If I’m going to be honest…

I actually wash dishes, serve food, and work in the back of a kitchen for my living, 12 hours a day for 6 days a week.

The marketing part is the most impactful part of what I do, but only takes up 1 hour of my time.

I’ve been holding this part of my life back for a few years now, because it feels out of place to share on a platform like my blog.

Everyone here is in their cozy home offices, and get off by 4 or 5 PM. They are negotiating for salaries well above 80k. They get time to themselves and their loved ones.

I wish everybody who lives the life described above is aware of how grateful they should be.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel shame or want words of pity.

I’m actually happy doing what I do for my family’s restaurant.

I just wish more people knew of and respected the other kind of work there is in the world (the kind that isn’t so comfortable and nice).

That is all.  

Anna, out.

The Magic Question: Why Didn’t I Start Earlier?

I love writing content and marketing

I love it so much that I wonder, why didn’t I start earlier? 

And that’s the magic question. 

I couldn’t have started earlier, because I didn’t know I loved it till I tried. 

And that goes for every 20-something year old reading this. 

There’s so much more out there in the world—more than you could ever imagine. 

Try new things. Experiment. 

Have fun.

Some opportunities come through divine intervention and others come through a relentless chase to make things happen

Luck plays a role, but luck isn’t a reliable strategy. 

The point is this: Dreams don’t play out because of luck. Instead, dreams are likely to play out because you showed up to work on them over time. 

Why You Should Listen To Your Audience

I couldn’t believe it. My mom and I had just finished our morning shift at the restaurant when we heard a customer say, “Best tea ever.”

We’d been serving our tea with meals for a a long time now—and it’s always been popular among our regulars.

As we worked our way through our shift, I said to my mom, “I think we should sell our tea in pouches.”

She stopped in her tracks and stared at me. “What?”

“I know,” I said. “This is crazy talk.”

But then I started thinking about it: Our customers say this all the time—that they love our tea, but wish they could take it home with them. And then there were all these people who weren’t from Toronto coming into the restaurant because of its reputation for serving the best lemon tea in town—and how strange was that? It seemed like an opportunity for us to get our product into more hands and start building a bigger brand identity outside of just being local.

So we did it. We started selling our tea leaf blend in pouches.

Sales have been well since.

And so: Always be listening to your audience and respond accordingly.

The people you surround yourself with at work determines how well you go to sleep at night

What do I mean?

—Will you dread tomorrow or will you look forward to it? 

—Do they make life harder or easier than it should be? 

—Is there a sigh of relief when they leave the room? 

Surround yourself with good people and let go of the bad ones.  

Read This If You’re Waiting For the Right Moment

Last month I caught myself. 

I was waiting for the right moment to start a project for our restaurant. 

Weeks passed by. 

I waited.

I was looking for a slow period where I could direct my attention into this new project.

Only this moment never came. 

I don’t see it coming in the foreseeable future either now that I think about it.

Through this, I realized something.

The right moment doesn’t exist. 

Really. 

You’ll never end up feeling fully ready at the starting line. 

Don’t wait for the perfect moment.

Don’t wait until you have your hypothetical game plan laid out (unless you’re a doctor, engineer, or in a profession where other people’s livelihood depends on you). 

The right moment will almost never come. 

Especially if you’re waiting for it.

You’ll just have to take a deep breath and go.

Your First Time Doing What?

The first time we held an online workshop at The Habit Factory was the first time we held an online workshop at The Habit Factory.

Thankfully, it went well. 

Mikayla and I are still alive.

Nobody got hurt. 

Of course, we had our doubts and worries.

But that’s naturally a part of all first-time experiences.

There’s a first to everything.

Friends and Family as First Customers

From starting creative projects from scratch, I learned that friends and family might be a great starting point to get you going, but it is imperative that you go out of your own way to find your target audience and expand your circle of people. 

I found this lesson most obvious earlier in January when our team at the Habit Factory was launching our first UX Interview Workshop for UX Designers and UX Researchers. I found myself going around asking old peers and classmates (knowing that a handful of them would already be in the UX industry) if they knew of anybody who needed help through the UX interview process.

Roughly half knew somebody who might be interested in our workshop, and the other half didn’t. It was a 50% chance I’d find a lead with my current strategy. 

While the odds weren’t too bad, I thought there had to be an easier way to find the people I wanted to help. 

This is where expanding your network comes into play. 

Say I don’t bother connecting with new people and rely 100% on friends and family for leads. I really don’t think I’d get that far by doing this long term. I’m locked in with the people I currently know, and depend on them for expanding their circles instead of me expanding my own.

On the other hand, if I take some time to introduce myself to new designers, new creatives, design students, people transitioning into the UX industry from all over the world—suddenly the world feels a lot bigger and thus I have a larger pool of people to connect with.

If you’re starting a new business, a new project, a charity or a kickstarter, go past your family and friends as customers. Expand your immediate circle. Find the people that are interested in the help you offer.