Favorite Things, Procrastination and Finishing the Business Plan With Said "Favorite Things"

Writing a Business Plan, About Entrepreneurship and Getting Inspired, Starting and Growing a "Conscious Company"

Saline Valley, California in my favorite second-hand cashmere sweater

Saline Valley, California in my favorite second-hand cashmere sweater

Today I'm "finishing" The Healing Farm's business plan - or at least the first real version of it. And I'm procrastinating. Technically I'm waiting for Dannie to get back to me with her edited/finessed/proofread and formatted version for me to review. Then I plan on finishing any writing that still needs to be written (like maybe the whole executive summary if she decided it was too much for me to ask her to write based on my ramblings within the full business plan text). Despite the fact that I'm telling myself I can wait to get her edits back, I could be doing a final review of my financials, formatting the financial statements to work for printing and I'm sure a whole lot of other things that I'm going to freak out about later, but when I was in the shower this morning, which was one part of my carefully planned last day of writing, I was inspired to write in this blog. For several reasons. First, my carefully planned last day of writing was supposed to go like this:

After two divine days off from writing while Dannie works to make sense of my business plan ramblings and format into a legible and hopefully lovely read, I needed to prepare myself for the final push. My divine days off consisted of driving four hours round trip on Friday with a THF client and friend to see another THF client and friend who has been suffering with a major illness since the last retreat. We drove to the Sierra foothills and as I watched her sheep and lambs frolic around the rain dappled pond, I fantasized once again about The Healing Farm property being located in the Sierra Foothills. John Muir once called a property he worked on in the Sierra foothills "The most beautiful place on earth". Well, I don't know if that's exactly what he called it, but I'm trying to get to writing the business plan, so I'm not taking the time to look it up in "Meditations of John Muir" by Chris Highland (a book that was given to us by my in-laws on our wedding day in Yosemite Valley and that is kept by my beside for inspiration when it's most needed). Friday night I cooked a lovely healthy dinner and Brennan and I watched a movie.

Saturday morning was spent hiking with a dear friend with whom I connected at my very first business class in the UC Berkeley Extension program. We randomly paired up during an exercise in the first class and as I listened to her describe her desire to build a business around natural healing, I felt a serendipitous connection. She's a project manager and I hope someday will manage the construction of The Healing Farm, but in the meantime, we're both navigating the space between our dreams and our reality and trying to encourage each other along the way. She was kind enough to read the first draft of my almost complete business plan and wrote me an immediate email saying she was "speechless". This is a direct quote because I will never forget that someone was speechless by what I had written. It was some incredibly needed encouragement. I'm really not sure why on our hike, she mentioned my "Birthing a Business" blog, but she encouraged me to continue to write it which is probably why I was inspired this morning in the shower to open it up (after what I can't believe is over a year) and write. Maybe someday my Birthing a Business blog will miraculously finance The Healing Farm since it's highly unlikely it will be financed by my fantasized (and recently prayed for) winning of a multi-million dollar mega-million lottery jackpot.

Saturday afternoon I couldn't believe I had the energy to do a little cleaning around the house (maybe it had to to do with the two gigantic black iced teas I had at Chipoltle after the hike), but I knew that my carefully planned Sunday writing day would surely be thwarted if the toilet remained in its current state of growing mildew and the splatter on the ceiling of the kitchen leftover from a holiday dinner I cooked for my husband's family three weeks ago remained (my husband calls me "Hurricane Julie" when I cook and himself "FEMA" when he cleans up after me). So I put on headphones and tidied up the house, washed the sheets and heated up healthy leftovers for dinner preparing for the much anticipated and always planned (and fun) Saturday night party with my husband. Not much energy for dancing at last night's Saturday night party, but good music, a little edible and some other tools led to the inevitable mind-blowing sex which led to watching a documentary on our mind-blowing universe, which led to some deep and relaxed sleep. It's no wonder I feel like I'm on fire today with creative energy.

I should clarify that I NEVER work on Sundays (unless I photograph a Sunday wedding which is rare) and always try to take two days in a row off (which is another reason I gave myself Friday and Saturday off). Time off is incredibly important to me and while I was thinking about what I was going to write in this blog post while in the shower this morning, I realized I would likely NEVER be consistent with this blog, with The Healing Farm blog, with my Instagram account and with Facebook and I may never get to Twitter with hopes that maybe it will be on it's way out before I finally get to it and then I can just abandon it right away.

The reason I say this is because by now, I know myself and I know I don't want social media to take over my precious life. It's hard enough to be typing on a Sunday. I guess it's why I'm still struggling to get my dream of The Healing Farm off the ground. I don't want to work 15 hours a day six or seven days a week. Will that make it impossible to get this business to where I want it to go? Maybe. It's one of the reasons I'm inspired to write this blog: let's see if she can actually pull this off with nothing but a Fine Arts degree and almost no experience in property development, healing or the hospitality industries! It's also probably one of the reasons I pray to win the lottery. This dream is NOT going away. Sometimes I wish it would. Sometimes (as I frequently say) I just want to be the bartender on the Amtrak train (life would be a lot easier that way). It would make starting The Healing Farm so easy if I won the Mega-million lottery. Then I could just put my plan into action, right? But I know I need to build up the perseverance to make this dream a reality and not winning the lottery is probably better for me in the long run.

