Made By Margie started her own catering company in 2011 after realising that food was a passion she wanted to turn into a career. Her blog, full of recipes and tips, followed this and has since become a foodie’s heaven.
She gave us the inside scoop about starting her own company.
How did you decide to move away from law to cookery? Was there anything major that sparked this decision?
Good question! Doing a masters in law is quite an unconventional way into cooking! I went to Oxford for my undergraduate degree, and I think because of this I felt a lot of pressure to do something academic. Law is one of those careers where the road to becoming a lawyer is well trod and laid out for you – so in that sense ( and proably only in that sense) it was an easy option. It’s a really scary time when you leave university and you actually have to decide what it is you are going to do with your life, and so I think there was some comfort in doing another course! The moment I decided that actually life is too short to do something I am not really passionate about, I realised all the pressure I had felt all came only from myself, and my parents and family just wanted me to do something that made me happy! I actually feel really guilty for thinking they might be anything other than supportive at my decision to be a chef.
What hurdles did you come across when creating your own catering company? How did you overcome them?
When I decided to be a chef, and knew that I wanted to have my own company. I didn’t know what form that would take, whether it would be a bakery, a restaurant, a catering company or something else. But I realised whatever it was I was going to do, I was completely unqualified. I had always loved cooking and I wasn’t bad at it, but I wanted to equip myself with all the skills and knowledge to help myself be the best I could be. So I went to Ballymaloe straight away after ringing them on a whim and fortuitously finding out someone had just dropped out. I hopped on a plane the next day, and went to Ireland for 3 months. I think throwing yourself into the world in which you want to join is really important so you can get a feel for all aspects and figure out exactly what you want to. I then spent the next two years doing lots of different types of cooking, I went to South Africa and taught Zulu women how to cook, I cooked on a Private game reserve, and then back in London I worked in a restaurant and cooked for a catering company. It was only then, I took the plunge and went freelance as a chef, and then as word of mouth spread, it then grew into a catering company. So it definitely didn’t happen over night, and the blog www.madebymargie.co.uk, has been amazing at acting like an online portfolio for my cooking!
If there was one piece of advice you could give someone wanting to start their own company, what would it be?
Just to go for it! I think a lot of people spend too long worrying, and planning and talking about doing all the things they dream of doing, but at some point you just have to take a deep breath and go for it. I never wanted to wake up as an old lady and resent all the people doing all the things I wished I had been brave enough to do. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything.
Don’t forget to check our Margie’s module in the Profit Wizardry course on how to monetise your blog, in the HBC Academy.