032 - Healthy cooking with kids, confidence building, financial freedom & more with Katie Kimball, CSME, founder and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship


Katie Kimball, the national voice of healthy kids cooking, is a blogger, former teacher, and mom of 4 kids who founded the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse, recommended by The Wall Street Journal in 2020 as the best online cooking class for kids. Her blog, Kitchen Stewardship helps families stay healthy without going crazy, and she’s on a mission to connect families around healthy food and teach every child to cook as part of the Kids' Meal Revolution.

Connect with Katie:


Sharon: (00:00)
Hi and welcome to The Financially Free Woman Podcast! I’m Sharon and I’m the creator of this non-financial, financial podcast about money and how money affects the work we do, the relationships we have and our ideas about freedom. Most people don’t realize that the path to financial freedom doesn’t begin with gaining more knowledge or making more money. In this podcast, you’ll learn how to embrace and accept yourself as a fully whole, albeit imperfect person so that you can become the highest and best version of yourself. And this, my friend, is the key ingredient missing from typical lessons about money and personal finance. In this podcast, you’ll learn about your own psychology and relationship with money, how money is more than just the dollars and cents, and practical actions that are grounded so you can transform your dreams into reality. Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey. Let’s get started!

Sharon: (01:09)
Katie Kimball is the voice of healthy kids, cooking, working to restore the health of our young generation. One kitchen at a time. She's a cookbook author, certified stress mastery educator, and regular TV contributor, who has shared her journey to real food and natural living for 12 years at kitchen stewardship, a blog that helps families stay healthy without going crazy. Along with the four children, she created the kids cook real food eCourse to help other parents teach their kids to cook, built family connection in the kitchen and supercharged kids confidence and creativity. In 2020, the wall street journal recommended kids cook real food as the best online cooking class for kids, she's actively masterminding the kid's meal revolution with a gold of every child being able to cook. Katie is also an accidental entrepreneur who has grown a six figure business and incubated another entrée business with her husband. Katie has become an expert at mitigating business risk and making decisions at medium speed. While exploding her impact. She's a business coach for family minded entrepreneurs who seek balance while pursuing dramatic, personal and professional growth. She's passionate about connecting entrepreneurs together to network and mastermind and users, her decade plus experience in masterminds of every size and flavor to help others find their tribe.

Sharon: (02:46)
Hi, Katie, welcome to the financially free woman podcast. I'm really excited to have you on my show actually, because you know how I found you was really through Pat Flynn and his podcast. I think he interviewed you and that topic was so I was so inspired to hear your story because as a mom, myself, I'm always interested to talk to fellow moms. I've got two, you've got four. So I'm thinking, Oh my God, that's like twice the workload. And, and then all the stuff that you're doing, the story with your husband getting involved as well. So it was really, I felt like it was, I was kind of taking a chance by reaching out because you just look like you've got it all together. And I'm so thrilled that you said yes. So I'm so excited. So just maybe for our listeners who don't know who you are, what you do, would you like to give a little bit of an introduction about yeah. What you do and who you are?

Katie: (03:44)
First, I only play a person on the internet who has it all together. I don't actually have it all together. So let's just start out being really clear about that. No, I'm totally honored to be on your podcast. I feel like I'm a little unworthy cause I'm like I have financially free woman. I don't know. I don't, I hate all the money stuff. I just, I'm the idea girl. So that's it's but it's fun. It's fun to talk about it. So I, I actually grew up my whole life from preschool on knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to be an elementary school teacher. And that's what I went to college for. And that's what I did for two years. I also always knew I wanted to be a mom and it pretty quickly figured out that as a strong perfectionist, I could not be a teacher and a mom at the same time full-time. Because I would need extra days in the week that I could not find. So that's why I only taught. I taught third grade for two years and had our first baby. Paul is about to turn 16 this year and get a driver's license. And that makes me feel like an experienced mom on paper, but you just always still feel like a rookie in mothering, just like in business, everything changes, right. Every month, every year, something new is getting thrown at you. So, so I am a professional rookie at everything I do.

Sharon: (05:00)
I love that. And the thing is with kids, every one of them is different. So you kind of can't really apply whatever you tried out with the first one sometimes just doesn't apply with the second one, right?

Katie: (05:12)
Yeah. It's so true. It's so true. Every, every day is new. Every phase is new, but I don't, I mean, I don't teach elementary school anymore. That is not why I'm on your podcast, but I do. I still have that heart of a teacher. And so sort of my transformation was when I was expecting Paul, I learned a lot about nutrition. Like everything meant more like this tiny mouth, this tiny body, right? Everybody, it was going to count. And as I was beginning to raise him, I was, I was the mom who made my own baby food. And I started getting really into healthy eating, which was not me before. This was very new. So I was spending a lot of time at the cutting board, tons of mistakes, tons of burnt dinners. And my teacher brain was rolling. How, like, how can I help other moms avoid some of these mistakes, right?

