239: Ten Years – The Seasons of Pinch of Yum with Lindsay Ostrom

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Welcome to episode 239 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Lindsay Ostrom about navigating the different seasons in her blogging journey.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork talked about how you can optimize and increase the earnings you receive from the ads on your site. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Ten Years 

Pinch of Yum is turning 10 this year, and as I’m sure you can imagine, it has changed quite a bit in that time.

In today’s episode of the podcast, you’ll hear about the different seasons of Pinch of Yum and how Lindsay navigated them while building her blog into a business. And she covers it all – from running her blog as a side hustle to transitioning to it being her full-time gig to hiring team members to current day.

Regardless of what season you’re currently in, you’ll find a lot of advice in this episode that can help you navigate the good, the tough, and everything in-between.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Lindsay views the “seasons” of Pinch of Yum
  • When Pinch of Yum became a “side hustle”
  • What a “trickster” is
  • Why sacrifices are a part of the side hustle
  • How Lindsay prioritized work when she started working for herself
  • The work that was most impactful when Lindsay was building Pinch of Yum
  • What the current “season” of Pinch of Yum looks like
  • What it means to be light on your feet

Resources:

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

Transcript (click to expand):

Alexa Peduzzi: Welcome, welcome to the Food Blogger Pro podcast, my friend. I’m Alexa and on behalf of the entire Food Blogger Pro team, we are so thrilled and honored that you’re here. Today’s episode is just so, so good you guys, it’s just one of my favorites. If you’re unaware of Food Blogger Pro, that’s our membership site for food bloggers, was created by Bjork Ostrom, and he’s the guy that you typically hear interviewing people here on the podcast, as well as Lindsay Ostrom, who is the blogger extraordinaire behind the food blog, Pinch of Yum. Lindsay started Pinch of Yum 10 years ago this year, which is just an incredible feat, and she has built it into a popular thriving blog, business and brand. In this episode, you’ll hear about the different seasons of Pinch of Yum and how Lindsay navigated them while building her blog into a business. She covers it all from running her blog as a side hustle, to transitioning it to being her full time gig, to hiring team members, and to current day. You’ll hear it all straight from Lindsay today.

Alexa Peduzzi: It’s a really great episode, just a really genuine from the heart discussion between two awesome people, and I know you’re going to love it. So without any further ado, Bjork, take it away.

Bjork Ostrom: Lindsay, welcome back to the podcast.

Lindsay Ostrom: Well, thank you for having me.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. I think that you are probably, and this makes sense, you are probably the most frequent guest, but it’s almost like you are, I would say a silent cohost on the podcast because we talk about Pinch of Yum, we talk about the work that you’re doing, you probably don’t even know that. So, it’s good to actually have you on the podcast to get some information straight from the source. So, good to have you back. Thanks for being here.

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah, thanks.

Bjork Ostrom: We are actually in the same building, but I never do in person interviews, we’ve done one or two before, you and I, but it’s almost easier to not be in the same room. So, I ended up walking down the hallway, I’ve gotten into another room, so we’re same building, we could have done it in person, but we’re going to split this up because it just feels a little bit more natural. And then, I feel like I can be interviewing you as opposed to husband and wife sitting in the same room. So, I’ll try and make this as much as possible like you are a guest on the podcast, as opposed to us sitting down at the table. But maybe that’s a good thing, we’ll see how it goes.

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. I feel like a little of both. It’s probably good.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay. Sounds good. I will sprinkle in a little of both. We were chatting a little bit before hitting record on this, and we had a general idea of where we wanted to focus, but we said, what would it look to talk about where we are with Pinch of Yum right now, but also look back a little bit and analyze where Pinch of Yum has been. My hope with the podcast, especially whenever we do an interview, is that we can have a conversation with somebody who can tell their story, and from that, people who are listening can pull out advice that they can apply to their story, or tactical things that they can implement. And so, I think it’s both end; one is story advice and hearing a story and applying that to our story, and then one is on the ground tactical advice, like here’s a tip trick or advice that I would give to people.

Bjork Ostrom: What we’re going to do for this episode is we’re going to talk about Pinch of Yum and the different seasons of Pinch of Yum, and knowing that we’re in a season right now where we’re looking forward and saying, what does the next iteration of Pinch of Yum look like? So, if you were to look back at the different seasons of Pinch of Yum, could you separate those out into chapters, or I don’t know what you’d want to call them, seasons, chapters. But would you be able to put a marker in between different periods of time for Pinch of Yum?

