How did I get here? My Entrepreneurial Journey
Hi, my name is Tanya and if I don't have at least 20 items on my metaphorical plate at all times I feel completely unfulfilled. If I'm not constantly juggling, scheduling, planning or executing something I feel like I'm floating in a lazy river of nothingness.
Don't get me wrong, I love a weekend of no plans. I live for a glass of wine and a Netflix binge.
It's as though I have two people within me fighting for domination. One is completely content sitting at home with no plans. The other, crazier, version of myself needs constant stimulation. She needs to constantly be working toward a goal or she becomes very unhappy.
I've never been satisfied working for someone else, having someone else determine what hours I work or my level of productivity. It's always felt stifling, as though I was suppressing a part of myself that was struggling so hard to break free.
I've had wonderful jobs. I taught full time at a local college. And I loved it, for about a year. Then the nagging voice in my head started again. She was bored, she needed a new project.
I've worked in fast paced, challenging environments like the neuro ICU. And I loved it......until I didn't.
I remember having pep talks with myself. They went something like this: "This is a great job, it's stable, the paycheck is good and you're helping people. Why can't you just be satisfied? What is wrong with you?!"
I heard the term "Multi Passionate Entrepreneur" recently. This term resonated with me. I have so many passions. I have so many things I want to do.
About a year ago I decided I needed to do my own thing. I need to break the oppressive restraints of working for somebody else. I wanted to breathe life into my ideas and challenge myself to step outside the box and take a risk.
It would be unfair and frankly, selfish to not mention that I have the most supportive husband and family on the face of the planet. When I began talking about going out on my own and embarking on a journey to small business ownership, my husband didn't balk.
He has constantly supported me. Sometimes that support looked like him coming to the play cafe and doing odd jobs after the kids went to sleep, or taking the day off because I was having issues with the sprinkler system or giving up his precious leisure time to help me with some random issue that had come up. So MASSIVE shout out to you, Kev. I love you.
I started spending every minute of free time (during my commutes, when the kids were sleeping, when I was making dinner) absorbing every single piece of information I could. I listened to podcasts, I took courses, I spoke to other business owners, I read countless books.
I joined Facebook groups and from there another OT reached out to me (Hi Joanie!) and said she helped budding entrepreneurs get started. During my chats with her the topic of "Play Boutiques" came up. I was intrigued.
I started researching play boutiques and eventually that search led me to what is known as a "Play Cafe". And that's when the light bulb went off. I NEED to do this. I NEED to create a space in my community where families can connect and kids can play.
This business model combined an indoor playground with a coffee shop. I mean HELLO, how could I not pursue this? Every week I stand on a soapbox in front of my Developmental Pediatric students and stress the importance of play as an integral part of development. I preach about how we stifle play, how we hijack play and how crucial play is in childhood.
But where do I even start? Enter, Michele, owner of Climbing Vines Play Cafe in Rochester NY. This brilliant woman started this business years ago and then took all of her knowledge and embedded it into a course. I gobbled up that course material like my life depended on it.
We opened 3 weeks ago.
I still cannot believe it.
The journey was by no means easy. I have made mistakes, I even had to close down for a couple of days. I have watched my bank account drop, I have handed over checks and prayed they would clear. And I'm learning every single day but if I can do this, anyone can do this.
If you have a nagging voice that just will not shut up, sis, LISTEN TO IT. That message is divine. If you're passionate about something and you cannot stop thinking about it, then act!! There's one sure way to fail friends, and that's by not even trying. I have 1000 more ideas and I will continue to act upon them. Some will work, some will fail in an earth shattering fashion.
I fail every day. Sometimes I serve cold coffee, sometimes I stumble on my words when trying to book a party, sometimes I forget deadlines or pay bills late. (And thank you to everyone who has come in and been so incredibly gracious).
So in the words of NIKE, just do it. You got this.