5 Things I Never Knew Would Happen When I Started my Raw Food Business
31st March, 2017
Have you ever set out to achieve something and massively overshot it? Not just that, did it turn out to be something you could never have envisioned when you started out?
This is what happened to me with my raw food business.
When I found out about raw food back in 2004, I was still suffering with acne as a 28 year old. It wasn’t as bad as it had been in my late teens and early 20s, but it was still destroying my self confidence.
Having that problem in my life set in motion a set of events that means I’m sitting here writing to you as a successful raw food and wellness business owner. I’m not saying that in any way to impress. I’m saying it because I want to inspire anyone who has any idea desire, no matter how small, that they can start one too.
The world needs happy, healthy and connected people right now. That means it needs Wellness Entrepreneurs sharing their love for health and vitality, inspiring people to be healthy in every area of their lives. Maybe that’s you?
I see and hear from so many people that have so many gifts to share, but they don’t know how to build a business, which overwhelms them and ultimately stops them in their tracks.
If this is you, let me tell you this. If I can go from a standing start, as a guy with no formal culinary training, working at a supermarket, training to be a driving instructor, to being where I’m at now, you can do something similar.
Because of my experience, I understand the resistance. When you start to think about your own wellness business, you’ll experience Resistance. You know how this goes, it’s the familiar voice in your head that tells you why you can’t do it.
Before we get into the 5 things, let’s look at some common Resistance that might stop you doing the same…
“I don’t have the money”
This may well be true, you might not have very much money to invest in your business. I was in that position, after all, I was working in a supermarket at the time, which is a fairly low paid job.
I did what I could. I paid my monthly subscription for my blog, which wasn’t that much. I ran some classes and I produced my first set of eBooks. With each successful project I created the next level for myself. It’s called bootstrapping and it’s the way I’ve done things when I want to take things to the next level.
“I don’t have the credentials”
This was a big one for me. I truly believe you can get world class at what you love in a couple of years if you dedicate yourself to it.
There are clearly some things in life you do need formal training for. Doctors, surgeons and Rocket Scientists all come to mind.
But for the rest of us, a good amount of dedication to something we want to be great at goes a long way.
I found I could naturally come up with my own raw food recipes and take nice pictures to put up online. And when it came to making food for events or in kitchens, I kind of threw myself in at the deep end. Sure, I didn’t know all of the workings perfectly well, but I was sure of my love for the food and what I could do with it.
But even so, the doubt in my mind that I hadn’t gone to culinary school kept holding me back. It was the source of much heartache, and having more success professionally only seemed to make it worse. I had major imposter syndrome.
In the end I realised the fact I had done this on my own was a really cool thing. I started to take pride in the fact I’d got to where I am on pure passion and commitment.
“I’m not a natural entrepreneur”
I was not one of those kids at school that sells baseball cards at a profit. I was always just a hard worker, right from the first paper round I ever had at age 12.
Also, you can ask my Business Studies teacher how much entrepreneurial promise I showed in school. It was zero.
But I will say that as the years went on, I did get more and more frustrated with being an employee. I always found it very strange that I had to ask for time to go on holiday (vacation). Asking for my own time back seemed like a very strange concept to me.
So although I showed no natural entrepreneurial spirit, it started to develop. I believe it can develop in anyone at any point in life if the right opportunity is there.
“I don’t know what my specific passion is”
The phrase “follow your bliss” has been misunderstood, I think. I believe it’s more about following the clues left for you, by noticing what you enjoy. While we’re on the subject, “build it and they will come” isn’t true. But if you adopt more of a, “build something they want and you have a really good chance” mentality, you’ll be in a great spot.
Let’s talk about passion. Using the word ‘passion’ when it comes to building your business can be full of pressure. You’re not going to feel full on passionate 100% of the time about anything. So in those moments where you’re not feeling it, the doubt starts to creep in, “maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to be spending the rest of my life doing”.
I love Cal Newport’s take on this in his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
The title kind of says it all. Focus on being great at something and you’ll naturally get satisfaction from it and want to do it more. It’s OK to not feel passionate about something every single minute of the day. You still have gifts to give and fulfilment to be had.
Those are just a small selection of the full spectrum of Resistance that showed up for me, and still continues to in some way. My intention here isn’t to make it so you don’t feel the Resistance, it’s to show you that you must acknowledge it and move forward anyway.
So with all that said, what have been some of the benefits of starting my raw food business?
Here are my top 5…
1 – There is a certain amount of freedom
Being your own boss comes with the promise of freedom. That’s especially true when you’re sold the online business dream.
Promises of sipping green juice on the beach, working from your laptop whilst the cash rolls in are all over the internet and in our Facebook Newsfeed daily, it seems. I think you can tell from the way I’ve written that, it’s not quite that easy.
I’ve never been a fan of taking my laptop to the beach anyway, I think it’s an over romanticised notion. The reality is it’s difficult to see the screen on a sunny day, you’ll be squinting and worrying about getting sand in your keyboard. If I’m at the beach, I want to enjoy the beach, not work!
Any business comes with its difficulties. There are things you’ll need to learn, skills you’ll need to acquire and challenges you’ll need to overcome. But even so, it still comes with more freedom than a job. For example, I’m writing this in a juice bar, then I’m going to view a space we’re looking at moving into as a workspace. Then I’ll go back home and work some more and stop when I go to yoga this evening.
The 9 to 5 has its advantages too, but I can’t imagine working for anyone now. I’m truly unemployable.
2 – I get to create, which is a soul desire. It’s a non-negotiable
When I started out on this path, my current business was just a hobby. I loved to create recipes, refine them, photograph them and put them up online.
As all of the other business stuff came in, I found myself with less and less time to do the thing I originally loved.
During that process I found myself missing something. I missed the creative outlet. It’s not just that I missed it though. I couldn’t have carried out without making it a priority again.
As soon as I focussed on that original creative process again of, “what’s the next recipe?” everything in my life became more enjoyable again. I felt like I was back on purpose.
3 – I’ve made some incredible friends on my travels
Most of my current friends are people I’ve met through my work. Not only am I incredibly blessed to know these people, I love that I have such a variety of friends in different locations around the world.
They add a richness, wisdom and perspective to my life that I’m hugely grateful for
4 – I’ve found out what I’m capable of
The two quickest ways to find out who you really are, are to start a business and be in a committed relationship. Actually, there’s a third; do something that takes you to your physical edge..
But in this context, having your own business, no matter how big or small can be an incredible journey of self discovery.
There’s highs and lows. You’ll be tested and you’ll be rewarded. If you have things set up in the right way (I can help you with that here and here) it’ll be significantly more enjoyable and stable, which are the conditions I’ve found necessary for me to bring my full gifts and talents to the world.
5 – I get emails from people telling me I’ve made a difference
This is one of my favourite things. Who doesn’t like getting told that they made a positive difference in someone’s life?
I’ve always build my business with the simple motto in mind, “do what you love in service of people that love what you do”. I mentioned earlier that I live to create (that was a typo, it should have said ‘love’ but I like ‘live’ better), so what an honour and gift to know following what I love helps people and that I can call it my work.
If a raw food business is your specific interest, my colleague Karen Knowler and I are running this live 1-day workshop in London. There are also options for a homestudy version if you can’t make it to London.