Welcome to episode 276 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week, we’re playing an episode from the Irie Lemon Podcast with Liz Della Croce and Vincent Mcintosh.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Paul Bannister and Becca Clark from AdThrive about how ad revenue works and how food bloggers can increase the income they get from ads. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Scaling Your Business & Providing Massive Value
Today’s episode is a bit different from normal, and that’s because we’re featuring an episode of the Irie Lemon Podcast.
Liz and Vincent interviewed Bjork a few weeks ago about his unique journey from non-profit educator to food and tech CEO. You’ll hear stories of how Bjork and Lindsay formed their businesses, how Bjork stays inspired, and how he delegates and hires.
We hope you enjoy this featured podcast episode!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The quick story of Pinch of Yum, Food Blogger Pro, Nutrifox, and TinyBit
- What Bjork did before starting Food Blogger Pro
- How Bjork and Lindsay transitioned to blogging full-time
- How Bjork and Lindsay described running a blog as a business
- Why Bjork wanted to educate others through the income reports on Pinch of Yum
- How to find your why
- How to make every day enjoyable
- How Bjork and Lindsay passed responsibilities off to others
- What intentional ignorance and radical delegation mean
- The story behind Food Blogger Pro
- Why you only need to be expert enough to each someone something
- Irie Lemon Podcast
- Pinch of Yum
- WP Tasty
- Atomic Habits
- Youth Frontiers
- 1000 True Fans
- Pinch of Yum Income Reports
- Smart Passive Income
- The Social Dilemma
- Designing Your Life
- The Life Coach School
- Hand Built
- The Last Dance
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Learn more about joining the Food Blogger Pro community at foodbloggerpro.com/membership
Transcript (click to expand):
Alexa Peduzzi: Hello, hello. You are listening to The Food Blogger Pro Podcast. I’m Alexa and we are so excited that you’ve decided to tune in today. Today’s episode is actually a little bit of a different one and that’s because it’s a featured podcast episode. And what does that mean?
Alexa Peduzzi: Well, it means that we’re re-sharing an episode from another podcast and that is the Irie Lemon podcast. Liz from the food blog, The Lemon Bowl, and Vincent from the restaurant, Irie Kitchen, started this podcast as a way to talk through their different perspectives and business models as entrepreneurs.
Alexa Peduzzi: They interviewed Bjork a few weeks ago and that’s the interview you’ll hear today. You’ll hear stories of how Bjork and Lindsay formed their businesses, how Bjork stays inspired and how he hires and delegates. It’s a really good one. We’re excited to share it with you. So let’s dive in.
Liz Della Croce: Okay, guys, let’s get started. Episode 49. We’re getting close to the one-year mark.
Bjork Ostrom: All right.
Liz Della Croce: And we’ve got a really special guest today, our friend Bjork, my friend. Well, I should say soon-to-be friend.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes.
Liz Della Croce: All right, Bjork why don’t you tell-
Bjork Ostrom: Only friends.
Liz Della Croce: Exactly. Tell everybody who you are.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. So our quick story, over 10 years ago, which is crazy, my wife, Lindsay decided that she wanted to start a website, a blog and we brainstormed together what that would be, how it would work. But it worked out really well because the things that Lindsay loved doing were things that I didn’t necessarily love doing.
Bjork Ostrom: She loved writing, she loved photographing, she loved recipe development. So we knew that the focus was going to be on food. I loved a lot of the stuff that maybe people would consider boring, the behind the scenes, the technical elements of running a website, monetization, even just the general business building functions.
Bjork Ostrom: So it worked out really well for us to partner. Lindsay took on the content, really learned how to do that well and I took on a lot of the functions of the business that I really enjoyed. And together, we started working on Pinch of Yam and Pinch of Yam today still exists.
Bjork Ostrom: Lindsay is in the studio office kitchen that we have right next to me right now, working on some recipes with Krista, our shoot assistant who’s so incredible as well.
Bjork Ostrom: And we’ve worked on this together over the last 10 years and throughout the process, I have realized, hey, not only are we interested in wanting to start a food and recipe website, Pinch of Yam but we realized along the way, there’s a lot of other correlated businesses that we could start. So we started a membership site for food bloggers called Food Blogger Pro.
Bjork Ostrom: We have a podcast that we do on a weekly basis for Food Blogger Pro. We started a WordPress plugins business for recipe plugins or Pinterest optimization. Because we were doing that, we realized other people would need too. That’s called WP Tasty. And a nutrition analysis website called Nutrifox.
Bjork Ostrom: So we’ve created these businesses along the ways we’ve seen a need. And now, those all live under a parent company that we call TinyBit. And TinyBit is all about the ethos for how we operate in the world, which is showing up and getting a tiny bit better every day.
Liz Della Croce: Oh, yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: We call that 1% infinity. So that’s our quick story.
Liz Della Croce: I love that. Maybe it wasn’t the first time you mentioned it, but I do remember, it was many years ago. I was on a walk with a newborn baby. So it had to have been a while ago, six or so years ago and he talked about 1% to infinity. And I just remembered, I do take that with me every day and I’m certain that’s been a huge part of my success. So thank you for that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. I’m actually just started reading this book called Atomic Habits by James Glear.
Liz Della Croce: Oh, I love that book.
Bjork Ostrom: And getting into it, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. This is exactly the same or generally the same concept,” which looking at it when I see the word atomic, I think of atomic bombs, I think of a huge, big thing. But actually, what it means is atomic like an atom, really small.
Bjork Ostrom: And how do you make small changes that have a really big impact? So a great book to check out if people are looking to add something to the reading list. It’s something that I’ve been getting into, but it matches up really well with the idea of TinyBit and how we operate as people and as a company.
Liz Della Croce: I agree with that.
Vincent Mcintosh: So 10 years ago, were you in business or were you doing something totally different, before you even started?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It was totally different.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. So Lindsay was a fourth-grade teacher and I worked at a nonprofit. The nonprofit that I worked at was called Youth Frontiers. And Youth Frontiers really came out of Columbine and this realization that for schools, one of the most important things isn’t just if kids are getting an A in class, but also an A in life.
Bjork Ostrom: And schools having this realization that culture, respect, kindness, courage, all of these characteristics that are really soft, hard skills to grade on, right, but super important skills for people to develop culturally and as individuals. So we would go around and we would do presentations with a class of seniors or a class of fourth-graders and we’d talk about these things, kindness, courage, respect.
Bjork Ostrom: So I was able to do that and I loved it, but one of the things that happened was they had this position open up 10 hours a week to help troubleshoot the computers and work on the website. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. I’m super interested in that. Can I help out doing that?” So that was really my introduction, in a professional setting, doing computer and tech.
Bjork Ostrom: It was super enjoyable and I really loved it and it kicked off what already was an interest. I was always the first friend to get an iPod back when it was like an actual hard disk and you could hear it spinning, hard drive inside. And my brother started a Window-washing company and I was like, “Can I create a website for you?”
