"...they say that all good things must end someday..." --Chad and Jeremy
I closed J'anita's today. Not shut down to move it (again). Closed it. Done.
I guess I'm what you call a serial entrepreneur, so I can't say this is the last time I'll ever set up something on my own again. But this marks the third time I've entered into a business and each one has ended differently. The common thread in all of them has been a point at which I optimistically push them beyond their design limits because I am convinced I Will. Not. Fail. This was a good thing for the smoked cheese business, which was thriving until Katrina took it away. I frankly was too young (late 20s) when I literally got bored with the radio station (though the location was horrible anyway) and, this time, the location I had to take (due to a forced move) was simply unworkable. Like I told someone the other day, you could park the MetLife blimp over it 24/7 and still have trouble drawing a consistent crowd that far off the beaten path. Lesson learned -- or at least reinforced.
There was a great deal of sadness when we closed the original J'anita's because I knew there were so many rookie mistakes I made in its operation -- things I should have asked or known or found out more about. We were able to hone the edge through experience and observation during our time at The Avenue Pub and, I can honestly say, this third incarnation was one at which we did pretty much everything right (at least as far as what was in our control). That's not failure -- it's improvement. And God knows we have found so many wonderful, wonderful friends, customers and colleagues along the way.
...but now it's time to stop. After five years, I'm simply tired. In a perfect world, I'd hit on tomorrow's Lotto ticket and take TBK on a month-long trip to several places so we could see people and things we've been putting off for far too long. We can't do that, of course (we were lucky to pay the power bill today), since I've gotta gin up some income pretty quick. But only half the jobs I've applied for are kitchen-related. French Quarter tour guide? Writing some free-lance marketing drivel? A weekly columnist? Work as an extra in movie and TV being shot around here? Hell -- it might just be me making that potato salad and fried chicken you buy at Rouse's.
The best thing about self-employment is you have to learn to do so much with so little that, before long, you're qualified to do anything with nothing. It's a highly transferable skill, and I have little patience with those who say, "well, I can't really DO anything else." Bullshit. It's the same attitude I hear from too many of our local "leaders" and the local thugs and the others who are so focused on honking and beeping and looking backward for revenge or to cover their own ass or make excuses that they fail to realize just how much New Orleans has remade itself over the past six years. They're part of the problem, not the solution.
I choose to be a reinventor. I'm practiced at it and I'm good at it.
...but first, a few days with no schedule to meet or doors to unlock or food to prep or dragons to slay.
I've earned it, brother. Big-time.