Friday, September 24, 2010

One month 'till launch!

And the amount to get done is still a little mad- although not compared to the amount that is done, I suppose, and since I still don't quite know how the permitting process is going to work, it's a little hopeful to think it's all going to come together in time- but hopeful I am, and supported I am, and planning and working like crazy I am, and so, launch in one month for me, launch in one month- well- four weeks. And there's the move in there too. And getting caught up on a little bit of sleep would be pretty sweet- it's not like it's going to calm done when I get going, right?

Launching in the fall makes a lot of sense.  People want soup, the harvest is bountiful, the green of the truck will be beautiful against the last of the leaves.  It's better- if I don't manage to launch in the fall, winter will not only be moderately impoverished, but I will face a whole host of challenges to getting going, like freezing and fewer local foods. So, launch date in four weeks.

The truck is almost safetied, I have the painting lined up, but definitely want to get the kitchen in there before painting- what I am worrying about is that despite the calculations and floor plans, the equipment won't actually fit into the truck and then I'll have a useless truck.  It's possible- the space margins are inches, and I still don't have a fridge ordered to get in there.

I'm not entirely decided about the hyper efficient solar fridge or the completely reliable propane fridge- I finally found people who carry them at the RV stores here in the city, but boy, are they pricey.  There are three main factors:  size, efficiency and price.  Here's one I'm considering... It's solar and super effecient and the size is right.  Price- not so good. The challenges of off-grid commercial cooking are a bit intense.

I just lined up onions, but will need to find storage for them...  Maybe I should get an unheated storage locker and put in my root veg.  That could work...

Thanks for reading and commenting- the website launch has been great.  On to packing, dealing with a bunch of moving related administrivia, and finishing the organic beef stew, cheddar biscuits and salad I'm bringing my fantastic mechanic Hani and his crew.  They've done SO much...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Does having a website make you real?

One of the aspects of starting a business that has been so interesting has been this process of creating a reality out of an idea, going from brainstorm to business plan, to virtual presence to the physical reality of an actual truck at an actual place with an actual fridge and actual food.
A new stage has just begun- I have a fantastic website up and running, thanks to the help of Steve McCullough and Shane Lemon.  It's been very exciting to get it up and going- even though it's entirely virtual, it's my first really public space out there on the web- besides this blog, which is really a thought piece more than a shingle hanging out there. 

So far, the feedback has been fantastic- I have more to do to put it out into the world- an email to people I've been meeting and chatting with and who have shown an interest, a press release at some point in the near future, hopefully getting some more contacts who will help me to find a location to put the truck... And there's work to be done this week as well- I'm helping out at the Red Apron, getting ready to move my apartment (talk about terrible timing), fixing up the truck and teaching two workshops in the next week.  It's great- I work better when I am busy, but have a lot to focus on.  Thank goodness I have such great support and some decent time management skills! 

So, here it is.  My logo and slogan (which I'm trademarking due to a bit of fortuity. 

My website.  My business. That actually exists.  That didn't used to exist except as an idea. That isn't physically real, but is real. 

Pretty cool. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lessons from walking against the wind

It's September.  I thought I'd be up and running next week, but, barring some miracle, I won't.  The truck's just arrived in Ottawa, and my mechanic hasn't really gotten the depth of the work to be done figured out yet, the space is not found, and I'm going to move out of my very troublesome two bedroom apartment.  I was trying to wait so there'd be less stress this month, but the stress kind of built into a volcano in the last couple of weeks, and the latest lying by the landlords (the house is being shown to prospective buyers, the landlords are saying they've taken it off the market) is just the icing on the gravy, as my friend Mary MacDonald used to say.  So I'm looking for an apartment and for a place for the truck, and the two searches are combining into one... Mostly I'm focusing on an apartment so far, and trying to find somewhere that I can work out of as well- that has enough space for dry goods storage and suits Zip and I both well. 

I have learned a pretty important lesson about working for myself in the last couple of weeks as well- I've got to keep breathing, and when I feel like my work life is like this picture, I've gotta find a bit of shelter and think things through and relax.  Not taking a bit of a break doesn't really do me any good, and working slow and starting small is a better idea than doing everything at once and trying to get everything ready super fast.  The busy-ness led to a bit of exhaustion, and I tried to take a break by canning- which I'm happy to have done, but I also sort of think that curling up and sleeping in MAY have been a better rest than putting a bushel of tomatoes, 24 liters of peaches and a 1/2 bushel of cucumber dill pickles.  May have been more restful?  Um, yeah. I got some beautiful preserves, with the help of a friend who wanted to learn to can, though, and will do a little salsa soon too- but really, just a little- like a dozen jars.  Cooking really relaxes me a lot more than parking lot and apartment hunting, and if I don't keep at it, I don't keep sane- and that's no good.

The other thing I'm trying to do is to pay attention to the bits of my plan that are confusing me a bit- like how am I going to teach classes in the evening after working a full day in the truck?  Am I going to be a superhuman in seven months when that's supposed to take effect?  I somehow doubt it.  So, either I have someone running the kitchen when I teach in the evenings, or I don't sell from the truck that day(quite a financial and reputation loss- who likes an unreliable lunch spot?).  Is the truck big enough for two?  Will I be able to find someone who can make as delicious soups as me? Foolishly, I just sent in a resume to Loblaws to do a poorly paid lunchtime cooking class and have a call for another- do I agree to do these in order to create a reputation when it is financially a bad decision but is something I enjoy?  And when I have doubts about the truck running at all, do I keep working on it or work on developing a Plan B?  My inclination is to tighten the focus of Plan A and to work more on it, not to succumb to doubts... Or the fierce and dusty winds of exhaustion...