I’ve always been kind of jealous of the people that knew what their “calling” was. I was never one of them. I never really had any idea what my "purpose" was in life, or what I was meant to do professionally. In fact, for as long as I can remember I felt completely lost, going through life looking for my "moment of enlightenment".
Thinking about it, it feels like it took me forever to get to where I am today: to figure out what my skills are, and how I could possibly start my own business and help others achieve their goals.
I grew up in a small mountain town in the south of Germany. A beautiful place, but I always felt like I didn't belong there. I was 19 when I left - I was so excited to see the world! I ended up in Australia and somehow convinced my parents to let me study there (I guess they always believed I would come back after this "phase" - little did they know...).
After I graduated from Business School (I studied Business because - let’s be honest - that’s what everyone does who doesn’t know what else to study), I got a job working for an international consulting company. While it was a great experience, I wasn’t following my passion. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I felt restless.
So I did what anyone in my situation would do: I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2011, hoping I would find my “enlightenment” there.
Long story short, it didn’t happen. What I found instead were two friends - a chef from Thailand, and a tour guide from England - who had the crazy idea of opening a restaurant together. What they were missing, however, was someone organized, someone to help them with the "day-to-day stuff”.
And just like that, I had become a partner in a startup in Argentina.
The first year of starting this business was one of the most exciting years of my life. We were living together and running our “dining experience” from our apartment. We basically welcomed guests from all over the world into our home, gave them a gastronomical tour of Argentina, and got drunk on red wine with them, night after night. We had no overheads, no staff, no worries.
But unfortunately, it didn’t stay like this. But we wanted more. We had big dreams, big ideas - we wanted to put "The Argentine Experience" on the tourism map of Argentina.
We found an investor, at the time Argentina’s number 1 poker player (of course, a great business addition to our “team of experts”) and moved to a new location: a 2-story restaurant in the best part of town.
Our team of 3 quickly grew to a team of 30. It was crazy. None of us had any idea of how to run a business, let alone a "real" restaurant.
We spent all of the initial investment before we had our opening night. And I’ll never forget, that first night we had a grand total of… 4 guests. It was a nightmare! Our costs had suddenly gone from $1.000 a month to $20.000 a month! And we didn’t have nearly enough clients to be even close to breaking even.
The 4 years to come were hard. I could write an entire book about my time in Argentina, all our mistakes, and everything we went through to keep this company afloat. It seemed like whenever we dealt with one problem, we were facing 10 new, even bigger problems. Those 4 years were the most stressful and difficult years of my life. We were struggling with the immense pressure of having to make this business a success, working 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week. We never saw a cent of profit in those 4 years.
I was burnt out. I felt alone. I got depressed.
I finally left Argentina in January 2015 and moved back in with my mum. I had no money and no idea what I would do next.
I eventually took the offer of an old friend to come and work for his business: an online marketing agency in Cancun, Mexico.
In the months to come, I learned a lot. Not just about online marketing. I started to understand what I had actually achieved in the previous years, the skills I had developed, and that it was, in fact, not “normal” to start a business in a country you don’t know, without speaking the language.
Very slowly I started to build my confidence again. And for the first time in a long time, I focused on myself and on what I wanted to do with my life. I realized that working for someone else or going back to the corporate world was not something I wanted to do.
I knew I wanted to create a business that allowed me to live in different parts of the world throughout the year. I knew I wanted to help others. And from my experience in Argentina, I knew I didn’t want to have employees or the stress of having to make enough money to cover high monthly fixed costs.
I started taking online courses to develop my skills in areas I was interested in. I surrounded myself with other entrepreneurs. I came up with different business ideas and talked about them (with a lot of different people) to evaluate them.
And that’s when it happened: I had my moment of enlightenment. Believe it or not, it happened because of an online course I took. It was one statement, one piece of advice that completely changed my life:
“In order to create a successful business, you must combine your passion with your skills and solve a common problem within your target market.”
I had been looking at things the wrong way this whole time! Once I understood this, everything changed.
Suddenly things started to make sense: Food is my passion, it always has been.
But what about my skills?
Even though I secretly wish I was a famous food photographer, I knew that my skills lie in a different area: marketing, strategy, and business development.
And from my time in Argentina where I had met countless other food entrepreneurs I knew that there was one thing they were all struggling with: growing their brand and getting in front of their target audience.
It took a few weeks of thinking, talking about it, and fine tuning my idea but I knew I was onto something. As I started to design my business in my head I realized how everything I had learned and experienced in the past 10 years allowed me to now shape my future. I knew exactly what I did and what I didn’t want.
And the more I spoke to other people, the more I realized that I was, in fact, not the odd one out, but that there were many people just like me who want something more from life but have no idea how to get there!
I started this business with one goal in mind: to share my knowledge and experience with like-minded food lovers hoping to partake in a similar journey of transforming their passion into a profitable and successful business!
Happiness to me is knowing that I made a positive impact on someone else's life. It's what gets me out of bed every morning.
Starting this business hasn’t been easy. I’ve had moments of failure and self-doubt (plenty of them!). There are days when I want to give up. Days when I feel lonely and overwhelmed.
But I also have moments of absolute happiness, moments when, for the first time in my life, I feel fulfilled - when I receive an email from one of my students telling me about one of their recent success stories - something they achieved because of me. Or when I get a comment on one of my Instagram posts from someone saying I inspired them. Me!
It’s those moments that I make it all worth it and that keep me going. It's those words that I remember in moments of doubt and insecurity.
And even though I have no idea where this will take me, there's one thing I can say for sure: there's nothing more rewarding and fulfilling than doing what you love.
This is my story. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it.