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6 Things Farming Can Teach You About Starting A Business

by Tony · 2 comments

Lessons on starting a business from a farmI know what you are thinking… and NO.

I have not let the past 10 days spent on a Tuscan farm go to my head and I do not now think that I’m a farmer.

But WWOOFing in Italy, with limited access to a speedy internet connection, has made me slow down and think about our future business plans in a new light.

Let me share with you 6 quotes about farming that will directly help you in starting a business:

“Always be planting seeds” – Ivano

Plant seeds continually in order to succeedOne of our bosses for our WWOOFing adventure, Ivano, gave this advice to me when discussing his garden and how he always keeps it producing. He has only been gardening for 10 months, but said this was one of the most important things he has learned.

Crops fail and crops rot, but if you are always planting new seeds than you are never left with nothing for long. Always be prepared.

Is there a better description of the perseverance required to start a business than this?

Don’t stop laying seeds because you think you have enough and don’t stop selling because the pipeline looks robust.

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”   – Dwight D Eisenhower

Farming with pencilsYes it does, Dwight. Yes it does.

Starting a business to escape the corporate lifestyle always seems so easy when reading the likes of Corbett Barr or Chris Guillebeau.

But the reality is vastly different.

There will be sweat and blood and most definitely tears, just like in farming. But hopefully also there will be that invigorating feeling of accomplishment at hard work done well.

“Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.” – Henri Alain

Starting a business and farm lifeIt is a cliché on top of a cliché to say that overnight success always takes a few years… but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

While watching so much work be done on this farm without immediate results to show for it, I have realized the importance of patience.

The fields must be plowed, the compost spread, and the seeds planted before any chance of a finished product sprouting its head is possible.

You will not succeed or fail immediately in any business venture. You must do the best you can and give it the time to develop as it will.

“Sowing is not as difficult as reaping.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Reap is better than sowIt is always, all of the time, every second of our lives, about execution.

Apple wasn’t the first to design a tablet and Henry Ford wasn’t the first to build a car.

But they both reaped the hell out of the ideas that had been sowed before them.

Plant as many seeds as you can. But never lose sight of the fact that the hard part is not finding the idea, but making the idea work.

“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” – Janet Kilburn Phillips

Gardening teaching about businessYou have to love when a gardening metaphor ties in so nicely to such a modern concept as the Lean Startup Movement.

With low costs of starting a company due to the accessibility of the internet, it is easier than ever to test a business idea and not be hampered by the thought of failure.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Reap what you sowWhile the harvest is the goal, focusing on the just the end game will never bring you success.

Your focus needs to be on what lets you successfully complete your goals. If you do those things right, the rest will be there.

Plant your seeds well and the harvest will follow.

Your Turn: Beyond the cliché of “Don’t count your eggs before they hatch,” what else can farm life teach us about starting a business? Am I just farm crazy after my time in Tuscany?

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

JR June 21, 2012 at 6:34 am

Great Article Tony on many levels. Many of us still in the corp world can take a few tidbis away from this “farming” article. I will especially use the Eisenhouser quote when doing budget battle with my finance friends at work :) Glad to see the farming life is fitting you and Meg nicely.

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Tony June 30, 2012 at 10:25 am

Thanks! I thought that Eisenhower quote was great… let me know how that goes over in your budget battles!

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