The story of building a Beach Bar and the life lessons I've learned

Well, I will be writing for something different today – not relevant to Fashion at all.

In my first IG Live I have shared with you my personal story and gently mentioned about me and my partner building and opening our Beach Bar back in 2014.

Then I’ve posted some pictures and details in Stories and so many people have texted me curious to find out more about it. Some of you suggested writing a blog, so here I am – writing about our experience, what went through our minds, how we built it and what are the intakes and lessons we’ve learned.

Although this story is not relevant to Fashion, in a way was one of my best experiences so far. It did help me to start Mareco with no fear and some of my business decisions were based on what I’ve learned back in 2014.

We were quite new in our relationship with Manol. We were dating for 2 years at this point and one evening we were sitting in a bar and he told me he had some saved money and he always wanted to open his own bar. This evening was in September I believe, 2013.

Now, he knows I’ve graduated in Fine Arts and I was studying Interior Design for about a year. So he suggested I should sketch an initial plan of the bar and then we will contact a professional interior designer who is going to finish the final project.

At this point I was thinking he is crazy. We could’ve done so many things with these money, like travelling, buying a property – you know – the usual things we spend money on.

Lesson number One here was that money is not only for travelling and properties. We should not assume that. We should not restrict ourselves and we should go for our dreams, sometimes without overthinking it and analysing too much.

We didn’t have a lot of time, so we immediately started working on the project with two of his friends, who at the time had their own bar in Sofia, Bulgaria and were a lot more experienced than us.

We have contacted the state of the town Primorsko in Bulgaria and asked if they have a land to rent for the summer of 2014.

Next step was to pay the deposit and to figure out who is going to build the bar. We went to Primorsko and we contacted the local carpenter who agreed to build the bar and furniture for us.

Everything was ready in April and Manol and our friends went to paint the whole bar and prepare any additional documents. We have discussed the menu, the marketing and everything else.

The opening day was 28th of May.

When I wasn’t working in the Kitchen making guacamole – you would find me running around making sure everything is in its place.

We didn’t have a proper kitchen as we didn’t want to invest in getting the proper license and we thought the customers would mainly enjoy the drinks, rather than eating… I mean this is what you are supposed to do at a Beach Bar, right?

We had a DJ space in one of the corners and organised few parties throughout the summer. We had a lot of friends visiting us, families and new customers.

However, as I mentioned before – the summer we had was awful, it was the worst summer I believe since 1970’s… It was raining and we had few storms which destroyed parts of the bar as you can imagine the bar was just meters from the sea…

Despite all the negatives, believe me – we had our best summer in 2014. We were waking up very early and closing the bar quite late. We were working, having fun and enjoying being close to the sea on a daily basis. Our dog (Marcus – black Labrador) was with us all the time and although we knew we were not making enough money at the time, we were still feeling very good, free and happy…

It was an amazing feeling. I can’t even describe it and nothing similar has happened to me so far.

Lesson Number Two here is – Don’t be afraid to embrace life, don’t try to live following society’s rules and stigmas. Risk and you will be rewarded. Sometimes the rewards are different than what we initially went for, but either way you will benefit from the experiences you had.

I will just a leave a quote here, which I love:

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The few lessons I’ve learned from my experience of building a bar and which are very generic, but I do find them helpful even now, when building my first business – Mareco:

- You can’t build your dreams by yourself. You will need some mental support from family and friends. You will also need to learn to delegate the parts of your business, where you are not an expert – to the professionals.

- You have to trust your gut and feelings.

- You have to take risks and go out of your comfort zone if you want to succeed and if you want to experience and benefit at the fullest.

- You need to accept that making mistakes is part of the process. Without making mistakes you will never progress in the right direction. Fear can stop us from success and happiness.

- Don’t overthink like me. I’m awful when it comes to making decisions and I constantly doubt myself. Overthinking is not your friend.

- If a person or circumstantial situation takes you out of your comfort zone and your inner self – you need to take immediate action and drastic measures. Anything that makes you feel not your true self and it drives you to act in a way that you can’t control - it needs to be taken care of.

- Follow the advice you give to others. Be kind to yourself, be supportive to yourself, don’t be too harsh when you make mistakes and take time off when you need it. When you feel you need some rest – just do it.

- Don’t be afraid of taking risks – Moving to another country, leaving your job as you’ve been working in a toxic environment for years, leaving your partner as you were unhappy for months. Life is throwing us challenges constantly and our happiness depends on our decisions. Sometimes you just have to go with it and take this next step without thinking.

- Don’t compare yourself to others. Now, this is very generic but to give you an example – the weather was bad that summer, we didn’t make any money. But on the same beach there was another bar which was quite busy… Now at the time I was jealous – I kept telling myself “why are they so busy?” and have so many customers. Manol and I have put so much work and effort into building Beach Bar “Deep” and it looks like they just put some chairs and a few umbrellas and that was enough for them. Well, when these thoughts were going through my head I didn’t know this is their 6th season and our 1st one.

Again – other’s success is not relevant to your success and it’s not helping you. It can only damage your confidence and beliefs. You are on a different journey, you experience different things than others and this is YOUR life.

With this I will end today's blog post. I would love to hear if you have any similar experiences and what lessons you've learned throughout your life so far?

Happy Monday!

Love Maria Xx

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