Friday, April 17, 2015


So Billy grew up going to McDonalds with his family. He absolutely loved the Kid's Meals and playing in the indoor playground when he visited the dining room. His family would make a trip through the drive-thru a few times each week and Billy's appetite for McDonald's french fries grew into a passion.

As Billy became a teen, he began experimenting in the kitchen with his own cooking of burgers and fries. His parents were intrigued one day when they smelled the aroma that spread through the house. His dad popped in and asked Billy what he was up to while seeing a basket of home cooked fries laying out on the counter. He sampled one. "Wow. These taste pretty good son. You made these yourself?" Billy nodded. His dad mentioned an upcoming county fair food contest that he should consider entering his food recipe because it was pretty good for a young teen just learning how to cook in the kitchen with no training or classes.

Billy took the chance and entered his best dish along with over 100 other teens in the county. The judges each sampled the entrants food and eventually selected Billy's as the runner up to an older teen who had been cooking for years and had formal training in culinary arts. The 2nd place finish earned him a $100 gift card. Billy was encouraged.

His friends and family were equally impressed and suggested he take his recipe and enter a national cooking contest in the big city next to his small home town. Billy did it. Out of over 120 other cooks Billy was the youngest and, like before, ended up 2nd place out of all of them, with a 27 year old taking first place. The judges praised his ability and skill in culinary arts at such a young age.

Billy was encouraged.

With the help of his parents, Billy asked if he could offer some free samples of his recipe to people from all around to see if the public, too, would appreciate his food. So the family set aside enough money to buy the ingredients and began to help him make up sample size meals that could be reheated and taste like it was fresh from the kitchen. They advertised on social media that he had the free samples available and to his amazement, thousands of people came and tried it out. Many came back throughout the week for more samples because they really liked it.

The family was a bit shocked. What was a casual experiment was looking like a promising future for Billy if he wanted to keep working at it. So, the family decided to focus more on Billy's skills in the kitchen and began to reach out to places beyond their county and state to see how his recipe would fair with other public members. Like before, they loved it. Except this time, the time, investment and people needed to keep up with the demand became quite expensive and the family needed to find several volunteers to aide in the process of simply making the recipe and many more volunteers to help deliver it to the distant locations.

Billy's parents couldn't continue to support providing the samples without having some way to get some sort of return on the investment. So Billy set up a website and offered for the public to buy his recipe for $1 per portion. Some people loved the recipe enough to buy 1, 3, 5 and even 10 portions at a time. But once the free samples were gone and he started charging for it, the demand dropped. Orders were very few.

Billy talked to his dad.

"I don't understand. When we were giving samples away, so many people came and got them and kept coming back. They all told me how much they loved my recipe. We even had a few calls from major restaurant chains in the country asking if I would be interested in coming to work for them as a chef. But now it looks like nobody is buying anymore and I'm not getting those calls," he told his dad.

Billy's dad decided to talk to a few restaurant and food company executives about how Billy could take his recipe and make a career from it. They, like the ones early on, all felt his recipe was unique and they could see how it would be accepted by the mass public. This excited Billy and his family. But when it came down to possibly hiring Billy, none of them offered. A few asked if he'd be willing to give them his recipe for free since they could handle the man power and money it would take to handle the demand that would happen once they announced to the public that Billy's recipe would be available in every city in the country. But Billy's parents refused to let his recipe be taken for free.

One day, Billy was in the local grocery store and saw shelves and shelves of premade food that looked similar and was made from very similar ingredients. It was then that he realized maybe he needed to change his formula a little since it seemed that he had competition that he didn't know about before. Billy tweaked his formula and sent it out as a free sample again.

And again, like the beginning, the public loved it and the demand skyrocketed for free samples. The family felt surely that this time they could keep up. The dad left his job and focused full time helping his son keep up with producing his new and improved recipe. They borrowed money to buy the ingredients and had to hire a few part time employees to help keep up with the deliveries since the volunteers they had from before were burnt out and not able to help again.

The newspaper and several culinary magazines did a few articles about Billy's recipe and his popularity spread around the country and even overseas. The internet and social media helped him find new potential customers for his recipe. However, the followers and friends on social media also loved the recipes of a few other young chefs like Billy and because those others were also just starting out and giving away their recipes for free, Billy was unable to convince most of them to buy his recipe when there were so many others willing to give theirs for free.

Billy was frustrated.

One day the phone rang and The Food Channel was calling and asking if Billy would be willing to feature on their weekly TV show "YOUNG CHEFS". Billy was shocked but humbled they would even consider him. His parents researched it and saw it as a great opportunity to show the whole country why his recipe was good. Surely, then, the viewers of the show would become customers for Billy's recipe.

Billy was still in school and doing his best to balance being a student and trying to work on becoming the best young chef in the country knowing the TV would give him the exposure. He worked it out with his school to finish his classes online so he could focus full time on making his recipe and traveling to the TV show. He left his friends and family and had to learn how to focus on his cooking more than what normal teens would be doing. The family supported him but they had since lost so much money they weren't sure how to keep his dream alive. The cost of travel and the ingredients and being on the TV show weren't possible to cover from his mom's job alone and the TV show wasn't offering him a paid role, but just all the exposure. It was their way of justifying not paying him or covering his expenses.

Before long, Billy's popularity became even more than ever before. Billy's Recipe became well known.

One evening, Billy's dad sat him down to explain that in order for Billy to continue trying to be a chef, he would need to find a way for his ingredients and travel to the TV show to be paid. Billy was doing all he could to finish his classes, be in the kitchen and still send out free samples to keep people interested in his recipe. He had already tried many times to ask the public to buy his recipe, but each time, they refused.

So Billy had to make a decision.

He would either pray his dream of becoming a chef which could support the costs for ingredients and the staff it would take to make the recipe would miraculously happen, or he would have to go get a job that would not allow him the time to make his recipe anymore.


This is what it's like to be an artist in the music industry.