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Job dilema/need advice

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
As many of you know I have my own small business doing landscaping/garden maintenance for residential/commercial clients.

This is my 3rd year of doing this which started due to my office closing Sept 2005 and losing my job of 20 years.

My husband and I have 5+ acres of property which about 3 acres have a very large veg garden and 10 large garden beds and lots of landscaping around our house. I have been gardening extensively here since about 1990 or so. In the spring/early summer its was/is nothing to spend about 20 hrs a week on weeding/planting/moving plants around.

So I took my hobby into a profession.

The thing is I don't really want to do this as a "job" for pay any more.

I have several reasons; I have not been able to keep on my own gardens as early in the season I'm usually to tired/sore. My own gardens which used to be a pleasure to putter around in have become more a a chore so I'm stressing that tasks I have usually done my now haven't been started.

I used to have a plant sale but haven't the past couple of years-no time again.

We aren't expanding any more gardens but due to loss of some trees one garden still needs major renovation and now plants will have to be moved as we lost another tree.

I enjoy my customers and the hours and perks of the job which involves spending other peoples money buying plants but for some reason this year I keep thinking I wish I could be doing this in my yard instead.

Its not that I make lots of money doing this-for the hours I work (not close to 40 hours ) its extra money that is nice. But finding clients isn't a problem.

Back to the being tired. Right now due to lots of weeding my hands are stiff/tired/swollen. I'm glad its raining to give them a break. In fact I glad it rains so I don't have to work-but then I get behind. Perhaps if I started doing this years ago instead of at age 47 I may have a felt better about this.

My husband said last year you aren't netting lots of income after expenses is it worth doing this so I'm seriously thinking about stopping this after the gardening season is over.

I can find others to take over my maintenance jobs but feel like I'm letting my clients down (some have had other gardeners in the past).

Can I find another job in any field-I think so but thats not a concern at this time.

Can have have thoughts for everyone on this??
post #2 of 8
Gail, I understand exactly what you are saying. I like cooking but I know that if I were doing it as a "job", I would find it a difficult chore because I don't LOVE cooking. Enjoying a hobby and turning it into a business where you are expected to meet a set demand are 2 entirely different things.

Your love of gardening won't go away if you decide not to continue with this business. You'll have more time to do your own property and the joy will return.

If you do not need the money and the income doesn't equal or compare to the energy/time expended and you are not enjoying it any more, then let it go. Get your life back. As you say, you aren't a young chic anymore (you're not old either but you know what I mean).

I think some folks hold on too long because they don't want to admit "defeat". I don't see it that way at all. When something becomes more of a burden than a joy, I say let it go. We only live once and we should get as much joy as possible while we're making the journey.
post #3 of 8
I knew another landscaper who had the same problem.
I had a similar problem. I LOVED animals, and wanted to work with them. I LOVED my job...for the first 8 years or so. Then, on top of getting a new boss whom I can't stand because he's a lyar and manipulator, I started hating the sound of dogs barking, and cats shrieking. I started hating getting bit and scratched, pooped and peed on, (really, who ever does like that?) as well as non compliant owners, and all the sadness has also taken it's toll. I began being annoyed at night when I came home and my animals wanted attention. I worked with them all day, I didn't want to do anything with my own. Kinda like you and your gardens.
After 12 years doing what I LOVED, I'm done. I can't do it anymore. I still love animals, always will, and always will fight for their proper care, etc. They are still a passion, and will always be. But I do not want to work with them anymore.
Ever since I realized this, I have been thinking about switching careers. My mom would say "why don't you look into photography or landscaping, you love doing that?"
Those are two of my passions, and I have now resolved NEVER to use my passion as a career. I want those things to be my outlet, my joys AFTER working the job I don't love. Not saying you shouldn't like/love your job, I personally just wouldn't do my passion as my job anymore, so I have something to look forward to. I hope that helps a bit.
I just thought about the money part. If you want a regular old job that still revolves around gardening, why not work at a garden center, selling plants and giving advice? You are wonderful in that department, and I know this first hand. Plus, you might get a discount for your own plants!
post #4 of 8
I would definitely find someone else to take over my clients, take them around and introduce them, and explain to my clients that while I have enjoyed working on their yards, my health will no longer allow me to do so.
Maybe since you have so many plants now, find a few cheap, cute pots, tie a ribbon around them as a thank you, it's been nice gift.
post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by krazy kat2 View Post
Maybe since you have so many plants now, find a few cheap, cute pots, tie a ribbon around them as a thank you, it's been nice gift.
That's a great idea!
post #6 of 8
That's the problem with making a hobby a job; you eventually come to feel that it's work and you lose enjoyment in doing it for pleasure.

If you aren't happy doing the landscpaing as a job anymore, then don't do it. Just let your customers know now that you won't be doing this again next year. This will give them time to find someone else.

You have lots of experience with plants and such, perhaps get a job in a garden centre selling plants, or a flower shop. That way you can still have a life outside of work and tend to your own gardens as an enjoyable hobby again.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice so far everyone. I just need some reinforcement of my thoughts.

Nice idea on the thank you gifts for my maintenance clients I know they will appreciate the thought.
post #8 of 8
Gail I was in the same position you are a few years ago. I took my hobby for gardening and made a nice summer business out of it. After 6 years of it I had enough. Its hard work...And like you by the time I got home I was too darn pooped to tend to my gardens. I gave it up and am so glad that I did..
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