In our latest ‘What’s Cooking’, we hear from Leonie Harcourt-Horsfield, founder Diabetes Meals Online. Leonie juggles two businesses, one in print and marketing and the other, her passion, meals for people managing diabetes. Leonie’s world has changed for the better recently and she lights up when talking about her first $10k month! Leonie tells us how she is getting closer to spending more time in her food business and paying herself a wage.


Your business name: Diabetes Meals Online

How would you describe the business you are in?

Home delivered ready to eat meals tailored for people managing diabetes. Our recipes are produced by me, our dietitian and our food technologist and meet strict nutritional criteria to ensure they are low in carbs and sugars.

What do you love about your work?

Providing much needed meals for people managing diabetes and getting great feedback from my customers.


What part of your job would you gladly give away?

Book keeping.

If you were starting out in business again today, what piece of advice would you give your younger you?

Have the right product, team, money and processes (which will change as you grow so make sure the platforms you use to start with can grow as quickly as you need them to).

Women start businesses 41% of the time to solve a problem. Sometimes this means we have a great vision but don’t have enough resources to sustain our business for the long term. Tell us what resources you started your business with eg. money saved, business premises, business partner, and how long before you started paying yourself?

I started the business a year after my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. I funded it using cash from my full time print and marketing business. It didn’t make any money for the first 3 years, cost me a fortune, I didn’t know enough about the processes and I didn’t have the right people around me. I put it on hold whilst I did some hard research. I finally found the right product a year later but didn’t have enough money to buy it (my meals are pressure cooked so I have to manufacture in bulk – huge up front cost). I was lucky enough to have a silent investor join October 2017 and since then the business has been growing quickly. Due to our retort cooking process all profit has to go back into making new meals.

However in the last 4 months sales have exploded 😊 and I expect a wage in the next 6 months.

(Increased sales due mainly to:

  1. Starting with Google Adwords,
  2. Moving my phone answer service to a person whom I educated about the meals and service, instead of a Call Centre who simply took messages,
  3. Advertising in Readers Digest, and
  4. Adding Recurring order button to my website.


As you know we are passionate about women #backingthemselves. So tell us about a time in the last twelve months that you’re really proud of. 

Being shortlisted as finalist for Telstra Business Awards (they loved my business purpose, producing meals for people living with diabetes, but I didn’t get through as I wasn’t drawing a salary and other entrants were).

As we are always growing and learning, what is the one thing you would like to take time to learn more about?

Trading internationally.

The world is changing so fast and technology enables us to do so much more. We’re interested in which app you could not live without and why?

Lots: Shopify ecommerce store, Stripe payment system, Mailchimp, Trello, Saasu accounting, and all social media platforms.

Why did you decide to become a member of the Foodpreneurs Formula®

Until I joined Females in Food and saw I wasn’t the loser I was feeling like back then. Now I see many members have the same struggles I did and I totally got my positivity back. Since then, my business has grown quickly and we had our first $10K sales month in March this year. And I like sharing my experiences in answering members who are facing the same issues I did.


We love to celebrate the successes. Can you give us an example of how  joining the Foodpreneurs Formula has positively impacted your business? 

It’s been fantastic to see that the struggles I thought I was facing because I thought I was unfit to run a food business, are actually the struggles that everyone else has. The information provided weekly is amazing and things I wouldn’t have even thought about – it’s invaluable and joining changed my attitude and working life in my food business.

Thank you Leonie.

Want to read more about another successful member? Check out our ‘What’s Cooking’ interview with kombucha brewer, Helen Tricarico.