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah. For sure. I think there are some lines that can be drawn to segment different times in the story of Pinch of Yum and the journey to get here where we are today. I think probably the first one would just be, it was my side hustle, blogging was my side hustle. And even I would maybe even add, it’s a 1A and 1B, and 1A is it’s my side hustle and I don’t really care about it in the way of, it’s just purely a really random thing for fun. That’s pretty much exclusively 2009, or 2010, just those first years. It really is a short period of time because as soon as I started to do more of it and post more and try more recipes and get into photography, it quickly snowballed into something that I was very interested in. But in the very beginning, it was pretty casual. It was like, hey, I’ll do this, and I’ll go for a month without posting, and then I’ll post again. It was just dipping my toe in the water I think.

Lindsay Ostrom: And then, the 1B, so the second part of that first phase is it’s still not my full time job, I’m doing it as a side hustle. I was a teacher, I was a fourth grade teacher. Those of you that have followed along with Pinch of Yum for a period of time, you might know this already, but that’s what I thought I was going to do for the rest of my life. I was a fourth grade teacher, and I really loved it. I would just work on the blog on nights and weekends working on recipes and photography and do all that outside of my normal 9:00 to 5:00, which was my job as a teacher. I think that period of time while I was still teaching and also working on Pinch of Yum is also a part of that first chunk of time.

Lindsay Ostrom: I think that it hopefully makes sense what I’m saying, but even within that first chunk of time where Pinch of Yum wasn’t my full time job, I was just doing it as a hobby, I feel like even within that, there’s the two sides of that where it’s like, I was just doing it and I was doing it and trying to make it into something.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s interesting. So as you know, there is a period of my time where I was really into songwriting, playing guitar, I like to use that as an analogy sometimes because I think it helps to move us outside of a certain genre, in this case blogging, and to look at it from a different perspective. I feel like it’s similar to when you pick up a musical instrument, whether that be a guitar or piano or violin, and there’s a period of time where it’s like, gosh, this is something I really love and I’m interested in doing it, and I’ll pick up and I’ll play it, and maybe set it down and not be super intentional about it. But then you might say, hey you know what, actually I could go and play a show at a coffee shop, and you start to get more intentional about practicing and making sure that you are memorizing the songs that you’re going to play, and you’re not having to look at sheet music to play those songs.

Bjork Ostrom: And it feels like with Pinch of Yum, there’s this period of time where it was your hobby, this is a fun thing to do, I enjoy the process of it, I enjoy taking photos and doing recipes and posting, and then it transitioned into this phase where now it’s like people are looking at it, people tell you, hey, I made this recipe, and it starts to become a thing, and it switches over into being, not just a little thing on the side, but a side hustle. I’m interested to know what happened to switch that over. Was it exposure? Was it people telling you that they’re following? Was it people commenting or was it just a drive to do something better?

Lindsay Ostrom: I think all of the above. I think I just got hooked, I got bit by the bug of all the things blogging and online related. But I think for sure, I started to build a community where I knew I had people reading besides just my mom and my grandma or whatever, actually probably realistically my dad.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Lindsay Ostrom: He’s always been a great blog checker in the history of me blogging about various things, but I feel like there was just a shift that started to happen. As the blog gained traction, then it also became more fun for me and became more exciting for me, and was something that I wanted to continue to build. So, I think it was both end. I remember my mom and my sisters and I went on a girls’ trip, maybe it was a year after I had started Pinch of Yum, so I had been blogging as a hobby very loosely for the first year. And then, I remember on this vacation that I went on, we were on a cruise, which you don’t get great … I don’t know, maybe now you do, but at the time, it was a really big deal to get internet, and I don’t even know if I had a smartphone at that point, and I definitely didn’t bring a laptop or anything on this trip. But I remember paying to use the cruise ship computer and like-

Bjork Ostrom: Super slow internet, yeah.

Lindsay Ostrom: Yes, yes. Exactly, but paying way too much for this terrible internet connection because I wanted to check my stats. I had drafted content in advance so that it would publish while I was gone, and then I wanted to go in and be working on it a little bit while I was on this vacation. And that was for me, I think that was the moment where … I just have that in my mind as a significant moment, I’m on vacation and I want to keep working on this, so I really was getting pulled, feeling that pull towards it, and feeling the tug towards doing more at that point. I think it’s all those things you mentioned, I think it was getting more exposure. At the time, food sharing sites were really big, like Foodgawker or Tastespotting, and I would love to go into those sites and see how many people favorited my … did it get accepted, and then how many people liked it, and how much traffic did I get from that? I think I just got pulled in to all that stuff.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Well, before I ask that question, how much of that was you embracing the grind versus the pull and desire to work on something that didn’t feel like a grind? Because I think it’s important to separate that out, because sometimes it feels like the message that we receive is you got to embrace the grind, put your head down, hustle, hustle, hustle. And at its worst, it can seem like, do work that you don’t enjoy in order to be successful, but on the other side, I think there’s a reality of people hustling, doing work at its best, what it then becomes is this desire to do something you really love doing, and almost can’t help, but do. In that stage, what was it, and could you separate it out into a percentage? Was it 100% I love to do this? 80, 20? What was it?

