Passion into profits: Houstonians turn their big dreams into small businesses

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Turning your passion into profits
Meet the small business owners who are turning their passion into profits.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They keep us connected, allowing us to share our words with the world.

"It organically took a life on its own," said owner of The Bread Man Baking Company, Tasos Katsaounis.

Katsaounis started baking bread in his kitchen in March of last year. It was a pastime that he fell back in love with. He said as a small child, he and his mom would bake bread together. He shared some of his finished products on Instagram. His followers, which were mostly friends and family, were surprised with his talent, including his wife Roula Christie, host of KRBE's Roula and Ryan Show. They started sharing his photos.

"I realized maybe we have something here that's pretty special," said Katsaounis.

Katsaounis was a 22 year business consultant who lead a global team. Through Instagram, customers started asking to buy his bread. The demand grew in just months. And then, came his first big corporate client that changed the game, and gave him good reason to leave behind his consulting career.

"It got to the point where I was baking overnights while working from home during the day," said Katsaounis. "My first wholesale customer approached me through Instagram."

Katsaounis said his business is thriving, and he's expanding to a bigger location. Katsaounis is now selling his bread to hotels, restaurants and direct to consumers. His marketing budget is still at zero, thanks to Instagram.

Another Houston area business owner who found success on Instagram is Carrie Colbert. She was an oil and gas executive who said it was time for her to make a change.

"My personal stage of life had changed a bit, and I was wanting a bit more flexibility and to do something that I was a bit more passionate about," said Colbert.

Colbert started a colorful travel, lifestyle and food blog that evolved into a profitable website,

"Consistency and authenticity are the two keys," said Colbert about her experience with growing her nearly 95,000 Instagram followers.

Colbert is now a mom. She's been able to reinvent herself , make money, employ a staff and do what she loves most.

"There's never a good time to make the jump, right? We all crave what is comfortable and familiar," said Colbert. "I can tell you making that leap, although not easy, it's so rewarding."

Houstonians show how they're turning their passion into profits, hoping to make their side hustles a main job.

Not all small business owners can make the leap from a steady paycheck to a life of sometimes unpredictability.

Tia Williams has been baking cakes and cookies in her home for clients for six years. Her company is called Cakes by Tia. She's grown her business, but still works full time in business administration.

"It's usually 3-4 hours of sleep. Sometimes on Friday night I may not go to bed. It just depends on what I have to do," said Williams. "I'm at the point now where I'm getting too many orders, so I'm having to turn people down, unfortunately."

Williams said with two kids, a husband, and finances, she can't make the leap. But she hopes one day the numbers will make more sense to give her the confidence to go full-time.

"I do have dreams of one day opening a bakery, and being able to bake full-time. And be around my family more," said Williams.