The Sweet Life – A Small Business Love Story
Entrepreneurs are quite often dreamers… As a kid, I usually finished my work early so there was a lot of time to daydream. Today, I still spend a lot of time imagining new worlds, it just so happens, that now, I have the vehicle of chocolate and a host of passengers that are eager to go for a ride.
There are books on top of books that discuss the ins and outs of starting and running a small business and I could write page after page about what it is to be an entrepreneur, but I won’t do that. The one thing I know to be an absolute truth is entrepreneurs are people like you and me who have fallen so deeply in love with their dream, they are moved to develop a real concept and actual processes that breathe life and turn that dream into reality. I believe this sort of drive goes even deeper than the cliché “passion” always coined in every entre-endeavor ever written about. I mean, who spends over a decade in sales and one days says “I’m going to be a chocolatier now” or what motivates a young boy, not even in middle school, to take his grandmother’s sewing machine and start making bow ties?
I’ve encountered story after story, I’d dare to say real love stories, in the midst of writing my own, of individuals fulfilling their destiny and answering the call to be entrepreneurs. While being an entrepreneur may very well sound romantic, I can assure you that the real work of running a small business is less glamorous and often separates those dedicated and those only interested in a fling.
I sit here this very moment writing this piece at thirty minutes ’til midnight in my chocolate studio, having just burned my thumb with scalding hot caramel, texting my wife what I need packed (how’s that for work-life balance?) so I can head to the airport at 4am to join all the amazing professionals at the 37th National Black MBA Association Conference to participate in the FedEx sponsored Entrepreneurial and Leadership Institute sessions as well as share the amazing designer chocolates my team and I have been preparing for attendees.
After all of that, I’d do it a 1000 times over and couldn’t see myself anywhere doing anything else.
I do what I do because I love sharing my ability to transform imagination into edible reality. In the nearly two years since I officially launched Phillip Ashley Chocolates and opened its doors and since being a Finalist in the FedEx Small Business competition I have been featured in Forbes Magazine, USA Today, a host of other media outlets have shared what we do, we have customers all across the U.S., Brazil, UK, Europe, Asia and Australia, corporate giants such as Fred Smith and celebrities the likes of Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and many others enjoy my chocolates as clients, we have purchase deals with Caesars Entertainment and on and on with so much more to come! I only list these things to hopefully strike a cord in someone reading this to let you know all of this was sparked by a dream I had while in bed in Columbia, MD way back in 2007.
In the beginning of my journey into first teaching myself to master chocolate and then establish the business, I often questioned was I doing something that would become a success and be able to reach people. In my opinion, success is attained by having three things: exceptional willpower, good fortune and a highly competent, loyal support system.
Many of the world’s greatest enterprises today were once small businesses with grand ideas and bigger dreams who had the perfect mix of the three ingredients for success. Looking back, bread crumbs were laid throughout my life, leading me to become a chocolatier and I didn’t even realize it. I encourage you to pay close attention, because what may seem small or far-fetched may very well be the thing that launches your dreams of success as an entrepreneur and small business owner.
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