Lindsay Ostrom: I think in that stage, it was pretty heavily I love to do this. I don’t think there was really much feeling of obligation, like I need to do this because I’m … because honestly at that point, I didn’t have any idea in my mind of … I didn’t have a goal to leave my day job, I just love to do it. And so, it was like I already loved to talk about food, and then you add in some addicting, in a good and bad way, metrics and social validation, and then I think the hamster wheel starts and then you’re on it, and you’re running. But for me, I don’t think in that stage it ever felt like, gosh, I have to do this stuff that I really don’t want to do. I did feel like my to do list was a mile long, but I loved it. I don’t know. The weird thing is if I went back and asked myself at the time, why are you doing this? I don’t know. I think I would just say because I’m having fun growing this thing and because I love to talk to people about food. I think that’s what would have been what I would have said.

Lindsay Ostrom: Whereas there are other times, and maybe we’ll talk about this coming up, but there are other seasons where it did feel more like a grind, and it was like there is a clear goal I’m working towards and in order to get to that goal, this is what needs to happen even if I don’t want to do it. But in the beginning, I felt just like on a roller coaster ride. I just was loving it, and was having a lot of fun with these things that I had no experience with, and even social media in general was so young at that point. Now, we’re all used to Instagram likes and how many people watched your story, and how many people pinned this, but that felt such a foreign concept or a new thing at that time. So, I think it was the combination of … I’m not sure if this is really answering your question, but I think it was combination of me really liking the work and also me really liking those metrics and watching them grow.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Kevin, who is a coach that I worked with for a period of time, a business coach, one of the things that he would often talk about, and he was interviewed on the podcast as well, and we’ll link to that in the show notes. But one of the things Kevin would often talk about is playing the game. It’s a helpful mindset for me to have as it relates to work, because I think it allows me to think of it not as work, which I think sometimes can seem like there’s an obligation and it’s heavy, and it’s not fun, but playing the game has a lightness to it. And it seems like in that phase, it was really pure, like you were playing the game.

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah, 100%.

Bjork Ostrom: And it’s wanting to play a game. Yeah.

Lindsay Ostrom: It was really fun, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And the advice then within that is, both for myself and I think for people who listen, what are the ways that you can play a game with the work that you’re doing? And it reminds me of something you’ve talked about before on the podcast, about this idea of the trickster. Yeah. Can you talk about that for people who aren’t familiar with that concept, and where it comes from?

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah, and I will do my best with it. It’s been a while since I read this book, but this comes from the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and in it, she talks about this concept of, there are two ways to approach your work, and especially I think your creative work, because that’s what the whole book is about, is creative inspiration and the life of an idea and things like that. So, there’s the trickster on the one side and then there’s the martyr. And the martyr, it’s pretty clear what the martyr is. The martyr is like, I’m in the grind, this is really hard, and it woes me a little bit, like this is hard work and I am working so hard, and that’s the framework of the martyr. And the mental framework of the trickster is, I’m playing the game, I’m having fun. This is like nobody’s making me do this, I’m choosing to do this and shifting that. You might be doing literally the exact same work, but having that mindset shift of why you’re doing and what you’re … feels a little simplistic to say what your attitude is about the task.

Lindsay Ostrom: I think the main idea is find those things where you can really be a trickster, a lot of the time where you can feel … And she also uses this term; light on your feet, that you’re just moving and going, and work that you’re producing and work that you’re creating doesn’t feel heavy and hard. I say that with a huge asterisk because of course there’s going to be times and there have been times for Pinch of Yum and for me where it does feel hard, it’s really hard. That’s not at all to diminish that, but I think there’s just something really helpful. I’m kind of the person that easily goes down the spiral of like, oh, this is so hard, I’m working so hard, nobody else is working as hard as me, that kind of thing can easily fall into martyr’s thinking. And so, I think just setting those two frameworks out in front of me and saying, okay, how can I really lean into the trickster side of my brain with the work that I’m doing and the content I’m creating?

Lindsay Ostrom: I think during that phase, I was 100% trickster, but that’s because I wasn’t trying to get anywhere. I was literally doing it just to do it.