Bjork Ostrom: I was always interested in that but my nonprofit work was really stepping into actually getting paid for that and then really, where I started to learn a lot. And then that’s where we started the side hustle. So Lindsay, early morning, late night, over lunch, she would work on the side, same with me. I’d be learning things.
Bjork Ostrom: It was listening to podcasts anytime that I’d be driving. And it started out … If you were to look at the 80–20 split of time, it was probably like 5% of our time was on this side hustle and 95% was full-time work.
Bjork Ostrom: But that started to shift over time and our story of transition was really one of slow, slow, slow transition from 10–90 split to like 50–50 to 40–60, to eventually where we’re working part-time on our “normal jobs” full-time on the businesses and then eventually realized, “Hey. If we’re going to do this, we’ve got to eventually fully transition over to working on this full time.”
Liz Della Croce: So for people that are listening, that might be wondering about that slow transition, how many years in were you with Pinch of Yam until you were able to quit your normal job, so to speak?
Vincent Mcintosh: Good question.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. So we started Pinch of Yam in 2010, worked on that as a part-time thing, both Lindsay and I, through 2014, 2015. So it was probably four to five years of really consistent work on that.
Bjork Ostrom: One of the things that’s worth pointing out is that we were really early in our careers and working at a nonprofit and Lindsay was teaching and we had actually just gotten back from a year overseas in the Philippines, working at an orphanage.
Bjork Ostrom: So the lifestyle adjustment that we had to make wasn’t super huge because we weren’t used to a corporate salary or we weren’t used to this inflated lifestyle. So that was one of the things that was really helpful.
Bjork Ostrom: We didn’t have kids at the time and it allowed that transition to be a little bit easier because we knew that the expenses that we had weren’t going to be as high as they would be now. When we have a house in the suburbs and we have our daughter, and we have a dog and suddenly, all of these things that add these recurring expenses, those didn’t exist early on.
Bjork Ostrom: So that was a piece of the equation. It wasn’t just how quickly were we growing the business but what did it look like for the businesses to sustain us? And in those early stages of our life, it’s a lot easier for that to happen just because we still had the lingering college mindset in terms of budget and spending.
Liz Della Croce: Yeah. It’s always nice when you can grow your family and all other aspects of your life grow with your business. And as more things came into your personal life, your business grew with it, which is what … I had the same.
Liz Della Croce: Started in 2010, the same thing, and I didn’t have kids for three years and I roughly didn’t make money for three years. Boy, it’s easier. There wasn’t, I think, that push to replace perhaps right away a six-figure salary. And you give yourself a month to do it and-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah.
Liz Della Croce: In hindsight, I’m pretty glad I wasn’t.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally.
Vincent Mcintosh: In that four to five years, did you guys ever think about quitting? Your family was like, “What are you guys spending your time doing? Why are you spending your time at a nonprofit?” Or was everyone supportive or judged as young? What was going on?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: Anyone that’s listening, I think that can help them.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. So part of our story was really early on with Pinch of Yam, I started publishing these reports. They started as just income, but then we started to publish traffic as well.
Bjork Ostrom: It was this experiment, where I had heard from … It was two fictitious characters on my shoulder and one was this genre of people who were saying, “Hey, you can build anything online and create a community around that and create income around that. And the reason you can is because you’re going to access the world.
Bjork Ostrom: And chances are, if you’re interested in it, other people are going to be interested in it.“ There’s the Kevin Kelly 1,000 True Fans and that concept is like, ”Hey, if you can get 1,000 true fans, there’s a really good chance that you’re going to be able to create a sustainable business, if you’re a musician, if you are somebody who’s opening a restaurant, if you are publishing content online.”
Bjork Ostrom: So there was that character. And then there’s this other character, which is like, “Hey, if you’re going to publish stuff online, especially if it’s about food, there’s no way that you can expect to make money from that and create a career around it.” So it started for us as an experiment like, “Hey, can we do this?”
Bjork Ostrom: Almost the motivation of somebody saying, “No, you can’t,” suddenly, for us became like, “Well, I think we can.” And so we started and it was like we’re earning $21 in the previous month from one ad that we had on the site. As we started to figure out what it looked like to create an income from a website, as we started to figure out what it looked like to increase traffic, that started to go up.
Bjork Ostrom: So we went from 20 to 50 to 100 to 1,000 to 5,000. So for family, I think, who had been following along with the blog since the very beginning, they started to see that and they could understand this was developing into a business. I think where we found the most disconnect was when we moved, people were like, “What do you do?”
Bjork Ostrom: And we were like, “We have a blog.” And it was almost like people didn’t know how to respond. And there’s part of it, which it seems like I’m saying that as a joke or to be self-deprecating but it was really true. People wouldn’t know how to respond.
Bjork Ostrom: And it was almost like it was us saying, “This is what we’re doing until we figure out what we’re doing next.” And so people didn’t know…
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Yeah. People didn’t know, “Do we ask more questions about it or will you be embarrassed to talk about it?” So we had to develop our pitch for what it was that we did when we would talk to people.
Bjork Ostrom: And for us, that developed into … For people who wouldn’t necessarily understand it, when I’m talking to both of you, when I’m talking to this audience, people will understand it, they get it, but some people wouldn’t.
Bjork Ostrom: And so we had to pivot how we would talk about it. So we started to talk about it as like an online magazine. So like, “What do you do?” “Oh, we have an online magazine.” And there’s this weird type of-
Liz Della Croce: Oh, yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Right. But there’s something about traditional media for a certain group of people that comes with a level of validation that doesn’t exist with online media, which makes sense because anybody can start a blog really easily. Anybody can start a website pretty easily. And so people don’t know how to qualify-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. People don’t know how to qualify the success of something. But when we would change how we would talk about that, it would impact people’s impression. One last story on the family side of things. For extended family, it was really when we were on the local morning news that it solidified us as like we’ve made it.
Liz Della Croce: Isn’t that funny?
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. And it’s so non-impactful.
Liz Della Croce: I was just going to say the least impactful thing. But there are ways that probably it did impact your relationship and dynamic maybe-
Bjork Ostrom: Yes-
Liz Della Croce: … with your family.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, for sure. And I think our immediate family would get it. But the general, not super-connected family and friends-
Liz Della Croce: Totally.
Bjork Ostrom: … it was like once you’re on the morning news making pumpkin muffins or something, then it’s like, “Gosh, it is …” We’d get messages. People would reach out like, “It is so cool to see.” And they’re like, “Your traffic must’ve gone through the roof.”
Bjork Ostrom: And it’s like none of that stuff happens but it’s a type of validation in traditional media that allows people to say like, “Oh, I can see what you’re doing.” And now, in my mind, this is the level of success that I deem worthy of a text message.
Liz Della Croce: So one thing that I’ve always admired about you is that you really pull back the veil so people can really see what goes into running an online business because in addition to showing the income, which I know so many people are drawn to that and like, “Oh, my gosh,” blah, blah, blah. Equally, you showed your expenses each month-
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Liz Della Croce: … which I always appreciate because I don’t think the average person really understands that running an online business, especially one that’s growing, the expenses grow too. And the punchlines were quite a few and I think that was just so cool.
