Happy 1st Anniversary, Eat, Move, Be!

Happy 1st anniversary Eat, Move, Be

Last week I noticed an update on my LinkedIn account congratulating me on my 1-year work anniversary. I was confused – in January I had a similar message about the eight years I’ve been training clients at the Adelaide Club in Toronto.

When I went to my LinkedIn profile I saw that it was was the 1st anniversary of Eat, Move, Be!

What? I’ve been so busy focusing on production that I forgot! If I simply let this moment slide I would miss the opportunity to not only celebrate, but to reflect on this personal milestone.

Here’s a brief (nope, it was brief, but then this post grew!), personal review and reflection on Eat, Move, Be’s first anniversary.

Total Posts Published

I published 70 posts between 16 March 2014 and 20 March 2015.

At about 1.5 posts per week I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I would like to consistently publish two posts per week, but I’m also considering different types of posts.

For example, I recently started publishing a Top Health, Nutrition and Fitness Articles post. There’s a ton of great information online but I feel it gets lost if I only tweet the original article on Twitter or post it to my Facebook page.

What I would rather do is provide valuable insight. Instead of posting a link, I want to say something about the article that would excite, educate or interest you enough to read more.

What I might start doing is to publish more short posts, similar to the top articles post above, but commenting on a single article or recent situation or trend.

These posting strategies satisfy a few needs:

  • To improve my site content
  • To build more traffic (having more content for new readers to enjoy)
  • To allow me to build my reputation by sharing my knowledge and approach to health and fitness
  • To slowly and steadily create content to publish another book.

Site Stats and Growth

After the launch of Eat, Move, Be in March 2014 I saw a consistent 600 site visits per month for the first few months. That number has grown to almost 2,700 (or about 90/day)!

I am looking forward to hitting 5,000 views per month by mid-summer!

Top 3 Posts

Since very early on How To Cook Meals In Bulk, Part 4: Baked Mango Chicken Breast Recipe has steadily been my number one post. I plan to update the images at some point in the near future, since I shot this recipe with my iPhone!

My second most popular post is my Beet Carrot Salad Recipe, which was also the first post that I shot with my Canon T5i DSLR camera and studio lighting.

My slow cooker recipes have done well, in particular my Slow Cooker Beef Stew With Parsnips And Carrots Recipe got a lot of shares on my Pinterest board.

My Favourite Post

Hands down my personal favourite is the post, What Matters Most In Life?

I’m introspective to the point of being self-absorbed, but I’m most interested in quality of life, being happy (actually joyful!), free, genuine, unique and relaxed. I want to learn more, practice more and teach others how to live a higher quality of life that they weren’t taught about in school!

What Has Been Challenging

I admit that I’m a “fiddler” – I like to fiddle with how things look on my site. Some things worked, and others didn’t. When I’m frustrated and not sure what do to, I can play around in the admin area of my site and tell myself that I’m not procrastinating!

When Eat, Move, Be first launched I was using a StudioPress Theme (which is a template to make the site look and work in a particular way). It was fine for a time, but I wanted a cleaner look with less graphics.

EatMoveBe StreamLine Pro Theme

The first version of Eat, Move, Be

I then installed “Foodie” which a lot of food bloggers use for their websites – a LOT of food bloggers. So many in fact that I felt like I was part of the herd. And when I feel like I’m part of the herd I run. I want to stand out, but I know it takes time to be recognized for the value and insight you are offering others.

EatMoveBe FoodIe Pro Theme

I’m also not a food blogger. While my site has been heavily focused on food, healthy recipes, cooking, and healthy eating, I have written a lot about mindset, well-being and articles on fitness.

I “finally” settled on a new (and the current) theme called Pressive by Thrive Themes in December.

From a technical perspective it gives a non-coder like me a lot of control and it has so many built-in options to make pages and images load faster, which means you don’t have to wait!

Some day in the future I plan to work with a designer to make a simple logo and adjust the colours on the site to be a bit more appealing.

Lastly, in many ways I’m still figuring things out. I’m still trying to pinpoint my exact audience. I’m still trying to free my own voice. I’m still working on products and services to make Eat, Move, Be a successful online business.

After having created and closed two previous websites (DarrenStehle.com and AllAboutMealPlanning.com), I know in my gut that Eat, Move, Be is the best medium for communicating what I want to say and to create something that I can be truly proud of.

What to Expect in the Year Ahead

More Fitness and Training Content

I’m almost done editing a post addressing the issue of how many set and reps to perform in a workout.

In the next few weeks to a month I will launch my online health and fitness coaching service, with a variety of plans and products to be introduced over the coming months.

There is a also a healthy eating and nutrition webinar in the works.

Better Photography

Since January I’ve been taking a Food and Product Photography course.

It’s been great and I love the various challenges we’ve been given, the different lighting techniques I’ve learned, and the awareness of how much I need to practice, that I need to improve my control of “white balance”, and that I need to make better “sets” so that the finished meals looks appetizing and gorgeous.

You can see some of my in-studio work (please be kind!) on my Flickr account.

