Valentine's Day 2023 marks two years since I started Catherine's Cake House (originally named Catherine's Kitchen), and so inevitably it has made me think back to January 2021 and the journey I have been on with the business.
I wanted to share with you how I started...and how I nearly didn't! I hope that the next few words will help anyone else who has ever struggled with starting something new.
The memory that comes back to me most two years ago when I wanted to begin was struggling to even TRY and START. What was stopping me was a recurring pesky question I constantly had in my head:
WHAT WILL OTHER PEOPLE THINK?
My head loves to conjure up images of a huge group of people laughing and poking fun at me (whether the business was a failure or success!). NOT HELPFUL in the slightest. These images needed to be replaced...and quickly. Otherwise I would always think 'I wish I had tried'. So I started to wonder WHY I had these thoughts, and I realised it was all down to FEAR.
Gradually, I overcame this fear and the silly unhelpful thoughts by examining the actual question, changing the question and giving myself very small tasks to build my confidence.
Examining the question you are asking yourself
I started to really THINK about the question and not be scared of it. For example, why are we even bothered about what other people will think? Well I decided it was actually a GOOD THING we do and this helped me realise it was a fairly normal question to ask. As humans we want to fit in, and we don't want to do the wrong thing. So the question acts like a moral compass, guiding us to make the right decisions. It's just not helpful when it hinders you from starting something that is not morally questionable!
Changing the question
This led me to CHANGING the question to - 'what would my future self think if I didn't do this?' This started to put things into perspective. I knew I had always wanted to try and have my own business. But put it off because I was continually working as a chef or training myself to be a better chef so that I was 'ready to start a business'. Extra training, learning and on the job experience is brilliant but I knew I had to let go of that at some point so that I could create and develop my own style for my business. So I thought - I almost HAVE to try and do this. I would be annoyed if in 30 years time I STILL hadn't tried. So in a nutshell...if you know that coming out of your comfort zone will be helpful to you and may help grow your confidence then in a few years time you will be pleased you asked your future self and not the imaginary judging people in your head.
Keep the first tasks very small
So I made a DEAL with MYSELF. I decided to start off really SMALL. If a tiny apple pip can grow into an apple tree...starting small must work! I just needed to be the apple pip now. Gradually getting used to the soil and thinking of eventually popping my head above ground!
Due to feeling too scared to post anything on Instagram (for the WHOLE WORLD to see!!) I needed a smaller challenge...so at first I only asked my street WhatsApp group if they'd like to buy a personalised large cookie for Valentine's Day. This small first act, suddenly made me feel a little bit more confident...and it gave me the courage to post something on my personal Instagram account. I remember my tummy turning at the time and worrying so much. Now thankfully I generally post things without also feeling a little bit sick with nerves...so that's progress!!
Now I still have doubts and I am certainly not an apple tree yet! All I know is that I am very pleased I did start and my irrational fears did not come true. Phew! Creating my cakes allows me to have a really enjoyable creative outlet. I get to meet some lovely people in the process, learn all sorts of new business skills and it certainly keeps me out of my comfort zone at times!
I hope that everyone who wants to try something they are scared about finds this little anecdote useful. Good luck!
Thank you for reading!