Liz Della Croce: So my question is what inspired you to really pull back that curtain and let people in and to really teach and educate others? I know Lindsay is a former teacher. I don’t know if that was part of it, but I always think this is your idea. And I want to hear what inspired you to really show that to people.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. It wasn’t an original idea. There’s a group of entrepreneurs who are doing this broad transparency movement like, “Hey, we’re going to talk about our business and have that be completely open.” And you see that now with SaaS businesses, software as a service.
Bjork Ostrom: So any business you pay a subscription fee for, there’s a SaaS metrics company called Baremetrics. They have a dashboard that shows a bunch of different companies and how much money they’re making. So ConvertKit is one that a lot of people might recognize. They show their own Baremetrics dashboard.
Bjork Ostrom: They talk a lot about what it’s like to build a business, the ups and the downs of that. Buffer is a company that, in a similar way, will talk about their … They have open salaries. They have all of their company documents exposed. The actual income report structure was a business blogger named Pat Flynn who had a site called smart-passive income.
Bjork Ostrom: So it wasn’t something that was new to us. It wasn’t something that I thought up. But what was new was maybe applying that to a brand of non-business first type media. So a lot of those companies, they were businesses for businesses and we were a business for consumers and talking about that process.
Bjork Ostrom: So I think for me, it’s just something that I’ve always been interested in. I’m just fascinated by finance. I’m fascinated by personal finance. Those are the podcasts that I listen to, the books that I listen to, the books that I read. It’s just something that’s really interesting to me.
Bjork Ostrom: And so naturally, it was like, “Hey, if Lindsay has this category of thing that she’s really good at, recipes, photography, writing, there’s this thing that I’m really interested in.” And it was like, “Would it work to put this on the same platform that we currently have?” And for a long time, it did.
Bjork Ostrom: And it was really fun to do that in a really fun experiment, but like a lot of experiments do, it got to the place where it was like, “You know what? I feel like what this started out as isn’t what it is right now.” And it got to a point where the business had a certain level of success, but like anything, what gets you to where you are isn’t going to get you to the next level.
Bjork Ostrom: And what we found was the problems that we were starting to solve were problems that were not super-tactical and more generally boring and uninspiring, especially for people in the early stages. So it was things like, “What does it look like to hire a team?”
Bjork Ostrom: And that’s super exciting for us, but maybe not as exciting for somebody who’s in the early stages or just getting started. “What does it look like to create a company handbook?” That’s one of the things we’re working on now, really important.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s foundational for a team to have that, but not something that will probably spin up and people who are following along with how we started our food blog would be really interested in learning. So it got to the point where it started to feel like there’s this concept with people who have success as a band and who don’t iterate.
Bjork Ostrom: They talk about you becoming a cover band of yourself where essentially, you’re covering your own songs. And I worried about the those reports becoming a version of that for us, where we weren’t iterating and evolving. And suddenly, it became like we were a cover band of ourselves.
Bjork Ostrom: We were just using the thing that had made us successful to keep us successful in a certain category. So an example being Food Blogger Pro really came out of a lot of people writing to us and saying, “Hey, we’d be interested in learning more about this.” So from those income reports, came Food Blogger Pro, but we wanted Food Blogger Pro to stand on its own.
Liz Della Croce: Right.
Bjork Ostrom: So at some point, it’s like, “Hey, this has run its course. We don’t feel like they’re as helpful as they are. We feel like it’s maybe land’s weird to put these next to recipe content.” So we started to move away from those. But it was really helpful for us in the early stages to talk about that process, to talk about that transition and to do that as an experiment publicly.
Liz Della Croce: Yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: Yeah, I love it. I was just telling Liz, the next thing that I want to do is have the aspect of it as being transparent because I think one, it helps you bring business in, two, it helps you communicate to people who are just starting out-
Bjork Ostrom: Yes.
Vincent Mcintosh: … and then you can build in a business like you have on the back of that. So it’s a great marketing thing. But in America, I think it’s so weird to talk about money. It’s like a taboo to ask how much money they make. We just don’t do it, right?
Bjork Ostrom: Right.
Vincent Mcintosh: And I think a lot of people don’t do business because of that, because they just so stuck on the numbers, right?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: And it’s like, “Okay. Well, there’s 50K a month, 100K a month.” That doesn’t really matter. But it is cool to show somebody the process of $21 to that point.
Liz Della Croce: Right.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes.
Vincent Mcintosh: And it took 10 years.
Liz Della Croce: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally.
Vincent Mcintosh: Right? Because what happens a lot of times is you’re now this big blogger guy and your wife is this big blogger woman. “Oh, it must’ve been easy. It must have been overnight.” You’re like, “Well, not necessarily. It started with $21.” Right?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, sure.
Vincent Mcintosh: And I think especially for anyone that’s young, trying to start a business or just new into it. It’s like, “How do you do it? How do you even price out?” “Well, they did it like this, so maybe I should follow that,” right?
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, totally.
Vincent Mcintosh: You just created that blueprint. And I think that is aspiring to hear that you did it. And it encouraged me to do it for my next project, for sure.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s great. And I think the key thing to point out with that is when we were doing those, one of the things that people said a lot was like, “Oh, my gosh. You must have a ton of traffic on Pinch of Yam to those posts.” And when you pull it up and you would look at it, even when we were doing those consistently, it was low single-digit percentage.
Bjork Ostrom: It was really low. And that’s one of the great things about separating those out and us continuing to move Pinch of Yam into its own as like, “We are a food and recipe website.” We talk about some blogging and business things, but it’s standing on its own.
Bjork Ostrom: One of the things though, if you are interested in doing that, that’s important to point out is Pinch of Yam wasn’t successful because of those things, Food Blogger Pro was. And if somebody’s thinking about building some type of content, whether it be marketing content, whatever the category you’d put that in, make sure that you have something correlated to that that you want to support that.
Bjork Ostrom: And for us, that was Food Blogger Pro. And it created this thing that then for me, it’s like, “Great. The thing that I love talking about, business, analytics, metrics. Now, this is the thing that I can own.” And Pinch of Yam, through this content marketing that we’re doing now can support that. But it wouldn’t have been the same if we did that just siloed for Pinch of Yam-
Liz Della Croce: Right.
Vincent Mcintosh: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: … because it’s disconnected. And that’s why you see companies like Baremetrics or Buffer or any of these companies that are doing transparent type content, it’s a type of content marketing that then brings in other businesses.
Bjork Ostrom: So I think that would be the one piece to it to consider if anybody else is interested in doing that is having something connected to that and also to make sure that it doesn’t become … at its worst, I think it feels gimmicky. And I think that’s where it started to feel towards the end.
Liz Della Croce: I think you avoided not feeling gimmicky. In my mind, because of your podcast-
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Liz Della Croce: … you had established trust. I feel like I knew you, so that helped me. It’s like on Instagram, you see a random pop-up for a course or a program. But yours, I’m sure you took some active measures to not be gimmicky.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Liz Della Croce: What were those?
