Burning Down the Kitchen: Confessions from an Emerging Entrepreneur

Despite this post having the ability to make people not want to buy my cookies, I personally think it’s more important to share with you a REAL story of growing the green economy and becoming a social entrepreneur – rather than provide a hero image of a person changing the world through seemingly effortless successes; the truth is, failure is a part of saving the world.

The cookie that almost wasn't.

You may have noticed on our cookies page that I’m not accepting orders until further notice; there are oodles of reasons why, and here they are! Nothing is as lacking in detail as it seems.  Details reproduce like rabbits and you don’t discover them until they’ve overpopulated.

Snapshots from the day of my first cookie order:

Ready to bake! Do a little excited dance. Make the dough and start cutting out cookies; puzzle about why there doesn’t seem to be enough dough for a dozen, until it hits me that 4 inch cookies are larger than 3 inch cookies (duh). Pricing for less than a dozen…question mark. Assume parchment paper is equivalent to wax paper until husband alerts me that wax paper can melt, burn, and fill the apartment with smoke.  Make frosting; puzzle over why it doesn’t dry as fast as it should nor harden to receive the art layers; check [wrong] recipe, slap head. Call customer and beg forgiveness…

5 Lessons from Cookies:

  1. About Frosting: It’s the grinch of my Christmas – unpredictable, but if I use the correct recipe and tools, art and sugary goodness combine.
  2. About Dough: It’s all about thinking ahead – will I have enough? Proper planning is vital.
  3. About Ovens: Attention to detail can go a long way towards not burning the business down.
  4. About Decoration: Practice may not make it perfect but it’s sure better than winging it.
  5. About Myself: Details can be my friends and help me make the business environmentally friendly while promoting fair trade, but I need to take the time to plan the process. I’m too eager to please everyone and must learn to say “no” in order to maintain sanity and avoid deviating from the main product, which can lead to unexpected problems.

Why should I keep trying?

While munching one of the mutant cookies (which tasted AMAZING, so I knew hope was not lost) it occurred to me that I could think of no other way I’d rather protect wildlife, support fair trade & local farmers & organic foods, raise money for charities & our off-grid project than through the joy of sharing a smile in what I call Cookie Bliss.

  • http://lisakaylegodfrey.wordpress.com lisakaylegodfrey

    Oh no! XD
    I’m so sorry about your first cookie order.
    I’m so proud to be your first “almost customer” !
    Keep at it, you’ll do great!
    You’ll probably make awesome Passover cookies; that’s over 6 months away, so plenty of time to burn down the kitchen and rebuild. LOL

  • http://makeripples.wordpress.com makeripples

    Andres, a good friend of mine, summarized these lessons much better than I could:

    “I think it’ll be a process of learning and adaptation…What’s really great is that down the line a little bit, you will be able to say hey, I have experience starting my own business. I developed a process that addressed problems a, b, c, and I made money by baking. Then you have this specialized knowledge within you for the rest of your life that is very valuable…Wouldn’t you love to talk to 2016 Amanda right now to ask her for advice on how to approach your current situation? Or 2021 Amanda? Many other people would too… It’s the same sort of “let’s do it!” idea that carries all these real risks and problems, and rewards and solutions.”

  • http://peacegrandma.wordpress.com peacegrandma

    And near disasters make the best stories. This was wonderful Amanda. And hi Lisa, you lucky cookie-customer!