9 min 2 sec

College Grad Shares “More than Mac & Cheese” Recipes for Students

When a college student learns to cook, she documents her recipes online, earning more than $1,000/month.
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What It's About

A college student helps other co-eds break out of the freezer aisle.

Business Model
Skills Required
Cooking & Content Writing
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Right out of the oven, Chelsea emphasizes the importance of being clear on what you want to do. After figuring that piece out, she suggests to get even more specific by focusing on a particular niche.

This eliminates a lot of the blind risk taking, and instead allows you to understand the likelihood of success in that area from the beginning.

Fun Fact

When Chelsea got her first client with her new brand, she knew she didn’t want to celebrate with anything too frivolous or expensive… so her and her husband popped a bottle of Prosecco and called it a day!

Notes from Chris

Episode 545

Back in 2010, Chelsea Cole was a student at the University of Oregon on the fast track to becoming an elementary school teacher. But a couple years in, the realities of the public school system started to sink in, and she was no longer certain that she wanted to work in traditional education.

That’s when she started to pay attention to the things she enjoyed to see if there were any viable alternatives. And the first thing that boiled to the top was her love of food and cooking.

You see, Chelsea had created a food blog called A Duck's Oven (because U of O’s mascot is a duck) to document her adventures in cooking, and it was a way for her to unwind after a day spent cramming for tests. When she was in her kitchen, all of her worries and school concerns melted away like butter in a hot pan.

But up until she realized that a life of chalkboards wasn’t for her, cooking had just been a hobby. Now she was looking at it with fresh eyes.

Since she loved cooking so much, why not try her hand at cooking for others? Like many idealists before her, Chelsea’s first thought was to open a restaurant. While Eugene, Oregon was a nice college town, she had her sights set on Eugene’s foodie obsessed sister, Portland.

So in 2013, Chelsea packed her bags and set off to the land of hipsters, craft beer, and Blue Star Donuts. Not going into this half-baked, her new course of action was to get a job at a restaurant until she had learned the ropes enough to open her own. She was certain that she had found her destiny!

But just like Moses said when delivering the tablets of stone, just because there’s dough in the oven doesn’t mean it will become a biscuit...

Although she enjoyed the fast-paced environment of working in a restaurant, Chelsea quickly discovered that running one was far from being a piece of cake. So, back to the cutting board!

Since the majority of her audience had been fellow classmates, she thought about ways that she could cater directly to them and their needs. Chelsea knew from experience that many of them were living off of boxed mac n’ cheese and frozen pizza, so she decided to set her goal on helping them branch out from the frozen food aisle.

How exactly was she going to compete with the siren song of Hot Pockets? Well, to start, she’d create content and recipes that were simple and easy to put together.

Narrowing down the focus of her blog helped her grow her social media following to over 2,000 followers (on Instagram and Twitter), and these days, the blog is bringing in anywhere from $800-$1,200/month. Some of this cash comes from affiliate relationships, and Chelsea has also been able to make money helping other bloggers develop recipes and improve their social media.

These days, Chelsea is working hard to cook up passive income for herself—there might even be a cookbook in her future! She admits that idea still needs a bit more time in the oven, but she’s not loafing around—the blog remains a breadwinner!


  • A Duck's Oven: If you're looking for a new resource that will brighten up your weekday menu, head on over to Chelsea's blog for some inspiration. Get crackin'!
  • Lose Weight and Keep it Off: This story on Chelsea's blog really resonated with me, and I think it adds a nice dollop of humanity to her side hustle. Read more about it, here!

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

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"I’ve always hated the concept of working my butt off to build something for someone else—I want to build something that’s mine!"
—Chelsea Cole #SideHustleSchool

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