Bjork Ostrom: Well, I think it maybe did to people towards the end, especially. I think once you lose the story of it, then there’s a disconnect there. And I think as it got to the end, it’s like, “This is no longer an experiment.” And that ties into what I was talking about before. It’s like the experiment has been proven.
Bjork Ostrom: You can build something in the category of food and recipe content that is exciting and interesting and a profitable business. And so at that point, then it’s like, “What is the experiment and what are we doing with these?” And I think it became a really good way to introduce people to Food Blogger Pro.
Bjork Ostrom: But I think if people didn’t fully understand the roots of where it came from, then very quickly, it started to feel like, “Why are you doing this?” And to your point, then it’s like, “This isn’t something that people normally talk about.” So it felt uncomfortable in that way.
Bjork Ostrom: I think in the early stages, it was like, “Wow, this is really interesting to see how you went from $20 to $2,000.” And I can apply that. But once it got to a point where it’s like, “Hey, the site made $10,000 or $15,000 or $20,000,” there starts to be a disconnect of like, “Why are you doing this? What is the reason for it? How does this apply to me?”
Bjork Ostrom: I think there still were takeaways, but I think at its best, there’s the takeaways and people have something where they’re like, “Great. I learned this. I’m inspired.” Maybe it’s like a four-minute mile. We’ve heard those stories where people are like, “Oh, wow. I realized this was possible and now I could do it.” That’s the sunny side, the bright side.
Bjork Ostrom: That would be the reason to continue to do those. But the dark side that exists in all types of social media is people feeling like what they’re doing isn’t enough or they’ll never get to that point. And they’re being discouraged by that.
Bjork Ostrom: And I think the dark side of those was strong enough to let go of the light side and say, “Are there other ways that we can be doing this that has more light than dark?” And it’s not to say that it was a complete throwaway, that it was only bad. Maybe it was 40–60 good, bad. Maybe it was 55–45 bad, good.
Bjork Ostrom: But it was enough where it felt like the majority, whatever that is, the majority of this has shifted at the point that we decided to stop into not being helpful as opposed to being helpful. So that was the reasoning behind deciding to wind those down. But for me, I want to continue to talk about all things business, self-Improvement.
Bjork Ostrom: When I think of my mission, it’s like, “How do I help people, individuals become better and groups of people, teams become better?” And if I figure out ways to do that, great. And I’m not going to do it 100%. I’m going to show up and I’m going to fail but that’s what I want to try and figure out.
Bjork Ostrom: And it felt at that point, it was like, “I don’t think this is in complete alignment.” So that’s the really long explanation of the story of those. I think all tying back to the validation with family … Is that what those came out of? The question from 40 minutes ago that you asked?
Vincent Mcintosh: Well, it’s not as big as me and Liz talking about it. I feel like every entrepreneur, there is that chip or you do something different. And it’s not always negative. It’s just more like as human beings and in modern culture, we need things to validate ourselves, right?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: It’s no longer a wheel and fire. I was good enough way back in the day.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally, totally.
Vincent Mcintosh: I won the day. I can live off that for two years. Now, as a man and taking care of your wife and your daughter or your son, right, are you doing your job as a man? She’s still doing her job. There’s so much more. And I feel you’re an entrepreneur and you’re authentic and you’re on the good side, right, the dark side?
Vincent Mcintosh: You are trying to be honest and trying to be good, but you can’t deny that, “Yo, I want this thing to work and I want it to be good. That’s why I’m doing it.” And there’s a little darkness that comes from there. Maybe your uncle not getting a pat on the back until you’re on local news.
Bjork Ostrom: It really is true. It’s one of the things that I’ve been thinking about as it relates to my use of social media and the why behind that. It’s a little bit different for me because for Pinch of Yam, there’s a really clear use for it. For some of our other brands, Food Blogger Pro, there’s a clear use of it. But for me, personally, it’s one of the things that I’ve wrestled with.
Bjork Ostrom: Why do I have an account? And I think a lot of it, if I get to the core for me personally, it’s showing other people what I’m doing and some form of validation that comes from that. And one of the things that I wrestle most with is I think a lot of times, as we share our highlight reel, it creates a contrast to the worst realities of life that never gets shared that other people see.
Bjork Ostrom: And I think it’s one of the things that we have to struggle with as creators is how do we do that in a way that doesn’t make people feel like the only thing we’re sharing is our highlight reel. And to go back to the reports that we were sharing, it felt like there was some parts of it that talked about like, “Hey, here’s the things we did that didn’t work.”
Bjork Ostrom: But it felt like sharing our highlight reel in a way that contrasted the realities of what it was to live life or to run a business. And so part of it was not wanting to contribute in that way. But that’s a hard problem to figure out and to solve. It’s like the social dilemma, which is the Netflix documentary. It talks about that.
Liz Della Croce: I’m afraid of watching it so I haven’t yet. I’m scared.
Vincent Mcintosh: Yeah. So I have a question. You may not know how to answer this. How do you find your why and what matters most to you? And I know since you started, since you got on the call with us, that you are very story-driven. You are very passionate. It isn’t … What’s the word I’m looking for? It’s not a facade.
Liz Della Croce: Right.
Vincent Mcintosh: So how do you find that? Because I think a lot of people struggle. People always ask me, “Well, how do you know?” I’m like, “Gosh. I don’t know how to answer that question.” Did you know how to answer that question or-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: What’s your steps?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. I think it’s an everyday thing and it’s a continual evolution. At least it has been for me. I referenced it earlier. But what I’ve come to is to skip to the end. It’s like if I can show up and figure out ways to try and help people get better or groups of people, teams, that’s a pretty clear way for me. There’s two parts to this next statement.
Bjork Ostrom: I think I feel pretty confident that no matter the level of success achieved, that it will never be enough to validate me internally. And so I think that has to come from the four or five or six people in my inner-inner circle. And it’s immediate family, it’s maybe three to four friends, it’s Lindsay, it’s my daughter, Solvi.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s that group that when you distill it all down, that’s what’s going to really matter in terms of, what does that look like for me to have an impact on them and them to have an impact on me? I think once going outside of that, then the question is like, “What does it look like to show up and do work every day?”
Bjork Ostrom: And I think if I can be doing work that is twofold, in an area of interest and passion and feasibility to pay the bills, so the functional part, and the category of a need for it in the world. And as much as those things can overlap, then all the better. And some days, I feel like I’m really aligned with that and other days, I don’t.
Bjork Ostrom: An example would be I’m interested in commercial real estate. What does that look like for those two things to overlap? In one sense, it could be numbers. And you can purchase a building and it can create income and it can have tax incentives or … And this is what I’ve been trying to do as I think about commercial real estate.
Bjork Ostrom: And I’m not there yet, but I continually remind myself, what does it look like to create a building environment that for a retail shop owner or a restaurant, they’re proud of, it’s continually updated, it’s clearly communicated what’s happening, it’s a fair lease? And that’s where that overlaps starts to happen.
Bjork Ostrom: It becomes not just about numbers, but how do I create something that allows somebody to be their best self or group of people to the best version that they can be. In terms of what it takes, the steps to go through to get there, there’s a book called Designing Your Life.
