Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maya Krampf, Founder and CEO of Wholesome Yum, located in Maple Grove, MN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
WholesomeYum.Com started in 2015 as a hobby food blog featuring healthy recipes with ten ingredients or less. Today, it's one of the largest healthy recipes in the world, reaching millions of readers every month. We also have a line of zero-sugar ingredients (WholesomeYumFoods.Com), a meal planning app for iPhone and Android (the Wholesome Yum app) and two cookbooks.
Our readers come from all around the world but are primarily women seeking to eat healthier. Many of them follow a low-carb or keto lifestyle, but many others choose other approaches. Healthy eating means different things to different people, but our biggest philosophy is natural, whole-food ingredients without refined sugar. Wholesome Yum is a one-stop resource for that, no matter what "healthy" means to you.
Tell us about yourself
I've been creating in some form since childhood. In elementary school, I designed and created my own board games, made bracelets to sell at school, and handed out surveys to find out what my peers wanted. In middle school, back in the AOL days, I created an online email magazine for other teen girls, which I wrote and sent out myself from my personal AOL email address. It grew to over 5,000 subscribers. I took a break from having my own projects throughout high school but ran a small eBay business on the side while in college.
In 2015, a few years after college and just a few months after my first child was born, I felt unfulfilled at my current job and wanted to start something of my own again. Having gained experience with healthy cooking over the last few years and missing my days of content creation, something food-related in the online space was a natural choice.
I started the Wholesome Yum healthy recipe website on the side while working at my corporate software job. Most people who knew me didn't understand why I was working so hard at something that didn't bring in much. Some days I wanted to give up. In 2017, while on maternity leave with my second child, I worked on the business night and day instead of "sleeping when the baby sleeps," as everyone tells you to do. It paid off. In early 2018, I was able to quit my job and transitioned to my business full-time.
Since then, I have written two cookbooks, launched the Wholesome Yum app, and started Wholesome Yum Foods to offer people clean, zero-sugar ingredients that taste great in healthy cooking and baking. Our team has grown to half a dozen full-time employees, including my husband joining me later in 2018, along with another dozen or so contractors. Wholesome Yum wouldn't be where it is today without our incredible team. They are some of the most talented, hard-working people I know and are a joy to work with.
There are two things that motivate me each day. The first is my readers - Wholesome Yum wouldn't be what it is without them, and the ability to impact their lives in a positive way is the greatest gift. The second is constant opportunities for growth, both personally and as a business. The online landscape is ever-changing, and although it's challenging at times, the constant learning experience is exhilarating.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is, and always will be, changing the lives of my readers. For me, the greatest satisfaction comes from hearing the stories of people who have adopted a healthier lifestyle with the help of Wholesome Yum recipes and products.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing has too many balls in the air. I am constantly context-switching and moving from one fire to the next. But I wouldn't have it any other way! :)
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your audience. You can't be everything to everyone, so define who, exactly, are "your people." Get to know them. Understand their struggles and aspirations. Then offer what will help them the most.
- Be prepared to adapt. No matter what your industry, change is the only constant. Running a business means always learning.
- Don't step over dollars to pick up pennies. A friend gave me this advice several years ago, and it couldn't be more true. Sometimes you have to invest a little money, hire someone to do something you could do yourself, or say no to low-value opportunities, in exchange for a bigger payoff.
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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