Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to welcome the newest addition to my entrepreneurial journey. I hope this one begins the trend of the success that I have been dreaming of.
I want to chronicle the steps I’m taking to start this one for posterity’s sake.
While I was trying to come up with a REAL business idea that I could be passionate about, which is something about helping women in their 50’s and beyond get back to work, I had a brilliant idea while drinking a glass (ahem, glasses) of Prosecco. My partner is an Italian chef, so I said why don’t we start a Chef at Home business. This is almost the middle of March and it is the beginning of the eight-month tourist season.
We are a pretty quick 1-hour train ride from the center of Rome or an equally pretty quick 1-hour drive from Civitavecchia (the cruise ship port). Our town sits on a lake and has an enormous very well preserved dark ages built castle. We can host up to six people, prepare a meal for them, and show them how Italians really live. Before dinner, or lunch, we can arrange a tour of the castle with an English speaking guide then head over to one of our favorite bars for aperitivo. I love this idea! And I would have paid $$ to have all of this WITHOUT the huge crowds, to have a personal experience with an Italian chef and his American lady friend.
I am working on an online class I purchased to help me get my other business idea up and running (no name yet but it would be a coaching type business for women), but have decided to use it to get this one up and running as quickly as possible so we don’t miss out on this tourist season. There are eight weeks in this program, and I am on week one day one.
Week 1 Begins Now
Day 1: What I Want & Where I Want to Go
I will be using the program I purchased to help me gain some clarity. I know my mind is in a chaotic state right now, which makes it incredibly difficult to stay focused or even to know what I ought to spend my time on. I have been searching for a program, actually an affordable female business coach, to help me with this for the past few years. I am grateful I found this one! If all I get out of this program is one paying customer (I hope for loads more) then I will consider it a success.
I feel quite pessimistic at the moment because I am discriminated against because I’m a woman, I’m a woman over the age of 50, I’m a woman who has not been employed in a decade, I’m a woman living in a foreign country. I had given up hope of ever getting gainful employment again. I thought my full-time job was going to be finding a rich dude that I can hook and somehow live with for the rest of my years. I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS.
I imagine that we can build a good Home Chef business based in Italy for the American tourist. I am excited that we can build a good life here doing so. We love entertaining, so why not? I think we can make the same money he makes working in a restaurant now in one day working for ourselves. It will feel sooooo freeing to pay the rent, utilities, cell phone bills on time. To be able to buy the coffee, ceramics, couch, cookware when we want. To be able to take a vacation at the end of the season. To have the money to do what we want, when we want, with whom we want. Freedom!
My heart stops racing at the thought of this. And, the best part is, I think this can happen in a matter of weeks. My birthday (I’ll be 52 years old) is towards the end of May, and I expect we will be feeling so much better about everything by then. The anxiety will be a nasty thing of the past, as will the stress. We will always be smiling due to the joy that has finally entered our lives. Having something to do that you feel passionate about doing, while creating an experience for someone else is why both of us are on the planet. It’s what we were born to do.
Why Do We Want to Do This?
Americans (and others, but since I’m American I want to focus there) LOVE Italy. Italians LOVE Americans. It’s a mutual love affair, and I want to work at it. 🙂 Like all relationships, even when it’s a good one you both have to work to keep it alive.
I am well-traveled, and one of my pet peeves with traveling to the same place is that I don’t want to see all the tourist places, and do all the tourist things again, and eat all the tourist food. I want to meet the locals and see how they live. What they eat. How they spend their days and/or nights. But. I want to be safe too. I generally travel alone, so how do I know I’m safe? Generally I don’t, but I would feel a lot better if I new where I was going there was another American.
I would like to share what it’s like living in Italy as an American woman, but we’d also like to share our Italian hospitality with you over a home made meal and wine (if you so indulge).
Additionally, we think this idea can create a lifestyle that pulls us out of poverty – a really nasty place to live every single day of your life. Especially when you’re a bit older. My partner has a problem with his shoulder caused by pan cooking pasta for 40 people at the same time. It’s heavy and torques the should in a way that is not natural. It’s time for him to cut it down, yet still make money (more money than working in the restaurant) to enjoy life.
I would like to get my credit cards paid off and my savings account built back up ($10,000 minimum). This way if there’s ever an emergency with my parents or kids I have the fundage to get back there. There is no such thing as an emergency if you have enough money. Thinking about this money brings me peace, which will bring peace to everyone around me. When mama’s not happy, no one is happy.
Making a Difference
Wouldn’t that just be the cat’s meow if I can become an inspiration to other women? I can’t tell you how passionate I am about somehow, someway forging a path for other women in the 50s who’ve suddenly become single, without a job, and without money figure out a way to get out of their funk and back into living a purpose-driven, meaningful life that pays them a real wage.
I truly hope that once I have it figured out that I can help other women do the same because I loathe the way our world has gone backwards in the past decade. I feel we’ve gone backwards at least 50 years in the civil rights movement, and we have gone nowhere in women’s rights. I am not talking about Gloria Steinem’s aggressive woman’s movement. I’m talking about women still being lady-like, but being respected. Honored. Paid a wage that equals what they give.
Not sure how I can do that with a Home Chef business, but I’m creative and I’m sure I can figure out a way.
I hope that at the end of the meal you’ve shared with us that you appreciate the Italian lifestyle more, that you love your time with us, that you’ve created lifelong memories of your time here.
I think American people would love this idea, but maybe have concerns about being ripped off or having something stolen from them. I would also LOVE the idea of eating at a local family’s home to get that real taste of culture. Traveling is more than just seeing sights and eating in restaurants. It’s about starting to understand that culture, and making the world a little bit more intimate.
Starting chef at home right now is imperative due to the timing of tourism season. I would hate to rob tourists from the experience we can create for them this season!
My Future Friends
My future friends are people who have traveled a lot, and who have either been to Italy at least once before or who are staying in or near Rome for an extended period of time. You are looking for something to do in a nearby town, but that is completely different from what you can experience in the city.
My future friends have no little children as HRH, The Roman Dog is not a fan and she is my little baby. I won’t lock her away due to children. This is our home, after all, not a restaurant.
My future friends are between the ages of 45 – 70, though I think most will be in their 40s and 50s. They are fun to be around, have seen interesting parts of the world, are successful, optimistic, and love life. They have been there, done that, and are investigating what’s next. Their viewpoint is that life is better shared than being stingy, that reading is far superior to television, that social media is a serious annoyance. In other words, they are caring, giving, social people who view the computer and TV as a tool – not the end all be all.
I sincerely hope my future friends enjoy the experience C and I can make in their lives. I wish they go home and one of the highlights of their trip was spending time with us. I hope their souls are soothed after being with us.
We think we can help people looking for an excursion before or after their cruise, while on an extended vacation in Rome, or in a B & B here in the lake region. We have various menu ideas listed on the website that people can choose that we will prepare in our home, or in some instances in theirs. We will purchase the groceries, prep, cook, serve, eat together (if in our home), and clean up (in our home everything, but in yours the cookware).
We will discuss anything you like – we are your friends for the time you are with us. We will show you around town (it’s small), arrange a tour of the castle, have an aperitivo, and then we’ll wander back to our place for the meal. We can show you how to prepare it, if you like.
We know you will thoroughly enjoy your time with us! Our group size is the size of YOUR group, maximum of 6 if in our place. It’ll be an intimate experience, one that you will remember as a highlight of your trip to Italy.