Meet Lisa of Y-‐Lo Epicure: from a dream to a very successful business! I remember feeling so lost and confused few years ago, wondering what my purpose was. It all started by asking myself important questions (who am I , why am I here, etc), but I also looked for inspiration in others who have found IT. Few months ago, I was introduced to Lisa through a mutual friend and I simply fell in love with her story. She is an incredible woman who believed in her dream of owning a restaurant or a catering business since she was a little girl. Read the path she took and her advice for others on trusting your instinct.
Lisa DiCarlo Altenburg, Owner at Y.Lo Epicure Catering
Did you always know you would be a business owner? I am not sure when I knew but as long as I can remember I have always wanted to own a restaurant. I thought that once I was older and had more money I would go for it. Nevertheless, the opportunity to buy Y.Lo Epicure fell into my lap and I jumped on the opportunity. You say that first years felt like running a non-profit. Please let me more. Well I worked my butt off for the first few years and practically broke even. Some days were difficult because I worked so hard and had very little financial gain to show for it. I just had to have faith that my hard work would pay off and eventually it did. Times still get tough but I have confidence that I am making the correct business decisions in order for Y.Lo Epicure to thrive.
What was the key ingredient in your success with Y. Lo Epicure Catering? Hard work and passion! When you own a business you have to LOVE every part of it. You don’t have to always like it all but you have to love what you do in order to manage the highs and lows. There are many days when it would be easier to just give up and go back to collecting a paycheck from someone else but then I remember all of the things that I love about my business which keeps me going every day!
What do you love most about what you do now?
I am so lucky to be in the business of making people happy.
Food generally makes people happy. I get so much joy out of my job when a get a note from a bride or an executive assistant telling me how much easier I made their event and how great I made them look. What did you do before owning your own business? My degree is in finance so everything prior to owning Y.Lo Epicure was in the finance world. Just previous to buying Y.Lo Epicure I worked in corporate finance for Janus Capital Group. It was a great job and I gained a lot of skills and knowledge that have helped in owning my own business. Nevertheless, I was not passionate about what I did. What were some big challenges in your life and how did you overcome them? In business one of my biggest challenges is managing employees. AH – I don’t even know where to begin – managing personalities, emotions, relationships, personal lives, performance and OH the drama! I also bought the business at a young age (28) and I didn’t always have the respect that I deserved. Some didn’t take me seriously and I was often disregarded because of my age. It often made me doubt myself and capabilities which I had to overcome. With a few years of experience came more confidence and now I do not let my age or others perception of my age affect me.
What does it mean to live a life with meaning and purpose? For me it is laying my head on my pillow every night knowing that I spent my time and energy doing something that day that I love. 3
What inspires you Lisa? Why is this question so hard to answer??? I guess I have always felt the need to succeed personally and professionally – so success inspires me. I also love to see others around me succeed. Therefore, whatever I can do to set my employees and friends up for success is also inspirational for me. Success also breeds happiness which I find to be very inspirational. What do you want your legacy to be? I would love to be known for building my success through honesty and positivity. I am learning that the business world is a tough place and is full of many negative and dishonest people. I never want to be one of those people. What would you tell other men and women interested in developing a passion of theirs? I am not sure that passions can be developed cognitively. I think that they are inherent and grow over time through experiences. My advice would be to follow the passions that are inherent within and be proud of them. I remember feeling a bit ashamed to admit that I was leaving my high-powered finance job to work in the food industry but in reality it is the perfect path for me.
If you could give one advice to someone starting a new business – what would it be? Take your time in the beginning and manage your growth. Don’t try to be everything to everyone too soon. You need to learn along with your growth.
What do you remember reading or watching on your path that helped you move forward? I read the E-Myth Revisited: Why most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to DO About It (twice) by Michael Gerber. I am not a big reader but recommend that all entrepreneurs read this book. It has SO much wonderful information! 4
Why are people afraid of trusting their instinct and following their passions? FAILURE – the fear of failure is almost impossible to comprehend. It is much easier to never try something and never have the option of failing versus trying something with the option of failing.
What’s in store for Lisa in the coming years and decades? AHHhhhh – well I am due to have my first child in 3 weeks and I cannot even begin to fathom what is in store for me. Hopefully it will include the joys of raising children and running a successful business. Not sure how I will balance all of this but hopefully there is more to come on that topic J
And we sure hope to check in with Lisa again to hear how she is balancing it all! Weren’t you inspired? I told you she is such a great and smart young lady! Here is more information on Y.Lo Epicure Catering in case you ever need them: Y.Lo Epicure (303) 780-‐9888 1470 S. Santa Fe Drive, Unit C Denver, CO 80223 firstname.lastname@example.org 5