When I first started the Midnight Sun Cakery seeing my five year mark seemed so far away. If you are a small business owner, like I am, I am sure you have heard from multiple sources: "Ya know, most businesses fail within their first five years..." I am sure they were hoping to impart some helpful information, or maybe it was meant to scare me or maybe it an invitation that if I do end up bankrupt, to not feel "so bad."
But I made it! We made it! Today is the day that I can say, I am a success. Whatever happens after today, I can say: "Yeah... I ran a small business for five years..." And I will get a nod of respect by all those that know how hard owning your own business can be.
But what of all this? What have I learned?
First of all my business exists because people love cake! They love celebrating with cake and cake makes the party more special. I have a small advertising budget because people search for a great tasting cake they can serve their guests, and they find us ready to help. So to that, I say: "Please! Keep loving cake!"
Second, I found that I put myself into every cake that goes out the door. From the small to the large order, I am a part of the cakes that come to stay at your party. They are my children. I recognize them from afar and linger in the moments they were created. (Wow, that's a deep thought...)
Third, could I do anything else? I can't count how many times I have asked myself this question. I have three degrees, I have had more professionally sounding jobs. I burn with jealousy when I hear about my friend's paid vacation time, or excellent health insurance, the stories from the mom's that get to pick their kids up at school every day. But the reality is: I have to work to support to help support my family and what this business gives me, I know I can't find in a cubicle. And while I never really get a day off, I get to create. I get to make something from nothing. I get to struggle, push myself to design and build a product that will be cherished. And I feel like I am a better person because of it.
I have learned to accept the good with the bad. To learn how to own my mistakes and to be better despite them. I have learned that I love being a part of your special days. From today on, I know every day forward brings new challenges. I have learned that I am grateful to My God, all my lovely employees along the way, my family for tolerating all the countless hours I spend "working on the cakes" but mostly, to you, my customers, for your orders. They each mean so much.
Here's to the next five!