What's It's Like to Quit Your Job, Move Across the Country, and Start a Business (Part 2)

A Drop in the Ocean Sustainable Living Zero Waste Plastic Free Blog What's It's Like to Quit Your Job, Move Across the Country, and Start a Business (Part 2)

This is a continuation of Part 1 in this series. Read Part 1 here.

Build That Business

As soon as I arrived in Tacoma, I put together a list of the legalities I needed to navigate to make this business legal. I applied for the first license within a few days. This was mid-December.

What I wasn’t anticipating was that it would take until late January for all of the licenses and permits to finally be in place. (Did you know that you can’t apply for them all at the same time?! My patience was struggling!)

I honestly thought that I would arrive in mid-December and have launched the shop with a full inventory by the end of January. Wow was I wrong! Especially with the holidays, it took about six weeks just to get the legalities in place, and another three weeks to order and receive product.

In the meantime, I needed a job. I had saved up enough to survive a couple months, but with permit applications and inventory orders, I was running out of cash. Again, my ideas of how this would all go down were completely wrong. I thought I’d make my move, walk into a coffee shop with my six years of food service experience in hand and walk out with a job in a couple weeks. Boy, was I wrong. No one was hiring! When I did finally get interviews, they did not result in jobs.

It wasn’t until early February that I finally landed my gig at Locust Cider. There weren’t quite enough hours that they needed a full- or even part-time person, but there were just enough open hours that the current staff couldn’t pick them all up. But Locust was where I wanted to work anyway. It was the first spot I asked when I moved here, so I was thrilled when any hours at all opened up.

But that meant that in the same three weeks, I was building up to my business launch, had started a new job, and spring semester was just underway.

Was I insane? Maybe.


But I’ve always had a habit of taking on a million things at once, and somehow they always get done. Those that know me best weren’t surprised at all when I told them everything going on.

Prepping for store launch was difficult to say the least. I stopped writing blog posts and got really inconsistent with social media, which in hind sight wasn’t the best time to fall away. But with ordering product, writing product descriptions, taking product photos, calculating prices, completely re-designing the website to focus on the shop rather than the blog, pouring cider (in both Tacoma and Seattle), and writing papers, I basically never stopped moving.

#EntrepreneurLife. I don’t think that ever goes away.

But that’s cool with me. Because even though it’s a ton of work, I’m loving every minute of it. I’m learning things I didn’t know I didn’t know, meeting incredible new people every step of the way, and working towards something I’m passionate about. I know that everything I do makes zero waste that much more accessible and mainstream.

A Drop in the Ocean Tacoma Zero Waste Store Starting a Zero Waste Store

On Business Ownership

I definitely have my days where I’m absolutely overwhelmed. There’s always more to do, and always more I want to do. This morning was not unusual when I woke up feeling so anxious just thinking about everything I needed to get done. I’m an introvert, but in order to raise awareness that my shop exists, I’m constantly networking and planning events and working with other business owners. It’s energizing in the moment because I care so deeply about what I’m doing, but as soon as I’m in my car or home, I’m exhausted. (Did you know there’s actually a thing called the ‘introvert hangover’?)

I’m learning to listen to my body and recognize what it needs. Do I need a solid day alone? Do I need to get out of my house? Do I need some yoga? Do I need some time by the water?

When I woke up this morning full of anxiety, I poured myself a cup of coffee, took a shower and got ready, blended up a green smoothie, and loaded my laptop in my bag and got in the car. I wasn’t sure where I would go, but I needed to go somewhere. I ended up at the beach – in heels with a laptop – and if this isn’t living my best life I don’t know what is.

A Drop in the Ocean Tacoma Zero Waste Store Starting a Zero Waste Store

The Gorgeous Pacific Northwest

The one thing I haven’t been great about doing is sitting in my gratitude. It’s always there. Every time I come over a hill and see the water or the mountains in front of me, I tear up. When I read the Instagram and Facebook comments from friends and family with their undying support, I tear up. I am so, so, overwhelmingly grateful that I am here and that I made the leap, but I haven’t sat down, slowed down, and felt all of the feelings about it yet. It’s always there, under the surface. Maybe it always will be, only time will tell.

I remember during my first visit to Tacoma, I asked my friend where his favorite place to vacation is. He paused, and said it used to be the PNW, but now he lives here, so he wasn’t sure anymore. I asked where he saw his career going, and he said that he loves his job and he loves where he works and he loves the PNW, and he couldn’t really see himself doing anything else.

I remember listening to this with both confusion and admiration. I couldn’t imagine being so happy with your job and your environment that you never want to leave. I honestly couldn’t understand it, but I wanted it.

Last week, I took an introvert self-care day and sat by the water for several hours, reading the book Blue Mind (a wonderful book about the ways water affects us physiologically and psychologically). I watched seals and sea lions swim past me, and Mt. Rainier painted the sky to my right. I suddenly remembered this conversation with my friend, and realized that I finally understand what he feels. This is where I want to be. This is where I belong. I’m home.


  • Krystina

    Hey Rachel! So glad to hear that Detroit is continuing with the Plastic Free EcoChallenge this year! It’s been such an honor to be involved on a different side of things as an in-kind sponsor this year. Thank you so much for your kind words; I hope all is well with you!

  • Rachel

    Hi Krystina – I remember meeting you a year ago and listening to you present on Plastic Free July – it inspired Detroit Zoo to join, we are now in our second year. Congratulations on your new journey – wishing you success, I can only imagine that your passion is convincing many to go zero waste!

  • Kris

    Hi Krystina, I’m also a Kristina!
    Thanks for sharing about your entrpreneurial journey. I also had a “when I said it put loud, it got real” moment with my new business. But It took me longer to reach that moment! ~I’m NOT young. :-)
    But my vision is also tied into the community and environment… To support local endeavors while promoting farm-to-table food culture. Like zero waste, I want it to be the norm!
    Best of luck with your new business. Hope to see you around!

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