Entrepreneurs: The Outdoors Might Be Your Best Teacher

By Camille Johnson of Bereaver.com

There are few things more relaxing than spending time in the open air. Being outside, whether you are hiking, biking, camping, or gardening, is great for your health and can improve your mental well-being. Surprisingly, your time in nature can also teach you a lot about yourself and the world so that you can be a better entrepreneur, whether you’ve been in business for many years or are just getting started. Today, StaceyNaito.com covers a few of these lessons and offers insight on how to get the most out of your outside excursions.

Planning Ahead

Before you set out for an adventure, get your business prepared to run without you. Tips here include:

  • Hire the right staff. If you’re just planning a night or two over the weekend, you can probably skip this step. However, to get the most out of your time, you’ll want to be immersed in a natural environment for at least a week. Find the right staff to keep your business running even when you are unavailable. This begins by determining what functions need to be filled and thoroughly reviewing applicants. While most experts will recommend choosing only the most qualified applicant, don’t count out those eager to learn your industry.
  • Streamline your invoicing processes. Don’t leave town without making sure that you can send invoices and get paid on time. If you have not already, invest in a cloud-based invoicing tool that lets you send bills from anywhere. This is helpful if you do not yet trust your employees with sensitive information, such as customer credit card numbers. If you have recurrent invoices, look for software that will let you schedule your billing ahead of time and will also ping you when payments are made. Utilizing cloud technology also allows you to stay involved as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Make sure you’re available at least some of the time. Speaking of staying involved, set aside a couple of hours each day to field questions or handle tasks that your employees cannot. For this, you want to make sure to pack your laptop (Quantum Technologies recommends traveling with a locked case), a Wi-Fi hotspot, and an additional battery backup as you may not be able to charge your phone or devices.

You’ll also need to prioritize safety, especially if you’ve never been much of an outdoorsman before. Things you can do to keep yourself and your travel party safe are:

  • Let someone else know where you are going. Even if you’re planning to travel with a group, let somebody know where you are and when you are expected back.
  • Pack appropriately. While you do need to pack some of your professional essentials, make sure that you have room for all of the equipment you’ll need to stay safe and healthy while you travel. If you’re camping, for example, REI suggests making sure that you have a tent, pillows, sleeping pads, and a camp table if no picnic facilities are available. Further, pay close attention to the weather and dress in layers if significant temperature spikes are expected.
  • Know your destination. Even if you already know where you are going, spend some time really getting to know the area before you go. While this isn’t so important if you plan to stay close to home, when you’re traveling outside of your comfort zone, you’ll want to know everything from the location of the local police station to exit routes on your hiking excursion if you need to turn back.

What The Outdoors Can Do For You

Now that you are prepared to go, it’s time to take a look at the benefits of being outdoors. Obviously, it’s great exercise and a fun way to vacation. But, spending time in nature can also equip you to be a better business owner by teaching:

  • Patience. If you’ve ever talked to a child that went to summer camp, you know that a nature-centric experience can teach patience as these kids have to learn how to wait for the bathroom or to help with younger peers. As an adult, you will learn patience by having to wait out the weather, wildlife, or slower members of your party.
  • Team-building. There are plenty of outdoor team-building activities that can help you be a better boss and team player. Activities like swimming relays, target practice, and sailing are great ways to get your team to learn how to work together more effectively. Two other significant benefits of team building outdoors are learning to identify stronger potential leaders and establishing trust between your employees.
  • Preparedness. Anytime you’re outdoors, you have to be prepared for everything from rain to wild animals. As such, your adventures can also teach you how to prepare for all situations and to adapt if you’re not prepared. Things, like knowing which medical supplies to pack or having an additional set of oars available if you’re kayaking, might seem like insignificant touches, but if you need them, they can be lifesavers. You can apply the same set of principles at the office by having a plan in place in case an employee leaves, a vendor is late, or a high-value customer pulls their business.
  • Conservation. When you first step out into the big wide world, it’s easy to believe that the resources you see are infinite. They are not, and it is up to us to preserve the world around us for future generations. Air, soil, and water pollution, all of which are the direct result of human activity, take a toll on the natural world. As you get deeper into your adventures, you may notice things that you did not before, such as plastic bottles along the lake shore or animals looking for a home as deforestation drives them out of their natural environment. This can help you be a more responsible business owner by reminding you to preserve what you have and to be less wasteful every day.
  • Your own backyard. You don’t have to travel to take in the outdoors – just look out the window of your home. Consider creating an outdoor getaway in your own backyard. Remove tired landscaping and dead trees, install a deck or patio if you don’t already have one, and make a paradise of your very own. Some projects are best left to the pros, however, so bring them on to get the job done right. For instance, removal of a tree stump is no easy task, so go online and search service directories to find local contractors. The typical cost for such work ranges from $170 to $522, a worthy investment for hiring a company with the right equipment and experience.

