When I first started my personal chef business, I had no idea what I was doing as I had no mentor to answer my questions. I couldn't find any help online to basic questions, like what should I wear to meal prep sessions in client homes?
I knew that it had to be some sort of uniform, meaning that I would wear the same style at every cook session. I chose a black t-shirt and jeans. Looking back, wearing street clothes was not showcasing my business in a professional way.
Attending a Chamber of Commerce networking event, I saw many of the members wearing polo shirts with a logo. "What a great idea," I thought. It seems so obvious that a professional shirt with company logo would be part of a uniform, but truly when first starting a business, you don't know what you don't know.
I researched and learned that company shirts are rather inexpensive and printed clothing could include an apron as well.
If you're looking for a brand recommendation, I really like the quality of Chef...
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If you're having confidence issues calling yourself a chef, consider the fact that there is no mention of culinary school in these definitions.
Did you know that these celebrity chefs did not attend culinary school?
I honestly get more negative feedback on this statement than any other content I share. Chefs who have attended culinary schools get offended and will send messages stating that culinary school chefs worked hard to get to where they are and it's insulting for just anyone to call themselves a chef.
I didn't say "just anyone" could call themselves a chef. Also, do you think that the people on that list above...
You're killing me here. You should never work under the table when doing something as risky as cooking food that others are eating.
You MUST protect yourself with liability insurance. What if you're cooking at the client's home and burn the house down? What if your client has a lethal allergy and you forgot to read the label on the mustard container to see if it contained the allergen? What if you cut off your fingers, don't have medical insurance, and can't work for a year?
You MUST be a true professional and run your business while holding a business license or tax certificate. A business caught operating without a license could be forced to cease operations. In some instances, a business might have to wait out a mandatory probationary period or worse, a city can refuse to grant a license to the business.
When running a service business, your reputation is everything. Clients are less likely to refer an unprofessional business.
You can't post about your illegal...
You can’t decide to become a personal chef today, then start full-time tomorrow. Not only do you have to work at building a clientele, but you also need time to build up systems of efficiency in your business.
Part of building your business could be gaining education and experience from other food service companies as you get your personal chef business off the ground. Of course you could work in restaurants, but have you considered applying at local catering companies or banquet halls?
Caterers often have a high staff turnover, so if you can show up and become a reliable, active employee who wants to learn more, you will do well. The kitchen is not the only place to learn.
Being a personal chef is not just about cooking well, it's also offering a service. Working front of house at a catering company will allow you direct interaction with guests where you can get a better understanding of their needs. You can also learn a lot about how events are run by working front of...
When starting out in business, having business cards printed is at the top of the checklist. How else would you share with someone at a networking event about your business?
COVID obviously changed how we network with others, but really, wasn't the business card already dead?
If you meet someone at a party, you will usually give them your phone number or have them connect with you on Facebook or Instagram. You aren't handing them a card with your contact info printed on it, so why would you do this in your business? Learn more about getting leads into your business, click here.
Surprising to me, going to my first Chamber of Commerce mixer, I was met with a couple hundred people all carrying stacks of business cards. Their goal was to hand out their own stack in exchange for others' business cards. I did arrive with my own stack of business cards as well, but the thought of this whole exchange seemed antiquated. I took my new stack of business cards home, entered them into my...
I heard this line on the Pat Flynn's podcast today, "concentrate on the business, not the business cards."
The statement felt perfectly applicable for many starting a new business. Instead of networking to find clients, a chef new in their personal chef business will spend hours perfecting their logo or the colors on their website. Yes, branding is an important detail, but it doesn't make direct money for your business.
Branding is used to create a memorable impression of your company. It's a way of distinguishing your business from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes your company the better choice. Learn more about branding your business, click here.
The question is, "at what point in your business should you concentrate on branding?" I'm of the opinion that branding should come later in the business, as much as twelve months after you receive your first client.
Everything I read about building a business starts with branding as...
Potential clients may ask, "can you send over a sample menu for my event of 12 guests celebrating a 40th birthday," or "do you have a sample menu for your weeknight dinner meal prep?"
In my personal chef business, the problem in providing a sample menu is that I create a custom menu for each client. It just wouldn't be possible to have one menu for ten different families. One family will be gluten-free and doesn't want to see tomatoes on the menu while another eats vegan and has an allergy to nuts. How would one menu satisfy everyone? As well, produce changes with the seasons and that sample menu would have to be continually evolving.
Clients hire personal chefs for their meal customizing abilities. They want to feel that their menu options are unique to their personal lifestyle.
The same holds true with a sample menu for an event. There are often allergies or dietary restrictions with one or more guests, so the sample menu wouldn't help at all.
To overcome this obstacle...
You're starting to see success in your personal chef business then suddenly your mind starts rationalizing why you should get out of the business. Your mind doesn't feel safe and wants to shake off the discomfort, escaping back into safe zone.
Self-sabotage involves behaviors or thoughts that keep you away from what you desire most in life. It’s that little voice saying “you can’t do this."
Your conscious mind is saying, "This is what I want. I want to make more money. I want to bring in new clients. I want to quit my job and do my personal chef business full-time."
Meanwhile, your subconscious mind is saying, "What are you crazy? This is horrible and we're going to end up broke."
The conscious mind wants you to fulfill your potential and the subconscious tries to sabotages you every step of the way. The subconscious mind exists to keep you safe, not to self-actualize.
When trying to attain a goal you've never achieved before, such as starting a...
When I first started as a personal chef, I had no mentor. I didn't know anyone else who was a personal chef and I couldn't find any firm answers online. I had to figure it all out on my own. Obviously, I made a ton of cringe worthy mistakes. I'd love to share them with you so you don't repeat them.
#1 Charging by the hour
For my very first client, I charged $25 an hour. I soon became more efficient and...wait, I'm still getting paid $25 an hour. I was thinking like an employee and not a business owner. Employees are paid by the hour and now I was a business owner.
After much study, I learned that personal chefs are not paid by the hour. They do not price their services like restaurant chefs either, since food costs are not calculated as part of the meal. More about pricing, click here.
#2 Accepting anyone and everyone as a client
Not everyone is a good fit for your business. You have to take into account whether you can accommodate the client's menu requests following the...
Social media can be a powerful tool to attract leads, build relationships and possibly earn sales. It can also be a distraction and a drain on your time, energy and mindset.
If it’s taking up all your time and there’s not a lot of audience engagement, it’s not helping attract and engage your ideal clients. Just because other people are doing something on social media, doesn’t mean you have to as well. Your job is to figure our what attracts YOUR ideal client, not to copy what helps someone else attract theirs.
Make a list of current and past clients that you most enjoyed working with. They are the ones who appreciated your expertise, didn’t question your prices, and received tremendous benefit from working...