Bjork Ostrom: Right. And to use the music analogy, when you just enjoy the process of picking up your guitar and playing it, or I’ll go over to a coffee shop, Dunn Brothers, and there’s a guy who comes and plays piano there. It’s like he’s not trying to sell CDs, he’s not trying to get more followers on Instagram, my assumption is just he really likes playing piano, and on a Wednesday afternoon at one o’clock, he’ll go and sit down and play piano, and it’s a different type of intent for your work. My question then is, and I’m guessing this would maybe be in the next chapter, when do you feel like … Well, let’s start with this, it’ll be a two part question. What is the next chapter, and in that chapter, would that be a season where you started to need to use the concept of trickster as it relates to doing your creative work?

Lindsay Ostrom: You’ll tell me if I’m answering your question or not, or you can reroute me. But I think what happened from that initial playing the game, having a lot of fun, doing it just to do it phase, moving into the next phase, I would define the next phase as when I left my job and Pinch of Yum became my full time thing. But that mindset changed before I got to that point. So, in order for me to leave my job, obviously there needed to be income generated from the blog, and that takes some work. That’s not going to just happen by me being like, I’m having so much fun and whatever. There needs to be some intention behind it. I don’t even know if it was really martyr thinking, it was just getting a little more intentional with some of that stuff leading into that transition. So for example, one of the things that I did to help us be able to build an income from Pinch of Yum … and really it started as an experiment, which I think speaks to the trickster mentality.

Lindsay Ostrom: It started as like, I don’t know if this is possible, and both of us just shrugging our shoulders and being like, what if? Is this a thing? Can people make money from a food blog? Let’s give it a try. And so, it really even at the outset had that trickster mentality, but then as we got closer, as we did start making money and as we got closer to the point of saying, hey, maybe we’re actually going to leave our jobs, I’m going to leave my job as a teacher to do this full time, then I feel like naturally, things just become a little heavier. You can’t just be doing whatever you want on a whim all the time because this is now going to be your livelihood. And actually, it’s interesting to go back to that book, Big Magic, because one of the arguments that she makes in that book is that you shouldn’t make your creative pursuit your job, which I did, but because you can’t fully be in trickster mentality, 24/7 with your creative passion if it’s also responsible for paying your bills.

Lindsay Ostrom: Her argument is to let that be its own thing. Obviously, I took a different path, and I’m very happy with the path that we took, and feel like people have to make that decision for themselves. If in the beginning it was 100% trickster, I think around the time where it started to be like, okay, I’m going to do this full time and pursue this full time, then it becomes maybe more 50/50, 50% martyr, 50% trickster, where you are doing things that you don’t necessarily want to be doing. I remember writing tasty food photography, which was a part of building our income, which in turn was a part of me being able to leave my day job and do this full time. There were for sure times where I wanted to go hang out with my friends and I didn’t, or I wanted to go to the gym and workout and I was like, you know what, I need to work on this, or want to watch a movie with you.

Lindsay Ostrom: That started to get more into the, I’m making sacrifices to achieve a goal mindset as opposed to just, I’m doing whatever because it’s fun. I don’t know. I think that shift into income and this being my full time thing or not, that has huge ramifications for the mindset.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Do you feel like in this second season where the creative work that you’re doing started to be the income work that you were doing, and therefore the weightiness of it maybe increased a little bit? Did you shift then to doing something else as a creative outlet? Like replace that in any way, or maybe if not in that season, is that something you’ve done?

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah, that’s good question. I think now I have, maybe in the third and current phase, which we haven’t fully talked about. But I think in that time, it was still both, and/or I was hustling so hard to make it work that I didn’t really have time for any other extra creative thing. I think at that time, it was like, this is my creative thing and this is my job or I’m trying to make it my job. It’s both of those things together.

Bjork Ostrom: Let’s stay in that second chapter for a little bit and talk about a few things. Can you remember in that season, how did you go about prioritizing the work that you were doing? Because I remember transitioning out, and it’s like suddenly you go from showing up, you’re doing work, and you have a pretty clear idea of what it is that you need to do, and then you transitioned into a season of you show up and you just are picking what you’re doing, and that being a really difficult thing. What did that look like to transition into building your own list of priorities and making sure that you were working on the right thing?

Lindsay Ostrom: Oh, man. I was constantly reworking my schedule and constantly doing … I think I’ve talked about this before, somewhere on Food Blogger Pro. Actually I think you talked to me about this, Bjork, the idea of the upside down triangle and the biggest thing going at the top, the most important thing going at the top, and that’s where you need to spend … if you think about an upside down triangle being a map of your time, whatever is most important should be at the top and therefore should also take up the majority of your time. I was constantly reprocessing through that. One thing I remember thinking after I officially left my teaching job and went into blogging full time was, how is it that I was able to basically do what I’m doing now, but also hold a full time job? Essentially, I had half the time and was getting the same amount done, and I felt like I was working so hard and I was working so hard.

