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MY EXPERIENCE AS A FOOD VENDOR AT THE CARIBBEAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL IN HARLEM

DSC00542This year I decided to be a food vendor at the Caribbean Cultural Festival at Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem, New York.  Murphy’s Law was in full effect.  Everything that could possibly go wrong, did.  The space was priced at $450.00.  The park isn’t that big so it’s weird that it’s priced that much when it cost the same thing to sell on the Parkway in Brooklyn where you will have access to thousands more festival goers.  I didn’t go with the Labor Day Parade on the Parkway because of the violence that transpires every year.  I opted for a more intimate setting among people celebrating their islands’ heritage.  It helped that my parents grew up in the Virgin Islands so my mom was able to pull her friends to support my table.

 

I was assigned a spot between two popular, experienced, and professional catering vendors.  At that point I already felt a loss.  We got to the festival late and they couldn’t find our spot.  Then when were setting up,  we realized that we forgot the serving spoons.  People were ready to order, but we couldn’t serve the food because we didn’t have anything to serve them with.

While it was a great learning experience,  I, ultimately, suffered a financial loss with this event.  I wasn’t properly prepared at all.  One important lesson I took away from this event is to be a successful entrepreneur, you must have discipline, a plan, and  you must be punctual.  Don’t just be on time, get there early!  Be the first to get where  you have to go because that will give you an advantage.

I gained knowledge through this experience, which is priceless.  I’ve grown to start looking at the bright side of things, even though I can’t afford to keep looking at the bright side because I need to start making money.  Unfortunately, entrepreneurship isn’t as easy as people make it seem.  How many losses does one truly experience prior to having their success story?  The truth is, you will fall and you will fall a lot.  Falling hurts so bad, but life is all about the rebound.  How fast you can bounce back from your failures is how fast you will find success.

 

I plan to do the event again next year.  We felt a rush from the combination of being creatives, serving customers, and counting cash.  The potential for success is there, but I need to learn a solid, fool-proof process for winning.  What I loved the most about working the festival is the people, and the atmosphere as a whole.  Our Johnny Cakes, Beef Patties, Saltfish Patties, Fried Porgy, Fried Shrimp, and Assorted Cakes sold out!!!  I walked away feeling good because I was among people from my home country who enjoyed my food.  I know how to cook, and I know how to cook large portions of food.  Seeing how satisfied people were as they returned to order more food from me boosted my confidence.  I believe in myself even more than I did when I left my corporate job.   I write, I can cook, I can bake, I have my mobile fashion & beauty boutique, and I have Roxy After Dark.  There is no reason for me to be sitting in an office feeling disappointed and unfulfilled.  There is no reason for me to be sitting in an office taking orders from someone who isn’t as creative as me.

When you get a taste of the freedom and flexibility you have from being your own boss, you realize how dreadful it is being someone’s employee.  I see the potential to acquiring great wealth on my own terms.  I have a lot to learn.  There is a burning sense of urgency that makes potential not enough.  It’s like waiting for the man of your dreams to man up.  You can’t pay bills with potential and you can’t survive off of potential and that is what makes this entire process so difficult to deal with.  It’s like that last lap right before the finish line.  The lap you really have to push through to win, so you just have to keep pushing if you are passionate about winning.

Please share your thoughts on your experience as an aspiring entrepreneur.  I’m open to advice and suggestions.  Thank you.

 

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Categories: Entrepreneur, Island Soul and Sweets BX, NYC Events, What's Hot in NYC

Author:Miss Metropolitan Junkie

Raised in the Bronx; spending the majority of my days in the Midtown section of Manhattan, I have a fabulous addiction to life in New York City. I'm a lifestyle writer and social blogger. I enjoy traveling and photographing foods, landscapes, and people in their natural element. I also enjoy attending parades and street festivals in New York City; capturing the spirit and positive energy on video and in photographs. I style people's lives by offering them tips on fashion, food & wine, dining & entertaining, arts & culture, and more!

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