January 5, 2012 was the day I tried to fill out my certificate of incorporation to make jojo's sriracha a legitimate business. I was sitting on my bed in my studio apartment in Brooklyn - computer open, papers strewn all over the place. Like many milestones in this business, I couldn't afford to have someone do it for me so it was up to me to figure out how to do it myself. And as gratifying as it can be to figure things out on your own, sometimes it just feels like you're stuck and alone. I had already been working for a year trying to figure out how to start a business but this was a road block that was so outside of my knowledge base and experience that I was sure I would never figure it out. So I cried...
I cried because I thought it was over before it even started. I thought that if I wasn't smart enough to figure out how to make my business real on paper that I would never be smart enough to have a business in real life. I wanted to make this thing happen so badly, but I didn't know how. And I was pissed at myself for not immediately knowing what to do or how to move forward.
I can't remember exactly what happened next. At some point I must have put my head down, read the fine print and figured it out as best as I could. I crossed my fingers and put the form in the mail but it wasn't until I got the return letter that I could finally breathe - I had somehow successfully incorporated my business!
That was three years ago and although I can look back and laugh at that night, much of that experience still rings true. There have been so many moments just like that - where I am stuck, unsure, beaten down and feel like throwing in the towel. Not because I don't love what I do and want to keep doing it, but because in that moment I don't feel good enough to keep going. I like being good at what I'm doing - I like excelling and being successful. I cringe when I don't know how to do something. And though it's not very reasonable to expect myself to know everything about everything, I often do.
This is a picture of me when I was three years old. It's also my most embarrassing photo ever. Apparently being three means that it's time to party! And I agree that this is a milestone worth celebrating. It is easy to look back and remember all the moments that made getting here so difficult, but I also recognize the importance of taking time to celebrate our victories. Even more importantly, it is a good reminder to feel worthy.
Having a business is a constant challenge. I once heard someone say, "Being in business is solving problems." Incorporating was one of my first big challenges and it certainly has not been my last. The real challenge has been learning that I am capable and worthy enough to keep going. It might take a few breaths, or a phone call to a friend but these things are just tasks – and there is no roadmap to success besides the faith we have in ourselves to move forward.
Thank you for being with me on this awesome journey.
Here's to being three!