Katie: (05:56)
How can I help other moms feel like their budget isn't leaking and they're spending all their time in the kitchen. And that's where the idea for kitchen stewardship came about in my head and kitchen stewardship is this idea of balancing your time, your money, your environment, and your family's nutrition all while keeping your sanity. I thought that would make a great book, which I thought would be a good way to make a little extra money since I wasn't teaching anymore. That's of course hilarious because books are not a good way to make money at all.

Sharon: (06:25)
So yeah, I've heard about that. And we'll talk about that in a little bit. Well then a little while, but maybe just, yeah, just, just go on. Sorry. Just want to stop you there.

Katie: (06:33)
It's okay. I didn't mean that was just, I mean, I was like, I don't know. I need to make like a little extra money. So the bottom line isn't red, we were very young parents. My husband is in his first few years of work and someone told me that I should start a blog to see if there was any audience for this idea. 2008 I had no clue what a blog was. I had never heard that word before. And by February, 2009, I had jumped in, started a blog, pretended I was organized and began, you know, began to build a following. And I loved the interaction. Had loved comments were a thing back then and people would come and see what new things you had to say. And it was just feeding my heart. It was feeding my little teacher heart that I could help other people through this.

Katie: (07:18)
And I remember my husband hundred people read my post last week. Can you imagine a hundred people in a room listening to me? Like what in the world? This is so amazing, right? And now fast forward 12 years, if I have only a hundred people sign up for a webinar, I'm like, well, wait, why need pants? So your perspective really changes as you grow. But I was, I was definitely an accidental entrepreneur. I mean, I'm a writer. I do have an English major. So I knew a little bit about writing, but I knew nothing about HTML, blogging, running a business, and it just sort of tumbled forward and grew. And I asked a lot of questions, a lot of people and I love learning. And so that business grew enough. I was able to actually start a second business five years ago called kids cook real food. And there we teach kids to cook through a skills based video class. And that's really become my new passion. Like that's something that other people aren't doing. Like there's tons of healthy living food blogs, right? I was just one of the fish swimming in that sea, but there are not enough people talking about kids' health talking about the importance of teaching kids to cook young and starting those healthy habits in the kitchen. And so I am like on my soap box, any chance I got on that topic.

Sharon: (08:32)
Cool. So can you talk a little bit more about that? Because my two kids, I've got a 12 year old and a 15 year old and recently the 12 year old, who's a girl she's, I mean, over the past year, ever since COVID with a, with a lockdown and if at home a lot more and she's taken on this new passion for baking, she's more of a Baker. And then my son recently started cooking and I find that when they are more involved in what they're making, like with my son, he cooks and he actually eats it and he's kind of perfected the art. I'm quite impressed. He's actually able to actually cook a steak quite nicely, like medium rare. And it's the timing is right. And the seasoning is right. And a taste and flavors. My girl is she's very into like nutrition and she's very strict about what she eats. So she bakes it, but she makes it for other people to eat. But I wanted to get your take about since you're, you know, so your new passion now, which is kids cook real food. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Katie: (09:33)
Then we have the mirror families. Cause my son, Paul is 15. My daughter, Leah is 12. And like that describes Leah too. She really, she cooks a lot of sweets and then we'll eat like one. So that's really funny. Totally, I mean, man, Sharon like latch onto that. Like keep letting them do that because it's so true. I started kids cook real food from a little bit of a place of desperation in my own life where I was spending so much time in the kitchen, feeding four kids. I was starting to forget what they look like, you know? And I'm like, okay, mama needs a little help around here. That was one motivation. My other motivation was future casting, starting to think about my kids going off to college and knowing how to keep up the good habits. I could feed them vegetables all day long.

Katie: (10:17)
But if they don't know how to cut a vegetable or cook a vegetable, it's going to be right back to frozen pizza and cup food in college. And so those were my two like very practical motivations. But now after watching my kids cook for five or six years after watching over 18,000 members in our course experience what it is to have kids who are competent in the kitchen, it's so much more powerful. It's so much more deep that families connect together. We connect kids with their food. And like you said, the kids tend to eat better when they're involved. And I mean, we have a picky eating epidemic. And I just read last week that one of the changes in kids' eating habits throughout this pandemic is an increase in picky eating. I'm like, Oh no, we need it because their stress is up. And when your stress is up, for many people, you eat more or you eat more junk food and more comfort food.

Katie: (11:11)
And also again, when your stress is up, if you're already sort of a picky eater, there's a bit of a fear of food, right? And so in the, when the world is more fearful, that gets transferred on to foods and the number of safe foods that these picky eaters want to eat decreases. And I'm like, Oh man, like I'm needed more than ever because the most powerful way to adapt and change a picky eater is to get them involved in the kitchen. We just see that time and time again. So we see all that and we see then the confidence, um, 70% of our members say the most powerful and surprising benefit they see as their kids are learning is this confidence.

