You may not know that I have been working full-time in international marketing at a biotechnology company since Goldenrod Pastries began. Actually, I had the job for several years. I was working 40 hours per week, in a cubicle – and, actually, really didn’t hate it. I loved the stability and the company is amazing. My co-workers were drama-free and the work was great. I worked in strategic marketing and worked to build relationships with our distribution partners around the world. I love few things as much as I love meeting people from everywhere, and of course traveling to meet with them!
But my creative side wasn’t fully being fed. So, I started Goldenrod Pastries.
I figured that if I could keep a blog, sharing my recipes and baking experiences with you would give me a reason to bake all the time. The blog took more time than I expected and I found myself running late to work several days every week, because I had waited at home to get the perfect natural light for the last night’s pastry glamour shots. In May, I traveled to San Francisco for The Blogcademy, a blogging workshop that technically changed the course of my life. I thought it would be fun, but really didn’t think that my blog was a big enough deal for traveling across the country. My husband is the one who really encouraged me to go but I’m pretty sure everyone else thought it sounded dumb. Hubby won, so I went. After being around 25 other women with dreams, desires, and passions, I was more focused than I thought I could ever be. Kat, one of the instructors and owner of Rock n Roll Bride, said (in a nutshell): “You can be whoever you want to be. Whoever you have been in the past doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what people expect you to be.”
And that kind of changed things for me. My business started growing, without me even realizing it. I took about two orders every week for a month, then it doubled, more weddings were booked, photo shoots, etc. I took a step back after four months, in September, and thought, Wow, I guess I might have something. I started looking for bakery spaces pretty seriously in September, while keeping my full-time job, taking international work trips and vacations, filling orders, and writing blog posts. I thought I would explode and knew I couldn’t keep up that pace forever.
I tried for about two months to think of a way to keep my full-time job AND open a bakery, or at least keep my business moving forward. It seemed impossible to say good-bye to a steady paycheck, AMAZING benefits, and a job that I literally had dreamed of having. Added to that, I come from a family of non-entrepreneurs – people who work hard for the people they work for, and people who value the benefits of that lifestyle quite a lot. And I really admire that. Ultimately, keeping my job and working on my business wasn’t a fair way to think for myself, or for my full-time job. The company deserved better than 25% of my brain time, and my business deserved more than that, too. I thought long and hard. In conversations with my husband, I told him I would just quit baking and maybe just blog about it, so I could keep my job. “Do you honestly think you can cut off people who ask for a birthday cake?” he asked. He made a very good point.
The only thing that’s ever held me back is fear, I guess. I have no idea what is on this other side of not working for someone else. The pros are definitely not having to ask for permissions, going through approval processes, etc. – but the cons are more overwhelming. How are my paychecks going to look? Will I even have a paycheck? Is it going to be worth not having paid time off? AND WHAT ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE? The questions go on forever.
I’m really not sure how I made the final decision to quit my job and build a bakery. I found the perfect spot and signed the lease in January. Then I wrote my business plan and applied for a small business loan. I signed all of the paperwork for my business loan. I had an architect design everything and I hired a contractor. Somewhere in there I submitted my resignation, with my last working day as March 31, 2015. But if you asked me when I actually decided that this was the right option for me… I wouldn’t know what to tell you. Honestly? I felt some pressure in the small of my back that just kept pushing me forward. My mom thinks it was my grandmother’s spirit. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true.
Entrepreneurship is over-idolized in our #GIRLBOSS culture right now. I think that is really scary proposition, because there’s nothing wrong with working for someone else. My hairstylist/life counselor said: “The world needs all kinds, those who wanna run their own bakeries, and those who wanna work for the government, etc.” And she’s absolutely right. Owning a business isn’t for everyone – hell, I’m not even sure if I’m going to like it. I’ve left stability behind me, 100%. Something that I’ve never done before. I admire people who work full-time jobs because I know how much that has done for me and my family.
But there is one thing I know: When I imagine standing behind the counter of my very own bakery and manning the business that I’ve built, I get a little teary-eyed. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s how I decided to quit my job to run my bakery.
Photo Credit: Daniel Muller