When you're working hard to turn your passion from a part-time hustle into a full-time hustle, there are no typical days. That's certainly the case for Rick Bosman of Tallboy Roasters in Port Perry, Ontario. Rick is a tool and die maker by trade, but coffee is his true love and he's hoping to eventually make coffee roasting his main business (he's also 6'6";, hence the 'Tallboy' name).
In the early days of Tallboy Roasters, Rick was touring Toronto coffee shops looking for the perfect espresso shot while his buddies were checking out the pubs. Then he was figuring out how to buy green beans and experimenting with roasting them at home in his garage. After a few disastrous experiments using a popcorn popper as a roaster, Rick acquired regulation equipment and has since converted his garage into a fully functioning roastery.
Now, Rick reserves his evenings and weekends to work on his coffee roasting business, selling his coffee on his online store as well as at local farmer's markets. His end goal is to build Tallboy Roasters to the point where he can leave his day job behind. He also wants to leave the business to his kids one day and enlists their help with production and selling the coffee beans at market stands.
"Friday night before the Saturday market, we're all in the garage weighing beans, bagging and hand stamping the bags," says Rick, adding that it's a great family bonding activity that his son and daughter enjoy as much as he does.
And, the opportunities for the business to really take off are around every corner. Making friends at the farmer's market led to adding more coffee-related products to the Tallboy Roasters online store.
"A guy in the stand next to mine who made soaps started telling me about the beauty benefits of coffee grinds," says Rick. "We decided to do a collaboration where he uses my coffee to make soaps and creams that help with anti-aging and give lots of other beauty benefits."
They've also recently added an exciting new piece of equipment to the Tallboy inventory: an espresso bike. It's an eco-friendly, solar/electric coffee shop on wheels, complete with an espresso machine, grinder and even a Bluetooth speaker. People can book the bike to come to weddings, corporate events or other places where a little artisanal caffeination is needed.
"These bikes are big in Europe. It lets you bring the coffee shop to where the people are, without the expensive rent. We just bought it, so we've been playing around with that, fixing it up and working on it. I tried it out at the market and it's been successful. I make all kinds of espresso drinks on the bike and I'm really passionate about that,"says Rick. "I love being the barista and working with people."
Even though there are no typical days for Tallboy Roasters as the business expands and evolves, there is one thing that remains constant. Rick wants to build a business for his family, but he doesn't want it to cut into quality family time.
"The most important thing when you have a side hustle is to always keep time aside for your family. I found that every hour I wasn't working at my regular job I was spending on the coffee business and putting family on the backburner," he explains. "What I've done now is made Sunday my day off. I've been asked to work at Sunday markets, but I don't because that's family day."
That's good advice any side hustler can appreciate.