I actually can’t believe I’m writing so quickly but I said I was going to do it so I have to! I spent most of the rest of yesterday studying for the test. I took like 6-7 different practice exams and went over some of the material that I didn’t do well on - cleaning and sanitation.

Today, I woke up at 7:30 and got ready then left for the exam. I made one wrong turn on my way there but I was still the first person to the testing facility. That meant I was the first one able to start my test, exactly what I was going for. I made one pass through the exam and wrote down all the questions I was unsure of and the ones I didn’t know. On my second pass through, I double checked the questions I was sure of and worked out the answers for the ones I unsure of / didn’t know. The test is 95 questions long and on my second pass through, when I got to about question 70, my heart started racing a little. As I got closer to the end it kept beating faster because I knew I was about to submit. After I checked question 95, I took a deep breath, moved the mouse over the submit button, closed my eyes, and clicked.

When I opened them the first word I saw was “PASSED.” I was pretty freaking relieved. If I hadn’t passed I would have been extremely pissed and had to pay more money to take it again (through the thing I did only the first two times were free). So that was pretty awesome, I went to my car with a huge smile and raced over to the warehouse to meet with my partner and our lawyer. In that meeting, we were able to work out a deal where he would own 19%. If I wanted to buy that back, I would have to payback the loan at 3.5% interest and buy the 19% at an evaluation decided by a third party. However, there is also a cap on the buyout if I decide I want to buy him out 19%. It’s definitely a fair deal and the cap is fairly low so when I have a $10 million business in 5 years I won’t have to pay him $1.9 million to buy him out. So that’s all for now, not going to do much the rest of the day because I want to celebrate. I have to answer a few emails but I’m definitely going to relax and maybe have a drink when I get home. Happy hump day! :)


Well I Failed...

So I was originally planning on writing after the exam on Friday morning but I ended up NOT passing the exam. Which meant I was pretty sad and just said “fuck it, I’m not doing anything today.” I was pretty confident going into the exam after scoring a 76/80 on the practice but the exam questions were much harder. For a lot of them I was able to narrow it down to two answers but for many of the questions, both made sense so it was hard to determine which was better. In the end, I was very close to passing but ended up failing and it was mainly on the cleaning and sanitation questions. When I got home I immediately reached out to the company I took the class through and let them know I needed to re-take. Luckily, even if you fail once you can retake the exam for free which was great to find out. So now I’m scheduled to retake it tomorrow and have been studying / reviewing all things cleaning and sanitation.

I didn’t do much else last week. I kept trying to get in touch with the CEO of 068 last week but he is still quite busy and finally got back to me on Friday. So I spoke with him in person yesterday when I went into the warehouse. All the material for the trailer has been ordered but they are mainly waiting for the base frame to be shipped so that they can start. He was told that should happen in the next couple of days so hopefully it actually does. I think the launch date will have to be pushed back to November, maybe even the second week :(. Which is sad for me but it’s obvious things are getting done so I can’t complain, just have to hope I don’t run out of money before we start.

As for the other stuff that’s going on, I’m unfortunately not going to cater the big event this upcoming weekend. This happened for many reasons but the main one was not passing the ServSafe exam. Also, they did not get back to me at all last week so after I failed, it just made sense to tell them I couldn’t do it. But the good news is that I am catering a different event this weekend, it’s just going to be a bit smaller :).

Also, I was not able to setup my bank account on Friday because the lawyer is going to have to redo all of the business paperwork. It’s a long story but what it comes down to is that he originally registered it as a Sole Proprietorship LLC however that will have to change. The CEO of 068 has some weird restrictions for how he can invest / be involved in a company. This means he HAS to have a stake in the company in order to be able to invest. He also is loaning me all of the money to start the business and definitely wants it back so he has to have some way of making sure that happens. So, he will be getting 19% as of right now but we will also determine a way I can buy him out. After we come to an agreement we can redo the paperwork, then the business will be re-registered and I’ll be able to get a bank account. Right now that meeting is scheduled for tomorrow morning after my exam so hopefully I pass and can go in with good spirits!

The last update is I just got off the phone with the insurance guy that my lawyer referred me to. It was a very straight forward call and he is going to follow up with a few more questions for me. He is a sole operator insurance guy which means he goes to all the insurance companies to broker the deal for me. Hopefully he can make it happen pretty soon!

