Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karen Viva-Haynes, Founder of Viva Tastings, located in Toronto, ON, CA.

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

Cooking Classes. Students who take my classes are always inspired to learn more. It is a great evening event where students are engaged with the meal preparation and the other classmates. Our Google reviews say it all.

Tell us about yourself

I went to art school and created art for many years. However, that world did not appeal to me. I took a Cordon Bleu cooking class, and I was hooked. I studied Cordon Bleu with a Chef in Toronto and then opened my own business. It has now been 20 years in the making. Food is my new art. Same elements - color, texture, layers, and now taste. I love what I do.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I started small at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, selling specialty prepared foods. While still doing that, I opened a Gourmet Go - the store and did that for a few years while keeping up the cooking classes. Then I quit the face-to-face component of my food business and started selling to my large loyal customer base in my new online store. It was an evolution, and I have articles written about me in all of the major papers and magazines in Toronto during that time.

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

Pleasing everyone. Family, customers, and staff and work/life balance.

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

Don't get discouraged - stick with it in the hard times because there will be hard times. Also, be kind to yourself, your family, and your customers. It will pay back.

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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