Monday, August 30, 2010

For the love of coffee.

For some reason, I keep daydreaming about owning my own business. I'm not sure why. I have tried to do it before with a popular and well-known cosmetics company and that was not the best. I did fine at first, but getting out and pounding the pavement didn't work so well for me. In the end, I broke even, I think.

Over the last few years, I have thought about owning my own business of some sort. DH had a business plan created for a game store that (I thought) would have been extremely lucrative. We never got further than the business plan, but it got my mind moving in that direction permanently, it seems. When I drive by a vacant business storefront, I think about what kind of business would be successful there. I see shows on TV about small businesses and how they have succeeded and grown in spite of the economical downturn. Whenever I discover a new hobby, I start to wonder if I might be able to make a living doing it.

A few days ago, I realized that there is no place in town to get just a cup of coffee. That seems like a travesty. I LOVE coffee. I like to drink several cups a day, but I am a bit of a snob about it. I have to have GOOD coffee. Most office brand coffee is completely undrinkable to me. Besides, I can't stand artificial crap polluting my caffeine stream. I have to have real milk and real sugar, not creamer, sweet 'n low, or any of the other things that come out of a packet. Because of my caffeine snobbery, I enjoy going to coffee shops and trying out different thing. After all, I do like a little variety - a different brew or flavored bean every now and then. I'll even drink it iced or blended, and a shot of real flavor in it doesn't hurt, as long as it isn't an artificially created concoction (I can taste High Fructose Corn Syrup and Artificial Vanilla in one sip.)

Anyway, my love of coffee and coffee shops brought me back to the idea of owning my own place and then I was inspired by my husbands previous business plan. Now I've got this THING bouncing around inside my skull and I can't stop thinking about it. When I lie down and close my eyes, I start thinking of menu items and designs. Last night, when I would normally be checking up on the news or relaxing with a game online, I was gathering prices for coffee brewers and comfy furniture. When I jumped on to Facebook to see what was happening in the world, all I saw was all my friends and their incredible talents and I started thinking of ways I could give them publicity through a store of mine.

The worst part of all of this, is how absurd it is to even consider something like that. I haven't been able to balance my checkbook and follow a budget during the last 11 years of my marriage. What on earth makes me think I could handle the financial responsibility of an entire store, with customers, inventory, and possibly employees? I have worked in a small business and I know what a nightmare it can be. All the little things that come up that need to be dealt with just to keep the doors open become so overwhelming that is difficult to do whatever it is that your business does to make money.

I still think it would be a great idea. I have an AWESOME concept and I really feel that it would work well in the little downtown strip here in TAEOO (The Ass End Of Oblivion, as WP calls it.) It would be fun and cool and I would enjoy the hell out of it. There is even a spot currently for lease that is the perfect size and layout for it. I spent all weekend researching costs of equipment and furniture and everything my little shop would need. Even now, I have more ideas running through my head and the picture in my mind is becoming more and more clear by the minute.

Here are the roadblocks I am facing, though. 1) Money (of course.) I would need investors, grants, loans, and lots of capitol to get started. I might not start to turn a profit for several months even. That is a lot of cash flow and I already have crappy credit. 2) Health. I am still dealing with whatever it is that makes me stiff, sore, and tired all the time. I am so much better than I used to be, but am I well enough to pull something like this off? If this is the only thing holding me back, I would rather push through than admit it. But I do have to at least take it into consideration right now. 3)  Life. We just picked up and moved almost 2 hours away from where we have always lived. We don't own our own house which means we will have to move again eventually (I am not going to rent for the rest of my life.) Emotionally, the upheaval is significant. Could my kids handle it? Financially, it will be a little while before things settle down after the move. Can we afford for me to follow this dream without having an alternate form of income for awhile? If I start working somewhere else, will I end up putting the idea on the shelf in favor of a steady paycheck? Should I be more interested in providing a steady paycheck to my family than entering into another financially rocky state?

I don't know the answer to these questions yet. I have a lot of thinking to do before I decide what to do with the ideas floating around in my head. There is no doubt that I will at least have to make a formal business plan or else the concept will keep eating away at my brain. Maybe I'll get back to you when I have my numbers formally crunched.

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