Almost 10 years ago, when I left the town where I have lived almost all my life, I was past the age of 30. Although an accounting graduate with work experiences managing several electrical and hardware stores owned by my ex-husband, I had the experience of working as a bookkeeper/secretary/sales person in a computer shop in New York years back. Yet, my work history were not enough to land me a job at my age. When we decided to move in a province south of the metropolis, for several years I was dependent on the meager income of my husband who is a police officer. Because of my skills in cooking (I got this from my father’s side of the family), slowly I was able to establish a catering business. For the next 4 years, the catering business had its ups and lows. Most of the time, I worked like a maniac during holidays accepting orders left and right up to the point of getting sick. After the holidays, business slows down considerably.
This is business. Many people would tell me how come the business did not prosper like others? In fact, I had/have my fair share of blames from people close to me that well, I was not “responsible” and “hard working”. It pains me to think this was how they perceived me just because I make it to a point to play tennis. As if, playing tennis is the reason why the cooking venture was not a success. How does one define success? To most, they would say success means having your own restaurant or food establishment wherein people will just drop by regularly. Maybe it also means, after 5 years, you will have built your own house and not having to rent every month. Success stories of business enterprises doesn’t happen this way all the time. It took them several years before they were able to establish a name for themselves. Big capital as working revenue is an important key that most people overlooked. It is not just cooking yourself to death and spending all your time staring at the pots and pans that will determine your success. I did everything in this business–from the marketing, sales, pricing, preparing, to the actual cooking and even delivery of orders. I sent out flyers and calling cards everywhere. I made sure my prices were competitive and the food were always more than enough. For short, my theme was and always will be “customer’s satisfaction first and a must.”
Although I still have two or three regular customers ordering from me from time to time, business has slowed down so much this year. So where did I go wrong? Well, I would think that the economy here in our place has changed so much since the opening of this really cool place. Owned by a magnate, it is a place near the port that has every amenities you can ever imagined. Shopping stores, restaurants, bars, bowling place, beauty salons, coffee shop and amusement park for kids–with a breath taking view everyone loves. There is a casino opening soon. No one can beat that. This is just something that is beyond one’s control.
So how do I manage?
I am 40 years old as of today and I always believe age should not hinder a person in doing something he/she loves. Yes, I love cooking and being a hard worker I knew deep in my heart that I did everything to make it work. With little working capital, this business will just crawl. You can’t expect it to go places. Yet, God has always been my Provider–not only financially but emotionally and much, much more. He may close one door but He definitely opens bigger windows. I have loved writing all my life. Back when I was young, I used to maintain journals to express my very thoughts and feelings. I never expected this would open new opportunities for me. Although I have my own share of put downs and rejections from would-be clients, I am challenged to be the best that I can be.
Everyday I basked in the knowledge that He has molded me and is continuing to mold me into a better person with all the setbacks I faced in my life. I just know everyday of my life is a learning experience for me to excel whether in cooking or in writing.