I came back home recently from a family vacation in Yosemite. Lots of fun, great sights, and I didn’t bring a computer or any other device to connect to the internet. True time off. Just music for in the car, and a camera for pictures. We all had a great time.
Even without my computer, I spent some time thinking about my business. Not terribly much, as there’s so much to see in Yosemite, but still, there were inspiring thoughts. Every here and there, I’d see a parallel to how things work in home and online businesses, and so I decided to share my thoughts. Obviously.
Get Started. Now.
One problem we had was getting going in the mornings. It has been years since my husband and I have gone camping, and we’d forgotten how long it can take to get things moving in the morning. My husband in particular was frustrated one morning when it took three hours from getting up to getting into the car for the day’s adventures. He had envisioned a much fuller day. It was just little things constantly getting in the way of getting the day started.
Other days we got up and got things going fairly quickly in camping terms. There’s only so fast you can heat water for oatmeal when you only have a camp stove, after all, then clean things up, getting everything back into the bear box. There’s no running off with things half done when you have to consider the local wildlife.
If procrastination is your problem, work on stopping it. Get things going, right now. Don’t let the wrong things get in your way. The sooner you take action, the sooner you’ll see the benefits. Make sure, however, that you don’t leave things half done.
It’s an Uphill Battle
This is a problem I’ve never had quite so bad when camping before. Our campsite was the least level I’ve ever seen. There was a small, flat area suitable for smaller tents, but for ours? Not a chance. We had to set up on a very definite slope. The kids ended up at the bottom of the tent each morning, and I had to inch up a couple of times on my mattress each night too. We called it the slowest slide in the world.
Night wasn’t the only time this was a problem. The fire ring was at the bottom of the slope, so the kids had to be really careful when walking around and playing, as it was all to easy to lose balance on that slope. We didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
Home business is generally an uphill battle too. If you keep working at it, you have a good chance at making it, but you have to work hard. Things aren’t just going to happen for you as a general rule.
Take the Time to Amaze People
Yosemite is simply amazing. The granite domes and the valley formed over millions of years, through ice ages and warm periods. It took that kind of time to create a place that is so awe inspiring.
While you don’t have that kind of time to create an amazing business, you should take the time to make whatever you offer great. Be ready to amaze your audience.
Long Hikes Are Worth It
You can see a lot of Yosemite from your car, the valley shuttles or ranger-led tram tours, but if you really want to see the best of it, you have to start walking. Some hikes are easy, under a half mile, but others are many miles and a lot of climbing. It’s rough at times, but if you want to see the best parts of Yosemite, you have to do it.
Running a home business means taking on the long term too. You can take it easy, just do as others do, offer what others offer, but if you want the best home business you can possibly make, you have to get in there and work on things other people don’t bother with. You don’t have to go completely off trail (in Yosemite that can be a really bad idea), but do the extra work to discover the true potential of your business.
Sometimes You Have to Sit Down and Take a Break
There’s one problem with hiking around all day. It’s exhausting, especially for the children. Keeping things fun sometimes means sitting down and taking a break.
Do the same for yourself. Don’t overdo your work on your home business. Take breaks throughout your day. You’ll be more productive overall if you do, within reason.
Have Patience For the Skills of Others
Camping with children along is difficult, especially when hiking. Our three year old was often too tired to keep walking, and we had to keep her abilities much in mind throughout our trip. We could carry her, but only so much.
Then there was rock climbing. Our oldest daughter was quite enthusiastic about the chance to climb Lembert Dome, a little too much so. My husband had to make her stop when she wanted to keep climbing a section that was beyond either of their abilities. She didn’t want to stop, but knowing what she’d be able to manage safely, he insisted they both go down.
In business, you always have to consider the ability of others, whether it’s the abilities of the people you hire to help you with your business, or the abilities of your customers with regards to your product. It’s not helpful to assume they know more than they’re likely to, especially if they expect you to be the expert. Keep things reasonable for your customers.
Beauty Can Come From Destruction
Yosemite has dealt with some serious natural disasters through the years, such as fire and flood. Awful as these things may appear, in the long run they can benefit the park. Fires clear away old plant material, making room for new trees and meadows to grow.
The big flood in 1997 also looked like a disaster at first. You may be able to see in the picture how deep the flood waters got.
But as the ranger noted during the tour we took, the park itself benefited from the flood. It loosened up a lot of ground that had been packed down through the years. It freshened up the sandy beaches along the rivers. Certainly it meant a lot of work for humans, repairing roads and buildings damaged by the flood, but the valley itself benefited.
Think about the rough times you’ve had with your home business, or the ones that may lie ahead. How will you or did you recover? The lessons are difficult, but your business may be improved by it.
There are hikes in Yosemite for all abilities. Some are short, simple and paved, so that even people restricted to a wheelchair can enjoy them. Others will challenge even dedicated hikers and climbers. You decide how much of a challenge you’re up for. Just remember that the best sights may take some extra effort to reach.
