After being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, Lee Holmes built Supercharged Food, a health-focused blog to turn her insights into inspiration for others. Along the way she built a successful business and created a new life for herself.
Integrative nutritionist, yoga teacher and wholefoods chef Lee Holmes began a new career – and blog – after being diagnosed with the auto-immune disease fibromyalgia in 2006.
Today, she’s not only used healthy foods to improve her health, but is the owner of one of the leading health and lifestyle blogs in Australia, focused on people making small and realistic changes every day.
In 2013 the Sydney-based blogger took home the overall prize at the Bupa Health Influencer Awards as well as the best blog in the Healthy Eating Category.
Her blog SuperchargedFood.com has 380,000 views a year, 85,000 click throughs a month and there are 25,000 people on her email list – there are also links to her books including bestseller Supercharged Food, Eat Yourself Beautiful, Supercharged Food for Kids, and Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian as well as e-books people can buy and download.
How Lee’s self-discovery kick-started a business
Passing up her former qualifications in food and nutrition – she holds an Advanced Certificate in Nutrition and is a certified health coach, a Hatha yoga teacher and a wholefoods chef, Holmes worked for 15 years in high-level positions in the music and television industries before embarking on “a journey of self-discovery” prompted by her illness.
Once she started a blog to post messages and her story, it snowballed, she says, with people with Crohn’s and coeliac disease, IBS, ulcerative colitis, candida, food allergies and intolerances, eager to hear about how food could be used as medicine.
Today, not only is Holmes a social media star but she appears regularly on Australian television and in publications both here and abroad. Notably her passion for creating healthy eating has also led to lasting change at a policy level. In 2011, she challenged the then NSW Minister for Health to live off hospital food for four days. The minister didn’t take up her challenge, but as a result of the initiative she created a petition for change, the catalyst for the rollout of healthier menus across selected hospitals.
Q: What skills or experience did you have that helped you develop your own blog and business?
A: I was head of ABC Kids, looking after talent including The Wiggles and Bananas in Pyjamas. I learnt how to build a brand, how to publicise, how to market – it was about creating new talent from the concept to completion. I took all those skills and applied them to my own brand.
Q: What were the key steps you took in building your blog?
A: At the time when I created superchargedfood.com, blogging was only just starting to take off. So it was very new and a bit experimental. But what I did was build contacts via Facebook by putting recipes up – with a blog, you’re providing information and products to your subscribers so that is absolutely the most important thing. Now I'm active on other social media including Instagram.
Q: Did you have investors?
A: No, I grew the business organically.
Q: How do you make money out of your blog now?
A: I have different revenue streams. I sell advertising to the site, but I also do blog posts for like-minded companies that want me to promote their products. I have a media kit and am paid for posts on Instagram and other social media such as Twitter and YouTube and I sell e-books via my website. I have a four-week, online Heal Your Gut program that is surprisingly popular. My approach was to try a few things and see what worked and what people resonated with, and also what helped them the most to live a healthy and happy life.
Q: What advice would you give others wanting to start a blog?
Create a platform of an interested audience first. That’s the way I structured it. I had an audience of around 6000. From that I got a book deal and that gave me income to put back into the blog. I also capitalised on my publisher’s marketing resources to help get my message even further out there. These days you need an audience of around 50,000 on social media to get publishers interested in you.
Q: What is the secret to growing an audience?
A: People have to feel connected to your message and you should be authentic.
Q: Has anything surprised you in your journey on social media?
A: What has really inspired me is the community I have built. I truly feel I am part of it.
Want to share your passion for health and fitness with the world? Take a look at our guide to careers in nutrition, personal training and more.