Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Somer Al-Kassar, owner of Stovetop Solutions, located in Smyrna, GA, USA.

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

I am an in-home Personal Chef, helping families meet their dietary goals and reduce the stress of meal planning. Whether the goal is weight loss, working around allergies, or just looking to enjoy a stress-free meal with your family, I am here to support your family.

Many of my customers are dual-income working professionals with families and heavy demands on their time. Instead of ordering in, stopping at a drive-through, or figuring out whose turn to cook, they are able to go home, pull out a customized nutritional meal, heat it, and enjoy it with their families. It couldn’t be simpler!

Tell us about yourself

I am an FSU graduate and have worked in my field for over ten years. However, life in a cubicle just wasn’t for me. Though I met many great people, ultimately, I was unfulfilled. I learned about personal cheffing as a profession through chance while flipping through channels one day. It was intriguing, as cooking and sharing meals with those I loved was always my passion. After much thought, I quit my corporate job, packed up, and moved to Atlanta to start my new business, Stovetop Solutions. It took a few years to get the ball rolling, but after 14 years of growth and determination, my only regret is not starting sooner!

The families I cook for become an extension of my own family. I know each family member’s tastes and base their menus on that, along with a little collaboration. It fills me with joy to make mac and cheese for the celiac who isn’t able to eat wheat but craves something from their childhood. Or support a client who is trying to lower their cholesterol and still enjoy meals filled to the brim with flavor. The best part of my day is watching fresh produce turn into a healthy and delicious dinner or a random text from a client telling me how much they loved a certain dish.

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

Asking for help! Your greatest asset is your current customers. When you need business, don’t be shy about asking for referrals. I often joke that my customers do a better job selling my service than I ever could. When someone finds your service indispensable, they will share that with their friends and acquaintances. However, as business owners, we often feel that asking for help can convey a perception of weakness or that we are supposed to handle everything. It is something that I’ve struggled with at times but has also led me to incredible opportunities.

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

Do your research, ask professionals in your field for advice, join a professional organization that can help guide you, then make a plan on how to proceed. Have a clear idea of what your goal is, and persevere! The first years of a business are often the darkest, as it takes time to get established. You have to push through and remain dedicated to find success.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Don’t stay in a job you hate just because you need the income. Hustle, start your profession part-time, continue working, and grow your business. At some point, you have to jump and make it happen. Yes, you will have setbacks and feel defeated, but you have to keep going. We all make mistakes, and you have to own them and learn from them. Master the ability to filter out the voice that keeps telling you to quit. You can do this! You can do it if you want it and are willing to work for it.

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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