Mom's the word in this inside scoop| Juliana Chen 15 May 2019
"Corporate world is the right choice for most people. There's a level of risk tolerance, dedication, perseverance required that not everyone wants to take on, but if you're the type of person who enjoys hard work, building things, and a go-getter no matter the challenges, channel it into your business and you'll get immense satisfaction from seeing your business grow."
These words from SF Gelateria founder Fang Shiao-Ying on the first anniversary of her gelato catering company serving the San Francisco Bay Area are pearls of wisdom for those at the career cross-roads.
As a civil servant with only one employer, I always respect and envy people who have the ambition and courage to seek greener pastures.
My admiration for entrepreneurs who leave stable or cushy jobs to follow their dreams is even more deep-seated.
A top-ranking MBA graduate with no previous food service experience, Shiao- Ying's aim was not to make more money.
"I think it was something fun to do now that I have a little boy," she said.
"I enjoy the creative process of building a business and the tactile nature of being so hands on in a new business.
"My obsession with sweet culinary delights brought me around the world.
In Italy, I, like most tourists and Italians, indulged in gelato on a daily basis with no regard to the weather or time of day.
"What is it about gelato that makes it so alluring? How did the Italians perfect ice cream?"
These questions brought her to Gelato University in Bologna to find answers.
After a month-long course, she mastered all the techniques and became an accomplished gelatiere.
A lean start-up from day one, Shiao-Ying works full-time on her "mobile gelato shop," taking decisions and much of the execution from branding, marketing, sales, and operations to production.
She outsources everything else to part-time or contract staff.
This gives her flexibility in staffing with low HR risk and promptness in adjustment.
Seeing this aspiring young business woman in action at a celebratory event in San Jose was really amazing.
Not only were her freshly made stracciatella (chocolate chip) gelato and strawberry sorbetto delicious and nutritious, her radiating energy was reciprocated with a warm response and appreciation from all present.
"As an entrepreneur, I think it takes full dedication. I feel it is very much like having your own child. You nurture it, see it grow, and hopefully raise it to be successful."
Retired senior civil servant Juliana Chen is a passionate crystal collector who shares the good things in life