Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicolle Walker, Owner of Love & Plates, located in Bloomfield, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a personal chef and events company. We help busy people easily support a healthy lifestyle by delivering locally sourced, sustainably prepared meals so that they can live their lives in good conscience. We tend to work with many families with young kids, as well as people with strict dietary needs.
Tell us about yourself
I came to cooking professionally in my late 20s after working in a completely different business sector (film industry) and spent many years doing a combination of high-end catering and operations within the restaurant industry. Eventually, after having my children, I realized that I was missing too much of their lives and giving away too much of myself to companies that didn't value me. I decided to return to cooking but on my terms.
I am motivated each and every day by the people that I feed. When clients tell me that their children (or spouses) are eating things that they never had before or that their doctors are telling them that they see a difference in their health, that's what gets me out of bed. When food/mealtimes can become a source of pleasure instead of a source of stress, that's why I do this.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, I know a lot of people say this, but after shutting down completely for 18 months when Covid first hit, my biggest accomplishment is pivoting my entire business model from an exclusively in-home service to a delivery-only service and being able to rebuild better than I was before.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think it's time management. It's so easy to think that you have to be thinking about/working on your business every single second, but you don't. In fact, you are better off time-blocking work. It makes you more efficient when you are working and let you feel better when you are not working.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take a few business classes! You can be the best at whatever it is that you do, but running a profitable business is a completely different set of skills.
- Know where your money is coming and going at all times. If you don't know where the money is, you have no idea if you are working efficiently.
- Don't be afraid to hire forward; that's how you grow!
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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