From Sandwich Slinging to Pixel Pushing
My Unconventional Leap into Entrepreneurship
"If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm raw... If I had an orchard, I'd work til I'm sore"
This line from Fleet Foxes' "Helplessness Blues" struck more than just a chord; it resonated with the deepest corners of my aspirations, eventually steering me towards a path less traveled. It was in this lyric that I found not just an echo of my restlessness but a clarion call to a life that I yearned to create – a life cultivating my own orchard.
This song has helped me through countless difficult times. Its simultaneous expression of joy, somberness, helplessness, and hopefulness is something that only art could achieve. But when I first heard it, I never thought that it would change my life.
My journey wasn't just a career change; it was a pursuit of soulful fulfillment. The relentless hours at a sandwich chain, though rewarding, had ceased to feed my inner drive. When COVID-19 turned the world on its head, it also flipped my perspective. Sleepy and worn-down, I found myself listening to that song every morning, letting the lyrics "What good is it to sing helplessness blues? Why should I wait for anyone else?" resonate with my soul. Here was my chance to chase a dream, fueled by a blend of passion and a newfound recognition of my capabilities. I was ready to give my all to something that truly resonated with me – my very own orchard in the entrepreneurial world.
Doubts and fears? Oh, they were constant companions. Stepping away from the predictability of a steady job, especially with my wife also embarking on her entrepreneurial journey, felt like walking on a tightrope without a safety net. The business world was a puzzle where my piece – graphic & web design – was just one part of a larger picture. Questions swirled: How to start? What about the legalities, accounting, marketing?
My wife, Joa, a beacon in those early days, reminded me of a simple truth: everyone's figuring it out, and it's okay not to have all the answers. Plus, I was lucky that her business offers many of the scary business aspects that could have been major roadblocks, like legal & accounting setup and proper planning regimens. Coupled with her unwavering support, I found the courage to take the leap.
The pivotal moment of change was fueled by a gradual realization that peaked in one moment. I recall sitting at home, stressed & burned out by another day slinging sandwiches, wondering if my heart was still in it. The answer was a resounding no. My wife told me, with tact and grace, that I was becoming a grump and that I was losing my light. My passion had quietly shifted gears toward the creative realm, finding joy in every project and website I crafted. I was no longer nurturing any growth at my day job; my focus had shifted to cultivating my own skills and dreams.
Putting in notice at my job was a symbolic gesture, a birthday gift to myself. It was a commitment to freedom and the start of an exhilarating yet daunting adventure. To keep the wheels turning as I started focusing on my metaphorical orchard, I took up delivery gigs – a far cry from glamour, but a step toward independence.
My business, Vistoso Creative, was an orchard that consisted of various trees – branding, advertising, web design, and development. Each required care and attention to bear fruit. In the early days, I learned a hard lesson: the fruits of my labor wouldn't always be immediately recognized. Marketing, especially without a budget, felt like casting seeds into the wind, hoping for them to take root.
But the real turning point came with a profound realization: the health of my orchard was directly tied to my personal well-being. I had to nurture myself to ensure that each tree – every aspect of my business – produced the sweetest fruits. Self-care and learning became my top priorities, understanding that a nourished and informed soul leads to richer creativity and better outcomes.
Attending networking events and putting myself "out there" more was a significant step, but it was the shift in my mindset that truly transformed my journey. I embraced my unique voice, letting go of the need to mirror others. I learned to cherish each tree in my orchard for its uniqueness, whether it was web development's intricate coding or the vibrant creativity of branding.
The rewards of this journey have been manifold. Not only did I land fulfilling contracts, but I also discovered the joy of creating work that resonates deeply with both myself and my clients. Each project became a testament to my belief in bespoke, personalized service.
And now, I stand at a new juncture, ready to extend the wisdom of my journey to others. Partnering with Prism Consulting, I'm thrilled to introduce Startup Success – a comprehensive 6-week program designed to alleviate the early fears and uncertainties of budding entrepreneurs. Startup Success is our way of helping others plant their orchard, offering essential tools like business registration, branding, articles & bylaws, a 3-year plan, a simple website, and QuickBooks setup as well as a quick-start guide to kick off the entrepreneurial journey. It's our commitment to nurturing new entrepreneurs, ensuring their orchard not only takes root but flourishes.
The wisdom I've gained is simple – treat your business like an orchard. Care for it, nurture it, and understand that not every tree will bear fruit at the same time. Success is a diverse ecosystem, flourishing under the careful tending of its gardener.
Looking ahead, my plan is to use my experiences to enrich the entrepreneurial community. Through Startup Success, I aim to empower new business owners, helping them navigate the initial complexities of entrepreneurship. In this orchard of mine, each day brings new challenges, but also new opportunities to create, connect, grow, and cultivate a legacy of creativity and passion.
In the end, this journey is more than just about graphic design or running a business. It's about cultivating an orchard where each tree, each fruit, tells its own story – a story of resilience, creativity, and the joy of watching others grow their dreams.
As a cherry on top, we're offering Startup Success at a discounted rate through the end of the year!
To learn more, head to www.prismconsultingva.com/startup