I know there have been a lot of you who’ve been wondering, “When is the Yeti Chocolates Cafe going to be open for business?!?”
The short answer to this – “I don’t know…”
The longer answer to this question is as follows:
I had full intentions of getting a retail front open this winter. A co-worker of mine who I owe a huge debt of gratitude helped me write my business plan this summer for my dream retail shop. A chocolate cafe. A warm and inviting establishment where you can get classic espresso drinks, seasonally offered chocolates and a pastry in the morning if you arrive early enough. It is going to be awesome. And the numbers look promising. Everything felt on schedule for me to resign from fire. I even started checking out retail locations on Wenatchee Ave, the prime downtown location for setting up shop, and found an ideal location that would be available in June…
Then an unfortunate event happened that shook my world upside down and gave me an inconvenient but in reflection a necessary reality check…I discovered cracks in the grout in my shower and had to do an emergency remodel of my bathroom. Now, I’m sure to many this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, and in retrospect it probably wasn’t, but it gave me a lot to think about for the future.
I own my house here in Wenatchee and that at times can that can be a blessing as well as a curse. When things break, you either call someone to come fix it if you can’t do it yourself, or if you can, you save yourself some money and do it yourself. I chose option B for the bathroom, but it still cost me more than I planned, plus a month of the fall, when I was hoping to be spending that time straightening out my funding and making plans to possibly sign a lease and get this party started.
But it didn’t happen that way. Instead I spent a month being stressed to the max, working on my bathroom, and it made me really think about what I’m getting into getting this business started.
Now I don’t want you to think I’m cashing in the chips on this business, because I’m not, but I think throughout the summer I was being a bit unrealistic in my dream becoming a reality, and having a major issue occur in my house brought it all home for me. This and other scenarios kept popping into my head while working on my bathroom; “What happens when something breaks in the house when I’ve got the business up and running early on and I can’t take care of it myself because I’m working 80+ hours a week and can’t afford to pay for someone to fix it because I’m barely paying myself enough to pay my own bills?”
The intention has been to sink a ton of my own money into making this business work, to show that I’m committed to making it a success, but will I have a reserve in case the cheese hits the fan at home, or to me, or to my car? If I started right now, the answer is no.
There are so many of you who’ve been supportive and encouraging and persistent in wanting me to start this business and for that I’m grateful. I also know there are many who feel or think that I’m being a broken record when I say that, “I think this will be my last season in fire…”. I’m sure many don’t think I’ll ever get this business off the ground, and hey, I’ve had those doubts myself. I sometimes feel like Atlas trudging up the hill and never getting anywhere. It’s so stressful feeling like you’re letting everyone down because you have to hold off for one more year because it doesn’t feel right, but at the end of the day, I need to realize that I’m the only one that matters here. I’m the only one taking the risk, and I have no one to fall back on if this business fails, I have no husband, or second income to support me if I fail. I have me, and only me, so at the end of the day, even though it crushes me and stresses me out to no end sometimes, feeling like I’m letting everyone down because I have to tell everyone I’m putting my hopes and dreams on hold for one more year, that is what I have to do.
Starting a business is a huge risk, I know this. And it’s one I want to take, but at the same time, am I willing to accept that if this business fails I will lose my house, my car, most likely everything I own…am I willing to accept that? Right now – no I’m not. I’ve lost a fair amount in the last 6 years of my life and right now I’m not in a place where I want to lose all I own as well.
There will never be a perfect time to start, there will never not be a risk, however, I want to give myself the best chance I can at reducing the possibility of losing everything if this business venture doesn’t pan out. Put my best foot forward so to speak.
Someone once told me that you shouldn’t make a career out of something you’re passionate about because you will eventually begin to hate it, and it will ruin your passion. I don’t necessarily disagree with this person, but at the same time, I think you need to create the best environment possible to make yourself continue to love what you do. There are many who’ve tried to give me alternative options to get off the ground until I can make enough income to open a shop. I know they are well intentioned and appreciated, but I know in my heart they won’t work for me in the long run. Unfortunately, I chose one of the pickiest mediums to work with. Chocolate is heat sensitive and takes time to make. These two factors make many of the alternative options not really feasible. I’ve thought through alternative options, but in the end, I’m stubborn and maybe that will be my downfall, but I would rather wait until I can pull everything together to open this retail shop, then struggle through piecing other options together and make myself miserable in the process. Because that will make me turn on my passion, and it’s not something I’m willing to do. I know that there will be times when the shop will be open and I will be working long hours and have no life and probably be miserable, but it will be in the environment I wanted and created, and therefore the sacrifice will be worth it. I’m sure this doesn’t make a lot of sense to many of you, but that’s ok.
At the end of the day, I need to take the risk to start a business when the time is right for me, be confident that the risk is worth the reward, set myself up for the greatest possible success, and right now is not that time. I know that when I go into the bank, even though I have excellent credit and a killer business plan, they are going to look at my debt to income ratio and laugh me out the door. So I need to explore other options for funding, and find ways to lower my own personal debt. This might require me to wait a little longer to get things going, seek other funding opportunities, and put things on hold to do so, maybe for a couple more years. And that is ok. I need to be ok with that and accept that this news is going to be disappointing to a lot of people.
I’m not giving up, I’m just being realistic.
I hope you all understand.
Thank you for taking the time to read my monologue.