Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emily Zylstra-Pluskot, general manager of Doxa Coffee Co., located in Alachua, Florida, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Our business was kickstarted by Canvas, the church next door and exists to do good in our community. We strive to serve the highest quality products we can get our hands-on. We purchase only the most ethically sourced coffee from small farms all over the globe. We emphasize supporting other local businesses in whatever ways that we can and prioritize unmatched customer service experiences.

Tell us about yourself

I first came across the opportunity to operate Doxa when I was looking to leave the medical field. I felt very burnt out and had a desire to help and connect with people on a deeper level. Every day I am motivated to pour into our community and create a space where people know they matter and feel welcome. It is our purpose as a business for everyone who walks through our doors to be met with kindness.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business operator would be our growth in the middle of a pandemic. Last year (2020) was our second year as a business. Even though the conditions were incredibly tough, people needed a place that met them with empathy and kindness more than ever. We focused so much on our goal to make people feel welcome, and it has paid off.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I believe that the hardest thing for a business owner is burnout. No one cares more than you, no one will give more than you, you are the lid for how well your business will do and how your employees will serve others. With burnout comes a component of apathy that can take hold. It is incredibly important to keep a soft and empathetic heart for your customers as well as your team. I believe that empathy and kindness have the ability to grow incredible businesses, but you have to fight to keep these things at the forefront of your heart and mind.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My top three (and a few more) tips are as follows.

  1. Know who your customer is. If you don't know who you are serving, your business model will come across as confusing.
  2. Customer service is everything, no matter what your business is. Make it your goal to love people through your business and make them feel seen. People should always be the mission.
  3. Make your mistakes learning opportunities, not failures. Your attitude towards mistakes has the power to turn them into life giving lessons.
  4. Stay vulnerable and open to change. If you refuse to challenge yourself and change in the areas that are needed, you will never grow as the leader of your business. If you are never growing on a personal level, how do you expect your business to grow?
  5. Invest in your people. Your team is invaluable, invest in their well-being, and they will, in turn, invest their best into your business.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I encourage people looking to start their own business to find a rhythm of rest. It's tough, time-consuming, and can burn you out. Make sure you are pouring into yourself in whatever ways you can so you can give your best to your business.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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