Get a Dream! How I Used Memories to Create My Dream Job
AUGUST 28, 2018
For someone who’s very open and talkative when it comes to personal things, I’ve kept wanting to be a business owner a personal secret for the last 5 years.
Moving to Denver, Colorado made me realize how much I’ve always admired men and women making it on their own terms. They just seemed more satisfied with their journey than most. Although they worked longer hours, their obstacles seemed easily appeased with the words “But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In sticking to my strengths, I never thought it was possible for me. I always told myself, you’re the creative ideas person not person who makes it happen. Or, you don’t have any idea that’s good enough, so forget it. Or even, you’ll never be as successful as that other person, so why bother?
Baby Photo of Veronica Vay, Founder and Owner of Modbug Photo Booths
Surely, this self-limiting framework started somewhere and the details around it turned out to be the reason I find myself running a small business today.
For example, in high school I started always carrying around pocket-sized notebooks to write down overheard music, sentences and any invention idea that would come to mind. And in true moody teen spirit, I’d come back and read through them when I needed an idea for my creative writing class. When I would come across me plan to invent edible Popsicle sticks, I’d think to myself “Yeah, that’ll be the ticket.”
And much earlier than that, being sort of raised as an only child (my siblings much older than me), I was frequently left to myself to create my own forms of entertainment. I remember classically saying to my Mom, “But, there’s nothing to do!” To which she would quickly respond, “Figure it out” or “Here, help me with this.”
A few rounds of that and it was an easy decision to “figure it out” rather than be forced into child labor, so I would make things instead. It wasn’t unlike me to take all my blankets outside, and create a fort inside the bald half of our giant pine tree out front. I would tediously figure out how to connect the branches to the cotton corners, and if successful – I was the master of my universe.
After what felt like hours of “making it perfect,” I’d get inside it only to realize that putting it all together was more amusing to me than actually entertaining myself on a pine covered sappy ground.
Later, I moved out of my childhood bedroom to make space for what I coined as “Beanie-baby Paradise.” I spent the week cutting and folding cardboard to make poolside lawn chairs, a standing mini-bar, and colored green circles to ensure they had cucumbers to relax their tired beanie eyes. I told my sister that they needed relaxing music to listen to while I was at school.
She promptly handed me Bob Marley and the Wailer’s One Love on cassette, and thus my mornings always began with “Stir It Up.”
Fast-forward to my mid-twenties. I was looking out the window, and drinking coffee like always, and came to sad realization that I didn’t have a dream. I’d be working hard and running forward, doing things by the books, but with zero goal post in mind. How was I going to spend the rest of my 8 hours a day? What was going to be mine, fill my cup and get me excited about Monday mornings?
These thoughts were immediately struck with guilt. I asked myself, what gives you the right to have a dream? Who do you think you are wanting more out of life? To which my Leslie Knope sounding inner voice replied:
“You my dear, are a hard-working somebody, who cares a whole lot. And that’s enough.”
The reminder helped me push aside my impostor syndrome and make room for new bets.
It wasn’t immediately after that that I thought, “Oh, I’ll make a photo booth company based out of a Volkswagen Beetle!” But I did get back into my small notebook high school roots and began writing down every business idea that came to mind.
I also started reading books like “Side Hustle” and “You are a bad ass” in my free time. Doing these types of activities helped me point out how badly or not badly I really what to achieve something. After a few weeks of that, I took the three top ideas I had, began a business plan and started doing market research.
Even right now, over coffee (again), it’s still sounds out of body that I started a business plan for other concepts in the event industry that I would never pursue. Looking back, I’m still like “Who was that woman??” But as bizarre or counterintuitive as it may be, it really was the breaking point I needed to see things in black and white, go beyond the concept of something, and plan for a way to spend my time that I hadn’t figured out yet.
Looking back on all of it now, there are a few additional things that helped me translate the outline of a dream into becoming the owner and founder of Modbug Photo Booths. To clarify, this is partly in effort to articulate the question people always have for me: How did you come up with idea to turn a VW Bug into a photo booth?
1. I challenged myself to identify my favorite job, and why it was my favorite. Unexpectedly, I started reminiscing about my days serving ice cream at the Beach Plum. A relatively local spot I could ride my bike to, that had the most amazing homemade ice cream.
To my boss’ discontent, I would always give people the biggest scoops possible. I loved seeing their face light up with excitement and happiness whenever I handed them their cone over the counter.
Once I identified how happy that time made me, I knew I needed to create a business that would have the same impact.
2. Secondly, for as long as I was old enough to have a dream car, I’ve wanted a Volkswagen Bug. This probably began when I watched Herbie the love bug for the first time. I thought they were the cutest cars I’d ever seen, and just my size to boot.
3. After combining the two elements above and disregarding the whether it would be even possible or not, there was one realization that sent me into full Modbug focus mode.
Fear was certainly present when I became faced with opening my business seriously. That “90% small business failure” statistic they teach in you college lit up like a neon sign in my mind. In order to disregard it, I began picturing my future self.
I pictured myself working a shitty job, and wishing I had tried. The pain of that idea was so much louder than actual failure, that moving forward didn’t feel like a choice anymore.
My wish for this post is that it serves as a mood board to help others access the parts of their childhood that brought them joy. These memories are not fantasy, but rather a key that can inspire new possibilities.
What was your creative outlet as a kid? How did you occupy your time when there was no one to play with? Comment your experiences below! I’ve found it to be an essential tool in actualizing, finding my passion, and starting a business.
And of course, if you’d like to read about more musings and stories from the road of Modbug Photo Booths, please subscribe to our monthly House Organ below.
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