In episode 504, Megan chats to Erin and Ben Clarke about running a business as a couple, including the importance of setting boundaries and dividing responsibilities.

We cover information about the challenges and rewards of running a business as a couple and the importance of over-communication, mutual understanding, and adapting responsibilities to suit each partner’s interests and strengths.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

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Bio Erin Clarke is the creator of the tremendously popular recipe blog Well Plated and the author of the best selling Well Plated Cookbook and forthcoming book, Well Plated Every Day. She’s fearlessly dedicated to making healthy cooking easy, affordable, and of course: delicious! She specializes in lightened-up comfort foods, easy weeknight meal ideas, and wholesome versions of your favorite treats. Erin lives in Milwaukee with her husband Ben and their lazy, loveable beagle mix Teddy.


  • Over-communication is Key: Clear and frequent communication helps navigate challenges and expectations effectively.
  • Recognize Individual Interests: Acknowledge and leverage each partner’s interests and strengths within the business to create a more fulfilling work environment.
  • Balance Work and Personal Life: Understand that work and personal life are interconnected, and strive to maintain a healthy balance between the two.
  • Be Open to Adjustments: Be willing to adjust roles and responsibilities based on individual preferences and skills to optimize productivity and happiness.
  • Value Shared Successes: Celebrate and share the successes and challenges of the business together, fostering a sense of teamwork and mutual support.
  • Embrace Fluidity: Embrace the fluidity of roles and responsibilities, understanding that flexibility is essential in adapting to the evolving needs of the business and personal life.
  • Find Joy in Shared Endeavors: Find joy and fulfillment in working together toward common goals, appreciating the unique contributions each partner brings to the table.

Resources Mentioned

The Well Plated Cookbook (Erin’s second book Well Plated Every Day will be released in October 2024)


Click for full script.

EBT504 – Erin & Ben Clarke

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth, and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom. Whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported. 

If you have ever considered bringing a spouse or a partner into your blogging business, you will definitely want to give this episode a listen. Erin Clarke is the founder of the blog Well Plated and her husband, Ben Clarke, joined her a few years ago to help her round out her business. He did so as a way to get away from a pretty demanding job, but also as a way to allow their family a little bit more freedom. Erin and Ben are super honest in this episode, which I really appreciate. They talk through some very real challenges they faced as they got started, and even still today. What is rewarding about working together and how they got through all of their ups and downs, and they talk through where they’re at today. Even if working with a partner seems like something that’s in the way distant future, this might be good to inspire you to take action to move toward that goal eventually. I hope you love this episode. It is number 504 Sponsored by RankIQ.

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Megan Porta 03:11

Erin Clarke is the creator of the tremendously popular recipe blog Well Plated, and she is the author of the bestselling Well Plated Cookbook and forthcoming Well Plated every day. She’s fearlessly dedicated to making healthy cooking, easy, affordable, and of course delicious. She specializes in lightened up comfort foods, easy weeknight meal ideas, and wholesome versions of your favorite treats. Erin lives in Milwaukee with her husband, Ben, and their lazy, lovable beagle mix, Teddy. 

Hey, Erin and Ben, how are you guys today?

Erin Clark 03:41

We’re great. Thanks for having us on.

Ben Clark 03:43

Yeah, excited to be here.

Megan Porta 03:44

Thank you so much. Yeah, super excited to chat with you guys. We’re going to talk about blogging as a team with your spouse or partner and all the challenges and rewards that come along with that. But before we get into it, do you guys have a fun fact to share? Actually, I think you have individual fun facts. So Erin, what’s your fun fact?

Erin Clark 04:02

My fun fact is I am pretty good at speaking French and I studied abroad when I was in college, so I learned there and Ben and I make it a point to go back to together every year so I can practice. It’s for practice of course.

Megan Porta 04:16

Aw, it’s for practice. That’s awesome. And I love that you go back to just visit and refresh and Yeah. That’s awesome. Ben, what is your fun fact?

Ben Clark 04:28

Probably against the general populace, but I am not a fan of candy. I don’t enjoy eating any candy except for peanut M’n’M’s is the sole exception.

Megan Porta 04:37

Okay. I don’t know if we can be friends then. Candy is like my life source, , but peanut M’n’M’s are great. And why, what about peanut M’n’M’s is so good?

Ben Clark 04:48

I wish I knew the answer. They just hit a spot that nothing else really seems palatable, so they’re, yeah, they’re a little life source from time to time.

