About six months ago one of my friends introduced me to a new podcast, StartUp. In a nutshell, it details the real life difficulties, doubts, joys, and rewards of starting up a business. It's unique in that it shows the very beginning stages in real time. It isn't a romanticized hindsight view of the early stages of business, but instead an honest account of the good, the naive, and the uncomfortable.
The businesses covered in the first two seasons have been far out of my realm. It has covered questions and topics that my teeny tiny business hasn't even begun to accept, even though I might someday have to deal with...maybe(?). Regardless, it's been motivating and relatable.
As I just wrapped up an episode of the mini season currently airing, the founder, Alex Blumberg, mentioned something he's touched on multiple times: Understanding your unfair advantage in the business that you're pursuing. As I stood there rationing dough, in the 22nd hour of Thanksgiving order prep (countless hours to go), I realized mine: I actually love the whole process of making bread.
There's the physical process that I love, which positions me well. I love the craft. I love to start with a list of ingredients and create something from scratch. I love getting my hands dirty, being covered in flour. I love getting it exactly right, time and time again. I love that I have the process down to a science, and yet I still get excited when I realize something that will make it even more efficient. All these things, I realize, are what keeps me in business. They are unique to me. This is not how most people want to spend their time, which is also why I'm only halfway finished with my Thanksgiving orders.
There's also the emotional part of the process that I love. I love that these buns connect me to the legacy of my family. I love that I think of Bunny (my grandma) every time I stand here in the kitchen, that I can feel her presence and her pride. I love that bread triggers my customers' memories of home, of their own grandma's special recipe that no one could crack. I love that the buns serve as a catalyst to bring people to a table to share so much more than a meal - to share life.
My unfair advantage is my real love for this process.
Washing dishes on the other hand...
For you podcast nerds, I highly recommend StartUp. You can check it out here.