056: Working in Your Area of Brilliance with Meghan Telpner

Raquel

by Raquel on Jul 19, 2016 in Podcast

Creating a business, staying small, and finding the work you should be doing with Meghan Telpner.

Welcome to episode 56 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! In this episode, Bjork talks with Megan Telpner about creating a business, staying small, and finding the work you should be doing.

Last week, Bjork talked with Jason logsdon about self-publishing cookbooks. To go back and listen that episode, click here.

Working in Your Area of Brilliance

Meghan Telpner is the CEO of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, an online school where students learn to create healthy lives through cooking. The school has certified over 700 people to practice as Culinary Nutrition Experts and Meghan is a sought-after speaker about entrepreneurship.

She didn’t start there, though. Meghan’s career online began back in the early 2000s, and she’s fine-tuned (and rough-tuned) her business to grow it into what it is today. Meghan has found that just “doing the work” isn’t good enough, and that to really excel you need to be working in your area of brilliance.

Creating a business, staying small, and finding the work you should be doing with Meghan Telpner.

In this episode, Meghan shares:

  • How she got started in the nutrition space
  • Why she folded her blog into her personal business
  • Why she deleted a large part of her content to get more traffic in the long run
  • Why she keeps such a small team despite the revenue to expand
  • How she keeps from getting bored with her business
  • The advice she would give herself a few years ago

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Transcript:

Bjork Ostrom: Welcome to episode number 56 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Hey everybody, this is Bjork Ostrom, and before we jump into the show today, I wanted to take a quick moment to give you an announcement. It’s actually the launch or the beta launch of a product that we’ve been working on for a really long time, and I’m super excited to tell you about it. The product is called Nutrifox, but before I get into talking specifically about Nutrifox, I want to share a little bit of the backstory, why we’re really excited about it. If you listen to this podcast, I’m guessing that you might be in the food or recipe content business. Some of you aren’t, I know, but I know that a lot of people maybe have a recipe website, or maybe they work in the industry, like they work for a company.

We’ve heard from people that work for different companies, and listen to the podcast. A lot of people in the food and recipe niche. If you’re in that niche, you’ll know that it’s really competitive. There’s 1000’s of websites and blogs, and social media accounts all around food and recipes, and hundreds more that are starting each and every day, so it’s a crowded, competitive space. In order to standout, we’ve found that you really need to find ways to add value to the recipes or the content that you’re producing, and that’s why, for example, a simple text recipe is just not enough anymore. It has to be an awesome recipe with superb photos and maybe even a video that goes along with it, and as you know, it’s a lot of work, but we know that there are other ways that we can add value to recipes without adding hours and hours of work to your day, like maybe that doing a video would be, or shooting additional photos.

All of that stuff adds value, but potentially adds a lot more work, but we think there is a way to add value without doing a tonne of additional work, and that’s why we created Nutrifox. Nutrifox, spelled N-u-t-r-i-f-o-x, allows you to extract really valuable information from your recipes ingredient list, and them embed that onto your website. How does it work? Let me explain it real quick. Let’s say you have recipe. You have your list of ingredients. With Nutrifox, all you need to do is copy that list of ingredients, and the you go to Nutrifox, you paste it in a little box, and you say, “Analyze,” and then it analyzes all of the information in that list of ingredients. You don’t have to enter it in line by line. You just paste it in, analyze, and then you go and copy that embed code.

Just like you would with a YouTube video, you take that over and you put it into your blog. You have the embed code, what does that represent? Well, to start, it’s going to display a really nice nutrition label. Just like you’d see on the back of a product when you go shopping, the nutrition information for that product, but long term, what we’re really excited about doing is building out lots of different functionality that will really help engage readers and offer additional value for them as they come to your site. A really easy example would be potentially you want to highlight macro nutrients. You want to show protein, carbs, and fat.

Instead of a detailed nutrition information, you just want to show the macro nutrients. With Nutrifox, we’re going to be building out this type of functionality to allow you to really easily, create these fun, interactive, engaging widgets, or embeds that you can put onto your post, to allow you to really easily offer additional value to readers as they come to your site, without having to do a bunch of additional work. What I wanted to announce today is that we’re doing a beta launch, we’re in the middle of the beta launch for Nutrifox. What is a beta launch?

Well, a beta launch means that we have a working product. You can go in, and you can use it, but we’re still in the early stages, so we wanted to do a really deep discount on that. Up until July 26th, you can get the early bird price for Nutrifox, which is $49 for 1 year, and that’s recurring. If you want to stay on a year from now, you continue to get that discounted early bird price that’ll never go up for you, even if the price of Nutrifox does go up. That’s until July 26th, that you can get that, and all you need to do in order to check it out or to sign up, is to go to Nutrifox.com. A quick note for people that are currently members of Food Blogger Pro. You know that there’s already a nutrition label generator tool that’s a part of that.

That won’t be going away, so what we’re doing is actually, we’re leaving that open for 1 year, but we’re really going to start to focus on Nutrifox, and we’re going to be really putting a lot of time and energy into building that out, and making it super awesome, and the reason we want to do that is because, like I said before, we really, really know that a list of ingredients for a recipe has a tonne of additional value and information, and content that you can pull from it, and add value into the posts that you’re doing, so we’re really excited about Nutrifox, and that’s N-u-t-r-i-f-o-x.com, if you want to check it out. Funny enough, our interview today is actually, it revolves around nutrition and nutrition information.

We’re going to be talking today with Meghan Telpner, and Meghan has 2 sites. She has MeghanTelpner.com, but she also has CulinaryNutrition.com, which is the home of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Meghan is going to be talking about her process as an entrepreneur, starting out and the journey that she’s gone through, and eventually lead her to the place we’re in, 2016, she was named one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada. Her business has revenue between 1 to 2 million which is incredible. She has a small team that she works with. She runs a really lean operation, and she does it with a lot of authenticity, and with genuine care for the people that she works with.

I know that as you listen to this, you’ll get a lot out of Meghan’s story. She shares the things that she’s learned through the years. Without further ado, let’s jump in. Meghan, welcome to the podcast.

Meghan Telpner: Thank you for having me, Bjork.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, this is going to be a great interview. I was scrolling through your site, doing a lot of research before, and one of the things that I came across, which is a little bit weird, and it’s something that I usually don’t notice, but I noticed at the bottom of your site, there’s a little copyright, and it says, “Copyright from 2008 to 2016.” I think even though that was a really, really small thing, it was really insightful to say, “Hey, she’s been doing this for a while.” Is 2008 really when things started for you online? What is your story, and how did you get to the point where you are today? We’ll dig into that, but in general, how did you get started in this?