Erin Clark 04:56

Megan, if you saw the amount of peanut M’n’Ms that he eats, you would realize that what he does not make up for in breadth, he makes up for in depth.

Megan Porta 05:04

I was just going to ask that. I was going to say, how often do you indulge? So it is, is this like a weekly thing, a daily thing?

Ben Clark 05:12

I probably, I’ll eat a, probably a handful of peanut M’n’M’s every other day.

Megan Porta 05:17

Okay. Oh my gosh, that’s so interesting. So no other candy fills the void, just peanut M’n’Ms. Interesting. All right, well people know what to get you for little, like Christmas stocking stuffers, that sort of thing. All right, you guys, thank you so much for being here. We’re going to talk about your guys’ journey, just blogging as a team, a spouse team together. Erin, would you mind telling us a little bit about your blog, Well Plated, when you started your niche and yeah, just a little bit about your journey.

Erin Clark 05:46

Absolutely. So this journey is very, as you’ll see when we circle to the part where Ben and I start working together, it has been a very full circle journey. So I started my blog in 2012 when Ben was in law school. We had just gotten married, moved to a new estate for him to start school, and I did not know a single soul, and Ben was in a very serious relationship with his law books and in the library all the time. And I was lonely and bored. Like my job was super boring too. And one of my friends said, well, Erin, you’ve always liked to write and cook. Why don’t you start a blog? And I, this is so funny to think about now, but I literally said to her, what is a blog? And she sent me a link to some cookies from Smitten Kitchen. She was like, this is a blog. And I was like, oh, so it’s just kind of cooking and talking about what I’m making. So yeah, sure I can do that. And when Ben was in school, we were on a pretty tight budget, so we didn’t go out to eat a lot. And I knew how to cook like very basic things for myself, but I had never cooked for someone else in the kind of quantities that Ben was eating back then and so I just started checking out cookbooks from the library, making those recipes, sharing them online. And then I became really passionate about doing lightened up versions of both the recipes I was trying from cookbooks and then also the recipes that I grew up with eating. I grew up in Wichita, Kansas with very classic Midwestern cooking, and I got really excited about taking those recipes from my grandmothers and lightening them up. So those were the first recipes I posted. And those early recipes are honestly quite true to what Well Plated stands for now, which is easy, healthy dinners, I always try to streamline the ingredients. If you can use one pan instead of two, that will always be my move. And it’s just the difference is millions of people look at it now instead of just my sister and Ben’s Aunt.

Megan Porta 07:46

I remember the days when it was like, oh, my mom left a comment. That’s awesome.

Erin Clark 07:51

No, my mom literally commented as Erin’s mom.

Megan Porta 07:55

Oh, that’s adorable.

Erin Clark 07:57

It’s cute. It’s less cute when she does it now. Sorry mom.

Megan Porta 08:02

Back then it was very, very appreciated though, right?

Erin Clark 08:05


Megan Porta 08:07

Yes. Okay. So at what point did you guys consider like, oh, maybe Ben can come on and work on the blog with me?

Erin Clark 08:14

Yeah, so just to that, so at this point, so I start my blog in 2012, Ben graduates in 2015 from law school and then starts full-time as an attorney and I’ll kind of turn it over to him from there to pick up that part of the story.

Ben Clark 08:30

I graduated 2014, so I was attorney for almost seven years. And in late 2020 I decided to leave the law firm. What led up to that was for about a year, Erin and I started having conversations of, you know, the, her website that she was kind of running on her own, kept growing becoming more successful and more stable financially. And you know, there a number of experiences that we had together where we thought, boy, you know, is it, would this be easier if, if I worked with you, Erin, she had been looking for additional help to hire and the type of law practice I was in, mergers and acquisitions, law is a type of law that never really sleeps at all. The industry is geared towards making sure the client is served all the time and deals. Merger acquisitions can come out of nowhere and they need to be done quickly and you have to do your due diligence on an entire company in a few weeks time. And so we would be on some vacations and I would have dinners interrupted with conference calls that I had to be on. I would, we’d be on a skiing trip and I’d be skiing with my laptop in my backpack to be able to pull off at a moment’s notice and edit some contracts. So the work started to interrupt parts of our lives that we were really trying to enjoy with each other. And finally Erin said, Hey, let’s talk seriously about this. I need help. What if you come work for me? We’ll have a schedule that was a little bit more amenable to, you know, the needs we have for each other and the time we want to spend with each other. Think about it. And over the course of a few months we had conversations about what would it look like? What would be my responsibilities? How would we work together, raising concerns that we might have working with each other. So it took a long time to, to flush all of those out, which I thought was a healthy approach as opposed to just you know, flying by the seat of our pants and, and leaving a stable job to come work with Erin not having sought through any of these things. Right. Kind of almost like approaching a marriage, you know, you don’t just get married at the first idea of it, you, you know, a healthy marriage hopefully is one that starts with a lot of conversations about how would we live together, et cetera. So this was how would we work together and we thought we’d kind of addressed all the issues we felt comfortable and then decided to take the leap.

