From Finance Manager to Cafe Owner

I spend a lot of time in Cafe’s.

It’s a function of my business and lifestyle (that’s my excuse).

Just recently I tried a new cafe in Sydney (Darlinghurst) whilst i was waiting to pick up my daughter from school.

The food was nice and the people friendly.

As it happens I started talking to the young owner of the cafe named Cindy (not her real name).

I asked her about her journey to being a cafe owner at such a young age (she was mid 20’s).

Cindy is a Chinese Australian and is bright, fun and enjoys meeting people.

She did an accounting degree then completed a masters in Finance.

Cindy then worked with one of the big auditing companies for a few years.


She did not enjoy the work and could not see herself being an accountant for the next 10 years of her life.

So she decided to reinvent her career.

Here is what she did.

She saved madly for 2 years.

During this time she researched lots of different small business opportunities.

She decided on a cafe because she loved people, food and the lifestyle.

Cindy then visited over 100 cafe’s to see for herself what works and what does not.

Then she searched various areas of Sydney and decided upon Darlinghurst because of it’s cafe culture and she spotted a competitive gap in the market for the type of cafe she wanted to open.

When I spoke to her the cafe has been running for 6 months and she is planning to buy another one.

What’s more she has a big smile on her face and absolutely loves what she is doing.

Some key lessons on how to reinvent your career

So what can we learn from this reinvention story?

Cindy did not consider this career move to be a big risk.

She is single, young and does not have a mortgage.

She gave herself a 2 year timeframe or when her savings run out to make it

Cindy explained to me that she did not consider this career move to be a permanent one.

If it did not work out she was confident that she could get a job back in accounting or finance.

Her parents were right behind her

Because of Cindy’s heritage she told me that her Chinese Parents had fully supported her move.

They also were small business owners so they knew the opportunities and pitfalls of this move.

This is important I suspect in any career move.

Having people around you that can support you both emotionally and financially.

– She felt that she would always regret not giving this a go

Cindy was not prepared to accept the status-quo.

She was not enjoying her position so rather than let this frustration build she did something about it.

For her, now was the time.

Perhaps in the end this is a reinvention story about a 20 something lady with drive determination and imagination.

But it also is a story about a certain entrepreneurial mindset or attitude.

That as we age we can lose and become more fearful and resist change and ultimately the opportunity to reinvent our career and life.

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