Bjork Ostrom: And one of the exercises that they have in that is to go through each activity that you have every day and do a little gauge of, “Is this draining me?” They have it as like a fuel, empty to full. “Is this full or is this empty?”
Liz Della Croce: Cool.
Bjork Ostrom: And so on the side of passion and purpose and fit, I think that that’s an exercise that you can do. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is this concept of everyday enjoyable. How do you make every day enjoyable?
Bjork Ostrom: And there’s always going to be things that aren’t enjoyable as part of your day, but to the degree that you can make it possible, how do you make every day enjoyable? I enjoy talking to both of you. Okay. So that’s interesting. How do I figure out how to do more of that? I don’t enjoy reviewing contracts for sponsored content. Okay.
Bjork Ostrom: How do we make sure that that’s not something that I’m doing a lot of? That’s the passion side of things. In terms of figuring out your why, I don’t know. I think it’s been a continual wrestling for me. I’d be interested for both of you, what that has looked like. It’s flipping the interview, but I do have a podcast, so I feel like I can use one. The first question-
Bjork Ostrom: But what does that look like for both of you to think about your why behind the work that you do?
Liz Della Croce: I mean, for me, it was certainly having achieved weight loss 15 years ago. I think once I realized … I never thought I would ever achieve weight loss success or being at healthy weight.
Liz Della Croce: And if I can do it, I just feel empowered to show that anyone else can do it and also show people that it is manageable long-term and it doesn’t need to be with any fad diet or getting rid of entire food groups. And I just want to show people that you can live a healthy life and still travel and have a social life.
Liz Della Croce: So my biggest why was I’m so happy and I feel so good physically and mentally, I want others to feel that too. And if I can help others vibrate at that same high level like I do, that would be a big why. Obviously, of course, now, I have children. So of course, with kids, it’s like you just want to show up and be present and be there for them.
Liz Della Croce: And of course, this year has been crazy and we’re together constantly, so I’d be lying if I said every moment was a precious moment. But I think right now, I’m just trying to show them that it is possible to follow your dream and to live the life of your dreams. I feel like I have designed the life of my dreams if I can show my kids that and that it’s possible.
Liz Della Croce: That would be huge to me. Ironically, yesterday, I went through everything I do, because it’s been a few years, and I basically checked off, “Does it require my expertise? Do I enjoy it? Do I not enjoy it? And does it not require my expertise?”
Liz Della Croce: And everything that didn’t require my expertise and I don’t enjoy, I’m creating a new position for it. So it’s good that you mentioned that with the contract.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally. The hard part with that is there is a period where you just have to eat dirt and do the things that you don’t. But then I think the interesting observation is there eventually becomes a time where you’re eating this dirt and then you’re like, “Wait, there’s this other person who this doesn’t taste like dirt.
Bjork Ostrom: This tastes like chocolate pudding and it’s so good to them.“ And then you realize, ”Wait a minute. This isn’t dirt. This is pudding and I just don’t like the taste of it.” So you can bring that person in but for a while, it’s like you have to do the things that you don’t enjoy. And I think it’s worth calling out as I think about for myself too.
Bjork Ostrom: There was that period of time where, as I’m designing my life, it’s like, “Hey, this takes a lot out of me,” contracts being an example, “And I still need to do it.” So for those who are listening, if you are in that stage, know that it’s not like … For me, at least for our story, that it’s like you figure out how to get rid of that right away.
Liz Della Croce: I mean, it’s just like exercise. There’s certain things that I still hate to exercise, but humans are the only species that can delay short-term gratification for the long-term benefits. So obviously, those contracts provide many long-term perks.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally.
Liz Della Croce: Anyways, I know not everything in life. But to your point, if you can find someone that it tastes like chocolate pudding, that’s cool.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Liz Della Croce: All right.
Vincent Mcintosh: So I think we are both three-fours.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: You said something like, it may never be enough, but certain people validate you. Right? My favorite artist is Drake. He has a line that, “Certain people need to tell me that they’re proud of me,” because like-
Bjork Ostrom: Say that again.
Vincent Mcintosh: You said, “Certain people need to tell me that they’re proud of me.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yes.
Vincent Mcintosh: I have that, where 100 people tell me that they’re proud of me and does not connect. But like my sister says it to me, that’s it. It’s all I needed. That’s all I needed, right? I think the reason we struggle with finding out really deep what it really is, because people are always asking like, I don’t know, because like you were saying commercial real estate.
Vincent Mcintosh: For me, there’s always going to be something else that I can build. It’s not really a house and it’s not really a car and it’s not really a chain. That’s not what I’m doing it for it. You know what I’m saying? It’s like, I don’t know why. it’s not who I am. I related down to the point where there’s some chip that has happened in our group like, you just want to do it.
Liz Della Croce: You want to win.
Vincent Mcintosh: You just want to win. It’s instilled in you. It could be a kid made fun of you. It could be the girl you wanted said no. It could be you like winning early on. It could be, “Oh, I got the first iPod and I heard this thing and I’m going to be like Steve Jobs.” We don’t really know what sparks it, but once it’s lit it doesn’t go out.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes.
Vincent Mcintosh: I don’t know what it is. I’ll never stop. First I felt guilty for it, but now I’m only 24, but I don’t feel guilty anymore. This is what I’m learning to be forever.
Bjork Ostrom: What do you think changed in order for that to happen, not to feel guilty about it?
Vincent Mcintosh: I realized that it’s who I am and I can’t feel guilty for who I am. Then what happened honestly, is that I was trying to maybe mimic in a gimmicky sense, other people that I thought I wanted to be like. I don’t know if this is true for you, but you get around them and you realize, “I don’t want to be anything like them.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. They say never meet your idols.
Vincent Mcintosh: Right. Never meet your idols. Then I realize that I don’t want to be second or third to anybody else. I don’t want to, because you’re always trying to fit into a box that wasn’t meant for you. You might be a triangle and you’re trying to fit in a box. That’s impossible. You’re not going to fit in that box. Also I just … Oh, go ahead.
Bjork Ostrom: Well, it’s interesting when you say that. I think there’s something to be said as creators, about having those people that you can emulate in order to understand who you are. But I think you need that.
Bjork Ostrom: It sounds like that’s part of your story is having those people to aspire to, in order to realize how you will be similar or different. I think music is a really good example of that. When you’re first getting started out as a musician, it’s like, you play a John Mayer riff or Jimmy Hendrix riff.
Vincent Mcintosh: Exactly.
Bjork Ostrom: You try and do it exactly like John Mayer did or exactly like Jimmy Hendrix did. Then eventually you can add your own flare to it, and you realize that it has been a bridge to get you to the point, where you can solidly stand on who you are and what you’re about. But that can take a lot of time. It sounds like that that’s been a journey that for you you’ve, in some way have kind of gotten to a point where like, “Hey, I have a pretty clear understanding of who I am as this current version of myself.”
Vincent Mcintosh: If I be honest, it grows every day. I think maybe as an Enneagram 3, I don’t know if you can top anything up to that. I just think we’re just so used to emulating and then you’re like, “Well, I don’t like dirt.”
