Clint Bounds didn’t plan to become an entrepreneur, he says it “just sort of fell in my lap.” While living and working in Houston with his wife, Lisa, and their growing family, they made the conscious decision to eat better.
Houston is the fattest city in American where eating out is a way of life. The Bounds family wanted to save money and save on medical bills in the future so they started down the path of meal planning. At first, Bounds developed a rudimentary web-based program for his wife to use.
“It was sort of horrible,” says Bounds. “But it let us stick the ingredients into recipes and combine them on a shopping list, which was the part we really wanted.”
The small program Bounds developed on his personal computer eventually grew into Plan to Eat, a meal planner with hundreds of members and 22,000 fans on Facebook. However, Plan to Eat didn’t develop overnight.
“I started working on Plan to Eat on the side while we were still living in Houston. It was beta and free before we moved,” says Bounds. “Once we moved to Loveland seven years ago, we started charging for it and it slowly evolved.”
Tired of the hurricanes and smog, the family bought land in west Loveland with the plan to build a home. They wanted a place where they could grow their own food, create their own electricity and live more sustainably.
After being laid off from his job developing technical animations for a training company for the oil industry, Bounds put 100% of his time and energy into Plan to Eat, and it has become a successful small business. Plan to Eat is software that organizes recipes, creates shopping lists and plans meals on a calendar.
Users can address a recipe from the Internet to their Plan to Eat Recipe Book using a bookmark sort of like Pinterest. The user puts the recipes on the calendar on the days she wants the family to eat them. Then, she indicates what days she wants to shop for and a shopping list is created from the recipes. There’s even Plan to Eat mobile site.
Bounds got the word out about Plan to Eat by contacting mom blogs.
“Since that time we’ve tried other things, like Google Ad Words and other advertising opportunities, but we are still primarily focused on mom blogs,” says Bounds. “They are our target audience and they are small businesses so we’re supporting the same economy that we are in.”
As the Plan to Eat grows, Bounds says that he’s now, “really having to think about how to run a business.” In the beginning he primarily wanted to help people save money and eat better. The business aspect was secondary to his goal of improving people’s lives.
“Lisa and I have four kids, ages 9, 7, 5 and 3. We’ve have been living with her parents for five years while they built a house and then we built a house. We home school our kids. We pretty much did all the most stressful things possible all at the same time, so I would say my greatest achievement is that I made it through,” says Bounds.
Bounds was interested in the coworking concept before The Armory started and was the workspace’s first member. As a self-confessed loner he says it’s nice to be around people who are doing similar things, but it’s the emotional support that’s the most important.
“This is where you feel like you’re not alone,” says Bounds. “Also, there are never any screaming kids at The Armory, and I get that at home and at the coffee shop. So this is sort of a hybrid between my home office and the coffee shop.”
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is a freelance writer and founder of HeidiTown.com, an entertaining source of information on Colorado festivals and travel. She’s been coworking since 2010.