Lindsay Ostrom: But I think what I found for myself is that I needed boundaries, and one of the things that was actually advantageous about also having a day job while I was blogging is that I naturally had boundaries. I didn’t have five hours to spend writing a post, I had 30 minutes literally before I drove off to school for the day. That’s what I would do when I had my teaching job, and so there was even a point after I left my teaching job where I was like you know what, I’m going to go back to that. Even though I don’t have to go to school anymore, I don’t have to get up and do this in 30 minutes in the morning. That was a really way to do it, and so I’m going to put that boundary back on myself or put those parameters back. I think setting some boundaries like that was really helpful for me and necessary, because otherwise I was just spending way too much time doing things that that were … Not that they didn’t matter, but we’re a little bit superfluous to the main tasks at hand and were eating up all of this time.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think eating up time and then also, I think there’s something to be said about eating a brain space. It’s not exactly what you’re saying, but I think there are also things that we have living in our head that we think are going to take a lot longer than they actually do. But if you say, okay, I have this block of time, I’m going to do it and I’m going to take care of it, then you’re able to move through it actually pretty quickly. Like we had a light that was out in our garage door opener, and I was like, gosh, this is just this project, and every time we’d go in the garage, I’d think of it and it takes five minutes, and it was just me saying, okay, I’m going to move through this and take care of it. But idea being that usually a project doesn’t need to take as long as we think it’s going to take, and if you put those boundaries on yourself, then you will realize your efficiency in a way that you don’t if you’re like, my goal today is to write a post, and I have eight hours. It’s like, well, there’s a really good chance that you will fill that time if you give yourself that amount of time.

Bjork Ostrom: One of the questions that I have related to this period of time, this chapter, this second season, when you think back to that, what would your advice be for people who are doing similar work in terms of the things that actually were the most valuable things? When you look back and you say, let’s say it was two, three, four years, what were the things that were most impactful now being two, three, four years outside of that chapter where you look back and you’re like, I am so thankful that I did these because they helped to set the business up for success?

Lindsay Ostrom: I think there are three things that come to my mind and they’re just random things, they don’t fit into a category neatly. But the first thing is just content, which feels obvious, this is a content, Pinch of Yum is a content business. That’s how we do what we do, is by continuing to either refine existing content, produce new content. And so, I feel like anything I did during that time related to content that was 100% my most important thing. The second thing that happened during that time was starting to bring other people into the business, and I think maybe the sub text of that is paying attention to where I was most valuable, and where my skills were being best used and then where they weren’t, or where I was struggling. I feel like that didn’t really exist before this particular phase, the phase when I’m like, now it’s just me every day, I don’t have any social interaction. And actually, that’s something I really remember about this time, was just being really lonely. I just felt like I loved what I was doing and I was also really lonely during the day, just not talking to anybody.

Lindsay Ostrom: I think paying attention to those things was an important part of that. So for me, that meant realizing, hey, I need some support doing this, this and this, which I think at the time was probably email processing or comments, community management stuff, like in order for me to keep doing content, this is where I need support, and also I need more social interaction in my life in order for me to thrive. And so, what that led to was then hiring someone and then it also led to the decision to start teaching workshops, which leads me to my third thing that I feel like was most important, was just paying attention to some of those things, and then making changes accordingly, like, hey, this is a season where I feel like … that’s a need that I hear from people and it’s something that I feel like I have information that could help people, and it would feel good for me to do this. I don’t know. Those are in no particular order I guess, or maybe the order of content should be first, should be the most important.

Lindsay Ostrom: But I think it was a really important time for me to work really hard on the content, and I’m so thankful for all of that. And then it was also, I’m so thankful for just paying attention to what my day looked like, to where I needed help in the business and where I wasn’t thriving, and then bringing those pieces in, in the form of hiring someone, getting a studio and starting to teach some workshops and changing up the type of work that I’m doing, so it’s not just … I think I paid attention to the tension that I felt, and then tried to think of some creative solutions that benefited me, that benefit other people, and I’m really glad for that paying attention.

Bjork Ostrom: I think at its core what it is, is figuring out ways to make what you’re doing sustainable, because so much of the success, especially if you’re building something around content, but really if you’re building anything, so much of that has to do with sticking with it for a long period of time, and it’s really hard to do that and not burn out. Even if it’s something that you love doing, I think there is this potential, especially the people that listen to this podcast and for you and me, to work hard enough to the point where we, well, get traction or maybe won’t get traction, and then burn out because of that. I think being aware of the tension points, like you said, and working to resolve those, is really critical to preserving yourself and your sanity so you can continue to do work and enjoy the work in some way.