Sharon: (11:49)
Yeah. I was just going to ask, like for someone who is trying to encourage a child to get more involved in cooking, cause sometimes I know it was like that with my son for a long time and I really don't know how it came about that. He started cooking. I'm not sure if just seeing my daughter who started baking first and then he started getting interested. Cause he doesn't bake. He does cooking. And my girl doesn't cook. She bakes, which is perfect for me. Right. Because then I'll have a meal and dessert so nice that works out well. But I really don't know how he started, but I don't know. Somehow he started watching some videos and he started, but for someone who wants to get their kids started, but the kids are resistant to it. How, what would be kind of like babies, baby steps that they can do to try and get them even in the kitchen.

Katie: (12:35)
Yeah. I mean, we find that watching other kids do it right? So watching my kids in the videos or watching master chef junior, my son is actually a co-author of a cookbook with four other kids. So like finding that cookbook and saying, wow, look at this, like this author is 12 years old. Do you want to see what she made? I'm just sort of like opening up their eyes that other kids are doing this. That's like one possible step. Another is generally most kids. And this is a real personality thing. But a lot of kids really like to serve a lot of kids, really like that feeling of being thanked. And so if you can entice the kids to get in the kitchen ones and make it a service opportunity, maybe you're able to go to a potluck or the grandparents are coming over, right. This is like built in compliments. The compliments will come and the kids feel so good. And that's how that confidence sort of blooms and blossoms. And when you feel confident, you want more and you want to go back into the kitchen and learn more.

Sharon: (13:32)
And you talked about the stress bit, which I really want to get into because I was of course reading up about you. And I see that you're a stress mastery educator, and that really intrigued me. So I want to talk about that. And maybe we can link it to what if kids who actually make something and they think it's good. And then they present it to the family or extended family and they bring it to a potluck actually. And then no one really eats it. I mean, cause the thanking part, I think of course it feels good, but what if things don't work out the way they planned it to work.

Katie: (14:04)
So true. The kitchen is a wonderful venue for failure, which is an excellent teacher. I would never let my child take like a field recipe to the potluck though. Right? Like cut that off before that one happens. But we, Oh man, we've definitely had definitely had some failures. My two older kids, Paul and Leah, they'd been cooking one meal a week for about three years now. And it was a slow, slow release of responsibility. They made the same homemade pizza every time, every week for the first year and the second year they had to plan in between. But I would like help them plan. Right. I would remind them then the third year I'm like, okay, teach a man to fish. Like it's time to give you your own fishing pole here. You guys are in charge of Thursday night dinner. I'm not going to remind you which result.

Katie: (14:47)
This is really good for their executive functioning. Really good for planning. Right. But they would forget sometimes which meant that like one time my son was making meatballs with half thawed, ground meat, which, you know what I mean? Like it's so cold when you get in the middle, they finished making the meatballs. And he was like, I can't feel my fingers. So I mean the meal turned out, but it was a failure of a, of a different kind, right. It was a failure of planning and they have gotten, they've gotten better at thawing meat an advantage since then. So there's just, uh, there's just so many lessons. And we say all the time at our house, like, you know what, I'm going to let you learn from failure here and make your own decision and see what happens. So my kids know that failure is a value and it's a struggle. Yes. But we really try to, to place value in those struggles. So even when there's failures, the question is what can we learn from that failure? And that's great too, even in cooking like, okay, this, this dish did not turn out. If it's still edible, maybe, you know, can we use our creativity to shift it into something else that we actually can eat or something like that.

Sharon: (15:49)
Yeah. Yeah. And what if the parent or the mom is not into cooking? How would you deal with that? Like, okay. I'll be very honest. I'm not very into cooking. Like if I could get away with not having to cook, I would, which is why I'm thrilled that now the kids are taking over. Right. So I'm really happy with that. I mean, I know like sometimes we are supposed to be the role model and we got to go do it and show it. But if someone's just, just not very good himself or herself, but once to encourage the kids to be better than them. Right. What would you say to that?

Katie: (16:28)
I mean, you're definitely not alone on that one. I have parents say often like, okay, Katie, don't, don't tell, but I'm learning right along with the kids, which I think is beautiful. Again, you might not be an example of someone who loves to cook, but you can be an example of someone who's vulnerable and open to growth. Right. Like I don't really know how to do this. Let's learn together from Mrs. Kimball show that that's what I'm here for. Right. It's like, I've done all the thinking. We've demonstrated all the skills in the videos. So I tell parents like, I'm your get out of jail free card, right? Like this is all, this is all here for you. You just get to go in the kitchen and have fun with the kids. So I think it's a beautiful thing when parents who aren't great cooks or who are lovers of cooking say, you know what, I do want better for my kids or maybe the child. I mean, I think 15 to 20% of our members bought because their child wanted to learn to cook. Which is so cool.

Sharon: (17:16)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about that stress then. Cause I mean, I heard you saying that during the pandemic, it's obviously it's led to stress off all sorts. Right. And that's kind of led to unhealthy eating habits as well. But yeah, I wanted to talk a little bit about that because I saw that you're a stress mastery educator as well. And I just wanted to find out what led to that or what prompted that and what's that all about?

