I was doing an online course in finding the thing you love to do and a woman posted what her business idea was. It was a tiny florist in her garage. What she had created was beautiful - a (literally) tiny space carved out in the corner of her garage, whilst she tended to her toddler as a stay at home mum. That image remained in my mind as to the very genius way this woman had created a life according to her capacity.
She created a tiny business.
Matching your capacity will bring joy
Ayurveda considers the idea of capacity intimately related to immunity. It has been taught to never fight something/someone stronger than you, as it will deplete your immunity. This can be taken as an argument with someone, to battling causes that are really not for you, to being in inclement weather that you don't have the physiology to cope with. Now, there has been the dragon-slaying style story told of overcoming odds and let's hope that is always on the agenda, however, when there is a desire to fight a goliath, then that sheer desire becomes the shield you wear. It's important to choose your battles well.
Taking that notion further, consider the ever increasing burdens most people feel these days. We cannot shout out enough, in Ayurveda, that the increase in stress has an intimate connection to your digestive capacity (note the word capacity). Western diets have a removal system of what to avoid, which doesn't look at building strength, it looks at avoiding. Therefore, the message is out that you can only cope with so many items at once and your relationship with certain food items is gone forever. Swipe left.
So be it. Play the hand from where you stand a former poker professional friend once told me. And from this position I see opportunity.
The trickiest part of starting a business, is starting a business. The buzzing swarm of smarmy people that seemed to have dropped out of the sky that are making buku bucks on your facebook feed gives you the feeling that "making business" means you're only doing it right if you make a million bucks (oh and here's how). Get rich schemes will never die, but thankfully, if your heart is part of the plan (and I hope it is), there are also more soulful folks that will guide your personal expression.
So back to the start of starting. Whenever we work with overwhelm in Ayurveda we ensure that we give the minimum amount of recommendations to begin the healing process. As painful as the person wants change to occur quickly, we slow it down on purpose, as the pace is also part of the healing. When a client makes even one small shift closer to her natural state, time and again, the universe conspires to work in the same direction. I have seen amazing things happen.
Just because the client started.
Chris Guillebeau wrote a book called the $100 start up, which is worth a read. It is simple. It inspires action. It encourages the most minimal investment possible. The tiny florist is the perfect example. When I ask people locally if they would be happy making $60/$70k a year doing 30 hours a week and truly loving what they do, every person said yes. Gleefully yes!! You can live without a lot of stuff and pare down so much easier than you can try and catch up from exhaustion or the onset of disease from so much intensity through work.
I want to inspire the tiny business movement for these reasons -
- Our digestives systems are tiny. We can only take in so much. Simple living is swiftly becoming the new fashion.
- There are many women out there - new mums, coming out of a divorce and having to work for the first time, needing a change of pace from the corporate world, a burning desire to create something, dislike of the ethos of the current place of work. Tons more that feel a sense of discontent, like they know they have something more to day.
- If the conversation was about tiny, it would inspire more people to try. Sometimes we may see people rise dramatically in their aspiring professions that feels too difficult to try and attempt the same. Most seminars are from the end result and it's difficult to compare your beginning to their end. However, seeing inspiring examples of "a tiny florist in a garage" makes us think "why not?"
- Ayurveda works on a bunch of small habits combining to make a big transformation happen. In the same way, a bunch of tiny small businesses can create and have a say in how the economy can run. It can inspire community, creativity, humanity, and an ethical supply chain. Gandhi worked on creating a heart connection between the people of the lower classes that had no voice - however in large numbers, they stood tall and had a voice.
- We need more innovation. Melbourne/Australia continues to rely on the big business model to keep our economy buoyant. From personal experience, when I was fortunate to be part of the US 2009 recession, large companies could not move quick enough to the shift in the political tempo. To create an economy that is so narrow focused is irresponsible. The world does not look like it once was, and I believe it is important for Melbourne to catch up and invest in it's local people infrastructure, like it once did with the new immigrants creating this awesome city.
The mini business plan
1. Do not go into debt.
Debt is for stage 2, when it's a thing. Debt is speculation, it's a crap shoot. When you begin this is not relevant. The action of beginning is, like Seth Godin coined, in the mode of ABC (Always Be Testing).
2. You really don't need business cards and things.
People like home made things. People love people trying new stuff. I drove past the Coburg pet grooming place with a sign hanging out front that looked like they had found a scrap piece of wood and old paint and did it themselves. I found it refreshing. I might take my dog there.
3. Do small lots and then go to a random market stall or ask your friends if they want one.
Sell to your neighbour people. Do a flyer to tell them you have a garage florist. Make them tea and you might have the added bonus of bringing people together. Test things out. Consider each new venture the proto type of the final thing (which you may not know). As Pablo Picasso stated "I begin with an idea, then it becomes something else."
4. Do your books.
Yes, absolutely! Even in the tiny movement because doing the books is a habit to cultivate. You must always know your position. Some folks can grow too quickly because they are not prepared, which can feel worse than not making it at all. Get used to money in/money out, the time it takes and the material cost of the item you're selling. Also factor in the love component - if you don't feel good doing it, then what's the point? Saying that, if you absolutely love what you do and it turns out you made minimum hourly rate (but can still pay the bills) and are happy at staying tiny (but covering your bills), who cares, be happy.
5. Be conscious of being the owner of the idea/business versus being an employee.
Some super crafty folks out there feel awkward in the role of owner so they become an employee to themselves never really taking the business to the next level. Don't do this or you might as well work for someone else with less stress. Take 1 day a week where you consider where you'd like the business to go, in all respects - making it more efficient, possibly needing help, scouting possible markets, reviewing your supply chain, checking in with your mind and body. It's important to know the difference between wanting to run your own show or just do the craft.
I hope you start something.