PEP: 009 Jason Leake of 100 Days of Real Food Talks About Pushing Past Fear and Having Fun

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JasonLeakeParent Entrepreneur Power is very honored to have Jason Leake join the conversation this week, and he gives us amazing, actionable tools to use in our Power Tool Belts for our own Parent Entrepreneur Success.

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I am amazed that there are so many entrepreneurs who are parents first, and create successful work schedules around their kids’ schedules.

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Welcome Jason, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a regular guy, father to two beautiful girls, and an accidental entrepreneur. ¬†Background is mechanical engineering, and my wife started a blog as a personal hobby to inform friends and family about our journey about cutting out processed foods.

It got so busy that her traffic started climbing quickly, and we realized that we had an opportunity to do what we love, and help people, and replace my engineering salary.

People really were skeptical about my quitting my corporate job, but it was the best decision we ever made.

Mary: What security is there in helping someone else, some other corporate director build their dreams when you can build your own?!

Jason:  Yes, the feedback loop is so fast, entrepreneurship is all about failing the right way, and quickly, especially when you are online.

Success breeds success. You have so much more confidence, more opportunities and you know when to say no.  Networking has been extremely helpful!

I am in a Mastermind Group with another husband and wife food blogging team by choice, because, “It’s not a zero sum game.”

Mary: 100DaysofRealFood is very genuine, and is based on products and foods you use in your daily life!  There is substance behind what you say

Jason:  We vet the sponsors we accept to ensure they provide products and services that align with our audience.  For example, we have meal planning services.

Much of what Lisa blogs about is geared to her former self. The way we eat now is our new normal, but that’s not the case for everyone, so when she writes, she writes to the person beginning this real food journey.

I write the same way with ProBlogSchool, because I am more advanced in the monetizing of a blog, but most people are not.  I write to my former self, so I can reach more people, and help them become more advanced in their blogging.

Pat Flynn did the same for me. ¬†He inspired me to quit my job, and realize that all of this is possible. ¬†I asked Pat how much I should give away, and how much of my knowledge I should put in a course, and Pat said, “Give it all away, then give more away for the course.”

Hear my interview with Pat here for Parent Entrepreneur Power.

Jason: As people listen to you, and appreciate what you teach and have to say, they will try to prop you up.

Mary: How do you structure the business while also being a parent?

Jason: We send the kids to school, then work feverishly until they get home. ¬†When they come home, they are so excited, they are yearning for your attention, and that is so important to give them that. ¬†We work a little more until dinner, with a few interruptions obviously. Then, dinner 5 – 8:30 is strictly family time. ¬†Then when the kids go to bed, we start work again until bedtime. Weekends we take off, and Lisa is better at this than I am, I’m still trying to be more disciplined with my time, just because I am loving what I’m doing.

One of our sponsors is Positive Parenting Solutions, and in evaluating her course for 100DaysofRealFood, I took her advice to heart and give my daughters at least 20 minutes a day of undivided attention, and it works to create a happier home.

Mary: What skills do you think you use the most, and to the greatest effect as both a parent and an entrepreneur?

Jason: Since I’m the Operations Manager, I try to help Lisa communicate as much as she can with her users. ¬†I process an amazing amount of information each day, so learning how to prioritize, listen, and determine what is important and what’s not.

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to lead by example, and just be happy, and by having a good relationship with your spouse and anyone else in your home.  Actions speak louder than words.  People can be unhappy for a variety of reasons.

It’s just Fun!

All the work I do is just for us.  The personal growth is so accelerated.

There was some skepticism from Lisa’s father about the money opportunities.

So, when Lisa and I started thinking this might allow enough income to replace my full time job, I started putting my paycheck in the bank for 6 months to prove to ourselves that we could do it.

So, when you see people who might not be happy with their lives and jobs, it’s hard to talk with them, because I’m so excited about all the wonderful things happening in our lives.

At first, people are so confused as to how we can make money with a blog.

The internet is an amazing opportunity, and it’s best to start early.

I’m 37, and when I went to college, I had a sense of entitlement when I graduated, and I expected someone to just give me a job. ¬†Now I know how much work is needed to create success.

Mary: We talked about balance, and how you compartmentalize your time, what about how you balance money?