Meghan Telpner: Yes. In 2008 was when I began my business that has evolved into what it is today, was when I started working in the health and nutrition field. That’s when this started. My career online began many years earlier. I think it was around 2004 I got my first job with an ad agency in their interactive department, learning about this thing called the internet, that I was like, “Is this trend going to pass already?”

Bjork Ostrom: “When is this going to go away?”

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. Even prior to that, I started a business online called “Chicks Abroad,” that was an online women’s travel journal website. I dabbled in blogs and different kind of things. I had a blog in 2005, it was just horrible, recounting a romance, a long distance romance. Thankfully, you can delete things from the internet.

Bjork Ostrom: Wipe clean button on that.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. Then, I started a blog in 2006, when I’d been diagnosed with Crohn’s. It was called “The Healthy Cookie,” and it was documenting my healing journey, and then again, wipe that out when I was like, “Man, this is not useful information on here.” Professionally, I started working online as my own brand in 2008, and that’s when I started my blog, which at the time was called “Making Love In The Kitchen,” and in around 2011, we merged that blog with the rest of my business, with MeghanTelpner.com, and that’s where we launched off from.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. I’m interested to go back and pull a few things from that. First, I’m interested to hear the interactive department at the ad agency. What does that mean?

Meghan Telpner: Well, at the time, it was the digital component of ad campaigns, like building out little micro sites, trying to create … The big thing was create a viral video, like how do we manufacture one of those? Can we advertise people via MMS text message? That’s what we were dealing with. Email campaigns, so at the time, as the ad agency, we would send, write and send email campaigns on behalf of the client, and then feed them the metrics about how many opens it got, and what people clicked on, and so I learned on the go. It was one of those things where I was able to talk my way into a job I was completely unqualified for.

Bjork Ostrom: How long were you there, doing that?

Meghan Telpner: Well, interesting question. I was with the first ad agency for a little over a year. I hated it. My father kept saying, “You need to work somewhere for a year,” so I stayed there, and then in the span of about a 3 year time period, as I was dealing with my health issues, I worked for 9 different agencies.

Bjork Ostrom: Wow. You got some ad agency experience in the time.

Meghan Telpner: I did. At the time, online was just re-booming, again, and I loved job interviews. I’d get called by these …

Bjork Ostrom: That’s a dangerous combination.

Meghan Telpner: … Headhunters. I would get called by these headhunters to go for these job interviews. I was like, “Okay, more money, more whatever. I don’t know. I guess maybe I’ll like it more if they paid me more.” I never, I think anyone who has their own business knows it doesn’t really work that way.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s interesting because it seems like you would be doing similar things to potentially what you’re doing now, in terms of the marketing, and the branding, and the advertising side. What was it that you didn’t like about the jobs that you had with the ad agency?

Meghan Telpner: I believe it was the clients, which is great, because now I don’t have clients. I’m the only client that I have to work with. It was following the demands of other people, the timelines of other people, the whole environment in that world isn’t the most kind.

Bjork Ostrom: Everything is due yesterday, “We need it right now. Here’s what we need changed.” It’s late nights, early mornings.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. It was the sense of urgency around stuff that I didn’t think was that important, like chewing gum campaigns, and is this worth my weekend? It rarely ever was. That was when I came into in healing and getting better, and revisiting what I wanted to do with my life. I knew very clearly that I needed to figure out a way to do work that I felt mattered, and had impact and influence, and was positive, and was fun.

Bjork Ostrom: It seems like those experiences led … It was a refining process into pushing you into something that you felt like was a better fit, but one of the things you also mentioned was this idea of healing. Can you talk a little bit about that, and explain the backstory for those that aren’t familiar with your story?

Meghan Telpner: Yes. Yeah, for sure. My undergraduate degree was in fashion marketing and after graduating from university, I decided to put that fashion degree to great use, and go volunteer in Africa. After getting my vaccinations, and heading over to a really wild and incredible place, I developed some serious health issues, which brought me back early, and didn’t know what to do at the time. I went to Africa with my business, Chicks Abroad, I had sponsors, I was giving out Chicks Abroad t-shirts to other travelers I met, and was selling ad space, and that was going to be my business. That’s what was going to fuel my life, and then got sick, came back and had to revisit what I was going to do, and that’s how I ended up getting a job in advertising, while simultaneously going from doctor to doctor, trying to figure out what was going on with my health, and it took 3 years before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and I had never cooked a meal before in my life.

It seemed to me that if I was going to figure out how to heal a disease, I was going to have to pay more attention to what was actually making physical contact with it in my body, and that’s when I started in the kitchen, and discovering what it was to cook, and what a beautiful and wonderful and creative experience that was, and so when I decide to go back to nutrition school to get some kind of credibility for understanding what I had done, and how I helped myself heal through good diet and lifestyle, coming out of that I knew that food and cooking was going to be a primal part, not just of my continued healing, but in the work I wanted to do in helping empower other people that what we eat impacts how we feel on a day to day basis.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and that matters. Wanting to do that work personally, and also being really passionate about it, for yourself, but wanting to also teach other people about that it sounds like, which is a perfect fit for what you’re doing now. It is what you’re doing now.

Meghan Telpner: It is what I’m doing.

Bjork Ostrom: Which we’ll get into. You said in the kitchen. Is that an abbreviation for “Making Love In The Kitchen?” Without having to say “Making Love?”

Meghan Telpner: Maybe it was. You know, I really wanted my first book to be called “Making Love In The Kitchen,” but I was told that Costco and Target wouldn’t sell it, and so that was when we actually ditched the whole premise.

Bjork Ostrom: I think it’s such a great name. It’s so memorable, for sure. That was 2008. That’s when you started that blog, right?

Meghan Telpner: Yes. After I finished nutrition school at the end of 2007, I took some time to regroup, figure out what I wanted my business to be, and then launched my business in May of 2008 with a few 6 person cooking classes.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay, can you tell me about what your idea was when you first started? Like, what you thought it would be? Or, did you always have this vision in terms of the path for the business to take?

Meghan Telpner: I definitely didn’t have the vision of what I’m living today, and I think that we sell ourselves short by pretending like we can predict what we’re going to be doing in 5 years. I think you end up doing something dramatically … What you envision for yourself in 5 years is dramatically less awesome than what you’re actually capable of doing in 5 years.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure.

