Excuse me, but have you fed that plant lately?

by | Oct 16, 2011

It’s funny how you can overlook the simplest things, things that have the potential to make a huge difference in your life and business.

Take plant food, for example.

For years we’ve had a leggy Schefflera in the living room. I’d water it every couple of months (seriously). It was infested with scale, so periodically I’d take it outside, scrape off the scale, and douse it with insecticidal soap. I’d give it a thorough watering, then call it good.
I didn’t expect much of the plant, so I didn’t put much into it. I only kept it because I can’t bring myself to throw away green things. And then this year, something shifted.

It started when I moved the corn plant from my office to the kitchen, where it could get more light. I started feeding and watering that plant more regularly, and my care spread over to the Schefflera.

Both plants took off like wildfire. The corn plant is growing so fast we need to move it to a location that has more headroom. The Schefflera sports lush foliage and hasn’t had scale for months.

A little care makes a big difference
The thing is, all I did was add water and a bit of fertilizer. I’m not hovering over the plant. I don’t talk to it (yet). Just a little time, effort, and a minuscule investment has made a huge difference. The same is true of creating self-employment success.

A business can limp along with minimal care
If you set your standards low enough, your business can muddle through with minimal care. You can live from month to month, sweating the bills and averting disaster through a combination of luck and extreme frugality.

And the more you let your business limp along, the more you believe it’s inherently limited. Under-earning feels natural, even inevitable. The idea of creating self-employment success from work you love seems like a pipe dream. Even a deviation from your real values.

Without really thinking about it, you buy into the myth that it would take a massive change in personality, behavior, or focus to go from just getting by to meaningful wealth and success. But it’s just not true.

A neglected business is a spindly business
I see a lot of businesses that remind me of my Schefflera six months ago. They are spindly and vulnerable to insects and disease. On the one hand, they can withstand hard times. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine them really thriving.

But like my Schefflera, your business will respond to the judicious application of light, water, and fertilizer. With simple, regular care, your business can be transformed. Because it’s not the big stuff, it’s the little stuff that makes the difference.

You know what the little stuff is
I knew what my Schefflera needed to thrive. I was just disconnected from it, so I didn’t take action.

The same is likely true if your business isn’t thriving. Odds are you already know a lot of things you are doing or not doing that could make a difference. And I’m betting they aren’t huge things.

  • You could ask friends, family, and peers for referrals.
  • You could stop assuming people aren’t interested and start talking about what you do.
  • You could follow up with people who show interest in your work.
  • You could be systematic in how you handle money including sticking to your fees, invoicing, and making deposits.

There are dozens of things you could be doing differently.

The point isn’t to do them all, at least not all at once
If your business is like a spindly plant, a little regular care will make a big difference. Don’t get hung up on making every possible change, or you won’t sustain any of them.

Choose three things you can do regularly (daily or weekly) to create self-employment success and make a commitment to doing them for three months. Make a chart to track your actions. Make this a priority.

And your spindly business will begin to fill out.

When you settle for less, less is what you get
When you settle for a spindly plant, a spindly plant is what you get.
When you settle for a spindly business, a spindly business is what you get.

The great news is that in both cases, a little care can make all the difference. Once your business begins to thrive, you’ll naturally want to take even better care of it. And it will take even better care of you.