Mothers & Daughters

The cool night air in Tahoe over the weekend alerted me to the changing seasons. I went home, packed up, and now I sit in a hotel room in Los Angeles, California.

I’m here to drop my daughter off at college and to attend meetings for my company Ocean SF.

On my last night with my daughter she told me I was the love of her life. I think there are some unusually companionable mother-daughter pairs and we are among them.

My younger daughter and I have a similar relationship, but together we are more like water. We rarely disagree and she infuses even the most mundane situation with her charming and unusual sense of humor. My older daughter and I are fire and ice. We test each other. We debate. Then, come back together stronger than before. Her teenage years were difficult, but I can already see in her the woman she will become. Strong, intelligent and confident, I can’t imagine what she will do. I know the experiences of my own life limit my vision for her. She will do things that I don’t now know exist.

Recently, I’ve been very thankful for the women who have shaped me. My stunning mother Joan, and my grandmother Nellie Cody Burke. I can now appreciate their courage, their deep love, and the lessons they imparted as I too have now raised a daughter.

I strolled through the bookstore on campus before I left. The shelves were lined with so many books that I have already read, but many more are left to read. There is always so much more to learn.

After checking out, the love of my life hugged me in the warm sunshine, and I turned and walked away. It seems impossible that I could leave someone I love so much behind. Yet, it is necessary that we both turn the crisp white page to a new chapter.

Love and blessings to all.

Building A Business

I’ve been watching people read my sleeping blog. A place I poured my heart into for two years while building Oceans SF.

I broke my arm a few days after announcing I would no longer write my blog. I’ve been working for other entrepreneurs and dating and as temping as it was/is to write about these endeavors it’s not really ethical. Plus, after the break I couldn’t type at all.

My attorney tells me my friends and family know I’m a lifestyle writer so they are aware they can land on my pages at any time. I always read my posts to my kids before publishing, and ask their permission first and in every way try to be considerate of the privacy of others while maintaining my own authenticity.

For my friends and business associates as forewarned as they are, I am as cognizant of the power of my words, and understand when you have 80,000 hits in 72 countries what you say has meaning.

Recently, I’ve watched my analytics with interest; Canada, France, Brazil, Jamaica, Spain, Australia and can’t believe I’ve given up something I’ve loved so dearly. What’s nice about my website is I can pick it up whenever I choose because it’s something I’ve built and own.

I love writing my 24/680 News Column as well, but I do have editors and they choose my titles and weigh in on my content, but mostly are my biggest fans.

Ocean SF has recently been funded, due to investors who found my company through my writing and hard work in promoting my company and brand day in and day out for the last several years. I’m busy working behind the scenes with some amazing people on that. Ocean SF is also something I’ve built and can cultivate as I choose.

I saw off my friends to the Pacific Cup Race to Hawaii at the St. Francis Yacht Club last week. They took my apparel to really prove it at sea. It’s been sold into some of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world now and I’m excited to have my products in stores this fall. It’s also gratifying after so much hard work, time and energy to finally have my company up and running.

I’ve also picked up some independent consulting work as I roll off of my enjoyable, but seasonal catering side hustle. It was a gift to learn from so many hard working and dedicated entrepreneurs. It takes commitment and dedication to be successful and I will implement what I’ve learned over the past six months as I continue to build my brand, business, and team.

It’s interesting that my most popular post recently has been Love & Money as I feel that to be truly successful one must have love and this is in direct proportion to the monetary rewards of life. This is just my own observation of course, but I’ve noticed that loving your life, the people around you, and being both generous and kind brings countless blessings and rewards, many of them financial.

I’ve certainly found this to be true recently as I’ve decided to center my attention on my family, friends and the work and people I love most.

I’ve had some hard lessons this summer. My business had some ups and downs and I almost gave up on it. I broke my arm for the second year in a row on Father’s Day and have been in a good deal of pain. I compounded this by dropping an iron umbrella stand on my other hand.

Yet, my friends and family have surrounded me with love and I’ve truly surrendered to my circumstances and because of this, I’ve actually had a really wonderful summer with the added bonus of some spectacular business success.

