#14 — Alex Snodgrass — Food For Thought
Below the Line with James Beshara
Alex Snodgrass, aka The Defined Dish, has built a social media following that would make any brand jealous, with over hundreds of thousands of followers engaging around her simple and incredibly tasty whole30 and paleo dish recipes every day. She has all the social media (and in real life) love that creates a pretty pristine Above the Line version of her business.
But a simple ingredient that made the conversation with this creator such an interesting one was her honesty on what it’s really like to be a social media “influencer”. We talk about everything from the fact that 2 years in (and with little traction), deciding if it was still worth doing, simplification being a key to success, anxiety attacks and the importance of investing in mental health — and in the midst of naturally being a people-pleaser, and having a spouse, two daughters, employees and hundreds of thousands of people that would want some of her time requires something simple and powerful: a checklist of things that helps remind her daily what she needs to do for herself.
It’s a special episode of Below The Line with Alex today — we hope you enjoy it.
About the host: James Beshara is an angel investor, advisor, founder, and general startup-helper in San Francisco, California. He has started three companies, sold one (Tilt; acq by Airbnb), and angel invested in multiple billion-dollar startups in his career. And now he's talking openly and honestly with leaders about what's going on "below the line" in their lives and careers that has made them the people that the are; the 90% of the story you don't read about or hear about anywhere else.
If you have any questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com and follow us on twitter @belowthelinepodcast or follow James @JamesBeshara.
"Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts, LLC.
In this episode
- 00:00 - Who is Alex Snodgrass?
- 07:21 - What was it like to have your first appearance in front of a live audience?
- 11:37 - What was it like to host hundreds of people for a dining experience?
- 14:50 - Why would people come to meet the creator of The Defined Dish live?
- 16:40 - What was Alex's husband view on her blog?
- 19:53 - How does Alex Snodgrass make The Defined Dish a success?
- 22:02 - What is the hardest thing about running a food blog?
- 24:42 - Why do people love The Defined Dish?
- 31:18 - Have you ever being brought to tears with a social media comment?
- 34:28 - How do you not offend your followers?
- 37:01 - Should an influencer work with a management firm?
- 40:47 - When is a good time for an influencer to sign with a management company?
- 43:24 - What were the three stories that have shaped Alex Snodgrass?
- 46:40 - How can a founder take care of their mental health?
Smash Notes summary for this episode
Who is Alex Snodgrass?
Alex is a social media influencer and the foodie behind The Defined Dish. Alex has hundreds of thousands of followers, engaged with her incredibly tasty healthy and paleo meals. Two years in, with no traction, she was faced with the choice to shut down or to keep going; she stuck with it, and eventually The Define Dish took off.
What was it like to have your first appearance in front of a live audience?
With 50,000 followers on her blog/instagram, Alex had a great time doing a live show in-front of real humans who showed up to share how her work changed their lives.
What was it like to host hundreds of people for a dining experience?
It was very overwhelming because people wanted to see Alex as if she's a celebrity, while she never thought of herself that way and just wanted to share valuable recipes. From then on, she's decided to create events that would deliver more value to the audience.
Why would people come to meet the creator of The Defined Dish live?
It was strange for Alex Snodgrass to know that people wanted to meet her. Why would they? Her husband suggested that maybe she was in fact giving something that was valuable to people. Maybe she was inspiring someone to cook for the first time, or to eat healthy. Whatever the reason, she was adding value.
What was Alex's husband view on her blog?
He was very supporting and encouraged her to go 110% on it, to make sure that it would turn into a valuable business, instead of slow-burn her time.
How does Alex Snodgrass make The Defined Dish a success?
It took a few years for her to realize that although she was a food blogger, it didn't mean she had to do what everyone else was doing. As soon as she found her niche, and started to produce recipes specifically for them, the site took off.
What is the hardest thing about running a food blog?
The more you grow, the bigger the audience, and the bigger the demand to engage. Alex benefited a great deal from hiring people to take on the non-core parts, and focusing on her recipes.
Why do people love The Defined Dish?
Alex loves what she does and she is 100% focused on making recipes that she enjoys. Her followers know that and come for the special feel.
Have you ever being brought to tears with a social media comment?
Some random person on Instagram tried to shame Alex for spending too little time with her kids. Of course that was not true, but unfortunately "mom shaming" is a real thing, and strangers feel like it's their duty to give unsolicited baseless advice.
How do you not offend your followers?
It's impossible to not offend someone, when you have so many followers. You just have to accept that.
Should an influencer work with a management firm?
Yes. They negotiate on your behalf and know how to create partnership that benefits both parties. Using a management firm, Alex has been able to leverage her status for more income, while still only working with brands and partners that she approves.
When is a good time for an influencer to sign with a management company?
It makes sense to get a management company once you've streamlined your product offering and can use them to amplify your growth.
What were the three stories that have shaped Alex Snodgrass?
(1) Study abroad was a great experience that broaden Alex's world view and connected her to her ambitions.
(2) Getting pregnant early into her marriage put a temporary damper on her ambition, but then later lead to (3) Starting The Defined Dish.
How can a founder take care of their mental health?
Alex struggled with anxiety after having her child. She realized she had to take care of herself before being able to take care of the people around her. Things tend to come up around the house, and it's hard to balance work, motherhood, and random distractions. It was tricky to let go of the day-to-day parenting chores, but it also enabled Alex to work on her business and to be a good role model for her kids. You have to draw line in the sand and to stick with it.