The musicians in L.A. taught me a method to determine whether or not to work with an artist or accept a tour. They called it, "The Great Trifecta". They said there are three questions to ask yourself:
1. Do I like the people?
2. Is the pay worthwhile?
3. Do I like the music?
If the artist, band, or tour contains two out of the three, take the gig! If it is missing two, think long and hard before moving forward.
I decided to apply the trifecta to this new coffee business.
1. Do I like the people?
Let me introduce you to a few regulars of ours. I recently met Holly, a new entrepreneur, who is excited to start up her knitting company and is currently updating her Etsy shop to be ready in time for winter orders. She chats with us about musicians and local shows as she knits and sips on an eight ounce, single-shot espresso and milk.
Matt works with troubled youth by transporting them out into Utah's wilderness. He teaches them new social and life skills in a supportive community under the stars. He does this year round. He admits that his kids teach him about himself as much or more than he teaches them about life. He sets his skateboard alongside his eight ounce espresso and milk as we chat about being transplants from L.A. and Chicago.
Being at the cart every day affords me the opportunity to really get to know the community, an experience that is new to me, since I've been a constant traveler for most of my twenties. I relish the familiarity and the relationships that are forming because of Three Pines Coffee.
And I have to include working with Nick in this category. Some people might argue that working with a significant other is risky and not worth the trouble. I have to disagree. Nick has been nothing but hard-working and dedicated from the moment the idea of this coffee business first popped into our heads over a meal of chicken tamales. Sometime he gets frustrated, sometimes I get down, but we always pick each other up and remind each other why we became so passionate about this project in the first place. And honestly, I could have never done this thing without him.
Do I like the people? Yes! I like the people.
2. Is the pay worth it?
Well, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure about this one. This is our first coffee shop, and Nick and I are learning about the financial side of things as quickly as possible. As musicians we never cared about whether we were paid or not at a show. (A fact that constantly tormented my parents as they watched their naive teenagers galavant across the country in a van and trailer.)
At this point we aren't bringing home the big bucks, but we are making enough money to move forward and continue on with our concept. So, as far as the trifecta is concerned, this question would have to be answered in the negative at the moment.
3. Do I like the music (or in this case the coffee?)
This question requires no further examination. Yes, I like the coffee! If I'm going to dedicate all my time and energy into starting a new company, it is extremely important to me that I am a fanatic about the product that I'm selling. And Nick's constant tinkering around the espresso machine, experimentations with new coffee beans and brewing methods, and time spent on Matt Perger's Barista Hustle blog, proves that he also loves the coffee!
That's two out of three, ladies and gents. Happily Three Pines coffee passes The Great Trifecta, and my musician friends would nod in consent as we take the ultimate gig with Three Pines Coffee.
How do your life choices fare when you apply The Great Trifecta?