Anyone who has ever expressed interest in wanting to learn something new or do something that scares them every day should definitely consider starting a small business. I will be honest with you, I live in constant fear. Sometimes of little things, like missing an important phone call or not being able to receive a delivery. Sometimes of bigger things like having the budget for crucial pieces of equipment or, of course, the biggest thing of all failure.
Have you ever found yourself praying to the plumbing gods? No, not like that time in college when you were hugging the toilet but actually praying that copper pipes dont fail or that a valve is in stock at the closest supply shop. Or been asked questions that you havent the first idea how to answer.
Over the last few months one inquiry that I have answered repeatedly is the whens-opening-day question. So close! Almost there! And I believe it every time! But inevitably a toilet springs a leak or something is backordered or a job isnt finished for lack of supplies. There are whole days where I barely even utter the words ice cream. Instead, I hear myself saying egg shell or vacuum breaker or access panel. I am often carrying boxes or cans of paint and coming home covered in sawdust rather than sugar. Its a strange time indeed.
On the weekends when construction ceases, I head back into the kitchen to continue to test and develop and perfect recipes and formulas, and try to nail down things like cost and ingredient sources. I think about marketing and how to approach wholesale accounts. I stress over flavor selection, trying to make sure theres something for everyone while remembering our mission and what makes our ice cream unique. My nights are usually spent in front of the computer, rearranging spreadsheet inputs and interpreting numbers, trying to be certain that Im not missing anything critical, or researching trends in both small business and the food/ice cream industries.
Were living in an odd limbo period in which Im very much ready to start this business, and yet not entirely ready just yet.
And yet through all the headaches, the backaches, the looming budget, the scrapes, the sleepless nights and the fears, I truly cannot complain. At the end of every night, I get to go to sleep knowing that Ive made some progress throughout the day or learned something new or accomplished something that I started out thinking I couldnt possibly achieve. I know that every waking minute Im working hard and am sometimes incredibly frustrated, but what Im working on is something about which I am so passionate and so excited, and Im so lucky for being able to do so.
Starting a small business is incredibly frightening. Its taxing both physically and mentally, and there are fleeting moments during which I wonder what on earth Ive gotten myself into. But Im quite certain that with the first cone that I serve to a fellow ice cream-lover, I will know that it was worth it all.
When is opening day, you ask? Soon. Very, very soon. :)