- lol- I’m working on it!). I went to college, didn’t finish, bounced thru jobs that I loved but never felt passionate about…. and after being a stay at home mom for 5 years I am facing my youngest going on to Kindergarten, I knew that I needed to find something for myself, but not something that would change my life drastically… I make and plan dinner every week… and so do millions of other moms… so Mom’s Dinner was born! I love it and feel crazy passionate about the recipes and photography and writing. It is something that I finally feel crazy proud of in my life! I love your words about treating it like a business… Thank you for the inspiration tonight!!!! Loving the podcast (sorry this is so long… just feeling super inspired by you!!!!)

  23. Isaac says

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to attend this conference! That is very generous of you guys. I recently started following you both, and I’ve really enjoyed your content. I got a smoker last fall and have fallen in love with cooking again. It’s been so great! I even got an insulation blanket and was cooking in some freezing weather (I’m a Utah native as well). I’d love to start creating content and getting to know the industry better. I’d also like to be able to reach out to other bloggers because I feel like I have a lot to offer in terms of SEO and digital marketing (been in that industry for over 10 years now). I have a big soft spot for entrepreneurs, and I want to help others succeed! I’d love to run my own business full time (right now, I’m working for a company full-time, and running my own side business … so working a lot of hours, but it’s been great). You have really inspired me to keep pushing forward and ignore the negatives! Thanks for all your doing. I hope to win this great opportunity and see you all there! Thanks so much again for your generosity! Keep up the great work!

  24. Tina says

    Y’all…you had me in like ugly tears listening to this podcast. So many things you said rang true for me and really hit my soul.

    I originally started my blog 4 years ago not knowing what the heck I was doing and no expectation of anyone reading it other than my Daddy. My blogging journey has been so rocky due to life, lack of knowledge – in the beginning- and honestly, not knowing how to balance it all.

    And if I’m being completely honest, I probably hold myself back from creating more food content because I deem my food blogging skills less than worthy most the time. I feel Tastemakers would give me the confidence I need to put my self out there more and the skills I need to really soar with my love of food and storytelling.

  25. Caitlin Haines says

    This episode was exactly what I needed to hear! I can relate to your story in so many ways and I feel encouraged & inspired to continue my food blogger journey! I’m a full time high school teacher in my third year. I teach Nutrition & Culinary Arts. Teaching is a great passion of mine but something has always been missing. I started my blog last summer as a skills portfolio and a way to share my self-taught food knowledge with a larger audience. I finally made it public in November! In the beginning it was difficult to make time for quality content while also running an entire culinary department on my own in a large high school.

    I decided to leave my teaching job, for a few reasons, one being that I know there is a fountain of untapped potential inside me that I just need to get to! My work environment is no longer a space that gives me room to grow. I’m finishing out the school year, giving it all I’ve got (because my students deserve it!) and also putting more into my blog. I’m taking a major risk by leaving my full time job, but I feel it’s now or never and absolutely necessary if I’m going to start living the life I want to.

    I want to go to Tastemaker’s Conference to be surrounded by like minded individuals who are pushing, striving, and lifting others towards success. The Tastemaker’s Conference will be a step in the right direction towards my goals of turning my food blog into a way to make a living & to be a useful resource for others. Above all, I have a deep passion for teaching and learning. The opportunity to learn from those who have started where I am now (unsure of what to do, second guessing, but always believing and creating) and have been successful in this industry would be invaluable! This podcast alone has inspired me to keep going, imagine what a whole two days could do!

    Thank you for this opportunity! No matter the outcome, I will find a way 🙂

  26. Diane Hartford says

    I started my food blog in August 2016. I work a full-time job so my blog is my side hustle. I spend an crazy number of hours working on my blog during the evenings and weekends. Last fall I switched my work schedule so that I work four ten-hour shifts. This gives me another day to photograph recipes. I love it and I know it is a long game but sometimes it can be discouraging to look at your analytics and see that 50 people looked at your blog that day.

    Last fall I got the opportunity to do my first sponsored post for Alaska Select Seafood. I showed up at an event with other bloggers to meet the owner of Alaska Select. I was so nervous. Could I shoot good photos in the commercial kitchen with fluorescent lights? Everyone seemed to know each other so I sat alone at the back of the room. After the owner’s presentation we went to the kitchen stations to prepare a few recipes using seafood from Alaska Select.

    Susie from Hey Grill Hey was at the event to demo a few of her recipes for the bloggers. She was so warm and friendly and went out of her way to chat with me for a few minutes. That interaction made me feel at ease and boosted my confidence.

    My photos from the evening turned out terrific. I was so proud and will always think of that night as a turning point in my blogging path.

  27. Heidi says

    What a beautiful way to encourage new and budding bloggers! Thank you for sharing your gifts, knowledge, (and ticket)!

    I began blogging 8 years ago to connect and learn. My content was joy in homemakery: sewing, baking, kids, DIY … I got a spark of confidence after winning friendly competition and began to have a vision for sharing through blogging. After a family trauma I got stuck/scared/busy. I’m hitting roadblocks in my attempts to come back (spammer got ahold of my domain) and I could really use some advice and direction. Thank you for your podcast and thank you for this opportunity!

  28. Amber Mann says

    I loved your podcast today. I don’t remember how I stumbled across it but I did and I’m so glad. I’ve been in the freeze dried food business for years but I’m starting a blog. Every time I go live on Facebook I get a ton of views and people are really interested in how they can make delicious food in minutes with what they already have in their pantry.

    Freeze dried food is showing up everywhere-even on the Food Network. I really want to be the first food blog known for family friendly freeze dried cooking. I teach a college writing class for a nearby university but struggle in being concise and entertaining at the same time with my own post. I could also use some photo help (see @freezedriedfood on Insta) I’m in Pleasant Grove so if you ever want to try out freeze dried food for one of your sides-I’d love to bring you what you need! Happy day friends!

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