There are many benefits of being outside, whether you’re planting a garden, spending a month-long sabbatical hiking the Appalachian Trail, or enjoying a week-long camping vacation. But, don’t forget to pay attention to the lessons that you learn that can help you as a business owner. You also want to make sure that you plan ahead by hiring the right staff and making sure that you can continue to get paid so that you can enjoy and make the most of your time outdoors.

Image via Unsplash


Dr. Stacey Naito of StaceyNaito.com offers customized meal plans, exercise regimens, and natural hormone balance to people who don’t want to compete but just want to lose weight, gain weight, or get toned. Contact Stacey today for more info!

Hug A Plant…It’s The Cool Thing To Do

One of the hottest trends over the past few years, which definitely intensified this year as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, has been the heightened interest in indoor houseplants and home gardens. There is something about being forced to stay indoors that makes the idea of nurturing different types of flora very appealing.

Before I dive into this topic, I will admit that I have fallen headfirst into the plant obsession trend, and though it has made my wallet leaner than I would have liked, I have gotten immense enjoyment out of nurturing the close to 50 indoor plants and 36 outdoor potted plants (this number doesn’t include the soil-filled lot in my side yard which probably holds about 30 succulents) which are now in my home.  Never mind that I had SIX indoor plants and about half the number of outdoor potted plants before lockdown began.

Curious about which plants are the hottest right now?  Here’s one article which has a pretty interesting list:

16 Trendy Indoor Plants for 2020

Out of the list of 16 trendy indoor plants featured on the above link, I only own 4 of them:

  • Money tree
  • Raven ZZ
  • Split leaf philodendron
  • Monstera deliciosa 

As for the other plant species listed in the article, there are numerous reasons why I don’t currently own them.  Some plants simply don’t appeal to me, such as snake plants (though I used to have several Sansevierias in my home years ago), cacti, zebrinas, ceropegias, and maranta.  I am hesitant to get any type of palm because my home environment is simply not humid enough for palms to flourish.  As striking as alocasias are, I try to avoid plants which are toxic to cats, and since this entire genus is known for being toxic to pets, I’m steering clear of them. Stephania erecta caudex is just plain WEIRD and I have zero desire for one.  Peperomias are a bit temperamental, so I will just stick with the Peperomia species I have (scandens, caperata “Rosso”, obtusifolia).

I actually have a Euphorbia, but it is not inside my house.  It sits on my balcony along with several jade plants, dracaena, aloe vera, and assorted other succulents.  As for the White knight philodendron and the Hoya imperialis, well, let’s just say that I am not willing to hunt all over the internet to find either plant, only to spend exorbitant sums of cash on plants which really aren’t that special.

Some plants are so ridiculously rare and expensive that I just had to share them here.  The first description is of rare Albo Monstera variegated CUTTINGS (not even a live plant!).  The Etsy listing is no longer available, because someone actually purchased it.

Rare Albo Monstera variegated gorgeous multi leaf cuttings US seller

$475.00

Only 1 available

Thaumatophyllum (previously Philodendron) stenobolum VERY RARE Hard to FIND

$850.00

Only 1 available

At first I thought the listing  for the Thaumatophyllum stenobolum might have been for the gigantic plant the guy is holding in the featured image, but alas, no.  It looks like the plant the lucky buyer would get comes in a 6 inch nursery pot.  All for $850, with free shipping, thank goodness.

Finally, here is the most expensive plant I found:

Variegated Adansonii Plant Monstera Adansonii Albo Half Moon – Rare + Free Shipping

$5,500.00

I have a Monstera adansonii in an 8 inch pot which is not variegated, which I purchased for $15 at a local nursery.  Who in the world would want to pay such a ridiculous amount of money on a plant?

If you are interested in reasonably priced and popular houseplants which are easy to maintain, here are some of my personal recommendations.

Pachira: I have one which I purchased in April, and it has more than doubled in size since then.  Feng Shui practitioners state that these plants, also known as money plants, bring good luck and good fortune to their owners.

