Career180: Spreading love for health and wellness
Jason Wachob worked on Wall Street until 2004 before becoming a "serial entrepreneur."
At 6'7", flying more than 100,000 miles for his endeavors took a toll on the sciatic nerve in his back. When he was told he needed surgery, Wachob, now 39, did some research and focused in on the power of his mind, nutrition and practicing yoga. This lifestyle change helped him recover without surgery, which spurred him in 2009 to launch MindBodyGreen.com, a health, wellness and fitness online community. He lives in DUMBO with his wife, who also works for his website.
Why did you switch careers?
I had a series of life experiences that led me to believe that the media was covering wellness all wrong and that the true solution to overall health and well-being was more holistic and more nuanced.
What made you so committed?
My experience really opened my eyes in that wellness was more nuanced than just losing weight or looking good, that wellness was about how our minds impacted our health, how finding an exercise that works for us impacts our health and how the food and air and chemicals impact our health. And it became my mission in life to create a media company to spread the word.
Why did you choose online media?
I think what's appealing about digital is it's obviously a lot less capital-expensive, and from an eco-standpoint it would probably be better to be digital than to print a lot of paper.
How did your last career prepare you for this?
I think what I learned as a trader, I'm very comfortable with taking a lot of risk, more so than most people, but risk that's a good, calculated risk. I have a high threshold for uncertainty which is imperative if you're going to be an entrepreneur.
Where does your site get its funding from?
As far as revenue we sell advertising. We also sell online video courses in areas like meditation, yoga and nutrition and put on events.
What kind of impact has your site had?
It's been pretty incredible from a growth standpoint. We had 15 million unique visitors in January, up from 2 million the previous January, so to see that type of traffic and reach online is pretty amazing. And on a daily basis we see countless e-mails from readers sharing personal stories and how much they love the site which is awesome. That's why we do what we do.
What is your favorite healthy meal?
As my wife will say, I'm very fickle with food; it changes a lot with me. Right now I am on a Brussels sprouts kick. Brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetable at the moment. Charred is definitely the way to go.
What is a pro and a con of your new job?
The pro is that I absolutely love what I do and me being able to create a company that has meaning, purpose and significance is incredible. And I get to meet some of the most amazing people in the world who are changing the world. A lot of these people are my friends, and to me that's just incredible. It's also pretty nice to work with people who are incredible as well on a daily basis. The con: Because I love what I do, I tend to work an awful lot, so it's hard for me to get away from work.
Do you wish you had gone into this originally?
No, I don't think so. I think that everything that has happened in my life has prepared me for this. I learned a lot from everything I've ever done, from being a trader to running startups that failed and running startups that succeeded. Everything I learned along the way was extremely valuable into making MindBodyGreen the success that it is. I guess you could say that I have no regrets.
Do you have any advice for readers who are considering a career 180?
I think it's so important to follow your passion because at any career you choose, whether it's being an entrepreneur or going in an entirely different direction, there will definitely be moments that will be tough and you want to give up. But when you're doing something that you're passionate about, you push through anyway, and to me it can make all the difference.