Every week I try to reflect and look back on my progress, set-backs, and conflicts that arise while being a young small business owner. And I know I’ve said this before, but reflecting in any manner is difficult for me as I tend to live very much in the moment. And it wasn’t until yesterday morning that a friend of mine reminded me of feelings that I had unknowingly suppressed since I was laid off. I was feeling envy and jealously, two feelings I hate and I assume, everyone else does as well. But instead of rushing to the feelings that came back in wave, I took a day to sit with those emotions and ask myself why I was feeling these things.
I was comparing my day-to-day activities and accomplishments with my significant other, people I’ve never met on Instagram and Facebook, and other small business owners. Frankly it was getting to the point where every single ‘like’ or ‘follow’ determined my mood. Which is INSANE!! All this insanity and irrational rollercoaster of emotions came from the source of it all: my constant fear that I wasn’t doing enough for my business, for success. That somehow the number of followers I had on Instagram would indicate whether or not I was being a lazy shop owner. I wonder if other people, shop owners or not, have ever felt that way? Either way, it’s irrational and I hate it, so I made a conscious decision to continue to remind myself every morning that my success is not based on numbers, it is based on every effort I take to move my personal and professional life forward. Sometimes that means reading a book and taking a bath and other times that means going to very business in Downtown to hand out flyers for local free delivery on cookies.
So I’ll stop comparing myself and enjoy the slow days and busy days for what they are, individually beautiful and unexpected.
Starting a small business in Silicon Valley is not only the most wonderful experience I’ve had since moving here, but equally the most complicated experience as well. It seems anyone in a hoodie, sneakers, and that’s probably between the ages of 20-30 are either CEO’s or startup entrepreneurs. There is a lot of grey in the Bay and although many people come to make it big here, there is undoubtedly a lot of pressure on all businesses to grow in rapid succession.
What happened to keeping it small? One reason why I love Redwood City so much is because of their ability to manage big companies, small businesses, and a thriving downtown community. But overall when people ask how my business is doing, which is already a very complicated question that many people wants small and short answers to, it’s difficult to determine what they are really asking. Are they asking: Am I growing? How big? Are you doing well? Is this still your passion? What new and exciting projects do you have lined up? How are you doing financially?
So many questions! But just this one: How is the business? And it’s good. But I always feel people are really asking the bigger question. Are you growing? And the best, most true, answer I can give is, I don’t want to grow. I enjoy working on this passion project, this business, and this dream all by myself and with the occasional help from Rob.
I love doing this entire thing by myself. I’m able to control every aspect of the operation and for now I am so happy with maintaining this wonderful point in my baking career. Perhaps in the future it will grow and I’ll hire a few folks, but perhaps it’s OK to just keep something sacred, keep it small in Silicon Valley.
And perhaps it’s okay to keep it small without the pressure of starting an app or turning a business into a franchise. Perhaps it’s okay to keep it local and authentic without having to ‘impress’ the venture capital firms or investors. And with that being said for now I shall keep this Lab small and manageable, all the while keeping up with other projects, new projects, and new adventures, and self-care.
So folks, be prepared for some kick-ass Valentines Day sales, a literal adventure involving a close artist friend, and my new venture: finding another job (rent is expensive guys!).
Stay tuned and like always I want to hear from YOU!
Have you experienced anything like this?