Today marks the FOURTH birthday of our little cafe. FOUR YEARS! FOUR FRIGGING-FAST YEARS! People say time goes faster as your get older, and it REALLY does.
Four years is the amount of time I was at university. And that felt like a whole lifetime in itself.
Four years to this day, marks the day we opened to the public, and started putting cash in the till. We had only owned the place for ten days prior to that and that is a blurred memory of cleaning, purchasing and working out what forms we needed completing.
Now four years has passed so fast and I wish I could reminisce on the feelings I had that first morning we opened, or look back on some diary entry I made, but unfortunately I neither can remember in that blur of adrenaline how I felt exactly nor have I a diary from that time.
The three feelings I know that I must have felt though are just ones I know must have been present because I know myself.
One; Total and Utter Love
Gemma and I had not even been together a full year at this cafe-opening-together point, but I trusted her instinct, and I knew the love we had both ways wouldn't wane. That strength of love was present then otherwise I would never have been so naive!
The opportunity to take on our premises had literally just flung itself at her, and she had asked if I wanted in on it with her, as she knew my long term feelings about wanting to be self-employed and more fulfilled in my work, and I said YES!
There were no doubts in my mind, no business planning, nothing. I always knew that if it failed I had a great CV, and that I had to have a go otherwise the "what if?" questions would eat me up. I'd not even stepped foot in the premises, and I didn't know Middlewich at all, but I JUST KNEW I had to give this opportunity a go.
I was so excited about the prospect of becoming self-employed, a business owner. I was excited to be my own boss - and this was way before the hashtag girlboss era had blasted itself all over IG - and to work hard for something that was mine. I was excited to shake up my working life, however infantile it still was.
My first couple of years of graduate work had been with a truly wonderful company that I loved and respected, and I worked with great people... but the work wasn't massively interesting me and it wasn't in huge volume - I graduated in 2009 as the arse was falling out the grad job market, even in the field of engineering - and I was craving a role that would drive me more.
Three; Shitting Myself Scared
I am a planner, and four years ago I was a much more devout one; age must be easing me up a bit! However, four years ago, with the lack of knowledge I have now, I was aware there was so much stuff about business and running a cafe I didn't know. There was also lots of things I didn't even know I needed to know, and that is the worst kind of stuff to not know!
That fear could have paralysed the most ballsy move I made - handing in my notice on a good solid job with little, to no, knowledge of the premises I was getting involved in - but blinded and moved by the two over-riding feelings stated above, love and excitement, I just went for it.
No overanalysing, no planning; and because of this lack of planning and lack of time to mull over every bad outcome, I was shitting myself scared about what I didn't know, but I still, thankfully, just went for it!
Four Years On
A lot has changed in the four years we've had our cafe, but I would not change any of the over-confident moves I made back then because it truly did change my life for the better. Some days I can't be bothered with the nitty gritty, labourious tasks, but the over arching joy of owning my own place, the pride of building up a business and the friends we've made through repeat custom make it all worth it.