April 04, 2011

Owning Your Own Business Lesson #1: There is No Path of Least Resistance

The Nation’s job market woes are causing individuals to change the way they view the marketplace. People are realizing in a more competitive job market, good jobs matching ones qualifications are almost impossible to find. The dream of going to college, getting a good job, working for your retirement and then settling down in some small Florida beach town isn’t obtainable any longer. Each person being laid off from their once coveted and sought after position is asking themselves tough questions as they reenter the rat race known as job hunting. 

For most of my adult life, I have believed due to circumstance and lack of capital, I would have to work for someone else to guarantee a sustainable life for my family. Self employment was never an option in my mind and for a long time, I perpetuated that lie telling myself ‘I never wanted to do my own taxes anyway’ or ‘I just wasn’t self-disciplined enough to own my own business’. After going through job after job I hated for so many years, circumstances made me alter the way I thought about myself in the work place.  

First of all, I had to understand and accept a fundamental reality most people refuse to believe and spend countless empty hours pursuing.  There is no path of least resistance. Life is hard. Owning your own business is complicated, full of self reflective fears and riddled with harsh moments of clarity. Working in the same office for decades waiting for some far off retirement date sucks the creativity out of a person. Getting up every day, putting in more hours in a day than spent as personal time for someone else, watching corporate profit margins grow, grossly disproportionate when compared to the meager paycheck received each month is not easy either. Knowing the employee path is no easier than self employment helped me reach a level of determination that propelled me into the next phase of business development. 

The next lesson comes in faith and compromise. With any life endeavor worth experiencing comes a certain amount of commitment necessary from the individual in order to achieve optimal results. I learned I would never be able to work for someone else and still have enough time and energy to create my own business. I had to change my mindset, to be as determined to work for myself and I had been willing to throw myself into working for others. There is no room for compromise, no in between when it comes to building a business. Having faith in my ability, I had to take the vow to never work for anyone else again. I had to completely stop thinking of job hunting as a safety net, give up the time searching for the same old opportunities and focus all of my time and energy on creating my own products and marketing for myself. 

Lesson #3: Business is like farming. Each business opportunity starts as a seed planted in the universe.  The agricultural farmer plants lots of seeds to accommodate for those plants that may not make it as does a businessman cultivating opportunities in the market place. The farmer has to find a balance, though, for if he plants too many seeds and is unable to spend time cultivating them, the excess will die of neglect. The business man also considers these ill nourished seeds lost opportunities.  Either way, there is a considerable amount of un-tapped income in missed chances.  I have learned to balance business development with my ability to perform and produce, spending more of my energy creating and cultivating a few solid leads rather than giving into the need to make as many connections as possible only to lose them with lack of time to follow through. 

After a couple of years of adjustments, lessons in choices, sorrows and triumphs, I emerge happier than when I started the journey to business ownership. The rest of the trip is uncharted and I find myself more and more comfortable with the unknown. I am the change and I have more control over my life and finances than ever before. I encourage everyone to seek out their inner entrepreneur and start making plans for a business of your own. If everyone owned their own business, the World would be on its way to a more sustainable future.

Gardening and Faith

There are so many ways one can define things like time, cycles and heartbeats. The Myans had thousands of calendars, defining growth cycles, political reigns and even possibly predicting eras beyond their own lifespan. None of this ever really made any sense to me until I took up gardening. Until then, I was lost in time cycles defined for me. My trusted Franklin Covey shaped my day with appointments and work, my nights controlled by the trusted TV Guide. 

I would tell people when they spoke of plants and flower gardens how I was certain I would kill anything I ever tried to grow remembering the bird, hamster and rose bush incidents of my youth. Jokingly, I would say the only beings I have been able to keep alive have been my four incredible children. Somewhere in my late 20’s something started to change in me, though I couldn’t really say what triggered my interest, I stopped making sarcastic remarks and began asking questions. As I began experimenting and soaking up information, visiting gardens and flower shop, nurseries and my friend’s gardens, major shifts began in my consciousness.  I started to feel differently about time and even found a deeper faith. 

I am here to tell you, gardening is an act of faith. Every aspect of planning, tilling, planting and harvesting requires the gardener’s unquestioned belief in the dirt, their own abilities and the powers that be. Take tulips for example. In the fall you diligently plant flower bulbs. They must go roots down in a well drained area. You cover them up and wait. The dirt is completely bare as the holidays come and go. The snow covers the dirt through the bitter months of winter and remains bare as the snow melts in the Spring. One day, as you are staring at the bare dirt once again wondering if your bulb made it, there it is; a perfect, tiny speck of bright green life emerging from what appears to be nothing but barren dirt. The second year is a little less stressful than the first, now knowing what to expect.

Time is different for me now. The TV Guide is gone. I am less dedicated to a strict schedule and make time for myself to go where the wind takes me every now and again. My year is defined by growing cycles, each season having its purpose, each cycle a necessary part of life.  Thanks to the encouragement of some pretty impressive gardeners, I have had three successful vegetable gardens, know my flowering trees and plants by name and finally understand why all those gardeners, recipients of past sarcastic responses simply smiled and kept gardening. I can now hear the gardener’s heartbeat. I understand their time. 

I encourage all of you to find it in your inner spirit to make the connection to plant life even if it just means putting an aloe plant in your kitchen window.  A small plant is enough to make you smile each day as you drink your morning juice.  You may find yourself having whole conversations with that aloe plant and be better for it. Here are easy things you can do with any space and a good container. 


Happy Spring and Happy Gardening!