Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Natalie Bata, co-owner of Cocky's, located in Cleveland, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the co-owner of Cocky's Bagels, a bagel sandwich concept that my fiancé and I started in 2017, as well as co-owner of The Workshop: Dance + Fitness, a boutique studio that works to empower women and young girls through dance and fitness!
Tell us about yourself
As a first-generation American and first-generation college graduate, I have always been incredibly determined to become successful. With parents who sacrificed everything for me to live the "American Dream," making them proud of me and making their sacrifice worth it is what drives and motivates me every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Knowing that we established a brand out of a food trailer that was purchased off of Craigslist is incredibly awesome. We truly started from the bottom, and in five years, we already have three restaurants (one in the works) and two food trucks!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The non-stop obstacles that life throws our way. From broken equipment to labor shortages, to inflation and supply chain issues, you must be ready for a new issue, or five, to arise every single day. And as they say, "when it rains, it pours!"
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Go for it. I was supposed to go to medical school and become a physician. I originally started this to help my fiancé establish the brand but then realized I loved and enjoyed being my own boss! It is literally the BEST!
- Remember that there is a solution to every problem. Your success as a business owner is how you react to the issues that come your way. If you can remain calm and work on finding solutions to problems, you will be a successful business owner. If you are one to complain, freak out or get incredibly stressed out when a problem arises, this isn't for you.
- You are in control. You can choose how much or how little time you spend on your business. You can decide how much you work and how much of your product you want to sell. In the beginning, you need to be hungry for success, and you need to chase it and look for opportunities to share your brand. Whether it's through actively posting on social media, passing around fliers and talking about your business, or saying yes to every event you're asked to be a part of, the initial grind will dictate how far your business will go. It will determine whether you and your business have what it takes!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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