Last Saturday I flew to Austin, TX to visit my daughter and her family in their new hometown. Before we went to their house, I got the mini-tour. When I commented on all the people we saw who were running, walking or bicycling, Jennie said, “This town isn’t about buying stuff; it’s about doing stuff.” I liked it already. I got even more interested when Hector exclaimed, “What I love about this place is all the little independent businesses.”
Those words were barely out of his mouth when we passed a parking lot where there was a shiny Airstream trailer with a giant cupcake on the roof—and a long line of people. As I was about to discover every time we passed that way during my visit, the long line of people never diminished. I couldn’t wait to learn more about Hey Cupcake! As soon as it was politely possible to excuse myself, I began investigating this business on the Internet. I found out that Hey Cupcake! is the brainchild of Wes Hurt, a 20-something Texan who says he was born entrepreneurial.
His story reminded me of an article I wrote in Winning Ways newsletter called Take a Trip, Come Back With a Business. That’s exactly what Hurt did. The inspiration came during a trip to New York when he visited the Magnolia Bakery. He says, “I waited in line for 20 minutes or so and was amazed by the enthusiasm and anticipation emanating from everyone in line. That day I started planning what would eventually be Hey Cupcake!”
Hurt’s idea wasn’t exactly an instant success, however. He opened his first cupcake stand on the campus at the University of Texas where about 10,000 students passed by daily. Unfortunately, not enough of them stopped to buy a cupcake. Hurt was disappointed, but in true entrepreneurial fashion decided to revamp. He changed locations and moved into the Airstream. That did the trick. On their busiest days, they now sell about 1,000 cupcakes.
The entrepreneurial field trip continued. On Monday, I got to meet several more members of the Austin entrepreneurial community when Diane Kobrynowicz and I went scouting locations for my upcoming seminars in Austin. We stopped at a beautifully restored post-Victorian house where David Walker runs Austin’s first co-working space called Conjunctured. He and his partners have created a place where solo entrepreneurs can come and work in a less isolated environment. It didn’t take long to learn that Walker is wildly enthusiastic about the Joyfully Jobless life, but this isn’t his only business. He’s also co-owner of 302 Designs which produces t-shirts with beautiful designs and inspirational words. He told us that they’d just signed a contract with Whole Foods who will be distributing their shirts. Everything about being an entrepreneur seemed to excite him.
I saw many other wonderful small businesses during my short stay. Of course, any place I visit becomes an opportunity to explore local businesses. It’s a hobby I enthusiastically recommend if you want to nurture your own entrepreneurial spirit. In a place like Austin, the Joyfully Jobless life is downright contagious.
We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into. ~ Carolyn Myss