by IVEY GASKIN BAKER
I have considered starting (and have started) multiple small businesses over the years. I had a health coaching business, I wrote a book that I nearly published, sold art on Etsy and published a podcast for a season. I’ve also drawn up business plans for a pork sandwich food truck, an auto repair business with a three-way give-back mission and that’s not everything. I have countless interests and not enough free time. Professionally, I’m a financial planner for a family owned business in Charlotte and my husband is a plastic surgeon in Charlotte and Huntersville. Both of our careers are highly technical and extremely regulated. They are not the kind of businesses where you can bring your kids to work. Oh, and we have three energetic, bright and curious sons (ages 8, 5 and 18 months).
I’m an 80s kid, and the last generation to grow up without social media until we were (almost) mature enough to handle it in college. Girls were mean, but it began at sleepovers and ended in the lunchroom. I played an instrument, one sport and worked a variety of jobs from age 12. I was always outside. I went to one of the best public schools in Charlotte where I took some academically hard classes mixed in with creative ones. I was a decent student and got into a great college without much fear of acceptance. College prepared me for a meaningful career in an industry where I feel a great sense of duty and purpose. My parents were involved in my life serving as a constant positive influence. I wasn’t anxious nor depressed, and life was not that stressful. This was the case for most of my classmates. Sadly, this is not the story of today’s typical teenager.
Every generation seems to have their challenges. Without getting into all of the statistics and “issues” that occasionally get me down, it’s a tough time to raise kids. I think about my three sons constantly. Sure, I’m thinking about the current (rather simple) issues they face daily but, more than anything, I’m thinking about who they are as human beings and projecting that out to adulthood. I’m thinking about every small interaction they have with adults and children or in their physical pursuits and academic coursework and how that might mold who they become. Because I’m a financial planner, trying to educate 20-somethings about why retirement planning is important, it’s just how I think. In a two-career household, we have little hands-on time with our sons. Those few waking hours we spend together are crucial.
It’s 2024 and I have a business that is actually happening, serving multiple purposes. It originates from a happy memory. In 2013, I was newly married to a medical student that had very little free time for me. I was raised by a green thumb mother and wanted to give gardening a try myself. So, I spent my summer in a 10 x 20-foot vegetable garden in a home we were renting. This garden both rewarded and humbled me. It required me to be accountable to something. It required research, patience and back-breaking hard work. My children are too young for a formal working arrangement outside the home, but they have endless energy and lessons to be learned.
Thanks to LKN Magazine, I’m inviting you along for the ride with me throughout the course of this year. I’ll share actual business details, how I intentionally engage my children and, ultimately, how our garden performs, all with a best financial principals undertone. I hope you enjoy and, further, I hope you engage with us and share your garden experiences as I share mine. Let’s get digging.