Alright, that’s it for now, I WILL be writing tomorrow after I pass my test and work out a good deal with my partner, happy Tuesday!

Gotta Study Up For My Exam!

Woooooo, it’s only 4 days later and I’m writing again! I’ve pretty much only worked on one thing since I last wrote (besides sending emails) and that’s my Food Protection Manager Certification, yay! I wanted to wait until the bank amount was set up so I could charge the class to the business but that was going to take too long so I just said fuck it and bought it. I did a lot of research in the past month about taking this class because I wanted to take it in person with a teacher. However, because of the scheduling of regular classes and the cost of private ones, I ended up just deciding to do it online. I actually still have to go into a 3rd party testing center because they take this shit fucking seriously (as they should).

So I bought it on Saturday and studied for about an hour and a half. Then I did another 4 hours on Monday and 2 today. I just finished the whole class and it took about 7 hours and 15 minutes which wasn’t bad at all. I scheduled the test for Friday which is super exciting because then I’ll be actually certified to serve people food, wooooo! I also have to get the appropriate permits and business insurance but this is one of the first steps so it’s pretty dope. I’m fairly certain I’ll pass but just in case, wish me luck! :)

I did some other things this week as well. I was connected to a rep at PNC bank for setting up my business bank account so that will be done by the end of the week. Also, last week I transferred the car my parents gave me into my name and then got it inspected on Monday. They gave it to me so I could sell it and put the money towards the business so I’m going to clean it up tomorrow and then post it to cars.com to hopefully sell before the end of the month. I also started researching buying a truck and I can get a pretty good one with around 60,000 miles for a good price so I’m leaning towards that. That’s pretty much all I’ve done for now. I’m going to start working on employee onboarding and training documents soon which I’m sure will be a grand ole time.

Hope everyone had a good start to their week!


I’m going to stop complaining about how long it’s taken me to write now because it looks like that’s becoming the trend. There are actually not a lot of updates this time either, mainly waiting on the building of the trailer to get started - same as last time. After I wrote last week everything was pretty stagnant, I mainly did work on the side job and prepared for the frisbee tournament this past weekend. But several pretty exciting things did happen this week!

However, before I get into that I'm going to update you on the trailer real quick. The building is supposed to start on Monday but it's definitely not going to start then. I've been trying to get in touch with the CEO of 068 but he has been out of town and super busy so he is very unresponsive. I'm not quite sure how much it will be pushed back but I can tell you right now, it is getting pushed back. Will give updates as soon as I can.

The first was I got an email on Monday to put in a bid for a large catering event which was SUPER exciting. Fingers crossed that I get the bid to serve 900 people on October 1st! That also caused me to realize that I need several big things to happen so that I can actually complete the bid if I’m awarded it. The main one is I need to partner with a commercial kitchen that I can use for prep and storage for the trailer. I also need this commercial kitchen to cook in so I can cater events before the trailer is ready. I tried to stop by one yesterday but turned out they went out of business earlier this year. I then emailed another guy this morning and he called me less than an hour later to set up a time to meet today.

It was a great meeting, he’s an awesome guy and super excited about the business and what we are doing. He was also extremely helpful to push this along as fast as possible. He connected me with his contact at the health department so I can get the proper permits in order to cater events in the next two weeks and also walked me through some things I would need to be able to cater. He was extremely flexible and I’m very excited to continue the relationship and working with him.

Another exciting thing that happened this week was I gave away some chili at a social enterprise event that was put together by my lawyer and another startup focused group. I was able to meet a lot of awesome people and one guy even wanted me to be on his podcast! Also, by serving the chili I was able to spread the word and start getting people excited about Revival Chili. It was definitely a successful event and I’m excited to see where those connections go. I also went to a networking event on Wednesday night and met a lot of good people there too. Not too many that will actually be useful to the company but spreading the word is always fun :).

The last exciting thing was I got all the documents that made the business an official entity!! I’ve been waiting on the documents for two weeks now but I finally got them, WOOOOOO!! I should have a meeting with PNC bank next week to get the account setup and then I can start doing actual business transactions, holy shit that’s scary...

