OK so this is going to sound really corny, I know. But the more I think about it the more I really do think this is a good analogy (big word for a Monday, and I’m writing this on a Monday). Humour me….
There’s the fruit on the branches.
The client work that brings me in money (it really does grow on trees!). The fruits start off as little enquiries, then they grow into quotes for the jobs, and then into fully-flourished clients. They don’t all make it that far, of course, but that’s life.
There are the branches themselves.
They’re the connections and networks and links that you make as a business, reaching out to find out about new things and meet new people. These people aren’t all clients. In fact most of them aren’t. They’re other local businesses, they’re far-flung freelancers who do the same as me, they’re suppliers and (I hate this word) influencers. They ALL support the tree that grows the fruit.
There are the roots.
As I watch my business grow the roots get stronger and deeper. That’s me learning stuff and trying stuff out, you know. All that knowledge, experience and confidence makes the foundations of the business sturdier by the day.
There are the squirrels.
Squirrels are bad for trees, aren’t they? Grey squirrels strip away the bark that protects the tree. That’s what my gardener friends tell me.
So, these are those people who gnaw away at your time, money or confidence. Those clients who try to get away without paying what you’re worth. The ones who steal your ideas. The (rare) freelancers you meet at network meetings who are more about competing with you than supporting and collaborating. My tree doesn’t have many squirrels but it’s had one or two. And they can take their nuts and scarper.
There are the birds that poo on you from a great height.
So far, the main birds here are:
- Me. When I ended up in hospital not long after starting the business.
- Me. When I tripped over with a pint of water in my hand and none-too-elegantly poured the water over my laptop.
The business has weathered both beautifully.
There are the happy bunnies, frolicking peacefully in the sunshine under the trees’ bountiful shade.
Otherwise known as the punch-the-air happy moments. The friendships that grow out of business connections. The big job you quoted for and got hired for. The glowing testimonial and the pride at a piece of work well done.
That’s as far as I’m willing to push this whole tree analogy. I’m in serious danger of skipping off into the Cinderella-singing-to-the-happy-birds zone (if I’m not already there). But the sun is shining, the trees are thriving and I’m having a happy Monday. If you fancy hopping over to my website, that’d make it even happier. Ta.