Meet Amanda: Product manager and coffee entrepreneur at Los Altona

Los Altona Coffee

Thora, Maxim, and Amanda have something in common: They all have a day job as well as a self-employed project on the side. The three projects couldn’t be more different. And yet they all stem from their own passion and come with similar challenges.

The final side hustler in our thee-part series is Amanda. She’s a full-time product manager and a new mom. But that doesn’t stop her and her husband from running a successful side business too! 

How did you get into your side business?

My husband and I have always been passionate about coffee. We even met on a coffee farm in Colombia! Not long after we got together, we visited a farmer’s market in Los Angeles. We saw a coffee cart there and my husband said, “We could do something like that!” My husband is a doer—so it didn’t take long before we followed up on the idea. In 2019, we sold our own coffee, Los Altona, at the Hamburg Ottensen market. We now have two roast coffees in our range and we’re in direct contact with a cooperative in Brazil. Small but nice.

Amanda and her husband selling coffee
“Los Altona is powered by our hearts and our joy, and that’s important—whatever comes out of it is good enough for us.”

How do you balance two jobs at once?

I can’t give a blanket answer because we went through so many different phases with our project. When we first started Los Altona, we invested the most time for sure. We had to do everything from scratch, the whole organization, logistics, etc. We were at the market every weekend, getting up before sunrise. That was exhausting, and we realized it wouldn’t work for us in the long run. Then the pandemic hit, which forced us to rethink anyway.

A lot more has changed for us since then: We moved to Heidelberg and welcomed our son. We are currently in the process of rebuilding our business and our community here. With the addition to our family, we have much less time than before, so we’re taking a different approach: To start with, we’ve looked for an external partner who can handle the logistics. Also, instead of weekly markets, we rely on small grocery stores and delicatessens that offer our coffee.

A product from the Los Altona website

My husband and I have always had full-time day jobs. We worked on our side hustle in our free time, late in the evenings, on public holidays, and on weekends. It wasn’t always easy, and now that we have a baby, there’s even less time.

It’s easy to explain how we manage it: We don’t put any pressure on ourselves, there are no fixed goals. Los Altona is powered by our hearts and our joy, and that’s important—whatever comes out of it is good enough for us.

What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about starting a side business?

First, don’t overthink it. Without my husband, I probably wouldn’t have dared to start Los Altona. He’s someone who doesn’t plan everything to the end and has more of a learning-by-doing mentality. Diving into cold water is scary, but it’s the most important step.

Second, make a list of things that you want to do in your life, or that are important to you. Then start to prioritize. If you really want something, you’ll always find the time for it!

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Katharina Mühe
Katharina works as a content creator for Jimdo. She is always on the lookout for inspiring user stories that will motivate other self-employed people to pursue their passions. When she is not writing she enjoys cooking, socializing and spending time outdoors.
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