Can’t Knock the Hustle

Two single moms, out to rule the world

Right before my best friend and I joined our first bazaar, I came across an article entitled “The Power of Imperfect Starts.” It was exactly what I needed to read at that moment as I was starting to feel my anxiety creep up on me. I was anxious about failure, about disappointing other people, about whether I was really built for business, about trying to juggle this with my three jobs and being a single mom and still making sure I got enough sleep and exercise to keep me functional. But reading the article made me buckle down and think about all the things I’ve wanted to start over the years, which I never did because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get it right the first time. This time around, I accepted that it was natural to do things imperfectly; it was immensely better than never doing it at all.

My best friend, P, had this business idea brewing in her head for 10 years: a sweet version of takoyaki. She told me about it a couple of years ago but, well, life got in the way (she had a baby, I lost my job, suffered from a major injury, etc. etc.). A couple of months ago, we revisited her idea and started making vague plans. About a month ago, two of my teammates told me about an upcoming bazaar. These two are fellow side hustlers–in fact, one of them quit his 9-5 and turned his side hustle into a full-time gig! I was really hesitant to commit to it as P and I hadn’t even started developing the product. But with a lot of encouragement from my two teammates, P and I talked each other into it.

My teammates/fellow hustlers: C of Hyd Leathercraft and I of Rolling Beans

We stuck to our strengths–she worked on the numbers, I worked on the product. I experimented with different combinations of batter and filling, until I finally got it right (Experiment 5-2).

Chocoyaki: filled with chocolate (instead of octopus and squid), topped with vanilla sauce (instead of mayo) and chocolate shavings (instead of bonito flakes). We’re told it’s kind of like a lava cake–crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside.

We had a booth and signs made (thank you, Paul V. and Rene!!!), put up an Instagram account (which I’m having a lot of fun with), managed to fit everything into my little sedan, and did the heavy lifting ourselves. We were as ready as we would ever be.

My 5-year-old, upset that I wasn’t home on a weekend: “Can you stop cooking and just work on your laptop from home?”

I honestly wanted to take a photo of our first customer, a complete stranger who just wanted to try our product and that made me so kilig! Then there was the dude who took an IG story of me cooking and tagged us (he turned out to have over 50K followers). Then there were the supportive friends who came by and had such lovely, encouraging words for us.

All in all, the bazaar was a nice, chill event, the perfect way to get our feet wet. When people ask me if we made a lot of money, I always think “but that wasn’t the point.” P and I were in good spirits, just savoring the experience, happy that we finally acted on an idea. It’s a nice feeling, seeing an idea come to life, knowing that you took concrete steps to go after a dream. And we’re just getting started.

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