I never thought I’d grow up to be a business owner. “Entrepreneur” was never on my list of dream board careers. Although, come to think of it, I never really had a dream board. I’ve always been more of a, have a flicker of an idea and begin to build it before having the blueprints in place, kind of gal. This, I won’t lie, has gotten me into a few pickles in my life.
In myyounger years I was impulsive and forward-thinking. Not forward-thinking in thesense that I contemplated the immediate future and how my actions would affectmy life, but more in a, I can change the world kind of way. To be clear, Inever changed the world with this way of thinking. The most common worldchangers, I’ve learned, are those who make small intelligent changes in kind andconcrete ways every single day of their lives.
Once, I moved to Vancouver Island on a whim. I sold all of my worldly possessions, quit my job and with nothing more than a duffle bag and a pack of ciggys in my purse I set out for the West Coast. I’ve always had a pretty solid work ethic, between that and a strong economy packed full of entry level jobs I did not have a difficult time finding work. I was shacked up with my great grandma, who to this day was by far the coolest roommate I’ve ever had, and was feeling safe in my new life.
One evening a group of friends and I were drinking beers on this little rocky beach just a few blocks away from my home. The sand was still warm from the day’s sun beating down on it and the ocean water was refreshing and cold on our feet as we dipped them in.
Someone said, “Hey I wonder what is on that little rock island out there?”
“Let’s find out!” I cried because I was a few drinks in and looking for an adventure. I assumed that my beach friends would have followed me as I spontaneously ran over to the ledge where we sat and dove into the unknown water. Instead they all watched me in utter in bafflement.
Ashley, my now sister-in-law yelled after me, “what are you doing?! You’ve been drinking, the water is near freezing and there are disgusting fish in there!” Ashley, although quite the doer herself, has always been the more calculated between the two of us. If she were a strong and stealthy hawk, I’d be an erratic squawking pigeon with something to prove man.
The rock island was nothing special and there were indeed many, many disgusting fish which grazed my feet and legs while I floated there summoning the energy to swim back. Upon returning, nobody was impressed with my reckless impulse and they all made sure I knew that nobody swam in this bay. It just wasn’t done. I felt that I wasn’t too worse for the wear, although exhausted and possibly suffering from a mild case of hypothermia, I was okay. However I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t find any cool treasure on my excursion. And not to mention the parental like scolding I received upon my return I had to admit, my “fun and exciting” swim ended up bust.
I’ve grownup a lot since then, I’ve realised the value of my life and the lives around me. I am not a thrill seeker in that sense anymore. My body has become round and soft and does not bode well against physical feats of daring such as swimming long distance in oceans any longer. I still do, however, seek thrills in other ways.
Being a small business owner is scary, thrilling but more importantly it actually means something. There are challenges and excitement and so many moments of doubt it has become a daily exercise to quell them.
There are many times, when life is being especially rough on us with money problems, bad customers or both that I think about how we came to be here. I wonder if in part it was my foolhardy spontaneity that brought us to these difficult times. I wonder if I had only been a bit less hasty, thought the process out a bit more thoroughly, maybe the tough times could have been avoided altogether.
I do not mention Jamie in all of this foolhardiness because, in truth, the only flagrancy he possesses is a bit of road rage and doing nearly anything to make me happy. He is a wonderful and supportive husband. I often am baffled as to how I landed the guy.
The truth is, if spontaneity brought us the difficult moments of owning a business it has also gifted us the amazing moments too. By the tireless efforts of my obsessive advertising and Jamie’s amazing skill and hard work in this business we have built it from the ground up. We have made friends and adopted a loyal and loving community. We have donated our fare to charities and catered weddings. We have laughed with our patrons over silly puns and the sheer ridiculous size of our sandwiches. And some might say that we are simply a sandwich shop, but to anyone who looks a bit closer we are so much more. We are a Panini Tribe.
So I may still be a bit reckless in my way of approaching life. I like risks, especially when I can foresee them working out in my favour and I becoming a famous Panini Queen! I often do not have it in me to think of the danger involved. I suppose that is something I should probably work on. Because like wildly jumping off of a ledge into unknown water, in business there are many “what-ifs” and many many ways to sink. But if you have the skill, the drive and a bit of beautiful riotousness the difference is, you almost always will find some hidden treasures when diving head first into business.