Hello! I’m Cristina Maria Curp, Cuban-American, mother, military spouse, food lover and dreamer. The chef and creator of the Castaway Kitchen, a blog where I share my recipes, health journey, and adventures wherever the US Navy takes us. I have always love to cook, being a restaurant chef sharing that passion in important to me. When I found myself on a path to healing through food and lifestyle changes, specifically elimination diets I realized I had a skill set that could be valuable to others trying to do the same. Making healing through food delicious and accessible became my mission. Social media is the perfect platform for this, and so I started a blog.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Blogging is about so much more than just sharing content. The back end, all the technical stuff. It costs a lot of money to grow this type of online business when you know nothing of tech support, coding etc. I had to become not only a chef, but a writer, photographer, health expert and more. As a one-woman team, I still wear all the hats.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I'm currently reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Micheal Pollan. It's has a lot to do with my kind of work. I think to own a business, just always learning more about your niche, research is important. Always keep evolving.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Being a work at home mom has been hard. We have had growing pains. Struggles with the shift from be being available to them 100% of the time- to me needing my own space, my own time. Expecting more of my family members. Communication is key. Never expect them to know what you need. Talk to them about expectations and how you can all manage your time better as a family.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Staying true to myself. In this world of instant gratification, and perfect social media feeds I work really hard to create content with integrity, set boundaries and share only what I feel comfortable with. I stay true to who I am and keep it real with my audience.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I wish I would have known how important SEO optimization and Pinterest were to the success of a food blog. You can't monetize without them.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
You will never work harder than you do when you work for yourself. But doing what you love everyday, is worth it, so be clear on your WHY!