We can easily get overwhelmed by all the things that we think we need to do. Yet, there are lots of things in life that are out of our control. Sometimes, all we can do is focus on the things we CAN control, like our business.
Business lessons learned from my garden
One of things I did this weekend was pick berries in my yard, and as I did I was thinking about the analogy of berries and business. Yep, seriously that was what was going through my brain!
It started with loganberries. If you have not had one before, this is a bit like a raspberry/blackberry cross. There used to be a place in Washington that made the most delicious loganberry liqueur. They were bought out by one of the big wineries and eventually they stopped production. So I started making my own. Since loganberries are a bit hard to find, we planted one in our yard. It is year 4 now I think, and finally we have a few dozen loganberries, they are that slow to grow.
- Business are slow to grow as well. So many of the internet marketing “trainings” promise quick and lucrative results but honestly, that’s an outright lie. If there was a way to (legitimately) make lots of money quickly and easily, we’d all be doing it. It doesn’t work that way. You need to plant the seeds of your business and give it care and feeding. You need to prune back the parts that aren’t working, and most of all you need to be persistent and consistent. Accept that for the first couple of years you may get a few berries, but not enough to make jam. Keep going.
We also have five blueberry bushes and a blackberry cane. Blueberries take 5 to 10 years to reach full size and full production. Once they do, a few blueberry bushes is all you need for jams, freezing, and fresh eating. Blackberries take 3-4 years to be fully established, but the variety we have will yield up to 30 lbs. per year at maturity. We only need one.
- Keep it simple. In business we are sometimes bombarded with all sorts of opportunities. Whether it is having multiple streams of income, or having multiple social media accounts remember you don’t need to do all the things. Focus on a couple of monetization methods and a couple of the most relevant traffic sources for your niche. Then give them time. Once established, many people don’t need more than this to make a full time living from their business.
Raspberries. My favorite thing about summer is eating raspberries fresh from the cane. There is nothing like it. In our last house I never had to go pick elsewhere because the 8-10 canes we had produced all we needed. I was excited when we moved because the area we are now in is part of a belt of commercial raspberry farms that extends up the valley into BC. Yet, for some reason, our raspberries here are unhappy. The fruit is really small and the canes don’t look healthy. We’ve had raspberries for 15 years so it’s not that we don’t know what we are doing.
- Doing everything “right” doesn’t guarantee success. Another common sales pitch is the “step by step” course. While it would be illegal to guarantee success, the implication is definitely there in the sales copy. Just do exactly what I did and you too can be successful. What I have learned though is that you can do everything right, and still fail. That’s okay. Just this weekend I watched an interview between a playwright and an actor, and they were talking about how you learn nothing from success. You only learn when you try something without fear. Then you can decide if it works or not. This is not the same thing as giving up–because perseverance pays–but rather take time to evaluate what is working and what needs a new approach. Accept that failure is a lesson and try a new approach.
Strawberries. We stopped growing these. The reward just wasn’t worth the space they took. There are lots of berry farms around and I just buy a flat or two every year. Peas are another thing I stopped growing in my garden. The time it took to shell them just to get a bowlful just didn’t add up when I could buy a huge bag of organic peas from Costco for $7.
- Don’t be afraid to lose the stuff that isn’t giving you a return on investment. For me, I gave up FBA in 2019, and haven’t done anything with print on demand merch for 7-8 months. FBA made me money, but it also took a lot of time. For merch, the time it takes for me to come up with a design, upload it, and find keywords just isn’t worth a few dollars of profit now and again.
So there’s a little, err, food for thought (sorry, couldn’t resist).