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How I Became an Entrepreneur and You Can Too

Rita Magalde at Sheer Ambrosia Bakery

Becoming an entrepreneur was never really a childhood aspiration.  During my undergraduate pursuits, it was my dream to earn my PhD in Latin American Studies.  I double majored in History and Spanish, lived and traveled in South America and Spain, and loved academia and life on a university campus.  In the four-year quest to attain my Bachelor’s degree, I never set foot in the business building; I was a liberal arts girl to the core. Entrepreneurship was never on my radar. 

Suddenly, my life changed drastically when I married a man from Spain.  At first, I moved to Spain to be with him, but shortly after, we decided that it made more financial sense to start a life together in the United States since our economy here was much more robust.  We left Europe and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1996. We hit the ground running with one objective: to make money for our new family.  

School was on hold and finding a well-paying job was my number one goal. After working for two different companies those first two years, I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.  Working for someone else, we discovered a painful truth. When you work in someone else’s company, you are working on their dream, not your own; you are building their bank account, not yours.  

So we opened a travel agency. Being my own boss, I enjoyed getting up every morning deciding how I was going to plan my day and propel our business forward.  I loved being at the helm, making decisions and seeing how when we made the right decisions it paid off.  I loved the freedom that owning our own business afforded me.  

Freedom in business does not mean time off. I’m referring to the ability to make your own decisions. Time off was a luxury we couldn’t afford. We worked very hard during those years at the travel agency.  We grew the business from a small three person shop to a large operation with 30 employees.

Personal life changes made running the travel agency tough.  My husband and I divorced, but decided to still run the business together.  It was an interesting four years, but thanks to thinking with my mind and not my heart, I remained very active in our business. I eventually decided to sell my half of the travel agency to my ex-husband, I decided to open another business, this time completely on my own.

Deciding to branch out on my own couldn’t have come at a worst time. The economy was free falling into the worse financial crisis in decades, but I still could not see myself working for anyone other than myself. I was determined to open my own bakery.

Given my passion for food, and my aesthetic obsession with making food look beautiful, I had a particular kind of bakery in mind.  The scary economic conditions convinced me that I needed to start small, so I first opened Sheer Ambrosia Bakery from home in October of 2008. Keeping it small kept me from getting too far into debt.

Once I had a nice following and the country started to recover economically, I decided to go all in.  In August 2013, I moved my bakery into a 1250 square foot commercial space.  I have since expanded my line of tasty treats and have built a wholesale and retail following that I’m proud to service.

Has all of this been easy?  Absolutely not!  I work very long hours; I work seven days a week. I do not have a company paid health insurance plan or a 401K.  But I am the master of my ship.  I make the decisions; I never have to worry about getting a pink slip.  I do not stress about getting downsized out of the market place.  I do not concern myself with whether my company’s funds are being mishandled or if my boss likes me.  

With all of that said, I’m not going to lie, when you own your own business, fear can creep in.  All of the responsibility is on your shoulders; the buck stops with you.  However, there is something refreshing to say about being in charge of your own future, your own money, and your own place in this world.  I never have to anguish over a glass ceiling.  The sky is truly the limit on my earning potential.  There are no constraints to how successful I can/will become.  It is all up to me and frankly I’ll take those odds any day.  

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