2nd Edition of Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours

While I was very happy and proud of what I accomplished with the launch of my cookbook last September, I know it can be so much more. I also know it hasn’t reached a large enough market and I’m constantly told how good the book is, and that there are very few others like it!Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours eBook by Darren Stehle

Not only do I need to get better at marketing my book, but I know it can be so much stronger. I plan to add many new sections, including:

  • Healthy eating guidelines
  • Basic nutrition background
  • Possibly add nutrition labeling to the recipes
  • Add more recipes
  • Add breakfast and healthy snack recipes
  • Include a couple of healthy protein smoothies
  • Expand the meal plan options
  • Include printable recipe cards, grocery lists, meal plans
  • Include external support files like a meal planning drop down spreadsheet to plan your week of meals

A very lofty goal is to turn my book into a video course. This would be a huge undertaking and one that I don’t think I can manage on my own.

Free Online Course

I mentioned the healthy eating and nutrition webinar above, but in the meantime I am working on an “auto-responder” course, so that when you subscribe to Eat, Move, Be, you get access to a 10-week free course (or whatever length of time I decide upon).

From what I’ve read this is a more effective way to help people make changes, and to digest information, than giving it all away in a free eBook. Stay tuned!

Shout Outs & Gratitude

Thank you for reading and thank you if you are a follower or subscriber to Eat, Move, Be. Without you this site would not exist. You, my audience, are and will always be the people to whom I am most grateful. And thank you to everyone who bought Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours!

And talk to me – leave comments on my posts, email me, asks questions. The best way for me to improve is to know I am helping you directly.

Fizzle

I had been following Corbett Barr on his former website, ThinkTraffic, for several months before I decide to become a member of his training website and forum, Fizzle, so that I could take his course, Start a Blog That Matters.

I joined in late November 2013 when I realized I needed to pivot, close AllAboutMealPlanning and start something new. I spent a couple of months absorbing the training and actively engaging other members in the forum. Fizzle provided the most intelligent and thoughtful training I had ever come across on how to build a blog that would truly matter.

What I most liked about the training was that it didn’t tell me what to do, rather it taught me how to think through the process step-by-step to create something unique.

Thanks to the Fizzle team of Corbett Barr, Caleb Wojcik, Chase Reeves and Barrett Brooks for all their help and individual interactions.

And massive thanks to the many people on Fizzle who were so helpful during my period of questioning and building – I apologize in advance for anyone I’ve missed:

Faith Watson, Will Lenzen Jr, Joe Augustin, Darlene Hildebrandt, Micheal Ofei, John Muldoon, Kevin T Johns, Jim Anderson, Beth Hornback and Jennifer Mulder.

My MC4 MasterMind Group

MC4 is an acronym for: Movement / Care / Challenge / Commitment / Confidential.

Last summer I was invited to join a mastermind group that has had a significant impact in my business. Being accountable on a weekly basis to these guys, taking turns in the “hot seat”, learning from their knowledge and challenges has been wonderful. I look forward to every Monday night when I get to work with this team:

Dave Stachowiak, Tim Stringer, Adam Hagerman and Jesse Robinson.

VIPs – The Mosts Important People in my Life

To my dear friend, Ron, who has been (and continues to be) a constant supporter of my work and a long-term client, I don’t know how I would’ve made it this far without your investment and support.

And of course a heartfelt thank you to my partner, lover and best friend, Christiaan. For your love, support, editorial feedback and nonjudgmental ear, I really appreciate all the times you’ve been there just to listen to my rants. You make me laugh, feel young at heart and feel alive.

Darren and Christiaan Aug14

To Wrap

I was really bummed out yesterday, not so much depressed as I was questioning everything I was doing and the value of what I was doing. I was so stuck in that vicious mental cycle of self questioning and doubt that I could not focus on editing the draft of the post I planned to publish.

Today is so much better!

Sometimes when we find ourselves in that kind of a state we might choose to stay there. Other times it’s really important to move your body as vigorously as possible, to literally shake yourself out of it. Yesterday I knew there was value remaining in that state. I pondered, stewed, reflected, journaled and came to some healthy conclusions about what would make be most happy going forward.

I am happy and proud of what I have created with Eat, Move, Be.

They say it can take up to five years for a business to really take off and become successful. While this may be year-one for my website, this is not the first time I’ve done this. I hope that my previous experiences will help propel me more quickly to success on all levels.

So much of that success depends on you – your enjoyment, feedback, sharing and consuming of what I have to offer.

Thank you for reading.

Eat well, move often and be your very best!

Darren

  • Hey Darren! HUGE congrats on getting through your first year of blogging. The stats are great to hear, and I’m so glad to see all the progress this year and can’t wait to see what comes next. Celebrate the anniversary – you deserve it.

    • Thanks, Corbett! I learned a lot putting this post together. It’s amazing what we forget unless we put our mind in the place of reflection. Hope to see you again within Fizzle!

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Cook a Week of Meals Video Course

Learn my methods and strategies to make bulk meal preparation easy and time-efficient.

Cook a week of meals video program
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