• Thomson Dawson

Are you the hunter or the farmer?


As an entrepreneur, particularly at the beginning of your business success, it’s wise to ponder whether you will build your future being a hunter or a farmer.


For many entrepreneurs, their talent, skill or craft is the white hot center of why they’re in business–they love doing the “work”!  That’s what drives their energy and passion for success! That said– to sustain and grow a business, other skills and capabilities need to be present as well.


As an early stage business owner, there’s a fundamental decision you’ll need to make early in the game–will you work on your business or in it? Will you be a rugged individualist (hunt) on your own, or will you collaborate (farm) with others?


Thinking back on the early development in my creative business, I was convinced I had to know everything and do everything in my business. If I was going to be successful, I had to get the work, then do the work, then rinse and repeat. After all, I was a motivated self-starter out on the frontier of my new business. Early on, I valued control (hunting for today) over collaboration (farming for tomorrow).


I formed the narrow and limiting belief that I was the only reason I had clients. Everyone else in my organization was there to support me. I was out in front of everything. I was working very hard in my business taking anything that came my way.


Let that not be you!


In your business development, it would be wise to ponder whether you will build your future being a rugged individualist working hard in your business, or as collaborator free to work on your business.


Your decision has important ramifications for how you will build your business and what your future will look like.  If you’re a rugged individualist and you want to control the “creative output” of your business, then you’ll need to seek collaborators who will focus on the “input” side of the business– building new relationships, discovering new opportunity, providing more value, and developing future business with higher value clients.


Will you be the farmer or the hunter? Farmers favor co-operation and collaboration, hunters favor individual control. A farming business is based on planting and harvesting. A hunting business is killing and eating.


I was a hunter–very skilled at killing and survival. My horizon for survival was always immediate and in real time. I was in a constant hunt for projects and struggling to make enough money to sustain the business. As is the case with most hunters, I had more capacity than opportunity. As you can imagine, being responsible for delivering and transacting, I spent very little time in my business day planting seeds for the future.


The trouble with a hunting business is when the game is scarce, hunters will eat anything.


On the other hand, farmers, use the law of cause and effect to create their bigger future. They plant and then they sow. The mindset is on multiplying and abundance. Farmers work on their business. A farming business is a more valuable financial asset than a hunting business. When you stop hunting, there is no business.


The big decision hunters need to make. If you’re the rugged individualist-hunter type, focusing your creative energies working in your business–killing and eating the current opportunity–then you might want to consider making the big decision to collaborate with a farmer type who will plant the seeds of a more sustainable and profitable future.


To be sure, a successful business requires both farming and hunting skill if you are to have a continuous supply of opportunity that will exceed your capacity. When your opportunities exceed your capacity, two strategic things will happen– you’ll be more choosy about what clients you’ll take on, and you’ll command premium pricing.


From my experience it’s the farmer who enjoys more creative freedom and sustained prosperity. As best you can, develop the discipline to work on your business.  Farm, don’t hunt.


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