Katie: (17:42)
Well, there's two stories. There's the human story that I knew I was having like personal issues with stress. Like as, as I eat, I don't sleep enough. I let myself get stressed. And I knew I was heading down a path of physical health destruction basically. So I thought for myself, I'd really like to learn this. And I thought it would be helpful for the parents and my audience just because stress is a piece of health that we don't always think about from a business perspective. Since this is a little bit of a business podcast, I can, I can share the other motivation there. It was two, three years ago. I think one of Google's algorithms really hit the natural health niche hard and they started looking for more authority, more letters after your name. So I thought I needed some letters after my name. I said that was okay. That was a piece of the motivation too. It's like, come on Google. I know what I'm talking about, about something here.

Sharon: (18:32)
Yeah. So we need to, I mean, with that, what was the, like the one thing that you think would be most useful to share with people when it comes to stress? I guess, I mean there's so much actually.

Katie: (18:43)
Yeah. There is. Well, one thing I, this is a huge paradigm shift that when I teach stress mastery techniques, people go, Oh, I never thought about it that way. And it's, it's least basic, as you can get, it's literally the definition of stress. And if you can define stress as a gap between your demand and your capacity gap between your demand and your capacity, just understanding that definition can help you realize, right? So your demands is everything you have to do. It's all that you do list. It's all the things put on you. It's also how you perceive those demands, right? Because sometimes, sometimes the demand is medium-sized and it feels like it's massive. And then your capacity, which is the energy you have to bring to those demands. And that's both your physical capacity, as far as whether you're feeling well that day, your nourishment, how much sleep you've gotten, as well as your mental and emotional capacity.

Katie: (19:36)
Right? So, you know, like if you've had a bad night of sleep, you get into an argument with your husband. The moment you get out of bed, your kids are stressed out that one of them forgot their homework or something. And they yell at you. By the time you even get to the coffee pot, you are not going to do very well. If the coffee pot has overflowed, right? Whereas maybe Saturday morning, maybe you wake up, the sun is shining. You feel rested, coffee, Passover float. You're like, Aw, man, but it's not the end of the world. That makes sense. So the stress is the gap between demand and capacity, which means we often think we have to reduce our demands to reduce our stress, but you can also decrease that gap. And this is exactly what stress mastery is. You can decrease that gap by increasing your capacity. And so that's kind of the rest of stress mastery is all these recharge moments to figure out how to increase your capacity throughout the day, because we can't always change our demands.

Sharon: (20:30)
Yeah. That's really good. And sometimes we don't think about it that we're just so focused on all the things we got to do, but it's no use if we're completely depleted right and drain. And I just find that when I'm at that point, then everything just becomes, uh, everything's like a disaster, every small thing, a big thing. Right? Yeah.

Katie: (20:49)

Sharon: (20:49)
So, yeah. So let's talk about the business part of it, which, okay, so you've got the letters behind your name now. Um, and yeah, so I'm curious because I'm at the point where I'm still a full-time corporate employee working mom and I am running this thing on the side, which is all about helping moms kind of overcome financial anxiety and then really create the life that they want do the thing that they're really passionate about. And which is why I love talking to fellow moms who are really doing things that mean something to them. How did you kind of, because I know you said you were elementary school teacher for, for while, and then you, you did the kitchen stewardship and then now you've got the kids cook real food. How did all of that happen for someone who might be thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship? Right.

Katie: (21:39)
Yeah. I'm not a leaper. That's kind of, kind of part of my story. My husband and I are both very risk averse people. And so we, we just felt really blessed that I was able to sort of grow this business on the side, right. While being a stay at home, mom, starting to make a little bit of money, which was what we needed. I mean, I was a Catholic school teacher. I made $24,000 as a salary, full-time. That is not very much money us dollars inflation. And it has not changed that much in 15 years. So, you know, we were very used to living on a very small budget and, and so even a little bit of money felt incredibly exciting and really improve the bottom line. And so I was able to grow my business with, with very little financial investment, just time investment and just hustling and doing the things I do best, which is just trying things, trying to think of what other people need and asking lots of questions and learning from others.

Katie: (22:38)
And there was a point probably I should look this up. It was probably six years in where my income, this accidental entrepreneurial income surpassed my husband's computer programming income. And we went, Oh, well, this is an interesting development. Right? And he, he always had a little bit of the entrepreneur bug in his mind in that he worked for a banking software company. That's not exciting. That's not world changing. It's not motivating to get out of bed in the morning to write computer banking software. And he, then he liked the idea of maybe being his own boss, but he didn't really, he had no product idea except that I had asked him as the computer guy I'm working on computers now. I asked him for help all the time throughout building this. And he ended up building a product to serve people like me to serve bloggers. And so, but we waited, we waited until my income had surpassed his for two years, at least before. So he left, but he had a very large parachute right. Of my income. And so that's, I mean, we were just, yeah, that's, that's what is to be risk averse. Right. As we were just waiting and I'm sure I'm sure if we had taken a leap and said, okay, we're just going to like build it or die. Well, we either would have built it or we would have died, but we weren't willing to risk the ladder.