Meghan Telpner: I had this dual plan. I had a mission that I wanted to tell the world that what really matters, and that we can empower ourselves through very basic day to day lifestyle habits, and food choices, to live a healthier, more awesome life, and I was going to do that through my blog. Simultaneously, I was supporting my blog and using my blog to support my in person business, which was these small scale, community based cooking parties, where people would come together in my kitchen, and we could cook and eat and have really interesting conversations with each other. That was as far as I saw my business going. It was, “How do I fill 1 class? How do I fill 5 classes this month? How do I fill 100 classes this year?,” and using …

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. The idea being that using the blog as a place where people come and become aware of these classes that you’re doing, hopefully sign up, and maybe tell a friend about them.

Meghan Telpner: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. Then, we were always doing … I started doing … I say “we.” It was just me. I had a pretend assistant who would respond to the mean emails.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure.

Meghan Telpner: It was me, but I started doing a few little online cleanse type programs, like the green smoothie cleanse before every nutritionist in the world has a green smoothie cleanse, just to engage an online audience, and see how that worked. There was so many people commenting on blogs back in the good old days of blogging, that there was this really strong and really wonderful supportive community, so I would do these online coach programs that were just PDFs and some emails, and they also extended that reach and so what ended up happening was that as my online audience grew, my classes were confined to this little 600 square foot space in downtown Toronto. How can we expand that and allow my online audience to experience what we were doing here in the kitchen? That’s when we started to experiment with video taping our classes, or doing online course specific videos.

Bjork Ostrom: At that point, is that when you started to merge the blog? Because you started it in 2008, and then, I’m guessing continually posted content there. In 2011, you said that you transitioned into your personal brand, MeghanTelpner.com. Was that when you made the transition into focusing more on the mini courses, or the digital content, as opposed to the in person events?

Meghan Telpner: Exactly. It was the same time, in 2011. I signed with my publisher, and they were very adamant that it was never going to be called, “Making Love In The Kitchen,” so I didn’t know where that fit in anymore, and so that’s when we folded the blog in under my own name.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Curious to hear, was that a hard decision for you? What did that process look like? I know, as an offshoot, there’s a lot of people that are thinking about transitioning in some way, shape, or form. Can you just speak to that real quick, and talk about what that process was like and what you learned after doing it?

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. I mean, I still don’t know that it was 100% the best thing to do, but it was a decision I was making that was my blog going to be my business, or was my blog going to support my business? If my blog is my business, having it with a quirky name that was memorable made a lot of sense, but if I was going to be an author and write books, and have that type of presence and coach these programs, it came less about what my blog was called, and more about who I was, and how I was going to about creating and doing things. It was ultimately a strategic business decision. “Making Love In The Kitchen” will always have a place in my heart.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure..

Meghan Telpner: However that sounds.

Bjork Ostrom: That’ll be our pull quote, and then we’ll put it on the bigger interview, and then people will open it.

Meghan Telpner: Perfect. It was one of those decisions, and I know that lots of bloggers have the name of their blog and then they go to events, and they wear the name of their blog on their tag around their neck. That’s a very excellent decision, if your goal is to make your blog into your business, but I think that if you are your brand, and you are who people remember, at some point you have to get your name on there, and you have to show who you are.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s such an interesting decision for business owners, content creators, bloggers, to make, whether you want to be front and center, and you want it to be personal, or if you want it to be more of brand facing, where it’s the brand first, as opposed to the personality, and there’s obviously positives and negatives to each side with that, but it’s an important decision. I think it’s important to bring up, and obviously you made the decision, said, “Hey, we’re going to lean into this. I’m going to be front and center for this. This is going to be MeghanTelpner.com,” and that’s going to be the hub for all of the things that you’re doing, whether it’s speaking, whether it’s the books that you have, the blog, and then there’s also this addition of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, which we’re going to get to.

I’m excited to talk to you about that, but before we do, this 2011 mark, you had mentioned the books. Can you talk a little bit about what that process was like? Is that something that you’ll continue to do? Have you found that to be a valuable thing? Or, now that you’ve leaned into some of the digital courses, and content online, do you feel like you’re going to put your focus and energy that way?

Meghan Telpner: I think what’s important to be mindful of, and I know that it’s a huge trend right now for blogs to be converted into books, and bloggers to write books, and publishers love bloggers who have an established audience because it means a guaranteed certain level of sales. I wrote my first book, my publisher actually “discovered” me. I was cast on a national television show here in Canada, and she was between …

Bjork Ostrom: What was the show?

Meghan Telpner: The show was called “The Marilyn Denis Show.” It’s a daytime lifestyle show, so I was the resident nutritionist for the first season. She’d seen me on my very first episode, it was the second episode of the show ever, and so she reached out to me 2 months later, and I saw the publisher. I saw Random House calling, and I didn’t answer the phone, because I’m like, “I have to look busy.” In my memory, I waited a day to call her back. My editor’s like, “I think you wait 25 seconds.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. “It was either 24 hours or 24 seconds. I don’t remember.”

Meghan Telpner: Yes, exactly. She reached out to me, and then we started working together. She came to a couple of my classes to get a real feel for … What I do on television is often different than what I do when it’s 100% my own choice, so she came to get a feel of it, and we worked out the concept for my first book, and I wrote it, and I was very diligent with my writing. I met every deadline, and I did all that, and it was an incredible learning experience. I took a lot of lessons into my second book, my cookbook which came out in the fall of 2015, and the thing about the books is that you’re never going to … I don’t believe you will ever make a living off selling books.

I think it’s an incredible misconception that I believe your book is going to be an incredible tool for your business, and so the reason I wrote a cookbook was because it made sense for the business I was building, in that both of my books now, “Undiet,” and “The Undiet Cookbook,” serve as the textbooks for the certification program that I offer. When my first book came out, I had a course ready to go called, “Undiet Meal Prep Made Easy,” which took a lot of the concepts from the book and put it into video form, so I make a dollar, whatever, per book that sells, but hopefully it brings people into my world, and they might see something else that is of interest. Books do lend an incredible amount of credibility.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, for sure, and that was the word that I was going to use, too, and it’s interesting as we’ve had those conversations with people, it seems like the one exception to the rule would be either for some reason, something does incredible well and sells millions of copies, which is so, so rare, or you potentially get a huge advance which then you can take and make sense, but like you said, it’s not necessarily the recurring income unless you became somebody who’s writing cookbooks every year. The credibility is such an important piece of it.

