7 min 1 sec

Foodie Friends Blog Their Way to Free Stuff & Real Money

Two friends get paid to post photos of their lunch on Instagram. No, really!
Blog Food Social Media Travel Writing

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What It's About

Two friends share food, travel experiences, and a profitable side hustle!

Business Model
Skills Required
Writing & Research
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

For months they offered their services for free, reviewing small bakeries, coffee shops and food trucks in the form of reviews and social media campaigns. No brand was too small for them. With this attitude, they were able to feature a lot of different businesses.

As a result, they were also making industry connections and getting experience. It's important to be open to new ideas and working with smaller start-up brands because everyone starts somewhere. And even smaller brands with limited budgets can still produce quality ideas and products.

Fun Fact

Karen and Alex knew that research was going to be key to their success. They spent time learning everything they could about a brand before making a partnership offer. They’d figure out the brand’s business style, challenges, goals, and history so that their offer could be tailored to the brand’s specific needs.

This level of research also helped Alex and Karen figure out how the brand would work with East Coast Contessas. Their efforts paid off because in spring of 2016 Alex and Karen landed their first paid partnership with a national wine company. Afterwards, they went to Central Park for had a celebratory picnic with cans of wine from their partnership.

Notes from Chris

Episode 256

Today’s story is about two friends who start a side hustle together, taking photos on Instagram to promote local restaurants. I like it because they are able to do this and make real money—I think $30,000 so far working part-time over the past year, and it’s very new so that should increase—without being internet famous. They started when they had just 1,000 followers on Instagram, which is certainly respectable but not huge. In other words, this was something that anyone can do.

By day Alexandra Booze works as an account manager for a PR firm in Washington DC. But on nights and weekend, this foodie and her friend Karen have turned food and lifestyle blogging into a profitable side hustle.

Whenever Alexandra would visit Karen in NYC, they would always go out to eat somewhere new and interesting. It was during one of those nights when they were looking for their next meal that they decided to start an Instagram account to document all their fun foodie adventures.

What started out as just friends and family liking their iPhone photos of food quickly turned into over 1,000 followers. So in September they launched their website East Coast Contessas to complement their Instagram account.

To kick off 2016, Alex and Karen made a list of all the brands they would like to partner with that year and then started reaching out and pitching to each brand personally. Their efforts paid off because in spring of 2016 Alex and Karen landed their first paid partnership with a national wine company.

The formula landed them on the right pricing as they continued to land more partnerships as the year went on. So far in 2017 they’ve brought in $12,000 in revenue and have enough campaigns scheduled out until the end of the year to surpass their 2016 figures.


  • East Coast Contessas: Share in Karen and Alex's international foodie adventures on their website!
  • Wordpress: Alex and Karen used Wordpress to create East Coast Contessas, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes!
  • GoDaddy: The platform that Alex and Karen used to get the domain for East Coast Contessas

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,




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I use this card every day all over the world! ✈️

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Quote of the Day
"There’s no complicated business formula or secret to success that hasn't been implemented or utilized before. If you love what you do and are willing to work hard to grow your business, the world is your oyster."
—Alexandra Booze #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau