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Archive for April, 2011

05.04.11 – A month or so back I posted about being in a fog. I wasn’t happy, more dazed and confused, because the holidays were over, a new year had begun and I was still trying to figure out what to do with my life in a new country. Unfortunately, I’ve been in similar situations in my life, maybe not in a new country, but definitely unhappy with where I was and worried about where I was going.

I knew moving to Finland was going to be a big change but I had moved a number of other times in my life, San Francisco in my 20’s, Santa Barbara, CA and Portland, OR in my 30’s, and every time things worked out fine. The process was difficult but the rewards of change made the process worth it. I was hoping with this move, the benefit of experience and confidence of knowing I would survive would smother the fear of the unknown. Alas, change is always difficult.

I dove into change a month ago when I decided to stop standing at the “fork in the road”, finally choose a direction, the path which wasn’t as clearly marked, and start making my way towards a new future. I decided to leave the comfort and boredom of the corporate world to strike out on my own path of starting a small business. Before moving here I thought about opening some type of cafe, restaurant or what is popular in Finland… a grilli, a small food cart, but the thought of running a restaurant and managing a menu seemed a bit overwhelming due to my lack of cooking experience. So, I’ve decided to open a frozen yogurt store, which is currently a popular franchise option the world over, a healthy alternative to ice cream and Finland ranks in the top ten for per capita ice cream consumption and it’s something I love!

The past couple of weeks have been difficult because of what I like to call “the lack of traction.” I had been thinking about the idea and talking to a number of people who thought the idea was a good one but I still needed to get started turning the idea into a reality. I needed to start looking into the long list of to-do items, finding product, machinery, a location. Starting off and lacking traction is similar to having a work desk with an “in” and “out” basket and the in basket is piled high but the out basket is empty.

I’m finally making some traction though. I’m diving into the process head first and hitting the to-do list from several angles. Each week is a little better as I look into soft-serve machines, local dairy producers, commercial real estate options and my personal favorite, interior and graphic design ideas. I have a name, Yobot Frozen Yogurt, a Finnish cartoonist working on the logo, a basic website, a book-keeper. I’ve registered the company, produced Powerpoint presentations for suppliers and commercial real estate brokers. It’s been busy but I’m slowly moving items into the out box which really helps reduce some of the stress.

I’ve talked to several people via email and phone and a couple of different groups in person and although sometime it leads to unpleasant results, “I’m sorry we don’t have a location which will suit your needs”, most of the time I tell them about my idea, eventually their eyes go wide and a smile breaks through. They get it! I’m on track. I can do this!

We’ve been experiencing a number of foggy days in Helsinki as the temperatures slowly climb and the snow starts to melt. I’m not seeing the fog as a nuisance which obscures my thoughts and causes me worry. I now see a blank canvas slowly evolving into something tangible and real. I’m moving forward 😉

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