That’s pretty much it for now. I’m still really excited about the business but I just want to get on the trailer and start serving. Every time I go to an event and start talking with people about it I want to get on the truck more and more. I’m definitely getting a little antsy and nervous as we get closer. I really just need it to start so everything moves and I’m busy all the time with no time to worry. Right now there’s just too much time for worrying, haha. Well, it’s Friday past 5 and I need to start unwinding, hope everyone has a great weekend!

Labor Day Weekend

I would make excuses as to what’s taking me so long to write but the real reason is that not a lot has happened in the past week. With the long weekend for Labor Day, most business people checked out early Friday then didn’t do anything on Monday. I also spent a decent amount of time working on the side. I spent most of last Wednesday prepping to make the chili on Thursday. I also followed up on some emails with t-shirt people and possible catering events.

On Thursday I spent all day making chili. I didn’t get anything else done on Thursday because that pretty much took up the whole day - but it was awesome :). Spent the morning browning the meat and cooking the vegetables. Then threw them all into different pots and diced the tomatoes so they could join the other veggies. I made 5 different types, 2 beef and pork and 1 chicken, all with different spice levels. They all turned out really well and I was extremely happy with the way the spice combinations worked out for the different pots. My housemates also did some testing and they were pretty helpful.

I was originally making those different types so I could go on to the Pittsburgh University campus on Monday and do some testing on college kids. Unfortunately, the people I were emailing about that never got back to me even though I emailed them about a month in advance and followed up several times. But it’s all good, I just froze most of the chili and will be using it for an event next week instead!

I did not do a whole lot on Friday except for a few meetings with important partners. I met with my lawyer and he should have filed my incorporation which means I’ll be an official business really soon - woooooo!! He has extremely good relationships with many groups in town so PNC will be reaching out to me soon to set up a business bank account. I also spoke with my house designer and 068’s CEO to nail down some logistical stuff about the buildout. The designs have now been submitted to the health department and are ready for construction to start. This prompted me to get on the phone with the solar panel guy and get him the information he needs to give us a quote for the installation. We are still waiting on the quote but the fact that all of this is moving is super exciting for me.

The last person I spoke with was my hiring partner. We had been trying to touch base during the week but weren’t able to until Friday. He wanted to inform the people we interviewed if they would have jobs or not. As I have said previously, I liked a lot of them and would love to be able to offer them jobs. The only problem is that they wouldn’t be able to start until October 12th. A lot of them are recently out of jail and need a job like right meow. This means that they might not be able to accept a job offer from me because they wouldn’t be starting for a month. We were hoping to have this not happen by lining up catering events. But because of everyone’s vacation and some of the barriers of committing to events, I don’t feel comfortable promising them an earlier employment than the launch of the trailer. It definitely sucks and I wish this wasn’t how it had to be but I guess that happens sometimes.

Since Friday I haven’t really done anything else except follow up on emails. I took the three-day weekend off and there just hasn’t been a lot to do the past two days. Right now is more of a waiting game than ever. The building needs to be started but that’s not really in my control. I’ve have to pause on a few other things because I want to get my business bank account going so I can stop charging things to my personal card. Also, with most things in place now, I’m just waiting for it all to be ready and it’s still too far from launch to start going full force into promoting. I feel good about it though. I have the most important frisbee tournament of the season this weekend and after that frisbee will (most likely) be over so then it’s full focus on the business. Then it will be about a month before launch which means I’ll definitely start promoting by going to events and other things.

Well that’s about it for now, I’ll have some time in the car to write on Friday and will update you all again, happy hump day!

Will We Be Able to Hit 10/15 Launch?!

Alright, now that I have a little more time, I’ll give a preface to the last post. Last week was an extremely busy week and I kept meaning to write every day but kept coming up with excuses. For example, a few of my friends arrived Sunday night so I was entertaining them all day Monday. They were both supposed to leave Tuesday morning but one lost his car keys so he was still here after I went in for a few hours to interview. So then I had to continue entertaining him for the rest of Tuesday. And I went to a concert Tuesday night as well. Then after a 6 day bender I was pretty burned out for the rest of the week especially with the 16 hour work day on Friday. Anyways, I can’t be making excuses because it was a really good week and I need to find 5-10 minutes a day to write regardless of what I’m doing.

