Become a food critic!

With the internet, anyone can pop online and write a review about a place they dined at. I do this all the time, and one of my favorite places to review the places I’ve eaten at is Trip Advisory. I give more details in my podcast about how to become a food critic

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I have been trying to break into the food critic industry for a while now and to be honest, it’s not an easy task, but it can be done! My husband and I love going out to eat, he has pretty much turned me into a foodie. I went from being this country girl living out in the sticks, eating at Sonny’s BBQ or Taco Bell, to now knowing the correct way to eat lobster. Most of our dates for the past 12 years have revolved around food. This has given me a pretty good palate! For the past 2 years I have been writing reviews on the places we eat at, and a few months back I got contacted by one of the sites I give free reviews too, letting me know my reviews were one of the higher ranked ones! I was so excited that I started thinking about becoming a paid food critic. Who doesn’t want to get paid to eat?

Here are my 10 tips for becoming a paid food critic.

  1. BA, or degree in journalism – Most of the places I’ve found that hire food critics always ask that you have a BA or have a degree in journalism. I don’t have either of these, so most of the higher paying jobs are not on the table for me, but don’t count me out yet. Just because I don’t have a degree in journalism doesn’t mean I can’t be a food Critic!
  2. Experience – Even without a degree, almost everywhere I’ve looked ask for experience. This is great for me personally because I have a ton of experience being a freelance writer, as well as all the reviews I’ve done online. I can refer potential employers to my reviews, and they can see how well my reviews rank, and how much influence I’ve had on my readers. So, go get some experience. Start writing reviews. Go to Trip Advisor, Yelp or other sites that ask for your reviews on places you’ve been. Even Google has a place where you can review places. This is the best way to start getting experience! When you eat somewhere, write about it.
  3. Take Notes – Whenever you go out to eat, always have a pen and paper in your purse. Jot down the dish you ate, your wait time, and any little details you may have liked or disliked about the place. If you are anything like me you tend to forget things once you leave, so having notes always helps me remember what I want to say about that place. Remember to be unbiased and honest. You don’t want to complain about the guy next to you smelling bad if it has nothing to do with the service you got.
  4. Become knowledgeable about the food – One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a food critic, is not knowing the correct name of the restaurant or food that you ate there. Familiarize yourself with the place, and the menu. Make sure you are spelling the food names correctly, or as it’s written on their menu. For example, Over the moon tots instead of tater tots. Know what you ordered and how to spell it!
  5. Research – The one thing I always do when I want to learn about something is research it. I go to Google, or Youtube, and search for as many things possible about the subject. Not all of them will be good information, but you have to take the good with the bad and know when to call a bluff on some post out there. Meaning, if you see something that says for $200 I’ll teach you how to make money as a food critic…walk away. You can find this knowledge on your own for free. Don’t pay for something you can do yourself.
  6. Blog – The best way to get started is to just start writing! This goes along with experience, but when you start your own blog you are in control of the content. There are a ton of FREE blog sites you can start with like Blogspot, WordPress, or Medium. You don’t need to invest money upfront for this, just start your blog on one of these free platforms and see if you get any feedback. In my opinion, a blog is the best way to get started in this industry. Especially if you don’t have any schooling on the subject. If you can become known as the local go-to person for places in the area, then you are bound to be picked up by your local newspaper, or other places that want your influence for their gain. Start blogging and marketing your blog to local sites. Once you get content to share, you can start getting momentum! See where it leads!
  7. Networking – Finding like-minded people is a great way to learn what the do’s and don’t are to this industry. Facebook has a ton of groups for all sorts of things. I know you can find one for food critics or if not, make your own group for food reviews in your area. Become the ADMIN of your own group and connect it to your blog. A win, win for marketing and connecting with locals all at the same time!
  8. Go incognito – The one thing you don’t want to do when you are working as a food critic is to tell the restaurant that you are a food blogger or food critic. This will change your experience, and you want it to be authentic. If the place you review knows you are doing a review, they will go out of their way to make sure you get the best service possible, and it won’t be a real review. Stay anonymous so that you can have a real authentic experience, and so that your readers will know the real story of the place you go to. Now, as you gain popularity, you may start to get recognized, but ultimately you just don’t want to announce you’re a food critic.
  9. Be fearless – What I mean by this is that when you are reviewing food, you want to not be scared to try new things. Actually, you kind of have to try new things. If you go to 10 places and always order the steak and mashed potatoes, then your reviews are going to start getting pretty boring. I know we all are picky when it comes to the food we like, and dislike but if you want to be a well-paid food reviewer, you’re going to have to get out of that comfort zone and try new things. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to eat mealworm cookies or chocolate covered ants, that is unless you want to, but it does mean you need to expand your palate and taste those grits you never cared for, or the fattening chicken and dumplings your momma told you that go straight to your thighs. Hey, if you want to eat for a living you might want to invest in a Gym membership as well, cause you need to try it all. Not all at once though…In moderation. HAHA
  10. Food Poisoning – The bitter truth about eating for a living is there will come a time when you get food poisoning. Unfortunately, it’s part of the job. Whenever you are dealing with numerous restaurants and even mom and pop type places, there is a chance you can get food poisoning. Just look at Gordon Ramsay for instance, he has been on many TV shows and talks about the hundreds of times he’s gotten food poisoning. It stinks, and yes I mean that literally, but it’s one of the downfalls of eating for a living. On the plus side, at least you can expose them for unsanitary food.

