Why The Startup Garden?

Had an after-work front porch visit with a good friend Friday evening. She’s just begun to read Talking Story regularly, and “Why The Startup Garden?” was the question she asked me into our second brew. “Why does it figure so prominently into your Ho‘olaule‘a this month?”

My husband had been talking story with us, and he muttered “She had to ask,” under his breath before announcing it would be a good time to see if he could catch the early evening news, and escaped.

As I explained my why to D. it occurred to me that I should do so here on Talking Story too, and best before the book review I promised you tomorrow. After writing this blog for a year now I do assume we have my past history together, and I’ll err (by not giving you enough information) on the side of not wanting to sound repetitious or preachy. There are certain subjects I fully realize I have soap-box tendencies with, and having an entrepreneurial mindset is one of them.

Let’s see if I can make this to the point, short and sweet. You can bet this will be an exercise in self-editing ” lucky you to only see the finished product ” :-)

I believe that retirement is a thing of the past, a luxury that very few in our generation and those to follow will have (at least not by choice). There are two big reasons for this.

a) Most of us just won’t be able to afford it, and

b) Retirement insinuates “too old” for far too many small minds, and we fight it as too unfulfilling for us to actually enjoy.

If you are the exception to this, feel free to stop reading.

Therefore, I believe that every adult should be working to discover the answer to WHY they are on this planet, and HOW their life will be meaningful. As Guy Kawasaki asks, how they will “Make Meaning.” They need to work every single day at creating their future, and not becoming a victim of it.

In the Language of Work, that means they have to work on making themselves marketable, ensuring that they can provide others with added value no matter what age they are. This “added value” is something they have to be able to collect money for, either by paycheck from an employer, or by profit of their own venture.

As an aside to this, as a new entrepreneur myself, I am loving my rediscovery of Barter these days, and that’s fodder for a whole separate post another day. For one thing, there’s no GE tax on barter, a HUGE consideration in Hawaii. Recently Wayne wrote a great article on barter, and I encourage you to read it. Still, you’ve got to have the greenbacks too: Barter will never pay all your bills.

Hate it or not, this is a Fact of Life: We all get old. The older we get, the less inclined prospective employers are to hire us. Therefore, the alternative of having money “by profit” is no longer an option, it’s our only choice. Social Security? Forget it. IF you get any of it, let it be the icing on the cake: Buy extra Christmas presents for the grandkids with it.

So even if you love your employer and life in corporate anywhere, and you are now perfectly content to work for paycheck and not profit, you had best be working on creating that “added value” that people will be knocking on your door for, not caring in the least when they notice how old you’ve become. Your age will be the badge of knowledge, wisdom and experience. You will personify Been There, Done That, and Knows Best.

No coulda, shoulda, woulda’s — DID. Did well, and triumphed.

What would you prefer, old and out to pasture, or old and still a marketable commodity?

So, why The Startup Garden?

I believe that Tom Ehrenfeld has written an easy-to-read book (and too many people who need this book hate to read) which grows you into your own entrepreneurial mindset, helping you grow your point-of-view about your own future.  I believe everyone needs to read it so they will stop telling themselves that thinking like an entrepreneur is too hard, when it isn’t hard at all — it’s incredibly exciting and liberating.

IF you deliberately make the choice to work on your future today and every day, EVEN WHEN you are still working for someone else, which in fact, is the great low-risk way to do it, guess what will happen? When someone else decides the party is over for you in their organization, you’ll start addressing your invitations to the prospects you’ve identified as the best buyers-in-waiting for the brand called YOU.

You’ve enjoyed your life, you’ve learned a lot, and there will be no regrets, no looking back.

And by the way, you don’t need to have an earth-shattering, novel, BIG IDEA. If I go into that part of the equation again I will be repeating myself, so if you missed that part before, please read my August Ho‘ohana post.

Create your future, and make it the future you want. Don’t be a victim of circumstance and happenstance.

And I’ll give you the one quick answer to what this all has to do with Managing with Aloha. If being a manager is your calling, the world needs you, and I am your biggest fan: I want you to succeed, and I am committed to you. I wrote MWA as my gift to you, my answer to making meaning of my life.

My Book Review of The Startup Garden will be posted tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can start reading it for free :-) See below for excerpts.

Related Posts:

The Entrepreneurial Mindset
The Entrepreneurial Mindset: 8 Rules when you are “On-Again”
Our August Ho‘ohana is Ho‘olaule‘a; Celebration!

Tom Ehrenfeld and The Startup Garden.
Free excerpts to the Introduction and First Chapter of Tom’s book are here! 


  1. says

    Hi Rosa,
    I understand perfectly “why The Startup Garden” and couldn’t agree more with your reasons. You are right on.
    I can’t wait to read your review of the book! That’s next up.