Pothos: Some varieties now fall under the Epipremnum genus, while others fall under Scindapsus, but if you look for the characteristic thick green, heart-shaped leaves, chances are you will easily find Epipremnum aureum, which is found in just about every nursery and big box store.  They are very easy to care for and will survive different light and watering conditions.

ZZ plant:  If you want a truly indestructible plant which actually PREFERS to be dry, then get a ZZ plant.  Zamioculcas zamiifolia features beautiful, glossy, dark green leaves and thick stems which sprout from a very unique root system.  The roots are rhizomes, bulbs which are designed to hold water.  I purchased several back in late April, two regular ZZ’s, and two ravens, which have glossy black leaves and are considered relatively rare.  The large ZZ plant which I purchased is in an 8-inch nursery pot, and the plant itself stood 11 inches in height when I brought it home.  The plant is now 24 inches tall, with tons of new growth!  The best thing is, I’ve watered it only ONCE since I bought it.  ZZ plants can tolerate low light conditions, and actually seem to prefer slightly lower light versus bright indirect light.

Hoyas:  Hoyas are my favorite plant genus now, partially because there are several hundred varieties, partially because they are relatively easy to care for, and partially because some of the species have attractive foliage.  Most Hoyas also produce very interesting, fragrant clusters of flowers.

 

Green Thumb

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 119619406
Copyright : sonjachnyj

 

Like many others who have been sequestered at home for the last few months and have gained a  new appreciation for the homestead, I found myself gravitating towards cultivating plant species which I had never grown before.  At first, I thought it would be nice to add a collection of vegetables, fruits and herbs to my side yard, so that is where I started.  I ended up with a small collection of edible plants which are a nice addition to the succulents I have out there.

Evidently, the side yard project wasn’t enough for me, and I slowly began adding numerous new houseplants into the interior of my home towards the end of May.  In the span of less than a month, my indoor plant collection grew from 6 to 35.

A view of my kitchen plants

 

I’ve had this Aglaonema commutatum “Silver Bay” for many years. I bought it in 2003!

 

Before you start thinking that I had suddenly taken on more than I could handle, I once had over 70 plants inside a 1,320 square foot cottage-style apartment back when I was in the midst of my medical training, as well as a whole patio full of outdoor plants, and rosebushes at my front door.  During that time, I proved to myself that I did indeed have a decent green thumb, and thought nothing of allowing my vining and creeping plants to encroach the walls of the place and assert their presence.  Entering my abode was like entering a lush jungle, and people would remark constantly on how many plants I managed to squeeze in that space.

My largest Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant, which threw out all this growth less than one month after I purchased it.

 

My Peperomia shelf…Peperomia scandens, Peperomia caperata rosso, Peperomia obtusifolia variegata

 

Now I am in a 1,632 square foot townhouse, with less than half the number of plants I once nurtured.  These days, I favor more hardy plants like Hoyas, Senecios, and Zamioculcas zamiifolia (aka ZZ plant) which won’t beg to be watered constantly.  Not that I plan to traipse all over the globe anytime soon, but 1) you never know, and 2) I don’t want the responsibility of taking care of petulant plant babies.

Lovely Hoya shepherdii in the master bath…

 

Hoya obovatas are so cool…I’m training this one on a loop…

 

Hoya pubicalyx…I loved this plant so much, I bought a second one!

To be honest, I cringe at the phrases “plant mom” and “plant dad”, but I can see how people would be compelled to fuss over plants in the same way they fuss over pets or children.  Whenever I see new growth on a plant, I get a bit giddy, and tend to monitor it to see how it is progressing.  I now also juggle a staggered watering schedule, which means that some plants are watered weekly, some every two weeks, a few every three weeks, and once every six weeks, my largest ZZ plant gets a drink.  However, other than watering and fertilizing, the needs of my plants don’t interfere with my normal daily life.  I also don’t worry about light needs, because I have intentionally chosen prime spots for the plants which require more sunlight.

The science nerd in me also enjoys learning all the nomenclature, which is no surprise coming from someone who memorized the longest word in the English language (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis) at the tender age of nine, and who was forced to learn about 15,000 terms while in medical school.  There is something about scientific language which absolutely thrills me and satisfies my constant thirst for learning.

Who has developed a new interest in gardening since the lockdown started?  I’d love to hear what other people have been drawn to plant-wise.