Friday, March 29, 2013

years of distress


Disclaimer: I am actually in a good mood. And how couldn't I be? I got home the next day for the past two days from the kitchen. (As in, I arrived early in the day and then stayed until the morning of the next day.)

Anyway- I think the key here is in the "epiphany". You know when you get to that point where you just need something, something to make it better, a little "a ha" moment to keep you from totally losing it?

I think I had one of those yesterday. It was great. It was like I was underwater, drowning and panicking because I knew I was drowning and hadn't passed out yet and then suddenly got oxygen.

I cannot tell you the whole story, because there are still about eight billion hours of details I need to sort out, but I will tell you this: this week is the two year anniversary of me attempting to make a living through Zimt.

And quite frankly, the progress, or lack there of, is getting a little embarrassing.

Maybe you haven't recognized it yet, because you aren't "in it" like I am, but let me tell you, at this rate,  pathetically unfortunate is what comes to mind. And it is a classic case of the entrepreneur: you get so busy working in the business, that you don't work on the business. I got so busy making chocolate, trying to keep up with orders, that I haven't gotten things to grow as they should.

In my defence, though, I have done quite a bit, and I think you would agree, but still- no where near as advanced as it should be by this point. Not even close. Also in my defence, and also as a fault- I really had no idea what I was doing for about the first seven months of Zimt and was just trying to figure something out that may work. Let's take a look back at my three options:

1. Stock trading: I made a pitiful attempt at making this my means of earning a living. Really did not give too much effort to this, because I a) had Zimt going on, and was trying to be busy with that (and chocolate wins every time. Every time.) b) couldn't figure out how to trade ethically (though it can be done I'm sure. I realistically looked at the situation and realized it would be a lot of hard work with very little room for creativity. And for an ADD head like myself, this would simply not do.)

2. Modelling: Cannot even believe I gave this a go. Even less of an effort than the trading, and rightly so. As a dear friend put it: "Emma- you modelling at any "professional" level is ridiculous. You're short. You're 23. You're done. And the industry is crap- you know that." Indeed I did! But I am a glutton for punishment and having lots of photos of me posing, so I gave it a bit of a go.  All the while knowing that it was… ridiculous. Met some nice people in the process, so I will give myself that. (P.S.- totally let myself go since I gave up on this dream.)

3. Working for an established company: Oh wait- I never actually did this. At least not beyond part time jobs throughout school. I had no self confidence that I would actually be able to get a decent job, let alone keep it. Plus, I didn't want to work for anybody else- now was the time of life to go for something a little different, while I had few responsibilities.

4. I forgot there was a 3. Anyway, the 4th option was to start my own business. Did it.

And here I am- two years into having Zimt.  Two years of Emma making happy vegan organic fair trade raw chocolate and trying to get it out there and make the world a better place. Pretty cute!

But not at all. Not cute anymore- not even close. At this rate, I will be 35 and still scraping crud off of somebody else's kitchen floor and driving home in my smart car that is crammed full of boxes and garbage and who knows what at 2am and my brain won't be working anymore because I am exhausted mentally and emotionally and physically. And I will think "I remember when I was 23, and thought this could go places. And how it would get me out of a kitchen so I would never have to cook another thing again, and not have to scrape crud off the floor, and how I could build this up and be free to travel and spend time with my loved ones and do nice things for them and for myself. But somewhere along this little journey, I screwed things up big time. And that is why I am thirteen years into this and still am the one washing dishes and packaging."

I really don't want that. And I don't think anyone would want that for me, unless they hate me and want me to suffer and feel horrible for a long time.

So, this epiphany- it isn't cute. It probably isn't the route that everyone who thinks I am cute and Zimt is cute and progressing and amazing would imagine, but I don't think that this is very important.  I think that what is important is for me to actually get this company going- beyond cute, which is quickly turning into jaded and depressing- in a manner that is efficient. Working smart vs working hard. I think that what is actually important is to build properly and to ditch being cute for a bit. Because cute is going to fade fast at this rate!

Zimt is still going to be organic, vegan, fair-trade, and raw (except for the beans in the new cookie doughs- those are cooked. Please remember that there is a ton of nutritional value in many cooked foods and that just because something is "raw", this does not make it better than something that is cooked.) and as ethical as possible.

Only now, it is going to be making a life that is better for me and for those I love and, ultimately, for everybody affected by my company.

This is really what I want- to just focus on things and to get them going because I've seen the future, I am in it! It is not cute at all. 

Stay tuned, please!