Who Do You Surround Yourself With?
I recently read two different stories about lemonade stands – that quintessential summertime business venture of kids everywhere – and they provided some interesting food (or drink?) for thought that’s relevant for yoga professionals.
I read about the first lemonade stand on Nextdoor.com, the private social network for my neighborhood. It was a parent writing to let people know that her two kids, age 4 and 6, were hosting their first lemonade stand in the park, and she invited people to support them. Specifically, she asked people to come out and either buy lemonade or tell the kids “good job!”
The second lemonade stand I read about was part of a profile in Entrepreneur magazine (my fave!) about 18-year-old drone entrepreneur George Matus. He had his first lemonade stand at age 10. While it went well, he quickly realized that it was a seasonal venture so he decided to sell hot chocolate in the winter. One day someone came to the stand and wanted to buy the entire inventory for his office. He paid Matus $60, put Matus and all of his hot chocolate in his van, and then drove child and hot chocolate to his office where he dispensed his beverage to the office staff.
I should mention that Matus was by himself – without his parents – and didn’t know this customer. Fortunately, the hot chocolate buyer was a friend of Matus’s father and he was returned home safely. But, Matus’s parents were so upset with his lack of common sense that he was grounded for two months.
Because I stumbled upon both of these stories in the span of one day, I figured there must be deeper lessons here, and my business coach brain started buzzing. What were the learnings from each experience? And how could they be applied to yoga professionals?
Here’s what I came up with:
It Takes Lemons to Make Lemonade
While I appreciate the parent who wanted her kids to have a winning first-time lemonade stand, it also occurred to me that she was over-managing the situation. By essentially trying to manufacture customers and “likes” for her kids, she was limiting their ability to problem solve and face some of the realities of entrepreneurship (and life). What do you do if customers don’t materialize? What if nobody likes the lemonade? What if you have no idea what you’re doing? These hardships are the lemons of which lemonade is made! A little bit of trial and error is imperative to building ingenuity and confidence.
I realize that this parent was probably not approaching the venture as a “junior entrepreneurship academy.” She simply wanted her kids to have fun. And in this regard, I applaud her. She was looking out for her kids to make sure they were safe and having a good time. Way to go, mom! But there are still some business lessons yoga professionals can take away from this…
When You’re Thrown to the Wolves, You Might Get Eaten
George Matus’s situation was the flip side of the Nextdoor.com kids. He was given free rein to deal with the trials and tribulations of the lemonade stand and quickly surmised that he needed a cold weather beverage in order to stay afloat. Good for him for his ability to seasonally pivot and transition the lemonade stand into a hot chocolate stand. This is no different than a yoga instructor who holds a “yoga in the park” series during the summer, and then transitions indoors for a “yoga for ski season” series in the fall. It makes sense for all us to think about how to have our yoga businesses flow with the seasons of our lives and environments.
Where Matus’s budding business went pear-shaped, though, was when he set himself up for potential stranger abduction. With complete lack of supervision, he made a really dumb mistake. Although it proved lucrative, it could have easily ended in tragedy.
And the Moral of the Story for Yoga Professionals is . . .
What is your takeaway from these two lemonade stand ventures? And how can you apply that to your own health and wellness business?
Coming from the perspective of being both a business coach and a yoga therapist, two things resonated most for me:
1) We – and our clients – have to be allowed to stumble, while still being surrounded by a safe container. My new mantra might be, ‘no lemons, no lemonade,’ meaning that we need to get really comfortable with things not turning out perfectly the first time. Or the second time, or maybe ever. This doesn’t mean we’ve failed, it just means we need to creatively adapt and MOVE ON. Don’t get stuck in the trap of dwelling on failures, or being so afraid to move out of a “safe” environment that you’re unwilling to try something new.
At the same time, we need a safe environment from which to launch. That firm foundation, coupled with clear boundaries, is what gives us the fortitude to try new things. We can all withstand a little disappointment, but that’s different than putting ourselves in our harm’s way.
2) Who we surround ourselves with matters! This is a big one, friends, and often overlooked. Who are your business buddies? Do you have people telling you “good job!” when you’ve actually earned it? Do you have trusted peers you can bounce around ideas with so they can help you identify blind spots?
So many of us work in a vacuum, don’t get the sound advice and encouragement we need, or simply feel isolated as yoga professionals. I’m a huge believer in harnessing the collective brain power and enthusiasm of like-minded colleagues (and if this appeals to you, too, you should check out my Mastermind Groups). I’ve made the mistake in the past of wanting to do everything myself because I thought it would be faster and easier (I’m actually laughing at my lunacy as I write this!), and nothing could be further from the truth. We all need to be selective and intentional in creating our business tribe. But more than anything, we need to actually HAVE a “business tribe.”
Leave a comment:
Do you have a business tribe? Whether you do or don’t, please share your thoughts on how your business buddies have helped you – or could help you if you had them! And feel free to share any lessons you’ve learned from having a lemonade stand 😊