Lessons About Business From a Tree

Photo by Evelyn on Unsplash

Photo by Evelyn on Unsplash

Trees blossom madly in the spring as though in a vast competition for attention. They show off, seducing us to come closer, smell or touch and admire their sudden transformation from dull and brown to eye candy.

Then their petals drop. They shift over to their standard green. The show is over and it's business as usual.

This reminds me of the feeling of starting a new business. In the early stages, it is SO romantic. The energy around it feels like spring fever--like falling in love. But over time, it too, loses it's color and fades into an ordinary-feeling routine. It can feel lackluster and dull. 

What happened to the magic...the fun...the glow? 

It's there, it's just buried under the to-do list. At about this time, many business owners wonder how their hopes and dreams morphed into the worst job they ever had. They work a minimum of twelve-hour days, sometimes seven days a week, leaving them no significant time to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. 

The original dream lays tucked in a corner covered with piles of disappointments and frustrations. Passion is forgotten having been exchanged for the drive to survive, to pay the bills and especially to not have to return to a regular job.

It's ironic that many intelligent, creative people leave full-time jobs with heart-led dreams of running their own business only to discover they will have to do the work of not one person as they did when employed, but an entire team of people.

Such is the life of many solopreneurs: a DIY nightmare with no end in sight except an endless cycle of overwork and little reward, except the ability to say you're in business for yourself. Of course, there are exceptions to this, entrepreneurs who achieve their dream life doing what they love.  However, even most successful entrepreneurs struggle constantly with work-life balance, some with businesses that grew much faster than they expected or were prepared to handle.

I know, that sounds a bit harsh, but the rose-colored glasses of the solorpreneur need to come off. This business model is not good for anyone, unless you have other sources of income that take the pressure off your heart work. Otherwise, you'll find yourself demanding that doing what you love pays you what you deserve. In a perfect world this makes perfect sense, but what will it take for a new business owner to get to that level? How much health and sanity must be sacrificed ?

There has to be a better way to do creative, passion-driven, purposeful work and make money. To help me break free from the solopreneur grind, I’m in the process of pivoting a large part of my business to online products (passive income) and seeking more opportunities to partner and collaborate. It's a decades-long pattern for me to work in this old way, so I expect some resistance and challenges, but I'm determined to work smarter and have more fun!