Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Salma Hamidi, Co-founder of Cola's Kitchen, located in Toronto, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Cola's kitchen is resetting the standard of what we're used to thinking dogs should eat by offering human-grade fresh dog food that's tailored for each dog based on their age, gender, breed, activity level, and so much more!
Unlike humans, our dogs eat the same food day in and day out for years. That means the excesses and deficiencies in their diets build up over time, translating into diseases and health issues. The phrase "You are what you eat" rings very true for our dogs!
Tell us about yourself
Cola's kitchen wasn't meant to be a business originally, and what started it was deeply personal to us. We had a beautiful Doberman growing up that unfortunately passed away due to a heart condition that is heavily associated with diet. He was on one of the most premium kibbles on the market, but we always struggled with his health ranging from numerous lumps to skin issues and weight management. His passing made us take a deep dive into learning about diets and the reality behind commercial dog food.
We knew we didn't want to feed the same to our rescue, Cola, but we also knew the high risks of unbalanced home-cooked diets. So we researched and contacted a decorated canine nutritionist for a consult for Cola. That consult leads to long conversations and us realizing that we can help many more dogs other than our own. We ended up pairing our decade of experience in human nutrition, which is our professional background, with Dr. Goodarzi's expertise and the rest is history!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Although on paper we have some really big wins for a startup, I still consider our biggest accomplishment to be the phone calls and emails of dog parents who swear by us now and let us know how Milo's coat is so soft now, how Benji is finally excited about mealtime or how Spanky is less gassy haha.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
A few years ago, I would've said work-life balance. But now, with more years under my belt, I know that it's achievable to find that, and at times when I don't have it, it's because I simply am too excited about my work and vision, so the balance tips towards work.
Now, however, I think one of the hardest yet most necessary things is to give up control and delegate. At startups or early years of small businesses, everything seems so fragile a lot of the time, so it breeds the thought process of "I need to do this myself, so it doesn't break." I still struggle with this sometimes.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- A cliche: Start something that you're truly passionate about because a lot of the time, you have to rely on the fire inside you to burn brighter than the fire around you.
- In the beginning, you're probably strapped for capital, and hiring a team is not possible. But start with identifying one area that can really move the needle and invest in outsourcing that area to someone that can do a much better job than you!
- Don't try to reinvent the wheel where it's not necessary. There are so many great tools and software out there now that can make your life 100 times easier and your growth possible. Even if you're not in a tech-related industry, take advantage of technology.
- Bonus tip (although nobody asked), find a completely unrelated hobby or activity that disconnects you from the day and gives you life. I dance!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs! May it be physical people that you connect with or podcasts that you carry around in your pocket. They will relate to you and you to them, and you'd be surprised how much more creative & inspired you are when you're surrounded by people with strong visions & passion.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.