Bjork Ostrom: And then also important to point out, I think in that period of time, that second chapter, it’s easy as you start to think about doing some of those other things, bringing a team on, potentially doing a different type of work like workshops, you can forget about the core element of what you do, which is content. I think that’s important to point out as well, this idea of not getting too distracted, and you were able to do that, where you’re able to do workshops, but it’s not like you switched over and just did workshops. There’s this balance between, okay, doing this workshops but continuing to keep the main engine running in the case of Pinch of Yum that was producing content and publishing recipes. You hinted at it, but my guess is that next phase has to do with that idea of Pinch of Yum not just being you. Can you talk about when you knew that that was a transition that you had to make, and how you went about doing that?

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah. I feel like it’s more than just a team, bringing in a team in. I feel like for me, a lot of the next phase or the current phase is driven by life circumstances. People that have followed us for a long time know we had a really difficult season in 2016, 2017 time after losing our son, and then had our daughter in 20 … gosh, it was 2018, and I feel like that … I don’t know, it’s different for me now and I’m in a different season because of things going on in our family life. And in our specific situation it’s having a baby, but also it was true in the season of going through a really hard time, and I feel like it’s this new season of realizing that it’s almost realizing my own limitations in a way that I’ve never realized them before. I think everyone’s story is different, and to someone that is in the midst of building up their blog or their following or YouTube, whatever they’re doing, and currently also have a family or have that happening simultaneously, that’s going to be a different story and unique to each person.

Lindsay Ostrom: But for us, the story was that building phase and then the, now this is my full time job and I’m learning how to do this on my own phase. Both of those happened in a time where we had relatively low amounts of other commitments, and now we have different things pulling for our attention. And so for me, I know it seems like, oh this is about personally, but I feel like for me, they all intersect and I’m realizing a, I don’t have as much time to give anymore, I don’t have as much time and as much energy as I did when I was 27, and this was my fault, and I had just left teaching to do this full time. My life now looks really different. And then b, would be just, there are probably some ways that I’m then holding back Pinch of Yum from where it could go and from the value that it could provide just because of my time limitations.

Lindsay Ostrom: I think all of it is the one big puzzle, but all of it works together with the realization like, hey, maybe it is time to bring even more people on the team, and what would it look to … what does my role look moving forward, and where am I having fun, and where am I most valuable, and where can other people thrive, and what feels good to followers and people that have followed us all the way along? I don’t even remember what your initial question was, but just setting the stage for that stage, which is now, I imagine it as a juggling act, and there are new balls that I’m juggling, it’s not just the balls of Pinch of Yum anymore, there are some new pretty important balls. I just heard this quote the other day, someone might need to fact check me on this. I think it was a Nora Roberts quote, I don’t know if it’s recent or long time ago, but it’s about balance and how do you balance writing and family and all of these things. Someone asked her and she said, “It’s a juggling act, and what you have to understand is that some of the balls that you’re juggling are plastic and some are glass.”

Lindsay Ostrom: Maybe this is a widely known thing. I don’t know. Have you ever heard this before? I’ve never heard this. Okay. Did I tell you this already?

Bjork Ostrom: I’ve heard it from somewhere, maybe it wasn’t you.

Lindsay Ostrom: I felt like I just heard it for the first time when I heard it a couple of days ago, so this is feeling fresh to me, but I don’t know, maybe I’ve been saying this all along. Who even knows? So, some of your balls are plastic, some of them are glass, and then how you do it, how you make it all work is by knowing which is which, which ones can you drop. What she says in this quote is, the plastic ones can be dropped and they’re going to bounce, they’re going to be okay, and then you can pick them up again later. It doesn’t have to mean drop forever, but a glass ball, whether that’s a part of your business, for example, the content of Pinch of Yum is a glass ball, we can’t just stop producing content. But also, me being a mom and being the best I can be for my daughter is also a glass ball. And so, figuring out those things that can be dropped …

Lindsay Ostrom: Okay, I’m expanding on her analogy now and her quote, but that can be tossed to other people, and that’s-

Bjork Ostrom: It’s a juggling circus now, there’s multiple jugglers.

Lindsay Ostrom: Exactly. Right. Yes. And the animal stages involved for sure.

Bjork Ostrom: And there’s clowns, and you want to make sure not to-

Lindsay Ostrom: No, there’s no clowns.

Bjork Ostrom: You don’t pass the daughter glass balls to the clowns.

