Things I learned my first week in business

So it turns out when you accidentally start a business there are quite a few things you have to learn really quickly.  Here are a few tidbits I picked up this week:

Important Acronyms to know: 

FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number)

LLC (Limited Liability Company)

JSN (Just say no…especially important when people ask you to do something you REALLY don’t know how to do-like remove a tree)

TAGQ (Pronounced tah-gque, “That’s a good question”….turns out there are quite a few of these coming my way)

Live & Learn

Don’t apply for your Federal EIN number before your LLC paperwork confirmation comes back.  Because maybe the name you wanted is taken (it turns out checking domain names and the federal EIN site isn’t the same thing as checking in with the State Comptroller.  Who doesn’t buy their domain name when they file their business paperwork!?) and then you have to file a bunch more paperwork to make your EIN Number match your LLC name.

Applying for insurance when your previous experience is a volunteer apprenticeship and the person you worked with is now deceased (but lives on in everything you put in the ground) presents an interesting series of hoops to jump through.  Additionally, submitting a resume, payroll estimates and gross revenue estimates is challenging when you’ve been in business for 2.5 weeks.  But having insurance to bring in jobs and earn that revenue seems like the responsible way to operate.  So much for the advice in $100 Startup to just try something out and see if it works, write the business plan later.

Sometimes things work out and fall into place.  Sometimes they don’t.  Ritchie and I have been trying to figure out a way to create a revenue stream that we could use for humanitarian endeavors.  We’ve sorted through and planned a few different things now but kept hitting roadblocks.  Then this opportunity just kind of opened up and I feel hopeful and confident that Esteban, our newly-sponsored high school student training to be an Agricultural Technician will give this whole endeavor added meaning, motivation and success.   It’s a blessing to use our freedom, gifts, experiences, time and opportunities to empower others.  Until next time, happy landscaping!


Reverse Migration

Learning about backstrap weaving in the village of Nuevo San Idelfonso.


This NYT lens piece resonated with me.  During our trip to Guatemala last year we frequently heard the words  “Mi esposo se fue” or “My husband went.”  When you see the poverty, the extreme living conditions, you understand.  The reason we went to Guatemala was to empower people and improve conditions there so that the need to immigrate would be less.  We wanted to share the goodness, the strength and the hope that America can offer in a place that could use some support.  We wanted to strengthen and support the already beautiful Guatemalan culture and people so that both could flourish more fully and bless all of us with their strength.   We chose Guatemala because my husband Ritchie has a background there from his two year church mission and we love the people and culture.  We didn’t do it from a place of superiority but from a place of gratitude.  We thought  “We are presently recipients of freedom, beauty, and opportunity and if any of it could be useful to you we will happily share it.”  If we all did this, even in just small ways, the world would be such a different place.

Take action: 

1) Identify a country where you could make a difference.   It could be a place you dream of visiting, a place you have experience with or a place you’re curious about.  We chose one that was easy to get to from our home here in Texas.  Ultimately it’s the land and the people you are connecting with.

2) Do a google search for a person or organization doing empowering work in that place and join their Facebook page or email list.  It could be a local from the country you’re interested in or a globally-minded person in your country.  Once you begin to understand what they do, brainstorm skills you have that could be useful to the organization.  Offer those skills and a bit of your time and let me know what happens.