These are my personal tips that have been helping me along the way, and I hope they help you as well. Get eating and writing about it now, it’s never too late to start!  As always, I would love to hear from you so feel free to find me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook. Or send me an email! I look forward to hearing from you!

12 unique ways you can make money

 

Thinking outside the box

This is for those of you who just can’t get into the flow of your everyday job. Maybe you’ve tried a lot of different jobs and for one reason or another, it just never works out. Your interest always changes, and working for someone else is not what makes you happy.

Well, friend, I am here to tell you that we are living in the best time possible for thinking outside the box, and making money where you never thought possible. We are in the age of the internet, and word of mouth does not have to be from the people next door, you can literally reach millions of people with a click of a button on the internet.

TODAY IS YOUR DAY! MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Here are 12 ways to make money thinking outside the box:

  1. Selling Cow Poop – I know a guy whose dad owns a cattle farm. He sells cows for a living. His son (my friend) was always made to go out and clean the cow poop from the pasture. As this boy grew up, he was still cleaning out the cow pasture, but now instead of dumping all that poop…he sells it. Yeah, he makes money selling manure to fertilizer plants. Yes, it is a stinky job but he is an example of how thinking outside the box can bring you income.
  2. Worm Farming – This is what I am doing as my side hustle. People buy my worms for bait or to feed their reptiles. We are a small operation as of now, and we make about $200 a month, but it’s for worms! If you like bugs you can also breed roaches. Depending on where you live Dubia Roaches are a very popular feeder bug. You cannot farm those in Florida but roaches are even easier to farm if you can handle knowing roaches are in your house.
  3. Busking – A busker is an entertainer who performs on the street, or at a show for cash. You’ve probably seen someone at a beach or park singing with a hat on the ground.  Well, that is a busker. My cousin actually makes a living as a bucket drummer. He is amazing to watch by the way. If you have a talent, why not make a show out of it. Sing, belly dance, be a living statue or make up your own show. You might be surprised at how much money you might make. I even know The Tampa Bay Girl on Fire. She’s from the Tampa area and puts on amazing fire shows, even does naughty body painting as her full-time job! Cool right? I’ll link their info below if you want to check them out later. 
  4. Birthday Party Act – Ever consider dressing up as a mermaid or fairy for a birthday party? I actually know a mermaid performer personally named Mermaid Raquel, and she gets booked every year to come to a preschool & talk about ocean conservation. If you really hustled with this, you could bring in some money during the year. I can tell you from personal experience that I hired two Princesses to come to my daughter’s Princess tea party. One painted faces, and the other read stories. They were teenage girls who got to split $350. That was for only a few hours of work. The birthday party market can bring in cash like crazy.
  5. Fetish Videos – Oh no I just went there. I may not have personal experience with this category but I do know that sex sells & if you are in a pinch for money then maybe this sort of thing might be the answer. Now the good thing about fetish stuff is most the time you don’t have to show your face. You can stomp on fruit, or just walk around the room in heels only showing your feet. You can even just rub your elbows if that is what you want to do. I guarantee you someone will pay to see it, there are plenty of sites that will buy your videos. Along these lines is also sex phone operator. I can’t do this one because I never have a quiet house, plus I’d just feel weird doing it, but I have heard many college girls were put through college being a sex phone operator. It’s definitely outside the box and an easy money maker!
  6. Cleaning Crime Scenes – This is not for the faint of heart, but if you can handle it, you can make so much money with just one crime scene. We are talking thousands of dollars. Now this takes a little more effort on your part, and you’ll need some classes to be up on all your hazardous materials and what not, but talk about big money!!! One or two clean up’s and you would not have to work again for months! 
  7. Rock Painter – This one might take you by surprise but I am a part of a lot of painted rock groups. This is the new craze that has hit just about every town on the map. On one of my local groups, a lady paints rocks and sells them to people on the page. I kid you not! She is an amazing artist and some of the rocks she paints belong in a frame for sure, but I was shocked when I found out she sells some of her rocks for $45! And yes, they do sell at that price. When you consider you can get a rock in your yard for free, this is pure profit, and since it’s the new hot thing to do, right now is the time to jump on this bandwagon.
  8. Yard Sale – Okay, this one may not be outside of the box; however, you can actually make a living by going to yard sales, and reselling stuff online. Ebay, Amazon, Let Go, and Craigslist are all sites where you can sell your stuff. If you buy a really nice product for $1 at a yard sale, but you research it and see it’s selling for $10 on eBay then you just made a $9 profit. This is something you can do on weekends as a side hustle, or turn it into a full-time income. Also, you can make money just by selling your stuff. Need an extra $500 to make rent this month? Do your own yard sale. I know you have crap tucked away that you can sell for a profit if you really wanted to. On that note, you can also do consignment sales. Most consignments sales will give you top dollar for your kids hand me down toys & clothes. 
  9. Twitch – Oh I love watching Twitch streams. If you have not heard of this, go check it out (link below). It’s a place where you can watch people play video games live. You can also draw, sing, whatever you want on the live stream, as long as you keep it PG 13. So, with Twitch you get followers just like other social media platforms, but people can actually donate to your channel. If you have good content and are consistent, people will start subscribing. If you subscribe on Twitch, you actually pay to subscribe to that user, so they get paid for you watching them. It’s actually brilliant, and I watched a girl make over 5 grand in one 12-hour gaming stream. Whoever is watching gets to see the donations pop up on the screen, it was insane but that girl had a ton of money in her PayPal that night. She was pretty entertaining to watch, but the crazy thing is that in one night she made more than I make in one month. 
  10. Emails – Did you know that you can actually make money by checking someone’s email’s and answering them professionally? It’s true. Some big businesses get millions of emails a day and the boss cannot keep up with them all, so they hire people to check their emails and answer them with the message they provide. If you want to find more details on this, you can Google it. There are now sites that the company can hire and you’d work for that email writing company. However, some places would rather work with you one on one, so having a good landing page to tell them who you are could help you start your own email reading business. Worth a shot, right?
  11. YouTube – So many people are making money on YouTube these days. I can actually say I am one of them. Okay, so I have never made enough money to quit my job or anything, but I use Henna in my hair. Henna is a plant used in body art, but you can also use it to dye your hair naturally. Anyway, I have a ton of YouTube videos on it (link below) and have made a few hundred dollars just from my videos. Now, I have not posted a new video in years, but if I would put the time into it as I used to, then I might be able to make more, but I am proof that you actually can get paid from YouTube videos. If you have something interesting to say, teach, or share why not document it! You might just get a following, although most channels do not become big overnight. Like any business, YouTube is a huge commitment, and it will be years before you see money coming in, but if you have the gift, why not post videos! I would love to see them…
  12. Doggy Daycare – If you have space and don’t mind dogs, then why not offer your yard to a few friends as a doggy daycare. A lot of people have to leave their dogs locked up for hours when they go to work, and most owners feel like their dog is like their child. Dogs bring in cash, whether it’s baking dog treats (another great idea) or selling blinged out dog collars, in the right area dog businesses are pure gold. In my town, the #1 food truck is a dog bakery. It’s true. So if you love dogs, why not open your home to a few of your friends or neighbor’s dogs. See how it works out. If that fails, you can always offer to walk the dogs, and even for an extra charge clean up their yard of doggy doo doo! Why not?

