Many people have theories about how and when and why to start a business. Many of these people, some of which I knew and some complete strangers felt the need to tell me not to start my business, that my timing was wrong and that is was way too risky. They were all right, and yet I did it anyway. So was I not listening or just blinded my passion?
A little bit of background first. I am a mum of 3 young boys aged 8, 6 and almost 2. I started my business with two kids under 3, (bad timing), had no experience or background in the food industry (destined to fail) and had to juggle it around my family life (just give up now they said) but what I did have was a really strong passion that I didn’t want other people to go through the frustrations I had.
Three moments in my life made me take the leap to start up Happetite Food.
I was living overseas at the time when my second child was born, 13 months after my first. It was a very challenging time for me being away from family and friends support network and struggling with post-natal mental health issues. Someone I hardly knew turned up at my door with a home cooked meal and some baked treats and I was blown away. A bit overtired and very emotional I ended up in tears. I was overwhelmed at the impact a gesture like this could have on me. This memory has stuck with me forever.
The second moment was when one of my friends who was also living overseas at the time was running between her home and a hospital – due to her husband experiencing heart failure, fighting to hold onto his life. She was exhausted trying to be there for her husband during this time while also keeping it together for her two young children. She was falling apart and as I was not there I felt useless and wanted to be able to help – I wanted to send her food so that she could take the time to nurture herself and remain strong to support her family, but there was just nothing available out there that offered that. I wanted to provide something that was practical, and at the same time, something that would help eliminate the daily stresses often experienced during tough times.
When I moved back to Sydney, my grandfather passed away and I witnessed my grandmother’s house overflowing with flowers and wreaths – as if it were a florist rather than a home. I remember seeing vase after vase, wreath after wreath. There were just so many flowers. But when I opened her fridge, it was empty. Coming from an Italian family, not having food in the fridge was shockingly foreign, I knew first hand from my family and experiences that nourishing food was the one thing my grandmother needed to get her through this time of mourning. That was the pivotal moment when I knew I had to transform Happetite Food from a dream into a reality.
I will be honest, it’s not easy. There is the constant juggle of school, lunches, after school activities, sport and socials all mixed in nicely with a day of juggling suppliers, logistics, packing boxes, writing cards, creating meals, accounts, customer service, sales, IT and administration. Sometimes my head spins with the amount of hats that I wear. Some days it works really well and some days are fuelled by coffee and cheese on toast for dinner. I absolutely love what I do, I love the creativity I get with designing my own business, the flexible (but sometimes crazy) hours, the satisfaction of growing something you are so passionate about and the heartfelt feedback we get from our customers. These make all the hard work worthwhile.
People often ask what advice I would give other mums wanting to start a business and mine would be trust your instincts. You will be given plenty of advice from people of all walks of life, wanted and unwanted. I truly believe if you do your due diligence, get a good support network and trust your gut instincts you will be on the right path. These are the three things I have used as my guide. Before my grandfather passed away his last words to be me were: “Be Courageous”. On the days that get hard I often think of this. I have days where it all gets too hard and I think about doing something else but then I think about my grandfather, about being courageous and strong and the reason why I started this business in the first place, and the people that we are helping and this keeps me going.
Find your why, your support network and do your research. Let the advice you don’t want motivate you and the advice you do want encourage you. It is hard work but as they say. Fortune favours the Brave.