Starting a juice bar is by far the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done.
Throughout my life, I’ve always held myself accountable. From a young age, I took my education into my own hands, studying independently. I never went to business school because I found the process of learning from experience and consulting with mentors or advisors to be much more beneficial.
In my late twenties, I had a career that was paying me very well but after over a decade of working in this arena, I got to a stage where I was no longer feeling fulfilled. I was unable to imagine continuing on that path. It was time to make a change. There was little possibility to actually make an impact on the world going in the direction I had been and it became undeniably clear that this would not be enough for me.
At the same time, I was developing a more conscious relationship with my health. Switching to a plant-based diet and making juicing a part of my daily life completely invigorated my perspective on wellness. I always had fresh-pressed juice in hand, excited by any opportunity to share with others and tell them about all the things I had been learning about the benefits of juicing. It felt as though I had become aware of essential health secrets that everyone could benefit from if they only had the knowledge and resources available to them. I felt a deep calling to inform others of my discoveries. This personal shift aligned in time with the shift in my entrepreneurial aspirations, my natural instinct was to create a hub for health and wellness in my area.
Although I was witnessing a timely popularization of juicing, many questions and doubts arose in the wake of my inspiration. I had experience making small investments or starting small business projects but never ran a company myself or managed staff. Still, my passion propelled me and the true journey began.
I was excited, confused, overwhelmed, filled with determination and doubt, all at once.
How much money do I need?
Which licenses should I apply for?
How am I going to create my menu?
Will I find the right location?
Do I need a business partner?
Some questions were more easily answered than others. With some advice and a lot of research, I was able to handle the logistics. The first hurdle appeared pretty early on in the development process. I developed a business plan that introduced wellness into the late-night scene of Los Angeles. Despite my sincere belief in this idea and have some potential investors, I had to pivot.
Sometimes your business idea needs to change or adapt in order to be sustainable. Accepting this is key. For me, this meant launching my business as a juice truck as opposed to opening a store.
Although it was my best option, running a juice truck was certainly not easy. We worked long hours and learned from our mistakes as we went along. Most days we were so busy that we would actually run out of produce. Watching my idea change and flourish gave me the validation I craved after starting my own business. However, there were also the less glamorous moments. Due to mechanical issues with our truck at times we would need to close early. Between mechanical malfunctions and space limitations, it became clear to me that the truck had significant growth limitations. Furthermore, I realized that the overhead for having the truck was nearly $4k. The monthly rent for the truck itself was $2,000 plus $1,000 for commissary rent to park, clean, and recharge the truck overnight. We were also spending an additional $1,000 on gas and $600 on parking tickets.
It was clear that there was a public interest in my business. I believed in my menu and could visualize the company succeeding but operating from a truck was unsustainable. So I decided to double down. I found a location in a heavily trafficked Sunset Blvd for just over $4k per month in rent and invested more of my own capital to grow my business.
Transitioning from running out of a food truck to our own storefront was exhilarating. It took time to build momentum. Every step came with its challenges from negotiating a good lease term to building out the store in a way that looked good–but didn’t cost me a fortune and discerning how many staff members we needed. The list goes on and on. We were challenged to refine our menu, change our steps of service -there were even times when I had to let go of employees and cut our menu in half because we simply couldn’t afford the overhead. Taking this step corrected many of the misconceptions I had held about starting my own business:
I believed so wholeheartedly in my concept that I expected people to go out of their way to visit my business. Wrong.
I underestimated just how much money I would need. It’s not just about launching a business- it requires funds to keep it above ground.
I believed that I would earn enough from my business to expand. Wrong again.
The reality of the situation was much less motivational than the dream. It takes time and faith to build momentum. I welcomed the harsh lessons as I had not foreseen several aspects of running a business. Still, I never lost sight of the fact that success can only come from persistence. During the first year of operation, I had to drastically modify my business strategy, create an effective approach to training my staff. I became fully immersed in the process to keep my vision alive -even during the times, I questioned whether or not we would make it.
However, with persistence and endurance, I grew to understand how to structure the business in a profitable and manageable way. Despite the ups and downs, my business became what I had always dreamt it could be. I went from running out of a run-down food truck in 2010 to gross $700,000 in 2014. After everything, I was able to achieve my goal to engage with others, create a community and become a resource for those in pursuit of health and vitality.
After years of lessons, trials, and errors, I become a confident business owner. I developed a model for my operation that worked for me. Management became so fluid that I was no longer needed on site and was free to visit the shop once a month just to check in. I had staff I could rely on and knew my business from the inside out, enabling me to trust it to flourish even in my absence.
As the business gained traction, other aspiring entrepreneurs would ask me for advice or suggestions on how to approach starting their own juice bar. Since my business was operating independently, I had more time to consult and answer questions. It was by this process that I realized the knowledge I gained from starting my own business could help others. This is how Start a Juice Bar came to fruition.
Based on my experience, I firmly believe that there is no reason why starting your own juice bar should be considered risky. Any business model can be strategically developed to be profitable within a respective community and designed to liberate the business owner. With mentorship, guidance, and support even those- like my former self with no experience in the industry should be able to develop a solid, rewarding approach. Using this platform to share my story is just one of the ways in which I would like to offer my encouragement to aspiring entrepreneurs. My hope is that you do not shy away from your goals in fear of failure without reaching out for support. I now run a full spectrum development firm that has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs around the world to successfully start growing juice concepts all over the world. Getting in touch with us is the first step towards joining a network of like-minded individuals who are ready to assist you in making your dreams a reality.