Bjork Ostrom: Right, right, right, right.
Vincent Mcintosh: I do not.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, totally.
Vincent Mcintosh: No, one’s, that no, one’s really watching, no one really cares. The people you’re doing it for in your head… It does take a while for you to get to that point I feel like. You need to do it someone else’s way, before you want to do your own way.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, for sure. Yep. Yep. One of the things that’s been helpful for me that may or may not be helpful for other people is, and it sounds morbid, but this extreme clarity and understanding around the reality that I will be forgotten.
Bjork Ostrom: That is at its worst, really sad, but at its best really freeing because no matter the level of success that I achieve, it will never be enough for people to remember me, even my own family past two or three generations. I think that has allowed me to slowly and not immediately and always moving towards a better, but move towards a more genuine version of who I am, knowing that I’ll be forgotten.
Bjork Ostrom: That doesn’t mean that the things that I’m doing won’t have an impact, like how I love my daughter, how I love my friends, how I love my family. The work that I put into the world, this conversation that we’re having can have deep and lasting impact on people.
Bjork Ostrom: But in terms of like me as an individual legacy, the legacy of Bjork Ostrom, that will very quickly evaporate once I’m away, and being okay with that is a version of like freeing and foundational to the process, I think of understanding yourself, or at least it has been for me.
Liz Della Croce: Yeah. Okay. I have a question for you. We’re both 10 years into our blogs and business, other ancillary businesses. One question I have for you is, if you could touch upon your transition from solopreneur, where it was pretty much just you and Lindsay, you didn’t have a huge team of people, and to becoming entrepreneurs.
Liz Della Croce: Were there any maybe pain points you had to breakthrough or lessons you learned from that? Because I find that that’s certainly something that I’m going through right now, so any advice you could offer for people that as they are growing their businesses and adding to their team, what was that transition like for you?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. A few quick things are at the top of my head. You had talked about this list, but like going through the process of things I do, things I don’t do. A couple of categories for those boxes would be things I’m good at, things I like, things I’m not good at, things I don’t like. If you have things that you don’t like and you’re not good at, those are great things to get rid of right away.
Bjork Ostrom: Then it’s probably goes to things you’re not good at, but things you enjoy. If you’re not good at them, you should get rid of them. Then it would go to, what would it be the opposite of that, things-
Liz Della Croce: So it doesn’t need your expertise.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, exactly. Then what does that look like to pass those things off? I think it’s … What we found in the early stages was, the best place to connect with people would be friends of friends or friends, in a contracted position, a contractor versus employee.
Bjork Ostrom: An employee would be somebody who is acting like a W2 team member. You have more … of, There’s a lot of IRS regulations for those in the US, around what an employee versus a contractor is. Contractor would be more, they don’t have hours.
Bjork Ostrom: They use their own computer. They have a general assignment and they move towards it, versus really specific tasks they have to do. But in the early stages, hiring somebody in a contracted role, you don’t have to take care of taking their taxes out. You maybe pay a project fee or an hourly basis to say, “Hey, you know what, I’m going to hire a friend of a friend. Maybe they’re in college and they have 15 hours a week to help with this category of things that I’m not good at and I don’t enjoy doing, but that need to happen for my business.” That’s a great place to start. It’s going to be the easiest to onboard in that way.
Bjork Ostrom: I think the next question that you should ask yourself if you’re working on that is, do I want to make the transition fully or partially from maker to manager? Because once you start that process, it’s not like it gets away from you and then you’re off and you have to be a manager. But once you start the process of building a team, in some capacity you are going be a manager. You might have passed off one thing in order then to add another thing that you’re not good at, and you don’t want to do, which is managing people. I think sometimes as it relates to job satisfaction, people feel this initial spike of like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have to do this anymore, but now I have to help create accountability around this new function that has to get accomplished.”
Bjork Ostrom: That might be a new stage of dirt eating, which is managing until you get to the point, where you potentially have somebody who comes in and acts as the manager of people. But I think more than anything, it’s understanding that that will happen and that will feel different, and it’s a new version of who you are. It’ll be new skills that you have to develop. It’ll be new systems, and in a lot of ways you’ll be starting over. I think the question is, are you comfortable enough starting over? Are you committed to building this thing, whatever it is to the next level? It might be okay to say no, and you’re going to stay at that certain level.
Bjork Ostrom: You’re not going to scale, and you’re going to hit capacity for what you have, and you’re going to be comfortable knowing that that’s the best version of what work looks like for you. But you might also fall into the category of saying, “You know what, I’m okay in service of building this thing that I’m building, starting over again by thinking about how do I build a team? How do I recruit really well? How do I create clear deliverables and find people who are aligned with work?” But it’s a very different category.
Bjork Ostrom: I think when it comes down to it then, it’s finding people who are a good fit within the structure of the thing that you’re building, which is really hard to do. It’s a hard thing, not only to find those people but to find people, and to continue to grow along with them within your business. Because if you find good people, those are going to be people who are growing. If they’re not growing within your business, they’ll quickly realize, there’s a cap to this and there’s other opportunities to grow more beyond that.
Bjork Ostrom: But I’d be interested, do you feel like there’s certain things that you’re coming up against? I could name off all the things in our journey too, but-
Liz Della Croce: Right. Right now I’m at the point where I have quite a decent size team of contractors. I find that I’m spending too much of my time just managing that whole team. I’m getting to the point where I would like to find someone almost like an operations manager, just to oversee the whole crew of people, make sure that deliverables are being done, make sure things are getting accomplished if there’s questions that come up. I don’t necessarily … I feel like right now I’m like the bottleneck that has to … I’m the one that has to answer every question, that approves everything et cetera.
Liz Della Croce: I’m actually taking right now an entrepreneurial management course, which we can link to the show notes here. It’s through the Life Coach School podcast. It basically walks you through the transition essentially from solopreneur to entrepreneur, where now I’m becoming really more of a CEO. It’s going to help me create the structures, the systems, even in terms of hiring and all that stuff.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Liz Della Croce: Not like any … Of course there’s certain many aspects of this that I’ve touched, but I think it’s always good, I’m at that 10 year mark to step back. My business has grown. I now have Irie Lemon. We have a podcast. We have a mastermind, so my business looks very different now than it did three, four, five years ago. I think it’s time to go back to school and really create those structures and systems, even just go back to reshaping my mission. All that it’s like going back. This is the kind of school I want to go to. This is my-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally.
Liz Della Croce: Entrepreneurial in spirit. I gave up my photography for the blog in year four or five, so I’m okay with really pushing some of that content creation. I really want to be an entrepreneur. I think I’m just at that point of trying to figure out how to best structure the company and the team, hiring and all of that stuff. I’d be curious from you in terms as you’ve grown your team, what are some of the roles? Obviously so many bloggers, we go right to finding someone to handle social media, but what are some of the rules you’ve brought on board that maybe people don’t even … For example, it wasn’t till recently I even knew I could hire an operations manager.
