“The Spirit Made the Difference,” Liahona, February 2020
How does someone with a degree in recreational therapy and 10 years of experience in the mental health field end up opening a dessert shop selling colorful brownies, blondies, and ice cream?
For Molly Kohrman, the answer is simple. In 2017 she took a 12-week Self-Reliance Services course on how to start and grow your own business. That course gave her the courage to pursue a dream.
“I did pastry school in Washington, D.C., and I went to culinary school in Utah,” she says. “When my stake said they were going to do self-reliance classes, I thought, ‘Maybe I should look into this. I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I’ve done other business classes. It wouldn’t hurt to learn more.’”
The course was different from any other business or pastry class Molly had taken. What made it unique, she says, was the presence of the Holy Ghost and the spirit of camaraderie among course members.
“The business discussions were good and helpful,” she says, “but it was the spiritual side tied into the business discussions that made the biggest difference for me.”
“I went through an inner turmoil,” Molly says. “I wondered if using all of my savings, time, and energy to start a business would really be the best use of my resources when, at the time, I was working in suicide prevention.”
During her first class, Molly and other attendees discussed the Lord’s desire that His Saints be successful and choose a livelihood that brings them joy. She asked the group, “How do you reconcile using the talents you’ve been given for weighty matters versus using your talents for something you just want to do?”
As the group discussed her question, Molly realized that she wouldn’t just be selling brownies. If her business proved successful, she would be employing people, she would have financial resources to donate to worthy causes, and, once her work hours slowed down, she could return to social work as a volunteer.
“It took me until that discussion to really understand. It didn’t sink in until I was in a room full of like-minded people,” she says. “We were all at different stages of the business process and at different stages of life, but the Spirit was there, and it definitely guided our discussion—in every class. I realized that if having my own business was really what I wanted, then Heavenly Father would support me.”
About halfway through her 12-week course, Molly began baking and sharing brownies with the 10 members of her self-reliance group.
“They weren’t mad at all about that, and some of them had really good feedback,” she says. “I started trying different flavors, frostings, and compositions. By the end of the class, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do.”
Molly says it was vital to get together weekly with her group, hold each other accountable for weekly commitments, learn how and whom to ask for help, and direct each other to needed resources.
“During the whole time we were together, I felt blessed and supported by the people in my group,” she says. “The class helped me become aware of all the things I had to figure out.”
After opening her brownie shop in the fall of 2018, Molly quickly discovered that running a business takes more time than she had imagined. But a principle she remembers from her self-reliance class continues to bless her.
“We discussed how we’re going to have extreme demands on our time, but it will make a difference if we set aside time for the Spirit,” she says. “I have found that to be true. If I am suddenly feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I listen to the scriptures or a general conference talk while I’m working alone in the morning, and it eases my mind and gives me peace.”
That sense of peace, coupled with excited, happy, satisfied customers, keeps Molly going—even after long workdays.
“I could not have started this business without Heavenly Father’s help,” she says. “And without the help and support of many other people, it just wouldn’t have been possible. This is such a great opportunity. I’ve wanted to do it for so long.”
And thanks to her self-reliance class, “I’ve been blessed with the chance to try.”