We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Winn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, how do you think about risk?
Both Justin, my husband, and I were certified public accountants in our prior careers. If that tells you anything, it’s that our nature is to be risk averse. At least we used to be. Over the last five years since we took the most gigantic leap of our lives and quit our corporate careers, moved to a smaller town and began working on our business full time, we’ve become more comfortable being uncomfortable and taking risks to build and grow our business and also ourselves. We think about risk and reward. There is often little reward with no risk. If you play safe all the time, you’re missing out. It’s that simple. That said, we don’t take a ton of totally blind risks, but rather we take calculated, strategic risks where we have some inclination or feeling that it’s the right direction for us. Our risk-taking is largely developed by learning to trust our instincts and intuition. Of course, we never know exactly what the outcome will be, but we’ve developed a learning mindset. A mindset where we strive and reach for mastery, knowing that we are forever a work in a progress. However things shake out, we will absorb and learn as much as we can from the experience to carry forward and apply to the next one. I think when you start to get over your fear of failure and really focus on a learning mindset, you get more comfortable taking some risks. Fear of failure is just a cue that you really care about something. Feel the fear, acknowledge it and do it anyway. All of our greatest accomplishments have come from taking a risk of some sort – in both our personal lives and in our business.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The Real Simple Good Life is our passion project turned full-time job and livelihood. We started our site as a way to share the delicious, real food recipes we were cooking up in our kitchen. After starting Real Simple Good, the Paleo food blog in 2015, we quickly realized that we wanted to spend more time cultivating this site and growing our platform. To accomplish our dreams, we quit our full-time careers as certified public accountants working in corporate America. We moved to the small(ish) town of Bend, Oregon and started working full time on our website. We’ve grown Real Simple Good into a business from scratch and now actively pursue our passions and dreams. And we do it on our own terms. What started out initially as learning how to start, monetize and grow a food blog ultimately turned into a full lifestyle change for us. We’ve learned how to continuously learn and grow, develop winning habits, take complete ownership of our lives and live a meaningful, intentional, vibrant life. We’ve struggled along the way, both in business and in our personal lives – from the challenges of learning to grow a business from scratch to infertility struggles, IVF, miscarriage and finally a successful pregnancy. There are always going to be challenges and reasons to play it safe, but I think it’s important to rise to the occasion and show up. Taking strategic risks, continuing to focus on personal development and serving others has become our way of life. And it’s been rewarding in so many ways. We started a food blog 5+ years ago but’s it’s grown into so much more. We hope that by sharing our journey, our story and our life that we inspire others to create their own version of The Real Simple Good Life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, having a baby and living in a pandemic the past year…it’s sometimes hard to remember what we did for fun before life changed so much. That said, I think we’d invite you to stay at our home. We love to cook for friends and family and enjoy connecting over food and good conversation. So, you can imagine waking up to a hearty breakfast, hot coffee and a sunny morning. We’d follow that up with a hike or a visit to one of the many lakes in the area and spend some time in nature, soaking up vitamin D. Of course, we’d pack a delicious picnic lunch to enjoy on-the-go. And we’d end the day back at our house with a soulful dinner, drinks and an evening by the fire pit. Put that on repeat for a week, and you’ll leave feeling so content, with your cup overflowing. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, our relationship as a partnership in business and life has gone a long way for us. We are side by side and each other’s biggest fan always. In our relationship, I am the dreamer and Justin is all about execution. Somehow he manages to help make my wild and crazy dreams a reality. This tight knit, all in relationship is what gives me the most strength. Outside of our relationship, we’ve been fortunate to connect with other small business owners who we can learn and grow from. One specific other small business we’ve worked with for about a year now is Foodie Digital. They’ve helped us to work toward overcoming SEO challenges of the online business world. The success mentor, Darren Hardy, has been a great inspiration to both of us. His book The Compound Effect really resonated with us, and we both took his online course Insane Productivity. It really helped us learn to make the most of our time, energy and bandwidth. We have become personal development junkies, so people like Jenna Kutcher, Rachel Hollis, Brendon Burchard and Lewis Howes have been who we follow for inspiration and motivation. We have great families as well. And of course, taking a huge risk when most people didn’t get it, fueled us to prove all the naysayers wrong.
Other: Coming soon….http://healthylittlebellies.com (this is a new project currently underway!)