How One Viral Blog Uses Pilot to Grow Its Digital Media Conglomerate

With Bjork Ostrom, Co-Founder

Meet Co-Founder Bjork Ostrom and the wildly successful food blog, Pinch of Yum

pilot customer case study pinch of yum

pilot customer case study pinch of yum

Bjork and his wife Lindsay have inspired millions with their recipes and their story: Their journey is the stuff of every blossoming blogger’s dream.

What started as a passion project in 2010 has turned into one of today’s most popular food blogs. “Pinch of Yum is a food blog with easy, healthy recipes.” Bjork describes. “We’re not food elitists; our goal is to inspire people with tasty food that’s healthy for you.”

Chances are, you’ve seen one of their videos or even made a tasty recipe or two. In fact, Pinch of Yum has quite the cult following. Their site attracts millions of visitors, they have over one million Instagram followers, and their YouTube recipes have millions of views.

A company with seven-figure numbers across the board requires strategic approaches to growth. That’s Bjork’s charter as head of business operations. His wife, Lindsay, continues to create the innovative, quality content their site is known for. They also lead a team of 13 employees and dozens of contractors.

“My goal is to plan our growth two, three, four years out. We’re expanding intentionally and being strategic about it, Bjork explains.”

And oh, how they’ve grown.

Meet TinyBit—Pinch of Yum’s new parent company with three other subsidiaries

No, Bjork and Lindsay didn’t change the name of their hit business. In 2020, the pair formed a new one to accommodate their expansion into additional products and services.

As the parent company, TinyBit includes four businesses that operate underneath it:

  • Pinch of Yum, its star child and largest entity
  • Food Blogger Pro, a membership site for food bloggers
  • WP Tasty, a site that sells WordPress plugins for bloggers
  • Nutrifox, a nutrition analysis website

TinyBit’s business structure is highly intentional, and so is the company’s philosophy. As Bjork explains:

“The name TinyBit is based on the concept of one percent infinity. It represents an ethos of continually making small improvements—showing up and getting a tiny bit better every day. That’s what we’re about.”

While TinyBit continued to grow, it became apparent that the conglomerate’s financial infrastructure needed to scale with it—starting with the books.

Why TinyBit’s needed a bookkeeper that could keep up with their complexity

As you can imagine, a parent company with multiple subsidiaries requires some sophisticated bookkeeping. Prior to Pilot, Bjork used a local bookkeeper based in their home state of Minnesota. But TinyBit’s needs started to outpace the small firm’s capabilities.

So, Bjork sought a new bookkeeping solution. He stumbled upon Pilot in a TechCrunch article that described it as the leading bookkeeping service for startups.

When compared to the competition, Pilot stood out to Bjork in a few key ways:

  • Technology meets custom, personal support: According to Bjork, “Pilot has a great balance of human and machine.” Pilot’s software maintains books with unmatched accuracy, while their experts deliver personalized support whenever, however companies need it.
  • Runs on QuickBooks: Bjork also appreciated that PIlot uses QuickBooks, “as opposed to many other services that try to lock you in with their software,” he explains. Relying on the industry standard makes it seamless for companies to migrate to Pilot, and transition off, if they ever need to.
  • Built for growing businesses: And—most importantly—he loved that Pilot was built to support high-growth companies.
Pilot is poised to grow with us. Since they focus on tech, I’m confident they can understand and handle our unique business structure.

How Pilot built a financial ecosystem across all four business entities

Bjork now uses Pilot to manage books for TinyBit’s full conglomerate: Pinch of Yum, Food Blogger Pro, WP Tasty, and Nutrifox.

Curious how it works, exactly? He explains:

“Everyone is employed under TinyBit, and then TinyBit sends an invoice to each company based on the work that was done. It’s a shift in how we do everything: payroll, invoicing, and expenses. We had to start all over again in terms of our books.”

