Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacqui Saldaña.
Hi Jacqui, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Where I started and where I am today look drastically different and yet oddly similar at the same time. I still create recipes in my kitchen and share them online. I still have a little toddler at my feet while I taste test flavors. It is interesting to compare then vs now. Some things look the same, though it took a lot of pain swirled with hard work to get to the beautiful thing I so gratefully call work today. I currently run a website, JacquiSaldana.com that encompasses food and family. My goal is to share simple recipes that families can create in their own homes with confidence and hopefully make some fun memories along the way.
I started my space online over ten years ago when my son Ryan was six months old. I was a new parent craving something to call my own. I created Baby Boy Bakery (what I used to call my website) and began writing down the recipes I was making in my tiny apartment while my baby boy watched me happily from his highchair. As I recounted our simple life happenings, my son and I grew up together in front of a beautiful community of friends who came to visit us in our online space daily. After three years of sharing our life, our food and our hearts with everyone, life indeed took a turn for the unbearable. Life ended up breaking me, leaving me breathless and bare.
I lost my son when he was three and half years old and when he passed away, it left me with a burning pain that I still feel today. My online space that my son and I created together played a large part in putting me back together again. Our community grew tenfold as strangers graced us with love and support. In turn, I decided to continue writing and sharing on my website. I continued to share my life, my food, my broken heart with everyone. Over time I began to rebuild myself into a stronger version of me and I shared it all online for everyone to see. Life as it does took another turn. But this time it ripped open the possibility of feeling happy again. I just has to get up and reach for it.
Soon I welcomed my second child, my daughter Mila. Mila arrived singing and surprised us all with her fierce red hair just like her big brother’s. My online community continued strong as I still shared recipes while inviting everyone inside my home to see just how messy and beautiful life can be. Life is like waves crashing into you constantly. Some waves feel warm and lift you up towards the sky. Some waves hit hard and pull you underwater making things dark as you fight to breath. Though after either type of wave comes relief. It is within that relief where slivers of magic live. I find myself searching for those sweet moments of magical relief in between the highs and lows of my life. My online space is where I share my sweet relief with all my readers. Four years after Mila was born, I had another beautiful daughter, Maya. Sweet Maya, she completes us.
Today, I still run my online space now called JacquiSaldana.com and each week, I share a handful of simple recipes in hopes of inspiring home cooks everywhere to feel more confident in their own kitchens. My daughter Maya is two now and plays at my feet just as my son did while I cook in the kitchen. My then and now have sweet similarities.
I’ve somehow made it my business to share delicious and attainable recipes from my kitchen with my family. All while giving a deep look at how tragically beautiful life can be.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Over the past ten years, the Internet has changed and with that change has come to some struggles. Since I run everything online, I’ve had to learn how to evolve. Running your own business isn’t easy and even now, there are struggles.
I think the two biggest struggles in learning everything as I go and online bullies. I went to school to be a teacher and switched it all up to focus on being a home chef/digital creator that runs an online business. I had to teach myself how to build a website, style food, and everything else that comes with working for yourself. I used to do everything myself and quickly learned that was a mistake. It’s been a struggle to find people to help me and basically create a dream job from scratch. I haven’t mastered it by any means, but I feel so grateful and lucky to have what I’ve built so far.
The second struggle has to be online bullies. Whether it be a real person hiding behind a screen or a bot, it is the nasty comments, direct messages, emails and even articles that I struggle with. I’ve had to grow a fairly thick skin to deal with it all. Even now, I still get down about the negativity that laces online business owners, digital creators and influencers. People love to attack me about the food I make, how I parent, the brands I work with and the content I create. I think the negative people forget that there are real human beings working hard behind their online websites + social media platforms. I try hard to not dwell on the negativity aspects of my job, but when asked what I struggle with, I’d be lying if I said internet trolls don’t bother me.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I run a recipe and lifestyle website, JacquiSaldana.com where I specialize in simple recipes families can recreate in their own kitchens with ease. I’m known for my delicious, easy meals and sweet treats that home cooks can confidently make. In addition to my written recipes, I give a relatable look into what it looks like running my own business through my recipe videos and vlogs. Most people know me for suffering through a great loss in my life and still being able to live a happy life afterwards. I like to share as much as I can in the form of written website posts, short-form videos and vlogs to connect with as many people as I can. Life is extremely hard and I believe that I was put here on Earth to endure pain, share it and show others how to preserver through the darkness and into the light that awaits them.
Food is my medium, JacquiSaldaña.com will always be an uplifting website where people can find inspiration and the tools they need to feel confident within their own kitchen and to help them live their life to the fullest.
I think what sets me apart from others is I never try to hide anything. I share the good with the bad and people can relate to that more. I also share recipes with simple steps and ingredients. Life is complicated enough, I want people to visit JacquiSaldana.com with a sense of ease. Similar to meeting up with a good friend for coffee and learning all about what they’ve been up to recently.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
For anyone just starting their online business or social media platforms, I’d advise them to be consistent with their content. Keep at posting and creating even if there aren’t that many eyes on their business at first. Consistency is key when running things online. Don’t fret about people not liking your content or feel embarrassed about what you are putting out there. As long as you love what you are creating/doing and sharing from a passionate heart, you’ll start to attract your own community.
Strive to stay relevant. For example, right now there is a lot happening on TikTok and I think some are hesitant to jump on a newer social media platform. When really, they should explore the app and find ways in which they can use it. The internet changes drastically year after year and we really have to evolve with it in order to keep using it to our advantage. Find a happy medium between creating content for your own website as well as social media platforms.
Over time you’ll gain a community of supporters and spectators. Serve your supporters about all else. Create for the people who engage with your business and your content. Listen to those who actively support you. Spectators will come and go, your supporters will walk with you over time. For me, it is important to create and foster a supportive community. I think the sooner you do the same the better off you’ll be. You could have a large number of spectators but it’s the supporters that will really change the trajectory of your life + business.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.jacquisaldana.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/jacquisaldana
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/babyboybakery
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/babyboybakery
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/jacquisaldana
- Other: www.tiktok.com/@jacquimariesaldana
Lily Ro Photography