Sharon: (23:58)
Yeah. Yeah. And it's good that you bring that up because I was, I, my husband and I did that, we left and we died. And then we came back from the ashes. But like you said, every failure is a lesson to be learned. So what we did was we, we both left our corporate jobs and then we started a cafe, very passionate, very motivated, very confident, four years in, and then we shut it. It just wasn't profitable enough to keep going. And, you know, with like a brick and motor and cafe, there's a lot of capital investment upfront. Yeah. That is the reason why I do what I do now, because now we, I mean, we eat up about 40% of that six figure business that now, and we still, we've got a system to make sure that that's on track to be paid off.

Sharon: (24:46)
And that's why I'm so passionate about financial freedom. And I'm always, I'm always wondering, yeah. You could say that if you made that leap, your backs against the wall, you have nothing, but to make it work, but like you said, it may not. And sometimes we don't hear enough of the struggles and that is also the reason why now we, we are taking kind of the more risk adverse or cautious approach and just building on the side first. And the plan is exactly like what you have in your, husband's done to get it to a point where we are confident that it can be self-sustaining. I mean, at least for me, he's still self-employed. But for me, this thing is, is just, you just want to make sure that I'm in that I guess more confident place before I move over. Yeah. So, but I just, because I just want it to hear what that was like for you. And so you waited until you had like two years of actually a comfortable income. And how was it like in terms of making that transition where both of you now work, is that both of you on the same business or he's got his, his own, the blog business, right?

Katie: (25:54)
Yes. He has his own business called the blog fixer. And so he runs his own business, 95, 97% of the time. I begged him to do some tech stuff for me. When I, when I can get his ear, we joke that he's my tech team and I'm his marketing team. Cause he'll, I'll say, would you, can you fix this on my site? And I'll write you some emails, honey, Because he hates writing. He's like, Oh, I just took two hours to write an email. I'm like, why? Everybody has their strengths. Right. I would take two hours to code something and more so, yeah. We both are running our own businesses with the adjustment was huge to be sure. So when he first came home, just to, just to prove that I say we're risk averse, but we're also have a little speck of crazy in us. We had our fourth baby in October and he left his job January. We were like super transitioning. And we said, well, if Katie works for six months, like a real job person, 40 hours a week, right. And Chris does the Mr. Dad thing in six months, she should be able to get to the end of all her to-do list, which is hilarious and get her business to this point where it'll just be like running six months.

Katie: (27:08)
And then, then Chris can start working on the blog fixer and we'll kind of split 50 50. So that was a dumb plan reasons. Cause the to-do list, I mean they never ended in 60 hours. Right. But also he wasn't really feeling fulfilled being Mr. Dad all the time. And I was feeling like separated from my family, locked up and I wasn't being productive because I was just kind of like disjointed and not in my element. So we pretty quickly, I probably four to eight weeks in, we, we shifted a lot so that he got more work time and I got more parenting time. So it's, we're just always adjusting, but we're managing, we people say, how do you work in the same room and stay married.

Sharon: (27:51)
Yeah. That, that helps. And you know, because as you were talking about that, I'm also thinking, man, how do you manage all your time with all this stuff? Like two entrepreneurial, parents for kids. And you've got, you basically got like two like little businesses, right. With kitchen stewardship and then kids cook real food. How do you as a mom and a perfect or I speak for myself, like you always want things to be perfect and you want to do the best that you can. You want to give, I don't know about you, but for me, I deal with a lot of mom guilt sometimes when I'm, I feel like I'm not around and you know, the kids, they're the age now the, when they say things is so loaded, they'll say things like, what difference does it make? You're working all the time anyway. And then I'm like, Ooh. Yeah. So how do you manage all to do all of it? The time part of it?

Katie: (28:40)
Well, I did forget to pick up my kindergartner from school today. So I am, I'm not hitting the A plus managing that. Was not my fault. I didn't forget him, I just forgot what day it was. Cause they moved my Tuesday meeting to Wednesday. So I have excuses anyway, we definitely don't. We definitely don't do it all the top of the show. You said you have four kids and I have two that's like double the work, but luckily parenting math doesn't completely work out that way. If you're giving your kids chores, responsibilities and building life skills. Okay. Right. Because I get, you know, I get a meal off a week when Paula and Leah are cooking. My kids know how to do chores. They can kind of watch each other. So there, there isn't, you don't double the work. When you have four kids, you double some of the work, but then there's more family responsibility.

Katie: (29:33)
There's more kids to fold laundry and pair up socks and stuff like that. So it's definitely not double the work we have. We have some systems, my husband cooks two meals a week. My kids cook one meal a week and everybody kind of pitches in, but a lot of it is just tumbling around and figuring out, figuring out what we're expecting. Each other's need for time with friends, as far as going for a walk with a girlfriend for me, or I'm going to hang out with his guy buddies and watching some sports. I think that's really, that's part of that stress mastery, right? Is it, there is a balance. And so I am starting a new business coaching. He's starting a new business doing a big, I don't know if I'm allowed to say actually he's starting a new business with a new business partner.

