Elric | From IT consultancy to healthy food catering
“I’ve always jumped into new adventures and challenges in my life - ending up doing a broad scale of random things.”
After my sports studies I worked as a seasonal trainer in winter sports destinations for over10 years. Ready for more stability, I moved back to The Netherlands and eventually bluffed myself into a consultancy role in an IT company.
I had no experience and absolutely no clue what I got myself into so I decided to educate myself by reading all kinds of books about sales, management and IT.
5 THINGS ABOUT
WINTER SPORTS | OPPORTUNITY SEEKER | DOESN’T COOK | THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (SIMON SINEK) | OCCASIONAL RUNNER
“I don’t believe in having one dream. You get chances in life you just have to take and create dreams along the way.”
LEAP OF FAITH
“ I don't know anyone who feels sorry for something they did. Only for what they did not.”
After 2,5 years in IT consultancy I was ready for the next step in my life. It felt the right time to use all the knowledge I gained for my own company. I quit my full-time job and started freelancing as an IT consultant to allow myself more time and freedom to build up my own company.
Sports has always been a huge part of my life but I always felt that the support from personal trainers is limited. As a sports man, I know that your daily food intake is the most important factor for achieving body transformational results. It’s a well known rule in the industry: 80% food / 20% sports.
“I want to become the counterpart of the fast food industry.”
DIVERS is a healthy, home made meal, ready to eat, home delivery concept. The weekly menus include 3 meals and 2 snacks per day and can be custom made based on your personal preferences, allergies, and goals (i.e. weight loss). All meals are fresh, nutritious, don't contain any added sugars or additives. The menus, delivered to you twice a week, cover all meals you need for a full workweek. Weekends are excluded because people eat and cook as a social event and that is definitely something we want to encourage.
“The personal involvement with my customers is something I really don’t want to lose. I want to have contact with all my clients on a weekly basis.“
I rent a kitchen two days a week to cook all the meals for delivery that same evening. From day one, I had to work with skilled people as I'm not a food expert nor a chef. I sit together with them to create and cook the weekly menus. All marketing, labelling, packaging and delivery to clients is done by myself.
My first customers were people I knew through the gym and that slowly spread around through word of mouth. I believe word of mouth is the strongest advertising method.
“The problem is not attracting new customers but ensuring the level of quality while expanding the business.”
“If you have a good idea and really believe in it, the money is secondary and will find it’s way into your life.”
I spent between €7.000 and €10.000 to start DIVERS. This budget was for the website, product development, photography, video, menus, printing, inventory etc. I saved that money myself and didn’t get any loans from the bank.
I had calculated I needed 5 customers per week to be able to make a living. The maximum capacity with the kitchen I'm currently renting is around 20; I almost reached this number.
THE TOUGH TIMES
- Starting your own business takes much more time than you initially estimate. In my case, this was about double as much.
- I expanded too soon, hired staff very quickly and lost money instead of earning it. Going through a process of firing people is not fun.
- Doing everything yourself and not having a social life can be very lonely and stressful.
- There is always work to do when you have your own company. Sometimes I wake up and I think “How the hack am I going to do all this today?”. Having your own company brings a lot of stress.
- It is frustrating to see that no one can sell your idea and your product quite like you do.
5 INSIDER TIPS
“ I get recognition from things left unsaid.”
- In lonely and stressful moments, just concentrate on your goal.
- Not every day is great and special. The downsides are part of the deal too; accept that and take moments for reflection.
- Make a dynamic business plan that you can change along the way (4-5 pages). Write down the USP's, company values and philosophy.
- You may get people involved but don’t forget that it is your own company.
- Get your hands dirty. You have to know all aspects of your own business before you outsource it.