I’m under-qualified. Who am I to start something? But you don’t become an expert by sidestepping your dream; you do it by building it.” The words launched themselves at me from a section of Glamour magazine that I rarely give a second glance before diving into any recipes or self-help advice I can use to better myself. I’m a work-in-progress.
The second part of the quote could easily have been written by me, just as the first portion is often asked of me by friends, family and even strangers when they hear of my latest endeavor…an online magazine celebrating the town I live in. “Aren’t you afraid of failing? What if this happens? What if that happens?” ”What if, what if, what if?” ”Blah, blah, blah“, is what I hear as their own insecurities are projected at me through their words. The bigger question is “What if I didn’t try?”
I’m a serial entrepreneur I started my first business when I was in elementary school. Two friends and I bought school supplies from the school bookstore and resold them to unprepared classmates, during class, at a higher cost. In middle school I branched out on my own and made chopsticks from pieces of scrap wood, in Shop class, and sold them in the cafeteria. Who wouldn’t want to eat canned corn and peas with chopsticks? We were kids and those chopsticks were the shit.
Between middle school and 2007, I stayed the straight and narrow path with “normal” jobs and didn’t try my hand at entrepreneurship again until 2008 when I started a home-based cookie company as a result of a dream I had during a nap with my then, 8-month old. Within weeks I wrangled customers like Audi, a couple of “Real Housewives” a few NBC staffers, US & Virginia government agencies and a slew of non-profits. After the first year I realized that I loved decorating cookies but hated to bake them. I kept at it for three years before closing my for-profit company and starting a non-profit sugar cookie company that solely donates custom-themed sugar cookies to nonprofits for their special events. My nonprofit is still in existence. I like knowing that a donated cookie can make someone smile.
My love affair with photography, another current endeavor of mine, began when I would sneak my Mom’s Polaroid camera and use up all of the film taking photos of kids in the neighborhood. Fast-forward to today and I’m a freelance photographer. Sports, live music and social events; all areas that interest me so, again, it doesn’t feel like work when you’re photographing what you love.
I live in a town that’s now popular because of two of its former residents, aka, the “White House Party Crashers“. My town is more important than that. We don’t have traffic jams, yet we’re a quick drive away from Washington, DC. We’re the “Canoe Capital of Virginia”. We are within 5 minutes of some of the best hiking trails in the country. I aim to prove that it’s not a town comprised of uneducated hicks. My online magazine is my latest “leap of faith”. I’m not afraid of failure as much as I’m afraid of never attempting something I’m passionate about.
The words from Glamour dance through my mind again. ”But you don’t become an expert by sidestepping your dream; you do it by building it.” Damn right.
Back again for another submission to the mah-velousness that is known as Yeah Write. Like to write? Check ‘em out. Prefer to read-only? Check ‘em out.