Katie: (30:15)
So we're yeah. Apparently we have a little more than a sprinkle of crazy in our life, but I teach my coaching clients like I'm, I am a Christian women, family minded entrepreneurial coach. That's what I'm going for it. Because, because as much as we can say that we can have a work bucket here and a family bucket here and a self-care bucket here, like it's the same 24 hours. Yes. It's the same poor mom brain. And when you're feeling mom guilt, it's going to affect your business. And so I think that there's, I don't like the word balance. I don't, I don't think there is ever really a balance. There's just, there's more integration. And so my kids are involved in my business, which is, which is a pretty neat treat to have. They've been on live TV that my son, my 15 year old is our video editor. So he's learning like real skills and getting a paycheck. So there's, I, I, I prefer to integrate, I guess, rather than balance. Cause I wanted to stay balanced. I'd always feel like a failure.

Sharon: (31:15)
Yeah. I was just talking about this yesterday as well. That there's really no, I mean I do, I use that very same word. It's all integrated and it kind of just flows. I used to try to compartmentalize like, okay, this is going to be the time I'm going to work. And then this is going to be the time that I'm going to have time with the family. But sometimes as a working mom, it just doesn't work because you're going to get interrupted. Especially now with the kids home, you're going to get interrupted when you're trying to do work. And I used to get very frustrated. I mean, sometimes I still do. I used to get annoyed with them. This is like my thinking time and writing time. Can you not interrupt my, my thoughts as I'm trying to write. And then the realize, Hey, that's life, life is a whole series of interruptions really.

Sharon: (31:55)
And I just have to learn to integrate and flow with it. So I liked that you brought that up as an integrate rather than a balance. And I'm going to get you all the, all the links from you as well as the book that was co-authored by your son. So we'll put all the links as well in the show notes. So now I've got to ask you the question, because this is a financially free woman podcast, and it's great to hear that you're starting a coaching business as well. And your husband is starting another business as well. So what are your thoughts about the financial side of it? I mean, okay. You know what? I've talked to a lot of different women and everyone has a different definition of financial freedom and that's kind of what I advocate that there's no one fixed thing and financial freedom. It's not just about having unlimited cash in the bank because that's not really very realistic. So what's, what's your idea of financial freedom?

Katie: (32:49)
Yeah. I have been thinking about this because I did mention, I hate all the money stuff, right. Like I like having it. It don't like dealing with it. Um, I Wish I could say, I think if I said financial freedom was like making sure you had enough money and never worried about money, then I would, I would feel like a hypocrite because there's, I always worry. There's always worry about money, especially in the online world. You're like, what if something changes? What if, I mean, I hung out with a friend yesterday and he's like, well, how's kitchen stewardship going. I said, well, kitchen, stewardship's very happy that I had a baby called kids cook real food. Cause if not somebody in our house would have to be getting a real job here just because traffic is so horrible since 2018. And so that's adapting and changing, understanding that there are options is part of financial freedom. I think for us, because we live such an unconventional entrepreneurial life, financial freedom means being able to make choices with our money and with our time that serve our family.

Sharon: (33:50)
Yeah. I liked that. You, you were like quite transparent about it, right? Especially with the online one. Sometimes we just want to show like, as if everything is, it's all easy and actually it takes a lot of work. Like you say, to kind of keep the traffic up and keep it growing. And this effort behind all of that behind the scenes that sometimes we don't talk about, we don't see you ever. It's great that you talked about that because that's the thing I found. It's not so much about the money. Actually, the money's really easy to figure out. I always say like the money is really easy to figure out if you really want to go by kind of the popular idea of financial freedom. Like not having to worry about money. All you need to do is just make sure that you bring in more than you, then you spend, but it's like a real simple equation here, but we all have, I mean, lots of people have challenges trying to even do that.

Sharon: (34:41)
Right. So it's just knowing, I think you said something that's quite important. It's kind of knowing that you always have options. And even when things are not going the way you want it to go, knowing that you will find a way and you'll have some options and yeah. Having that freedom to go explore and create and problem solve. Yeah. So I liked that. You said that Katie, could you tell a little bit more about how a cake, because I mentioned that the Pat Flynn podcast, would you like to tell the story around me? I think you mentioned something about the FBI and how your husband got involved as a story around that. And I thought that might be interesting to talk about.

Katie: (35:19)
So I mean, we are, we're these mature, responsible, boring people with the sprinkle of crazy. And so when we left college, my husband did not want to propose to me until he had a steady job. Okay. So we did, we did get married one year after college, which is fairly young nowadays in America. But October of that year, after graduating, he included in his proposal to me that he had a job and then he would take care of me forever. And six months later, he had to call me on the phone to share that his company had completely shut down. And even though we were getting married in three months, he had no job. I also had no job because education was a five-year program at Michigan state where I went to college. So I was still finishing that up and hadn't landed a job yet. Uh, there were lots of teachers back then and not enough jobs. So the reason, yeah, the reason that he lost that job after six months was through no fault of his own, but his, the boss, the owner of the company, which was a small, like maybe like a 30 employee financial services company was arrested by the FBI for white collar crime. They came in one day and took all the computers and told everyone to go home. And that was that.

