Part 2: The "Master" Plan

If you’ve just stumbled upon this post. Get the background of what this is about by visiting the main page of my journey in developing a career with food.
Now that I’ve decided my career should revolve around the food industry, things will just fall into place right? After all, it’s something I’ve thought through and so passionate about it. But, being a taste advisor and food writer isn’t just a walk in the park. There is tons of competition out there and frankly what I feel is little demand for paid services.

Nonetheless, for achieving a life of contentment and happiness you have to give it a try. So, to begin, I start with what I do best – develop a plan. At the beginning, you may feel like you don’t know where to start, planning helps calm me and focus efforts to specific purposes. Unlike my past efforts of planning a wedding or vacation, this one will be more fluid and I’m certainly willing to branch out and do more as I become immersed in learning about the industry.

Generally, the “master plan” is made up of the following rough steps:

Develop credibility. Just like attending a well-known University and earning a designation developed my current career, I have to distinguish myself in the world of food. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to return to school to study journalism, but some continuing education courses wouldn’t hurt. Luckily, George Brown offers a food writing course, and starting mid-April the weekly evening classes begin. I can’t wait to learn from someone who does this professionally!

Connect with the industry and develop the necessary connections. Admittedly, this is the area where I’m stumped. Attending more media events and speaking to more food bloggers certainly has helped. But, I’ve yet to meet individuals who actually do this for a living. If you’re a food writer or menu consultant and are feeling generous with your time, please connect with me, I’d be so grateful.

Gain and build experience to prove my work abilities. At Gastro World, I’m able to do plenty of posts on restaurant reviews. But, for food writing the articles need to be more diverse. So, expanding into more interviews (I did one with Kanpai Snack Bar) and product placement are a few areas I need to work on. If you’re a company with a food product please reach out. If it’s something I enjoy and can stand behind we can do some interesting things together.

On the taste advisory front, restaurants need to learn about the value of having someone who’s not their chef or employee trying their products. Likely, I’ll need to reach out to a few places to offer these services on a complementary basis first – if you’re a Toronto restaurant that want to try out my services please contact me.

Have the necessary resources to pursue the dream. By resources, it means both time and money. Certainly, at this point, leaving my job is not an option as there are still annoying financial obligations to maintain. But, I also can’t work in a role that expects a lot of my time beyond the 9 to 5 as between classes, writing, connecting and researching a lot of time will need to be spent on the dream. 

Eventually, I’m likely going to have to take the plunge and focus my efforts full-time to make this work. Before this can happen, it's important to build a nest egg to get me through the “tough” times. Also, starting to develop some sources of income (even if sporadic) is needed to let me know that this could work. Simply developing a “Work With Me” section and adding an Amazon store are first steps at attempting to monetize the efforts.  

Thinking through everything and taking first steps towards some of the above goals has really gotten me excited! You hear time and time again that people now have numerous careers in their lifetime – some very different from each other.

Frankly, I never expected to branch out of the corporate world. But, with every year that passes, it’s becoming clearer that although it’s comfortable and safe, it’s not for me. Who knows, perhaps, I have a bit of my father’s entrepreneurial spirit in me after all… something I was so adamant to deny. 

Next: Going on a roller-coaster ride