Megan Porta 10:44

Okay. So there’s a lot to think about, right? I mean, this is a huge leap. So what are some of those things that you guys talked through? Like obviously finances, how you’re splitting duties, like what else did you think through?

Erin Clark 10:58

So the finances was kind of the first and biggest piece that we had to tackle. You know, I, my blog was very successful, but I always had in the back of my mind while Ben is a corporate attorney, like, if Well Plated goes south, we’ll absolutely be fine. And we were talking about completely letting go of that. I put a lot of pressure on myself in the day-to-day regardless, and I knew that that was going to be another level of pressure. The fact that my business is now what is supporting our family, all the other members of my team. And so we also both really wanted to have like, what’s our backup plan if this doesn’t work? And the backup plan I suppose was Ben going back into law, but he is not exaggerated when he was talking about how difficult it was. So we’re hopeful that that would not happen. And yeah, it took, so it took us a bit to, you know, we decided the financial risk was worth taking. And then we also thought a lot about, okay, well what’s it going to be like to be in the house together all the time? Ben left during Covid. So the one good thing about that was that we had already been used to being in the house together all the time for several months. So we, that at least gave us the initial, okay, we can be around each other all the time without going totally crazy. We kind of worked out some of those bumps that a lot of families had to go through when they started spending all their time together during lockdown. And then from there we got to, okay, well what are you each going to do? And I had some friends that have been working with their spouses on their blogs full-time for a while. And the advice that everyone gave me was that, okay, you absolutely need to have each have your own individual responsibilities. And I thought, well, that sounds nice, but Ben and I are different. We’ve been getting along great at home and what this business really needs is another me. So I went into it kind of like, okay, yeah, maybe he’ll find his own thing, but let’s start him out learning to do what I do first. And that got interesting.

Megan Porta 13:01

That got interesting. So do you think that was a good approach?

Erin Clark 13:08

We changed that approach, shall we say? I think it was good in the sense that, you know, it gave Ben a better idea of how our business runs. But looking back, it seemed very funny to me that, you know, I, we’ve been married almost 12 years and I have been the cook for all 12 of those. So to expect Ben to be able to come in and start writing a blog post about food, like just, I was like, well, you just described these cookies, like how hard can it be? And he would go upstairs to write a blog post and it would be like four and a half hours later I’m like how’s it going up there? And he is like, I think I have like two paragraphs done. And then I was like, alright. It’s going to take a little longer than I thought.

Megan Porta 13:49

So Ben, what was your perspective on that? Were you like, oh my gosh, this is, this is working fine, or this is a lot of work, or yeah. What was going through your head?

Ben Clark 13:57

Yeah, it was definitely not a skillset of mine and, and anything I was trained in prior to, to coming over and, and working with Erin. So no, it was, it was, it was a struggle at first. She wanted me to be able to replicate all of her skillsets, skillsets that come more innately to her, as well as ones that she’s built up with tons of repetition and practice over about a decade. So it was slow progress at first. It was frustrating progress at first, and I think then we came to the realization that we had to try and divvy up parts of the business into silos. Ones that I could handle more easily, ones that I had a little bit more of a background in. So yeah, we even, we, we got there to a point now today, I think, where we feel a lot more comfortable and she’s not looking at me with frustrations about why it’s taken four hours to write a few paragraphs describing a recipe. You know, just trying to let each person shine with their skillsets and, and figure out what each one can do best.

Megan Porta 14:56

Yeah. So what silos have you landed on? What are your categories that you focus on now?