Meghan Telpner: I looked this up. I believe in the US, there’s roughly 1.4 million books published every year …

Bjork Ostrom: Wow.

Meghan Telpner: … And less than 1% end up in bookstores.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, right, which is like … Especially as it becomes easier and easier to publish books, whether digital or physical. We’ve talked about that on the show before, it’s getting easier for people to self publish which is awesome, because then you can do it, you can have that accessibility, but then it also means there’s more competition with that. Go ahead.

Meghan Telpner: I was going to say, I mean, my book sold really well in Canadian standards. It’s like peanuts in the US, but even with that, reaching number 1 on the lists here in Canada, you can decide to be a full time author and then you’re doing a bunch of events, and you’re promoting and you’re doing events to sell 20 books, and you’re doing all that, and that was never my intention with writing books. They were to be this tool that supported this part of my business, so I am going to keep writing books. It’s just a matter of writing the book that strategically makes sense for what I want to be creating at that time. It won’t be another cookbook just because my last cookbook did well. It’s like, “Do I need to write another cookbook? Does that make sense?”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Essentially looking at it as a piece to the puzzle, as opposed to the completed puzzle. Like, “How does this fit into the overall strategy for what I’m doing?,” which makes sense. I’m curious to know, I pulled this as I was doing research around. There was somewhere that said you had posted 2000 posts. Is that right? Do you have …

Meghan Telpner: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s incredible.

Meghan Telpner: But I don’t have them anymore.

Bjork Ostrom: That was all part of the past sites and content, and you didn’t carry that over necessarily?

Meghan Telpner: No. That was all on MeghanTelpner.com, but in the last 4 or 5 months, I’ve cut down about 30% of my content.

Bjork Ostrom: Like literally removed it from the site?

Meghan Telpner: I literally deleted really bad, old blog posts.

Bjork Ostrom: Wow. Can you talk to me about why? What was the reasoning behind that? Let’s say you’re getting 1000 people a month to what you would consider a bad post, wouldn’t that still be a good thing?

Meghan Telpner: Here’s the thing. I listened to a podcast that talked about how if you delete 30% of your content, you’ll increase your traffic by 30%. I was like, “That’s interesting,” because I knew there was posts. When I started my blog in 2008, I was writing 7 days a week, and I would say that 80% of those posts were just to put something up, because in 2008, that’s how you got more traffic, the more frequently you published. To answer your question, one of my top posts is a turmeric tea. When you Google “turmeric tea,” mine is the second, I think, that comes up. It was a bad post, and it killed me, because it had a terrible picture, and it kept being pinned on Pinterest, and I was like, “This is not representative of the work I’m doing today.”

What I did with that post was reworked it. I kept the URL, but I created new photos. I re-wrote the whole thing, so that when people do land on a post that was maybe a bad post, but it had a lot of traffic, it’s not a really great post, and I believe better represents the work that I’m doing today. I went through a process of taking the most popular posts, and improving upon them, for starters.

Bjork Ostrom: When you say improving, is that better photos, adding more content? What is …

Meghan Telpner: All of the above.

Bjork Ostrom: All of the above, okay. Are you finding those in Google Analytics?

Meghan Telpner: Yes. I find them in Google Analytics, and also improving my writing, because as we know, the more we write, the better it gets, and I’d read old stuff, and I’m like, “What was I thinking?”

Bjork Ostrom: For sure.

Meghan Telpner: Or, when it was called “Making Love In The Kitchen,” I wrote recipes like “Tempeh Testicles.” Not okay right now, anymore.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That would potentially be something that people could Google. I’m sure that’s a high traffic from organic search that you have.

Meghan Telpner: Right. When my blog was called “Making Love In The Kitchen” I had a video with my grandmother, like, there was not good search terms happening. I just started looking at, first, the posts that were most visited and making sure they were the most excellent possible, and then I looked at posts, like if I’d written about coconut 2 or 3 times over the years, I consolidated them into 1 excellent post on coconut oil, and redirected those URLs so that all of the link juice went to the same place, so to answer your question …

Bjork Ostrom: Real quick, how did you redirect those? Was there a plugin that you’re using?

Meghan Telpner: We have a dedicated server, so I don’t know all of the technical stuff, but I just went on and I redirected the URL to a new place, a permanent redirect, a 301 I believe it is. I did have 2000 posts. I think I now have about 1300, and we’re slowly seeing traffic increase, because now when people come to any of those 1300 posts, maybe they’ll be more inclined to stay and read it, or to click to another related post that will also be of better quality than say something I published on a Sunday evening in 2008.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and took 15 minutes to quickly write, just to create the content.

Meghan Telpner: Exactly. Or, like, the old photos that were under incandescent light with a point and shoot camera that, at the time, you could get away with it, but things have changed.

Bjork Ostrom: Really interesting. The basic idea is whittling down the quantity in order to have higher quality, and then you talked about doing this redirect, and for those that aren’t familiar with a redirect, the idea is that if you ever, let’s say delete a page, or you remove it, you can have what’s called a “301 redirect,” which is essentially saying, for any … This is maybe getting a little deep into it, but for search engines, like Google, they’ll crawl a site, and if they find a dead link, then that’s not a good thing, unless it’s pointing to a similar page somewhere else. Then, they’ll say, “Oh, I see. This has been moved or it’s been changed, and now you’re readjusting this. We will redirect here,” so you don’t lose any of the links that maybe exist somewhere else, on somebody’s blog, or redirecting to that page.

Meghan Telpner: Yes, and it’s important to know, too, so anyone listening, don’t immediately go and delete every post you think isn’t good, because you don’t want to have all those dead links, or 404’s, if there’s other things linking to it. We have a whole spreadsheet, like it’s been months and the planning before we actually started redirecting and pointing, and it’s a bet of a net and a web. Don’t just go and delete everything.

Bjork Ostrom: Right, for sure. Good. I think that’s a great tip, and I think it’s something, especially for those that have been doing it for a long time, they’ll totally relate to that idea of going back to that older content and being like, and a good reminder, “Hey, you can go back and refresh that. Make that stronger content,” or remove the content’s that just maybe not worth saving, and then redirect that to something very similar, like maybe a similar recipe or something like that.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. My litmus tests for posts at this point, for the blog on MeghanTelpner.com, as well as CulinaryNutrition.com is if it’s not something I would share today on social media, what’s the value in keeping it there?

