In case you don't already know, 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 experience and education by working with 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.
I must emphasize that working in the kitchen is not the only place to learn from another food service company.
Being a personal chef is not just about cooking well. Being a personal chef is also about 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 from a perspective other than the kitchen.
Try to get involved in as many aspects of the catering or banquet business as possible. Consider working a day or two a week at several different companies.
You will find that the organization of each business varies widely from extremely structured to casually run management. You can learn a lot from these companies in determining what kind of business model would work for your company.
Catering companies usually pay anywhere from minimum wage to $25 an hour depending on your level of experience and how valuable you are to the company. You can expect to work six to twelve-hour days on an "as needed" basis. There is almost always Saturday work, though some catering companies may have weekday contracts with local universities or corporations for a wider variety of scheduling opportunities.
The community connections you make and the education gained will be priceless.
Best Wishes & Much Success to You, Virginia Stockwell