Background vector created by Freepik

We’re just days away from December and if you haven’t already, you should be identifying your goals for 2018. What will you want to have accomplished by this time next year? What new skills do you want to have? How about your income and savings? How will you reach those goals?

We have some ideas that you can use literally or that may spark some thoughts that more directly appeal to you and meeting your goals.

  • Update your business plan. First things first–you need to know what you are aspiring to? Whether you wrote a business plan last year or five years ago, things change and you need to update your plan annually. Maybe this is the year you want to branch out from strictly being a personal chef to also teaching cooking classes or catering–or writing. Whatever it is, put it in writing so you’ll more readily commit to it.
  • Rev up your personal chef skills. We wrote about this earlier in the year and have five suggestions–ranging from cooking skills and social media to local networking and specialization.

  • Be a better marketer. Potential clients need to be able to find you. If you’ve been getting by on word of mouth, congratulations! But most of us have to have a plan. That can include engaging in social media, doing food demos, speaking at local business organizations, creating a dynamite website, volunteering with business groups, and putting out press releases. Start a food blog–get inspiration here! Launch your own YouTube channel. Here’s how some members have done it.

  • Improve your food photography skills. Food and photography go hand in hand. We are amazed at how few personal chefs put any effort into learning basic photography skills to show off their work. Look at the photos you post on Facebook and Instagram. Do they make you want to devour the dish or are they so dark and monochromatic that they are, well, too sad for words. Get some tips here.
  • Network!: Networking, like marketing, means getting yourself out there. Find an organization doing something you’re passionate about and join it. Don’t just be on Facebook; join a group and participate. Even better, form your own group–perhaps you specialize in cooking for a specific type of medical conditions. Others who focus on that condition would be interested as well–dietitians, counselors, physical trainers, etc. These are all potentially great contacts to have. And when you’re out in the world, face to face with community members, always carry your business card. Always! (even at the dog park or at the market)
  • Refresh your website: Does your website really show you off to the world? Is it easy to navigate? Are the photos enticing? Can the public even learn who you are? It’s always good to take a critical eye to your window to your business. In fact, even better, ask someone who will be straight with you to do that and give you feedback. Here are some things to keep in mind. Then make this the year you make yourself irresistible through your site.
  • Open yourself up to new possibilities: If you’re feeling stuck in December 2017, you need to have a sit down with yourself and consider what will make you happy. Maybe you want to teach or write. Maybe you want to focus on a specific type of client–those into fitness or a particular diet or medical condition. Maybe you want to partner with someone and spread the responsibilities. Maybe you’re starting to consider retirement options. This is the perfect time of year to work through changes you want to make and then take steps to accomplish them (back to the business plan above). You know what else you can do? Call Candy and talk through your dreams with her to get her advice.
  • Stage with a pro: If you’ve ever been a restaurant chef, you know about staging with chefs at other restaurants to learn new skills and open your eyes to new ways of doing things. So, let’s say you’ve been thinking about teaching cooking classes but haven’t the faintest idea of how to do it. Ask another chef who teaches if you could stage with her. Same with doing cooking demos, catering, or food videos. Don’t let not knowing how to do something you think you want to do keep you from learning how to do it. P.S. You may also discover it’s not your thing, but at least you checked it out and can move on.

One of the reasons Candy launched the personal chef profession was to create a way for people who love to cook for others to tailor their work life in a way that makes sense for them. If you’ve chosen this profession then the best way to ensure you’re still in it for all the right reasons is to take the time to reflect and plan–and expand or tweak your vision. Then take the steps to turn that vision into your reality. This is the time to evaluate where you are and where you want to be, and then stay the course or make the corrections that will get you to your goal.

What are your goals for 2018? Have you figured out how to make them a reality?

Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to personalchef.com to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.

And if you are a member and have a special talent to share on this blog, let us know so we can feature you!

