We are two weeks away from the anniversary of taking over this little coffee house of ours. One whole year! It flew right by, like time usually does, and I'm here to share some lessons this past year has taught me (and Luc).
First and foremost, I made the right choice when I left my career and bought this little gem. It felt right at the time, but I knew I had to actually do it to know if it was truly right. One year later (which is basically a minute in a lifetime) I can say that this was the right move not only for myself, but for my husband and us as a couple. I won't repeat everything about the Fibromyalgia portion of my decision, but I'll tell you that my happiness factor has gone up higher than I though it could. I feel so free! Yes, a business it a lot of work, but it's work that I actually WANT to do. AND, bonus, my eleven years as a therapist, the years of learning to balance Fibromyalgia, and the time spent in therapy and with doctors, has taught me to listen to my body and not push myself to my breaking point, like I did for so long. So, it was the right time to go ahead with business ownership because I learned to respect my limits and, most importantly, not letting others' opinions, comments, and unconstructive criticism get to me. I really believe these lessons need to be in place PRIOR to becoming a business owner. Because it could quite easily be all consuming.
That being said, I learned A LOT in the last year and I thought I'd share with you guys because I'm sure you're all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to read this LOL.
Moving constantly is great for Fibromyalgia. Staying on your feet or on your ass isn't.
Having a business is a lot like having 17 toddlers, because you're constantly cleaning messes. The ins and outs are frequent and you will have to clean the table that you JUST cleaned, another 18 times. You'll have to clean up the coffee messes, the messes you yourself make, and close the garbage lid four hundred time because people are often in a hurry and who can blame them. Let the record show, cleaning the bathrooms is the worst part.
Along the same lines, floors get really dirty, really fast, especially with the spring.
You have to learn to accept free stuff and compliments. I've always found it tougher to accept a compliment or a gift that to be criticized. But, people will give you gifts and will compliment you sincerely and they mean it. So smile and say thank you.
You have to do what's best for you and your business. Sure, something may have worked for someone else, but it doesn't mean it'll work for you. Sure people will criticize your choices and are often turned around with change. But, it's actually impossible to please everyone, so stop trying. People will either like change or feel uneasy around it and that's okay, they're allowed but that doesn't mean you have to please every little thing. Basically, you do what functions for the general population and then the rest is the rest. You'll either be able to make accommodations or you won't. Also, people have and opinion about EVERYTHING. I mean all of it. From your wall colour to your clothes. So take the good, leave the bad.
You'll be forced to be involved with the town politics, as they affect you and your business. I dislike politics in general, it's always a debate because few people actually agree of this topic. It's like talking about religion, it's pointless. It's an endless debate that will inevitably lead nowhere because these conversations are usually with other people like yourself, you are speaking casually. Don't sweat the small stuff and choose your battles. Unfortunately, to my discontentment, I've had to get involved in certain things, which I'd honestly hadn't thought of. But in the end, it taught me to do what's right for me and my business, because at the end of the day, that's what matters and what pays your bills. Now, enough of that because I don't want it to get political.
Weird shit will happen. Fork theft, milk theft, honey bottle theft, someone emptying all the roll of paper towel in the bathroom in its entirety for no apparent reason, people moving the furniture around. Laugh it off.
You will make mistakes, it will happen, because you're human. I forget to give orders to the chefs, I forget to make drinks (mostly glasses of water), run errands, print invoices, and I'd likely forget my brain if it wasn't in my skull.
Stress is avoidable and is relative. Each person has a different tolerance to stress. To be clear, I don't mean anxiety, I mean stress, which is brought on by external factors that you can choose to ignore or brush off. Some people are just miserable and well, you're better off to kill it with kindness. Also, you will run out of some products, don't stress over it, it happens everywhere and really isn't a big deal.
Simplicity is always the best option. ALWAYS.
The good days will far outweigh the bad ones. OF COURSE I have bad days event hough I own the place. When you serve three miserable people in a row, and you mess up orders, and your entire body aches because you're in a flare up, it sucks. So go home, rest and remember that tomorrow will be better.
Finally, I dislike being a landlord.