I must admit, I wasn’t a good student.
I was 22, studying communication at Carleton University. And it may have been that I didn’t like what I was studying or that I wasn’t mature enough to know what I wanted to do with my life.
It doesn’t really matter what the answer was. What does at that particular time of my life, is that I made the decision that would turn my life around.
I decided to start my own business.
I wanted to get out of school, so having a business seemed to be the easiest way to do that without disappointing my parents. So I made a trip back to my hometown, Toluca, Mexico, seeking my family’s financial support. We were sitting in my house’s kitchen table: my father, my mom and Alex – my friend who would be my business partner for over two years. The discussion brought us to an approval from my father to finance our restaurant project.
That very particular moment when we made the decision to move ahead, changed the rest of my life.
Having a business hasn’t always been easy. For the first two years, we were struggling to pay the rent, suppliers and the two employees that we had at the time. I believe the lack of experience and responsibility were the two major factors that were taking us to close the restaurant down.
Failure was a word that I was very scared to hear. I wouldn’t give up; my father always taught me to fight. But how far should I go with this fight? I didn’t know that answer. By the way at this time of my life, I was completely out of school, I wasn’t making any money and I was working close to 90 hours a week.
Here is where another hard decision was made. Should I continue with the restaurant and try to make a living out of something I really enjoy or should I just close the restaurant, get back to school and try to pay back my debt? I chose to continue the fight. I got a second loan from my father, a big push from my mother and approval from my partner in life and business: my wife Ioana.
A combination of bringing in the right people to work with and a shift in my business model completely changed the dynamic of my restaurant. For the first time in two years, we started to make money.
It has been seven years since I opened my restaurant and believe me, I do not regret for a second the decisions I have made.
My advice? Don’t be afraid, give it a try. Most of the time we won’t succeed but perseverance and passion will put you where you want to be. Just because you fail, doesn’t mean you didn’t learn.