Bjork Ostrom: Right, right. You were like, “Oh my gosh. This is a role?” Yeah.
Liz Della Croce: Oh, I heard that’s what I need. What are roles that you have that have been hugely impactful to helping you scale and grow, and even just keeping your balance, you have one to come and you have a daughter that’s younger than mine. You probably, maybe even want to shift that work-life balance a bit, so what roles have been super impactful for you that maybe people don’t even realize, PS, you can hire out?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, well, I think a really interesting case study that we’ve just gone through the process of transitioning is with Pinch of Yum. We have TinyBit, which is the parent company over these other companies. My role is leading TinyBit, whatever you want to call that as like manager, president, CEO. CEO feels like a little bit, you put it on your business card and then it’s like, we still have a really small team.
Liz Della Croce: CEO because it feels weird to say that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. I’ve always really struggled with what that title is. I think it’s essentially leader, leader of Tiny Bit. But TinyBit has a position of general manager for any of the operating entities we’d call them. Pinch of Yum, Food Blogger Pro, WP Tasty, and the interesting thing with Pinch of Yum, looking at that as a case study is, we have Jenna on our team, who’s general manager of Pinch of Yum. It’s a transition we just went through. Technically if you were to look at an org chart or whatever you’d call it, Lindsey would have a role under Jenna as director of content or content lead.
Bjork Ostrom: Her focus is on recipe development. It’s on photography. It’s on writing. It’s on kind of like pulse, like what are the things that would be good to write about? We just did … We hired Xero to do with it, so we is really generous. The Pinch of Yum team created a instant pot, a roundup recently that was really awesome, brainstorming around that stuff is within Lindsey’s wheelhouse. But Jenna is whether you call it operations or like day-to-day, is now really overseeing that. Again, it’s important for people who are listening in the early stages to know, this is your 10 for us and we just made this transition.
Bjork Ostrom: It could be something you’re doing early on, but the point is with that, back to the earlier conversation, it’s focusing on the things that are your core competency. In going through some of these exercises realized, the things that if we did a test of get it, wants it, capacity to do it, which is a part of kind of similar to what you’re talking about, a framework that we’re doing called EOS. We did that test with Lindsay, get it, wants it, capacity to do it. She gets it, has the capacity to do it, but for the role of general manager for Pinch of Yum, didn’t want to do that. That’s not what she wanted her day-to-day to be.
Bjork Ostrom: Then it created this problem for us in the best way possible, like how do we solve for this in order to free that up? That would be a big one. Bookkeeping is huge. Love the idea of having super clean books, so we have a really good understanding of where each business is at, from a revenue and expense per perspective. We use a company called Pilot, pilot.com to do all of our bookkeeping. They really understand startups and online businesses. We just hired on a fractional CFO, so somebody who really understands the high level number side of things, that’s been really impactful.
Bjork Ostrom: Having somebody who’s really good at technology, so we have somebody who is in that fractional. This is a contractor position CTO role, if you’d give it a title that we can go to when we have questions around WordPress or development stuff it’s Daniel. Daniel’s an incredible developer that we work with. I think somebody to manage the interactions that we have, so emails that are coming in, reaching out for contact forms, comments on the blog was a really important position.
Bjork Ostrom: Then some of the other stuff that people think of right away, so any of the places that you need to be consistently showing up, but don’t require you to be the one showing up, like essentially it’s pushing that content into other places, whether that be social media or email has been really important. We have somebody on our team who does writing. Her background is in theater and writing and standup comedy and improv comedy. She really, Rita really understands words and how to put words together in a way that’s entertaining. She’ll do the captioning for Instagram stories for Pinch of Yum.
Bjork Ostrom: She’s able to layer those on. Again, all of that stuff over the past 10 years, really the past, maybe like three years that we’ve started to fill in those positions. But those are the things in the early stages we have to decide, “Am I going to do this, or am I not?” Because you probably don’t have the budget to hire somebody to do it. Not that you never will, but at some point you might, and at that point you can bring somebody in and do it, but sometimes you just have to decide, “I’m not going to do this.” Some of those things existed for us in varying levels in the early stages, until we could hire somebody and bring them in.
Liz Della Croce: Right, right.
Vincent Mcintosh: I think that’s so true. I think the big question is like, what do you want to happen? Then being honest with yourself, what your skill sets are. I’m definitely a TinyBit kind of guy. I’m owner. I’m not really necessarily the founder. I’m definitely not really a good day-to-day CEO. My favorite thing is how to break down people’s talents like, “Okay, you’re the. You like being the whole thing.”
Bjork Ostrom: You to have the magic fairy dust. Lindsay and I talk about that. You can’t distinguish what it is, but it’s like star quality for some reason.
Vincent Mcintosh: It’s always on, it’s never off. I’ve learned that from watching the Michael Jordan documentary-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: … from day one.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally. It’s so inspiring. Lindsey and I would watch those episodes. After each one we’re like, “Gosh, we just want to be great at something,” because it’s a lot.
Vincent Mcintosh: He was 19, 20, 21, 22 and he’ll say something and be profound.
Liz Della Croce: Right.
Vincent Mcintosh: Okay, because he’s the star. That’s who he is. Then there’s like the Phil Jackson, like the coach. He understand working with all these stars. They’re all great.
Bjork Ostrom: They’re a little different. I’m going to let Dennis go and hang out in Vegas for a couple of days, but I’m not going to let Steve Curry do that.
Vincent Mcintosh: Exactly, right?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Vincent Mcintosh: They know how to use those pieces like where Liz and I right now with her team I’m like, “Okay, I know how to use this person to the max to help win those championships.” For you it might be a million dollars too, whatever the dollar amount is cool. But win championships and then there’s like the owner. I feel like it has to be like, “Well, you’re not necessarily, don’t really know what’s going on.” You know what’s going on, but you are trying to build the Bulls and, “Oh, I want a new arena. Oh no, you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to start selling water bottles.”
Liz Della Croce: The visionary.
Vincent Mcintosh: Then we also have people build those verticals off for you, and that is also a skill, because you also know how everything runs from a system side of it. How do you think? Sometimes it’s great when you start in the beginning to work your way up, that you started learning about yourself like, “Okay, I’m a systems thinker.” for you, you could have those silos. That shows me that’s how you think about them.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally.
Vincent Mcintosh: You’re going be like, “Okay, who do I need as a general manager” Okay, cool. Who do I need for this? I need a CFO here. Okay, cool.” Okay. My times free. I’m not looking at contracts. We’re not doing tiny bit real estate.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Right, right, right. I think the key to that too, is there’s two mantras that I’ve had that that complement each other, and I’ve tried to challenge myself with. One is intentional ignorance and intentional ignorance, meaning are there things that I can give to people and trust them with that in a way where it’ll happen, and I don’t need to know every little thing that’s going on with it? Complementing that is radical delegation and saying, “Here’s the thing that we’re looking to do and trust you to go and do that.” I think back to the Phil Knight example is, or not Phil Knight, Phil Jackson example, there’s varying levels of comfort with people with all of those different things.
