BARBARA Brooker's experience managing a nightclub aged 25-years-old was the perfect preparation for juggling her own small business ten years down the track.
"After managing a nightclub ... nothing is scary compared to that," she said.
Following the nightclub experience, Mrs Brooker went on to retail management and recently made the switch to hospitality purchasing Bungendore's Thymes Thirty Three Cafe.
"I was seeking my own challenge in managing a small business and finding something close to home is always an advantage," she said.
Mrs Brooker said her previous management experience has been invaluable; it is just a matter of applying her skills to a new environment and product.
"Having worked for everyone else I decided it was time to work for myself, to do it my own way," she said.
"This is a different industry and a new field ... it's about adapting to a new product and customers. The management in both fields is similar."
The entrepreneur is in charge of 14 multi skilled staff that bounce from working in the kitchen to waiting on the floor.
She said having a community-based business allowed her to support local juniors by providing work experience and casual work on the weekend.
Mrs Brooker said being her own boss also means she can be more flexible and responsive to customer requests. She said she enjoys the greater customer interaction that comes with hospitality and particularly in a small community like in Bungendore.
"While I am still getting to know many locals in Bungendore ... I was extremely overwhelmed by the community support once I confirmed my plans to have a business in the area," she said.
"[Hospitality] is a bit more relaxed, you can stop and have a chat and change things. If someone says 'I'd really like to eat this today, can you make it for me?' then you can cater for that but in the retail environment it's very limited."
There's an emphasis on healthy, homemade meals at Thymes Thirty Three Cafe which are prepared onsite. The ever-changing menu includes things like zucchini slice, risotto, soups, salads, muesli and baked treats.
After customer requests, there's also a selection of gluten-free and vegetarian options now available. They serve Ona Coffee and T2 teas.
"Everything on the menu is what I or my husband would eat at home," Mrs Brooker adds. "Our menu is very flexible ... I think it's nicer than having a set menu."
It's clear Mrs Brooker doesn't regret switching industries and perhaps was always destined for hospitality as she said cooking and enjoying fresh produce has always been in the family.
"I find in this job my mind and body are more active. It's a faster pace and being in the kitchen is extremely busy," she said.
"It's also a lot friendlier, although it gets really busy, you're never too busy to say 'hi' or when you're picking up plates to have a chat and say 'I hope you've enjoyed your meal'."
Mrs Brooker said she also enjoys the community aspect as the cafe is located in the heart of Bungendore. The business enjoys the patronage of many regular customers.
"In a smaller community you create more friendships, they're not just customers," she said.
"I enjoy the whole atmosphere of cooking and catering. Providing a place for people to sit down and enjoy their coffee."n Thymes Thirty Three Cafe is located at 3/33 Ellendon Street, Bungendore. It is open seven days a week from 8am to 4pm.