Ben Clark 15:02

So yeah, a variety of categories. First one is, is video editing. As you know, the internet continues to evolve and video becomes an even, you know, greater importance in terms of drawing attention and drawing eyes and getting a following, building a brand. None of us, neither of us had very strong video experience. So I decided, hey, I can take that on. And, you know, took some courses, practiced around and with video editing software filming techniques. So that is something I still have a very long way to go to get very good at that, but it’s a skillset that Erin didn’t have and I took some, some pride and enjoyment for feel like I was actually adding something to the business as opposed to just trying to repeat what Erin could already do very well. So the video production, video editing is a silo of mine, given the strong corporate background. I do contracts whenever they come across the business. I do all of the, the financing side of the business. So everything from, you know, organizing payrolls and, and preparing taxes and organizing financial statements, that’s something that came a lot easier to me than it did Erin. So I was happy to take those off of her plate. Other responsibilities about running a business, kind of admin related from getting the appropriate insurance for the business and, and renewing those and filing corporate, you know, corporate documents with the state and records. There’s things like that that were, that is not something that Erin should be devoting her time and brain power to.

Erin Clark 16:32

He’s praising that very nicely. The books were in a little, they needed some serious tidying up overhauling, I think you were like, what have you been doing to keep track of this ? I’m like, I’m sorry, I haven’t had time. It’s all there. It’s just disorganized. So you definitely have, please help like really tied up just like the really unsexy things about running a business, the stuff that when you start a business that you’re passionate about, nobody talks to you about needing to make sure your articles have incorporation are filed. You know, I had filed for my LLC, you know, back 10 years ago, but I hadn’t touched it since then. So you did a lot to make sure that all of our policies and those unfun, but vital documents and pieces were up to date.

Ben Clark 17:15

Yeah, the thought behind that just being, you know, Erin’s brain is the source of the creativity and the initiative. What can I take off of her plate so that she has more brain space to devote to those things that, that grow the business and what can I do behind the scenes to just to help her with that.

Megan Porta 17:34

Aw, I love that you have that perspective. So Erin, do you feel like this has really taken a load off of you and helped you to be more creative in your business?

Erin Clark 17:42

Absolutely. Like I’m really, I just feel really proud of the two of us and I feel really proud of, well, plated, this was another, we just hired our first employee a year ago, meaning my first employee that was not my husband. And working together to build a team has been really fun and really rewarding. I also just appreciate that there are parts of our business that I can just completely not think about and know that they’re getting taken care of because even when, even when we outsource our business, like I know probably every blogger that you interview can relate to this, you hand off a piece of your business, but there’s always still that nagging feeling that’s like, yeah, but they’re not doing as good a job as I would, or I still have to like keep an eye on it to make sure that they’re doing it properly. And even just having that in the back of your mind is really, really draining. But so the fact that they’re just like, I never have to think about, okay, is our privacy policy up to date? Are we filing our business insurance on time? Like Ben just completely takes all of that off of my plate. And so just the brain space that it frees up, I can pour into the parts of the business a, that I like more because I am not very interested in the tax planning side of our business and B, that I am really good at. Like I enjoy digging into the SEO and creating content and that isn’t necessarily, you know, the recipe content creation isn’t Ben’s forte and that’s okay because it doesn’t need to be both of our fortes. So that for me has been a really big or an important mind shift from, you know, what every entrepreneur wants is another her, but if there were another you that you would be running her own business somewhere else. So instead of, you know, wanting another me, it’s wanting a partner and using our skill sets to compliment each other. And it sounds very like neat and tidy when we’re talking about it now, looking back in retrospect. But it was the path to get there isn’t straight. Like we definitely would try a few different things. We’d have our frustrations with each other and just getting to this point where we each at least and that overlaps still happens, but at least having some things with the business where it’s like, okay, clearly this is mine and this is yours has been tremendously helpful for both of us. And then for me as an entrepreneur too.

Megan Porta 20:07

I hear people say that all the time, I just need another me and I love your perspective that that may not be the best solution. you need someone who compliments you and can maybe tidy up things that you don’t necessarily want to think about like Ben does for you. That’s great way to think of it. Have you guys seen business growth since starting to work together?

Erin Clark 20:27

Yes. It was a little, I’ll say the numbers are a bit hard to measure from zero to now, because when Ben started with me was 2020, so everyone’s traffic was going crazy. Yeah. And then it’s been more challenging since then. But I really feel like this is the first we’re, we’ve been working together, what, like three and a half years? Three and a half years. And like, this is the first year where I really feel like we’re in a rhythm with the two of us and then with our broader Well Plated team, and we’re seeing post covid growth for the first time and it just feels so, so good. It’s so exciting. And I’m really grateful to Ben and to the rest of our team for helping, you know, helping achieve that. It’s definitely not like, no blog is a one woman show anymore, and I just feel really lucky to have the people that I do on the bus.

