My “Don’t Yell” Face

Ever since I could remember, I always knew I couldn’t work for “The Man” forever. Although I served my time for many years in the corporate world, I learned a lot – particularly about what not to do. I learned that employees are still human, not robots, and that gratitude goes a long way.  I learned that even in 2017, there is a distinct difference between the way men and women are viewed and treated in the workplace. Call it confidence, ambition, or just plain ignorance –  but I truly believe anything is possible.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, demolish the wall, and build a door.

One day, around a kitchen table and without any real planning, I said f*ck it and became a business owner. Conscious Bite Catering began while I was still working a 50-60 hour corporate work week — and although I knew it would be hard, it had to be done. I knew if I stayed put, where it was safe with my salary and supervisors, I would continue to be unfulfilled. Fast forward two years, I opened Conscious Bite Catering with my two best friends and everyday we’re figuring out something new. Whether it’s how to ignite a pilot light or how to file payroll taxes — we’re doing it. It’s never perfect and it sure as hell isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’re now opening a beer & wine garden along with a new style of meal delivery service. We’re three women making space in a male dominated field and have never felt more at home.

My story isn’t an isolated experience, so if you’re reading this and you’ve hit your wall, here are a few rules that can help you with your f*ck it moment.

Rules for Entrepreneurs Under 30:

#1. Something always goes wrong

You might as well make a drinking game out of it, because if you stress everything that goes wrong, you’re going to lose your hair before you’re 50. In catering, there are so many moving parts that there is always something that goes wrong. Let me repeat that – ALWAYS. So it’s just a matter of finding what the problem-du-jour is and finding a solution to it. It’s that simple – No crying, no yelling — just f*cking figure it out, move on, and debrief on the issue once the storm has passed. Once you accept this as the golden rule, you’ll be fine.

#2. It’s Never Linear

If someone told you that opening a business was easy and you’re just going to follow a “plan” — they straight lied to you, my friend. Some days I wake up and I think I can take over the world, and other days I want to cry. But I’ve perfected my “don’t yell” face when things just look absolutely insane (see picture above). Whatever you do, take a deep breath, drink a bottle of water (or wine) and keep going. Never ever ever ever ever let giving up become an option. Because once it’s even on the table, you’re finished.

#3. Know your worth

I worked sales for many years and if there’s one thing I learned, it is to shoot high. If you’re confident in your service or product, why can’t you sell  it at a price you think it’s worth? Don’t lower your price because you’re afraid no one will pay. They absolutely will! Now, once they pay you have to make sure you execute. This leads me to rule #4.

#4. Do what you say you’re going to do

Honesty and integrity go a long way. If you say you’re going to send an email, send it. If you say you’re going to meet, show up. No matter what, do what you say you’re going to do. As a young business owner, you need to set a standard of professionalism so client’s take you seriously. One mistake and you’re out. And this leads me to rule #5.

#5. Build a Squad of Ride or Dies 

The experience I learned working in the corporate world is that I’ll never forget what it’s like to sit on the other side of the desk. I’ll never forget working 24/7 just to be told you’re not working hard enough. With the feeling of worthlessness, I vowed to never treat my employees that way. The idea that all bosses need to imitate Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada can’t be true.  Opening a business is hard enough already, having employees that are willing to ride or die with you is essential. With that said, a small thank you goes a long way. Tell your staff Thank You every chance you have — you’ll be surprised at the difference it’ll make. I’ve kept this philosophy of treating employees like humans and so far it’s worked out beautifully. My squad of Ride or Dies mean the world to me.

With that said, there’s always an ounce of crazy behind every entrepreneur because we’re building things that do not yet exist. Call us mad geniuses or whatever it may be, if it’s in your blood, you must do it. The promise of going to college, getting a degree and retiring from a company just isn’t plausible anymore. To create financial freedom, you must walk through fire. If you’re not terrified, you’re probably not doing it right. So on that note, believe in yourself and follow those 5 simple rules and you’ll succeed.

Cheers & Love, 

— Chef Alex

5 comments
  • Spot on

    • Thanks! Glad you think so!

  • Thank you Chef Alex for the great read!

    • Thanks Adam! Appreciate it!

  • You definetly have what it takes! What a great team 👍

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