Lindsay Ostrom: Clowns? No. No clowns. Oh my gosh. But yeah, I think that’s the phase that we’re in now with Pinch of Yum, is what does it look like moving forward? What are the balls we’re juggling? Which ones are glass, which ones are plastic, which ones perform better in other people’s hands, and which ones are best for me to hold onto?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And I think a really good example of that, and one that we’ve already gone through; you had this super cool studio in Minneapolis, it was maybe 20 minutes from where we lived, little bit longer if there’s bad traffic. For people who attended a workshop, it was exposed brick and timber, lots of light. It was really cool, and that’s where you did workshops. But entering into this new season, we had this realization of there’s this commitment level that goes into workshops and to keeping up this studio that isn’t super closely located to our house. And so, that was a decision that was made that if you look at the long equation and if there’s variables, not to get too mathy, but if each area is a variable, there’d be a workshop variable, and we said we’re going to bring that down to zero because we’re okay taking that down to zero in order to distribute some of those resources in other areas.

Bjork Ostrom: So now, we live five minutes from home, and we’re not doing workshops, and that was a change and a shift that was made where it’s like, there’s a sacrifice on the Pinch of Yum side that then you were able to distribute that, the resources behind that into other areas.

Lindsay Ostrom: Totally.

Bjork Ostrom: I think all of it goes back to this idea of what you mentioned before, and I think this is an important point to pull out, and to shine a light on, this idea of being light on your feet and saying, there has to be this constant evolution to you as an individual and how you work, and naturally therefore, the thing that you’re building and working on. And I think this is the important thing to point out; it doesn’t mean that it’s worse or that there’s a sacrifice made, it just means that it’s not going to be the same as it was three years ago. I think being able to be light on your feet, to have the trickster mentality and to, instead of thinking, no, we’re not going to do workshops anymore, that’s going to be terrible, it’s like, well, how do we shift this and actually create something that is better? It’s not something that that is more positive and almost … And you had mentioned the idea of a puzzle, but it’s putting all of the pieces out, and saying, how do we approach this puzzle in a way where we can create something that’s even better across the board?

Bjork Ostrom: And that’s a really challenging, abstract hard thing to do, but I think it’s important for creatives, business owners, individuals, whatever category you’d put yourself in because you have to constantly evolve and change. I think Pinch of Yum now is coming up to the 10 year mark, and so it’s interesting to step back and think about that. What are the ways that we’ve had to do that, and to encourage other creators to do that as well. Anything else? Go ahead.

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah. I want to say this because I think it ties in, and can be applied for people who are listening. A piece of advice that I got that has just been really significant for me is this idea that, what got you from point A to point B isn’t going to be what gets you from point B to point C. Or maybe a better way to say it is, what made you thrive from point A to point B isn’t going to be what helps you thrive from point B to point C. Idea being just embracing this concept of seasons. There is an A to a B, and then there is a B to a C, and then there is a C to a D. And for people listening, for me, a lot of it in the beginning was this mega hustle, and I think what people often want to do is either glorify or villainize that. You got to hustle, you got to do it, you’ve got to work so hard, you’ve got to show up every day and do it and whatever, or relax. It’s okay to give yourself a break.

Lindsay Ostrom: So, there’s one or the other, and I think my challenge to people listening is to try to acknowledge the both things of each of those pieces that you’re considering, and think about where they fit in the … okay, we’re using a lot of puzzle analogy, but it’s both a puzzle and a timeline. If you think of your growth and your journey as a graph, literally like a line with a point A, a point B, a point C, maybe going up, maybe going down, maybe staying the same, what you need in each of those segments of your line graph is going to be different, and in one season it might be hustle. It might be put your head down, you’re not playing games, you’re really getting the job done. And in another season, it might be what we need is to let go of the studio. That’s what it was for us in this latest season, is we need to let that plastic ball drop, it’s going to be okay, we can pick something up again later if we want to, if we need to.

Lindsay Ostrom: So, I just really liked that idea of what got you from point A to point B, doesn’t have to be what makes you thrive and what makes you move forward in the best next way from point B to point C.

Bjork Ostrom: Love that. I think of going through school as an example, it’s such a linear process. Elementary school, you have middle school, you have high school, you have college, and the idea of getting through high school and then going back to your freshman year and doing it again, it wouldn’t make any sense because you’re a different person. I think we lose some of that progression mentality when we get into the work that we do, but I think there has to be something similar where you have these seasons that you’re working through, much like you would in school, and you’re constantly evolving not only the level of work that you’re doing, but also how you approach that work, how much time you have for that work, your relationship to that work. I think it’s a great note to end on, to reflect on that.

Bjork Ostrom: But before we do, I want to know, Lindsay, in this point in your life right now for people that are listening to the podcast, if you were to just step back, it could be related to this, it could be outside of this speaking to fellow creatives, do you have anything that you’d say is last words of wisdom or advice for people who are in some ways along this journey with you?

