Start Cafe: Owning a Business at 21

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At just 19 years of age, Brian Cabo opened Start Cafe with his partner Michelle Guevara. Now aged 21, Mr. Cabo is a successful businessman.

The Ballarat cafe has been open for about a year and business is booming for the young couple.

Mr Cabo says that starting his own business straight after high school was both intimidating and satisfying.

“It feels pretty good I think, it took me a while to kind of realise just how big that was, because when we opened it we were both 19 and it took me a while to get used to actually owning something because I had just come out of school and I was like ‘now I own something, and I have all these responsibilities’ and it made me feel very adult,” he says. “Now, a year and a half into it, it’s cool, it’s fun and you get to meet a lot of new people.”

Mr Cabo found his passion for owning a business when he met Miss Guevara.

“Going through high school I always wanted to be a teacher, the whole business thing came along after high school when I met Michelle and we started discussing ideas about businesses and stuff like that and that’s when I got excited about it (and) I started reading stuff about owning businesses and that’s kind of where it developed and then this place happened,” says Mr Cabo.

After finishing high school Mr. Cabo worked at a supermarket before he began working at the cafe for a few months before to purchasing it.

Mr Cabo and Miss Guevara didn’t initially consider owning a cafe until the one they both worked in at the time was put up for sale.

“We were just in the right place at the right time, neither of us really had the dream of opening a cafe but we both knew we wanted to own a business,” says Mr Cabo. “We were both working at the cafe at the time and the previous owner didn’t want it anymore, so they offered it to us for a cheap price and we thought: ‘yeah why not’, and we picked it up and turned it into our own.”

Mr Cabo says, compared to many other business owners, Miss Guevara and himself were much younger.

“We definitely are a lot younger than all of our (business) peers, we don’t really know any other business owners that are our age, they’re all a lot older than us so it’s a bit intimidating but still cool,” he says.

Despite having a successful business Mr Cabo says he still gets stressed at times.

“It’s definitely stressful sometimes, I mean there’s a lot more responsibility with owning a business than just a regular job, and then with owning a business it doesn’t stop when you come home (and) with other jobs you can finish your shift and go home and zone-out and relax, but with this you go home and you’ve always got to be thinking about the business,” he says. “I guess it’s stressful because of the constant work, but other than that we have been pretty successful so there hasn’t been the stress of having an unsuccessful business.”

The young couple had some help in the beginning but now they do everything themselves.

“When we started out I actually knew a book keeper and he helped us out and gave us some Excel templates and showed us how we should be recording everything and set us off on our way, but now we do everything ourselves,” says Mr Cabo.  

Start Cafe serves takeaway coffee and comfort food six days a week, as well as offering a comfortable environment for eating in.

“It’s casual so you can come in, we play cool music and when we’re busy everyone’s just laughing and having a good time so it’s definitely a place you can come in with your friends and everybody’s just talking and chatting and having a good time,” says Mr Cabo.

Check out Dscribe’s video of Start Cafe below (best watched in HD).

Find Start Cafe on Facebook and Instagram

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