Today I Quit my Job and Became an Entrepreneur
Day 1: Today I quit my job and became an entrepreneur. Well, not quite. You see, I have always started small “businesses” throughout my life, launching a Chicago focused T-shirt company and opening and running a coffee shop in my high school. But those were all child’s play. Today I launch my first official, all-in startup with the goal of growing it into a sustainable business.
I want to share this amazing and treacherous journey with you, and I want this blog to provide an insider’s view to the tools we use to get out company off the ground. Learn from our mistakes so you don’t have to make the same ones.
Ok, so what is this new business you ask?
ChopBox is a ready-to-cook meal service, which means we plan weekly meals for our customers, buy and portion out all the ingredients, and ship them directly to their door. They get to choose which meals they want to cook at home from new options each week, which besides cooking and enjoying the meal, is all the customer really has to do. It’s as simple as that.
But ChopBox is about more than just food; we’re on a mission to help couples and families spend more time together by making it easier to cook dinner at home.
The idea for ChopBox originated last summer when after commuting an hour each way to work, I would get home and want to cook dinner but not have any ingredients or energy to go to the grocery store. I thought to myself, “I wish I had all the ingredients already in my fridge to cook a delicious meal when I got home.” It wasn’t until I told my concept to my sister-in-law that I realized this problem was even bigger than I thought. She explained how difficult it was to get dinner on the table for my brother and their three kids every night, and how this idea would take most of the stress out of making dinner. As a mother, she and my brother were responsible for feeding a total of 5 mouths every night, and how she simply ran out of ideas. Even if she knew what she wanted to make, taking the kids to the grocery store was a pure test of will. With ChopBox, the ingredients would be at home in the fridge, with delicious recipes ready to be made into dinner. Hence, ChopBox was born.
The Team: ChopBox is a team effort between myself (Jordan), Jonathan (storytelling and marketing), and Sandy (my mother and chef), with design help from Elaine (amazing graphic designer) and a cast of helpful friends. In order to be successful I’ve found that I have to surround myself with people that are passionate about this movement to get more families around their kitchen table. Surround yourself with positive and driven people to share your dream and bring it to life.
Pre-Work: Over the last year we’ve iterated the business idea and model, pivoting based on feedback from real customers and creating a unique value proposition in the market. How did this all work? Lucky for you, I am revealing our not-so-secret process below:
- Understanding the needs of the market: While I had a good understanding of my personal problem and need, I wanted to make sure my sister-in-law and myself weren’t the only ones who would use our service. So we created a survey with +500 participants in order to get an overview of the problem and potential opportunity. Take a look at our original survey to see exactly what we asked: ChopBox Market Research Survey, and these were the results: ChopBox Survey Results. Originally, I always thought that young, single professionals like me would be the ideal target market for our service. After analyzing the survey results and talking with families directly, I realized that families would provide a much better consumer group as they cook for more people, more often at home. This was our first pivot. Without conducting the survey we never would’ve uncovered this information, and would have tried to focus on selling to both groups instead of making Chopbox a family oriented business.
- Solving the problem: After understanding the wants and needs of the market we set out to design a solution around it. From the survey we found that people wanted to cook, but they faced barriers including, trouble meal planning, no time for grocery shopping, and a lack of cooking skills. We started with these problems and mapped out how ChopBox would solve them. To do this we used the Business Model Canvas developed by Alex Osterwalder. A business model canvas is a tool to analyze and define the key elements of your business. Think of it as a business plan at a glance.
These shifts are just the tip of the iceberg working on a startup. I had to invest my time and take a big risk for this, but I can tell you already, that to dive into a project that is symbolically like my child, has made it all the more worthwhile to me. I invite you to follow along our journey as we launch ChopBox from the ground up.
Follow our blog, Practical Startup: www.PracticalStartup.com
ChopBox Website: www.GetChopBox.com