From working in the kitchen at the catering company I’ve developed an interest in making cakes. I’m a horrendous baker historically, but I actually adore making birthday cakes. I’ve made four over the past few weeks for milestone birthdays and just ordered my professional baking supplies so I can make bigger and better cakes in the future. I absolutely love doing this for the people I love.

As I’ve said before, it’s not what I would have expected, but nevertheless joy.

Love and blessings to all.

More on The Side Hustle

Like all hard workers, I’ve been offered several jobs through my side hustles and opportunities to move up and work full time if I would like. However, my dream of sustainable outdoor apparel continues to pull me. I have children to support, so I’m weighing my options.

Additionally, because of my experience and understanding of both technology and marketing communications, I’ve been contacted by companies far and wide. These are not side hustles, but very full time career type positions mostly in the Silicon Valley.

Recently, Facebook in Menlo Park called me for a marketing content specialist role. It’s tempting. More than tempting.

I’m drawn to my own endeavors and using my creativity, but I’m the sole parent now with two children to get through college. As my business partner said when he resigned, “it was indeed fun” although I will miss hanging out with him, I thought of it as work.

It’s been enjoyable having both my own business and working for other entrepreneurs simultaneously. I’ve loved my co-workers and doing new things. It’s been very enlightening watching how hard the business owners work. They pitch in and do everything. Today, I was making cookies at the catering company. This is alarming news for anyone who knows me well, as I am a notoriously bad baker. Not to worry, I was only rolling the dough into balls and then brown sugar for my co-worker to bake. Please don’t ask me who’s private jet they were for, as I’m not allowed to say, but it is testament to what a truly exceptional company this is. The food is made from the most beautiful ingredients and expertly executed. I would not have missed this experience for the world as it’s been amazingly interesting and has inspired me to cook again. But, most importantly, it has taught me what to expect from those around me in terms of effort.

My days are full and busy, but its time to think long and hard about my own future and how to proceed in a way that will allow me to care for and protect myself and my children.

I always follow my heart, but I need to go inward and think carefully about my next steps. I trust myself, and know I will make the right decisions.

Love and blessings to all.

Dedication, Hard Work & Commitment

I love Maya Angelou for her wisdom and many fine quotes like this one. As an entrepreneur and having worked in many start ups and entrepreneurial ventures I can attest to the truth of her words.

Starting companies like all good adventures are enjoyable at the start. There are lots of meetings and brainstorming sessions and excitement, but meetings are not the real work of a company. They are just a small part. For Ocean SF the real work is behind the scenes. Buying the thread, reinforcing the pockets, shipping the merchandise, making the labels, driving to the bank and depositing money to keep the website up, managing the invoices and finances, working on the nonprofit, showing up to pick up garbage with twenty other people on a Saturday morning and taking 2,000 photos in the freezing cold to get that one great shot. Or, having hard conversations with co-workers, suppliers and contractors that make you unpopular. We can’t always be liked in business. Sometimes it’s necessary to be direct and factual to get things done. Yes, everyone wants to always be the nice guy, but this can be an expensive luxury.

Having a solid work ethic and showing up is 90% of being successful. Without the hard work, dedication and commitment it is only talk.

Another favorite quote of mine from Maya Angelou is, “When people show you who they are listen.”

Love and blessings to all.

Commitment Is Freedom

I’ve had a stressful week with the news of my Ocean SF partner resigning on Tuesday, but luckily it’s been another peaceful weekend.

I love living in the Bay Area. There is nothing more beautiful than San Francisco Bay. The azure water, the beautiful San Francisco skyline, and the many Islands and coves from Richmond to Redwood City never cease to fascinate me.

The way the sunlight plays on the water, the combination of the working harbor, and the recreational sailboats that go by proves the multi-cultured diverse ecosystem that is my home.

I spend a great deal of time on the Bay and recently on Treasure Island, but it is ever changing and never the same from one day to the next. It is always a different experience due to the dramatic role the weather plays.

Being on the water for the Friday Night sailboat races and then on Treasure Island for the Treasure Festival is in my opinion the epitome of bliss.

I especially enjoy spending time with my Treasure Festival boss Chaz. It was nice to have another entrepreneur to talk with about Ocean SF and the challenges ahead. Plus, I am treated so well there. I came home with arm loads of flowers, desserts and more food than I can eat in a week.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about commitment. As someone who values freedom above all else this is an unusual train of thought for me.

