I don’t think there is much in life that doesn’t function like a garden.
|A garden in early spring, too soon for real ducklings!|
We are part of nature and, when working in the world of business, the best way to thrive and flourish is to stay connected with a natural, organic way of working.
Business is first and foremost about service. The money, systems, marketing and structures you use are to enable your business to offer the best possible service to the people you are there to help, and to make a difference in the world.
That’s the new emerging business model and one I’m proud to live and work every day at The Art House.
From taking over a failing gallery back in 2007, we have grown, changed, moved and bourne fruit every year, right in the middle of hard economic times.
I believe we have done this through what I call ‘Organic Entrepreneurship’.
Using the principles of nature to grow, reach out, and blossom.
Here are the top five principles we have used, which have stood us in good stead.
1) To everything there is a season
Timing is crucial in both the service you offer and your own working practices. One of the glorious benefits of being self-employed or running a small enterprise is that you can dictate your working patterns.
This means you can harness the power of seasons, fluctuations in energy and the conditions in your individual niche and community to maximise what you are doing – and maximise your harvest!
As an entreprenuer, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to carry out all your ideas the second you have them. Collect your seeds of ideas in a special folder on your computer, or write them in a journal. Give your ideas time to germinate, and grow to fullness, rather than rushing them through.
This will help avoid the dreaded overwhelm, too!
2) Permaculture is best (or, use what’s you’ve got to grow what you want).
Old-school business meant getting a huge loan, or selling shares to shareholders, to start up.
In the UK, one out of three start ups fail in the first three years. That’s a sobering figure, isn’t it! One of the top 10 reasons for this is excessive start-up costs. Starting with a small seed (say, selling from home to friends and family) and re-investing your first income to grow slowly and sustainably is, based on my experience, a jolly good idea.
3) Choose the right position
Plants thrive when they are in the right soil and have the correct amount of light. If you are setting up a premises based business, location can be a make-or-break choice.
For online or home based entrepreneurs, think about where you place your products – find out where your customers hang out and put your stuff there.
4) Weed regularly
Running a biz means you have to sort out your personal stuff, and fast! It’s a wonderful opportunity for personal growth and it’s vital that you never forget how closely the health of your Biz and your own wellbeing are linked.
Learn the gentle art of saying ‘No’ and ‘Not now’ as well as the art of saying ‘Yes’.
5) Allow time for things to grow.
When you plant a veggie garden, you can’t expect to harvest your food the day you plant it. When starting out, your Biz will go some time where it needs you to work on it without any return.
A clever farmer will have a good supply of food stored by to get them through this lean time whilst everything is growing, and won’t over-consume. This may not be your favourite food, or ideal lifestyle, but it’s necessary to give without taking for a period of time, just like with a garden.
If you want to make a living doing what you want, you are going to need to take nourishment from unusual sources. Perhaps moving somewhere smaller, or lodging with a friend, or even moving back in with parents can give you the break in income you need to get started.
Look at clever ways of being thrifty, examine your lifestyle to see what you can do without and stretch your existing resources (think of them as those last few bottles of jam from last autumn’s harvest!).
If you are working and planning to go self-employed, you can plan a period of time (not too long!) where you save a set amount each month to get you through your growing season.
The truth is, whilst your Biz is growing you simply can’t consume it’s resources or you’ll end up with bare earth.
If you want it badly enough, you will find a way!
Working for yourself or running a Biz means you are going to mess up, big time, on more than one occasion. Use these experiences to learn, adapt and nourish your growth.
Also, get nourishment and support from outside by taking some courses, joining a mastermind group online or in real life and consider getting a business coach to support you.
7) Take in your Harvest
This may seem an obvious one, but we can sometimes become so wrapped up in the ‘how’ of our business
|Spot The Art House over those flowers!|
that we forget to enjoy the sweet fruits of success!
There are thousands of entrepreneurs out there who are so busy growing their business, they forget to take the harvest home when the time comes.
Re-invest in your business, by all means, but remember to invest in yourself too, and to reap the monetary and personal rewards your Biz brings.
Join me this summer, 2013, for a group coaching program lasting 3 months, especially for creative people who want to earn some glittery currency for thier art.
Do what you love – earn what you need!
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Darlings, I am not a professional business advisor, accountant, legal bod or suchlike. All of this advice is based on my direct experience, or on anecdotal evidence I’ve gleaned over the years from people I’ve worked with. Things that work for me, may not work for you, and I accept no responsibility to bad stuff that happens as a result of doing what I say, m’kay?
Please use your own noggin to figure out what works for you, once you’ve read what I have to say, or consult a professional business advisor, accountant, or solicitor.