Bjork Ostrom: But I think to go back to an earlier conversation, it’s finding people who, when you do have that radical delegation, it’s in an area that they’re really excited about, that they’re interested to learn, that they’re excited to be working on it. I think that’s part of the key of working with people is, “Hey …” It’s not like Michael Jordan was doing that in service to Phil Jackson. They were equally together doing the thing that they enjoyed in order to become the best version of themselves that they could be. I think as we think about working with people, it’s one of the things that I try and challenge myself to think about is, how are we doing this in a way that is beneficial to the people that we’re working with?
Bjork Ostrom: Whether it be a company, a faceless company, a contractor, a team member. With a company it might look like if it goes really well saying, “Hey, can we do a testimonial? It’s been great.” With a contractor, it might be willing to make other introductions to people who they can work with. With a team member, it’s thinking about, how do we fit in career development for them, so they’re working on the things that they’re interested in becoming better at? Those are the things that by no means we’re perfect at, but are good considerations, and see a lot of those parallels with the documentary, the Michael Jackson or Michael Jordan documentary. What is it called? Last Dance. That’s what it is.
Vincent Mcintosh: The Last Dance.
Liz Della Croce: Yeah. We can’t wrap this up until you tell us a bit more about Food Blogger Pro, because we might have some listeners that this might be beneficial for them. Why don’t you tell us a bit about it and even just, I know you touched upon it in the beginning, but what your inspiration was for … Again, you started with a food blog and then you decided to take it another step further and help others almost not mimic, but have their own form of success in the food blogging world, which I just think as a food blogger is the coolest thing ever. First of all for people that might not be familiar.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. People would describe it as a membership site, which essentially is, it’s like Netflix. You signed up for a month, three months, six months, whatever it is and you get content delivered for you. The differences instead of Netflix delivering the Last Dance, it’s Food Blogger Pro delivering like tutorials on how to use Google analytics. It was a lot of the questions that we saw people having questions about, whether through email or in conversations. Hey, how do you take better photos? How do you shoot video? How do you use Google analytics or Google search console?
Bjork Ostrom: What are some of the things that you guys are working on right now? All of that content lives under Food Blogger Pro, and is for people who are building a brand in the food and recipe niche online. One of the conversations that we’re having is like, “Hey, it’s not just about blogging. It’s still called Food Blogger Pro. There’s probably a rebrand that should be in our future, to encompass food entrepreneurs who are building things online.
Liz Della Croce: I’m glad you say that, so much of that is super relevant to-
Bjork Ostrom: It’d be relevant to a food truck, to somebody who’s building their YouTube first food account. I think that’s something that we’ve been talking about and need to consider, because it’s a really big pool of people who want to build something online. I think one of the things that’s fun to think about with opening that up, this is a little bit of a tangent, but how helpful for somebody whose food blog forward to be able to talk to somebody who has a food truck and say, “Here’s some of the things that you can do with a website,” or somebody who is like YouTube forward to help somebody, who has a blog and wants to do more video and vice versa.
Bjork Ostrom: There’s some cool overlap that can happen that already does. But it’s important for people to know, it’s not just people who are blog forward that can benefit from Food Blogger Pro. You can check it out. Some good ways to start for free, if you don’t want to sign up and be a member, we have a podcast. We have a blog that you can go and read some of the articles that we have on it. Alexa on our team is the general manager for Food Blogger Pro, sends out a monthly update with a recap of things that are happening in the industry.
Bjork Ostrom: There’s lots of freeways content that we’re producing, in the same way that you guys produce content that we’re putting out into the world, that people can follow along without signing up for a membership right off the bat, and that’s usually the easiest way to start.
Liz Della Croce: Yeah. I think that I highly recommend the podcast to so many people. Like you said, I don’t know … I’m sure it’s the name, but you’re right, it would apply to so many different people, many business owners, especially online business owners. Anyone should be on Pinterest that’s trying to … If you’ve got … I just feel like, yeah. The only thing that I just think is such a great takeaway that I want our listeners to really get from this is that, if you have a pain point that you can solve for people, you think about what are those DMs you’re getting all the time? What are your customers asking you and the rest over and over again?
Liz Della Croce: What are the same comments you’re getting over and over again? What do people ask you about your customers? Whatever it might be, you found a way to really help as many people as possible on a much bigger scale. I just think that’s so inspiring and smart. I think so many of us can do that in all the capacities. If there’s something that people are asking you on a regular basis, it turns out you’re an expert of it in some way.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. The analogy that I give, or maybe the visual I like to paint is like ear to the ground. It’s like, when you put your ear to the ground, what are the things that you hear is the repeating asks or problems, essentially exactly like you’re saying, and to remind people, you don’t need to be the ultimate expert. You just need to be expert enough. Sometimes when it comes to taxes, it’s going to be a lot more helpful. If like my neighbor, who’s really smart with taxes, but doesn’t work for the IRS, explains the code tax code to me.
Bjork Ostrom: Then it’s like the guy who wrote the tax code explains it to me. If you are expert enough, you could be at an advantage to speak in a way that people can understand and helps them get to where they need to get in a way that somebody, who is the ultimate expert wouldn’t be able to do, because they’re almost two experts. Don’t discredit yourself if you feel like you’re not the ultimate expert.
Liz Della Croce: I love that.
Vincent Mcintosh: I always say good enough is good enough.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. Totally.
Liz Della Croce: I love that. All right, Bjork. Thank you so much for your time. Where can people connect with you? We will, of course have links in the show notes, but where … I know you’re not on every social platform.
Bjork Ostrom: I don’t think I’m on any now, after watching the Social Dilemma. I just-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, Food Blogger Pro, or you can just drop me an email, [email protected]
Liz Della Croce: Certainly you guys subscribe to the podcast immediately. It’s one of the most valuable, Bjork is an incredible interviewer. I feel so selfish right. We should have said you lead the whole thing.
Bjork Ostrom: No, it was awesome and super fun to be on the other side of the mic.
Liz Della Croce: Yeah. I love your podcast though. Everyone subscribe. We’ll have the link. Bjork, Thank you so much for your time today.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me on.
Alexa Peduzzi: That’s a wrap on this special featured episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Thanks again for tuning in today. Like Bjork mentioned at the end of this episode, if you want to learn more about who we are, why we do what we do and how we help bloggers get a little bit better every day forever, you can check out our website at foodbloggerpro.com. Then you can join our email list, and download our guide to 16 ways you can monetize your site for free. You can also learn more about what you can get access to as a Food Blogger Pro member, by going to foodbloggerpro.com/membership.
Alexa Peduzzi: Food Blogger Pro is made up of nearly 2,000 bloggers, all working towards goals of monetization, traffic and more. Food Blogger Pro members are just so hardworking, inspiring, and open to share their strategies and thoughts to help you reach your goals. I’m constantly inspired to be a part of this community, and we’re just so thankful to work alongside all of you every single day. Again, if you want to learn more about the Food Blogger Pro membership, you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/membership. That does it for us this week friend. Thanks again for tuning in. We’ll see you next time and until then, make it a great week.