Well hello All Square friends and family!
We have reached $35,000 -- now just $15,000 away from our goal. A tiny but surreal and still (admittedly) daunting but wow, we have come so far!!! And I am thrilled!!!!!
The All Square Tour is Complete! And a few updates.
The All Square Tour is now complete (pictures below) and I'm still surging with energy from each and every stop. From North Dakota to New York City, we covered six cities and I have officially rendered the last three weeks some of the very best (and also most challenging) I have ever had.
We have a few exciting announcements coming down the pipe -- but for now, suffice it to say that things are moving forward and I am just thrilled! The Pioneer Press featured All Square today in its "Give Local" column and an interview with Archinect will be published later this week.
In more immediately relevant news, I authored my first letter of recommendation for a wonderful soul earlier this afternoon who has had grave difficulty in accessing housing the past few years. These, to me, are the moments that I feel the most grateful - and on track. Truly. THIS is why I am choosing to commit my life to this venture.
Lastly, my tour of the prospective space for All Square went wonderfully. I'm not able to talk about many of the details quite yet, but I am honestly SO hopeful and SO excited!!!!!
So much of running this Kickstarter campaign is maintaining and exuding confidence at all costs. But in writing to the "Faces of Founders" campaign this morning, I found myself writing not only about the triumphs and silver linings of this venture thus far -- but also about some of the very real, very visceral challenges that have also surfaced. With that, I want to share the entry that I submitted -- because its honest. And with all of the momentum has also come some really trying times. And i think it's important for all of you to know that it hasn't been all roses and butterflies (is that a thing?!).
The question pitched was this: What has been your biggest obstacle in your entrepreneurship journey? My answer was as follows:
Predictably, the financing of All Square is a massive obstacle. Having an idea that is anchored in a larger vision is a great start but finding a way to actually fund the idea into fruition is no small feat.
Putting the financial enormity of opening a restaurant aside, the biggest obstacle with All Square thus far has been the willingness to embrace a brand of vulnerability that is quite unfamiliar to me. I am a very public person and feel as though I have learned to embrace vulnerability both personally and professionally. But the type of vulnerability that has come with launching a social enterprise while looking for public affirmation through a Kickstarter campaign has been exceptionally difficult. There have been times when I have had to really separate my idea from my overall worth as a human being and trust that support (or lack thereof) and attendance at my Kickstarter parties has nothing to do with whether or not people love and respect me. But wow, has it been hard. And the fear of failure is outrageous.
Entering a new industry that I have little experience with has also been a challenge. The learning curve is steep and the fear of leaving a prestigious discipline for a relatively unrelated field has certainly given me pause. Though support for All Square has been overwhelmingly positive, my decision to leave the formal practice of law to open a gourmet grilled cheese shop has not come without deep skepticism and, at times, criticism. Which... has hurt.
Finally, it has been difficult to forgo a consistent and sizable salary. My departure from HUD was coupled with a departure from a tier of financial security that I have been working my whole life to achieve. I grew up in a very hard-working yet low-income family and I will be the first to say that the feeling of being financially on top, so to speak, came with deep gratitude and tremendous relief. All of my debts, with the exception of student loans, were paid off, I could pick up the dinner tabs for friends and family, and I had no problem buying the things that I both wanted and needed. Already, I miss the freedom and peace of mind that comes with a well-paying job and all the benefits that accompany such a position.
Don't get me wrong. It is all worth it. And if I'm being honest, so many people have so much less than I do. My privilege is real and I fully recognize that it exists. But for what it's worth, being a little financially insecure again has just... been hard.
Lucky for all of you, the submission was capped at 2000 words. So I'll leave it there. But again, just wanting to share some of the more difficult moments that have come with launching All Square.
Now... onto (happy) photos! ;)
All Square Tour Pictures!
I imagine that I will look back at these tour photos for all the rest of my days and just... smile. What a three weeks it has been. Thank you so much for all of you who attended and to all of you who sent your well wishes!!!!!