Abigail Hopkins has helped tens of thousands of people from around the world discover how meal planning can positively transform not just their health, but their entire lives. She’s the co-founder of That Clean Life, a meal planning platform that helps both individuals meal plan for themselves or their families, and wellness professionals meal plan for their clients.
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Trello – Abigail’s small business resource
Man’s Search for Meaning – Abigail’s Top Business Book
That Clean Life – Abigail’s website
Connect with Abigail on Instagram
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3 Value Bombs
1) Take eating healthy as it is — eat real food, drink water, and exercise.
2) Learn from negative feedback but do not internalize it.
3) Always validate your idea before doing it.
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(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:07] – Abigail is a registered nurse
[01:19] – Her big mission is to make eating healthy simple and fun
[01:23] – She lives in Canada with her husband and co-founder, Christopher
[01:39] – Abigail’s habit of meal planning was a game-changer for her
[02:45] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: People usually overcomplicate eating healthy. It’s just eating real food, drinking lots of water, and exercise
[03:40] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Abigail had weak confidence around her first product demo. The imposter syndrome kicked in, and she thought she really had no idea what she was doing. Not even 2 minutes into the demo, Abigail’s client started asking about features they didn’t have and pointing out all the other things that were wrong with their platform. Abigail hung up the phone feeling defeated
[05:12] – That experience set Abigail’s confidence back
[06:24] – Do not internalize negative feedback
[06:41] – “If you’re trying to please everybody, you’ll please nobody”
[07:21] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Abigail’s greatest idea was taking That Clean Life from a business-to-consumer product to a business-to-business product. When they launched as a consumer product, they received feedback from interested wellness professionals on how they could use the platform with their clients. Abigail spent months talking to these people, and then she launched That Clean Life for Business
[09:25] – Take time to validate your idea
[10:41] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I really truly feel that we’re on the brink of a nutritional revolution”
[13:59] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Imposter syndrome”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Add value before you ask for value”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Eating right and exercise”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Trello
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Man’s Search for Meaning – “it has one very simple and powerful message — you can’t control what happens to you, but you can always control the way you respond ”
[15:54] – “Take care of your body!”
[16:06] – Connect with Abigail on her website and Instagram
Abigail: I’m ready, JLD.
Abigail: Let’s get lit!
JLD: Abigail has helped tens of thousands of people from around the world discover how meal planning can positively transform not just their health, but their entire lives. She’s a co-founder of That Clean Life, a meal-planning platform that helps both individuals meal plan for themselves, or their family and wellness professionals meal plan for their clients.
Abigail, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro and gives us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Abigail: Yeah. So, thanks so much. I’m Abigail. I’m a former registered nurse, I’m a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. And now, I’m the relentless co-founder of That Clean Life, which, like you said, is a meal-planning platform. And, our one big mission is to make eating healthy, simple, and fun.
And, I live in Canada, right in the heart of town, town Toronto with my husband and co-founder, Christopher. And basically this came about was, after struggling with my own health issues while also trying to work 12-hour shifts as a pediatric nurse, I developed this one, super awesome habit that was seriously a game-changer for me in terms of insuring I was fueling my body with nutritious food. And that habit was meal planning.
So, every week I’d sit down with a pen and paper, gather up recipes, write out a meal plan and then from that created grocery list. And while this kept me on track and feeling great, it really took a lot of time. And both me and my husband thought there has to be a better way.
So, together we started creating this meal planning platform that would make the process of healthy meal planning much more simple, fun, and efficient. And, four years later, a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears, here we are with a platform that’s helping individuals meal plan for themselves and their families. And, also wellness professionals, like you said, to meal plan for their clients.
JLD: Well, it’s pretty obvious to me that your area of expertise is meal planning. So, let’s say something that’s not obvious here. What is something that we don’t know about meal planning that we probably should? Like, what’s something that you do see that we get wrong time and time again that would really help us as entrepreneurs?
Abigail: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think it’s that we overcomplicate it and it could be really simple. So, what people don’t realize is that eating healthy can be pretty straightforward. And it’s all about just eating real food, drinking lots of water, and moving your body. And I really feel like when you make it a habit, when you fuel your body with whole foods in a way that you enjoy, so, that you can sustain it over the long term, it can really change your life.
