Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mai Spann, Founder of Say Grace Children's Culinary Academy and Food is Love Personal Chef Services, located in Rockville, MD, USA.

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

I'm Mai Spann, Executive Chef, and Founder of Say Grace Children's Culinary Academy. Say Grace Academy is a virtual culinary school for middle school (aged) children who love to cook. We believe the family that cooks, prays, and eats together, stays together. I also have a private event arm, Food Is Love Personal Chef Services, where we help you celebrate any occasion. We create dinner and brunch experiences for in-home events.

We find that children who eat meals with their families achieve higher grades, increase self-esteem, and are less likely to suffer from obesity. The families ultimately create stronger bonds and connections.

Tell us about yourself

I knew from a young age that I wanted to become a Chef. I desired to attend culinary school after high school, but it wasn't God's plan. During my college years, I majored in Information Technology which paid well but did not fulfill my passion like cooking. Through word of mouth, I continued to cook and was soon catering events for friends. After working in the IT field for 12 years and not being fulfilled, I knew I had to make a change to reach my full potential. I then attended culinary school. That was ten years ago, and I've never looked back.

My motivation is knowing there's a specific gift, longing, and calling God has given each of us. I am on this earth for a purpose, and my goal is to tap into that special gift I was given.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was betting on myself. Ten years ago, I left a six-figure job to follow my passion. My other accomplishment is impacting families. The joy I receive from cooking for families and seeing them bond over that meal is heartwarming.

I love to see three and four generations of families create memories that will last the test of time.

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

The hardest aspect of entrepreneurship is the unknown territory of running a business. Each day is never the same. You are also your biggest advocate when others don't see your vision.

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

  1. Save a portion of your earnings.
  2. Automate Automate Automate.
  3. Get help from experts; we have our strengths. Where we lack, we should seek help from those who have been in our shoes. It's an investment.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Whatever you decide to do, do it consistently, and you will get results. It may not be tomorrow, but it will come. Also, trust the process. Sometimes I find myself looking for the end goal that I'm not enjoying the ride.

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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