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* 10 Step Action Checklist for Personal Chef Business Pre-Launch

Is this you:

  • You pour your all into cooking for your friends and they're always complimenting you on your culinary skills
  • People are always saying "you should open a restaurant!" but the thought of working every weekend of your life and 15-hour days does not appeal, never mind the $200K it costs to consider opening a space
  • If only you could cook for other families all day, but in their kitchens so you wouldn't have any overhead...


But how do you know if the personal chef business is right for you?

May I offer a checklist of action steps that would answer this question? I want to give you a pre-launch business strategy.


But don’t take my word for it! Put it to the test and see what the checklist tells you.

If you're a cook or chef wanting to start and build a successful personal chef business so you have control over your own hours and income, it's helpful to have a starting point. What do you do first? How do you know if this business is right for you before jumping in?


#1 Define Your Why

Defining your Why is the most important step. If you don't know why you're doing something, then you won't have a driving force to keep you going when times get tough. 

I promise you, this is the most crucial component of the process.

Why is it that you want to become a personal chef?

Is it to be your own boss or is to to fulfill a cooking passion?

Is it to help others eat healthy meals as a family?

What is your why?

Your Why is what sets you apart from everyone else. Clients will purchase your personal chef services over your competitor because of your why. 

Common answers are often:

  • Providing for my family
  • Success
  • To leave a legacy
  • Feeling loved
  • Having a positive impact on the lives of others
  • Fortune

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking: “I want everything you just said!” Write it down and make it personal to you.


#2 Google Competitors

Competitors are wonderful. They've proven your business concept and educated the community about what a personal chef can do for them.

But wait...they're competitors. 

Yes, they are possibly targeting the same audience you plan on targeting. So check them out.

  • What are they offering?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Where are they advertising?
  • Do they seem to be everywhere or not much online presence?

This isn't the time to compare yourself to your competitors, it's just to get an idea of what your audience may be finding online along with your future business.



#3 Gather Recipes

Ohhh, this is the fun part, right! One of my hobbies is reading cookbooks like novels.

Whether you're planning on offering dinner parties or weekly meal prep services to your future clients, you'll need enough recipes in your niche to provide variety. 

"Do my recipes have to be written?" you may be asking... 

Yes! Recipes absolutely need to be written.

The whole idea behind a franchise such as In-N-Out Burger is that you can go in and order the same burger at any location and it will be consistent. The franchise has devised a particular recipe that can be duplicated over and over to produce the same outcome, regardless of location.

When your future client orders a gluten-free spinach and bison lasagna from you, then falls in love with it...they're going to want the exact same recipe the next time they order it.

Trust me, I've experienced this numerous times. "Why is it that you're using fresh spinach this time? We liked the frozen spinach from the last time you made it." Your clients will absolutely notice when you are 'winging' a recipe.


Are you ready to download the action checklist so you can get started?

This 10-step checklist will guide you along the path to being ready to open your virtual personal chef doors.

You can download it >>HERE<< and start your journey.


#4 Create Sample Menus

You probably have thousands of recipes on hand - loose papers, print cookbooks, Kindle eBooks, Word docs of recipes...

But can you take all those recipes and within a reasonable amount of time, put together a menu of choices that include variety without overwhelm? 

The menu will be a short collection of choices that your ideal client would be choosing from. It would obviously then be in your niche. 

Hand it over to one of your friends to give their opinion. Ask if they feel they're being offered enough options or if the list feels overwhelming and they wouldn't be able to choose. 

Are you describing the dishes so the reader can appreciate them with their eyes and actually picture the dish? 

Get several opinions if you can. may even get a new client from passing the menu around!


#5 Test it Out at Home

Of course you've had parties and done meal prep for you and your family, but have you timed it like a professional? 

  • Have you actually written out a grocery list solely for this one cook session or party?
  • Have you pre-written a timeline of how the cook session or dinner party will play out to include shopping, prep, cooking, serving and cleanup?
  • Have you performed all these actions without the assistance of others?

These would be the exact actions a personal chef would be performing. 


#6 Practice on a Friend

You've been passing the menu around teasing your friends about what's to come. Now, it's time to put it into practice.


This is what your friends are going to look like when you tell them that you've chosen THEM to practice your meal prep or dinner party skills on:


I mean, I'm already in line for it. If only you lived closer...



Okay, you did it. You spent the day yesterday practicing your personal chef services on your friend.

How did it go?

Were they pleased?

Are you completely excited and ready to do it again?

Did you learn anything new?

Is there anything you'd do different next time?

You know, I am a real person if there's anything you'd like to share with me.

Here's my email to message anytime >>


 Okay, you've done all the hard stuff...what's next...


Argh, now the serious stuff.


#7 Research Licensing

Every city or county in America is different in their business licensing requirements. There is no universal way to get a business license.

It's not even called a business license in some areas. It's sometimes called a tax certificate. 

Basically you're saying, "hey government! I'm starting a new business and I can not wait to pay taxes on it!"

They love hearing that. xo


This action step involves checking out your local government's website and learning what forms to fill out, where to go, and how much you'll have to pay for a business license or tax certificate in the area of your home office. 

The cost is probably not as much as you're thinking...and you only have to pay for it once! After that, there's a nominal annual fee, and you're good to go.

This simple step is often what keeps people from starting their personal chef business. Or worse, they try and venture into their community without a business license. 

You're different though. You're a professional. You are going to be running a professional business that is legal. You're an upstanding member of your community and proud business owner.

Honesty and integrity. Always.


#8 Leave One Day Open

You'll hear me say this many times, "leave one day open." 

Leave one day a week open as the starting point for your personal chef business. 

If you don't have one day a week available, you're never going to be able to get started. When a new client comes along, you have to be able to offer this day/time to perform the personal chef services they desire.


The day of the week you have available will often dictate the services you could offer.

  • You're going to have a difficult time finding a meal prep client who desires a Friday.
  • You're also going to have a hard time convincing someone to have their event on a Tuesday rather than the Saturday they're really wanting.


What service would you like to launch your personal chef business with - meal prep or dinner parties? Does the day of week you have available accommodate it?



A personal chef business does not start this week and then a month later you're swimming in new clients and referrals. Any business you start must be built. It takes time to get your brand out to your community.

There's no reason to quit your full-time job to start the personal chef business of your dreams. It starts as a side gig then builds into a waiting list of clients that will likely bring in more income than your current job.


#9 Sharpen Your Knives

It's time to get ready to launch.

You've performed the steps above and are confident in your culinary skills enough to share it with your community. You're ready!! I do get clients?

How do I price my services?

Do I form an LLC?

What goes into a lead generating website?


#10 Find a Mentor

You could daydream your live away...or you could get serious about starting your business. 

Successful personal chefs know that there is never a "right time" to start a business. They don't wait for confidence to arrive, for COVID to end, or wait for their life to be perfect. They know that the best day to start was yesterday. The second best time to start is always today.

I'm Virginia Stockwell, a Personal Chef Mentor. I help cooks and chefs start and build personal chef businesses so they can have control over their own hours and income.

Unlike most personal chef mentors, I don't provide you with a checklist of marketing things to do, but instead introduce you to the principles of marketing so you can build a long lasting business based on referrals and stop wondering where the next client is coming from.

Working with someone who has been in the personal chef business for years is going to get you to your ideal point in business much faster than trying to go at it alone. How long do you plan on struggling?



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