I did have to entertain my friends on Monday but that morning, I was able to finally have my meeting with the lawyer I would be using. It was an awesome meeting especially since he is one of the best lawyers in the COUNTRY for social enterprises. He gave me a lot of extremely valuable information and I’m really excited to work with him. Especially since he said that this business is one of his current favorite ones :). However, my work on Tuesday didn’t go quite as well. Out of the three interviews I was supposed to have, only one person showed and he was my least favorite so far. Also on Tuesday, I worked more on my side income gig than I did Revival Chili.

I’ve mentioned this side income gig a few times but last week was definitely the most busy. I’m working for the place I interned at the summer before my senior year. I reached out to them for some work when I was fired and it has slowly been picking up which is good and bad. Now that Revival Chili is picking up it’s a little harder to balance the two but that just means more working hours in the day which is probably good for me. Anyways, I had a decent amount of work for them last week which took up most of my time on Wednesday and Thursday. I also spent Wednesday and Thursday preparing to cook a lot of chili for my event on Saturday and a few events I have planned in the next couple weeks.

The weekend before (8/20-8/21) I reached out to Cropolis (my local farm connection) to get some local meat and vegetables. They were able to turn it around real quick and find me everything I needed to make the chili. I asked for 30 pounds of meat and a decent amount of peppers, onions and tomatoes. It was pretty impressive to me how quickly they could turn it around and I’m excited to keep working with them in the future. So I picked up all the produce on Wednesday and also went to restaurant depot to see if I would be able to buy the other things I’d need for the chili. I found out I would be able to buy from them even though I didn’t have my business created yet and decided I’d do back on Thursday.

Thursday morning I had a meeting with all the main stakeholders that were helping make Revival Chili happen. We set a timeline for all the things that needed to happen to launch on 10/15 which was SUPER exciting. The meeting was really productive and I thought we nailed down a lot of details that we hadn't had the chance to talk about yet. The timeline we set was very accelerated but I think it’s going to be possible and I’ll be trying as hard as I can to make it happen. As of right now, we are only waiting on one small thing from the restaurant equipment supplier to get the drawings done which need to be submitted by 9/5 to the health department so we can be approved by 10/15.

So that’s all the logistical things with the business but I still haven’t explained why I was making the chili last Friday. A couple posts ago I mentioned a chili cook-off event that one of my roommates sent me an email about. And that was why I was making a couple different types of chilis. I didn’t need to make as much as I did but I thought it was going to be a bigger event than it was. The event turned out to be alright. I met a few good people there but it definitely was not as good as I was hoping for. I also thought there were going to be more chilis submitted but there was 6, which means I had half of them…

I ended up tying for first but it made a lot of sense to me because my 3 chilis were all spicier than I wanted. The other chili that tied for first had good flavor but was very basic - not any spiciness or sweetness. That was the best thing about the event, made me realize I need to have a basic bitch chili.

So that event was Saturday and I did not do anything on Sunday but yesterday was pretty busy. I had two more interviews which were both really good. I’m definitely going offer those two guys a job and I was really excited about the first one. It was nice to have two good interviews to start off the week after 3/4 skipping last week. I also went to a startup Meetup yesterday morning which was awesome. I met a lot of really cool people that can definitely help the business and will definitely go back in future weeks.

The main thing I did today was get all the financials done. Luckily, 068 shared a web app they use, LivePlan, with me and it made everything super easy. It asked straight forward questions about my products and labor then filled out the P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow for me. I also set up a mailing list on my website and got an rss feed ready so people on my mailing list are emailed when I post a new blog. It was a pretty productive day. I’ve also spent a decent amount of time the past two days working for the side gig so it’s always good to make money. I didn’t finish making all the chili last week so I’m going to do that tomorrow or Thursday which will be fun :)

Besides all that, I think I’m in really good shape right now. Obviously, the launch date was pushed back two weeks but I almost expected that. The summer is a busy time for everyone and I was gone for a few weeks as well. But now that everyone is back I’m going to start pushing really hard to make sure we hit these dates. I’ve been talking to the trailer design guy every day to make sure he has what he needs or knows how to get it. And I’ve been pushing the lawyer to make sure he stays on track so I can start catering events. So I’m feeling really good about it! I’ve been really busy but that’s something that I expected and it’s only going to get busier. I’m also enjoying it! Even though I’m at home most days, I have a place I can work out of if I want (the 068 warehouse). Also, almost all my housemates are moved in so it will start getting busier around the house in general and there will be a good energy. Anyways, I’m still really excited and can’t wait for September to start!


