Is it possible to have a business that benefits me as well as others. I am not talking about financially, I am talking about physically and healthwise. I currently have a personal chef business that is pretty much stagnant right now because I have not been working it. Mainly because I believed people didn't have the disposible income to hire a personal chef. I enjoy cooking and baking. I also believe in my area people don't have a lot of time to cook a healthy meal and find themselves going out to eat more often than not. I am interested in preparing foods and creating my own recipes that are healthier and still taste great. I'd like to work with individuals who have health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cholesterol control, heart disease, cancer and food allergies. I myself am dealing with obesity and wonder if people will take me serious. I am very very interested in this market but haven't done much with it because I myself struggle with health issues.
Do I have a legitimate concern?
Thanks for responding and sorry for taking so long to reply. On Friday we lost power and fortunately I got my power back on Sunday. It was a crazy and exhausting weekend because of the storm we had on Friday. I will definitely take your suggestions under consideration. You responded like I suspected people would. I have to think about this further and make up my mind.
Don't talk yourself into thinking people don't have the disposable income to use your services. If they can afford to go out to eat all the time, they could afford to have you prepare healthy meals for them, at least some of the time. I'm not sure how you structure your service, but it would seem to me that the key would be for you to provide customized but pre-prepared, fresh meals, as opposed to being a personal chef on-site in their kitchen on a daily basis. You could easily make the healthy aspect of what you're doing a selling point, especially in contrast to eating fast food all the time.
For example, I'm not rich and my family struggles with finances from time to time, but if you were to show me through your marketing efforts that I could have fresh, healthy meals and show comparisons to eating out, PLUS purchasing less groceries, you could probably convince me that using your service did not represent a net increase in what I'd spend on food for the month. Plus my family would eat better and be more healthy. You could go as deep as you want with this, creating menus specifically for some of the conditions you mentioned, like for diabetics, overweight people, people with heart or cholesterol issues, etc.
As far as your personal struggles somehow making you "unqualified" to present healthy alternatives, that is just not true. Be authentic about yourself, share some of your struggles and make it part of your story, and people will, ahem "eat it up".
Claudia raises a great point. Teaching cooking classes would be a fantastic way for you to gain credibility and exposure for people who could then hire you for more personal attention. As the parent of a type 1 diabetic son, I know how important this topic is. Could you create a series of classes that focus on different health issues? For example, one class could be "Meals for Diabetics in under 30 minutes", another could be "Gluten-Free meals", etc. Focus will be extremely important.
Pick out your ideal customer. Who is out there you'd most like to work with? Is it obese people, diabetics, etc.? I personally don't think your current situation would be a hindrance. In fact, you might be able to market it by saying something like, "I am currently battling my own weight issues. These are the meals I'm preparing to help me lose weight." If you can create a personal touch while being respectful, I think people would be very interested.
I'd also look to partner with grocery stores. I'm from Iowa, and Hy-Vee is a major store in my region. They offer a lot of classes like this with the help of their registered dietitians. There may be some churches that would offer something like this as an outreach type of program as well. Claudia's other ideas are very good as well.
Feel free to contact me with any other questions. Good luck!
You all have been great and definitely been a source of great encouragement. I am going to keep these suggestions in mind as I move forward with my business. Sorry I did not respond earlier...I have been without power, phone service and internet service since Friday night. It is very frustrating. I at least of power now and air conditioning but still no internet or phone service...I have had to respond to these messages while at work...Thanks again for your support.
I would stand in front of a local McDonald's or Burger King in full chef gear with a table and a sign. The sign would read "Free advice on how to cook healthy meals." I am sure you will drive positive attention to your ability. As far as disposable income is concerned, as big companies like Apple and Mercedes Benz prove over and over again. People are willing to pay for high quality products and service. You do excellent work and through word of mouth, you will have more business than you can handle. Never compete with price. High quality service deserves exceptional compensation. Along with that, why not start a blog (maybe you already have one) that you constantly update with great recipes and ideas and/or a Youtube internet cooking show. Look for time slots on a AM station to talk about health issues and the impact of eating healthy. Also, you could volunteer to cook for a local community center, church, or school to network and build positive relationships.
"Let's get healthy together" would be a wonderful motto for you Karen!
This is more important than ever for me. I just had two doctors appointments today. One resulted in the requirement of additional tests. Both doctors told me as I left their offices that I need to lose weight one because my blood pressure is rising to the point of needing medication and the other doctor told me my sleep apnea is getting worse not better because of the increased weight. I wanted to cry. I feel like my life is a mess...I hate my job, I sit in front of a computer all day, financially I am struggling with debt, would love to sell my house and move back closer to civilization and my weight keeps me from being social. If I can help myself what a help I can be to others...
Karen I understand your thinking totally about believing people in these times don't have disposable income to hire a personal chef or in my case a health coach or to buy high quality foods. I had someone say that because the food line I'm involved with as part of my coaching (an income stream) is "expensive" they felt a lot of people cannot afford to buy them. But honestly people spend money on things with little to no lasting value every day! If they truly see the value in something they will find the income for it. So I encourage you to get back to working your business - wish you were closer to me - I would love to discuss it with you. I think what you describe is a great alternative for people who work full time and still want to be healthy - yet find they don't have the time and energy to create the healthy meals (I had a coaching client - single gentleman who constantly cited that as his biggest challenge). It's much better than grabbing fast food! I encourage you to step out - you may be pleasantly surprised that more people than you thought are interested and open to what you offer.