Today was one of those take care of business-for the business type of days. We all need time in our lives to do that "life stuff" like grocery shopping, laundry, maybe even pull out the vacuum. On occasion we will book a Sunday for a special event like a race or farmers market. Currently we deliver coffee every weekday morning with two additional double days where we attend local markets after the morning buzz route. Saturday's you can pretty much always guarantee an event will be happening somewhere within county limits and beyond. Which leaves Sunday Funday as a "get yourself postured for the busy week ahead-or BUST" day. There is truly never ever a dull moment when you own a coffee van.
Last night our great friends Kaitlin and Ed Donner put a hard press on for us to join them and some friends at Long Doggers in Satellite Beach. We had just had our best day of coffee sales in Salty Bean history at the Maverick CrossFit Freedom Games, it would only seem expected to go out and celebrate with friends...
When Noah and I cooked up the idea of Salty Bean Coffee Co. we envisioned ourselves frequenting National Parks where we could train on beautiful and diverse trails, then maybe pop the van window open, sell a few cups and exchange stories with other Earth lovers and afford gas to the next destination. The van would serve as an avenue to support a healthy diet and feed my hunger for distance running and exploring my limitations. I dream to either represent USA in trail running on the global level or qualify for the Olympic Trials in Marathon. I still don't know what I'm best suited for but I'm stoked to go for it and give my best.
We found out quite quickly how naive we were...
The two of us both hold masters in education with no experience in sales or business whatsoever. After getting through the fun stuff, picking the business name, designing the logo and website, securing the URL, developing our signature blend, branding the beans, designing the merchandise...we then had to get to the nitty gritty. How do we actually afford more than just gas and organic food? How do support ourselves with $2, $3, & $4 cups of joe? There is wayyyy more money and thought involved in operating a successful business than we ever imagined. There are legal fees, taxes, purchasing the product, insurance for the van and business, health inspection fees, department of agriculture fees, gas, and the big one...van problems. Yes there will be problems and lots of them.
Then there's the clean the van phase after every day of work...We visit our commissary, we have water tanks to fill, product to stock, coffee pots to clean and prep for the next morning. Then there the shipping of orders if they have come in at USPS. Which is never just a trip down the street, Because we do love our job and our "Salty Squad" as we have named all y'all, we prepare every order with love. We handwrite a personal message to you on a card picturing amazing art from my legally blind big sister Hollie. Hollie is just a beautiful soul inside and out so we are trying to promote her artwork which is sure to make you smile. During and after all of that is social media, responding to comments (This is my favorite! I still can't believe we are so new and receiving so much love thank you all so much!) and you of course have to sign in to your emails and tidy that thing up and follow through with contacts for future events.
Then there's the bookkeeping side. I'll say it again...the bookkeeping side. Like nails to a chalkboard. This part is HUGE and so critical, we were so clueless at first and honestly terrible with the books it was like learning a new language or procrastinating that semester paper until the night before. We still could be more advanced with it then we are but trust me when I say we are lightyears better than where we were.
And somewhere in all that is the run phase...goals aren't reached without work. I used to pride myself on being a no-excuses type of athlete but this is an all time high for workload and sometimes it just doesn't happen because we are that booked up. I'm learning to cope. The business is the priority and without it operating the dream won't exist to it's full potential.
However, the run did happen (yay) and it was perfect to sneak to Wickham Park with Noah for a few miles at sunset. The air was fresh and trails were calm, and my foot is still feeling good!!!
This whole journey feels like training for a marathon if you want to think of it that way. And you're a sumo wrestler or something completely different by nature. You won't just bolt out the door day one for a ten miler expecting a perfect pace at a comfortable threshold. But if you make reasonable and attainable short terms goals, you will be better prepared when the race comes.
Owning a business is a lot of work. We have more respect than ever for other business owners like the many we have partnered with since starting Salty Bean Coffee Co. We are sleeping less than we ever have, and definitely socializing with friends outside of business less than ever. Although we did in fact make it out last night with the Donner's, they are amazing and both business owner-triathlete stars so we really look up to them. It was the first time since Easter that we took a break with friends. There is literally always something to do when you have a business, something more you can do to be better. But isn't that to succeed at any passion or job? Nothing worth attaining was achieved without hard work and sacrifice. We are freakin STOKED for this JOURNEY and holding onto every moment! Even the Sundays when "funday" is the less than the fun stuff. Truth is attitude is everything, I make our bed every morning even if we are running late or tired. It takes like two seconds and always makes me feel clear minded and ready for the day. There is serious truth behind the Admiral William McRaven quote, "If you want to change the world, start by making your bed". Although I think I'll add, "and drink Salty Bean Coffee :)
We still believe once the Black Pearl is sailing strong we can get her on the course she set out to experience. Traveling, trail running, racing, surfing, writing music, visiting scattered family and inspiring people to chase their dreams and passions is the overall vision. We are both big believers in the plan however, and always trust what the path has ahead is where the best lesson awaits. For now, that lesson lies in the long days of coffee and busy schedules. We are learning how to truly operate a coffee shop out of a cargo van, which is providing us with the best base to grow from. It's all ripe soil, and it's lending to the greater destination.
Live the Dream. Salty Bean.