Parents in business: Jenny of the Lunchbox Doctor

Name of Business: Lunchbox Doctor

Your Name and Age: My name is Jenny Tschiesche and I am 45. I’m married and have two children – a teenage daughter (15) and a son (12).

What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? 

I used to be a director for a division of Cable and Wireless back in the dot-com boom. It was a great life but unsustainable with children, so that is why I went on and retrained.

When did you launch?

The business was launched in 2009 and really has gone from strength to strength. There is no doubt that being your own boss, but I love that I am in charge of my destiny and that I can make the balance work for me and my family.

How did you get started? 

I’ve always been a sports fan and first discovered a passion for nutrition when I  was 14 years old. I was sent to a national hockey camp for future England field hockey players and it was her that I was given a diet sheet outlining what I should and shouldn’t be eating and this sparked my interest in food and nutrition but it took me up until her mid-20’s ,whilst in a senior role at an IT company and playing hockey at national league level, to reignite the spark.

It was only when I was injured that I rethought my purpose and that’s when I decided to study for another degree, this time in nutrition.

I graduated in 2009 and it took 6 years to complete a 4-year course because I had 2 children in tow but it was so worth it. It was actually the food I made for my children that gave me inspiration for setting up a business in nutrition education.

The rest is history.

What research did you do before launching? 

I would say my business formed organically. I just started out fitting a few consultations for clients around my schedule as a mum then it grew and grew.

Today I am known as the Lunchbox Doctor and my real passion is around educating families, schools, workers and elite sportspeople to eat healthy and nutritious meals to fuel their bodies. 

What I try to do is simplify the science behind good eating habits and through my workshops and group sessions I educate people using easy to understand explanations and give recommendations on what to eat so that I can promote healthy, economical and nutritious meals.

I am writing my 5th cookbook and that is something I really enjoy doing. All of my cookbooks are people who lead busy lives, but still want to make healthy, nutritious and cost-effective meals for themselves or their families.

My most recent book, Real Lunchtime Food is a guide for working adults and parents who want to move away from making the traditional packed lunch we have come to expect, and instead putting healthy lunches together. I have included deliciously simple recipes, practical nutritional information and advice that gives people control of their lunch again. It also comes with tips on how to shop smart, how to make use of leftovers, plus advice on environmentally-friendly packaging solutions to help you transport your lunch to work or school.

This is not a book about stale sandwiches and soggy salads, but about a healthier, achievable lifestyle. I really think that lunchtime is an opportunity to enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal and that really is what is at the heart of this book.

How have you funded the business? 

It was simply a matter of growing the business as the business grew i.e. the business has funded itself, but I keep an eye on my budgets and ensure I plan for the future.

How do you promote your business? What has worked best? 

Social media and word of mouth bring me the most business and I therefore make sure that I keep up with content online as well as going to face to face networking events.

What has worked well about your business? 

I love the way that it fits in with family life and the other commitments I have as a mum. Another plus is that as a family we eat really healthily and the kids, as well as my husband, do help give feedback on my latest recipes. 

What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it? 

Dealing with the feast or famine nature of work is the hardest thing for me. Some months I am too busy and others not busy enough.

The best way of dealing with this is to use time with less work to create content.

This is used by myself as part of my own brand offering but often other brands buy the content from me now.

How do you fit in work with the family? 

As the family has grown older and the needs of the children have changed so I have changed the nature of the business. It now suits me better not to be away in the evening but to be away in the day whilst the children are at school and doing after school activities.

Have you got an exit strategy? 

Not really, but neither do I want one. I really enjoy my work and have various projects that I work on, with more in the pipeline, so I don’t feel the need to make a change.

What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area? 

Make sure you have a passion for what you do, because without that you’ll want to give up other things for the success of your business.

I have a genuine passion for what I do and I hope that this shines through whenever I presents a demo, run a workshop and when people read my books.

Being your own boss comes with many advantages, but it is hard work and success takes time, so look at what you love doing and then how you can make that a real business. You won’t look back!


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