Sharon: (36:27)
Oh my goodness. And then, So then, so what happened then? He had to, I guess, find another job.

Katie: (36:34)
He did. So, I mean, when you get married, you want to be a real adult. That was, I think I told Pat Flynn, I said, I want it to be a real adult since I was like 12 years old. Like I couldn't wait to grow up and you have this vision of what a real adult means and, and making decisions and getting your own apartment. Right. And here we are this young couple trying to find an apartment for our July wedding in early June. And nobody has a job that we were, we're sitting there and each success of apartment managers, office saying, would you take a parent? Co-sign it's like a, it was like the most humbling, just gut wrenching sentence ever. What'd you take a parent co-sign like, I just want it to be like, I'm a real adult. I've made all the right decisions.

Katie: (37:21)
And this is not the way I thought this would feel. So we, I mean, I can still picture the exact point where we were driving. We had just left an apartment that was really nice. And out of our, I mean, everything was out of our price range, but it was way out of our price range. And I got a call from a principal who said, would you like, do you have any time today to sign papers? Yes. So yes, we are on our way, but Catholic school teacher, so $24,000 salary and he, and he made me on the, on the down low, he said, we can't write this down, but when your husband to be, gets a job, I want to ask you to go to his insurance because insurance is really expensive and we're a tiny Catholic school. I'm like, absolutely. So we had dial up internet, we had no cable. I said, honey, you don't need all that entertainment. You need to do resumes. And so he did resumes. Well, he got that job.

Sharon: (38:11)
That is it's a great story. I wanted you to tell that because it's kind of a segue to my next question, which is like now where you are today kind of like looking back, right. What do you think would be the, the one thing you would have done differently or maybe a lesson learned that you want to share with everyone here, who's listening to this interview.

Katie: (38:31)
Oh man. I think that is such a hard question because I have like 59 things that I wishhed I would've known at the beginning, but my biggest failures have been lack of market research. So if I could have told 2008 Katie, one thing it was girl, when you started selling products, figure out how to do market research, learn from an expert and actually do it. Don't skip that step.

Sharon: (38:55)
Hmm. Why do you say that, like, I mean like what was the kind of thing the lesson behind actually, how important that is.

Katie: (39:04)
Yeah, the most painful one was I spent a good number of months creating what I thought was a really fun, really cool product. And literally nobody was interested. I mean, I did like this big three week launch, I think I sold 117 and it was only a 20 to $50 product. So going to 17 times 20 to $50, the work I'd put into it, the payment for designers and everything. It was a ridiculous failure on all fronts. And it was because I didn't ask my audience if they cared about this idea.

Sharon: (39:38)
Yeah. How would you go about like you, I heard you say like, go ask your audience, right? What is it they want, how do you balance it between something? Cause you say it's something that you thought you want it to do versus what sometimes the audience says they want. And was there a gap and how do you actually closed that gap?

Katie: (39:56)
Oh man, there was a huge gap. So there's, there's always gotta be something that your audience wants that you're also passionate about. So I'm not saying like, don't do something you're passionate about it's you need to find those intersections. When I started kids cook real food, I had that lesson top of mind. I thought I can't, I can't create another product without making sure people like this. So I actually did a Kickstarter for kids cook real food. So that was people put their money where their mouth was. They say, what do they say? If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they would've said faster horses, but he created the car. And so, and I've definitely learned that every time we ask my audience, what do you, what'd you like, what do you come to kitchen stewardship for? They say recipes.

Katie: (40:37)
And I posted a recipe and it's like the lowest performing posts of the month. Lowest engagement on social media. So it's really interesting people don't actually know what they want. If you ask them what they want. So that's not good market research there. You either have to pre-sell something, but listening to listening to their pinpoints. I mean, we've, we've had that kind of the classic question in our email sequence for a couple of years. First email they get, after they subscribe, it says, Hey, if you had a genie in a bottle with one wish about your kitchen, again, this is kitchen stewardship. What would it be? And that's the kind of, maybe that's the kind of question or like what's your biggest challenge. And just listening to people's pinpoints. When, if you're, if you're having a conversation on social media and it gets kind of intense, I like, I copy what people are saying.

Katie: (41:26)
We're, I'm just putting together a new five day, redefine picky eating challenge. Because every time ask people what their biggest struggle is with their kids and they're in the kitchen or even at kitchen stewardship, what's what do you put your genie in the bottle wish people say, I just want my kids to eat what I make. Yeah. Just want my kids to eat what I make. So that's, it's going to be the banner of this sign up page for the five day challenges. If you just want your kids to eat, what you make is what you need and using their language. And my promise is about at the end of five days, you'll never think that, feel that, or say that again for a couple of reasons. I'm really, I'm super excited about this challenge, but yes, I'm still learning. I'm still learning. I'm still like maybe only like a B plus it good market research, but there's so many ways to do market research, asking your audience what they want is not one of them.

