Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Calvin Waddle, Founder of Coffeesmith, located in Forest Lake, MN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are Coffeesmith in Forest Lake, Minnesota. A local coffee shop was founded to bring people into the community with one another over a delicious product! We primarily serve customers in the Forest Lake area; however, we have had visitors from all over the state of Minnesota.

Tell us about yourself

When I was in college, I was studying to be a nurse, and during that time, I was also working in the coffee industry. I began roasting coffee for a local company here in Minnesota and then finally landed a job at one of my favorite coffee shops in the Twin Cities and spent the next four years working there and eventually worked my way up to be the store manager. Over the course of those years, I fell in love with working in the coffee industry and decided to make the jump from nursing school to pursue opening my own store. Meeting the amazing customers and seeing the smiles on their faces each day. as they enjoy our product motivates me to keep bringing them new things they've never tried before. I am also very motivated by the amount of people that have made Coffeesmith a part of their daily routine, and getting to know more about them and their families is really enjoyable.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of the biggest accomplishments for me is building an amazing team that enjoys coming to work and getting to actually live my dream day in and day out.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things as a business owner, as someone that did not go to business school, is learning the ins and outs of business operation, wearing the many different hats that comes with owning your own business, and making sure that everyone (customers and employees) are happy!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My first tip would be to make sure that it is something you want to do for the rest of your life. I would have never started the journey of opening my own coffee shop had I not spent many years working in the industry in various different roles.

My second tip would be to surround yourself with like-minded people. People who are not content working a 9-5 that are motivated and challenge themselves on a daily basis. When I first started this journey, I went around to several other coffee shops in the state and picked their brain on the steps I should take, the daily operations, and I got very connected to those individuals and was able to rely on them throughout the beginning stages of the process.

My third tip would be related to the common statement, "It takes twice as long and twice as much money." Do not be afraid to ask for help. There is no way that I could have done this on my own. Without the help of my family, friends, co-workers, and employees, I would not be able to grow my business. It's a very humbling experience, but in the end, I look back at the amount of people that BELIEVED IN ME and wanted to be a part of my dream, I am extremely grateful. To my staff, I am extremely grateful for all your hard work, passion, and desire to be the best employee you can be. I notice how hard you guys work and your willingness to work for a new business owner, and you are appreciated.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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