First Steps

Key Considerations when choosing to take a Risk

Some people think it is brave what I am doing, some people think it is silly. I think it is neither but being honest to myself and I would like to pass on some initial advice if I may to those of you who are also thinking of taking a risk. I mean any risk that involves major changes in your life:

  • Speak to family and friends about it, because you will need their support when things are getting tough.   I know I will have to face challenges and that I will turn to the ones I care most about for support and advice.
  • Be aware that your circle of friends might change slightly. You might want to surround yourself with those who share the same passion and interests as you. But those that are close to you will want to enjoy the journey with you.
  • Do your home work. Do not just blindly follow your a passion. Be honest to yourself and think about whether it is just a hobby or interest or whether it is your vocation. Make a plan, build a network and prepare yourself in advance.
  • Have the financial ability to survive a good few months without a proper income. Being self employed means there is always uncertainty about when you next get paid. Have a backup.
  • Have SMART goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve, when and how. Think short, medium and long term and be realistic. Nothing worse than getting a sense of failure the whole time because you set yourself too high targets. You might deviate from your route in between because of money, time or other external factors which you cannot control, but never forget why you decided to take a risk.

Ok, so much wisdom on one page! ;p Please note that I have written the above at the beginning of my journey. I will add to it as I go along or perhaps you have some wisdom to share? Let me know and I will make a note!

xx

The Beginning of a New Chapter – Business Planning

So there I was…free as a bird. Stronger than ever.

I always had a passion for food, especially breakfast and brunches and German breads. Growing up in Germany, it was not difficult to fall in love with the breakfast culture. Over the years I had travelled a lot. I visited Uruguay for 6 weeks, then to Argentina, Spain, various cities across Europe, then to Australia for 3 weeks… So many new cultures, beautiful people, foods and traditions, all of which influenced my passion for Food and my upcoming food ventures.

I have had the idea of opening my own food business for about two years. But I was unsure when I should really go for it? When is the right time? I realised that I could always look for excuses not to do it right now! But I thought surely there will come a time, when it is too late! I did not want to wake up one day and regret I have not tried.

So I started my Business Plan about 1.5 years (on and off) before I actually left my permanent employment. Having returned from Australia in the beginning of 2014, I knew I had to do it. I have developed my concept on paper, I have done my research, I have assessed every possible competitor in town and I have saved up some money. I was ready.

I got out there and connected with people who shared similar ideas and passions and I came across some very exciting projects, which I got involved in.

Grow:Brixton – A mixed-used urban development made from shipping containers in the heart of Brixton. I am part of this project because I love the area I live in and I wanted to see Brixton grow and flourish. Thank you Mak and Will for welcoming me in the way you did. You definitely have the passion and dedication that will make any project a success.

Black Sheep Coffee  (Leave the herd behind) – A new coffee brand using Robusta beans as opposed to the more traditional Arabica bean. The brand was lunched by three entrepreneurs my age who also come from backgrounds in business. Thank you Max for having encouraged me to do what I want to do and having given me the chance to meet your team and get hand-on coffee-making experience.

Lambeth Food Partnership The Lambeth Food Partnership – I got a freelance job as Project Coordinator for the LFP and I will be involved in creating a more sustainable food culture in Lambeth. This is going to be super exciting for our borough.

I am partaking in CREATE – a programme to support food start-ups in the borough. What an amazing course, I can only recommend it to anyone who is looking to open their own food business in Lambeth.

Brixton Cornercopia  Start-Up Seminar – a neighbourhood restaurant, which has been running a successful business in the heart of the Brixton Village Market for five years now, has launched a seminar and one-on-one consultation for women who want to open their own food business. What a fantastic way to share your expertise. Thank you Cornercopia!

All of this illustrates that if you really want something, there are people who want to help you. And this is only the beginning of my journey…

 

Saying goodbye is the hardest bit…

My last day at work was quite emotional.

The past few months in the run up to this day were quite intense I must admit. Often I struggled to explain what I was going to do because I felt I spoke another language all of the sudden, a language that not everyone understood in my team. After all I was pursuing a passion without moving on to some other full-time job. What was I? An entrepreneur? not really. A freelancer? Yes, perhaps, for now anyway. A Foodie? Well no wonder they challenged me. But after all they meant well in challenging me. They care a lot and I am grateful for that. I am going to miss that crazy bunch.

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So my last day had arrived and it was officially time to say goodbye. The morning was fine, I had a big smile on my face, which was quite irritating to some of my team members. The afternoon was ok too, still smiling…but then around 4pm I got a bit wobbly. It started to dawn on me. I was going to leave a place that encouraged me to think big, that gave me security and payed my bills, nice dinners and holidays. I was about to leave behind my corporate career – because I had other plans for myself.

I could not wait to finally work on all my ideas full time. I had a lot of ideas, I have some start up money and the energy to make this all happen.
Once I sent my farewell email to everyone, I was overwhelmed by the responses. Tears started running down my face and I started to snivel when people stopped by to say goodbye. I left work with a mixed feeling of sadness and pure excitement. I thought to myself this is going to be good. This is going to be the start of a new chapter and I am taking my life into my own hand.
At home I cried. And I cried even more. So many emotions have built up over the past few weeks. Again I am leaving behind what I was so attached to for so long. Another break up. Saying good bye and letting go is the hardest bit..
I am so thankful that my three housemates were home when I got in. A few drinks and chats later my world looked much brighter again…Thank you girls ! x
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