“Finding work that brings me a sense of purpose has been a driving force behind my professional decisions since I was in college, but for a long time it took shape as a sense of something missing rather than a strong sense of what I wanted.”
On Finding Passion
“I was proactive and tried out different jobs in fields that interested me, but that approach left me with too many choices. After hopping around from one field to the next for a few years without finding my so-called calling, I started to worry that I’d never be happy professionally.”
On Finding Passion
“As I reached my late 20s, I realized that trial-and-error wasn’t going to cut it – if I wanted a career I was proud of I’d need to be more directed in my approach. I made a list of specific skills I was good at and enjoyed doing, and came up with: talking to people, creating positive change, leadership. Then I came up with a list of jobs that would allow me to use those skills. I set up informational interviews with people who already had jobs that interested me, and then used the information I learned to narrow down my list of choices to three: journalism, social work and entrepreneurship. The first two would require school, so I decided to try starting a business. I figured if I hated entrepreneurship I would likely know pretty quickly.”
“The choice to start a pie business came after a lot of brainstorming – there were lots of things we liked to make, so deciding on a concept wasn’t easy. In the end, we looked to our values. Anna and I are both proud daughters of California’s Central Valley and we share a commitment to environmental stewardship, community-building and American values.”
“We decided to raise money on Kickstarter and to start a pop-up business to test our concept without making a large investment."
"Before starting Three Babes I had tried a number of jobs in different industries, and having my own company was a big transition. For reasons unrelated to the business, my (now ex) husband and I decided to separate at the same time that I came out to California to start Three Babes, so financially and emotionally I was very much on my own. I did have the support of my friends and family (and of course my business partner/best friend Anna) but I had never before been in a professional landscape where pretty much everything was riding on me."
"At the time, my business partner was still working full-time at her regular job, so a lot of my work was solitary. On the plus side, I was so excited about it all, that it didn’t really feel like work. We pulled many, many all-nighters the first six months that we were in business, and most of the time I was just so thankful and awe-struck that life was giving me the opportunity to start this business with my best friend."
"We did a lot of learning on the job. Anna and I both had experience working in food by the time we started Three Babes, but much of what we have learned has come through hard work and relentless iteration. I am so proud of how much our product has improved since we started the business (all thanks to Anna and our amazing kitchen staff), and I’ve learned a lot just by talking to people in our network about the way they solve problems."
"Unfortunately I procrastinate a lot, which does not help me overcome my fears. Sometimes I journal to help get over my anxiety (for instance, I write out what I’ve done in the past day to help me feel not so bad about the mountain of things I haven’t yet done). I also meditate. The best cure for fear is action."
"First off, I always, always, ALWAYS make time for people – my friends, family, mentors, and mentees. Second, I try to get enough sleep. Third, I exercise – I used to exercise a lot more before we had the business and it’s something I’d like to make more of a priority. I also meditate a few minutes each day."
"Money trouble is the hardest thing about having your own small business. I have always been of the mindset that I want money to give me freedom. I try my best to live simply and below my means to create a cushion for myself so that I won’t have to stress if I get a parking ticket or if my car breaks down. I grew up without much money, so I feel lucky that I don’t feel deprived by living without new stuff."
"I have been blessed with a number of mentors and peers who have helped guide and inspire me over the past decade. The great thing about surrounding yourself with smart, motivated people is that your expectation of what is possible is automatically higher. Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, founder of BFFL Co, is a radiation oncologist, entrepreneur, and mother of four who has mentored me since I was at Yale. Here in San Francisco, Todd Masonis (Founder of Dandelion Chocolate) and his wife Elaine Wherry (Founder of Meebo) are trusted friends and Erin Pettigrew (Gawker Media) as a peer mentor."
Advice to the Community
"In searching for and living your passion, find the ways that you connect to a greater sense of purpose on this planet. There are lots of problems out there that need to be solved. If your “Passion” lines up with an existing need, everybody wins."