[quote style=”boxed”]”I learned that fear is natural, but it is not always rational , and despite the fear you must always do what you love.”[/quote]
In the fall of 2011 Jordan Ruden’s life changed completely. He went from riding bikes up mountains, surfing in Malibu and running a large team of staff and contractors at GOOD.is to barely being able to get out of bed. For months doctors did not know what was wrong with him, and every medical test came back negative, but he was finally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). While not life threatening it can be completely debilitating. There is no cure and not everyone recovers. The first CFS specialist he saw told him that he would likely never get better. Thankfully that is not the case and after nearly 18 months of illness he is returning to living a more normal life.
As Jordan started to come out of illness and gain more energy, he needed a way to restart his brain and get accustomed to working again, which was an exercise in rebuilding stamina and the ability to concentrate. Jordan began volunteering his time producing content and social strategy at a nonprofit called Helping To Heal. In just a few months, using Jordan’s strategies Helping To Heal dramatically increased its digital presence and impact. He knew that this was what he wanted, and needed, to do.
Jordan decided to take all of his expertise in strategy, management, production, online video and technology and apply it to help nonprofits and small businesses grow using today’s online universe. Nonprofits have tremendous impact, but are always strapped for time and resources. Small business are a huge part of the economy, however many business owners simply don’t have time to figure out the best way to improve awareness and how to ensure these efforts are worth their time.
With his experience at GOOD, collaborating with amazing brands and nonprofits along with what he saw on the ground at Helping to Heal, Jordan decided to create One Eyed Acres. One Eyed Acres drives growth and impact for businesses and nonprofits by engaging new customers, building communities and increasing loyalty through digital media strategy, content creation and continued engagement.
By helping these business and nonprofits grow, Jordan hopes he can give back to the community by generating impact for his clients. This was the lesson he learned from illness and recovery. Each of us has skills that are needed or simply things we love to do that we don’t get to do at work. Volunteering gave Jordan a tremendous boost and was critical in his recovery.
What are you working on right now?
I am in the process of building awareness for One Eyed Acres. It takes time and patience to build a company and a brand from the ground up.
Where did the idea for One Eyed Acres come from?
One Eyed Acres was born out of the the idea that so many business and nonprofits need help keeping up in todays ever changing online universe or risk getting left behind. As a volunteer I realized that the social media techniques I was so familiar with were not as well-known by smaller organizations. Social media can be a very powerful tool when used well, and through my work at Helping to Heal I recognized a need.
How do you make money?
I consult on projects, usually based on a flat fee which backs into an hourly rate. That is the most equitable model for me and the client. I continue to set aside time each week to help the smaller nonprofits on a pro bono basis, giving me a second bottom line of impact.
What does your typical day look like?
Everyday is different. Some days are focused on growing my business, while others are focused on helping my clients achieve their goals. However I always carve out 20-30 minutes a day for mindful meditation. It is amazing how much you can calm the mind and body when you become aware. Some of my best ideas and inspirations come during meditation.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I rely on friends, colleagues and research to help me guide my ideas into reality. The key is to allow ideas to evolve. Don’t worry if your ideas need to shift to reach your goals.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The ability for small business and nonprofits to share stories and amplify their message on the same platforms as Fortune 500 companies for little to no cost. We live in an amazing time of communication.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was the Head of Production at a huge reality television production company. There was so much drama and I hated the programming. When I left the owners told me that I was making the biggest mistake of my life and I was scared. Leaving that position was a big leap and it turned out very well for me, giving me time to explore my interests. I learned that fear is natural, but it is not always rational , and despite the fear you must always do what you love.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have gone out on my own sooner. I learn again and again that fear can be a big obstacle to overcome. I have no regrets; I made the best decisions for me at the time.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Learn as much as you can. I am always teaching myself new skills and reading as much as possible.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One Eyed Acres is a very new business, so I wouldn’t say anything has failed so far. And just like fear, failure is a state of mind, so I might never fail. I might make some drastic changes at some point, but that’s not failure, that’s moving forward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think there is a market for a better tomato cage, one that works for a potted plant as well as one that’s in the ground. I am an amateur gardener, and I’ve never found a tomato cage for sale that isn’t half the size of the adult plant, and tomatoes do not all grow in a cylindrical shape.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
The world is a very big place, and I can only really speak to the corner I inhabit. I think that we in the Western world are very disconnected and passive, and I would like to see more people engaging in things they care about.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
My favorite movie of all time is Airplane!
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
HootSuite. – I am a certified HootSuite Professional and it really helps me manage all of my own and my clients social media.
Google Docs – Collaboration with team members and clients is easy.
EverNote – Helps me track to-do lists across different projects and is a great place to jot down ideas and notes.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Siddhartha”, by Herman Hesse. I like to check in with it time and again for personal guidance and for keeping me grounded when things get hard.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Gary Vaynerchuk – He is an amazing entrepreneur and has his finger on the digital pulse.
Dalai Lama – His tweets remind me of my place in the universe.
Shane Smith – He runs Vice and I like his point of view. He goes to the craziest places.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
My nephew Benjamin makes the funniest faces. His wry smile just cracks me up.
Who is your hero?
Julia Child – She found her passion later in life and turned that passion into an amazing personal brand, changing the face of the American culinary landscape. It is never too late to reinvent yourself if you believe in what you do. She was quite fabulous.
Where do you go when you need help.
I rely on my network of friends and colleagues. They are always honest and generous in helping me guide my business.
What do you do for fun?
I love to work in my garden. I start all my own veggies from seed.