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  • Writer's pictureAdam Roszco

The Secret Stash - Memories

by Adam Roszco.

As I was eating my homemade breakfast and downing some fresh coffee I found myself listening to an episode of Gary Vee's podcast titled "Self-Esteem and Confidence". Gary Vaynerchuek is one of my role models in this world. One who I can do a better job of emulating. He's a self-made man who is generous with his advice and guidance, uses the F-bomb frequently (which makes him an instant favorite in my book) and has had a hand in shaping the hustle culture.

Listening to him talk it took me on a stroll down memory lane. Once upon a time the entrepreneur bug had bitten me hard. I opened three versions of the same concept. It was an online book and gift shop while also putting on events featuring local authors. Each one, taking me further and closer to my then goal of opening my open brick and mortar shop.

The logo you see pictured was my most successful attempt - The Secret Stash. A collective of books and goods from San Diego (where I was living at the time) authors and makers. Fun fact, I hand-drew that logo and then had a graphic designer polish it up and colorize it. The Secret Stash was truly built from scratch. As I learned about SEO and Google Analytics I discovered a pizza shop in New Jersey of the same name. We competed for the top search term for a time, it always made me laugh when I saw it.

I loved operating that business. My work was all online (or remote in modern terms) and mostly networking and handing out stickers. I began to sell goods at farmer's market, my favorite being the Oceanside Street Fair every Thursday night. I hosted several successful events and even helped a lovely author launch her book. It was magic those times.

What happened you ask? A couple of things. One, I was in the mid-level downward spiral of an addiction I had yet to realize I was suffering from. Two, I stopped believing in myself. I didn't think I could do it and my fear took over and I abruptly shut it down. I left a lot of people hanging. I cancelled several events with no warning, just poof - cancelled! And then disappeared from social media because I was too ashamed and embarrassed at my failure. I couldn't stand being on social media and seeing the memories and the connections I had made. It hurt my heart.

And I did all that to myself. When I was listening to Gary speak about confidence and self-esteem this morning it took my mind to that time. That year was, for me - "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." I was good at it too. Networking turned out to be a strength I didn't know I had.

In today's world we encourage the hustle and grind lifestyle. So many individuals making sure their appearance is on-point and that they know their facts and stats in the event of a chance meeting. That's all great but - do they believe in themselves? Are they confident in what they are doing? Of all the people I have met in the course of running my shops and writing, very few are actually confident in themselves right out the gate.

Most people have to build up to that confidence. And we do that through conversation and coffee. And by standing in the mirror giving ourselves pep talks. I remember listening to many stories from authors who couldn't understand why this person was doing better or they weren't getting enough people to buy their book. Stop worrying what someone else is doing and just get out there and hand-sell if you have to. Today we have so many social media platforms, get on each of them and make content like your life depends on it. There's a catch to that last piece of advice, the content needs to matter to what you are doing, to your brand, to the product you are selling. Lots of white noise out there and it's hard to breakthrough when you too are white noise.

As I wrap up this post I find myself happy with my time at The Secret Stash. It was an amazing time and I loved every second working on it. I even had customers in those early days! At one farmer's market I broke even! What a happy day that was. And being a part of that author's book launch was a memorable night. I learned a lot that year, about myself and the world around me. A lot to be grateful for. A lot to reflect upon and learn from.

Happy Thursday dear reader.

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