Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coffee roasting but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Donald Wingard, founder of Pale Horse Coffee, a veteran-owned and operated coffee shop located in Chesapeake, VA in the United States.

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

We are a veteran-owned and operated coffee roastery and shop in Chesapeake, VA. We serve our online store, local customers, and other businesses through our wholesale side.

Tell us about yourself

The founder of the company, Don, traveled the globe during his 30 years in the Navy and found that he enjoyed visiting coffee shops in each country to get a pulse on the land and people. That led to a love of the idea of having a coffee business! Don and his business partner, Gray, both hope to share that love of coffee with you and your families!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We started this business out of pocket. It wasn't fancy, but the coffee was good, and people kept coming back. They call it "bootstrapping," a great concept that keeps you out of debt. We started very small, but through hard work and great coffee, we are now opening our second location and just hired our 30th employee!

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

Learning to work "on" your business versus "for" your business. New business owners tend to want to keep their hands in everything, but you can't work on growth when you are doing that.

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

  1. Ask for help! Make friends, and join groups with other small businesses owners. We are a tight group and are always willing to help.
  2. Don't rely on the business for a paycheck until it is able to provide one. That is why "Side-hustles" are such a great concept.
  3. Find an angle that allows your business to support the local community. That connection is powerful and becomes very rewarding.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Join with other complementary businesses to grow. If you both are promoting each other, you both grow faster!

Where can people find you and your business?

Instagram: @palehorsecoffee
Facebook: @PaleHorseCoffeeCo
Twitter: @PaleHorseHQ

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.