Cookbook queen reveals success behind her empire
ARRIVING home late from work one night, the washing needed to be done, the house cleaned, the kids needed help with homework and to top it off, she had a hungry family to feed.
Kim McCosker reached for a cookbook for some inspiration but said she found that all of the recipes required more than 16 ingredients and had a complicated list of steps for a dish her family probably wouldn't even like.
Then she had an idea; surely there could be a way to make something with only a few ingredients that was quick and tasty.
And then the rest, as they say, is history.
It sounds simple, but this small idea has led Kim to pioneer a hugely successful cookbook empire, with a total of 36 titles to her name and more than $8 million made in profits.
Kim is the author of the Four Ingredients cookbooks, which have become a staple in the homes of not only families in Australia, but worldwide.
It has been 12 years since Kim launched her first cookbook with co-author and former business partner Rachael Bermingham, and she said she wasn't looking to slow down any time soon.
"I had absolutely no idea that the idea for a cookbook with recipes containing four ingredients would become this big," she said.
"12 years on and it's still gaining momentum and now people worldwide are starting to realise what they can cook with four ingredients.
"It only continues to grow in popularity and there are some exciting times ahead."
Kim has just published her latest cookbook, 4 Ingredients Keto, which will officially go on sale on Monday.
She said she wanted to "test the waters" and so announced her new title on social media earlier this week.
The response she received was overwhelming.
"I put up a post about the new book at 8am on Monday morning and by 8pm that night we had sold out of all of our stock," she said.
"Not since the very first title, have I seen such an intense market reaction to a cookbook.
"We thought it would be popular but we had no idea that it would be such a hit."
Kim said the idea for a book based on ketogenic diet, which is a low-carb, high-fat diet, came after seeing the results for herself.
After spending two weeks at a retreat in the Coast hinterland where she strictly followed a keto diet, she said she had dropped more than 5kg and felt better than ever.
"I know a lot of people struggle with weight loss and dieting and the keto diet is really popular at the moment so I wanted to see what it was about," she said.
"I saw some amazing results and any diet that lets you have bacon sounds like a good time to me."
This latest book follows a line of successful titles, and Kim said she worked hard to make each one more ingenious than the last.
She said keeping the four ingredient momentum alive over the past 12 years did not come without its struggles and hardships, but it was her passion for what she did that kept her going.
When she first approached publishers with the idea for her cookbook she said she received a lot of knockbacks and that it was hard to not feel disheartened.
"We couldn't get a publisher to take our calls let alone get in on the shelves at book stores," she said.
"If people had asked me then if I saw the trajectory... I would have said absolutely no way. It cost me $26,000 to publish the first 2000 titles and I had to take that out of the family mortgage.
"So all I wanted to do was to be able to pay back the funds my family had lent me and then it took off and I have just continued to build on that momentum."
While Kim credits passion and hard-work from her and her dedicated team as key to their success, she said she also suspected that her "rawness" was a big appeal to her market.
At the end of the day, Kim said she was a mum first and foremost to her three boys and for the most part her life followed the same routine as households around the country.
"Last Sunday morning I did a Facebook Live of my son and I making waffles in the morning," she said.
"It was real and raw, we were in our pyjamas and had just gotten out of bed, and it just shows to people that if I can do it then they can do it too.
"It's refreshing amongst all the glamazons on Instagram and TV and I think it just resonates with my market."
Before the success of her cookbooks, Kim worked within the corporate world and was constantly flying between Melbourne and her home in Brisbane.
She is now based on the Sunshine Coast, with her office located in the heart of the Moffat Beach industrial estate.
"As soon as we realised that my business could sustain our lifestyle then we packed up and moved here," she said.
"The Sunshine Coast has its own kind of magic and is just so supportive of small businesses. It really is the small business capital of Australia.
"I believe in creating your own luck but I'm also just so indebted to the region for embracing us. I grew up on the Gold Coast and all my girlfriends there want to move here."
When asked what her biggest piece of advice was for people looking to start their own business, Kim said it would be to take it one step at a time.
"Just do something. Momentum creates momentum and I'm always thinking what's the next step I have to take to do this?" she said. "Once passion and enthusiasm are involved then the world is the limit.
"I didn't think that 12 months ago I would be writing a book about the keto diet and then here we are today with 15,000 copies sold without any marketing involved.
"I don't take this success for granted and am so thankful for all of the support I have received."
While her new cookbook was yet to officially be released, Kim was already working on her next big venture.
Earlier this year, Kim represented Australia at the 2019 Gourmand World Summit in Paris, which proved to be a huge networking experience.
"Our trip to Paris was amazing and we have a lot of ideas in the pipeline since returning," she said.
"We also have an idea for a television show based on the Sunshine Coast. We have some amazing producers here and it would be great to showcase what this region has to offer.
"I definitely don't see us slowing down any times soon and I just see the brand getting bigger and bigger."
The 4 Ingredient Keto cookbook will be available at all good book stores across the country from Monday. For more information visit www.4ingredients.com.au.