How I wrote my first cookbook

This interview is with Sally Sampson, cookbook writer, food critic, gardener, loyal friend, unbelievably wonderful mother and a darn good cook!

Q: What is your name? Sally Sampson

Q: Company name and website?

Q: We launched the website in: August, 2008

Q: What is your business or what do you sell?
I am a cookbook and magazine writer and recipe consultant.

Q: Who or what was the inspiration behind your company?
When I was in my early 20’s I used to get very late night phone calls from a childhood friend who was deeply conflicted about the career and life choices he had made. Newly divorced, he had been a teacher and dreamed of going back to teaching but had succumbed to the external pressure and lure of being a Hollywood talent agent.  In the meantime I dreamed of owning my own business but figured I would do it later, whatever that meant. When he died a few years later, I decided there would never be any waiting for me: that if I wanted to pursue something I would. I opened a little take out shop which I owned for 10 years. My first cookbook was written at the end of those 10 years, when I realized I preferred writing cookbooks to running a business.

Q: How did you get started?
I had a small take out café where I became well known for my soups. I wrote a soup cookbook and found that I loved being at home, cooking and writing, rather than interacting with customers all day.

Q: How long before your business was profitable, or when is it projected to become profitable?
My shop was slightly profitable right away, in the sense that I was able to support myself. Same thing with cookbook writing. However, I live in line with the amount of money I make: when I am earning little, I live carefully and when I am making a lot, I spend and save more. Either way, I don’t sweat it too much.

Q: Do you ever feel like giving up at times? If so, what keeps you going?
I often feel like there are too many cookbooks out there and that I never want to write another one. As soon as I say that, somehow someone comes to me with an idea or I have an idea and then I just write another one. Plus, it’s really fun.

Q: What qualities (i.e., family support, discipline, time management) do you think are necessary for a women entrepreneur? I think they are probably the same for men and women: focus, discipline, independence, resilience, a good idea (s), the support of family and friends.

Q: What is the one thing (book, website, coach, mentor, tool, blog, service, etc) that you value and can say has contributed to your success? Great parents.

Q: What was the worst advice someone gave you?
I am sure I have been given lots of bad advice but I quickly blocked it out!

Q: What are your business or personal goals for the next year?
Have my 100 Calorie Snack Cookbook be really successful. Get my anti-obesity project up and running. Fall in love. Lose 10 pounds. Plant a lilac bush.

Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in business or thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship? Be really honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

Q: is there anything else you wish I had asked? No, you’re brilliant!

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    Written by Sarah Shaw

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