For many years of married life I found this deep commitment liberating, because I could focus on my career, and other interests knowing I had support and love to back me up every step of the way. My late husband supported everything I did. It made going out into the world that much easier.

It was during this time that I was the most successful in my career, my watercolor paintings hung in galleries, and he constantly encouraged me to write. He read everything I wrote and would tell me that if he could write like I could that he wouldn’t do anything else (he was a very fine writer as well I might add).

Because of this idea, I committed to Ocean SF 100% from the start. It’s been my baby and number one priority apart from my kids for the past two years. I’ve literally loved it into existence. Now, even people I don’t know have heard of Ocean SF. I’ve devoted myself 100% to promoting it on all platforms and it’s starting to pay off.

I feel so blessed to have had the resources to commit to Ocean SF full time for so long. I look forward to working with others who have deep roots and decades of experience in the retail industry who have committed to helping me to finally bring my vision to fruition.

Today, I committed to staying at my side hustle for an entire year, the last weekend of every month. My boss and I will meet monthly and talk about entrepreneurship and my Ocean SF progress. These conversations which will include all of the details of the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur will make a wonderful book for other entrepreneurs to learn from.

Commitment is freedom.

Love and blessings to all.

Action Is the Alchemy

Action is the alchemy of success. Recently, I’ve been out earning money to support my kids and further my company Ocean SF. There are easier ways to do this than the road I’ve taken, but I get so much out of working with other entrepreneurs that it has been well worth the effort.

From this experience, and others, I can tell you that nothing trumps hard work.

I’ve recently realized that a good idea supported by actionable steps, careful planning and execution, but specifically hard work is better than any brilliant idea.

Everyone has great ideas, but without the hard work they are only wishes.

Yesterday, I worked for six and a half hours on a catering team. Our small group worked diligently, heads down, and with very little talking. The owner was scrubbing a pan with steel wool. The company prepares meals for private jets among other things. No one works harder than those in the kitchens of the food industry.

The day before, I spent three hours driving to pick up and drop off the graphics for our sailboat and the nonprofit I am sponsoring. I had to make time to do this, and yes it was inconvenient, and I had to pay for it too, and it wasn’t cheap. But, this is what you have to do to be successful. Next, I will scrub the sails, and help afix the one foot logos to the mainsails of our sailboats. Soon, my Ocean SF logo will be on the Ocean SF sailboat, Solana and on the Sailing Initiative sailboat, Chomp and it will be due to my efforts, the efforts of the Chomp team, and our hard work.

After working in the kitchen, I went home and wanted to stay there, but I had promised to help with the Berkeley Yacht Club Race Committee, so I made a coffee and went. It’s important to show up, and not disappoint other people. It’s easy to get involved in our own personal issues and not realize how we impact and burden other people. I didn’t want my friend to not have an extra set of hands when he set the marks for the sailboat race, so I showed up, even though I was tired.

Today, I was at the Treasure Festival working for my friend Chazz. I love working there, a family run business, where all the kids show up and help. At one time, this festival was just an idea. Now, it’s an enterprise that supports a family.

Action and hard work are the Alchemy of success. There is no substitute for putting in the time and working hard.

Ideas without action are just wishful thinking, they do not bring into existence thriving companies or monthly festivals with 180 vendors and 20 food trucks. And guess what? The food on those trucks doesn’t cook itself.

If you want to make an impact on the universe, get on it.

Love and blessings to all.

Quitting

As we begin we never believe quitting is an option. My former Ocean SF business partner, Andrew Lacenere, has resigned due to heath reasons.

I’m not surprised as being an entrepreneur is stressful and start ups invariably take an enormous toll on our heath and nervous system. When things go right it’s amazing, but as things go counter to expectations it is the opposite.

New enterprises are comprised of both the high and low.

When we started this, I had worked for four tech start ups and only one over time proved successful, so I knew the challenges that awaited.

Regardless, I still believe in my initial premise; sustainable, beautiful, performance based apparel.

Luckily, as always, I’ve had a little help from my friends.

Love and blessings to all.

Another Side Hustle

Over the weekend I helped staff the most beautiful wedding at Preservation Park in downtown Oakland.