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. That’s actually a good lead in. It’s the next thing that I want to talk about. You have MeghanTelpner.com, but you also have CulinaryNutrition.com, which is the hub for the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, and wondering before we start jumping in and talking about that, if you can speak a little bit to what the Academy of Culinary Nutrition is, and how you decided to launch that as really a pillar of the business?

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. As I mentioned earlier, we started converting our in person classes to online, video based courses. They were doing exceptionally well, and so what happened here in the kitchen was that my community started asking, “Can I sign up for everything you’re offering this season, from September to December?” I started to realize that there was something to the 20 classes that I offered, and I reordered them into something of a curriculum, created assignments around it, and effectively sold it as a package, as the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, people could sign up for this full 14 week cooking series, and they’d get a certificate at the end. It worked exceptionally well.

We had 8 people our first time, 12 our second, and we squeeze in 14, which is the absolute max we were able to fit here, and once we recognized that this was working, we were simultaneously self funding the video production, putting all that stuff online, and so we launched it online, the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program in the fall of 2013, under the MeghanTelpner.com umbrella, and half way through our first term, we had 100 students. They were working their tails off, creating amazing work, learning a tonne, and were so grateful for the experience, but they were also asking what they were actually graduating from, and that’s when we realized we needed to build something up around this amazing program.

That was when we hatched the idea for the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, and fast forward 6 months, we launched CulinaryNutrition.com as the umbrella, the home to the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, and so we had the program, and we built the school around the program.

Bjork Ostrom: Was Culinary Nutrition available, or did you have to buy that?

Meghan Telpner: I had to buy it. It was 700 … I ended up getting it for around $750. At the time, I was like, “I don’t know. This seems insane.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure.

Meghan Telpner: But now looking back, it was …

Bjork Ostrom: It makes sense, for sure.

Meghan Telpner: … A no brainer.

Bjork Ostrom: I’m curious to know, how does the process work with a certificate? Is the idea that as a business, do you have to go through an application process in order to get certificates, or is it saying for the people that go through this, you are certifying that they have completed this course, and then they can go to whoever they’re working with and saying, “This is proof. I have gone through this at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition?”

Meghan Telpner: Yes, that’s exactly it. We have a page on our website. It’s a “meet the experts” directory, which also allows us to promote our amazing graduates, but we have an outline that says, “Our graduates are certified as culinary nutrition experts, which basically means they are qualified in the following set of skills.”

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. One of the things, and as a side note, that’s actually how I was introduced to you, so one of the people that had gone through your course, Amanda from Pickles and Honey, she is married to … This is a deep connection here. Aaron, who’s previously on the podcast, talking about branding from your brand week, and he said, “Meghan would be a great fit for your podcast,” and you had just done a Smart Passive Income interview, and somebody else said, “Hey, you should have her on the Food Blogger Pro podcast,” so I was like, “Okay, there’s multiple people saying that we need to have her on, so we have to do this.” An example, lots of different people would be able to go through this course and apply it to what they’re doing, whether it’s people that have a food blog, or people that want to work, maybe as somebody consulting on a diet or something like that, which I think is great.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. We also have food photographers, say, who want to specialize in healthier food, and learn how to cook that, or we have journalists or writers, who want to learn how to write about food and understand the health implications, and how they can do that kind of research. It’s a broad scope of practitioners and individuals that come through the program.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. This is maybe getting into nitty gritty a little bit, but I think people find this interesting. I’m curious to know, with specific to Culinary Nutrition to start, so the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, how do you run that as a site? Like, I’m guessing there’s logins, and things like that. Do you have a certain software that you use for it?

Meghan Telpner: We do, and as we’re speaking, we are in the testing process, as we’ve used a few different platforms.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay, which ones have you used? Out of curiosity, if you can remember.

Meghan Telpner: Mostly when it was on MeghanTelpner.com, we used Woo Commerce, so it was ran through one of the subscription or group plugins. I don’t remember exactly. Then, we were using a plugin called Sensei, which is an education plugin, which is great, very basic. We customized it to the point that it was literally being held together by a hope and a prayer, and you never want the core of your business to be held together by a hope and a prayer. Just right now, like today, we’re finishing the testing on our brand new, very customized LMS systems, Learning Management System, that was built from scratch, by an amazing developer, and to my spec, my wishlist, my nice to haves. We got it all covered. It is now 100% ours, and customized specifically to the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and to how we need it to function for our students, for our coaches, and for the backend admin, so that we can actually scale it and be able to have more students.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Obviously an investment, to be able to do that, but the flexibility, I’m sure allows you to add in all the things that you need and want, which is so hard with the plugin play type stuff.

Meghan Telpner: Yes. Also, for us, too, the peace of mind, knowing that this is solid, that it won’t break with the next upgrade, or if 1 plugin updates on the site, it won’t break the whole thing, so there was a lot, and I think that the investment, if your business is online, we’re not paying rent, we’re not paying utilities, there’s a lot of things we don’t have to pay for. Making sure that your site works the way you need it to is worth every penny, and every sleepful night that you get to have, because of it.

Bjork Ostrom: Absolutely. You also continue to have the smaller courses available on MeghanTelpner.com. Is that something that you’ll continue to do? What does that look like in terms of focus? Do you really focus on the academy, or is it equally split between the smaller course with more niche focus?

Meghan Telpner: It goes between them. We haven’t created any brand new courses for MeghanTelpner.com in a while. There is 1 that’s pending. We filmed it a year ago and just haven’t had the right window to launch it and share it. It’s great. I’m excited about it. It really splits between. I mean, my book came out last fall, so that was obviously a big focus, and for me, I have one team that manages both sites, and both sides of the business, and for us, it’s always a balance, and we have a lot of overlap in our audiences, between CulinaryNutrition.com and MeghanTelpner.com, so it’s always to make sure we’re not inundating with too much promotion, or too many programs, and not splitting the attention, and really respecting the time and intelligence of our community. It really goes in flows. The CN program is very seasonal, in that we launch it in the spring, it runs in the fall, and that’s it.