Lindsay Ostrom: I feel like what I’m just learning, really hardcore in this season is you can’t do everything, and that’s okay. We are humans and we are created and by nature have limitations. We have to eat, we have to sleep, we need relationships and we also need and want meaningful work. And for a lot of us, it’s creative work, and I think that a lot of people might … okay, I’ll speak for myself. I think for myself, I have that combination of drive and ambition, and also this desire to create really beautiful things to where I can be very particular about how things are, and really hard on myself when things aren’t as good as they should be. I think I’m in a season of needing to just acknowledge some of my limitations as a human being, I’m not a robot. I’m a human being, I have limitations, and so do you, if you are listening. I hope there are no robots listening, I hope you are all humans.

Bjork Ostrom: I actually hope there are a few robots listening.

Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah. Well, that’s a conversation for another time. This is Bjork’s and I’s recurring, weird thing. He loves robots and I do not love robots. Anyways, that’s what I want to end with, is just, you can’t do everything, hold on tightly to the glass balls, not too tightly, they’ll break. But take good care of your glass balls, and it’s okay to let those plastic ones fall, and you can pick them up later if you need to.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Obviously people can follow along on Pinch of Yum on different social channels, but then you also have your personal Instagram. Do you want to talk about that Lindsay … Is it Lindsay Momstrum? Is that right?

Lindsay Ostrom: Oh, my gosh. You jerk, no. If someone from Instagram is listening and you want to try to get me, the Lindsay Ostrom handle on Instagram-

Bjork Ostrom: It’s not used, but we can get it.

Lindsay Ostrom: It’s not used. Literally, we try to get it once a month. But anyways, I feel like I’ve said that before on the podcast, but no. My personal Instagram is Lindsay M, my middle name is Marie, so M, @lindsaymstrom. People always think then that my name is Lindsay Mostrom. A lot of people think it’s mom, that’s why Bjork is trolling me by saying Lindsay Momstrom. Anyways, it’s @lindsaymostrom. Oh, brother. Oh my gosh.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s such like, oh yeah, you talk about mom stuff on there, so it’s like Momstrom.

Lindsay Ostrom: No, it’s not Momstrom. It’s @lindsaymostrom. Anyways, that’s my personal Instagram account. That’s where I’ve separated just my personal life, what’s happening in our family and things like that, so I have that, and then obviously Pinch of Yum is what we’ve been talking about here, and that the handle on Instagram is a great place if you love to cook, which if you’re listening to this podcast, I’m guessing that you do. So, we’d love to have you follow.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Lindsay, thanks so much for coming on the podcast and sharing a little bit. And as you know, I love having you on here, so you are welcome back anytime.

Lindsay Ostrom: Well, thank you. Appreciate it.

Bjork Ostrom: Thanks.

Alexa Peduzzi: That’s a wrap, my friend. Thanks for tuning into this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast this week. I hope you enjoyed this episode just as much as I did. I thought that the juggling glass and plastic balls analogy was just so spot on and helpful, such a cool way of viewing the things that need to get done in a business. If this episode spoke to you in any way, or if you have any questions, we encourage you to leave a comment at foodbloggerpro.com/239, that’s also where you can find the show notes for this episode with any relevant links and resources. Again, that’s foodbloggerpro.com/239. We appreciate you being part of our podcast community so, so much, and we’ll see you back here next Tuesday, but until then, make it a great week.

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6 Comments

  1. I love hearing from Lindsey, as a wife and mother and busy gal, it’s nice to hear that it’s ok to not do it all. Blog aside, I think this is a great message for everyone in their every day life 🙂

  2. Really loved this episode, especially the glass/plastic ball analogy. Would love to see an episode diving deeper into the decision to hire employees – know Pinch of Yum has a bunch of them now – and how to make sure you find the right people, how to decide how many hours they hire them for (did they use any formula like how much they were bringing in $ wise? or just wing it?), how to manage them especially virtually, how to decide what to outsource in the first place… etc! Would just love to hear more from Lindsay on how all these decisions were made over the years, as I’m in the process of hiring my first more than just a few hours a week contractor!

  3. I love episodes like this so much, even on my third listen through. I love the guests you have, but I also love you guys, the knowledge you have, and the way you convey it.

    FBP podcast has been so helpful to me as I start my website, not just for know how, but it motivates me to keep going.

    Bjork asks questions no one else asks, but everyone wonders. If you hear him say “can you talk on a high level about” then open your ear mouths because that means there is some gold incoming.

    I just hit (what I feel) is a big setback with the growth of my blog where I got blacklisted from some major social media outlets. I was deflated and ready to just fold it in. But I slept on it and when I woke up the next day I had this thought in my head that If I ever get the privileged to be on FBP podcast, this will be the moment I talk about when Bjork asks me about how I kept going through major setbacks.

    That was all the motivation I needed to buckle down, push through, re-inflate myself, and keep going.

    So for that and so much more, thank you.