Jason: Part of the balance had to come from convincing Lisa that this was really possible, so we needed to be on the same page.

Lisa is more disciplined, and I’m more task oriented, and just want to continue working to get things done. The more I try to just work through things, and work late, the more my work suffers. When I just go to sleep, I have to realize that there is always tomorrow, and I usually find solutions when I’m in the shower!

Money…there isn’t much of an issue for balance. ¬†We have always been in the black. As income has grown, we hire more people. ¬†We have 8 part time people, like a comment moderator to be sure to point people in the right direction. ¬†Our community appreciates that help.

The money quickly grew beyond anything we could have imagined. ¬†We took the kids to Europe for a month last summer, and only worked about a third of the time…sorry IRS.

We have been able to save as much as we need to for college educations for the girls, for retirement, and trips with the girls.  This summer we are taking a cross country RV trip.

Mary: You talked about growing organically.  Can you take us chronologically through that timeline for growth of 100Days?

Here is the traffic spreadsheet of the pageviews, number of months, and some of the events for the 100Days site:

100DaysTrafficSpreadsheet600

 On August of 2011, we landed on the Yahoo front page between President Obama and Justin Beber, and the server crashed with over 1 Million page views.

It took from May, 2010 to July, 2012 for me to actually quit my job and join Lisa in this blog full time as a business.

The first time Lisa asked me to help out with the blog right after her first blogging conference, I said, “No.” ¬†But when she started really needing help with other people being hired, I obviously said, “Yes.”

If someone starts putting in the time, focus and energy into building their own platform now, Spring, 2014, where could you be in the Spring of 2015?!

That starts today!

Jason: ¬†We were hiking in Cinque Terra last summer, and Lisa said, “You need to start your own site,” and I said that I had too much to do, but Lisa said, “Just start!”

So, ProBlogSchool started when we got back, and it didn’t have to be perfect, or completely polished, because the audience will decide where it goes.

Mary: It all stems from giving something beyond yourself, and helping others climb to where you are now. But, you have to start where you started, not where you are now.

How has ProBlogSchool now fit into this new life?

Jason: I love my day job at 100Days, but it’s Lisa’s site, she makes the decisions. ¬†My passion is the business side of things, so my goal is to free up my time so I can work more on ProBlogSchool. ¬†Friends ask if we want to sell 100Days, and I look at them like they are crazy, because I love it.

Lisa has so much traffic – over 4 Million page views per month – and I can change our ad optimization, and change our revenue for the month by 5%, but starting ProBlogSchool also allows us to diversify, and not have all our eggs in one basket.

TinyBuddha Quote: ¬†“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness, and just be happy.”

What are your favorite Power Tools?

Jing app – record 5 minute videos as instructions for anyone. (TechSmith)

Xero.com – for accounting has been a breeze.

Trello.com and Asana.com – for project management.

Google App Suite – all team communication

Unroll.me – tames the inbox, by scanning for all subscriptions to roll into a single daily email.

One of the best things about entrepreneurship is flexibility – we had lots of snow days recently, and I just went out to build an igloo with the kids. ¬†Working for myself isn’t just for the kids, I have lots of fun too!

Mary: What piece of advice would you give someone starting out?

There is no substitute for experience, and failing to realize your path.  There is a whole upward spiral.  Check our back-story at ProBlogSchool.com to see how we make money online.

Mary: Any parting words?

Jason: It really is amazing what you can do when you are in control. ¬†Know that you have to lean into fear a little bit, and get past your comfort zone, but that’s when you grow, and can see what happens.

Connect with Jason here:

ProBlogSchool

100DaysofRealFood

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2016-10-24T08:49:25+00:00

3 Comments

  1. […] was recently contacted by Mary Kathryn Johnson, founder of the Parent Entrepreneur Power¬†podcast, about doing an interview. Personally I love listening to podcasts since they can turn a […]

  2. LeAnn @ Real Fit, Real Food Mom April 1, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Great interview–I loved reading this and finding out more about Jason and 100 Days of Real Food! Jason and Lisa are both extremely talented at what they’re doing and they do it all in a very relatable way. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary Kathryn Johnson April 1, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Thanks so much for your visit, and kind comment, LeAnn!

      I am so thankful that Jason is open and honest about his lifestyle, business and family. Lots to learn from him!

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