People will hear from us like crazy for 5 months, and then unless they’re in the program, they probably won’t hear from us a lot, except for a monthly newsletter with our blogs. With MeghanTelpner.com, what’s interesting and I’ve always worked in response to my community, in the last year, even with my book coming out, I’ve been hired more to talk about business and branding, and community building than I have about health and nutrition. I’m looking at how we and I, my team and I, can evolve that side of things, because it’s really fun, it’s new, it’s interesting, and I’m a big advocate for conscious business, and that you can make money and still support good people and have a good life, and be really responsible and have good ethics around that.

It’s a cross, and for me, I get to explore both my passions, which are business and psychology, and sociology, and health and nutrition, and all of that. Currently, right now we’re running a program called “The Awesome Life Detox,” with MeghanTelpner.com, which is a community based 10 day challenge. It’s about bringing more awesomeness into our lives. It’s not about nutrition, it’s not about food, but it’s about an attitude, and that attitude infuses the whole picture of what I try to create everyday.

Bjork Ostrom: When you are doing the courses or with the academy, do you follow a certain structure, in terms of how you deliver free content, and content that would be in support of that, versus asking or something that would be more like marketing oriented? Something saying, “Hey, sign up for the academy,” which obviously there’s more involved than that. How does that balance look like or what does that balance look like for you? How did you decide on that?

Meghan Telpner: I’ve never been into cheap sales tactics or “Sign up for my free webinar,” and the webinar’s actually a sales pitch for another program. Because for the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, it’s an investment, and it’s not for everyone, and I don’t pretend like it’s for everyone, but we do cap, even though it’s online, we cap the number of students we accept every year, so I always take a very informational approach or perhaps it’s advertorial, but I want to give as much honest and real information as I can about what we’re doing, and we have an online conference we run. We have a couple of open houses in the summertime, so people can actually see what the program is about, and it’s definitely a more gentle approach.

I don’t do money incentives, like, “Sign up now and save $100,” because I believe in fairness, and everyone should be paying the same for the same experience that they’re going to get, so it’s really been about educating people about what we’re doing, and why what we do is different, and who it’s for, who it’s not for, what you can reasonably expect to get out of the program, and so our emails around it are often story based, about whether it’s someone’s story about how culinary nutrition has affected their life, or just experiences I’ve had around opening up to new experience, or stretching my limits, and really inspiring people to pursue their passion and take a leap in the right direction for them.

If the leap is into the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, that’s amazing. If it inspires them to take a leap into something else that further allows them to evolve and develop their skills and their passion, equally amazing. That’s just part of our service approach to what we’re doing.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. It matches and aligns really well with what the perception is from the outside, like when you view your site and go to those places, and read the testimonials, like all of that feels very succinct, which I think is cool.

Meghan Telpner: It’s a lot easier to do work when you’re real about it. If I had to pretend something all the time, man, I’d need a nap.

Bjork Ostrom: For sure. One of the things that I thought was interesting is, you’re on the list of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs which is so cool, congratulations.

Meghan Telpner: I know, thank you.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and so they have this list of top entrepreneurs and this is from Profit Guide, so we can link to it in the show notes, but one thing that was interesting as I was looking through this is I was ordering it, and it shows revenue, which we talked about before, and you said, “Yeah, that’s fine,” and it’s here, too, so revenue of between 1 to 2 million which is incredible, but the thing that I really thought was interesting is when you order it by, and this is 2015, so this has maybe changed, but when you order it by employees, like the equivalent full time employees, you’re at the top, which means that you have the smallest and leanest of team of 3, and the next closest one is 5, and then it goes 7, 8, and then it quickly goes into double digits for teams.

I thought that was interesting for a few reasons. Number 1, it means that you’re running a relatively lean operation, and I think that’s something that’s really cool. The other thing that I thought was interesting is I’m guessing that comes along with making an intentional decision, not to try and scale as quickly as possible. I was curious if you could talk a little bit about why that is, and the decision making process behind that?

Meghan Telpner: Yes. All of those assumptions are correct. I only have 3 full time. I am 1 of them, and that being said, they don’t ask about contractors. We have amazing contractors. We have a developer, we have a videographer, we have a designer. I have a part time head program coach who does writing, so there’s other people that also are part of it, but yes, at one point, I got up to 5 full time, and the challenge, I don’t want to say the problem. The challenge was that I spend so much of my time overseeing other people’s projects. I felt like everyone was getting to do the creative work and I just had to be like, “Approve,” and it wasn’t fun for me.

Sure, we could generate a greater gross revenue, but ultimately, I think there’s this misconception a little bit about online business that “You can make billions, so why not?” At some point, you don’t need any more. I make enough to support the life that I want to live. I pay everyone on time, and fairly, and I believe that … Of course, with an online business, with any business, there are additional expenses that get greater and greater, so the purpose for me, for starting my own business, was to be able to live the life that I want to live, and if I’m spending 9 to 5 approving other people’s work, and then at work until 9 o’clock to get my own creative work done, that’s not in line with why I did this.

That was when I decided that I will get a really small, really incredible team of multi talented people that can do multiple jobs, and we can all do … There’s at least one other person that can do what someone is doing. We can cover for each other, and we support each other, and we contest each other’s work, and we really work as that cohesive unit, and we’re able to get an incredible mount of work done. We have 1 meeting every 2 weeks roughly. We work here together 3 days a week which is really important to me, and 2 days a week everyone can work from wherever they want to be, but ultimately, yeah, I really wanted to keep it small, and I had every intention of keeping it small. I don’t need a bunch of other divisions to my business. I’m enjoying it the way it is, and most of all, I love that because it’s small, I still get to be really active in the community.

