I’ve had a long break from blogging. Too long. All week I had been planning to write a post, but then I got caught up just being a Mom and before I knew it was ten pm and the day had flown by. Ten pm is a bit too late to start. I can easily spend four hours on a post, so I must start at eight or eight thirty to be done by midnight. But I am so excited to be back. My thoughts have kept straying to my blog and my fingers itch with the need to write. But now that so much time has passed I am having a hard time deciding where to start.
But first things first. First I will tell you why I haven’t blogged for so long. We had a lovely little coffee shop in Espoo which is a city right next to Helsinki. Basically it is all one metropolis. Our coffee shop, Cabana de Empanadas was in the new and sleek wing of the Iso Omena shopping center. The west end metro was supposed to open already last August but has been delayed and no one knows when it really will open. It is all wrapped up in political tape. That meant that we just didn’t have enough traffic walking by. Of course it is sad that our coffee shop did not become a success story. But I refuse to see it in only negative light. I have learned so much during these past two years, that I felt like I went through an intensive MBA program. And we did have many small successes during the past year. It really did not quench my thirst to become an entrepreneur, but it did give me many valuable lessons.
Ten Tips for a starting entrepreneur
- Select your Partners well. Roughly said, partnership is an intense relationship. Sometimes the road can be rocky. That is why it is important to share basic values about how business is done. It will make decision-making a bit easier.
- Location. Everyone talks about the importance of location. And it really is as important as how it is made out to be. We found out the hard way. Sometimes even 100 meters can make or break the deal.
- Building a team with momentum and energy. Surround yourself with people that have positive energy and 100% commitment. Skills can be taught but attitude is always harder to change.
- Share your story! Tell your story to your clients. Not only does it form a foundation for marketing, it helps convey your values and passion to your customer. In the end, many companies offer excellent products and services but the ones that truly succeed have a passion that goes deeper than just creating a profit.
- Believe in your people and back them. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. It is better to act and make a mistake than to not do anything all together.
- Remember that start-ups play with a different set of rules and resources than big companies. They are not tied to all of the bureaucracy that big business is. Use it to your advantage.
- Build your network. I learned that small companies often work together.
- Commitment. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. There really is no such thing as an overnight success. The public rarely sees everything that happens behind closed doors. The stumbles and falls and small successes sprinkled in between.
- There is no such thing as shortcuts in business. You will need to work hard and do all of the not-so-glamourous work and at times it will cause you to sweat. I can guarantee this to you.
- Balance your life. Share your business with your spouse even if they are not a partner. Remember that family ultimately is first, even if at times you and your family will have to make sacrifices.
During our business venture or as my husband called it, a shooting star, I had the opportunity to meet many lovely people that work their trade with passion. One such person was Vanessa Leskinen. Vanessa lives in Finland but is originally from France and is the author of the blog Chocolate & Quinoa. Her blog has a collection of gluten-free recipes made with a French twist. Vanessa made most of our gluten-free products and we often received positive feedback from customers.
I have made Vanessa’s Oatmeal & Coconut flour pancakes on several occasions and they are a favorite with our children. And since I have always loved a good pancake, I really can’t praise their fluffy texture enough.
The photo above is a bit Christmassy, and as you might notice we had no snow on the morning of Christmas day. I have so many delightful recipes ready and photographed. The pancakes above were served with an apple-raisin compote made by my neighbor.
Vanessa’s Oatmeal and Coconut Flour pancakes (gluten-free)
120 g gluten free oat flour (I did not have oat flour on hand, so I blended rolled oats in the blender until it became a coarse flour-like consistency)
30 g coconut flour
30 g cornstarch
100 g unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp coconut sugar
½ tsp baking soda
dash of sea salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
300 ml almond milk or oat milk
Coconut oil for cooking
Mix the dry ingredients in a larger bowl including the oat flour, coconut flour, cornstarch, coconut sugar, dash of sea salt and baking soda. In another smaller bowl mixt the wet ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Allow to rest for fifteen minutes.
Heat the frying pan to a medium heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil to grease the surface. Using a ladle, pour a batter on the pan and allow to fry until bubbles have formed and the edges are slightly dry. Flip and fry on the other side for another minute or two. Enjoy with apple compote or maple syrup.
We have a cold spring this year. The weather changes it’s mind everyday five times. We might have sunshine, the kind that feels warm when it touches your skin and a half hour later it might be snowing. And then soon rain might come down in heavy drops. and before you know it, it the sun will shine with a bit of hail. The hay and grasses in the woods are still a bit yellow but inside we have spring greens seedlings. We were thinking to plant them outside this weekend, but it was too cold. But I am sure that eventually, summer will come. And I can’t wait to tell you all about our new plans. Life goes on and new opportunities arise even if Cabana de Empanadas was a shooting star.