Bonnie Coberly is a certified health counselor and the founder of Healthy Bites, a company based in Washington, D.C. that plans your weekly menu and delivers the freshly prepared dishes right to your door. Bonnie’s degree is in journalism and marketing and worked in communications at non-profits before making the decision to follow her passion for integrative health. She had experienced some health issues of her own in her twenties, and once she was better knew that she wanted to help others live a healthier life, too.
It was through her work with her clients that she discovered that there was a real need for a company or restaurant that was offering busy professionals an alternative to fast food. Washington, D.C. is a very work-centered city, and therefore cooking a healthy meal for yourself can fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Noticing the need, and with a nudge and encouragement from her clients, she started Healthy Bites with a business partner. Bonnie focused on operations and sales, while her partner focused on the finances. Two years into the company, Bonnie came to discover that the company was $50,000 in debt with several invoices severely overdue.
Bonnie and I talk about how she worked through the anger of this discovery, dissolved the partnership, got to the other side and ultimately made the decision to partner with another local company, Power Supply, so that she could exit the business. Listen below to learn more about Bonnie’s Chapter Be story…
PODCAST POINTS TO REFERENCE
[03:25] Bonnie’s personal experience with the effects of healthy eating and how her own health issues drove her to being a health counselor.
[08:05] The steps Bonnie took to build up her business after she became a certified health counselor. It involved a lot of hustle and partnering with already existing businesses.
[9:50] It was Bonnie’s clients who gave her the idea and nudge to start Healthy Bites. It was through her work with them that she recognized a need and found a way to answer it.
[15:40] There are a lot of moving parts to starting a food business – including finding a kitchen. The start of Healthy Bites was before the movement to offer kitchen space for rent, so Bonnie approached some local bars who were not open during the day to see if they could use there space – an ingenious and creative approach!
[17:00] The story behind when Bonnie’s business partnership failed, discovered that the company was $50,000 in debt and how she worked her way out of it. “As I look back on it, I think the whole time my intuition was screaming at me…there are so many things that I did wrong that I’ll never do again.”
[23:15] How Bonnie dealt with the anger that came along with the disappointment of the failed partnership – “I couldn’t suppress it. I had to let it up and out.”
[26:15] The advice she received from a friend in her moment of wanting to give up and how it pushed her though to the other side.
[30:00] The importance of community in Bonnie’s path of creating and letting go of her business – “None of us are meant to do this alone.”
[32:00] Bonnie’s decision to create a new partnership so that she could exit Healthy Bites – “I had to be honest with myself that I was ready to do something else – there was a lot of guilt around that.”
[36:00] After 13 years in Washington, D.C., Bonnie and her husband have moved to San Francisco, CA. She talks about some of the differences she has noticed between the two coastal cities.
[41:00] Bonnies advice about creating your own path and that you don’t need to know everything before you get started.
CHAPTER BE QUESTIONNAIRE…
What’s your favorite story to tell at a dinner or cocktail party?
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Worst work experience?
After my freshman year of college I had a 3-week temp job working at a factory that primarily made “sneaker balls”—air fresheners you put in shoes you store away for longer periods of time. I was literally working on an assembly line and I was absolutely terrible at it. The often had to shut down the line for me because I couldn’t keep up!
What is your definition of success?
My definition of success continues to evolve as I do, but lately the definition is pretty simple: Feeling energized to get up every morning and having the opportunity to create a life that I am excited to live and share with those I love.
How do you tap into your creative energies – especially when you are feeling drained?
I focus on slowing down as much as I can, prioritizing self-care and things that ignite me and ground me. Usually that includes some combination of yoga, hiking with my dog, green juice, healthy food, more sleep, dancing in my kitchen, singing with my husband. I also look for creative inspiration even if I don’t have time at the moment- checking out DIY ideas, or recently, fiddling around on my piano that I’m re-learning to play.
What does “to be” mean to you?
Loving deeply and living fully. Constantly seeking to expand myself through new connections and experiences.
How do you spend your time when you are procrastinating?
Pinterest and social media get me every time. I also cook or clean and organize the house.
Ideal READING LIST – books, websites, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that you would want on your Swiss Family Robinson deserted island?
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Inc. Magazine
- National Geographic Magazine
- Marie Forleo (website, blog, videos)
Favorite song with “be” in the title?
You Let Me Be by Melissa Ferrick and Ani DiFranco
LINKS & RESOURCES…
Images via Bonnie Coberly