Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Nichols, Owner of Muddy Waters Coffee Co., located in McKinleyville, CA, USA.

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

I am a wholesale coffee roaster. I sell mostly to grocery stores, restaurants, and online. My customers tend to be regular people who enjoy freshly roasted coffee at a fair price.

Tell us about yourself

I've worked in the coffee business since I was 17 when I started at Peets coffee. I moved to Humboldt to go to college in 1998. I started working at Muddy Waters in February of 1999 while attending HSU. I graduated in 2003, then purchased the roasting part of the company in 2006. I am motivated by being self-employed and the dedication that is required to maintain a successful business.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is successfully doing business with Costco. It takes a lot of work and organization to comply with all of the standards required by them.

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

The lack of freedom. I don't have any employees, so I have to do everything. It makes it really hard to have a vacation for more than a long weekend.

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

Look around your community and fulfill a need. Provide a service or product that they are lacking. Build an Amazon seller store. Avoid manufacturing food products on your own, look for co-packers if possible.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Just try to avoid an already saturated market. If there are nine coffee roasters in your area, maybe do something different.

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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