I am the type of person to have a vision and go for it.
I don’t care whether it’s been done before or if there is a perception that I need more experience to be able to complete a task.I like to prove that misconception wrong. I like to go for it. I like to succeed.
My laser focus has taken me a lot of places in my career. I rose up through the ranks in analytics, crushed the glass ceiling and gender pay gap. There were times when my age, experience, and abilities as a female were in question, but I always pulled through with concrete results. At some point throughout that journey, the middle-aged white male criticism got to me and I left my job.
I’ve always known I wanted to be something big in my life and be my own CEO, so when I was out of work and burnt out from a hostile work environment, I started to brainstorm what was next. An analytics company was a natural next step, but for various reasons, that was stripped as a possibility. I had the entrepreneur’s itch. I needed to venture out on my own.
One day my husband was sitting on the couch writing his book, “The Great Pizza Experiment” and I was thinking, “Why are you writing this book? Who is going to buy it? Why put so much effort into something only friends and family will buy? Hmm, I know, let’s put it in the gift shop of an experiential pop up museum! I’m going to go ahead and do that as my business ok?”
My husband thought I was crazy. Just Robin being Robin like when I wonder what a squirrel’s life is like. One week later, I presented him a competitive marketplace analysis, a go-to-market strategy, and a sponsorship pitch deck. His jaw hit the floor and said “wow, you’re really doing this!” I replied, “there’s a real opportunity here, I’m going for it” and I did.
I was a little ole nobody pitching major corporations to be a sponsor in my museum and to my shock, a lot of companies replied that they were interested. Granted I solicited about 10,000 email addresses across several hundred companies, but still. Major companies wanted to talk to me. They wanted me to come to their office and continue to pitch up the corporate ladder.
Who the heck was I? I had no set location, no physical product, just an idea and a business plan to make it happen. But somehow I convinced multiple companies that I was legitimate and they took a chance on me. Once I had sponsors signed on, it was game time.
8 months later, we opened our doors to the public with my business, The Pizza Experience, and my husband’s book, The Great Pizza Experiment was on shelves for purchase.
I’m just a girl, with a fire inside, big dreams, and the moxie to go for it. And so my new journey began. A journey it was indeed…
Reality is, starting a business is REALLY HARD. Especially when you’ve never done it before. The stress is incomparable when you have so much personally invested in the company. There were ridiculously fun times like being a knight in a 14-foot tall pizza box castle on a vegetable throne. There were ridiculously painful nights crying wondering how I was going to pay $10,000-$30,000 bills in a couple days.
I pushed myself beyond any limit I ever thought I had and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.
But I don’t want to sugar coat what entrepreneurship is like. It ain’t easy. I’m here to share my rollercoaster of a ride.