#108 How to launch a food startup from scratch that people will love with Carli Wheatley

When it comes down to starting a business, most people make up that what you need is to have everything figured out before you even begin.

And I’m not just talking about a clear plan on how you’re going to generate revenue.

No. I mean most people think to start a business you need a great name, a perfect logo, a brand spanking website, shiny business cards, a catchy URL and of course, to secure all the social media profiles online, right?

Actually, that’s kinda of BS.

What you really need in order to start a sustainable and profitable business is a specific group of people, who have a particular problem, that you can solve in a better way than your competition and who are willing and able to pay for that solution.

And if you want to be in business for a while, you need to:

1) Make sure that the size of your market, i.e. the group of people you serve, is big enough to keep driving traffic (and ultimately revenue) to your business.

2) Be genuinely passionate about helping the people you serve.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Forget about the S word, i.e. scaling, right now, what you need to do is to validate your idea as quickly and cheaply as possible.

What’s crazy to me though is that the last thing on most people’s list I’ve come across over the last decade or so of being involved with launching side hustles and starting businesses is validating your business idea by getting in front of actual customers and asking for the sale.

It’s bonkers right?

And I genuinely believe that it’s one of the reasons why according to Bloomberg 8 out 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. Because they failed to take the time to validate their business idea and see if people are genuinely willing to pay to have their problem solved.

And yet as you’ll hear in today’s episode of The Unconventionalists, where I sit down with Carli Wheatley, the creator and power house behind Protein Haus and is now the founder and mastermind behind the new Paleo Supply, the best way to start a business is to not only follow your passion, but rather, to follow the pain points of your potential customers.

This was one of my favourite interviews to date, we sat down for over an hour and went deep into Carli’s incredible but true story of how she went from being a busy PT to starting one of London’s most recognisable healthy food brands on the market.

We also talked about the mistakes she made along the way, including the one that ultimately forced her to walk away from her first business.

Needless to say, it got emotional.

But as you’ll hear in our powerful conversation, Carli is a force of nature who hasn’t got a “give it up” bone in her.

Her new venture, Paleo Supply, (opening in Canary Wharf this 29th November 2019 btw) is set to take over London one healthy meal, protein shake and treat at a time.

If you enjoy today’s episode and want to support the show, the best compliment you can give me is to share it with a friend who you think would benefit from listing to our powerful conversation.

Thank you.

In the meantime, make sure to tag Carli @carliwheatley and myself @markleruste over on Instagram to let us know what you took away from today’s interview!

Can’t wait to read your comments.





  • “1973” by Bruno E.

  • “One More Chance” by Otis McDonald

  • “Hurts So Good Blues” by Unicorn Heads


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