Rolling into Business: Evan’s Plan B

Dumplings for sale

Business in a bike-Plan B rolls along!

Evan Feenstra moved to Portland, Oregon from Southern California.  Hearing that Portland loves music, he intended to set the place afire with instant notoriety and success. But Evan’s plans faltered. He needed a Plan B.  Let’s step back to take a look at this tall, gaunt, young-at-heart guy who knows how to work hard and enjoy life.

Evan graduated from Pitzer College in Davis, California with a B.S. in Psychology.  The stated values of the college include:

  • Social Responsibility
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Interdisciplinary Learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Environmental Sustainability

He espoused the principles, but what would he do with a Psych major?  Of course!  He’d visit Nepal with a good friend of his, Hailey Flanigan, a native of Portland, Oregon.  His parents, hippies from the 70’s with a small organic farm in California, proudly congratulated his decision.  Hailey found a fascinating job in Nepal, writing and teaching people how to write grants.  Evan took a volunteer job where he helped people learn about science while watering plants or nurtured orphans in the commune where they lived.  What an experience!


Hailey knew Roshan Gurung from a prior trip to Nepal.  She fell in love with him on this trip, starting the visa process for him to come to the US as soon as possible.  Evan met Stephanie Ray-Hatten, who migrated from Odessa, Texas.

About five minutes after meeting Stephanie, he was smitten with her beauty and sweet West Texas drawl.  She enjoyed camping, same as him.  She loved biking, same as him.  They remain a couple today.


The foursome decided to live in Portland.  The two couples made a little money here and there while Evan played small gigs.  One night they cooked Nepalese dumplings for Hailey’s parents.  Her mom, off-handed, while devouring a dozen dumplings, suggested he needed a second income.  Shauna Flanigan offered a little monetary incentive for supplies.  Why not nurture his cooking habit?  Why not start a traveling business, similar to a food truck only smaller, which he could carry around on his bike.  Maybe he could sell Himalayan Steamed Dumplings.

The dawn of a new business arrived with the clink of the beer cans. Everyone recognized the synergy at the table.  They formed a business partnership.

Building the Business

dumpling biz

Setting up the Dumpling Shop

Evan is mechanically and technically gifted, plus he loves biking.  With a small investment from his friend’s mom, he built a “business-on-a-bike.”  He attends festivals, parades, and has two usual hangouts where people come from miles around for his  tempting dumplings…chicken, vegan and vegetarian.  He designed a food cart, purchased the pans, makes the dumplings beforehand and sells them regularly in the Hawthorne area at 3423 Belmont SE, Portland, Oregon.  Steph organizes music at this venue.

They secured a second location in downtown Portland at Shemanski Square Park through Kickstarter, where they use the business-in-a-bike cart.  The professionals downtown crave his spicy food as readily as the funky folks in the Hawthorne area.  His cash flow is decent.  He rides his bike, meets new people and makes a little money.

At the Portland Summer Parkways, an event where streets are closed for bikes, Evan sold me six dumplings for six bucks.  I loved them!  I fully expected him to sing or play the flute for customers once I heard his story.  Stephanie helps by arranging pods for musicians, similar to the food cart craze, where both food and starving musicians can find a path to stardom.

Good dumplins

Himalayan Dumplings-Umm, Good!

 Rolling into Plan B

Evan remains involved in music, providing two more streams of income.  He creates music for advertising videos, and he plays in small venues and bars, when he can.  I love his ability to juggle three small businesses.

I asked Evan what advice he’d suggest to my readers.  His response, “If you follow your dreams, it won’t turn out the way you think, but is will turn out.  Be open-minded!”

Meanwhile, check Evan’s three colorful websites for additional information.

Ghostly Fears in Your Job Search

Ghost in Job Search

Get rid of the fear and ghosts in your job search.

What is holding you back?  Could it be fear?  Do ghosts interfere with your job or job search?

Do you hate your job, but stick with it because you know the people and politics?  Are you facing a possible layoff by the end of the year?   How can you conquer your fear during job search?


Let’s name the fear.  If your fear is financial, study the monster and  lighten your load.  Don’t buy alcohol.  Cancel excess cable channels.  Fire the housekeeper.  Talk with your creditors to alert them about your issues.  Don’t let your kids browbeat you into buying $100 tennis shoes.  Hide some cash for the holiday gifts now.  Face the reality that it could be a long haul.


You need to remind yourself constantly that your job is to find another job.  Rather than trying to find a job with the same requirements of your current or most recent job, think creatively.  If you are stuck, you might want to read a good book to pump new energy into your job search.

Post-it notes may help.   Place them on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror and in your car.  The notes may say:

“Get over it,” if you are harboring anger.

“Today’s the Day!”  OR

“I will hear from my next employer today.”

Affirmations may seem silly, but they help you maintain momentum.

A quiet time daily for inspiration helps, as well.  No matter how hard you work, you don’t have total control; other factors intervene.


Conquer time management.  Block time on your calendar for items on your “to do” list.  Spend more time on the telephone or in person networking than on the computer.  If you decide to spend eight hours a day on job search, then two to three hours a day on the computer can be accomplished nights and week-ends. Accountability and organization play an integral role in your search.  Maintain accurate records, as if you are in sales, to see what happens when your activity improves.  That means you must track the number of phone calls, phone interviews, networking meetings and interviews.

Often I hear from people who suddenly see a bigger picture.  If unemployed, the time may be important to help an aging parent or special needs child.  If employed, remaining in that boring job may help you keep your sanity when the spouse decides to leave for “greener pastures. Maybe the time is ripe for you to start Plan B, the business you’ve envisioned for years.


Ghosts live with all of us.  Maybe you call them another name but ghosts from our past can erode confidence during job search.  If someone in you life gives you grief daily about finding a job, you may rebel, as a child might.  When we are stressed, we don’t always behave as sane people.   Perhaps a ghost from your childhood told you that you would never amount to anything or that you lacked the intelligence to become an engineer or a public speaker. Our ghosts may affect us more than we realize.  What “voices” do you need to kill, which play with your mind when you start to make a phone call?  Perhaps you can identify that “ghost” and slay it forever!

Look carefully at what you are avoiding.  I could become psychological or philosophical about this, but the bottom line is clear.  You can play the blame game, be tortured by your ghosts from the past and/or present or you can murder the monsters and move away from your fear.

Happy Halloween!

If you would like a spreadsheet to assist with your marketing and time management while looking for work, please send an email to for your free template.

Reminder: Sachse LIbrary is sponsoring a writers group.  The organizational meeting is at 6:30 p.m., October 29, 2013.  If you are an author in the area, want to blog, write articles, fiction, a memoir for your family, please contact the library or me for details at  about the group.