Officially Defining Delicious for One Year… Lessons Learned.

Hello Delicious Readers,

I can hardly believe that I have been working as an entrepreneur for exactly one year as of this week.  A friend of mine posted this image (see below) on Facebook last week and it made me reflect on this journey I have been on for the past year. If there was ever a feeling to describe the journey I have been on, it would be that of jumping out of a plane- parachuteless. And speaking of planes, a year ago I was on a plane back to New York for the holidays. I was wondering what I was going to do with a new chapter of my life that opened unexpectedly. I had little money in my pocket and 2 little ones to support- So I sought some support of my own. I reached out to wonderful friends and family members and after much thought and consideration I decided to turn Defining Delicious from a blog into a business. It was a crazy idea that made no sense. A single mother, starting a business? Yet, I love the hospitality industry. I love words. I love people. I love making connections and stories and the world more aesthetically pleasing and passionate. Thus, here WE are. I can say we are a WE. Which brings me to my first lesson on this ride of owning a business, and building planes after jumping off of cliffs….

 

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(Photo Credit)

1. Surround yourself with talented people that are better than you at something you admire. That’s right, I said BETTER- I may suggest to get rid of any ego, if you don’t do that part yourself I can promise that your business will do it for you- you may as well surrender now. I am incredibly grateful to Nina, our Creative Director, along with the other artists, photographers, number crunchers and people that support Defining Delicious. They all do so in ways that are better than what I could offer as a sole person doing what I do. I am learning more and more about myself each day, through their talents and in return empowering them to be more successful at what they do. I love when I get out of my own way. Yes, it takes something, but it is magical to see things grow in allowing others to grow with you- in their own way.

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2. Stay Passionate. In the words of one of my all time favorite women, Julia Child, “Find Something You Are Passionate About And Stay Tremendously Interested In It.” It is really easy to loose steam in anything that we do. I mean a career takes intention and creating it to be what fulfills you takes ambition, passion and drive. There are good days and there are days that I look forward to happy hour at 10a.m. Let’s be honest, I love what I do- but I have to put structures in place to keep me connected and inspired.

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3. Say YES when it’s a “HELL YES!” and “NO!” when it’s anything else. I don’t remember which mentor of mine gave this advise to me, but I believe I have heard it countless times in various ways. I have also had to remind myself of it countless times in various ways. I still fumble from time to time and each time I say yes to what is really a maybe and mostly a NO, I grow stronger at the HELL YES muscle.  And I can say that each “Hell Yes!” in my life has led to something great.

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4. Work with people that inspire you, you cannot create passion and inspiration for them if they do not have it themselves.  Here’s a pro tip: you can see it in their eyes. If they do what they love because they love it- or if it is merely a get rich quick opportunity, with no essence behind it. I guess there is a place for both. Yet, I have chosen to work with those with a light in their eyes as they ignite more creative energy within me and thus in return I can give more back to them.  Another great friend told me, “chase opportunity, not money.” I have to say that anytime I have gotten off track with that, I have literally paid the price. I think you can see what motivates a person in their eyes and feel it in your own gut- like dating, ask yourself, are we a good fit? Do we have the same priorities? if not, than it is a “Hell No,” which brings us back to lesson #4 and you need to walk away.

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5.  Value yourself- charge for your time, efforts and keep your standards high. You don’t go to a restaurant and enjoy a lovely meal than ask the server to give you a deal because you have a certain budget, do you? Working with people that inspire me AND value my services has grown to be a priority. There are plenty of times when I have made exceptions and I do think that is part of growing and getting my name out there. However, I have since learned  to stick to my own budgets and values and I can say, without question when I value myself, the people I work with and for do too. Again, using the dating analogy- if you value you, anyone in a relationship with you will inherently do the same. Let me clarify- “value” does not only mean dollar bills, it’s your time, your talents, your insights, your creative brain– all of it. It’s all valuable and worthy of a fair exchange.

This year has taught me to grow into my power, to honor my passion and to value myself and the people that make my life have inspiration. I would like to thank you for all the support, especially to all the writers, editors, restaurants, bars, hotels and hospitality professionals that have helped us be where we are today. We are so happy to be here and to serve you. Cheers to more years ahead.

And finally if you are what you eat, be Delicious,

Emily

Founder of Defining Delicious