What Do I Want to Keep in This Garden?

When I was working on music in the Bay Area, I realized that being a musician wasn’t what I expected. There was a Facebook post on my feed from my fraternity brother saying that his roommate left early on a lease. I responded to his post, and at a blink of an eye, I was living in Hawaii.

Before living in Hawaii, I was always hesitant to trust people. I was conditioned to be cautious of others, which is the protocol for growing up in an urban environment. That perspective slowly withered away the longer I stayed in Hawaii. People were just genuinely nice without any sort of mixed incentive. This allowed me to open up more and inspired my new and not yet discovered business adventure.

This perspective has taught me a lot about the patience of letting your business practices grow. I took on a full-time job when I first moved here. It granted me a lot of tools to learn about business optimization, but then I was suddenly let go a few weeks before my wedding. The event was an abrupt and devastating hurdle to conquer. Even up to now, I still confront the complicated emotions associated with being let go from a job. I’ve learned how to separate feelings from experience and listen to my natural inclination to experience variety. It allowed me to build a new “garden” which would ultimately be the foundation for my business.

When visiting the Bay Area, my dad shared with me that he somehow grew a pineapple in San Jose, CA. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It didn’t grow as big as it could’ve in a different environment but it still grew. Photo Credit: D. Ramos

If we’re looking at the analogy of the garden, it takes a lot of work to prune things without letting weeds grow. I knew that my knowledge of business optimization was something valuable, so instead of interviewing for another company, I decided to offer my services directly to customers.

At the first phase of my business, I was prepping the soil and planting all of these seeds. I was networking with different companies and building relationships, and those connections led to my first customers. Being a business consultant is valuable to the community, but that, of course, will come with some challenges. I have always been good about talking to people, but that doesn’t always convert into customers. Problems don’t necessarily mean that you’ve been letting weeds take over. It helps you discern which elements work for you, and to make sure you’re taking care of the plants that are taking care of you.

My business is now growing to a point where I have to decide what I want to keep in this garden. It’s going to be hard work taking out all of the weeds and taking care of the plants that need my attention. What will always remain in my business is integrity and empathy. I’m proud to say I’ve integrated those two values from my upbringing. Everyone’s time deserves to be valued.

There was never a set of instructions on how to conduct a business. I now understand how business owners make decisions, but that journey took a lot of risks and a lot of trust. Those challenges are what helped me build this garden, and I’ve learned to engineer a garden where all of the plants in it get to share the sun.

Anyone Can Do Anything

Hanging out at my local barbershop, I decided to pick up this book. It’s amazing to learn Eiji Tsuburaya’s journey to be a special effects producer. If you think about it, it’s not like that vocation/job title existed until Godzilla became a reality on the movie screen.

One of my fraternity brothers, JP Listana, pointed out something really interesting. He told me, “Pre-Internet days I feel like despite the lack of technology, people back then were more creative and smart about utilizing what they have and there’s more of a drive. Now a days technology is so prevalent and embedded in our lives and society, it’s so easy for people to say, ‘oh I’ve seen that before’ not only once but 3-4 times because of the abundance of resources. Users feel drowned and confused.”

Think about it. It’s unbelievable the world we live in right now. We have all the tools available to us. It’s just a matter of making the wisest combinations to get things done. And when I say wise, I mean aligning together intention and technique. Anyone can do anything. Personally, I love creating systems and putting information in the right hands at the right time. I might not have experience in a specific industry but I learn quick and apply my experience in managing information. That’s where I can help people.

I like to think each person has a special skillset. Someone might be really, really good at drawing but not know how to sell/market his/her work. Someone might be really good at making connections with people but are terrible at drawing. Why not work together to build a product or a service?

Growing up in “be your own hustler” NorCal, trust is challenging to build. However, as I continue to take care of my roots being planted in Hawaii, I realized that there is a level of organic growth to create trust. On another level, respect is also something that has to be grown organically. At the end of the day anything is possible but it’s based on relationships and being part of a team that has synergy.

Have ideas that seem far fetched? What’s stopping you from manifesting those ideas? How will the world benefit from those ideas? Let’s talk story, holler @ me.