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Shutting Down The Food Company I Never Started

The Ginger Route was going to be a clean food company. Then it was going to be a blog. No, sorry, a platform!

Ginger Route had many iterations all of which live in perpetuity in a notebook somewhere in my office. I worked on that “business” for longer than I care to admit here in public. It’s in air quotes because the thing I did not do was launch it.

The thing I did do was: strategize.

Customer interviews – oh yeah.

Research – you betcha.

Take classes – heck yes.

Networking – holy smokes. The food folks I got 1:1 to chat with me. WOW. 

This is where I started getting good at sales and copy. But I didn’t know that yet. I was too busy trying to start a food company I’d never start.

I had hundreds of pages of plans. I mapped it ALL out.

I had many legitimate reasons for not starting the business. Manufacturing constraints, capital, geography, bad margins, low demand, and a million other things that distracted me from the truth: I never really tried.

I was desperately clinging to I wanted people to think I was smart. I wanted to be seen as a breakout wunderkid. 

So I searched for a framework. A template. A step-by-step formula for how to not fail. I thought I was doing “due diligence.” Which is something you should do. 

But that is not what I was doing.

To be a breakout wunderkid (whatever that means) you can’t be motivated by how others perceive you. You have to be committed to The Idea. You’re its servant and advocate. Its human version because it doesn’t have a body. It lodges itself in your mind and you are now responsible for bringing it to life.

I was stuck on what Liz Gilbert calls “.” Sitting there on the tarmac, getting ready to take off. But not actually taking off. 

To take off, you’d have to do the things I was unwilling to do, which were:

  • Face rejection.
  • Try something that didn’t work.
  • Sell more.
  • Sell a different way.
  • Sell again.
  • Go to bat for the wrong idea.
  • Make a fool of myself. 
  • Let people know I was selling something.
  • Tell them again.
  • Change the idea.
  • Try again.

The truth was, I felt comfortable on the tarmac. I could sit on the tarmac and give advice that sounded SO SMART, like “I’m in it for the long game,” or spit out some math that made it seem like I’d earned my stripes and been in the trenches when all I’d done was sit on the tarmac and talk to other pilots who’d been in the trenches.

I’d been nowhere. And I was afraid of people finding out I’d been nowhere. 

I needed other people to believe I knew what I was doing because I didn’t believe it.

I was stealing from them. Stealing belief in myself, stealing self-worth. 

Which….are not things you can steal. Because they aren’t things you can get externally. You have to manufacture them internally

Which, at the time, I did not know how to do. 

The food business never panned out, but I did make some headway in consulting.

Turns out I wasn’t terrible at sales and I managed to land a few freelance projects as a [insert made-up consulting name]. I made up an offer and a title and all of it – out of my imagination. Or business acumen. I dunno. Might be the same thing.

All I know is the first time someone offered to pay me $9k to implement an offer I invented out of my own brain, I was hooked. It woke me up to the power of trusting yourself enough to fail elegantly and with respect.

I had no idea if the idea(s) would work. I thought this was fraud. That you cannot promise something unless you KNOW 1000% you can guarantee the result. I couldn’t guarantee anything and so…I didn’t.

I said: “This might not work. Here is what I think will work. Here is why. Here is the cost of doing nothing. Here’s the cost of trying.” And then, I put some onus on the prospect: “Here is what I will need from you.” 

And I flew off the runway. 

It felt good to fly. To get a taste of taking a swing and actually hitting something.

But I got stuck on the tarmac again shortly thereafter. I’m on the tarmac a lot, tbh. I think between projects I always hang out there a little. 

Because the runway isn’t a bad place to refuel.

It’s just a terrible place to live.


PS: If you’re ready to get off the runway and launch your dream project, get on the waitlist for Brainstorm Road.

There is a real website with cool videos on it that’s ready to go, but I keep getting an “SSL Certificates Unavailable” notification because **throws hands in air**

It’s fine. We have time. I’ll share it with you when it’s done and I’ve solved the SSL mystery.

In the meantime, get on the waitlist here.

For some behind-the-scenes details about Brainstorm Road, see my Instagram stories 😉