Don't Let Them Wither - Put Your Talents To Use

We already have a hard time remembering how our lives were before going indie. What we do remember is spending plenty of time in tall buildings, sitting at desks, and making slides like the world depended on it. 

Every other year a title would change, a salary would rise, and our motivation would…plunge. Then one day it hit us: We were living the lives of somebody else.

It was then that my wife and I decided to start our own business, with a few basic ideals in mind: to go back to the essentials, to enjoy what we do, and to have an impact on society. A few months later, we quit our consulting jobs, sold all of our belongings, and moved to San Francisco to bake organic sweet and savory pies. These are a few things we learned along the way:
  • Combine your talents and passion
Large organizations need structure to function, so they often put people in boxes and give them a focus. Is it efficient? Probably. Does it provide room to use your talents? Rarely. Your talents are what make you stand out. And when combined with your passions, you get the opportunity to achieve amazing things, reach your true potential, and make an impact. What’s also great about talents is that you’re born with them.
Don't Let Then Wither - Put Your Talents To Use
So don’t let yourself be fooled by the need for an extensive education program before venturing out on your own. Your talents are stronger than whatever you’ve studied. The both of us had no professional baking training. However, we had a talent in associating contemporary flavors with traditional family recipes.
Ask yourself the question: what are your talents and when was the last time you’ve put them to use?
  • Seek support from within
Here is a statistic: eighty percent of the people surrounding you tend to lean toward the status quo. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the probability of people supporting you in quitting your secure job and venturing out on your own is very slim. Just imagine the reactions we got when telling people about our organic pie idea: astonishment, laughter, and a lot of skepticism.

More often than not, it’s about convincing yourself rather than others. You’ve got to start believing in your instincts (which is the opposite of what you probably learned at school). And always remember this: no one can predict the future, so if you feel that something might work, and no glaring roadblocks are in the way, just go for it.
  • Ideas are everywhere
I’ve had friends tell me they were “waiting to find the killer idea of the century” to start their own venture. But many businesses have become very successful by improving the existing. This means that there are plenty of opportunities out there to shine, without having to invent the next space shuttle (which, admittedly, would be pretty awesome).

  • Move and get rid of stuff
A move can often be an important factor in success. Changing your environment helps to break down your habits, bring new inspiration, and enables you to meet all kinds of new people. “Stuff” is notorious for getting in the way of progress, and getting rid of your belongings in the process can provide you with more focus.

In our case, we left Brussels, Belgium for San Francisco to delve into the city’s foodie culture and the abundance of organic produce. We emptied our apartment and sold everything we had. Now, we live in a single room in the Haight-Ashbury that serves as our bedroom—as well as our company’s office. And we’re not missing a thing.

With these few thoughts, we hope we’ve inspired you and your natural talents to get out there and do what you love.

The world is waiting for you.

Arnaud and Julie Goethals left their home in Brussels, Belgium to found an organic baking start-up based in San Francisco. They now spend their days handcrafting contemporary home-style pies by reinterpreting traditional family recipes with seasonal and organic Californian ingredients. Their bakery, vive la tarte (French for ‘long live the pie’), takes orders through Twitter, and caters to hotels, restaurants, and other start-ups in San Francisco.
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