JLD: So, kind of moving forward from that point. What I really would love to hear from you, Abigail, is what you consider your worst entrepreneur moment? I mean, you weren’t always being able to advise people successfully on meal plans and X, Y, and Z. So, what was your struggles? What was not just a struggle, but the struggle that you really had to overcome? That you consider the most difficult challenge of your life.
Abigail: It kind of all boils down to a confidence thing. So, I always go back to the story about my very first product demo and where the imposter syndrome kicked in. Because it was a complete nightmare. So, if you’re not familiar with product demos, they’re really common in the technology space. You basically help on a call with a potential customer and you share your screen and show them through your platform.
When I was going into this, I had obviously never given a product demo before. Like I said, before my background was in nursing, not in business or sales or technology. And, I was really nervous and my confidence was weak. And, I had no idea what the heck I was doing.
But, at the same time I was so excited to show this person around That Clean Life. Because we’ve been working on it so hard for months and I was so excited to show it off. So, I sit down, call up my potential customer, start my screen share and start showing her around. And, we weren’t even two minutes into the demo before she started tearing the whole thing to shred. She was asking about features we didn’t have, I had to say, “No, we don’t have that.” She continued on to tell me everything that was wrong with the platform and I was just gutted. I had no answers to her objections; I hung up the call feeling absolutely defeated.
I hung up the call just feeling like we were doing the wrong thing and that people maybe didn’t want this. And, I really let this experience set me back in terms of confidence and my entire belief in what we were doing on a whole. And I internalized it. And I believed that. Because this one person didn’t like what we had to offer that everyone in the world would feel the same.
But I dug deep, shook it off and kept going and we took the feedback we felt was valid and used it to iterate. And, I just continued doing demos and with every single one I got a bit better, a bit more confident. I got really good at responding to people’s objections and kind of convincing them in the opposite direction.
So, a really cool thing started to happen then. I started to get more yes’ than no’s and before I knew it, we had brought on our first 100 customers. And we’ve continued to grow steadily every since. So, even though hearing no, and getting criticized, it’s really tough at first, I’ve now realized that I can’t take it personally, or let it slow me down.
JLD: So, Abigail, obviously there were a ton of lessons you learned from that and a lot of great take-always that I’ve already been really absorbing myself. But, what’s the one that you wanna make sure our listeners get? What’s that one lesson learned?
Abigail: The one lesson learned from that is to not internalize the negative feedback and to just keep going when your heart tells you to. Because your product isn’t always going to be a great fit for everybody, it shouldn’t be. And, when you’re trying to please everybody, you’ll please nobody.
JLD: Fire Nation, follow that guts. Follow the intuition that it’s taking you to wherever you are right now and just remember, you’re going to have outside opinions to tell you one thing, they tell you another thing, but when it comes down to it, this is your life. Make your decisions with the best possible information but at the same time, make it your decision and follow where your heart wants to lead you.
Now, Abigail, you obviously have had a lots of great ideas. I mean, the overall great idea of meal planning in general was phenomenal. But what was that specific ‘aha’ moment that you want to tell us about? The greatest of great ideas you’ve had to date. Tell us that story.
Abigail: This is an easy one for me. I’m very proud about it. So, the greatest idea I’ve ever had to date is probably to take That Clean Life from a business to consumer product to a business-to-business product, too. So, when we launched, we launched as a consumer product, but then we had so many wellness professionals coming to us asking how they could use the platform with their clients.
And, I had to spend months talking to these people, figuring out how we could best serve them. And, from that I learned that many of them were creating custom meal plans from scratch in just a simple Word document and it was taking them hours. And, I knew we could save them time.
So, hearing this lead to my major ‘aha’ moment and that was That Clean Life For Business. Which is a meal-planning platform built specifically for wellness professionals with advanced features to give them superpowers. And, because of the value that the platform would provide and the time it would save them, we could charge a higher price point for this service. Which would also allow our business to grow a lot faster.
So, I ran to Chris and I was so excited about this idea and he very wisely calmed me down and told me, before we go any further with it, I needed to take some time to validate the idea. And make sure that it was something that these people actually wanted. So, this was key because I created a basic survey that just described the idea and reached out to wellness professionals to get their feedback on it and we got enough people telling us that this was a solution that they were actually looking for.