Of course that doesn't mean I'll still pray sometimes to win the big jackpot - or to find some dear Angel Investor who will help me realize my vision. Writing all this is risky, I know. Many may see red flags. She's a dreamer. She's delusional. She's not willing to do the real work. I don't know if that's so true, otherwise I would be on a hike right now or spending a dreamy winter afternoon in bed with my husband. BUT, as I mentioned before, this dream will not leave me alone. It seeps into every thought. Into every future plan. So I need to see where it goes and the business plan is my final Hail Mary pass. I want to spread my vision around. I want to send it to all those influential people who I've listed and bookmarked and dog-eared in my "Conscious Company" magazine and whom I presume are "better" than me because they run foundations or have two or three successful business behind them or have huge followings in their field of expertise (hospitality, general business or health and healing). I'm writing it to see if:

  • I can find a "sponsor" or "influencer" to back me either financially or through promotion (putting their stamp of approval on The Healing Farm property) to their followers
  • I can get advice on how to move forward
  • I can get a grant or a loan or financing or advice on the best course to get it financed (should I go the non-profit route since profit is not my main motivator?)
  • I can find someone who can help me refine the vision
  • I can find someone who has a gorgeous large property they want to lease or donate to house The Healing Farm
  • The Healing Farm business plan is a way for me to express my vision in any of it's future iterations to gain momentum for something I desire not just for myself, but for the future of healthcare. For healing for the masses. Not just the wealthy class. How can we build this property, it's franchises or pop-up retreats across the country and work to make it affordable to all?

So as I finish up this blog post, I'm looking forward to looking in my email to see if Dannie has gotten back to me. I've done my prep-work to make this writing day as pleasant as possible:

  • Read the Sunday New York Times in bed with really yummy strong black coffee (with a little coconut oil)
  • Had my two free range eggs over easy on sauteed bitter greens
  • Had my hot and inspirational shower
  • Wrote this blog post
  • Put on a favorite pair of underwear
  • Put on my other favorite things: leggings with a wide waistband so they don't crimp my middle-aged middle, thick cashmere sweater (bought second hand and worn to death - even in the far reaches of hippiedom - Saline Valley pictured above), smart wool socks and slippers and lip balm
  • And a sweet writer-husband that agreed he would spend the afternoon writing too so we can spend this Sunday afternoon together cozy in our Oakland living room typing away as we both try to realize our big dreams. He made me some of his organic earl grey loose-leaf tea which he uses to get a little buzzed to write his screen play.

Feel free to reach out if anyone actually reads this. Tell me if you want to read The Healing Farm business plan and be a part of this great "Birthing a Business" experiment. Don't expect me to write regularly or often, but do expect that I'll write when inspired. I will be transparent, vulnerable and frank about my dreams and struggles. Baring myself for all to see if I can actually pull off this audacious dream. It's not for me. It's not for my husband (although I think living on The Healing Farm would suit us both). It's for the future of healthcare and healing for the masses. It's a big dream and it may take a village - and it may never happen - but let's just see about that. 

If you want to read about why I started this blog, go to the Birthing a Business About page. And if you want to read about The Healing Farm concept, please go to The Healing Farm about page and thanks for reading! Stay tuned with this wild and wonderful and at times bumpy and really scary journey!





I Took Three Weeks Off - Irresponsible or a Much Needed Break?

From The Healing Farm blog.......

oak tree

I had a really tough fall in 2015 and against everything I want The Healing Farm to teach, I ended up working 6-7 days a week for about three-four months. As I try to transition my life and career and move closer to my 50th year and all the challenges one faces (especially women) during middle age, I got pretty overwhelmed. I'm very fortunate to have a huge support network of family and friends and managed for the most part to eat well and keep up with moderate exercise through it all. But I needed a huge break.

I went to Chicago to visit my family for the holidays and stayed almost two weeks. Was it the last time I would spend Christmas in my childhood home? It was definitely the last time for a cherished Christmas Eve extended family tradition which has been going on for well over 70 years. I wanted to be there for a good chunk of time not only to immerse myself in what may be the very tail end of being a daughter, but I wanted to spend long quality hours with my parents, siblings and extended family. I barely checked e-mail the entire time I was there, I didn't do one blog or instagram post and it was heaven. I read three books!

Then I came home and I couldn't get myself back to work, no matter how limited it was going to be the week of New Year's. I just couldn't. I'm fortunate enough to own my own business(es) and can take this kind of time off at this time of the year (it's the wedding slow season in CA!), but as I flew home and watched the woman next to me type away at her laptop the entire flight (as I drank wine and finished my fourth book), I wondered if I was being irresponsible. After all, I'm starting a new business. I should be posting all the time, completely on top of social media, etc, etc. But is that really what I want?

As I explore this new business and career path in 2016, I need to consider seriously what I want my next twenty + years of work to look like. Sometimes I think, to heck with it! I want to do something easy! I don't want to think about work all the time! Often, I half joke about wanting to be the bartender on the Amtrak train - only I'm not really joking! But sometimes I believe I can build The Healing Farm concept in which I build a culture at which employees can have a decent work-load with decent pay. At which people can job-share and take time off for long, much-needed breaks. I want to give that gift to future THF staff and I want to build a business at which my executive support team can truly support each other so that we can have that too. I don't think it's un-achievable. The Healing Farm should practice what it preaches. And when one comes back from a long true break, one should feel inspired, creative and ready for more!  So here's to 2016! It will be a telling year for me AND The Healing Farm concept. Who knows where I will be at the end of the year, but I will do my best to cultivate The Healing Farm concept, nurture it, and hope to watch it grow and thrive!