The Magic Carry Kart and the Creme Brulee cart - carts by the two brothers who started the street food phenomena in San Francisco - are planning their 1 year anniversary next week on March 6. And with my birthday approaching in couple of days, I paused to think about the last 12 months. The Chai Cart is almost 7 months old. My present life or rather lifestyle bears no resemblance to my life before I started The Chai Cart. I quit my job in December '09 and started a new venture, Green Coriander - San Francisco's first and only home delivery service for healthy and organic Indian food.
There is no dearth of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, the mother ship of tech start-ups and VC firms. There are hundreds of books, blogs, stories, articles, etc written on how to build a successful start-up. All of them geared towards creating the next Apple, Google, Facebook or Zynga. Seven months back, that was my world. Entrepreneurship meant starting an internet related service or product company.
The Chai Cart opened my life to a whole new world. A world where customer service means a smile, not a call center; where lowering costs means saving an extra 5% on raw material, not cutting down on business class travel or lavish parties; where success is defined as being able to meet payroll and pay rent, not options worth seven figures. In this new world, I have met some of the most amazing people. And for the first time, I truly understand the meaning of the word "community".
I often get emails from people around the world asking me advice on starting a similar chai or food stand in their city. The first thing I say is - if you are doing it for money, then dont do it. Food service industry isnt the most profitable one. I take The Chai Cart out because I love hanging out with my food cart friends and love meeting people who stop by. I started Green Coriander because I passionately believe that we all should eat fresh, unprocessed foods and support a sustainable food system.
Life as an entrepreneur is not easy, yes we all heard that. Sleepless nights, crazy hours, personal sacrifices - life literally becomes a roller coaster. The only way you can pull through the lows and enjoy the highs is you inherently believe in yourself. your convictions and choose to follow your inner passion.