Be Your Own Boss, How-Tos, Latest News

From Side-Hustle to Full-Time Dream

Updated February 23, 2022 – 2 hours after this post published. I found the business plan for my new project! 🎉😁

Hey fellow humans! I have some scary exciting news to share! I hope you’re doing well and I’m really glad you’re here! If you’re interested in being your own boss, I highly recommend reading this article. Be prepared to be vulnerable, called out, and encouraged to pursue the business you have always wanted, but never started. Today’s the day to say “never say never”.

Wannabe Entrepreneur

For years and years, and a few years more, I have tried to create work for myself by starting home businesses. Bingo ads, an ecommerce website, bookkeeping, business consulting, and SEO writing have been my attempts to launch a successful startup (does driving for Uber count?). There were times I actually did generate some income from home, but immaturity and lack of discipline hindered any sustainable progress.

As a career single mom, I have always known the value of being able to generate income from home. When you’re paying $800 a month for childcare 🥺, you start to consider your options. I knew I had profitable ideas and the ability if I could somehow develop a system to “rinse and repeat” what I had discovered. At the time it just didn’t occur to me that establishing a successful business is a matter of priorities. Mine were pretty out of whack in those days, so it’s no surprise nothing I started really took root.

Learning to fail – well

I’m hardly beating myself up though – and if you’re still reading, you shouldn’t either. Self-degradation and lack of understanding our value and worth is exactly what will cause us to fail every single time. So we won’t be having any of that here. It’s one thing to know we are frail and flawed, so we can see where we need transformation. But allowing oneself to be consumed by self-referential thoughts and attitudes, or worse yet, the opinions or perceived thoughts of others, leads to a bitter and fruitless end. The whole point of this blog is to be a sandbox and safe haven to launch ideas and encourage others to do the same. My un-asked for opinion? We (I) need to learn to fail better. Failure does not mean something is over. It literally means we have tried something and just didn’t get the intended result.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

– Michael Jordan

I’m sure many folks have heard that Thomas Edison had over 150 “failed” inventions before he developed the light bulb, likely his most notable invention. Can anyone recall any of those innovations that flunked the test? I know I can’t, not without asking Google anyway. But as I always told my kids, life is an excellent teacher. No one leaves home knowing everything they’ll need to know in life. Not understanding that, as much as I couldn’t wait to leave home it was quite the daunting experience. All these years later, and with a few failed business experiments under my belt, I started to wonder why I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur if I didn’t even know what I really wanted to do, or how to do it?

Could this be “The Big One”?

From 2015-2020 I learned all about olive oil. Sounds weird, right? It did to me anyway. After losing a really good job and beautiful house, I was desperate to do anything to feed my family that wasn’t illegal, immoral, or fattening. It was either late May or early June when my dear friend Denise invited me to lunch with she and her lovely mother Barbara (Ay, qúe chula!!!). They didn’t know, but I was about as depressed and doubtful as I had been in this life. Their invitation was a ray of light into my darkness. So what does this have to do with olive oil, you say?

If it weren’t for my dear friends, I would have never known about the store – or experience that would change my life. On our way to lunch my friends wanted to stop at this olive oil shop to pick up a housewarming gift. I never knew there are entire stores devoted to selling olive oil and various vinegars. And this wasn’t just any market. It was a Tasting Room. You could mix and match oils and vinegars and taste your brains out with all the flavors that were offered. It was like heaven for foodies. And the product is superior to everything you can buy in our grocery stores (most of that stuff isn’t even olive oil!). The quality of the product and the business concept won me over. I was in love…with olive oil!

So this quaint little gem in the Las Vegas desert was collecting phone numbers for a drawing. The winner would get four miniature bottles of oils and vinegars in a cute little gift set. I don’t remember if my girlfriends entered the drawing, but I know I did. Because I won! I just happened to be “available” (unemployed) when the call came through, so I jaunted right over. The store was family-owned and I met one of the daughters while picking up my prize. When I told her how excited I was to use the gift set, she told me I would be a really good fit with their company and asked me if I wanted a job! This woman had no idea that I was unemployed, desperate, and sinking in doubt that I could find a decent job again. In fact, she didn’t even work at the store!!! She just happened to be visiting her sister who was the manager. So of course I jumped at the opportunity – the job and the chance to learn all I could about a product that has wonderful health benefits and could drastically change my cooking game. It didn’t take long to realize that I had passion for both this product and the business model. That passion drove me from working just a few hours a week to becoming the full-time store manager, and ultimately the business manager for all three stores. Had the course remained steady, I would have happily continued to build up that business. But alas, what course do you know that doesn’t change?

Why self-employment?

After all I have seen and experienced with others being in control of job security, I’m starting to say, “why not self-employment”? This world is so volatile in so many ways. Even in my ignorance and lack of experience I could see in my early working days that I was working for others who had blazed a trail and now needed help supporting their progress.

I have always said that unemployment doesn’t look good on me (no, really). I like to work! I like to be active and engage people, and know that my efforts are doing something good. So it’s never been a problem to have a boss. And boy, have I had some doozies…like you probably have too if you have much work experience. Steady work usually equals a steady paycheck, so I have always been happy to provide for my family. Unfortunately, that steady check has skewed my ability to see my own potential. Don’t get me wrong – I am convinced that every single gig, project, job, or contract I have worked has prepared me for the next job. On-the-job-training is my education. All of these experiences have prepared me to do something really crazy – like open Las Vegas’ premiere olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting room and fine foods market. There, I said it out loud and it’s on the Internet forever. It’s high time to blaze my own trail.

Now what?

Well…I get lost sometimes when I’m looking into the future, but I can say that today is the day I start re-assembling my olive oil store business plan. When this dream was first kicking around in my head, I had a detailed business plan with pricing, marketing, startup costs, all the initial “stuff” you should have before you launch a business. I had my business name picked out, social channels set up, everything but the money was in place. And because of previous experiences, I told myself it wouldn’t happen and filed everything in the circular file. DOH!

It’s ok, I learned something. 😉 As for what happens next, I will need to put that business plan together again, but resolving credit card debt and saving money are at the top of the list, right next to developing recipes for all the amazing olive oils and vinegars we’ll carry – someday.

What’s your story?

Out of all the crazy dreams and ideas in your head, what would you do if you knew how to do it and had all the resources available? Would you start a business, or a community group, a maybe a local charity? Perhaps starting a blog seems scary enough that you might want to try it! Whether or not you want to share in the comments, I’m encouraging you to do that thing that you have always wanted, but never pursued, or if you’re like me, maybe even sabotaged your own plan. It doesn’t matter! We only have so much time together on this planet, so what are you waiting for? Try something. Fail at it. Forgive yourself and keep going. If this single mama with no special pedigree can do it, so can you.

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