Lassi’s story: being an entrepreneur is the best phase of my career

Career story

I am a Jurva upper secondary school graduate, and I also have the following qualifications: restaurant cook, hotel receptionist, restaurant supervisor and Bachelor of Hospitality Management. I started working in a restaurant in 1989 when I was six years old, and officially, I qualified as a cook in 2005. I have worked as a cook, kitchen shift manager, chef, senior chef, hotel receptionist, waiter and a bar worker.

I have worked in both private companies and the chain sector. My employers have included Ravintola Fondis, Kivitippu, Rantasipi Tropiclandia, Cumulus, Huviretki, Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, Best Western, Härmän Kylpylä, Sorsanpesä and Vaasa Ravintolat. During my studies, I also had the opportunity to work as a trainee in Cantina West and Lasipalatsi in Helsinki, as well as in Sharm El Sheikh and Sonesta Beach Resort in Egypt.

I founded Jyrkkänen Investment in January 2018 and my intention was to make it into an investment company. However, everything changed in spring 2018 when many of my colleagues were made redundant for financial and production-related reasons. It provided an opportunity to think about the future. I took a two-month summer holiday with my family and in the autumn I found myself in the local vocational institution teaching cook students how to prepare restaurant food and practical nursing students how to make basic food.

During those autumn months, I had time to think about setting up a company of my own and what I actually wanted to do. In January 2019, my plans to set up a business materialised. I contacted the regional development company VASEK, which provided me with information about the start-up grant and other aspects of launching a business. In March 2019, I started a four-month trial period as an entrepreneur and from the beginning of July 2019, I have been classified as a full-time entrepreneur.

The idea and operating models of my company have changed many times over the years; for example, everything was plunged into chaos several times by the coronavirus epidemic. I worked as a cook on short-term assignments and carried out development and consultancy projects for restaurants. We also delivered local food to people’s homes and operated catering and personal chef services, pop-up restaurants and food stalls.

I may be a bit too nice

I feel that I have been successful in working life because I have managed my affairs quite well. As an entrepreneur, I have been really extensively networked from the start. I am at my best as a supervisor because in that job, I felt that I have to do my best every day.

My problem is that I may be a bit too nice, loyal and flexible. I find it hard to say no. This is something that I have been practising for a few years as an entrepreneur.

I urge you to seek challenges in your life. There are people who are quite happy with a job for life. For me, it has never been an option. It is not a matter of not being happy with a particular job, but I feel that I have to see, experience and learn new things. Usually, you are your own worst obstacle. Trust yourself, try and do things and do not be afraid of failure.

When I was a child, I wanted to become an ice hockey player (Teemu Selänne was everybody’s idol at the time), a police officer or a firefighter.

I now have a business of my own and it is the most pleasant and inspiring assignment I have ever had. I enjoy it more than anything so far: I am free to make my own decisions (of course, I also have to take responsibility for them) and we have a really fantastic team building the company.

In working life, I have learned a lot about the human dimension, doing things in a hurry, ability to cope with pressure and how being a member of a great team encourages you to work hard every day.

My leisure activities include badminton, jogging, roller skating, skating, ice hockey, cycling and fishing.

I keep mentally and physically fit by taking time off and by exercising regularly. Sleep is the most important resource, so do not try to work inhumane hours.

Lassi Jyrkkänen
Entrepreneur & Chef
Co-founder of the companies Keikkakokki Ammattilaiset Oy and Jyrkkänen Investment Oy