Sharon: (42:16)
Yeah. Yeah. That's great. That's great. I'm so happy that you shared that with us. Just one final thing. Is there anything that you want to make sure that you cover during this interview before we kind of wrap this conversation?

Katie: (42:28)
I had written down that we should make sure we talk about the balance versus integration thing, but we hit that. I think, I think when it comes to financial freedom, your platform it's about being generous. Are I still remember our marriage prep, they had this pyramid of how you should spend your money on it was food necessities, all these things on the bottom, and then no retirement was next, saving for college for your kids is next. And then the very top was what they called, like ridiculous giving. Like if you get that much wealth, you can like have your name on a building at a college or something. And, and both my husband and I still talk about that. Like, wouldn't it be cool someday to get to ridiculous giving. But, but I think, you know, I prefer to be generous in all the ways I can as well now and not, not choose to worry I have with the online world.

Katie: (43:19)
There's always worry. Like even though I feel financially secure today, six to 12 months from now, my businesses could completely fall apart. Google could decide it hates me, but I try not to worry about it. We try to do fun things with our money and build memories with our kids too. I mean, we've, we've done like a six week family vacation to nine States that our family will never forget. And that was as much financial freedom is that time freedom. Right. And being entrepreneurs allows us. So I think, I think for people to think about financial freedom is just to have like really serious conversations with a spouse or business partner about how you can have a mindset about money that allows you to spend some, save a lot and give a little bit ridiculously sometimes.

Sharon: (44:07)
Yeah. I'm so happy you brought that up because why I say like my podcast, well, I try, I try to give people a different perspective of financial freedom. Then it's kind of like the conventional idea when and what you hear often about financial freedom. I want to talk about how you can actually have financial freedom here and now wherever here and now is for you. And it's like you said, it is a mindset I read this morning, something from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. And he said that actually being wealthy, there's two ways of being wealthy. One is to want to have everything like you want to be able to have everything. And the other way to look at it is to actually want everything that you have now. And sometimes we forget that, that we always looking at later on or that thing that I want or that lifestyle I want, like you said, right at the top of the pyramid, when I make lots of money, I will give ridiculously, but you can get ridiculously now, right.

Sharon: (45:03)
With just what you have already now with whatever you have, whatever you can. And because we might never reach there. And that's why sometimes we are kind of caught in between and we get ourselves. I know for me, I get myself into that state of worry and anxiety, but actually that distracts me from actually everything I have now. Right. Which is the whole gratitude thing, which is simple, but very powerful. So I'm so happy. You brought that up Katie. It's such a nice way to kind of conclude our, our interview. And for sure we'll put all the links of all the things you mentioned there, including your new five day challenge, is that ready to, is coming out or are you ready? We can include that as well. If it's ready,

Katie: (45:44)
It will be the third week of April. But right now it's all in my head.

Sharon: (45:49)
You know what, because by the time this is released, I think it will be in June. Like something like June, July, maybe. Yeah. But anyway, we'll just put the links. We'll put the relevant links on the show notes and what would be the best way for people to connect with you? Like which is your preferred platform?

Katie: (46:05)
Sure. I mean, for entrepreneurs go to kidscookrealfood.com/entrepreneurs. And you can get a little freebie from me talking about how I delegate my email, which is kind of a pinpoint for entrepreneurs, but either one, right? If you've got kids, go to kidscookrealfood.com. If you're just like, man, I just want to eat healthy and not feel like I'm losing my mind, kitchenstewardship.com.

Sharon: (46:27)
Great. And we'll include those as well in the show notes. Thank you so much, Katie, for your time. I really enjoyed the chat and such a pleasure and honor to have you here today. So thank you so much for your time.

Katie: (46:37)
Oh, it's my delight. Good way to end my day.

Sharon: (46:39)
Bye now.

Sharon: (47:40)
Thanks for listening. If you liked what you heard, please leave a review on whichever podcast player you will listening on. It really helps me further my mission of helping more people realize their highest potential and live rich fulfilling lives. Don't forget to hit subscribe, to be notified when a new episode is released each week, finally download the worksheets and check out the resources for the episode and most importantly, practice what you learn so you can transform your life. I'll see you in the next episode.


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The Financially Free Woman Podcast Host


The Financially Free Woman Podcast was launched in November 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic to share the stories of everyday people making a living doing what they love. While training her students in leadership and mental resilience, Sharon noticed the rising level of financial stress and anxiety experienced by many of her students. It dawn on Sharon that this was an opportunity for her to share how she overcame her own financial anxieties triggered by her personal experience with a 6-figure business debt and being let go from her job as the family's primary breadwinner. She began sharing everything she learned about mastering not just the practical side of money but also her mindset around money. Through this work, Sharon began meeting and building a community of women creating and living their dream lives. The Financially Free Woman Podcast is a collection of stories, practical tips and strategies to help you discover your passions, and use them to make a lucrative living. Imagine a life where you spend your time doing what you love and getting paid well for it! That's exactly what these women featured on the podcast are doing and they tell you how! Get inspired and start creating your own your dream life!


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