4 Things We Can Learn About Business From Making Sourdough

Uncategorized Dec 09, 2020

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It’s been roughly ten months since the world came to a screeching halt due to COVID 19. And we’ve seen a lot of weird things happen such as the toilet paper shortage.


But there is one trend that stood out for me, and that was the rise in
popularity of sourdough baking. In early April my social media feed was full of people testing out their sourdough baking skills. 

 

With people stuck at home and baking on the rise, there wasn’t just a shortage of toilet paper. In fact, finding commercial yeast became extremely hard. Perhaps that’s why people decided to try making sourdough instead.

 

Sourdough is unique because it’s made with live fermented culture (i.e., flour and water), a sourdough starter, which acts as a natural leavening agent.

 

Now I didn’t jump on the bandwagon right away. I was preoccupied with trying to keep my brick and mortar open so that we could sell it. 

 

And while we rode the first wave of shutdowns, we finally sold and turned our brick and mortar over to new owners in September. With more time on our hands, we decided to embark on a west coast adventure where we stopped to visit friends of ours in Calgary.

 

They’d been on the sourdough kick for a while, having tried to make it years before it became all the rage. And to say we fell in love with this homemade goodness would be an understatement.

 

And after we got home we thought, how hard could it be? 

 

Something I easily underestimated. And I never thought I’d be using my sourdough-making debacle as an inspiration for the business.

 

But here goes…

 

For those of you that don’t know me well, when I commit to something I go all in. And this was no expectation.

 

I scrolled on Amazon for all the equipment I needed to ensure my sourdough making was a success.

 

In order to bake sourdough, you must have a starter or make one from scratch. We opted to try it from scratch, which takes roughly 7 days.

 

So we followed the instructions from Joshua Weissman, and started to feed our little baby (aka the starter). 

 

Watching for something to happen. Eagerly waiting for the day we’d get to make our very own homemade sourdough. But day seven came and went, and our starter wasn’t rising and falling as it should.

 

“Be Patient,” the Sourdough YouTuber dude said.

 

Day 8, came and went.
Then day 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14...

 

By now I’d actually lost track of what day we were on, but I knew something wasn’t quite right.

 

So I started Googling things like:

How to revive my sourdough starter?
Why isn’t my sourdough starter working?
Do I need to start all over?

 

Only to find a plethora of information.

 

And guess what?

 

They all had slightly different approaches to how they did things. And I was instantly overwhelmed. 

 

Sound familiar?

 

And I didn’t know what to do. What was the right next step?

 

Do I feed it twice a day, or just once?
Do I increase the amount of flour to water ratio?
Do I increase the temperature of where we have it?
Do I decrease the temperature of where we have it?
Do I use a wooden spoon or a silver spoon?
Do I add tap water or distilled water?

 

Fack...our friends made baking sourdough look so easy! 

 

So naturally, I did nothing. My sourdough starter sat unfed for two days. I contemplated throwing it out altogether. But I was vested. Remember, I’d already made the investment in a bunch of supplies and equipment, and I wasn’t going to give up that easily.

 

Then against my better judgment, I started to apply a bunch of different methods to see if I could get my starter to work. But nothing seemed to work.

 

And I’d stopped taking daily notes, so naturally lost track of what I was doing and why.

 

So here’s the thing about making sourdough (and the 4 lessons we can learn about business while doing it):

 

1. Good Things Take Time

It takes time to figure out how to get things right. Some days you’ll want to throw it out (or quit) because things aren’t happening quick enough for you. But you can’t rush the process, or you’ll run the risk of ruining a perfectly good loaf (or biz).

2. Everyone Has a Different Approach

No matter how much you Google the shit out of it, everyone will have something different to say on how to make the ‘best’ sourdough (or build a business). And you’ll end up overwhelmed with what to do next, that you won’t do anything at all.

3. Pick One Strategy (for at least 60 to 90 days)

Focusing on one method (or strategy) will make things a lot easier. It helps to stay focused in order to keep what you’re making (or building) progressing. Every time you ‘try’ a new method, mentor, or approach it’s like starting all over again. Making it nearly impossible to figure out what is actually working or not working, which keeps you from growing.

4. Get Your Hands Dirty

Making something from scratch requires you to get your hands dirty. It might not always be something you enjoy doing, but we don’t always get to do everything we love. Especially in the beginning. So don’t procrastinate on the tasks you hate. Keep in mind that one day you’ll get to outsource those tasks.

 

As for my sourdough...this story is to be continued! But I’ll keep you posted. 

 

In the meantime, I’d love to know what’s one strategy you’re focusing on for the next 60 to 90 days? 

 

Also, I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

 

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