Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Anti-social and loving it

It may be my anti-social nature, it may be just that I like being in control of my own fate, it may be that I just haven't found an employer that I feel is smart enough to be my boss... but,

I have been working through trial and error over several years to try to build my own business...
My first attempt was a backyard clean-up duty... a very shitty job... and nary a single client caller...

A second attempt was a web design business, and though years ago I had a couple clients, it wasn't enough to make a living, and technology moved at a pace I could not keep up with, now days its quite easy to build your own website cheaply and easily and they look pretty good... I have used a few generators that produce results in minutes that I could not touch in hours or days years ago...

Another attempt was a bicycle touring service, which gained some steam a few years back and could have been successful, but I was quickly burned out on turning my love for adventure into a babysitting job. And quite frankly, after I lost my brother (my touring partner) I lost my desire to ride my bike.

Another subsequent attempt was mobile bicycle repair... I gained enough clientele from time to time to make it a decent part time job, but not having support from a brick and mortar store made it somewhat difficult to obtain parts for clients and keeping my rates competitive was impossible. Lastly I just didn't have the heart for it... after nearly ten years of working as a bike shop mechanic even doing it for myself was lacking in enjoyment.

I tried doing handyman work, but in Pinellas County it is impossible to advertise without a contractors license, and many jobs are also hard to obtain without some kind of license. Fines are not fun. I had a hard time finding peace working inside peoples homes and was often uncomfortable with the work, and again, just really had no enjoyment for the work.

I dabbled in cabinetry construction and installation and found that while I like the wood working, I despise high dollar sales and contract work, and the types of clients that I was able to find while trying to stay competitive. I also took over a business from a previous employer that came with a young partner that was very lost in the business world and had no concept of quality control for cabinetry, even after 4 years experience... my mistake really... I should have seen it coming, I got out of the business before it crashed and burned.

While doing handyman work I dabbled a little bit in lawn service because I had a lawn mower and a string trimmer... They were only homeowner quality and it took forever to do a decent sized lawn... but i loved being able to put on headphones and just disappear for a couple hours. Over time I decided that I should start focusing more on that type of work, as I had always enjoyed gardening and urban farming and conservation type work. I have since geared myself towards a lawn service/landscaping business leaning towards a specialty in edible landscaping / urban farming / vegetable and fruit gardening / and garden boxes.

Now I have the equipment to do lawn service professionally and I have built up a decent clientele. I emphasize sustainable practices that will build the health of our community and subsequently local waterways. I discourage the use of unsustainable practices to my clients and other lawn service professionals when I can.

I am slowly and organically building the connections to build the landscaping side of the business. I have continued to grow vegetables and fruit on our own property and will start to transfer those skills to my clients needs. I have been studying Horticulture and have continued to build a knowledge base in both edible and ornamental landscape plants. I have been working for two years now doing lawn care and landscape maintenance and even in the worst heat of the summer I have very few complaints about the work I have chosen for myself.

I enjoy the freedom of running my own business, I enjoy being outdoors on a daily basis and being left in relative solitude for a few hours a day, and even though I work with loud machines all day I still have a sense of peace that I could not find in any of the other businesses. I am finally working towards a successful future that I hold in my own hands, that no one else controls, and I am loving that.

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