Dinner Elf was started by Nicole and Jesse Vickey as an answer to their own family challenges, ” It was born out of our own lack of time to gather our little family for healthy, home-cooked dinners during the work week.” While Nicole loves to cook and makes time on the weekends to do so together with their kids, it was simply too hard to follow-through with the right meals during the week. Since graduating from the Venture Forth® program, the Vickeys have created an amazing service for families, groups and even singles!
About Dinner Elf
Dinner Elf matches busy families with affordable, in-home cooks. You pick dinners off our menu. Your Elf goes to the grocery store and shops, and then comes to your home to cook and clean up. You come home to dinner that’s ready to go.
Hardest things about being an entrepreneur:
- Separating work from life: Jesse and I are married and started our first company together shortly after our wedding, back in 2001. We now work on that company, as well as on Dinner Elf, together. A lot of people hear that I work with my husband and ask if we’ve hired an in-house marriage counselor! It’s not always easy, but it give us a chance to intellectually collaborate in way we don’t get to in our home life. It’s all about knowing when it’s time to talk shop.
- Working alone: One of the reason’s we moved to Austin before starting up Dinner Elf is that we didn’t want to start another company in a vacuum. Tech Ranch® has been a community of extremely creative, wildly intelligent people who go out of their way to share resources with other entrepreneurs. The general sense in this town is that if you help another company succeed, you help Austin succeed and we all win.
- Putting myself out there. I’m not a natural sales girl. I love the creative, building stage of a start up and dread the “get out there and sell it” stage. When I really believe in a concept, I try to treat it like my child. I’m willing to put myself out there to advocate for it to grow up right.
Advice for entrepreneurs (new or seasoned):
- Talk to everyone you meet about your idea. It gets you comfortable articulating what you do, and you’ll get some gems of advice.
- Don’t be defensive, be open to feedback. Yes, many people will give you 1st-level feedback that isn’t all that helpful – but there is wisdom to be heard there if everyone you talk to has the exact same reaction. Every critique is a chance to get better.
- Test, test, test. Don’t wait for your product to be perfect. Find a way to get it out there as early as possible to test and tweak.
Of course we have to ask…words to describe Tech Ranch® 🙂
- Favorite Word: introvert
- Favorite Activity: swimming as meditation.
- Something we don’t already know about you? I’m a long way from my academic background. I started out my career as a marine biologist. Oysters aren’t as interesting as start ups.
Finally, please share with us any news or exciting opportunities for our readers about Dinner Elf:
Dinner Elf recently expanded to serve all of Austin and most surrounding suburbs. We’re coming up on having over a 100 customers, which is an exciting milestone for us after going “live” about 8 months ago.