HOW’D YOU END UP BEING COFFEE SHOP OWNERS?
As teenagers, we always joked about opening a coffee shop “one day.” It was never more than that thought in our minds. After Jacob graduated from college (with a non-business) degree, he couldn’t find a job. One day he said to Amber, “What if we really do start a coffee shop?” The next day, Amber quit her job as a bank teller, and a year(ish) later, The Underground opened its doors.
SO, WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Owning and operating your own business is hard. Getting the phone call that your scheduled employee is sick and you’re the one that has to cover even though it’s your “day off” is hard. Realizing that you’ve hired too many people, stretched your budget and need to downsize is hard. But understanding something you created and built is supporting you and your family brings an incredible sense of fulfillment.
Realizing you made poor decisions that will be costly for years to come is hard. But learning from those mistakes to move on to something better makes it worth it.
Working closely everyday with your siblings is VERY hard. But, thankfully, we are a close family and have managed not to kill each other. We’ve evened gained a few customers and friends from the sibling banter.
HOW’S IT DIFFERENT THAN YOU EXPECTED?
In all honesty, we didn’t know what to expect. In opening the Underground, we felt like we were following our calling, but also had NO IDEA what we were doing!
WHAT’S BEEN THE HARDEST PART?
In a word, the hardest thing for us – learning. Learning how to run a business. Learning how to pull a good shot of espresso and turn cold milk into smooth microfoam. Learning how to interact with a sibling as a business partner. Learning to remember customers drinks and “handle” the “difficult” ones. Learning who we are as a business, and who we aren’t. Learning how we can best fit in and support our community.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT CAREER/PATH, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Jacob – something boring, like an accountant
Amber – a stay at home mommy
Maryam – anything that starts after 10am
IF YOU WERE STARTING TODAY, WOULD YOU DO THE SAME THING AGAIN? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Tough to say. I have often said that if I would’ve known how much work opening The Underground would be that I probably would not have started it. On the other hand, the rewards have made it worth it, and most days don’t feel like “work.”
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT TRYING TO DO WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
Be all in. I will do/say anything to talk someone out of starting their own business. Many circumstances will come that will make it easy to give up, but it must be a dream that you won’t give up on. If I can convince you to give up before you start, I’m doing you a favor.
You have to be fully committed because it’s going to get tough. But if you’re tough, you’ll keep going.