Megan Porta 21:16

Aw, yes. That goes a long way. Just being grateful for the people who help you run the business. Right. Okay. So you guys mentioned like finances, you had to think through and kinda division of tasks working on being home together. Are there any other specific challenges you’ve had along the way that you maybe didn’t anticipate?

Ben Clark 21:35

Yeah, and certainly one of the ones that comes to mind for me is, and this was even something that came up in our pre-discussion before I decided to leave the law firm and join the team, was just kind of how, so Erin, just to illustrate Erin, you know, this is, this is a hobby turned into a business. She has a ton of passion for this. She, she loves food, she loves creating right and appropriate recipes for readers. It fuels her. And I wouldn’t say that’s the same for me. I love supporting Erin, but the substance itself isn’t something that like, just gets me excited. So Erin lives and breathes the blog when she wakes up, you know, she starts getting into it, you know, oftentimes before she gets out of bed.

Erin Clark 22:19

Not advocating that.

Megan Porta 22:24

I hear you. I hear you. We all hear you.

Ben Clark 22:26

But yeah, and for me, there, there are times I like to unplug and not that Erin doesn’t, but if, you know, if we’re falling to bed, you know, if falling asleep at night and I want take 20 minutes to read my book before I go to sleep, but Erin is still, you know, working on a few things before she closes the day with the business, is that going to be a point of friction? You know, is Erin, if I’m not, if I’m not living, breathing the blog every second is are you going to look at that as I’m not living up to the expectations? Is that, you know, is that going to cause sources of tension? And so that was something we talked through. There’s still some moments where that happens for sure, but I think we have a better understanding of it now and how to appropriately, you know, what, what is, what is work time, what isn’t work time? What conversations, you know, or can we have a dinner conversation or should we be having a different conversation, a dinner conversation that is about issues that need to be decided on with the business? Or should we be completely, you know, not talking about the business and just enjoying our meal together. And it’s, it’s a balance and those are things we’ve, that we’ve worked through. There’s been times where she’s wanted to talk about it. I haven’t. And even vice versa where I’ll say, Erin, this is something we really need to jump on and make a decision about this. And she’ll say it’s, you know, I don’t want to do that right now. It’s not my time. I want to enjoy, you know, the coffee I’m having this morning first. And so we don’t have a solution for that. But it certainly has continued to present challenges, but I think we are trying to find the right balance.

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Megan Porta 25:05

So boundaries I think are huge, right? Like you’ve gotta know when to say no and when to talk about it, when not to talk about it and that sort of thing.

Ben Clark 25:14

You’re correct. So I think what has worked for us is the, I would say we, we do maybe have a solution. I, I said previously that we didn’t have rules, but I think our rule is that there, that there doesn’t have to be rules. So we don’t keep things black and white. We don’t say there’s no business talk at the dinner table. because sometimes there might be a good moment that might be a good moment to bring up or to think through some business issues that we have going on. So instead of saying no business talk at the dinner table, I’ll look at Erin and say, is this, is this an okay time for you if we want to talk about X? And she’ll might say yes, she might say no, you know, this isn’t the moment and we just, we do a good job respecting each other’s boundaries with that. I think if we created black and white rules of no business talking at the dinner table or no checking your cell phones at this point in time during the day or during this event, I think that would prevent us from fluidly addressing the issues that constantly need to be addressed every day when you’re running your own business. So I like the fact that we just check in with each other, but you know, we’ll prompt each other is, is this an okay time to bring this up? And if the other person says no, we, we respect those boundaries.

Megan Porta 26:22

Yeah, that’s great. And I think for some people the opposite might work, right? Like having those hard boundaries might be just what you need with your partner. It just is something that you need to feel out a little bit.

Erin Clark 26:34

Yep. And we do the same thing on our weekends as well. Like when Ben started, I felt super adamant that like, I want to have, whether it’s Saturday or Sunday, I want to dedicate one day every week where we don’t do work. And I still think that that sounds nice and it’s kind of aspirational, but our lives are such that we travel a lot or we’ll have a lot of plans during the evenings during the week and we might not get that much done. So instead we’re just more proactive about telling each other. Like Ben will tell me, okay, well there’s a football game on this Saturday afternoon that I want to watch. And then I’m like, okay, well you can watch that. And then afterwards, you know, we have dinner with this group of friends, so we’ll agree. Like, okay, well I’m going to work in the morning, you’re going to work in the afternoon just to make sure that we kind of know. we, so the free time that we do have that we don’t want to be work related, we’re clear with each other about what that is, but it changes to Ben’s point, it’s fluid.

Megan Porta 27:27

So communication right, is so vital for this to work.

