I lost career goals for a moment – or fell down the wrong rabbit hole. Huh? Here’s what happened. Sorta.
Let’s say you love making pumpernickel bread. It’s your favorite bread in the universe. You can eat it plain or with a little butter or spread, but you enjoy the hell out of making it and watching other people eat it and say how delicious it is. Your dream is to work for a company making bread and eventually having your own pumpernickel bread company. You don’t care if it’s Ralphs or a sophisticated independent bakery, you just want to make that dark bread.
After a few years of people saying they love your bread, but not getting hired, you decide to take matters into your own hands. You are gonna open your own pumpernickel bread company, dammit. You go through a small business program. You start learning about social media and aggregators and loans and going to small business owner networking events and all this other stuff, rather than trying different techniques in breadmaking or mingling with other bakers. You focus on getting your word out there, posting to social, a fancier website, and someone misunderstands and says “sandwiches? What a great idea”. A spark goes off. Yes, sandwiches, you say. That seems more popular. You begin marketing the company as sandwiches and spend all of your time researching other sandwich companies and shops and what ingredients are most popular and distributors and chains, that you’ve lost focus on the pumpernickel bread. Pumpernickel is only one option now, because you’re serving prebaked sourdough, whole wheat, jalapeno, caraway rye, and white bread shipped from a factory. You realize you haven’t baked a loaf yourself in two months. It’s all been about marketing and sandwiches. You’ve changed the name of the company a few times to fit the sandwich business.
One day, you realize, you aren’t happy with your work, it feels like such a hard chore, and you’re are not motivated, actually depressed saying, “I sort of have this sandwich company”. Suddenly, you realize, sandwiches was not the path you started on. You don’t even like sandwiches, you’re more of a burritos kinda gal and burritos don’t come in pumpernickel. It wouldn’t be a good combo.
You regain your original vision. To make bread. Pumpernickel bread. The bread that makes your heart sing, puts a smile on your face, and with a recipe that only you can authentically deliver. You close the sandwich company. You toss out everything related to the sandwich company. You go back to what’s important to you – what you were running from. Bread. You tell yourself you are going to focus on nothing but pumpernickel bread, straight up, for the next two months and see what happens.
One day eating a burrito, you check your voicemail. It’s Ralphs. They want to meet and discuss your bread being sold in their stores. Mid way through the burrito, you notice an email from Whole Foods. They love your pumpernickel and say they would like to place an order. That boutique bakery down the street has your bread on their Instagram and it’s been shared over 5k times, #delish.
You’ve done no marketing. You didn’t put it around a sandwich. You didn’t add a variety of flavors. You just made something you love. Pumpernickel bread.