In the fall of 2014, I had no idea a Bakeathon was imminent. I have never told this story because it was so painful. Two days before Thanksgiving I agreed to make around 200 pies for a local market. The issue, this was my first year in business and I bit off more than I could chew.
I had been making pies since May 2014 and I was coasting along. Then I had the bright idea to solicit business from a local market with two locations. I was working out of a shared-use commercial kitchen. All was well with the world.
I took samples of the pies to the local market. They loved them. The pies were properly packaged, labeled and ready for sale. I sold 5-inch deep dish and 9-inch deep dish pies. I thought I had reviewed every aspect of how to produce over 200 pies. I didn’t.
I made the pie crust early, wrapped and refrigerated the pastry. I made the pie fillings, stored and labeled the filling. Yes, I was working in a commercial shared-use kitchen. The bottom fell out when I had to start the baking. I did not consider the production process. I didn’t calculate how many ovens I would use and how long it took to bake the pies.
With the help of my daughter, we baked for a solid 24 hours, no breaks, no rest, nothing. Baking, baking, baking. It was a horrible experience. After I delivered the pies, the following morning, my daughter had to go to work and I did too.
What was I thinking?
Have you ever asked yourself “why did I do that?” I truly bit off more than I could chew and didn’t allow enough time for planning or baking. I needed more help and a way to organize the baking process.
After the Bakeathon I reexamined why everything went so terribly wrong. My expectations were unrealistic, dare I say delusional for five reasons.
- Giving little thought to the production process.
- Not having enough production help (workers), (baking, packaging, and labeling.)
- The time needed to prep for and deliver the pies was insufficient.
- Allowing time to rest between baking times was non-existent.
- Clean-up was a laborious process that took longer than necessary.
My big breakthrough as an entrepreneur came that day. Every time I look back at working non-stop for 24-hours I know my thought process was irrational, but this is how you grow.Biting off more than you can chew is critical to becoming a successful entrepreneur. If you want to escape the 9 to 5 for a better life know that you will do the irrational. Click To Tweet
I say yes to pretty much everything now, but not for the reasons you think. I look at the most challenging tasks, projects as opportunities. And while I can’t take on every opportunity, my civic duty is to pass projects on to those who can do what I can’t. The biggest lesson I ever learned while working as a food entrepreneur is it’s okay to say no. There’s nothing wrong with being a little fish in a big pond. Be of service to others, and know that another opportunity will surface, that is perfect for you.