They grow up so fast, don't they? I became a father less than two years ago and launched a food truck less than a year ago. In this short amount of time, I've been amazed by how taking care of my baby is so similar to taking care of my "baby."
It turns out that despite all the books and advice out there, some things you need to figure out for yourself. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
As a Food Truck Owner: After reading several "How to Start a Food Truck" books and getting terrific advice from as many established food truck operators as possible, you launch your truck and realize, "Wait a second, nobody said anything about this very specific internet dead spot that makes it impossible for me to accept credit card payments at this location!"
As a Father: After taking in all the well-intended advice from friends, family and experts, you bring your child home from the hospital and realize, "Wait a second, nobody said anything about how my daughter would sleep well only if we put her in the Fisher-Price Snugabunny with the swing setting on medium."
You're Gonna Get Dirty
As a Food Truck Owner: Whether you're figuring out where your food truck's muddy tire is leaking air, or troubleshooting your truck's generator during an event, you're gonna get something brown on you.
As a Father: Whether cleaning mud from your daughter's hand, or changing her diaper, you're gonna get something brown on you.
Progress is Not Linear
As a Food Truck Owner: One day you decide to switch from corn tortillas to wheat rotis to give your Indian burritos a more authentically-Indian flavor. A few days later, you launch said rotis, which are received very positively by your customers. A few weeks later, the woman who had been making these homemade rotis decides that she's no longer interested in making them. While trying to figure out another way to source homemade rotis, it's time to go back to corn tortillas.
As a Father: One day your daughter is extremely cooperative and eats her pureed green beans like a good little girl. The next, she's discovered that blowing raspberries is more fun with a mouth full of said pureed green beans. On day 3, she once again can't live without devouring her green beans with her yellow spoon. Who knows what the fourth day will bring!
It Takes a Village ... And Then Some
As a Food Truck Owner: Where would you be without your amazing team of chefs, accountant, lawyer, marketing advisors and other food truck owners?
As a Father: Where would you be without your family (WIFE!!!), Nanny, friends, daycare, babysitters and the occasional episode of Curious George to help take care of and raise your daughter?
It Makes Me Really Happy
As a Food Truck Owner: While it's a lot of work and at times exhausting, seeing your customer take that first bite and just melt into their enjoyment of something that started out as just an idea in your head makes it all worthwhile.
As a Father: While it's a lot of work and at times exhausting, seeing your daughter look up at you with a sweet smile and say, "da-ddy" makes it all worthwhile.
These are just a few of the lessons I've learned as both a father and a food truck owner. How else are being a parent and being a small business owner similar?
This blog post is part of a series produced by Square as part of Let's Talk, an event series bringing local business owners together to collaborate and connect within their communities. For more information about Square, click here.