Thursday, February 3, 2011

Waxing Poetic

I don't often go all 'philosophical' or 'foo foo' on this blog, but tonight I feel as though I must. So, dear reader, bear with me and know that I'll be back to talking about the latest cupcake tomorrow night!

Fear. I have learned that it must be a part of every new business venture. I'm feeling it these days. Although I have been blessed with a tremendous amount of business, a merchant's license, a great accountant, a supportive husband and family, a community embracing my crazy food ideas, and never ending creativity, fear looms below the surface.

I have a hunch that even Edward D. Jones, Mr. Prada, and Paula Deen struggled with this fear when they started their businesses. It's amazing what runs through your mind on a daily basis. You second-guess, question, and 'what if' yourself to death. Just today as I was going through my list of philanthropic activities for the last couple of months, I found myself wondering if I was being TOO philanthropic (as if that's even possible) and not profit-driven enough. I'm not sure I even set out on this adventure to be profit driven. Heck I just wanted a place to express my creativity and find a passion. Unfortunately, the blessing and curse of a capatilist society is that you find yourself wondering about the bottom line. Looking at your receipts versus expenditures and questioning your viability as a business.

WHO AM I??? Those of you who know me well know that I haven't a businessman's bone in my body. I ran screaming away from Mr. Lucas's and Miss Carson's room in high school because those were the places in which scary subjects like Marketing, Accouting, and Business 1 took place. BLECH! Give me the fine arts wing of the school. Plunk me into Miss Maschman's home ec classroom and then walk me to Mr. Berry and Miss Holder's rooms so I can write about what I think. But DO NOT, under any circumstances, put me into a business class.

Guess what...I'm enjoying it.

WHAT??? ENJOYING BUSINESS??? How is that even remotely possible? Well, let me tell you. Hold on for a bit of an 'Uncle Jed sitting on the porch whittlin' a stick' type story.

I was a good teacher. Honestly, I think I might have been a really good teacher. That is, when I was allowed to grow and be challenged and express my creative side. I may not have been the best about remembering to turn in my lunch count on time, and God knows I NEVER had a clue where my school keys were, but when it came to engaging kiddos in a lesson, I was your go-to gal. However, lying underneath that ability to create engaging lessons was a creative beast just waiting to be released. A thermonuclear pressure of epic proportion. Sure, I'd express creativity in my classroom...making up songs, wearing inflatable ducks around my waist to teach about the equator, etc. but it wasn't enough. The passion just couldn't find it's place. I tried going to my fine art side, becoming the resident 'funeral singer' and finding a niche at Karaoke and Rock Band. Still...not enough.

I can't tell you how many jobs I've taken, how many avenues I've persued just because I 'thought' just maybe they'd give me relieve from the creative pressures within. They certainly helped to pay the bills, gave me awesome perspectives on things about life and taught me more and more about me, but they still didn't give me that fueled passion. What was it? What was I searching for? Where would I find it?

And then it happened. The single worst day of my life, to date. My mother-in-law, a terrific, driven woman in her own right, died. Just died. No warning, no "hey guys, I'm not doing so well". No nothing. Just a 'here today, gone tomorrow' experience. It rocked my world. I have no doubt it's continuing to rock my world. Be that as it may, it gave me a little reflection time. And, due to her incredible generosity, some financial breathing room, as well. That's when the idea of 'take a year or so off' was born. Could I ever have imagined that this experience would catapult me into this immense creative phase of my life? NEVER! But, it did, and here I am in the middle of this intensely crazy, wonderful thing called business.

Wow. I love what I'm doing. I can honestly tell you that there is not a single job I've ever held that has made me happier. Is it because I'm my own boss? Sure. Is it because I'm the one picking up my kiddos after school everyday? Sure. Is it because for the first time in my life I'm combining all of my loves and doing it MY way? Absolutely.

However, as with every great endeavour comes a tremendous amount of risk, and this is where the fear comes in. My time to be successful is finite. Money is finite. Unfortunately finances don't understand creativity! I find myself worrying each day about whether or not this 'little business that could' will be enough to sustain me. Will I have enough money to keep the business alive when so many around me are failing? Have I kept my capital high enough and my overhead low enough to take care of things? Have I done enough marketing? How can I market better? AAACK! These are the questions that one would think would completely usurp the creative side of the business, and yet I find them just as exhillarating as creating a new cupcake flavor. Again, I ask the question...who IS this person who is talking about business???

It's me.

I think for the first time in many, many years, when I say "it's ME", I know who 'ME' is. Wow. That's pretty damned fantastic. It makes all of the late nights of baking, all of the researching strange techniques and ordering things that look like barbaric arms used in Medieval warfare worth it!

So, perhaps I'm learning that with every great risk comes the potential for great reward. The smiles that come to the faces of people to whom I deliver are well worth the fear that lives just beneath the surface. I believe I will be successful. I believe I'll be able to continue to sustain myself without a full-time job to support this little cupcake dream.

Thanks, faithful reader, for listening to my little soliloquy (if you haven't taken Shakespeare yet, google that'll learn something). Knowing that you're still reading sustains my creativity.

That's the poetic wax for tonight.

Good eats,


  1. Wow Jill! I love it!!! You really have been blessed with multiple talents. You have been amazing at everything you do. I have always thought you were an amazing mommy, then to work with you in the education field was an honor and now this! You are an inspiration! I am so glad you have found what your heart loves! You deserve it! :) Amy Flohr

  2. Oh Jill, so glad you are happy! Sometimes it takes time and many experiences for one to find themself. ~Jacque

  3. Jiller--I love this blog! Again, I say I am soooooo very proud of you! As I read this blog I thought, I have so been there--with NDA. I know exactly the fear and the worry about the viability of the business. But you and I are creative people and the world is a better place because of the creativity of it's people. How wonderful that you have found something that you love--that you have a family and a community that embraces you and what you love, as I did. And I say, why wouldn't they? You are so special and have such wonderful talents, why would it be any different? Bravo! Leslie

  4. Maybe someday I will find this feeling too.

  5. This was an incredible blog, Jill! I am so thrilled for you that you are enjoying what you are doing and are finally getting the chance to let that creative side out! Your creativity has always made you so special, from the cookies you used to decorate with all of your little pals in Holdrege, from your 5th grade Science project, "7 Signs of a Dead Fish," to all of the ways you got kids excited about science! (Songs about cells and blood???). Your cakes and cookies are one of a kind...just like you! Your business will grow and flourish because of the care you take with it. I am incredibly proud of you!

  6. you have a lot to be proud of, lady!

  7. Jill..... I too am proud of you, and I really enjoyed reading about how you felt in the "business" classes in high school.... The older I get the more I enjoy the idea of being my own boss and owning a business, and have many, many ideas on how "I" want things to be for me and my family! Stay true to you, and you will always be succeed!! <3
    Amber Roth

  8. Opps.... I meant to say successful! :)

  9. Wowzees!!! Lots to take in there.....good for you for waxing tonight!!! I loved it!

  10. I knew you'd find this place...always knew. Love you and your goodies! - Sonja