I get to participate in the Facebook groups, and I get to go to events and meet people, and I have the time and the freedom to really be part of what I’ve created, and I’m grateful for the people that find us, and that honor us with their time and energy, that I want to be just as present for everyone else, as well.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think that’s a great … Again, similar to the idea of the personal brand versus the business, it’s the maker versus the manager, and it’s such a common transition that sometimes is met with appreciation, as people transition from maker to manager, but so often people that are makers and creators really don’t want to be managers, and then what ends up happening is then they’ll transition into this managerial role where maybe they grieve the process of not being able to go back and create, and I was just having a conversation the other day with a designer friend, somebody that we’re connected with, and he said, “I’m at the point in my life where people are starting to get promotions and do creative director jobs, which essentially means they just have meetings and are approving things all the time.” It sounds exactly like what you’re saying and he said, “I just want to continue to design. I love the process of designing,” so he decided to freelance, and focus on that.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. I think it’s important, because as you’re growing your business, you’re going to have to do parts that you don’t love, necessarily, but it’s good to know how to do, I believe it’s good to know how to do every job in your company, and then find the people who can do those other things better than you, which I’m grateful that I have, but really, if we can’t be in our own area of brilliance for the majority of our day, we’re going to lose our passion. We’re going to burn out, and we’re going to get exhausted, and we’re going to become disenchanted with it. I never want to wake up in the morning and dread going to work. It’s a business I created. I should love it most of all, and so I work everyday to … If I’m bored, there’s a problem, and I usually start becoming a troublemaker, but if I’m bored, that’s the invitation for me to figure out my way out of that boredom, and create something new that I can be excited about.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. Lindsay and I, this is a book that I … I forget the name of the book that she read, I should read it, but talks about this idea of the trickster mentality, and just the trickster is somebody who’s always thinking creatively about the work that you do and finding ways around the things that aren’t a good fit or maybe that you don’t enjoy, and not around like not doing them necessarily, but I think what you just said is a great example where if I’m bored, that means that I should change something, and because you do own what you’re doing, it’s like you can change it, which is crazy, because I think sometimes people get so caught up with the idea of being included that the drudge of the daily work is a mandatory requirement, which it’s not, right?

Meghan Telpner: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: You can have fun in what you’re doing and continue to be successful, and those 2 things can coexist. It doesn’t have to be miserable in order to find some success.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. I think the secret is to never let email become the most important job, part of your job.

Bjork Ostrom: I’m interested in that. Can you talk about what that process has been like for you, and how you’ve moved yourself away from day to day tasks like email or for some people, it might be Slack, like living in Slack, and messaging back and forth, or messaging in general? What does that look like for you? What have you learned?

Meghan Telpner: Well, part of it is that I, that’s why I like having Maven and Katherine … Ashley and Katherine here with me, because then we can have these conversations, and we’re not constantly messaging, we’re not emailing each other. We very rarely email internally. We use Asana for our project manager, so conversations around projects end up there most of the time, and so that’s part of it, and the other part is that I also have great support, that Katherine manages certain emails around certain issues, and Ashley manages other ones, and I put that in job descriptions. Like, that is what they’re responsible for. If I could outsource my own personal correspondence, man, then I’ll have it made.

I don’t respond to email every single day, unless it’s really urgent, and I don’t check email all the time. I only check email when I’m actually going to process them, meaning I’m actually going to respond, and remove from my inbox. Otherwise, as soon as you hit a hurdle on what you’re working on, you can check your email, you can check your Facebook, and it’s just a procrastination strategy that’s not productive, and not effective. When it’s your own business, sure, you could sit in front of your computer until 9 o’clock at night, but if you spent 4 of those hours killing time, it’s just a waste of your life, whereas, if I can get it all done and be out of here and go, you know, it’s summertime, go enjoy the day, I’m going to be more focused in getting that done.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. We’re coming to the end here, but a few more questions, if that’s okay?

Meghan Telpner: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Curious about the hiring process. What are some things that you’ve learned, knowing that you’ve gone through it a few times, and obviously you don’t have hundreds of people, but you’ve done it enough to learn about what the process is like, and advice for people that are maybe just getting into that stage of building their business, maybe thinking about hiring someone, even if it’s somebody in a contractor role?

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. The first thing I learned is that I’m terrible at hiring people.

Bjork Ostrom: What do you mean by that?

Meghan Telpner: I think that people come in, and I’m so grateful that they want to come work with me that I spend most of the interview just trying to sell them on my company.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, just being so appreciative that they would, yeah.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah. I’m like, “Oh, that’s so great, you could go work anywhere and you want to work here,” but I’ve gotten better. I have a really challenging application process, so that I’m not wasting my time weeding through applications, so they have to answer 5 specific questions that really relate … Well, they don’t actually relate. One is like, “What makes you weird?” I give them a sample email, “How would you respond to this?” I look for things like, did they hyperlink to links on my site? Did they go elsewhere? Did they tag things? I look for how that email’s responded to, because I think it says a lot about their writing ability, to how they use the internet, their research skills, and then I look at the format in which they submitted their resume, like is it a Word document or is it a PDF?

Is the PDF legible? Do they have some sense of design, so they could not necessarily design something, but see if things don’t look great? That’s the most superficial component of it, but there’s those steps they have to go through to apply, so it’s not just submitting a standard resume and cover letter.

Bjork Ostrom: Right, yep. Filtering for the sake of the work on the backend where then you don’t have to filter.

Meghan Telpner: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s like people filter themselves when they’re like, “Oh, I don’t feel like doing this.”

Meghan Telpner: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: As opposed to just easily forwarding a resume and a cover letter.

Meghan Telpner: Exactly. If someone wants to work here, I want them to really want it, and then I have a list of random questions that I’ve prepared for the interview. Some have to do with the job, some have to do with the person, because it’s a small team, the person matters a lot, who they are, and what they bring in their own uniqueness. Most of the skills can be taught, so that drive and independence and attention to detail and all those things are really important. What I’ve started doing now, and I’ve hired, I guess, 5 or 6 exceptional people, and 3 of them happen to still work with me. 1 was with me for 4 years, and just left to go start her own adventure. I have them interview the person first. I’m like, “You’re going to have to work with this person probably more than I will, so you do the preliminary interview, and if you like them, then I’ll go meet with them.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, sure. That’s great.

Meghan Telpner: This round of last interviews, and we’re hiring someone now, but the last round, it worked out really, really well, and we had a consensus, pretty straight up, of who we thought was great, and who we didn’t, and why. It’s a learning process for me. HR will never be my strength, because I’m always like, “Oh, but they’re special. They have this story to them,” or something.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. You see the positive in people where you can imagine any scenario potentially working.

Meghan Telpner: Exactly. Ashley, who’s been with me for over a year, and I’ve known her for a long time, she’s our HR department. She’s very strict about who we hire. It goes with the mission of my company, that we should all be working in our area of brilliance, and so I like people to be doing the work that they love and that they’re really good at, and she got to be really good at that, so I let her handle it.

