OLD ENTREPRENEUR PARALYZED BY FACEBOOK!
Hi, I’m Christiane (“The ViaBarista”) and I started ViaBar over five years ago now. You haven’t heard from me – not a single blog post, Facebook entry, I even cancelled my Twitter account because I had no idea what it was for, and what I was supposed to do with it. Also, over the years I’d been tempted many, many times to shut down my Facebook page too, for the same reasons (but I didn’t want to waste the “likes” it was accumulating – I had heard “likes” were what businesses wanted!). You guessed it – I am 50-ish, and all this internet stuff just seemed like a complicated sea of “e-terms”. Honestly, I wished it would all go away. (By the way, did you know that when the internet started, there were people who said it would be a passing fad? Ya. Not so much apparently ) Back to my story: anyway, I had NO IDEA… totally lost in the world of the internet and hating it! (You might be wondering how I got a Facebook page and Twitter account in the first place. I’d attended a seminar that said I needed them, and they had so kindly set them up for me.)
YOUNG-PERSON-WHO-LOVES-COMPUTERS TO THE RESCUE!
Magically, our son Mike rode in on a white horse one recent day to save me. He’s created the beautiful new ViaBar website, resuscitated my Twitter account (GACK!!!) and even added an Instagram account (What the heck is INSTAGRAM?!) He then informed me that I needed to write one “blog post”… HAHAHAHAHA Good one Mikey! …When I realized he was serious, and I actually had to produce a “blog post”, I felt like the internet-illiterate that I really am, facing a brand new land, where they speak many completely foreign languages, and me, with no skills, no experience, no clue, no plan.
THERE, THERE. GOOGLE CAN HELP YOU, DEAR.
So ya. Okay then. Actually, I was able to come up with one plan: I DO know how to “google” a question (apparently I’m so amazing with online stuff), so I went to find the answer to: “How do I write my first blog post?” A very friendly blogging expert online kindly gave me some tips, and HERE I AM! And you are my lucky (?) first-time reader – Thank you!
IT ALL STARTED WITH A PINK SLIP…
A few years back, my Hubby of 30 years, Phil, who was working for a Calgary company as an industrial electrician, found himself unemployed, as part of downsizing during a slow time. He was NOT interested in going back up north to Fort MacMurray – “Mikey” was still a little pumpkin living at home, and Dad felt he was missing too much family time during those 2-week trips away. I had been reading Robert Kiyosaki’s books about having your own business, plus a lot of other smart money ideas (thank you Robert!) so that same day, we sat down and decided to start a business. Phil suggested we make and sell the energy bars I had developed and had been making for the family for a few years. I was like… “Okay – I’m in; Let’s DO THIS!”
MARSHMALLOWS vs. SUPER HEALTHY
I did change my original recipes a bit (okay, here comes my shameful secret: I’d previously been using marshmallows to stick my bars together! It’s okay – I’ve reformed…). I knew I’d need to get into the local health food stores, so I loaded my new product up with credentials: it would be vegan, organic, gluten free, raw (as much as possible), high in Omega-3’s and fibre, not very sweet – everything I could do to impress the super-healthy set! I had one chance to win them over, and failure was NOT AN OPTION.
WELCOME TO MAINSTREAM!
I also fully planned to get into mainstream grocery stores eventually, so my one absolute, non-negotiable item was that ViaBar ALSO had to TASTE GOOD TO NORMAL PEOPLE. So far, we’ve succeeded – we were readily accepted in to the health food market first, and then a couple of grocery chains came knocking on our door! Now we’re enjoying success in food service too – places like tourist attractions, cafeterias in major Alberta hospitals, sport complexes and clubs, and cafes in corporate buildings.
THANK YOU ALBERTA!
I seriously LOVE living in Alberta. I love it more than anyone else I know of . (We live in High River, the town that was 87% under water for a few weeks in 2013.) From day one, I determined we would focus on distribution in Alberta, always first and foremost. The people of this province believed in us and gave us our start!
Starting our own business has been quite a ride – it’s the mother of all learning curves; it’ll test you and change you like nothing else.
So THAT’S where I’ve been all these years – hiding from the internet, & busy in the kitchen!
Thank you for reading! TTYL Christiane