Why Entrepreneurship Is Like Farming

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Entrepreneurship brought to success can be a very rough road. But, like farmers do, it will pay off to plant the seeds for the long run.

Do you find yourself ever wishing that you could cap off your day with one huge, monumental entrepreneurial accomplishment? You know, the kind where you:

  • Land THAT ONE client you’ve been chasing for the past 6 months.
  • Seal the deal with THAT ONE investor who could change the trajectory of your entire enterprise.
  • Graciously bow to the applause from hundreds of your cohorts after wowing their minds with your latest mind-blowing speech.

Yes, those kinds of accomplishments… the kinds we all dream would come true at the end of each day as we tirelessly toil our way into the world of entrepreneurial success.

1. Accomplishments

However, as wonderful as those accomplishments can be, and as realistic as they may be after traveling down some of the hard paved roads of our entrepreneurial journey, they tend to be few and far between. And quite honestly, that’s the simple hard truth of turning a great idea into a money-making business. In other words, the satisfaction of ending each day with some kind of monumental accomplishment is not always reality.

In fact, in some ways, you could say that turning a great idea into a money-making business is like a farmer turning a row of carefully planted seeds into a flourishing crop of wheat.
When it happens, it’s a major sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. But it doesn’t happen each day. It happens after a few long seasons of when we cultivate the living crud out of our entrepreneurial soil, so to speak.

That’s why I say entrepreneurship is like farming.
Just think, wouldn’t it be amazingly satisfying for a farmer if he or she:

  • Woke up in the morning
  • Plowed a few rows of soil
  • Scattered some seed of wheat
  • Sprinkled a bit of water
  • By the time the sun went down, those same rows of seed would now be 6-foot tall wheat stalks ready for harvest?

2. Satisfaction

Translate that satisfaction to entrepreneurship. Wouldn’t it be amazingly satisfying to:

  • Wake up in the morning
  • Make a few important phone calls
  • Go out and hold several high level meetings
  • Attend a huge network event and give a huge speech in front of hundreds of attendees
  • Head home to dinner with your dream client’s new contract?

Just like for a farmer, if that sort of accomplishment happened every day, entrepreneurship would be more than just satisfying, it would be absolutely incredible!

Yet, those kind of accomplishments just don’t happen on a daily basis. In fact, they’re very few and far between for an entrepreneur, and basically impossible for a farmer (I’d be scared out of my wits to bite into a fruit or vegetable that was harvested the same day it was planted… that just seems beyond unnatural).

So, just like farmers, we entrepreneurs have to tamper our expectations of accomplishments with the realities of our climates. For instance, the climate a farmer needs for a successful harvest includes:

  1. – Enduring patience
  2. – Constant care and attention
  3. – Unending hard work
  4. – Careful calculation of the weather and resources
  5. – Embracing of uncertainty

As an entrepreneur, our climate for a successful launch and sustainable business building accomplishments revolve around the same components.

3. Patience

Quite simply, it’s going to take a lot of patience. The old saying, “Great things come to those who wait” still holds a message of truth that continually carries on from one generation to another. Yet, as truthful as it is, it’s highly complicated by a business world that seemingly lacks patience. Everything has to be done now. Great ideas have to be born in the morning and converted into thousands of dollars by lunch time… each and every day.

Of course, that may not be how everyone truly sees and evaluates their expectations, but yet it doesn’t feel too far off for how we feel entitled to skip over patience and land straight onto monumental success/accomplishment.

With patience, comes constant care and attention.
You’ve tried one method of marketing and you didn’t see the results you wanted. Do you give up and try something else, or keep trying the same method? That’s a question that we as entrepreneurs have to constantly ask ourselves. The answer is that sometimes, the only thing we can keep doing is giving our work and our ideas constant care and attention. In other words, be persistent. It doesn’t mean to skip evaluation. But in combination to patience, our persistence to doing the right thing the right way, will pay off.

4. Work hard

Additionally, we have to work hard… super-duper-extra-alley-ooper hard.
Just when we think we’ve worked hard enough, we have more hard work to do. But I honestly believe that entrepreneurs, just like farmers, take on hard work with a smile and a passion. It’s an ethic we embrace and say, “Let’s make this happen.” We know it going in, and we know it in each and every facet of our work and enterprises.

Even though most entrepreneurs don’t have to calculate the weather as to how they will end each day with a sense of accomplishment, we do have to pay attention to the daily patterns of our social, economical, business, and networking structures. In other words, we have to accommodate ourselves to the resources we’ve been given. Just like a farmer can’t control the weather, we too can’t control everything (yes, that’s another hard core reality). But we can accommodate ourselves and respond accordingly to the events out of our control by being mindful of their patterns and their structures. We have to constantly access, adjust, and be ready for whatever may come our way.

5. Embrace uncertainty

Lastly, we have to embrace uncertainty. This is by far the hardest part of entrepreneurship. You literally do not know how each day is going to end, let alone sometimes how each hour is going to end. Even though I’m not a farmer, I wonder if he or she would say that for them, uncertainty is the hardest part about farming… more so than hard work, or patience, or unending care. It’s the uncertainty that can tamper and mess with how you perceive a day’s ending accomplishment. For instance:

  1. Did what I did today work or make sense at all?
  2. Will this method of marketing ever pay off?
  3. Does anyone get at all what I’m trying to do?

Just like when a farmer spends one season plowing the fields, planting the seeds, and cultivating the soil, he or she spends the rest of the time and the next season wondering:

  1. Did what I did this season work?
  2. Will this toil ever pay off?
  3. Does anyone care or depend on the harvest I’m trying to create?

It’d be amazingly satisfying to take all of this uncertainty out of the way and end each day with one gigantic, life-altering accomplishment. But in entrepreneurship, as well as in farming, our accomplishments do happen each day, but we may not see the large payoff until well into the following season, or even the following year.

As aggravating as that may seem, the one way I stay satisfied with all of my daily accomplishments, no matter how big or small, is knowing that sometime down the line, the payoff is going to taste incredibly great.

After all, the tastiest and most nutritious fruit and vegetables I’ve ever had didn’t come from one hard day’s worth of work, but through a few seasons of:

It’s when we understand that these elements of entrepreneurship are just like farming, we will one day have a payoff, or a harvest, that’s tastier, longer lasting, and more fulfilling than any quick fix, superficial accomplishment could ever offer.



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