A day in the life: Food blogger Erica Eckman

Meet Erica, or, as she’s known as on social media, @EverythingErica. She is a Chicago-based food and lifestyle blogger and has been snapping pictures of her favorite dishes and beyond for four years. 

Mother to almost 2-year-old Elia, Erica gave us a glimpse into a typical day for her and shared everything from motherhood to friends, freebies and how she makes her money. It turns out she has way more up her sleeve than even her very public social media profiles reveal. 

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All photos shot by Michelle Magee Elfvin/@chicagomomgoessuburban

Erica, in her own words

Describe what you do for work

“I live my life and share parts of it with the world. In turn, I have cultivated an audience of like-minded foodies and moms that tune in every day to see my lighthearted approach to life. With me, nothing is too difficult and I make sure everything I do, share and endorse is something anyone can do.”

How has motherhood changed how you manage your profession? 

“It has changed every single aspect of my career. When I first started this brand four years ago, I was classified as a food blogger, 100 percent. It was food, day in and day out. I’d go to the opening of every single restaurant, try every new food product on the shelves and didn’t have a care in the world about my time or health. It was bliss! 

Obviously, with a child brings change. There’s the tough stuff like not being able to go out as much and having to be more cognizant of what I eat, because this post-baby body just isn’t as forgiving. 

However, there are so many more amazing changes that outshine anything negative. For one, motherhood has allowed me to expand my brand and focus on things other than food. For so long, I never really had any other passion besides food. Now, the love for my daughter and for all things motherhood has breathed new life into my world. It’s given me a new passion, a new voice and subsequently, a new audience to talk with. I feel so blessed that many of followers decided to stick around for the journey AND I’ve been able to meet lots of new people!

Finally, I had to get better at prioritizing things and I think that skill has actually made me more successful. I no longer waste time working with people or things that don’t serve a better purpose. I’m efficient as heck!”

Blogging isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Internet trolls are rampant. What is the most hurtful thing someone has said to or about you, and how did you handle it? 

“I think the most hurtful thing that I’ve heard was I shouldn’t have anymore kids because I complain about the one I have. It hurts because since I started Everything Erica, I have always believed that honesty was more important to me than creating a false reality. I want to make people realize that they are not alone. So, I share my struggles. I’m open about breastfeeding being difficult, I complain about not getting enough sleep and I have no problem talking about teething or tantrums. I’m never going to try to be someone or something that I’m not. 

It hurt me that this person couldn’t see I was simply trying to give others an outlet to feel better and instead, called me a bad mom. Then, I snapped out of it. I blessed them, deleted their comment, blocked them and moved on with my life. That’s really all you can do!” 

What has been the coolest or most rewarding part of being a food blogger? 

“The coolest part about being a blogger is getting to meet so many amazing people. My community is awesome and not shy about coming to my events, saying hi at the grocery store or sending me a DM to talk about their day. I have this amazing group of insta-friends who (for whatever reason) are inspired by me and it feels really amazing. I was never the popular girl in high school, and I’ve struggled with insecurity to fit in my whole life. So now, to be in a place where people view me as anything other than the insecure, goofy girl I know, just boggles my mind and gives me a lot of confidence.”

What would you say to any parent who would love to start a food blog, but doesn’t know where to start? 

“JUST START! I think so many people don’t follow their dreams because it seems so overwhelming. I promise, it’s not. The first step is actually doing it and you don’t need some master plan. I made my own website in one night using google and just started writing. Things will evolve over time and nothing has to be perfect right away. If you’re doing something for YOU, your passion will shine and your audience will come.”

You have 78,000+ followers on Instagram and 3,000+ on Facebook. How long did it take you to grow your social media following?

“It took me YEARS because I did everything organically. There are so many ways to “get insta-famous quick,” but at the end of the day, those accounts lack any influence. They are blank numbers with no one behind them. I’ve spent over four years building my social media audiences, one follower at a time, and a lot of them have been with me since the beginning. 

We’re an army called the #ericrew and we are mighty! A big tip to grow is to partner with other bloggers who are at your similar point and shout each other out! My friends and I always share one each other’s work and encourage our followers to follow them. It’s really helpful! 

Another way to grow is to remember this: “Nobody cares about you.” It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth. People want to know what they can get from you. What value do you bring to their life? So as you’re creating an account and posting, always ask yourself if you’re providing value.”

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