Interpreting your answers

Lawn Company Secrets

Lawn Company Secrets

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1. Why do you want to be self-employed? Certainly being self-employed has its attractions. It's estimated that around 80% of the working population would like to be self-employed. The question is why? Why would so many wish to give up all the rights of an employee to branch out on their own?

While there are lots of advantages to being self-employed, there are also some perks that initially you may have to forego:

  • regular wage/salary
  • paid holidays
  • paid sick leave
  • the daily social contact with your work colleagues
  • support in making decisions.

Starting a business from nothing is probably one of the most exciting things that you could ever do, particularly when your business grows and become profitable. But be warned, getting there takes lots of hard work and commitment. You must remember also that you, and you alone are responsible for all that happens in your business. This means sharing in any losses as well as profits.

2. What's your biggest fear? What's stopping you from running your own gardening business? If it's lack of knowledge of the nuts and bolts of setting up and running the business, then you won't have to look further than this book. However, I suspect that lurking somewhere in your mind are other fears. These may include meeting people for the first time, or stepping into the unknown, or worrying that you don't know enough about gardening to do it professionally. My biggest fear was that I didn't know enough about gardening to be able to actually charge someone for my work. If this is yours, don't worry. There are ways that you can increase your knowledge and which will help give you the confidence to get started. Here are some examples:

  • Evening classes.
  • Correspondence courses.
  • Short courses.
  • Take a part-time job with a local nursery.
  • Read as many gardening books as you can.
  • Befriend a local nurseryman or woman. In my experience, nothing quite compares with the knowledge and enthusiasm for plants and plant care than that of these men and women who spend their lives growing things for our benefit. You'll find they'll be only too happy to share their experience with you.

Whatever your greatest fear is, you can overcome it. Decide now to start doing just that.

  1. Do you enjoy your own company? Gardening for a living can be a solitary affair. I have worked on a number of projects where apart from an occasional robin following my progress, I have been on my own for the day. This wouldn't suit everyone. I recently took over the management of a large estate where the previous gardener had to resign on the advice from his doctor as he was suffering from depression. His doctor told him that he wasn't suited to working on his own and needed an environment where he was in contact with other people.
  2. Can you take criticism? Hopefully the times that your work will be criticised will be few, but there will be occasions where despite your best efforts you will fail to please someone. How will you cope if this happens?

Flying into a defensive rage with your customer will solve nothing. So if you're the type of person who shoots first and asks questions later, you may be better suited to the life of an employee.

Criticism can be constructive, part of the learning experience.

5. How physically fit are you? If you're to be successful and enjoy running your business, being physically fit is a must. There's an enormous difference between clipping and mowing your own lawn for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon and spending eight hours a day, five days a week gardening.

Get fit before you start your business.

6. What impact will running a successful venture have on your lifestyle? Can you visualise the impact your successful venture will have on your lifestyle? It's important that you can. Working for yourself, being your own boss, whether it be a few hours a week or every day, means that you alone are responsible for motivating yourself. Particularly in the early days when everything is somewhat unsure, and you've stepped out of your comfort zones, you may find your motivation wavering. This is perfectly normal. When you're on your knees pulling stubborn weeds with a freezing wind biting at your neck, it can be difficult to visualise your success, particularly if you've enjoyed the warmth of working in a comfortable office with fresh coffee on the go and time to phone your friends. Not to mention a regular salary.

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