Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Vernon Lindholm, Co-Founder of Offset Coffee, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

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

Offset Coffee is a Los Angeles-based coffee company with a mission to create memorable experiences for our guests. We are unique in that we not only roast our own coffee at our roastery in El Segundo, but we also offer coffee from our favorite roasters from around the world. Our guests span all demographics though I would say the things they have in common are an appreciation for quality, aesthetics, and good vibes.

Tell us about yourself

I worked for a large auto manufacturer for a long time, and coffee was always a hobby. My career there was going in a direction where I would have to continue to relocate to grow, and I wanted to be back in LA to be closer to family. An opportunity presented itself during a company-wide reorg where I had to choose whether to relocate or take a voluntary exit package. I took the package and decided to start Offset with a long-time friend who was also into coffee. That was back in 2018, and we haven't looked back. Since then, I have started several other businesses though Offset is my firstborn.

What motivates me every day is the opportunity I have to serve our team and our community. We have an awesome team that works tirelessly to execute our values of Excellence, Humility, Hospitality, and Community. Our community has rallied around us and supported us through thick and thin. We are forever grateful for them.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I feel my biggest accomplishment has been building a sustainable business together with our team that we all are proud of and doing it with integrity. COVID was a real challenge for everyone, especially food businesses. Our team made the decision collectively to stay open and support our community through it all, and we hustled to find solutions to make sure our team was supported. Thankfully we were lucky and made it out the other side.

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

Finding balance is always a challenge. Having dozens of team members across multiple businesses, along with family and friends, all requiring attention is exhausting at times. Not to mention staying on top of your own admin and life duties! I've been working hard to find a better balance by seeking mentorship from experienced business people, allowing myself to rest more, taking my dog for a walk, and finding opportunities for "me" time. Every bit helps.

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

  1. If you overthink it, you'll never do it. I had always dreamed of doing what I'm doing, and if I was never backed into a corner, I probably would have never made the leap. Now I think I would struggle to do anything else; the freedom to do what you like is addicting.
  2. If you take care of your team, they'll take care of your business. We work hard to make sure we are fair with everyone, treat everyone like adults, not micromanage, and give as much flexibility as we can. We've never denied a request for time off, treat our team to outings regularly, and empower them to make good decisions for the business. As we tell our team, "We don't want to have to manage you, please don't make us!"
  3. Know your numbers and hire a good bookkeeper/CPA. We do our best to make data-driven decisions, and having good numbers to work off of is crucial. We hesitated at first as it's not cheap, but now we understand the value of having this info and being able to rely on it. Find a way to make the investment, and it will help your business 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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