Here we are again. It is almost the end of the year, and the beginning of what could very well be an exciting, successful, enjoyable new year for your personal chef business and your life.

CandyWallaceAPPCAheadshot (low rez)

 

To help make that happen, APPCA’s executive director Candy Wallace believes it’s wise to sit down and do a review of the past year and make plans for what you want to create in the new year. This way, you are working a plan of your own design rather than being passively at the service of whatever circumstances present themselves over the course of the year.

Here are her recommendations:

Review your current biz plan

Ask yourself: Are you enjoying your business?  If not, can you:

  • Adjust your schedule.
  • Adjust your product or service.
  • Set higher goals.
  • Set more realistic goals.
  • Evaluate if the business model you’re using is right for you.

Finances

PandLStatment

Do you keep and maintain a Profit and Loss report? Do you know the nuts and bolts of your finances? Examine your year-end P&L to look for ways to improve your finances next year.

  • Identify Total Revenue: Is it consistent over the course of the year? Is it enough to meet your goals?
  • Identify Pricing: Are you charging what you need to make a profit?
  • Identify and prepare for Quarterly Tax Payment Liability: Are you putting funds away for each quarter’s tax payment?
  • Identify Total Expenses/Overhead: Can they be trimmed? Can you find less expensive ways to finance them? Will you have new or increased expenses in the coming year in the form of employees, insurance, fuel/transportation, food prices, equipment?
  • Identify Profitability: What is the balance between your revenues and expenses?
  • Identify Special Business Needs: Do you have a budget for unplanned opportunities or needs like promotional banners for an event or classes to elevate your skills?

Re-evaluate income streams

  • Consider a possible price increase:
    • Did you low ball your pricing to get new clients?
    • Do you need to revise your pricing to reflect your value, your expenses, increased costs?
  • Consider offering more and different services: Could your clients use additional services, like catering or cooking classes?
  • Can you take on more clients: How can you bring in more clients this year?
  • Are you interested in new income streams: Many personal chefs do more than offer cook dates for clients. They offer product demonstrations, cooking classes, catering, writing, and other food-related services. Maybe there’s something else you’d like to do under your personal chef umbrella.

WS-5

Administration Review

Are your satisfied with these?

  • Software support
  • Staffing
  • Contract services
  • Public relations/Promotion

How would you rate your marketing efforts?

social media logos

 

  • Are you engaged enough in professional networking?
  • Is your Web presence/SEO/design in need of an update?
  • Are you actively promoting yourself via social media and/or a blog that gives you and your business exposure?
  • Do you have and always carry business cards?
  • Do you need help in learning how to better market your business?

Winery

How would you rate your business skills?

  • Do you feel confident in the various aspects of operating your business?
  • Could you benefit from training in different arenas, such as managing finances, marketing, public speaking, writing, or even cooking?

seminaropeningsession

Personal Finance review

  • Are you building your savings or depleting it? Can you establish a monthly savings structure? If you can’t save because your revenues and expenses aren’t aligned, go back to re-evaluating your business finances and income streams.
  • Are you engaged in financial/retirement planning? What steps can you take to build your finances now and in the future?

Personal Life Plan

Are you enjoying your life? If not and it’s related to work:

  • Review your work schedule and figure out how to make changes that better suit your lifestyle as it is or want it to be.
  • Make a vacation plan.
  • Schedule family time.
  • Commit to regular recreation/exercise/continuing education opportunities.

Remember, that as APPCA members you have a number of resources to assist you in improving your business. That includes regular weekend Personal Chef Seminars in San Diego. Many members take the seminar as they are launching their business, but we welcome established members, who are interested in revisiting topics and getting input in revving up their personal chef business. Our next seminar is January 16 and 17. For more information, visit our website.

We wish all of you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Happy New Year 2016

Do you do an annual review of your business and life? What other issues do you take into account as you look ahead to the new year?

Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to personalchef.com to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.

Last updated by at .