Here’s how Pilot helped TinyBit build a consistent financial infrastructure from the ground up:

Cleaned house, inside and out.
First up: Pilot audited each company’s books “with a fine-tooth comb” to ensure they were squeaky clean. “They removed categories that we weren’t using and merged others that were duplicates,” Bjork shares. “It was great.”

Learned the business
Bjork appreciated Pilot’s personal touch when their books were migrated to the new company structure. He explains:

Pilot got on calls, asked smart questions, and shared thorough explanations of what exactly was changing in our books. Our new company structure is a huge shift in how the business operates, and they helped us see that through.

Established consistent books for all four businesses
Thanks to Pilot, Bjork now gets consistent books for each business at the same time each month. Tracking expenses, revenue, and categories now helps Bjork see the common language that unites the four entities. “We have a clear system across all companies,” he shares.

Supports TinyBit’s custom financial system with Extended Services
Beyond the day-to-day bookkeeping, Bjork relies on Pilot’s Extended Services to keep his financial engine going. For example, each month TinyBit invoices each subsidiary for payroll and services, which then each subsidiary pays. Pilot then logs into TinyBit’s third-party platform to manually categorize the invoices and expenses correctly—whether that’s payroll or contractor payments. Pilot’s flexibility allows companies to get the custom, accurate books they need.

It’s not just about the numbers: Why Bjork loves Pilot’s expert support

Pilot brings so much more to the table than just accurate books. The combination of software and personal support adds a layer of customization that growing businesses—like TinyBit—need. As Bjork shares:

Pilot is guiding us, not the other way around. Pilot not only provides a great system, tool, and process—but they also bring deep knowledge and suggestions for how we can improve and make changes to our finances.

Better books means more time to grow the business

When asked the biggest impact Pilot has had on his business, Bjork shares:

More brain-space to focus on the business
Double checking numbers is the last thing Bjork wants to do, since it takes him away from his business. He explains, “If I were operating with books that are even just a little misaligned or out of sync, they would churn in my mind and take up mental real estate.” He continues:

“I feel fully confident that Pilot has it all handled. Pilot has helped me release the burden of the books, which is more valuable than time because I’m getting my brain power back.”

A clearer picture of profitability
Pilot’s accurate reporting and consistency has helped Bjork and his transactional CFO understand profitability across their companies. For example, the parent-subsidiary structure allows for shared expenses across different entities. If Pinch of Yum hires a contractor, but that contractor spends some time on another business, their work can be divided up.

That clearer accounting “has allowed us to understand profitability, in a way we didn’t before,” Bjork says. “Before one business might pay for an expense in-full that was actually attributed to—or partially shared by—another business. So, some companies would look more profitable than they were. But now that we can divide expenses up among different companies, we can more accurately track revenues.”

Confidence that the books are as accurate as ever
Pilot regularly catches things, showing Bjork that they’re proactively paying attention. One month, Bjork didn’t have a rental expense because they were in-between switching offices. Pilot flagged the discrepancy to check if it was correct. Pleasantly surprised, he thought: “That was smart, you noticed!” He continues:

It’s relieving knowing that there’s another set of eyes—and also a trained algorithm—paying attention to our books in a way that QuickBooks doesn’t. That combination is amazing.

The best part about Pilot? They always get a tiny bit better

Bjork believes that Pilot’s approach is aligned with TinyBit’s philosophy on continual improvement. He concludes:

I don’t have to give feedback more than once—they take care of it, build on it, and move forward. I love knowing the accuracy of my books are continually improving.

What started as a passion project in 2010 has turned into one of today’s most popular food blogs. Pinch of Yum today attracts millions of visitors, YouTube viewers, and Instagram followers. The founders have now expanded their footprint into four subsidiaries, managed by the parent company TinyBit.

Life before pilot
  • Local bookkeeping firm couldn’t handle their complexity and growth
  • They needed a bookkeeping partner to help them scale
Life with pilot
  • They now have a bookkeeping ecosystem for all four subsidiaries
  • Founders have a clearer picture of their profitability with the new structure
  • Founders save time and "brain power"

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