Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kelley Niiyama, owner of Nine Lives Cat Cafe, located in Indianapolis, IN, USA.

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

We are a cafe that has a cat lounge! We were the first cat cafe in Indiana. We serve all cat and coffee lovers!

Tell us about yourself

I did not start the business. I worked here in what I thought would be a temporary position while I was waiting out a six-month cat quarantine (I was planning on moving to Japan). The previous owners notified the employees that the cat cafe was for sale as my plans to move fell through, so I bought the cafe!

Our focus on saving cats through adoption keeps me motivated through the challenges of owning and operating a small business. I love to see cats find their forever companions!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Establishing the non-profit adoption foundation. We are newly founded but seek to present informational programs to the community and help get as many cats adopted as possible!

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

The fact that I am always "on." Even when I took a trip to Italy and Spain last year, I worked on adoptions during my vacation!

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

  1. Find something that you are so passionate about that little successes can feed your soul regularly.
  2. Take some downtime for yourself consistently because the commitment to the business is 24/7! New owners often think, "Yeah, right," when they hear that. It's true!
  3. Find at least one hobby that you can engage in each day, even if it's only for a few minutes.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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