We did it! 5 years ago on a grey winter's day, the first step in our journey to travel the length of the Americas was taken. The Botanical Journey's first blog post was released to the world and set our dreams in motion. Finally, the day when Cody and I embark on the expedition of our lifetime is drawing near. The road has been long, winding, and arduous at times, but we have managed to grow our love and develop new skillsets for what promises to be an amazing adventure.
The following is a list of 5 valuable lessons I have learned in building a successful business from a true passion.
1. Success is a path continually built by practice and dedication
Failure is giving up. There have been times when I had that feeling of quitting but I learned to tell myself, "not today." Inevitably something profound would happen almost immediately to keep the forward positive motion going. I have learned that success is life. Every day we make choices that define our tomorrow. Creating and building a business holds our choices accountable to both ourselves and our customers, clients, &/or followers. Each day is dedicated to achieving set goals, creating new ones, and letting go of those ideals that no longer serve the path to success. There really is only one way to not succeed and that is to give up. Whatever dream you may have, begin now. Living your truest self is Success.
2. Be Authentic and True to Your Purpose
Yeah, yeah, we hear this all the time but in a world with constant information and ideas coming at us, it is easy to get lost. Every business guru has a secret formula for success. But every business is different as is every business owner's path. I definitely enjoy a good success story and I encourage entrepreneurs to take some calculated risks but know your purpose and possible limitations too. For example, I hate ads and advertising. It annoys me to be bothered on my own time with a commercial interruption like a plane flying a banner overhead at the beach or an advertisement on a gas station pump screen. So, I have an equally hard time doing it to others to promote my business. I know, how do I expect to be "successful" if I am not willing to interrupt others' personal time by inserting my products into their space? Well, I fought long and hard with my instincts and figured out my own way to engage others through public speaking events, temporary markets, social media, and our newsletter. I may not have 100,000 followers and likes but what I do have is 5 years of cultivated true fans that genuinely connect with my articles, products, and posts.
3. Your Biggest Fans Will Not Be Your Family and Friends
This surprised me in the beginning and also hurt a bit that my closest friends and family were not that interested in what I had to say or about my botanical business dealings. Sure, they wish me well and emotionally support me but mostly the content was not their thing. It took a few years of gaining an audience that I realized my sincere interests in plants, nature, ecology & travel were for a different target group altogether. The first rule of marketing is to find your true audience. The idea that family and friends would be my biggest cheerleaders stood in the way of success. Now, that I have found my botanical community, I learn something every single day from my crazy plant friends from around the globe. They broaden my horizons, applaud my authenticity while reinforcing my true purpose: sustainable living, nature conservation, and plant education.
4. Be Bold
If you have an idea or an inclination for bettering your business, try it. If it does not work, at least you know. However, if you succeed then you will be happy you tried. In business, failures are very much a part of the learning process. It helps to define what you are not or what customers and clients specifically want from you. From the beginning to today, I have tried various attempts at generating revenue with some success but in the end, my customers & followers like best the informative articles, actual sales of plants, and native landscaping design. The truth is, I do too. Those are my areas of expertise and that is why people come to my business. It sounds easy to say now after several attempted ventures did not work out, but I am thankful I did try. In 5 years I have learned what I truly enjoy doing is what others want from my business.
In 2014, I found a gratitude journal while walking in my neighborhood. Every day for a year, Cody and I wrote 5 things we were thankful for each day. Our lives changed for the better. We have continued the tradition every day since and we feel more positive in our daily lives. Opening our hearts to the abundance that surrounds us awakens our minds to all the good that happens each day, no matter how small. I have learned that when things do not work out as expected, there is an obscured reason leading us to a better path. When we give thanks, we find more joy and positivity in the world giving us the strength to deal with all the challenges of operating a business.
From the bottom of our green hearts, thank you to all our family, friends, followers, and customers for supporting The Botanical Journey. We could not have succeeded without each and every one of you. Here's to another 5 years of amazing adventures together. 💚