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The Real Simple Good Life – Our Roots

This is the first post in a series of six blog posts where we are telling the story behind The Real Simple Good Life and outlining the core principles that guide our healthy lifestyle – what we call our roots.

Horizontal image of Justin and Erica Winn looking at camera and smiling.

It all started with food

When we started this website, it was strictly a food blog. We had both started following the Paleo diet and lifestyle, and were amazed by the changes we felt and saw in our bodies. We wanted a place online where we could catalog and share some of the healthy, real food based recipes we were eating.

At the time we were also both working full time jobs in corporate finance and accounting. After years of working long hours for companies doing something we were good at but didn’t really enjoy – we were both seeking something different. We yearned to work on something we actually cared about.

Let’s just try something

Because we weren’t sure about taking a big risk, a food blog allowed us to start something on the side where we could focus on something we were actually passionate about. We started the site early in 2015 and started learning about all things food blogging and posting some recipes.

Looking back, we had no idea what we were doing but it didn’t matter. We were working on something we cared about and it FELT SO GOOD. The hours we spent on the blog in those early days just flew by. We didn’t know where it would take us, but we knew we were laying the foundation for something that was OURS.

Taking a big risk

After a year of working on the blog on the side, we finally did take a big risk and quit our corporate jobs! At this time we were making zero income from the blog and just decided to take the leap and see what we could do. We moved to Bend, Oregon and started working on Real Simple Good full time.

The struggle

I’d love to say at this point that our blog just “took off” and we achieved all of our dreams right away, but that wasn’t how it happened. We worked on our blog full time from May 2016 to May 2017 and netted $0. In fact, we lost $260 (former accountants here, so we tracked it all).

Again, we worked on our blog full time for a year and didn’t make a penny. Those were tough times. We struggled, cried, hugged, talked, planned, created, learned, and did everything we could to figure it out. The ups and downs were brutal. There was such uncertainty about our future and whether we could make a living with our blog it ate away at us.

We can’t give up

But Real Simple good was our baby, and we refused to give up. We committed to show up every single day and get better. We doubled down on our focus that our website was a business, and we needed to run it as such. We dissected what was working, what wasn’t, and explored options to monetize the site that we hadn’t tried before.

Ever so slowly, that ball got rolling in the right direction. In 2017 we netted a whopping $25,000!! Hey, it’s better than a loss, right?

Momentum – Finally

In 2018 we found some real momentum. Some of the strategies we implemented were paying off and we saw consistent growth in our website traffic and audience. Our net income before taxes in 2018 – $60,000. Not where we needed to be to support our family by any means, but a big step in the right direction.

As I write this post, we are heading into September of 2019. With continued growth, strategic content focus, focused expansion of revenue streams, we will have our best year in business. We’re projecting net income before taxes in 2019 of about $150,000.

Vertical close up image of Justin and Erica Winn looking at each other holding mugs.

We are not telling you this to brag about the money we make or how we finally “made it”. We are sharing this story to show you that getting what you want is all about showing up every single day. It’s about persistence and perseverance. It’s about building and struggling. It’s about pushing forward even in the face of adversity and fear.

Because let’s be real…running this business wasn’t the only thing going on in our lives. We went through IVF to try and start our family, got pregnant and had a miscarriage. Talk about figuring out how to rise again and grow in the face of our toughest year yet. But all of that has led us here, exactly where we feel we are meant to be.

A new direction

We are also sharing this story as an introduction to new content on or site. Over the years of going through the struggles, fears, growth (and eventually success) described above, we have learned a lot. Not only about running our business, but about ourselves and what it takes to live better in all aspects of our lives.

LIVE BETTER

Live better – that’s what we want to help YOU do. While this is a bit of a shift from our previous focus on only food, we feel this is our greater calling. We want to inspire and help others in an even more meaningful way. ⁣To do this, we will be expanding our content to grow and better serve you all, beyond the kitchen. 

OUR ROOTS

To help introduce this new content, we are starting with this series of blog posts with a deep dive into the five areas we call our roots. These are the core areas we want to explore and focus on to help you build the foundation to live better. The more you focus on these areas, the deeper your roots can grow, building the structure and support system to allow you to live better.

  • FOOD – Of course, this is a big focus for us. Eating real, nourishing food is critical to your overall health.
  • MOVEMENT – Getting outside, breaking a sweat, consistent movement and finding the right “exercise” for you.
  • MINDSET – Training your mind to support becoming the best you. Focus on building confidence, always learning, a growth mindset, gratitude, confidence, and goals.
  • HABITS – Developing winning habits. How small changes can make a big difference over time. How to establish habits to support becoming the best you⁣.
  • COMMUNITY – Building connection, support, and accountability. Developing a service mindset to always be giving back and serving others. ⁣

Coming up…

So, this is the start of a slightly new direction for our website – The Real Simple Good Life! Stay tuned because we have more detailed posts lined up for each of the above roots, and we can’t wait to start sharing all of this content with you! What do you think? Let us know by commenting below. What would you be excited for us to share and talk about on here? How can we help you LIVE BETTER?

And as always…thank you for being here. We are honored that you follow along with us, invite us into your kitchen, and now hopefully allow us to help you live better – The Real Simple Good Life way.

Horizontal image of Justin and Erica Winn sitting on black couch.

10 thoughts on “The Real Simple Good Life – Our Roots

  • Congratulations, keep up the good work !
    Help us be motivated to be healthy and to choose what’s good for our body. I find it hard to be around people who don ‘t give any thoughts on eating well, they just gobble food like there’s no tomorrow. How can I justify my choice of saying no to some food. Sometime I feel like an outcast or guilty because I’m not fat like them.

    • Hey there – thanks so much for the encouragement! We appreciate it! And as for being around people who just don’t seem to get it…well, the honest truth for us has been that people either come around and get supportive, or you just have less and less in common over time and the relationship fizzles out. Hopefully they come around and get on board! 🙂

  • You guys are so darn cute and I LOVE your blog! To me, it doesn’t matter so much what you write about, I just find it very interesting and I love learning new things…so I’m all in! I think you are going in the right direction, for what my opinion is worth! Keep up the great work!

  • I’ve LOVED your recipes and recipe posts, and look forward to this expanding direction, too! 🙂 Fellow food writer/photographer here (I also write about faith and family), and I dream about being able to give more time to it as my days of homeschooling are winding down. Your courage and intention are so inspiring! 🙂

  • I LOVE this post! And I’m so happy to see that you are now being successful in what you do! What an inspiring story! And just so you know, I work in accounting as well, for a major retailer, haha! Lots in common, 😉 keep up the great work! I can’t wait to see what comes next! You’re going to go far!

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