Six months and exhausted

By Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
GardenComm President

Six months. Working sporadically. Seasonally. Some days not at all. Yet, I’m exhausted. Exhausted.

I don’t know what to do next. I don’t want to do anything and I want to do everything…run the sweeper, change the sheets on the bed, pick up the papers on the floor, deep clean the kitchen, take a shower, do the laundry, fold the laundry, work on GardenComm business, write blogs and next month’s newsletter, return calls and emails, water the plants, mow the lawn, deadhead the plants, walk the dog, make a list so I can cross things off.

I try to accomplish at least one task each day and congratulate myself on the effort. It might be wash a load of clothes. Tomorrow I’ll move the load to the dryer. Some days I might complete two tasks. That’s a good day.

Another good day recently was when my sisters (the twins) and I had a delicious confab in my front yard. The weather was perfect and my sisters brought carryout from our favorite Mexican restaurant. I’m so grateful for them. It was a wonderful relief to be with people, even if 6 feet apart.

Learning stuff

Like a lot of people during this time of pandemic, I’ve been trying to figure out how to earn money. I need to refresh my website to let more people know that I’m available for Zoom programs and that I have some new ones. If it weren’t for Zoom, I would not have had contact with friends, family and colleagues. I’ve been meeting garden coaching clients, but it’s outdoors, we all wear masks and stay socially distant.

So what do we do? We think of new opportunities. These energize us, get us focused and moving forward. 

I’m researching a quick-and-dirty winter arrangement plan…one, maybe two styles pre-arranged, delivered, something people could plop into an existing container or use as is. I had some success doing this with pots of spring edibles, but I had too many SKUs. 

I’m also exploring and hope to develop soon a membership group. I’m working with Katie Elzer-Peters and The Garden of Words team to get the infrastructure set up, marketing ideas and other advice. One of my sisters will help with some of the administrative tasks. I have Noelle Johnson to thank for her GardenComm webinar this summer about this very initiative.

What I wrestle with is: Will people pay a fee to get access to me to answer their gardening questions? To get my insight? They sure as heck don’t mind emailing me all the time, or asking on social media.

My plan is to offer a weekly member benefit. It might be a downloadable tip, plant of the month care sheet, an hour-long, live Facebook meeting w/the group to talk about gardening, answer questions, have occasional guest experts (such as for houseplants, succulents). Wondering if number of questions should be limited.

Professional development

And then there’s GardenComm. So many challenges for our group, especially financial. Just like with us self-employed folks, cash flow is king. That’s why our webinars are so important for us in two ways. 

  • They keep our mind sharp, help us stay in touch with what’s going on in the biz, teach us ways to improve our revenues and provide an opportunity to be with our GardenComm friends and colleagues.
  • They build GardenComm’s reputation as a solid source of professional programming that is meaningful, helpful and many times, invigorating and inspiring, just like our in-person conference sessions are. 

So, please consider sharing webinar info among your colleagues and various social media groups you are involved with. Feel free to forward any ideas for programming.

Regional or Connect Meetings are another important way to stay connected. These meetings also have gone virtual, with several members in some regions Zooming once a month at a regularly scheduled day and time. Don’t mean to sound preachy, but our experiences with GardenComm are better when we’re involved and participate.

Finally, I folded and put away three loads of laundry yesterday. Today, I finished this blog, had a GardenComm Executive Committee meeting and met with a coaching client. Two good days in a row. Stay well and safe.

Author: GardenComm

GardenComm, formerly known as GWA: the Association for Garden Communicators, provides leadership and opportunities for education, recognition, career development and a forum for diverse interactions for professionals in the field of gardening communication. GardenComm members includes book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GardenComm members.

3 thoughts on “Six months and exhausted”

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences of this crazy year, Jo Ellen. I have found, like you, that this year has been difficult, which has caused me to have to pivot and adapt my business. I’ve really enjoyed the webinars and am looking forward to the new ones coming up. Another benefit of virtual connections is that I find myself interacting much more with fellow GardenComm members via Zoom and am enjoying it so much!

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  2. Gosh… I think we’re all experiencing some sort of depression as the uncertainty continues to loom. Thankfully, there’s always something to tend to in my garden and just being out there, in the sunshine, always lifts my spirits and helps me to forget about the news, the weather, and the unrest around us. We will get past this time.

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