New to the business world, looking for insight!

melissa2356

New member
Apr 8, 2009
1
0
Hey, everyone. :)

I just registered today. I'm Melissa, I'm 22, and I'm a high school English teacher in Houston, TX.

Unfortunately, I hate my job.

I don't hate the kids. I love the kids. I teach inner city kids in a very, very high poverty area, and they are the silliest, most fun bunch of folks I know. They need adult support, since they don't have any, and we struggle a lot, but really, I just don't want to be doing this anymore. Not because of them, but because I can't really be who they need. I don't want to teach English, or work for the vultures I work for. And it all just ends up going back to the one thing I've always known about myself -- I am highly creative, and I was not put here to work for anyone else. Even as a child, I was an entrepreneur, with my kool-aid stands and book sales out in front of my grandmother's house, making business cards on index cards. And as I grew up, I was always an officer in whatever club I was in. Not because I liked power, but because I liked knowing that as long as I was up here, no one else could have that leader position and misuse it, hurting others or making them feel small. I've always been really diplomatic. I like inspiring people with ideas and then welcoming a creative approach to carrying them out.

When I was 17, I passed an empty corner retail spot and immediately pictured what it would look like all cleaned out, built up, painted, and with people in it enjoying themselves. I dwelled on it for weeks, drawing up plans for it during classes at school. And ever since then, I've had dreams of opening my own business, primarily one with venue space, as I've also been active in theatre and music and know the value of a good venue.

I've worked in cafes and in food service, so I have that bit of knowledge there.

But I've never had support when it came to learning about business and running my own. Many of the terms people use when talking about business, I know, but don't understand. Taxation being a huge one. Overhead. Words like that.

I'm about to be 23 and have tried for a long time to figure out what I was meant to do. I know counseling would be a good route for me to take, as it's another thing I've done naturally since I was a child (and what better place to look than there when trying to find out what your true passions are) but even so, it still doesn't seem just right.

I've had so many business ideas in the past few years, and it always involves a cafe and a venue in some regard. So I've made it a point to set myself on that road to opening my own coffee shop.

I plan on researching and interviewing people for about year before I take the plunge. I need to clean up my credit a bit before I even think about applying for loans. Grant writing wouldn't be a problem. I have three prime cities I'm interested in doing this in, Anderson, Indiana, being the main one right now. (My boyfriend lives in Muncie, Indiana and I will be moving there this July. He attended school in Anderson and we're very knowledgeable about the area, have dozens of resources and contacts, and are also aware that the students get really, really excited when a place like what I want to do comes to town. Some friends opened a pancake shop called The Flop for three weeks for a school project and kids and community members were lining up outside the door for it.)

So for right now, I'm playing this out in my head like I want to open in Anderson.

I'm posting here because I want to know where you think I could go to get a good hold on what exactly I need to know and do before investing my life in this. I know I'd make less than the $44k I do right now teaching, but oddly enough, I had not really thought of that. The idea of being my own boss and providing a great place for the community to share is too exciting to care that my income would drop, even if I need to keep a part-time job elsewhere for a while.

My plans right now are to provide a place that's open very late on weekends, like 2 or 3 AM. And midnight on weekdays. It would also open very early, to cater to early birds and night owls. I want to host lots of little events. Definitely shows (acoustic artists and bands), improv nights for theatre fanatics, and youth nights for local churches or even kids that just can't stand to go straight home after school.

I think I have a good eye. I've seen what works and what doesn't.

So, where should I go? What do I need to know before I even consider this? Any glossary of terms I should be aware of?

Thank you so much. You all seem pretty supportive. Wagging the finger only when necessary, as opposed to some of my family and friends that think I'm crazy.
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,219
5
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello "melissa2356"

Welcome to the Coffee Forum! This is a great place to find all sorts of information about coffee, and as you read through the forum threads, you'll soon discover that you can also find all sorts of helpful information about opening your own cafe.

I immediately thought of all sorts of thread topics (recent and past) that you could explore when I read the portion of your message that said, "I'm posting here because I want to know where you think I could go to get a good hold on what exactly I need to know and do before investing my life in this. I know I'd make less than the $44k I do right now teaching, but oddly enough, I had not really thought of that. The idea of being my own boss and providing a great place for the community to share is too exciting to care that my income would drop, even if I need to keep a part-time job elsewhere for a while."

If you go to the Board Index, you will see a lot of topic areas that may interest you. Also, if you go to the top of your screen, you will see a search box where you can search for topics of interest.

I'm sure that there are many people on this forum who will be offering you some helpful advice. In the mean time, I hope you don't do anything too drastic, like quit your teaching position without having a "Plan B" in place. You may live to regret it.

Rose
 

javaluva

New member
May 15, 2005
51
0
USA
My throw into this is you HAVE to do what you love, and LOVE what you do. My first question is, are there any other coffee/cafe's in the area? I wanted to open a coffeehouse 3 yrs before I actually did, and everyone tried to talk me out of it. I went with my gut, and have been lucky for the last 8yrs. Read everything you can get your hands on that pertains to what you have in mind. That's a big plus, and it will help. I want to be the coffeegirl, not uncle sams favorite, so I hired someone to do my taxes at first, and then decided to go it alone, and now do all my paperwork myself (it's not as easy as it seems) Good luck! More Questions feel free to email me.
 

thewilliams1

New member
Jan 29, 2009
72
0
North Eastern Pennsylvania
I'm going to agree with the JavaLuva.. everything said... but I will re-iterate... consume every morsel of coffee-related material you can until you know a hundred times more about coffee and the industry.. then write YOURSELF A FANTASTIC business proposal that covers every corner of your vision.. teach yourself everything you're going to need to know to run a successful business... and if, after you've done that and you still want to go forward.. then go!
 

esperti

New member
Apr 12, 2009
3
0
Melissa2356, wish I knew someone driven like you in Chicago. I have a beautiful place to open a cafe and I'm looking for somebody who wants to run it as his/her own (on a profit share basis).
We are in the coffee business and planning for this new venture..
Anyway, good luck to you!
 

KendallC

New member
Apr 26, 2009
9
0
The SBA (small business assocation) is an excellent resource for starting your own business---everything from financing, accounting, marketing---and it's free!
 
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