Chamber of Commerce Guest Blog Post

As a participant of the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Organization, they recently asked me to be a guest blogger for their upcoming newsletter.  I do not think of myself as much of a writer, but very honored for the opportunity to provide any insight into my recent journey of entrepreneurship.

Here is what I provided:

Taking the Leap
by Kristi Martin, Owner of FEAST Food Tours & Culinary Events, Inc.

Comfort zones are good, but being too comfortable could eventually make one unhappy. As the definition suggests, it is a “range of minimum and maximum exposure or risk within which an entity can operate without coming under undue stress.” Undue stress? No, thank you. No one wants added unwarranted stress; however, after a long time in your comfort zone are you being productive? Are you motivated? Most importantly, are you happy and really reaching your potential?

My answers recently to those questions were, “Sort of, yes,” but I was working to achieve someone else’s goals. So, after 18 years in my comfort zone, I took the leap.

After graduation from college, I jumped into the workforce as a young professional in a job working within my degree. Then I got laid off. I started over with two more jobs working within my field but realized after a weekend getaway that I wanted to own my own bed-and-breakfast. Even though that did not seem the right thing to do for someone in her mid-20s, if it is what would make me happy, why work my whole life doing something I may not enjoy? This trajectory of jumping into the hospitality and tourism industry and experiencing a taste of the entrepreneurial spirit has led me to my new journey today.

I jumped out of my comfort zone in February 2012 and became an entrepreneur starting Charlotte’s first culinary tourism and food tour company, FEAST Food Tours & Culinary Events, Inc.

An entrepreneur is defined as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” That is someone who operated outside of his or her comfort zone, I suppose, since I have come under undue stress from time to time. I left a comfortable salary and benefits to work for myself. Did I mention that my husband is self-employed with a new business as well? I would not change a thing, have learned a lot, and have recently started pinching myself because I actually have built something and am starting to feel my first signs of growing pains.

Whether you were built with the entrepreneurial spirit or not, you still find ease in your comfort zone. However, if you are feeling just the bit of uneasiness in that zone, it may be time to jump. You may not have the desire to take the leap into “considerable initiative and risk,” but consider challenging yourself to stay productive and motivated to reach your best potential. It may be scary, but with enough planning, courage, and faith, you can do it. Pursue your happiness.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”