And, get this, she had no investment money, no previous business skills, and she didn’t even really know how to bake when she got the idea!
Her name is Leigh Kellis, founder of the Holy Donut in Portland, ME. If you ever find yourself there, you gotta try one of these doughnuts.
What makes them so special is their secret ingredient . . . potatoes! It’s like eating doughnuts practically guilt free and she’s developed all these gourmet flavors like chai tea, chocolate sea salt, and pomegranate.
Now 5 years into her business, she has 2 locations, 35 employees, and makes over a million doughnuts a year!
Leigh walks me through the process of how she started testing her recipe to making her first sales to opening her first store. She also highlights the key tipping points that enabled her to make $1 million in 3 years!
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Self-directed learning.
How Leigh Works and Thinks
- Wake up time: 5 am
- Core work habits: Baking, making customers happy and learning.
- Superpower: Being open to new opportunities.
- Definition of success: Making people happy.
“If you are looking for something and you can’t find it, you have to create it yourself.”
“I felt a deep cellular motivation to make a change and create something better for myself and my daughter.”
“You have to put in the time and make mistakes and figure things out.”
“The fantasy of running a business and the reality of running a business are completely unrelated.”
“No one will ever take care of your business the way you will.”
“I’m so glad all the investors said, ‘No’ when I started my business because now they would have input.”
If you are starting your business but feel stuck because you feel you lack the proper skills or resources, Leigh recommends starting small to get feedback:
1) With no money and few skills to start a doughnut shop, Leigh started with the means she had. She made her first batches of doughnuts right out of her house and got a local coffee shop to start selling them.
2) Her hands on approach to building her business enabled her to minimize her losses as she experimented. With each experiment, she gathered feedback and knowledge to make adjustments to her process.