Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rani Hobgood, Founder of Lone Star Gatherings, LLC., located in San Antonio, TX, USA.

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

My mission is to help people reduce the overwhelm of entertaining at home so they can truly connect with family and friends over a great meal with wonderful wine pairings. Sharing a meal is a wonderful way to build strong relationships, but many people find making an impressive homemade meal is an overwhelming chore for their busy schedule. Lone Star Gatherings provides recipes, entire meal ideas from appetizers to desserts, wine recommendations, planning assistance, and tips on how to bring a meal together so anyone can feel confident hosting friends at home.

Tell us about yourself

I moved around a lot when I was in the military, so making new friends every couple of years became the norm. At first, I didn't really cook, but over time I found that a great way to really connect with others is to invite them over for a drink and a nosh, so I started small. Then I began cooking more and started inviting friends over for a multi-course meal. Wine exploration became a big part of my learning curve. I love learning about and exploring wine, so I became certified by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. This helps me with wine pairings for all my menus on Lone Star Gatherings.

By enjoying a leisurely meal around your table at home, friends are able to have great conversations and be relaxed! No more shouting at each other in restaurants, paying for expensive "blah" food or being pushed out of your table for the next hungry group. With help from Lone Star Gatherings, you can confidently host your friends at home.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I really enjoy hearing from readers. They email how much the information on the Lone Star Gatherings website helps them to have friends over and enjoy a relaxed meal. The pandemic really put relationships on hold, and it's time to start gathering again. I am glad I can help people open up their homes again and reconnect or build stronger relationships.

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

Doing everything on your own can be overwhelming! The technology behind building and maintaining an online presence is really challenging. I have learned from some great mentors along the way, and asking for help is key to entrepreneurship.

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

  1. Find a mentor. Find someone, not necessarily in your niche, that is a year or two ahead of you along the path of success you want to walk. Ask for help and set up a time each month to discuss ideas.
  2. Not everything can be free when you start. Some things are worth paying for but carefully select training options. Not all are necessary, and you can overwhelm yourself with "education."
  3. Be consistent when working on your business. It doesn't mean 40 hours a week, but produce as much quality content and products as you can. Startups rarely take off overnight. Especially online. It is a long game of consistent quality production.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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