Juice Because started as a passion project with myself and my business partner Leigh Gibney, in June 2014. A commercial kitchen was rented, and every Sunday was spent juicing and filling orders. Within a year we had a few staff members, we'd expanded our juicing to twice a week and even sought a few retail locations around Calgary. Leigh and I continued to work full-time at our 9 to 5 jobs, and spent evenings and weekends working on JB. It was a labour of love and the idea of having our own store front was still just that, an idea.
By the end of year one, we made the decision (with more excitement than actual planning) to dive right in and lease a retail space of our own and purchase a large commercial juicer. At this time our full-time business manager decided to pursue her own passions leaving a large gap in management that needed to be filled. It was in this moment I realized, if I was waiting for a sign to start living my dreams, this was it. Within a few weeks I had closed my eyes and gave notice at my downtown job...I did it!
This last year working with Juice Because full time has been the wildest ride of my life. The highs are so high and the lows are pretty low. Being an entrepreneur can look like the “good life” from an outside perspective but day to day is a different story. I have always had the belief that once I worked for myself I wouldn’t have to answer to 'the man'. Spoiler alert, you become the man and have to answer to everyone else. I’ve learned so much in one year, not only about business, but also about myself.
I was lucky to have an incredible support system around me. My business partner Leigh supported my decision 110% even though it meant only one of us got to make the jump. My husband didn’t question me and knew this was something I had to do to feel fulfilled, and my family and friends were behind me all the way.
Once the excitement of quitting my job had worn off, the stress and anxiety began to set in pretty quickly. I realized I had to turn this passion project into a profitable self-running machine. I felt like I had to prove to everyone that I had quit my cozy desk job for a reason. This led me down a black hole of working day and night. I stopped spending time with my friends, I spent less time with my husband and family, and my overall health started to decline. At one point my husband looked at me and said, “You didn’t quit your job to be this unhappy”.
I’d like to think it all changed magically in that moment, but it didn’t. It took a few months to find my balance. I had to learn that it’s okay to ask for help, and that most success stories don’t happen over night. I was in it for the long haul and had to be ready to dig deep, get dirty, and work my a** off! On a personal level I had to do a lot of growing and reflecting. After so many years of letting what I thought other people’s definition of success and happiness were influence my decisions, I had to step out of my comfort zone and take a real look at what those things meant to me.
Although it has been one whole year since leaving my job, I still have my moments of doubt and extreme anxiety. I sometimes even think what life would be like if I hadn't' decided to start Juice Because. But thankfully, I always circle back to the realization that I couldn’t imagine my life without it and that if it was easy everyone would do it. Life is too short to not do the things you’ve always wanted to do. So when I’m having a tough day I remind myself that I GET to do something I love and that one of those exciting highs is just around the corner.
The road for an entrepreneur doesn’t often come with a map or someone to guide you in the right direction. Following your gut will be your only compass and your final destination probably will look nothing like you thought it would. It’s this blind journey that will actually show you more than you’ve ever seen. I never knew this is what I was going to do or that this would be the path I would choose, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.