Volunteer is a term of endearment I have for some weeds. I define a weed as a "misplaced plant". Every spring when weeding begins, I find many "volunteer" trees. A volunteer is a tree found growing somewhere in my gardens but not put there by me. Pulling these little guys is always a little hard for me since they are usually great trees but not great in my landscape bed. One in particular that gets me every year is the little walnut tree volunteers that are "planted" there by the squirrels. The squirrels put the walnut there tucking it away in the fall for winter food . Some people believe that the squirrels forget where they buried them but I like to think that they stored away more than need and the walnuts grow up from the excess. Many Red Sunset Maple volunteers can be found in my beds too. I love the beautiful Red Sunset Maple tree and cry a little each time I pull out one of those little guys.
Of course there are many other plant volunteers that I try to transplant or just leave because they will add to my landscape. Cleome, sunflower, pumpkin and cosmos our favorite farm volunteers. My daughters love when I use the word volunteer and when I first used it they asked what it was. I explained that when you volunteer somewhere, you don't get paid with money and it is similar with volunteer plants, we don't pay money to get them they just show up for free.
Another term that I use with affection is soil. Growing up my dad didn't like when we used the word dirt to describe what we were planting trees in. He would explain, "it's not dirt but rather soil." He associated a negative with the word dirt and valued the word soil to describe what we were planting in. This affection for the word has stuck with me and I have been known to make the same correction a time or two.
Being in business with a family member can be such fun! After all, who knows you better than someone who grew up with you? Your likes and dislikes, moods, energy level, trustworthiness and the list goes on. Getting into a business with a family member may have happened in such an organic way that you may not even remember how it even started.
This is how it kind of started with my first business. My brother and I were hard working and had the same but different love in a family farm business. One could say - it was in our blood as with many farm type families. I remember getting some advice when our business venture was still very young about how to end the business relationship.
When the business venture looked like something we were going to seriously pursue together, we talked a little about how our family business might end. After all, things don't last forever. That was when we looked into a partnership and specifically a partnership agreement. I remember thinking when we were going over the details and signing the papers, "we will never use this but is seems like a great thing to have in place ...just in case"
Fast forward about 20 years and to my great surprise out comes the dusty antiqued looking official paper...the partnership agreement. Family business is a very tricky thing and splitting up rarely is what both parties want at the same time. Having that agreement made ahead of time, in our case, made for an extremely business like separation of the business assets. From an asset stand point, I couldn't have asked for a smoother separation of what I originally put into and later brought into our venture. It can be a hard thing to separate physical assets let alone the heart and soul of what someone has put into the business over the last 20 plus years of their lives.
I have had, over the last few years, people who know us ask, "how did you two do it?" How did we terminate our business given our close relationship, complicated business and personal ventures? I can only speak for myself, but having that official plan and guide on how the business was to separate was really a blessing during a rough time. Having never entertained the thought of a separation, I can imagine, would have been a whole lot tougher!
I'm not 24 anymore. That was the last time I unwittingly got into my last business situation. The last time was with my brother and, as I remember, felt I had little to lose. When you go into business young, you feel as though you have time to "make up" for all the unsuccessful business decisions and ...lost money. I remember when I was the young entrepreneur, everything seemed so exciting and every idea was sure to be a success.
Fast forward about 25 years and here I am starting a business anew. So many things have changed!
Time is no longer on my side. Every business decision is not greeted in my mind's eye with a "sure to be success" feeling. Things are still exciting but for so many different reasons. My new business partner is my hubby and to some extent my children. With 25 plus years of life & business experience, I know that everything won't be a monetary success and that is not a bad thing.
I am going into the same type of business this time around for many different reasons than my maiden voyage. First, I should say that my first endeavor turned out, by my standards, successful. I made money, gained knowledge, and gained contacts and friends along the journey. I didn't make a fortune, but that wasn't why I was in it in the first place.
Round two is starting out to be such fun and a seemingly simpler experience and here are some of the reasons I think why:
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