“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell
If you haven’t already, I’d recommend checking out my last blog post “My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business” before diving into this one! The last one is truly my full story on why I left my job, how I got to launching BerryGood Bliss, and some of the challenges, fears, and successes I faced in that process. I really want to focus this blog post on the present, where I am now, and lessons learned.
The reality of starting your own business is that unless you get things handed to you on a golden platter, you truly need to start from the bottom and work your way up. It takes a hell of a lot of determination and believing in yourself and your company. I’ll be honest, going from working in a corporate setting to selling my products at local farmers markets is quite humbling. I no longer can wear nail polish on my fingernails because of working in the kitchen each and every day, to getting my hands and nails dirty while setting up and taking down my farmers market stand. I wear dirty converses, jean shorts, and a t-shirt every day. My hair is usually tied up in a messy bun. I usually smell by the end of the day (LOL). I’m running off of endless coffee, yet avoiding water since I don’t have time to run and pee during the market (also LOL). I can’t ever drive anyone in my car since it’s quite literally packed to the brim with a portable freezer, a 10×10 tent, a yeti cooler, tables, supplies, and so on. My beach weekends are now devoted to 5:30AM wakeup calls to work Saturday and Sunday markets. But guess what, I’ve never felt more fulfilled then I do now.
I’m not sharing the above to ask for sympathy or a pitty card, I simply just wanted to share the reality of the situation! This new lifestyle of mine certainly isn’t for everyone and that’s totally fine! It’s definitely not a glamorous job. It takes a lot more manual labor than you think. And honestly, had you told me this 3 years ago that future Calli would be selling popsicles at a farmers market I’d laugh in your face.
What keeps me motivated? Interacting with the customers. Learning about the people who are consuming my goods. What do they like? What don’t they like? Are they newly vegan? Have they faced health issues? Do they have a gluten allergy? Are they struggling to find healthy food that also tastes good? THIS is what keeps me motivated. Knowing that I’m positively impacting someones day, even if it’s through a simple, healthy popsicle! I LOVE that I’m able to touch every step of the process. From prep in the kitchen to selling directly to the customer. When you’re finally able to see your work appreciated by the consumers of your products, it feels as though I finally have a meaningful purpose, even if it’s through bringing simple pleasure to someones tastebuds!
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews
I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to work these farmers markets for so many reasons. The biggest and most meaningful has been the new friends I’ve met along the way. Through all the bad s*** going on in the world right now, I still see so much hope and potential in our little community here in Boston. I’ve met the kindest, sweetest, most personable, and supportive people. Sure, I’ve gotten a few negative comments here and there, but that comes with the reality of putting yourself out there. The positive people far make up for those few negative ones here and there. It’s amazing to see how supportive people are. They truly want to see you succeed and grow. Whether it’s women supporting women, young entrepreneurs, kind elders, or super ambitious college students who are just into healthy eating – you can tell they’re sincere in their support and interactions. I love getting caught up in conversations with folks who come by my tent. THIS is what I look forward to when attending the markets. I’ve had the opportunity to share my knowledge with folks and also have received a wealth of knowledge from those who have stopped by and started up a conversation.
I’ve always been taught that networking is KEY if you want to succeed. However, it’s important to be SINCERE in your networking verse being fake and trying to hard. There’s a fine balance between give & take. If you’re networking to quickly climb to the top, but never giving back what you get, karma can and will bite you in the bum! That being said, there’s 100% a right way to network. Let’s be honest, networking is part of human nature. It’s also a win-win for the BOTH of you if you connect and have things to share/offer to one another, while still establishing a meaningful relationship. That’s truly the power of building connections. It feels good to help someone out and most likely, there’s a future point in your life where that person will have the ability to then help you out in ways that you least expect. It’s especially important while building a brand and your own business to make these connections, show sincere interest, maintain relationships, learn & grown from one another, and ensure you’re portraying a positive reputation.
“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke
My overall goal from attending these markets this summer was to establish myself as a legitimate company in the Boston area, build my brand, meet and connect with a diverse group of people, and hopefully establish relationships with other small store/market owners. I’d love to be able to continue doing a few small winter markets to maintain the connection with the community, work with various companies and fitness studios to host events, while also stocking my pops & energy superfood balls in local speciality stores. Although these goals may seem ambitious to some, I just continue to believe in myself and what I’m representing. Sure, plenty moments of doubt seep in nearly everyday, but I do my best to ignore them and focus on the future.
So in summary, here are a few lessons learned from this summer so far in launching my business:
1. Be Open Minded & remain humble.
2. You need to start from the bottom & work the grind.
3. Assess EVERY opportunity. Don’t shut anything down right away.
4. Don’t beat yourself up if someone gives you negative feedback. See how you can use that feedback to only improve.
5. Reach out! Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
6. BELIEVE in what you’re doing. If you are truly passionate about your product/company, people will instantly be drawn in. Positivity is contagious.
7. You need to be put in money, to make money.
8. CONNECT. NETWORK. BE KIND. PERSONABLE. This will go a long way.
9. Social Media is your friend (and also FREE marketing).
10. Interact directly with your consumer. Learn from them and adjust accordingly.