Ever Been An Extra On A TV Show?

I have been super busy recently so this post is just going to be what happened to me today and I’ll update you on everything else after this weekend. So here we go.

I went to bed at 1AM because I was chopping vegetables with my new vegetable chopper I bought on Thursday. I also cooked most of them in preparation for making the chili today. I woke up at 8AM and from 8AM-9AM I did some work for my side job. From 9AM-10AM I browned the meat I would be using for the chili then had to hit the road for another side income project.

It just so happened that I was going to act as an extra on a new Netflix original series. The week before I was at a festival and some random dude came up to me to tell me he loved my hair and thought I would be perfect for an extra role in the series they were working on. So I got a call Wednesday night at 11PM to schedule a fitting on Thursday. Had my fitting on Thursday and then received an email that night with what time I had to be at the set. So I was at the set from 10:45AM-5:45PM and actually acting as a chef in a diner. It was definitely an interesting experience but I’m not sure if it’s one I would do again. The director was very particular and we literally took 6 hours to shoot a 3 minute scene. I did, however, make a good connection to an owner of a hotdog shop in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, I did not get his card but if I went to the shop he would definitely recognize me. I proposed to him that he use my chili for a topping on his hot dogs so we will have to see where that goes.

I got home around 6:30PM and immediately started cooking. I threw the cooked veggies and browned meat into a pot to start heating them while I chopped the tomatoes. I originally thought it would only take 5 hours for the chili to get where I wanted it to be but it’s midnight now and it’s definitely not there. It’ll probably be at least another 30 minutes because I’m about to put in some more spices then call it a night.

I have to get up at 6:30 tomorrow morning for my frisbee tournament. And I’m missing the third game of the day so I can go to the event I’m making this chili for. It’s definitely been a long day. I’ve worked for 16 hours as of now with 1.5 hours of driving. I guess this is what it’s going to be like when the truck is running so I gotta get used to it. Anyways, I need to put the spices in so I can get to bed. I’ll give a more of an update and some background next week.


My First Employee Interview!

I woke up on Wednesday morning with several texts from my 068 contact. It turns out that his sister just went into labor that morning and so everything that day was canceled. He immediately rescheduled the interviews, and so I wished his family well and slept in, which was definitely something I needed.

On Wednesday I took the day to relax and worked on my side gig a little bit. I also prepared for the interviews that would be happening the next day by doing research on ex-convicts and some of the problems they face (which is a lot - I highly recommend reading a little on it). Wednesday night I went to the StartablePGH competition, which was awesome. Startable is a summer program for high school entrepreneurs to help them start their business. Obviously, some were good, some were bad but overall it was really impressive and something I wish I had when I was in high school. Also, I started tweeting and Instagramming at the event; my goal is to get in the habit of posting more regularly as we continue to move forward.

Thursday, I got in early for the first interview and the guy showed up 3 minutes later, which was 30 minutes early! We ended up finishing the interview before it was supposed to start. He presented extremely well, and is someone that I’m planning on hiring. While waiting for the next interview, I sent a few emails, ordered my business cards (woo!) and sent an inquiry to a t-shirt company. The second interview also went really well, so that was something to be excited about! Thursday evening I went to another event hosted by an incubator. I made a lot of great connections there and got some people excited about the business. I love when other people are just as excited about this project as I am; I keep getting more and more excited to move forward!  

The same night was Italian Days in Pittsburgh, so I went out with some friends and conducted some on-site research on food trucks and their prices. It was very useful, especially because I used the opportunity to do some marketing as well. Friday was fairly relaxed. I researched used kitchen equipment, food truck restrictions, and different food regulation entities in preparation for meeting with my lawyer next week. That’s all for now, this weekend is going to be crazy and then I have a lot lined up for next week, too, which is super exciting! Can’t wait to tell all of you about it!