Small Business Interview: Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez, Food Heaven Made Easy
Introducing Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez. founders of Food Heaven Made Easy! In 2011 they started Food Heaven as a creative outlet for two friends to spread the word about nutrition and healthy eating. It has now gone from being a hobby to a full time multimedia business with over 100,000 followers around the world. In addition they recently received a major book deal - a huge accomplishment! Both Jessica and Wendy are both registered dieticians and help others get healthy by teaching them about how beneficial a plant based diet can be. They have a healthy eating web series on YouTube and a successful nutrition podcast. In this interview Jessica and Wendy talk about their business success as well as their challenges and provide a tone of advice to all of us entrepreneurs based on their own experience. Enjoy!
"Now more than ever, there are markets for pretty much everything. Why not go for something that excites you?"
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services / products do you offer?
We are Jess and Wendy, Registered Dietitians and co-founders of the website Food Heaven Made Easy, an online resource for delicious and nutritious living. Our brand includes a nutrition podcast and a food and a healthy eating web-series.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
Food Heaven started out as a hobby and has grown into a multimedia business with over 100,000 followers around the globe. We both love nutrition and are passionate about helping people improve their diets and overall health. We’re both big nerds when it comes to nutrition and love reading books and studies about various nutrition topics. We are also huge advocates of plant-based eating and want to show people that they can eat healthy while still enjoying traditional foods from their culture.
Do you have any special training?
Yes, we are both Registered Dietitians with Master’s in Nutrition. Jess is also a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Certified Zumba instructor and holds a certificate of training in Adult Weight Management.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment is getting our very first book deal! This is literally a dream come true for us and we think it’s the perfect platform to further spread our healthy eating message. Our book is a 28-Day Plant Powered Health Reboot that we think will be very helpful to a lot of people looking to reset their body and feel great.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
We started out seeing minor profits once we monetized our YouTube channel and signed with Tastemade as our network. Once we started creating merchandise and digital downloads to sell on our website, we started seeing a bigger increase in profits. This year we started to get more sponsorship opportunities from brands, which is where we saw an even bigger financial return on all of our hard work.
What mistake(s), if any, have you made with your business?
Probably not monetizing our business sooner. Since we started out as a hobby, we weren’t thinking of this as a business, just a fun passion project. We probably could have been farther along if we would have created products to sell and monetized our site from day one.
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful business?
For us, what tops the list is being passionate about the mission of your business. Now more than ever, there are markets for pretty much everything. Why not go for something that excites you? Many times, the focus is “how will this idea be lucrative for me?” And although it’s important to develop a business that is financially sustainable, what good does it serve if it isn’t stimulating and challenging for you? That passion and excitement will pull you through those challenging times, and will make the work feel worthwhile.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Start somewhere, and start now. Oftentimes, we want to wait until x, y, and z are together before moving forward. We end up wasting a bunch of time, and miss out on lessons learned. It’s by trial and error that you figure out what works (and what doesn’t) for your business. The site we started off with at Food Heaven Made Easy is unrecognizable compared to the one we have now, and that is a beautiful thing. It shows how much growth and development we’ve had through the years. Just be consistent with whatever it is you’re doing, and actively work on the expansion of your business. Also try to link up with other women who are developing their businesses, and try to connect with women who have their businesses a bit more developed than yours. That way you can learn from them and soak in any insight they have to offer.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
When starting off, definitely keep track of your inputs and outputs. Depending on how much activity you have going in, you can decide whether you want to do this weekly, monthly, or yearly. It can be as simple as plugging your numbers into a excel document, and updating it every so often. This will make your life so much easier when tax time comes around, or simply when you want to know what the numbers are looking like.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
To us, it’s important to be intentional about carving out time for self-care. It’s easy to get lost in work, which usually leads to stress, lack of sleep, and poor health. As dietitians, we make it a point to practice what we preach. We plan our business schedules months in advance if possible, to minimize last minute commitments. We also have hours in the day dedicated to doing work. Of course there are times when we may have to meet on a weekend, or do work during our personal time, but we try to minimize that as much as possible. During personal time, the goal is to keep laptops and emails away.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
We see ourselves expanding Food Heaven Made Easy, to offer more services and resources for our followers. We hope to write another book, open up a creative space for creative’s and foodies, and hope to live a little closer together (Wendy is in New York, Jess in California)
Please share a fun fact about yourself
Jess loves going to open houses, and Wendy lives for home improvement projects.
How can readers find you?
Visit our website, Food Heaven Made Easy, and follow us on the socials @foodheavenshow
Thank you so much Jessica and Wendy for this amazing interview and for all the work you do to spread the message about good nutrition!