How This 24-Year-Old Uses Social Media to Earn Up To $15k/Month From Her 2 Food Blogs

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Catherine Zhang has always had a connection to food, and although she initially studied food science and nutrition, she eventually leaned hard into her true passion: baking.

After winning a baking show on Netflix, Catherine leveraged her skills and popularity to turn two food blogs—Zhang Catherine and DimSimLim—into thriving businesses.

She then went on to open two Japanese crepe shops in Australia, with plans to franchise them in the future.

Today, she’s earning up to $15k per month from her online businesses alone, and this 24-year-old baking sensation is just getting started.

Keep reading to find out:

  • What happened after she won the Netflix show
  • Why she created her main website
  • How she got into AdThrive
  • Why she created her second site
  • How she got so much traffic so quickly
  • Where her income comes from
  • How much traffic she’s getting
  • Her main marketing strategy
  • Her approach to SEO
  • Her thoughts on keyword research and links
  • How she creates content
  • Her go-to resources and tools
  • Her biggest challenge
  • Her main accomplishment
  • Her worst mistake
  • Her advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Catherine Zhang

I’m an Australian-Chinese pastry chef, business owner, and content creator. I was born and raised in Australia, however I grew up with a lot of Chinese influences due to my heritage. 

Growing up I had always loved baking and making desserts, however, it was not a career option at the time. 

Instead, I studied food science and nutrition in university in order to become a dietitian. It was during this time I appeared and won Netflix show “Zumbo’s Just Desserts Season 2.” 

From then on I discovered my true love for desserts and worked in restaurants as a pastry chef. 

Shortly after I fell into recipe development and loved the creation of new flavors and ideas over working in a commercial kitchen. I began creating content and have now amassed a total following over 1 million across my social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok.

Since then I’ve opened two Japanese crepe shops called Kurepu, in Sydney and Perth, while creating content and running my two blogs Zhang Catherine and DimSimLim.

Why She Created Her Sites

I started Zhang Catherine as a blog to share the recipes I was posting on Instagram already. 

After doing some research into blogging, I realized it was a profitable market that I could tap into, which would help monetize the recipes I had been already posting on my social media. 

I took several website building, SEO, and photography courses in order to improve my skills and get ready to build my very first blog. 

The main resources that helped me were Foodtography School, Food Blogger Pro, and Stupid Simple SEO.

The start was slow, but after doing a lot of keyword research and pushing my blog through social media I was able to hit 100k pageviews per month after about a year, and applied for AdThrive. 

From there on it was an upwards trajectory.

Dimsimlim was my second project, which I built with content creator @dimsimlim. 

With the experience I had from my first blog, it was easily able to build the blog within a month, and in less than half a month the blog hit 100k pageviews. 

Using social media, I was able to quickly build traction through viral videos, attracting a quick and constant amount of traffic from loyal and new followers.

I’m currently running a Japanese crepe shop and food truck, Kurepu, in Sydney and Perth. 

We’ve been open for less than a year, but I am actively managing and improving them. We are already looking into franchising the store overseas.

How Much She’s Earning

Depending on the time of year, my ad revenue on Zhang Catherine will vary, ranging from $4k-6k. 

As I also do content creation, I receive income from paid partnerships, where one video can range from $5k-8k.

I’ve been working on my blog and social media platforms for almost 4 years now. 

Both started as side hustles while I had a full-time job, but after 2 years I was making enough to make them my full-time career.

From my online business and paid partnerships I make about $12-15k/month. With the the other businesses combined, I make from $20k/month.

As for traffic, my site is quite consistent over the course of the year. 

In 2023, Zhang Catherine amassed 3.2 million pageviews. 

This is the traffic for Dimsimlim:

This blog has only been up for a few months so this is all the data I have available.

As I run multiple businesses, not only the blog and content but also two physical stores, I’m always trying to get something done. 

Rather than the hours I work per week, I think of my work as part of my daily life. I enjoy every part of it and it doesn’t feel like I’m constantly working.

Her Main Marketing Strategy

In the current age, social media is the greatest weapon. 

By growing my social media following and continuously trying new desserts and recipes, creating viral videos is the best strategy to gain new visitors to my blog. 

A lot of content creators don’t realize the power of blogging and are unable to convert followers to blog views. And other food bloggers have yet to grasp the power of social media. 

Being able to do both simultaneously is the greatest weapon.

I use Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, and they all work in the same way in bringing in viewers. 

This is a recent viral video that hit 4.9 million views.

@catherine.desserts Microwave tanghulu in under 5 minutes 😍 #tanghulu #candiedfruit #recipe #microwave ♬ EASY (Sped Up ver.) – LE SSERAFIM

Anyone can bring traffic in through social media by creating viral videos. 

