“I love the variety and the endless possibilities that creating your own business delivers.”
Linda Johannesson of The Growth Garden is no stranger to running a freelance business. In fact, for about 25 years Linda dabbled with freelancing in various industries. Yet it wasn’t until 2022, upon starting The Growth Garden that her passions, skills, and vision aligned to form the ideal business.
Now, The Growth Garden helps ambitious service businesses to achieve their big growth dreams. Linda and her team work closely with their clients to select the best strategic growth, branding, marketing and communications consulting and coaching services so that they receive sustainable results.
For Linda, joining the HerBusiness Network has been the next step in growing her business. And not only is she excited to learn from the wealth of resources, she’s also eager to network with all the amazing women who understand the entrepreneurial journey.
Outside of running her agency, Linda enjoys a full life filled with a diverse range of interests. Whether she is exploring wild nature, enjoying a night on the town, developing her passion for photography or walking along the waves on a beach, you can be sure to find Linda adding colour to her life.
Who’s your favourite entrepreneur and why?
Brene Brown. In her I see a woman who follows her head and her heart in equal measure. She is as authentic as they come and by following her passion and sharing her learnings with others, she has built a commercial empire that continues to grow and expand. She is driven by curiosity, is research driven, and then delivers her findings with deep empathy, intelligence, and humour. She is a savvy business woman, personable teacher, and engaging storyteller.
Why did you start your business and what gave you the idea?
I started dabbling with freelance businesses about 25 years ago. I would move back and forth between corporate gigs and freelance consulting. I was never unemployed as freelancing was always my answer to an uncertain market, or environmental change. This latest iteration of my business, The Growth Garden, “grew” (pardon the pun) out of a desire to have the freedom (and of course the responsibility) to craft a business that was on my terms. I had worked with some that were close, but beholden to another person’s vision was no longer for me. So, I started The Growth Garden to be the enterprise that I wanted to work for, offering the services I wanted to offer to those I wanted to work with, in the way and at the price, I thought offered value to both client and supplier.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
It is literally never the same day twice! I enjoy that there is not a small defined box that I must operate within. I am not slotted into one repetitive task or just focused on one key area of expertise. I can wear my Business Consultant hat, my Branding cap, my Strategist hat, and my Coach cap, and my Business Development hat all in the same day. And tomorrow I might wear them all again, but in a different order. I love the variety and the endless possibilities that creating your own business delivers.
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- Don’t let your business consume you. It’s so easily done. It can take over your whole life, especially if you really love what you do. But, it’s especially important to find a work life balance when you’re an entrepreneur. It’s important to set clear physical, financial, time, and emotional boundaries. It’s important to be your best you OUTSIDE of your business as well.
- You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!
- Continue your personal and professional development journey. Invest in yourself. Join networking groups, attend conferences, workshops, and embrace your ongoing education. Keep learning for the world keeps changing and it’s important that you fill your own cup with expanded knowledge. There’s an energy that comes from learning something new that is unlike anything else.
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
Do it. Try it. Embrace it. Throw everything at it you have. Even if you find out it’s not what you expect, or it’s not for you, you’ve learned so many invaluable lessons and those will continue to serve you throughout your lifetime.
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
Planning. Just as the old carpentry adage, “measure twice, cut once” makes sense, thinking through your goals, mapping out your strategies, planning out your campaigns and the resources you’ll need to implement them, BEFORE you do it can save you so much time, frustration, and money. Business/Marketing planning is my number one recommendation to get acquainted with quickly and use continually to ensure you’re growing as efficiently as possible.
Number two, is understanding your financials – especially your cash flow. I’ve seen too many otherwise fabulous businesses fail because the leader doesn’t comprehend the importance or implications of understanding their numbers.
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
My ideal business will have grown to generating sales of between $250- 500K, with profitability of over 60%. It will offer a comprehensive suite of growth focused services and will be known for being a growth agent. We will have created foundational automated processes that keep operations running smoothly and it will generate useful reporting that ensures we know what’s working well and what needs some attention.
It will most likely employ some administrative personnel to keep the day to day operations humming along. It will also have either by contract or alliance a growing collection of strategic smart minds who are growth experts and each will have a variety of expertise to bring to the client deliverables.
We will be serving clients here and in North America and clients will stay with us because they are seeing significant growth and see value in the guidance we provide. They are also referring others on a regular basis, so most of our business comes from referrals.
We have gained a strong reputation for offering great advice and getting measurable results. And we are proud to be a marketing agency that lives up to their promise.
My IDEAL business will also facilitate my IDEAL life. It will allow me to travel for two months of the year and it will give me the freedom and the opportunity to to fly across the Pacific and back when I need to.
My IDEAL business will also be one that supports various philanthropic initiatives, supporting charities with our services and donations whenever possible.
My IDEAL business will be one I am proud of and that invigorates me every day!
What problem does being a Member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
As many entrepreneurs know, this way of working can often be isolating. And, HBN offers such a wonderful opportunity to network, learn, grow and socialise with people who actually get this!
While I love my husband, friends and family, sometimes they just don’t understand the challenges of the entrepreneurial experience. But, HBN members get this. Boy do they get this. They get the challenges, the frustrations, the proud moments, the need for some new ideas or a, “you got this!” They get it all!
That is one of the main reasons I chose to join HBN. That and that there is a real focus on the business end of this. It’s not all mindset and manifestations, it’s actions, and proven processes, and technologies and good solid strategic business advice. That’s what is going to help us all grow our respective businesses!