Bjork Ostrom: For sure, that’s great. Like I said, I think it’s interesting, because if people stick with it long enough, and continue to learn and get a little bit better, there’ll probably be a time, there doesn’t have to be, right? Like, you can always stay small, and the sell the company, but probably be a time where it makes sense to bring somebody on, and so I think it’s always good to mention that, so people can take little tips and tricks away, which I think is great.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah, and be really real about what the role is. Like, don’t say … If they’re going to be picking up your dry cleaning, put that in the job description so don’t just feel bad after asking for it. You should skip the dry cleaning, it’s toxic. Depending on what it is, like one of the women who works with me, part of her job is to make sure that I’m drinking water throughout the day, because I get so focused, I forget, and it’s a little thing, and I’m not in my white room with white Smarties, but …

Bjork Ostrom: It’s yellow. It’s a yellow room.

Meghan Telpner: It’s just one of those things that when you write out a job description, be super specific about what they’re going to do, and a great thing, if you think might need someone, is to pay attention to your day to day tasks, and start making a list of all the things you really don’t need to be doing that someone else can do for you.

Bjork Ostrom: And don’t need to be doing, and potentially don’t enjoy doing. I think one thing that I’m learning over time is there are things that I don’t like doing, that I’m not good at, that there are people in the world that love doing, and they’re really good at them. It’s not a universal thing. An example would be like Lindsay loves to be ground level creator, she loves that stuff. That’s Sage, who loves to protect us from strangers coming to the door. Can you hear that? Sage in the background?

Meghan Telpner: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay, we’ll leave it in, because every once in a while, Sage makes an appearance on the podcast. She’s just jealous of all the air time that I have, but for me, I really like the high level stuff, so I really love to think about big picture things, and to play more not necessarily strictly manager, but to play more of that higher level decision making process, and I’ve realized that in probably the last year or 2, it’s like, “Oh, people have different things that they enjoy, and like doing,” which sounds so obvious, right?

Meghan Telpner: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: But it’s a good reminder, especially as you start to build up that time.

Meghan Telpner: Yeah, and I’ve spent some time, because I was like, I kept thinking, “I need to hire someone who does strategy and marketing, and writing,” and I’m like, “Wait a second. That’s in my genetic makeup, that I can do that, so I’m going to embrace that I can do it, but I’m going to have some other people do some of the stuff that makes that part feel like a chore, just because it ends up being squeezed into the last minute of a day.” It’s currently, knocking wood, we’ve got a really good flow, and it’s so fun. Everyday we’re having fun, and we’re creating things, and we get to work with amazing people who want to be part of what we’re creating.

Bjork Ostrom: Which is awesome. We’re coming to the end here. One more question that I want to ask you, that I’m always interested to hear from people that are on the podcast is, if you go back and you could have a conversation with yourself again, whether it’s the 2004 version of yourself that’s at an ad agency, or the 2006 version of yourself working on Healthy Cookie, or 2008 when you started this journey officially in the nutrition space, what would that conversation be that you have with yourself and the advice that you’d give to yourself?

Meghan Telpner: It’d be 2 things. 1 would be “Relax. Your life is bigger than this moment right now.” The other component is, I would say to the 2008/2009/2010/2011 struggling version of myself, it would be, “It’s going to be okay. Enjoy things while it’s quiet.”

Bjork Ostrom: Can you say a little bit more about that, the last part. You said, “Enjoy things while it’s quiet.” What does that mean?

Meghan Telpner: I used to feel like I was putting out so much energy and my phone wouldn’t ring, and I wouldn’t get an email for a day, and I’d be like, “No one’s picking up what I’m throwing down. What am I going to do?” I would just sit, spinning my wheels. Now, if I had a day where I didn’t get an email, well first, I’d panic that my server was down, but I’d be like, “Oh, I’m going to the beach.” It’s that perception, I guess, and I wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t … I have no regrets, because I’m grateful for where I’ve landed today, but I think just recognizing that things evolve as they need to, and all we can really do is appreciate where we are today.

We can appreciate the decisions that we are gifted the opportunity to make, and that all we can do is make those decisions based on what we know today, so looking back, I mean like, “Oh, I wish I had done that instead,” it’s a waste of energy, and we need all the energy we have to be putting into what we’re creating today. I believe very firmly that things come to us when we’re ready to receive them, so learning how to open up to that, and be like, “I am ready to be really happy. I’m ready to be really successful, I’m ready to make the amount of money I want to make.” You have it believe that through and through in order for you to be able to make the decisions and the choices, and do the work that will make that happen.

Bjork Ostrom: I think it’s a really interesting point, and a piece of that that I feel like I can pull up to and relate really specifically is this idea of wherever you are, be grateful for where that is, and that’s a really hard thing to do, because you can look forward and say, “I’ll be more grateful when,” or you can look backwards and say, “I was grateful because,” but to be in the moment, and to be centered and say, “I am grateful here today because this,” and to truly feel that, as opposed to really wanting something from the future or the past, is a hard thing to do, but what a great skill to develop, and so ambiguous, it’s hard to do, right? It’s hard to track what that is.

Meghan Telpner: It’s hard. I think, too, it’s remembering that what other people are doing doesn’t matter, and it’s not being like, “Well, they started” … “I started in 2008, too. Why aren’t I doing that?” It has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s you, and your journey, and what you’re creating, and what you’re putting out in the world, and doing your great and important work, and all of our work is great and important.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome, and I think a really good note to end on. Last thing, Meghan, where can people follow you and find out what you’re doing and follow along with all of the stuff that you have going on?

Meghan Telpner: Yes. I’m @MeghanTelpner across social media, and my website is MeghanTelpner.com, and for anything about the school, it’s at CulinaryNutrition.com, and it’s CulinaryNutrition on Instagram, and AcademyCN on Twitter. We post daily, stuff from our site, stuff from great things around the web, and with the school, we’re often posting mostly amazing things our graduates are doing and have created.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. That’s awesome. Meghan, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. Really appreciate it.

Meghan Telpner: Thank you so much for having me. This was fun.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Have a great day, thanks. That’s a wrap for episode number 56. Meghan, one more time, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It’s always so fun to hear from people that have found success, but have also been true to who they are, and have been genuine and authentic along the way, and that’s definitely true for your Meghan, so thanks for coming on and sharing your story. Hey, one more quick reminder about Nutrifox. If you’re interested in joining in on the beta version of that, the early bird launch price, you can check that out at Nutrifox.com and we’re really excited about building that into a super helpful tool for food bloggers, as well as people that do anything nutrition related, really, in the food industry online.

Thanks so much for checking out the podcast. As always, we want to let you know that we really appreciate it, and we’re coming to a close for this weeks’ podcast, but we will be back here same time, same place, in just 7 days. Until then, make it a great week. Thanks, guys.


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