Please tell us a little about yourself
I’m Maggie Joos, the owner of The Real Good Life, mom to two beautiful little redheads and wife to the best cheerleader a gal could ask for. I’m also a loyal friend to my fellow OAW (Organization of Awesome Women 😉 ) members, a lover of all things chocolate, nap-related, and/or paper books.
I’m originally from Milwaukee but went to the University of South Carolina because even then I wanted to own a restaurant (and already didn’t care for cold weather and snow.) I came back home where I worked in association management for a number of years, but this only child has always been meant to work for herself.
How long have you owned your business?
The business officially started in September 2016, three months after the birth of my second daughter. That date is important because I first got the idea while pregnant with her. My husband (God bless him) did a great job of calming me down and suggesting I give it a test run to 1. Make sure I still liked cooking when I had to do it and 2. So I could take time off that summer when she was born.
I did a three month test run and loved everything about it. Even more important - it seemed like the meal delivery service was a solution to a problem many people had. It’s so important to me that we sell more than just food. We are giving folks back their time so they can focus on what’s important to them. Some folks use us to spend more time with their kids or to have at home date nights where they don’t have to do the dishes or spend a biggilion dollars. Still others use our lunches as sustenance while they plow through the work that gives their lives purpose or enjoy dessert on the couch with their coziest pajamas and latest Netflix binge to relax. Whatever makes them happy makes us happy!
When did you realize you wanted to go into business for yourself?
I’ve had the itch forever. I was never the lemonade stand kinda kid, but I did get my MBA with a focus on new product development and entrepreneurship. I’ve learned so much for those I’ve had, but I’m just not meant to have a boss.
"...I’m just not meant to have a boss."
Do you have employees? If so, what do you look for in employees?
I have a cadre of amazing women and men that work for me. This has been an eye-opening part of the job that frankly I’m not a fan of. I’m SO fortunate to have a great team, but still the HR part that comes with being a successful entrepreneur is really tough work.
When looking for employees, I’ve been fortunate to just open my eyes. The good ones have come to me and ask for a job. I love those with the gumption and passion to go for the thing even if they don’t necessarily have the skills. Almost anyone can be taught to cut carrots if they have the tenacity and work ethic to keep at it.
Prior to owning your business what did you do professionally?
After college I jumped into meeting planning and membership management for associations since it was the only job that fell in the hospitality management category that came with relatively traditional hours. And a lot of travel. And fun perks. It was the best until it wasn’t.
With the support of my husband, I tried two other entrepreneurial ventures. I learned from both and am still glad I did both.
For awhile during that nebulous period, I worked for a local food company doing their social media. In the end, I got fired (did an okay job, but their ad agency was doing it, too.) While that stunk so bad, I think it’s an experience everyone should go through once. Puts it all in perspective and helps you learn the warning signs for a bad working relationship.
Why do moms make good business owners? Do they have any advantages?
Ultimately, yes, I think moms make great business owners, but when I first got started, I would have said no. As a reminder, I was three months into being a mom of two and about four years out of corporate life. Anyway, for the first year it was so hard for me to shift my brain from cutting carrots to plotting delivery maps to thinking future strategic plans as I was required to do on the daily. Like any muscle, my business brain had atrophied.
Since then, I now consider myself a master (and also slave) of the to do list and can shift from task to task, personal or professional, with ease. I blame all the things that have to get done when you’re a parent as extra “exercise” to help me with this skill.
What is the best part about being your own boss?
The best part of being my own boss is that I get to create the path I want. If a customer isn’t the right fit, I can choose to walk away. If a tangentially-related project sounds interesting, I can jump on board.
That said, being the owner of a business means all the responsibilities ultimately fall on me. As I write this, my next task is to go mop our basement with bleach water after a sewer back up. After that I have to go through last month’s financials. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows as an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
As I write this, my next task is to go mop our basement with bleach water after a sewer back up. After that I have to go through last month’s financials.
What's new in 2020 for The Real Good Life?
I’m so excited to grow our new meal planner subscription. This online program sends a weekly email to our members with three entree and one extra recipes, grocery lists and all the nutritional info you could want.
This service combines all my professional experience with my goal of ultimately running my empire from a home office where most of my days are spent writing and playing in the kitchen.
Here’s a link for anyone interested: https://therealgoodlife.com/meal-planner/.
Where do you see you and your business in 5 years? 10?
There are so many different paths The Real Good Life may take, but ultimately I would love for it to be a nationwide network of community kitchens run by “intrapreneurial” managers delivering food to their own friends and neighbors. Additionally, we will have an online presence with a strong meal planner membership allowing folks all over the world to get to the table and take dinner off their plate!
Personally, I love to write and come from a long line of teachers, so I would love to maybe write a book and/or speak about following your passions. Most importantly, I can’t wait to keep living the real good life with my girls, husband, and friends.
Ready to find out more?
Visit The Real Good Life website.