Try different things like following up on the current trends or developing your own unique content style that others want to follow. 

Her Thoughts on SEO

While social media is important, SEO is one of the most important strategies. 

Over the past year, I was not able to post much on my blog due to commitments with my Japanese crepe business. As a result, most of my blog traction was from organic search.

Building blog posts based on keyword research and working on increasing my site authority are two major SEO tricks that allowed me to grow my blog.

Keyword Research

First I think of possible recipes that fit within my niche. My niche is a little smaller as I focus on Asian inspired baking; however, the recipe in question may just be a regular dessert, too. 

Once I’ve gotten a list of ideas, I search them up and find out how much search traffic they get per month, and I check the domain authority of my competitors. 

From there I rule out ideas or choose the ones that I should prioritize. To do this, I use Moz, Semrush, and Keyword Surfer.

My most popular recipe on my blog at the moment is mango sago.

Link building is extremely important for building your blog’s authority. 

However, it can be quite hard to build good quality links. I find that if you continuously post good quality blog posts, larger sites and other blogs will naturally link to your blog.

While I was a smaller site, I tried techniques like submitting blog posts to recipe submission sites, but I found that the effect that it had wasn’t big enough.

Catherine’s Content Creation Process

At the moment, I have 279 recipes on my site, and that continues to grow every week. 

As I have quite a lot on my plate with running multiple businesses, I’m unable to have a consistent schedule. 

When I have a spare moment, or I think of a great recipe idea, I will film the video for social media, take photos of the prepared dish, and then write up a blog post to launch simultaneously with my video. 

I do most of the blogging myself, but I have someone that handles my Pinterest. My physical businesses have a great team that can manage the stores themselves. 

I post about 1 new recipe a week. Depending on how busy I am, it may be more or less. 

Her Email List

I have an email list that has been continuously growing over a period of 4 years. 

I started my email list when I first launched my blog as I wanted to capture as many of my blog visitors as possible.

I have 5k subscribers at the moment. I don’t do much to grow it as it isn’t my main focus. 

I have a pop-up on my website that directs viewers if they want to subscribe to weekly newsletters where they’re the first to know when a new recipe is released. 

Her Favorite Resources

The best blogging podcast I’ve found, especially when growing my blog, was Food Blogger Pro. 

Not only do they have great guest speakers and cover all current topics on food blogging, they also have a website, and if you subscribe, it contains resources that can almost guarantee the success of your blog.

The most important tool for me is firstly my Notes app. I use it every moment of the day, whether for writing up a list of things to do or important notes that I need to remember. 

With so much going on every day, having it all written down in one place is crucial so I don’t forget anything.

Second would be my computer. I run almost everything from my computer, whether that be using Final Cut Pro to edit my videos, Photoshop to edit photos, or WordPress to write my blogs. Life would be impossible without it.

I’m not sure if you can consider this a tool, but my team of people who help me with daily run operations and do background work are my greatest assets. 

It normally depends on what projects I have running, but that can range from 5 to 20 people.

Reach out to people in your industry or niche, that’s where I found my business partners. From there hiring for smaller jobs is a lot easier as the tasks are spread out and manageable.

Without them, I could not have grown my businesses to the scale they are at.

Her Biggest Challenge

I think the biggest challenge has always been myself. I’m only one person, and I’m not great at doing everything. I have my strengths and my weaknesses. 

Often I will let myself do all the jobs when it would be easier to delegate it to someone else who has greater strengths in that area, or even outsource the job. 

Understanding my strengths and limitations is one thing that I’ve had to learn over the years.

Her Greatest Accomplishment

Being able to create a life out of what I love to do is one of my biggest accomplishments. I never thought I would be able to create a life where I can wake up and do what I love every single day.

My advice for others would be to find something you truly love and are passionate about and find a way to monetise it and build a life around it!

What She Wishes She Knew When She Started

I wish I had known that I didn’t have to do everything by myself. 

Asking others who are more experienced for help is one of the greatest shortcuts in life because they already have the knowledge and are able to explain to you exactly what you need to know to achieve your ultimate goal.

Her Main Mistake

Following from the point above, I was trying to take on everything by myself. 

If I had reached out to those that had more experience earlier, I would have sped up my growth process.

Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

I think my greatest advice is consistency. Things don’t grow overnight and they take time to build. 

If you consistently put in high-quality work and effort, you will be rewarded in the end. Without the passion for my work, it would be difficult for me to be consistent. 

Setting a schedule doesn’t necessarily work all the time. Make sure you have the drive and love for what you’re doing and you’ll find that you always show up. 



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