Challenge yourself with your home business too, if you want the best results. Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Try something new and see where it takes you.
Remember to Protect Yourself
One of the most basic precautions we took was to wear sunscreen and hats. I don’t want to think about how badly sunburned we all could have been if we skipped it while hiking Yosemite on bright, sunny, summer days. Sure there’s a lot of shade there, but there’s also a lot of places where you’re unprotected from the sun.
You also protect yourself from bears by taking the proper precautions with food and other scented items in camp. We were very careful to put everything that might possibly need to be kept from bears in our bear box. It was for our own benefit, even more than for the bears, after all.
You need to protect yourself with regard to your home business. Make sure you’re following all relevant laws. Make sure you get any necessary licensing and/or permits. Make your business the best you can, and deal with complaints and problems professionally.
Problems Can Hide Opportunities
One big problem they have at Yosemite this year is drought. There really wasn’t a lot of rain or snow this past winter, and it really shows, particularly in the waterfalls, which most years would still have been respectably sized at this time of year. Instead, most were no more than a trickle.
This was particularly clear at Yosemite Falls, usually a very impressive waterfall. From a distance, you could barely tell the rock was wet, never mind seeing that it was a waterfall. You really had to look to tell.
On the other hand, my husband and oldest daughter had a blast climbing through the rocks at its base to get up close. It turned out there was a pool of water at the base, something my husband had never seen before, despite his many visits to Yosemite through the years. What little waterfall there was fed into the pool, and it was gorgeous. The dryness allowed him to get closer to the falls than he’d normally consider, and to see something he never knew existed. He rather enjoyed the experience.
Treat problems in your business the same way. Sure, you may be having a dry period, poor sales, low traffic, whatever the problem may be, but it’s also an opportunity to learn something new. Just because you’re struggling for one reason doesn’t mean you won’t find a new way to make things work. You might discover something wonderful and new you can do for your business.
Look at Things in Different Ways
While waiting for the rest of the family to finish wandering around Lembert Dome, my tired three year old and I sat at a picnic table in the shade. She was bored, so I handed her the binoculars and showed her how to use them. Being three, she quickly became bored with looking at things at a distance, and decided to look at me. Naturally, she was disappointed that I didn’t appear clearly in the binoculars, being too close. So she did what any young child would do, and tried the other side.
“Mommy, I can see you now!” She was quite excited to discover that she could see me clearly by looking through the wrong end of the binoculars.
While it’s true enough that you don’t see nearly as much stuff at a distance when you use binoculars the wrong way, there’s nothing wrong with looking at things differently. When it comes to your home business, it’s probably even a good thing. Take a fresh look at what you’re doing. Try to see it from a different perspective, such as how website visitors will see it. You might learn a lot about your business or come up with new ideas to make it better.
It’s Not Always Your Fault When You Miss an Opportunity
We took a ton of photos in Yosemite. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been there or even anyone who knows a little about the place. While you don’t want to be so focused on your camera screen that you miss the chance to really enjoy the view.
But there was one photo we would have loved to get, and it was just impossible. Driving into the valley one morning, a tour bus took its sweet time passing us. It was early enough that we were really on the alert for wildlife, hoping for some good pictures.
Sure enough, just after the bus passed us, we realized there were three deer in the meadow, a perfect photo opportunity, if only we had been able to spot them before we were almost past, and no parking places near.
It’s like that in business too. Sometimes you become aware of an opportunity too late to take full advantage of it, or to do anything about it at all. Sometimes you just can’t take advantage of an opportunity for another reason, and it’s completely out of your control. Don’t focus on what you missed – just be ready for the next opportunity.
And yes, we got other pictures of deer. None quite as classic as the meadow one could have been, but still pretty decent.
Some People Don’t Care About Getting in the Way of Others
On our very last day in Yosemite, there was a bit of a traffic jam in the valley. We speculated about what was happening – an accident, maybe? Car broken down? Road work?
Nope. Some people had pulled off the side of the road as best they could, but were still blocking the right lane. Why? To take pictures. I didn’t quite catch what they were photographing, but I was still amazed at the thoughtlessness… and just a little pleased to remember the ranger-guided valley tour tram just a few cars behind us. Hopefully things got cleared up fast after that. I’d imagine that’s an easy ticket for the ranger to write.
You’ll see a lot of that in business. Plenty of people aren’t worried about how honestly they run their online business, so long as they get what they want. Sometimes they break a few too many rules and get caught at it, but in the meantime they’ve created a problem for those around them.
It’s a Long Road
Getting to Yosemite, getting just about anywhere in Yosemite… it’s a long drive. Yosemite National Park is huge, and especially if you want to see more than just the valley, you’re in for some long drives.
This is true of running a home business too. People are always looking for shortcuts, but shortcuts don’t always work, and have risks of their own. It’s often better to plan for the long road, and keep working hard on the things that will get you where you want to go. There are amazing sights along the way anyhow.