Those were 12 ideas that I thought could help you think outside the box. Now, I am going to tell you about my own experience with a side hustle that actually has brought in more income then we expected. My husband and I are longtime exotic animal lovers, we have nine lizards. We started spending so much money on mealworms, plus they always looked so small and barely alive when we bought them from the pet store, so we decided to start raising mealworms for our lizards. This way we can feed the worms organically, and gut load them for our lizards. After a year we ended up with so many worms that we didn’t know what to do with them all. That’s when my husband came up with the idea to sell them. We got a local store interested in some to use for bait and then Sunshine Breeders was born. Now we have regular customers each week and the store that buys from us monthly. It does take work to separate the worms, a few hours a week, but considering we only paid for the 500 worms $12 last year and now we have thousands of worms we have already tripled our investment. Now that we are an official LLC I did have to invest in cups, labels, cards ETC… but still overall a small overhead when you consider we feed the worms our food. Like the head of lettuce, the peel of a banana stems of broccoli, all things that would have been thrown out. This is a great example of how you can make money just by thinking outside the box.

Here are some links for you to check out.

Chris the Bucket Drummer – http://www.bucketdrummer.com/

Tampa Girl on Fire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY8sp0895IM

Naughty Body art – http://www.naughtybodyart.com/

Twitch – https://go.twitch.tv/

Mermaid Raquel – https://www.facebook.com/raquelthemermaid/?fref=mentions

Sheena The Henna Queen – https://www.youtube.com/sheenathehennaqueen

Sunshine Breeders – http://www.sunshinebreeders.com