So, we went heads down and we built That Clean Life for business over the course of a month. And then the best part of this validating the idea was that one we’ve launched. I already had a list of people who had told me they would buy this product. So, this was a major returning point for us in That Clean Life because it helped us move up market and helped even more people.
JLD: So, just like Abigail – you shared your biggest lesson, your biggest take-away from that worst moment you experienced. What do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gest from that story?
Abigail: Take the time to validate your idea because that was going to be a part I skipped over and learning to validate an idea, making sure it’s actually something people want and they will take their credit card out and pay for, is huge. And it helps you develop that audience that you can market to when you go live.
JLD: Fire Nation, your time is the most valuable asset that you have and you have to respect it to the highest level to the highest degree. I mean, pre-validating, pre-selling a course or – it’s just so important that you make sure that you do these things because the worst thing that people do or entrepreneurs do all the time, is they get into a closet, they close the door and they create the next big thing, and then when they launch it to the world, they are like, “Oh, the world didn’t want this next big thing.”
You have to make sure what you’re working on makes sense for all the right reasons. You have to make sure that there’s an audience with big enough problems and struggles and obstacles and challenges. That they want that. That they will go ahead and part with their hard-earned dollars to do so. And if they are willing to do that on a pre-sale or on a pre-validation, then they are probably not gonna be able to do that when it actually is available to them because it’s just not a big enough problem. So, make that happen.
And now for you, Abigail, you’ve obviously had a lot of wins over the past year but today, right now, what fires you up the most?
Abigail: I think I’m most fired up about the fact that I feel – I really and truly feel that we’re just on the brink of a nutritional revolution. So, unfortunately as it stands right now, I feel that the diet industry is kind of gimmicky and it’s – everybody’s pushing quick fixes and get rich overnight schemes. And I’m really fired up to help people move away from all of this noise and confusion and really get back to the basics and realize that good nutrition can be simple.
JLD: Get back to the basics, Fire Nation. Keep it simple, like I said, time is everything. So, keep it simple, save yourself some time, some energy, some efforts, and just keep it simple.
Now, if you think that Abigail’s been dropping value bombs, you are right. More coming up in the lightning round when we get back form thanking our sponsors. Abigail, are you ready to rock the lightning rounds?
Abigail: I’m so ready. Let’s do it.
JLD: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Abigail: Imposter syndrome, for sure. I was constantly worried that people would think I was a fraud or that I wasn’t qualified to talk about nutrition or run a tech company, and that really held me back for a really long time.
JLD: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Abigail: Add value before you ask for value. So, when I first launched That Clean Life I thought that if I built it they would come. But, I realized now that you have to provide a ton of value before you even ask for value. So, I always like to say, “You have to serve before you sell.”
JLD: What is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Abigail: This is kinda obvious but eating right and exercise. So, eating right fills my body with the energy it needs and exercise is really a form or meditation for me. So, together those things keep my mind calm and my mental health in check. And you really – you can’t take of other people if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
JLD: Recommend one Internet resource.
Abigail: Hands down Trello. So, this is an incredible project management system and it’s what I use to organize pretty much my entire life.
JLD: Recommend one book and share why.
Abigail: Definitely Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl because it has one very simple and powerful message. And that’s you can’t control what happens to you but you can always control the way you respond.
JLD: Fire Nation, I actually listen to this in the audiobook form at least once a year. It’s absolutely essential. If you’re not currently an Audible member, best news is, you can get it for free by going to eofirebook.com.
So, Abigail, let’s end it today on Fire. Would you giving us a parting piece of guidance. Sharing the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say good-bye.
Abigail: Cool. So, my best piece of advice is to take care of your body because it’s the only place you have to live and don’t wait until it’s broken to fix it because you don’t have much without your health. So, treat your body well and it’ll take you far.
The best way to connect with me is probably on Instagram. We are @thatcleanlife or visit us at @thatcleanlife.com
JLD: Fire nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you’ve been hanging out with AH and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Type Abigail in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz. Time stamps, links galore and of course, you can find her at That Clean Life on all the socials and the dot coms.
Abigail, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we all catch you on the flip side.
Abigail: Thanks for having me.
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