At this point in my life anything is preferable to sitting in front of my computer working on my company and writing projects by myself for 10 hours per day seven days per week. I want to get out, meet new people, and experience new things. Plus, I can use the money to do nice things for my kids.

It was an honor to set tables for 120 guests and watch the professional staff do their jobs from the Mariachi Band to the amazing gourmet food, to the stunning floral arrangements. I had a blast and met a half dozen new friends. What a privilege to be a part of such a magical night. I can’t wait to do it again.

I say it all the time, get out of your comfort zone, and try something new.

Love and blessings to all.

Love Is the Most Powerful Force

Love can move mountains. As a mother, I know that this is most certainly true, and that it is the most powerful force of all. It motivates my every motion from dawn until dusk.

I’ve been working an insane amount of hours. This morning I was up at 5 a.m. to meet my Ocean SF Business partner before I started my side hustle on Treasure Island at 8:30 a.m. I’m falling in love with my co-workers and the entire business of making some of the most beautiful liquor in the world. The environment is fun, lively, and completely inspires me as an entrepreneur.

I’ve met some amazingly beautiful people and have enjoyed every moment. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be doing it, but at the same time it’s helping me so much in understanding how to manufacture high quality products. The process is so similar to the clothing industry where there are entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs (more on this complex ecosystem later).

In addition, I’m given a nice amount of product, which if whiskey is your thing is good, but for me I’ve given most of it away, as I am a wine drinker. I’ve been offered a bottle of the premium brand of rum that was just bottled, and all I can think to do with it is to pour it over ice cream served with whipped cream and caramels. The entire building smelled like vanilla, spices, and sugars when it was bottled the other day. I will eventually serve this dish with coffee and warm cognac at a future dinner party.

As I drive over the bridge every morning toward San Francisco I weigh my options. My mind is as unsettled as the water below me, but someday the water will be calm and the path will be obvious. From experience, I know that after the path is chosen, no matter how difficult the choice, it will bring positive changes and move my life in a forward trajectory.

You would not believe how long it took me to form that last sentence, though not easily conveyed, the sentiment behind it is true. Some decisions are more difficult than others as they come with twists and turns and must be taken at the onset purely on faith.

Everything I do now is for my children and it is because of this intention that I know everything will be fine.

I look forward to the day when my life is settled, happy and predictable, but until then I will enjoy maintaining a beautiful home for my children, spending time with the people I love, and driving to magical Treasure Island.

Love is a powerful force and it both guides and protects me on my journey.

Love and blessings to all.

The Side Hustle

At a recent investor pitch meeting, the speaker mentioned her side hustle. I hadn’t heard this term before, but every entrepreneur from Henry Ford to Steve Jobs had a side hustle on their way to success. Later at the reception I found many entrepreneurs have side hustles. These are typically wildly different from the main hustle.

As the English say, “a change is as good as a rest.”

On my way home I thought about this a great deal as I’ve many expensive and frustrating experiences with my main hustle (Ocean SF). I felt intuitively that I needed to stop what I was doing and find a side hustle. I needed a change of scenery and I needed new people in my life. And I wanted that right away.

The next day, I started looking for a side gig. I spend a lot of time behind a computer, so I needed something where I could meet new people and not have to sit at a desk. I saw an advertisement for the family run Treasure Island Festival and applied. Later, I learned my boss picked only two names out of a list of hundreds. Four days later I was on Treasure Island with my new boss surrounded by amazing food, music and art.

I enjoy young people and am used to them from my ski instructor and sailing experiences, but nothing could have prepared me for what lay ahead. I met so many artist and entrepreneurs and was offered half a dozen other jobs. As it turns out I was good at directing traffic and telling people what to do. I even had a two way radio.

My Treasure Island job was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, and it helped me find my second side gig which has been amazingly enjoyable as well, and has given me great insight into some of my most pressing Ocean SF production issues.

I’ve already made new friends and have a steady stream of lucrative work when I need money or a distraction from my own often stressful main hustle.

It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Meeting new people and sharing new experiences is good for the soul.

I also think there is a little luck involved and as everyone knows, I pray every morning, and am often blessed in unusual ways. In no way has this been more true than now.

Love and blessings to all.