Erin Clark 27:32


Megan Porta 27:33

Yeah. And then are there any other challenges that come to your mind that are, you know, big struggles, things that you guys have worked through?

Erin Clark 27:42

I would say, Ben, did you have a thought you wanted to add?

Ben Clark 27:44

I just wanted to follow up with your comment on the communication. Yeah, a hundred percent. I think, I think some of our biggest frustrations or things that have led to, you know, more serious discussions are moments when the other person did not fully communicate what the expectation was about something ahead of time. And so we’ve discovered amongst ourselves that the more we can, you know, Hey Erin, I have this appointment during the day, I would like to work on this topic before the appointment. Can you set aside 30 minutes before I have to leave the appointment to do some voiceovers for videos as opposed to, you know, a few minutes prior to that saying, Hey Erin, I’m ready for voiceovers. And she’s like, well I was not expecting this. So just very, you know, 

Megan Porta 28:39

Over communication. Right. Like just airing on that side just in case. Yeah, I totally see where that would be an issue. So I know there have to be great rewards for you as well, like good things that have come from this, more time to travel, more schedule freedom. Talk to us about what rewards you guys have seen.

Erin Clark 28:59

You know, it’s been really nice going to bed at the same time, for the first, like, I don’t think we did that for a few years when Ben was at the law firm. So that’s been wonderful. It really means a lot to me to have been, be a bigger part of the business and see more of what I have been doing for the last decade of our lives. And I just really enjoy being able to share that success with someone that cares about it as much as I do. Because running a business can also be very lonely and you know, a lot of the decisions that I would need to make, I just would feel like, you know, it’s hard to work in a silo. I think as bloggers we can really relate to that. And so to have someone that is in it with me with just as much skin in the game as I have, has made it a really enjoyable process and enjoyable to be a part of.

Megan Porta 29:52

I love that. So from your perspective, Ben, what have been the greatest rewards?

Ben Clark 29:56

Yeah, I mean there’s definitely been a lot of great rewards and it’s, it’s an opportunity. I’ve been very grateful for the past three years. It has allowed us to travel more. It has allowed us to, you know, work remotely from different locations. That’s something that was not as easily done with the prior job. So I’m grateful for that. But probably without question, the greatest reward. Reward is the flip side of what Erin said is, is understanding more what she’s built, the effort that it’s taken to have built, that the skillset that I get to witness from her on display every day from the way she thinks through problems, the way she creates content, the way she’s able to organize herself, her team, and a whole business. You know, very rarely do I think we get to see our partner or spouse’s, you know, work skill sets on full fledged display and I get to see that every day and it’s, it’s pretty awesome to watch.

Megan Porta 30:54

Oh my gosh, that was so sweet. Yeah, I mean, and from your perspective Erin, it has to feel so good to feel understood. I just had a conversation before your guys’ where we were talking about just really not being understood. It’s really hard and to have grace for it. Like obviously people aren’t going to understand what we do because it’s so nuanced and niche and unique. So to have somebody really get in your business with you and understand it and to have it be your spouse has to be so cool.

Erin Clark 31:24

I feel very lucky every single day. Again, doesn’t mean that we don’t get into our tips and that it is not tricky when you are trying to give or receive professional feedback from your spouse. And I can talk more on that too, but people, you know, people will ask me, you know, how do you do it? And I tell them like I don’t, I couldn’t do it if it were anyone else but Ben. So I’m very lucky to have someone who is so supportive and who has been my biggest fan since day one.

Megan Porta 31:51

It sounds like you guys are both lucky to have each other. I love that. Okay, so Erin, how is that receiving advice, maybe business advice from, you know, someone after you’ve been in business on your own for so long, how do you receive that? How do you deal with it?

Erin Clark 32:06

It’s been, we definitely, our skillsets also compliment each other in terms of our decision making. I am very like, as Ben calls it, shoot from the hip. Like if something seems like a good idea, I’d go for it. And we figure out the rest later. So to have someone questioning me with the business that I’ve built, you know, over the last 10 years, be like, Hey, are you sure you should be doing that? Or why are we doing that? Or Ben is very much someone that before he makes a decision, he wants to pump the brakes and investigate it from every single angle. And as someone that just wants to like, well why are we wasting all this time waffling? Let’s just make a decision. Go on, we’ll figure it out later. It’s been working great for me this whole time. Why do we need to change it? So his, you know, putting a pause and making sure that we do evaluate our decisions, especially some of the larger ones, has been a big benefit to the business and has helped me examine a lot of the practices that I have had in place for so many years and get back to like, but wait, but why did we decide to do that? You know, I’m like, I swear and sometimes I’m just like, someone must have posted that in a Facebook group one time seven years ago. So I’ve just been doing that way ever since. So it’s been a good opportunity for me to slow down a little bit and start to examine why we do the things we do.

