Everything in between

The first step is always the scariest…

…but also one of the most exciting and unforgettable.

As I’ve written before, I am starting a new business. A “personal cook” business here in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I’m at the stage of promoting my blog and my Facebook page, and I have just joined Instagram (@annacooks4u), after several years of reluctance. I wasn’t afraid of the app. I just didn’t want to have one more account, one more login and one more password to memorize. Apart from e-mails and Facebook, I thought I had everything that I needed.

Turns out, I didn’t.  If you want to kick-start a business, you have to put yourself out there. By “out there”, in the technology era, I mean “be on social media”.

So, after thinking over my idea to start this new business, I finally had the courage to create a Facebook page. However, it wasn’t enough. I needed to engage more with other people, especially people who have been in this business for far much longer than I have. I needed to get the habit of reading other people’s blogs, to learn how they do it and how they get people to enjoy what they write.

Once I started this blog, I began to connect with several other people who share similar tastes, preferences, and ideas. What blew my mind was the willingness of so many people out there in the world who are willing to share their knowledge; to teach us, newbies, some tips on how to write a blog, or how to take photos of  food, for instance.

You might think I sound funny when I say how amazed I was at “meeting” these people. Perhaps even how out of touch I had been from my own era. I mean, I was born in the 80s, when technology took a major leap with guys like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. I should be a lot more into technology, right?

Let’s just say I was lazy. I was comfortable with buying or borrowing books, and reading magazines. Emailing people or putting ads on local papers seemed to be good enough for me.

That is not the case, however. People have so little time to read emails or the newspaper nowadays that I was wasting a valuable amount of time investing in media that was giving me very little return.

When I opened up to this “blogging world” and saw the amount of information that is available to everyone – or to many people in the so-called “free” world – is mesmerizing!

And when I finally decided to listen to my beloved Blair, I took that step.

I created the Facebook page, this blog, and an Instagram account. Hooray!

However, I still felt fear. Fear of failing. Fear of having all these accounts and no one look at them.

Blair said “Just write. Write what’s on your mind. Write whatever you want. Don’t think about what other people might think.”

So, again, I did it.

Then, I started “following” some blogs, interacting with some of the bloggers, gathering valuable and free information that can help me set up my own personal cook business.

What was I afraid of? That once I had those accounts set up that my “business” would be official. It’d become real. People would start noticing it, analyzing it, judging it.

For as long as my business had been an idea, it was safe inside my head, in my thoughts. It was perfect, flawless, and protected from other people’s judgement.

But now that it’s out there (on social media, not a physical venue), I am very excited! I’m terrified too. The fear of failing, of not pleasing everybody still looms over me. I think it will always hang in the background of my mind.

However, fear should not hold you back from doing the stuff that you like or that you believe you’re good at. I believe that fear keeps you guarded. Controlled fear makes your brain think about possible solutions for things that might go wrong. Because sometimes things DO go wrong, especially in businesses. If you have a look at New Zealand’s Food Control Plan (some of the documentation that I’m slowly going through so I can set up a legitimate food retail business), you will see that for everything that the plan suggests a retailer needs to know, there is another suggestion of what the retailer should do in case the original plan doesn’t work. It makes total sense. I am a strong believer that, in life in general, we need plans A, B, C…Z.

If you want to succeed, then you spend a lifetime of trials and errors. Intelligent people take their mistakes as lessons for future trails. That doesn’t mean they are fearless. Nevertheless, they don’t allow that fear to stop them from trying.

The first step is probably the hardest. But it can be the most rewarding too. How could I know that? By taking that first step.

And up until that moment when the client takes the first bite, my heart is pounding, I’m squeezing my hands so hard they get sore. That all goes away as soon as the client gives that “humm” and compliments the food straight away. All my muscles relax and a wave of tranquility comes over me… for only a couple of hours or until the next order comes through.

But that’s the way it is! Even though I still get really nervous when someone says they wish to try my cooking – I don’t think that anxiety will ever go away – I still get up, go to the kitchen, and start making whatever it is that they ordered.

A typically Brazilian ranch-type of kitchen, with a wood fire stove. Photo taken at a Rancho Parana, DF, Brazil.



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