Is it a hobby or a business?

Some things are harder than they look!

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  A few months ago I obviously had some kind of break with reality because I decided that I wanted to grow my own tomatoes.  This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to grow vegetables – and it won’t be my last.

My most recent descent into gardening madness began simply enough.  I purchased three tomato plants at a cost of approx. $4 a piece.  At the time, I had visions of a bountiful harvest of delicious tomatoes grown for a fraction of the cost of purchasing them at the local grocer.

Since I live in Florida, the soil which surrounds my home won’t grow grass so I figured it wouldn’t grow tomatoes either. That meant purchasing SEVERAL bags of potting soil at am average cost of $9 per bag.  Then I needed containers (whiskey barrel halves @ $30) in which the purchased soil and said tomatoes would live.   Oh – and since tomatoes need support, I purchased tomato cages (@ $4) and Mater Magic – the fertilizer which promised to increase my bountiful harvest exponentially for another $4.  The first trip total was roughly $165 – but that’s OK because I’m going to have a bountiful harvest of beautiful tomatoes.

That was then … a time of great expectations.  This is now – a time of great disillusionment.

It’s been about 4 months since that initial trip to the garden center.   You can imagine my HORROR when the tiny tomatoes (TINY – like cherry tomatoes but they’re not) were ripening full of holes with large rubbery patches.  This resulted in several trips to the garden center in search of answers and solutions.  Each trip has resulted in a well meaning employee selling me more stuff to solve my problems.  I estimate that each trip costs approximately $140 – $150 yet none of the “helpful” tips have proven to be helpful at all.  My tomatoes are still inedible and ugly to boot!

At this point, I’ve got about $700 invested in trying to grow these damned things – AND IT ISN’T EVEN MAY YET!!!

I’ve come to the conclusion that unless these tomato plants produce in excess of 700lbs of tomatoes – I would have been better off visiting the farmer’s market and buying pampered organic tomatoes hand painted by local artisans.

So what’s this got to do with social media and the web?  Well, a lot actually.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you have probably entered this realm in the same place I’m entering the world of gardening.   You’ve got your area of expertise – but the web isn’t that area.   When you’re in that position – you don’t know what you don’t know which means you don’t know enough to know where to start searching for answer.

You may have had the same experience I had – asking people who were supposedly “experts” for help and advice only to find that most if not all of that advice was rubbish, accomplishing little more than emptying your checking account.

I can laugh at my utter and complete failure at growing tomatoes in my backyard because it’s only a problem if/when the zombie apocalypse happens.  Until then, I can stumble along and “pay” as I play gardener and continue to purchase tomatoes grown successfully by experts.

However, if you’re a business owner – you probably don’t have the time, patience or resources to invest YEARS trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your web on the internet.

If you’re frustrated by your efforts at web marketing – contact me and let’s see if we can’t get your web site producing better results than I’m getting with my tomato plants.


  1. I kind of agree, but this is my dilemma. I was working a little bit in seo, then became a dog walker (following my passion with dogs). Now I am torn between my time of making my dog walking business grow by off line activities, and spending it online making my sites rank so I get calls. Sometimes its hard working out what business I am in, but until I make enough money to pay someone else to do seo, I am stuck with doing it myself!

  2. Love the tomato similiarity, it can definately feel that way sometimes when setting up websites. You spend so much money on different tools, wordpress themes, hosting etc but it takes a long time before you start seeing any kind of income

    Br Andy