Megan Porta 33:21

Do you have any examples of that? Like things that you’ve had to stop and look at that have paid off because you’ve had to do that?

Ben Clark 33:28

Yeah, it’s definitely more, you know, kind of little decisions throughout the day. I think that at least I, I hope that I provide a little bit of a sounding board for Erin. You know, she’ll be writing an email to a service provider or a vendor and I might say, you know, Hey, should we change our tone a little bit because of, you know, this possible consequence, you know, when we, when we make hires for the team, you know, sometimes she’ll want to just, you know, go out and find the right person and I might pump the brakes and say, Hey, before we just start posting a job, let’s, let’s really take some time to think about how are these hours going to be used, what responsibilities are we going to take from other people on the team to give to this person? Like let’s flush all of these details out before we just have a job posting up. So I will, I think that’s just as Erin mentioned, that’s just part of my nature is to, to try and think thoroughly through something. And so there are times I realize that she’s correct, that we just need to run with a decision and go for it. But I always take the moment to ask the questions and she’s the Trump card if, you know, if she says, sorry Ben, like this is, this is the way it’s going to be for the business. I always respect that. But I like to at least ask the questions, make sure she’s thinking about consequences. You know, that from every angle that I can think of for a decision. But you know, ultimately the, the buck stops with her.

Megan Porta 34:43

I think it’s good to get different perspectives, right? But it’s hard as the person who started the business and made the business work to hear them sometimes. So I think we just need to quiet our brains a little bit as the creators and just listen especially from a trusted person like a spouse. So good for you Erin, for realizing that you need to maybe just, you know, hear him out and hear what he has to say and go from there.

Erin Clark 35:08

I do my best.

Megan Porta 35:09

Don’t we all?

Erin Clark 35:12

It’s also been a very important growth point I think for both of us, but especially for me as the more just kind of gunner vocal, you know, say what I think when I think it person in the relationship. There have definitely been times when we’ve been frustrated with each other and I find that I’m like speaking to Ben really harshly about something that he say something that I, he said he was going to get done for Well Plated and it’s not done. And I will be midway through expressing how upset I am about that and I just have to pause and ask myself like, okay, are you getting upset about this thing for the business that didn’t get done? Are you upset because the toilet is still leaking? And Ben said he’d fix that over the weekend and he didn’t. Like, it’s very easy for the emotions and frustrations that you have with your spouse outside of the business to very much bleed into things with the business. It’s like if you were to get really upset with a friend and it just didn’t make sense and then you had to step it back and say, wait, what is this really about? So I definitely have to check myself in that regard regularly.

Megan Porta 36:25

Yeah, just further reason to over communicate in every regard, right? Like you’ve got to be on the same page about everything in order to make it work. If you guys had someone in front of you who was just starting out with a venture like this, like maybe just considering working with a spouse or maybe they’ve just started and they feel like they’re flailing a little bit, what would be your advice for them?

Ben Clark 36:49

Yeah, I guess it would be nothing that would probably, we haven’t already touched on during this conversation. And these are going to sound cliches, but they’re cliches for a reason because I think they build the foundation and the bedrock from which you’re able to tackle these topics and these frustrations together, right? Over communicate the amount you can communicate expectations, the amount you can, and have conversations about anticipating what your challenges would be and how are we going to work through those, you know, everything that, that you can think of ahead of time to have conversations about it. How are you going to address, what’s the reaction going to be if the business starts to take a financial downturn? I think the more you can have those conversations ahead of time so that you’re not thrust in them with you know, as a deer in headlights when they actually do happen, that makes a huge difference.

Megan Porta 37:40

Anything from your perspective, Erin?

