This past week I made the announcement that Hurley House is going to be opening a retail location later this spring. Cue the renovation montage of a “crazy busy” local business owner, cheeks dusted with flour, frosting a cake and picking out paint colors, right? Hardly.
Can I be real with you? Painfully, horrifically, really real with you?
Growing and maintaining a small business is harder than anyone ever tells you. It’s the kind of hard that isn’t cute or charming. It’s the kind of hard that causes spousal conflict, personal neglect, ugly cry sessions, and significant moments of self-doubt.
My personal story of growing a food-based business out of my home is particularly not charming. Just ask my saint of a husband.
So why even bother? Because dreams are worthy endeavors. Passions that make our hearts beat fast are worth pursuing. Voices that whisper to us to follow a certain path are not to be ignored.
But beware the difference between the idea of a dream and the real form that dream may take.
Dreams without action are romantic wishes, pins on our latest Pinterest board. Cute and inspiring, but not part of our reality.
My business began as a dream. A detailed story of what I envisioned. But I wanted Hurley House to be real. I wanted to find a way to bring my idea to life. I knew if I waited until I had everything I imagined before I decided to take the first step, I would be waiting my whole life.
So I started saying yes, exactly where I was, without waiting until I had everything I imagined I would need to begin. My first official Hurley House job was two dozen cupcakes for a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. I handed out my cards to the other moms at the party. Then I started making Sparkle Sandwich Cookies, giving away samples to anyone who would try one. The next thing I knew I said yes to an order for two hundred cookies.
Little by little, I turned my residential kitchen into a factory, churning out hundreds of cookies, countless cakes, piles of granola. I stayed up long after my family had gone to bed in order to fulfill orders. I set up folding tables, bought rolling carts to hold extra equipment, began to buy supplies in bulk. I found a way to squeeze two extra fridges into our garage, set up extra shelves in our play room, rearranged our laundry room to accommodate larger quantities of ingredients. And kept saying yes.
Now once a week I sell food out of my home. I finagle my dining room into a make-shift bakery and unlock my front door so people can just walk right in. It’s unconventional at best. But I’ve made it work. Why? Because this is the very real form my dream has taken.
Taking action, any action, even the smallest action builds momentum and gives the dreamer a platform to practice and hone her craft. All the hours in my tiny kitchen taught me the value of working efficiently and working cleanly. And now, with the reality of a commercial location in our very near future, the crucible of our tiny kitchen has proven to be a gift. I am armed with the experience of taking what I have and making the most out of it.
Do you have an idea, a dream, a passion? Use what you have, where you are, and begin to turn even the smallest part of that pursuit into reality. Who knows where it might lead.
Hurley House is owned by Timm and Katherine Sasser in Fort Worth, Texas. We grew our business out of a passion for hosting people in our home and around our table, and a love of seeing the life-changing transformation that can occur in those sacred spaces.