Erin Clark 37:41

I think going in, I think being open to hearing the parts of the business that your partner is genuinely interested in and being willing to change your working style or the structure of your team to accommodate those is really important. As Ben and I learned in the beginning, it did not work for him to be another me. And even though I am incredibly lucky that I have a partner that no task is too small for him and he’ll try his best at whatever I ask, you know, the, it’s a two-way street. And so understanding more of the parts of the business where Ben saw opportunities or might be interested in and then changing a way that changing being, not being afraid to change some of the responsibilities on the team so that he could put more of his time into those things made both made his life happier because he’s doing work but he enjoys more. And then it has made my life happier too because I’ve been able to just let him, those are some of the things that he can just take and run with that are now truly off of my plate. Like when I was having him try to replicate my work, it was never really off my plate because I was constantly having to check and revise it. So I would say like, you know, if someone, if they’re thinking about working together, I think there needs to be, there needs to be a willingness to kind of take on any task, because that’s the what a small business is. There’s sometimes we all just have to jump in and help do things that aren’t fun. And then I think there should also be at least one, hopefully more than one aspect of the business that the person is genuinely interested in making their own. Because that, I feel like it was probably the biggest shifting point for us in terms of it being working relationship that we were happy with. Not just when we were working remotely, but in the day-to-day too. Because it’s really easy to tell yourself like, well I won’t care what I’m doing as long as I get to do it for a month outta the year on a Caribbean island. And that’s great for that month of the year, but you still have 11 other months that you need to be in a good groove. And just really like that because that, because that the reality is like you cannot, we cannot separate our work a hundred percent from our marriage. Like we do our best. But like the happiness that you have, like they’re very related. Like if I’m having, it’s just like any other job. If you’re having a hard time and you’re unhappy at work, it undoubtedly impacts your other relationships. And the same is true when you’re, even when you’re working on your own business.

Megan Porta 40:08

This has been so great. Do you guys have any last tips, anything to share before we start saying goodbye?

Erin Clark 40:15

I’ll say don’t be afraid if you don’t. You know, I feel like we have done a lot of talking this conversation about all the things that we have advised that you look out for and you know, stuff to be really wary of. But I also want to say that if it does work out for you, it’s been one of the happiest changes in our life to have the time together, to have the flexibility. And if you already have a great baseline of communication with your partner, if you are really good at supporting each other, then those relationship benefits are going to translate really well into your workplace. You’re going to have to adapt them in different ways because it’s different subject matter. But if you, if you’re pretty sure that it’s going to work out but you don’t have a hundred percent of things ironed out, like if the core parts of your relationship and communication are in a good place, chances are you’re going to be off to a really, really good start. And it can be for us. It’s really been wonderful. It’s been wonderful.

Megan Porta 41:13

I love your story. It’s so inspiring you guys. Thank you so much for being here and sharing it with us and for inspiring others to follow the same journey, similar journeys as you. Just thank you so much for your time today.

Erin Clarke 41:25

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

Ben Clarke 41:27

Thank you.

Megan Porta 41:28

Yeah. So do you guys have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with? I like to ask my guests this to kind of end our conversation.

Ben Clarke 41:36

Sure. Since the lines are often blurry in this topic between a relationship outside of work and a relationship as colleagues within a business. I remember one of the good bits of marriage advice I heard recently from a family member’s wedding was something along the lines of a good marriage is each person secretly suspecting they got the better deal. And so I’ve been thinking of that in a term on a kind of a daily basis. I might ask myself, what are some things I can do today to, to make Erin think she got the better end of the deal. So doing extra, you know, emptying the dishwasher, taking on a, an extra project or without her asking, trying to do better initiatives in at work, outside of work. I just think the last few months I’ve been thinking about that after this wedding was just a nice little bright spot. You know, what can you do to make the other person think they got the better deal?

Megan Porta 42:30

Such a great perspective. And that can serve you in so many ways, right? because It comes back to you when you feel like you are serving more than the other person’s. Like, Hey, I can do better. That’s so great. You guys are awesome. We’ll put together show notes for you. If you want to go peek at those, you can head to Why don’t you guys tell everyone where they can find you? You can mention your blog, social media or anything else.

Erin Clarke 42:55

Yeah. So you can find us at and on all the socials. Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter at, oh, it’s called X now. Well that one, all of them are @WellPlated. The Well Plated cookbook came out in 2020 and Well Plated Every Day, my second book, will be out next fall of 2024.

Megan Porta 43:15

Congratulations. That’s super exciting.

Erin Clarke 43:18

Thank you.

Megan Porta 43:19

Ben, have you helped with the cookbook at all?

Ben Clark 43:21

Yeah. Some, some consulting on head notes and photography, taste testing as well. But my biggest contribution was all of the dishes washed during 110 recipes.

Megan Porta 43:33

Hey, that is no joke and that is so appreciated, I can tell you. Oh my gosh, that goes so far. Well, thank you guys so much for joining me. It was such a pleasure. And thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode. 

Outro 43:50

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