TCM: Spiders are Acupreneurs

From my backyard.

From my backyard.

I love how the morning sun hits a spider web just right - catching my attention. I always stop to look because, other than the fact they are stunning works of art, there’s a story each one tells.

Location, location, location

I’m sure you’ve seen spider webs in high-traffic areas - in the corners of barns or between two fence boards. This spider is sure to catch its share of flies. I’ve also seen spider webs located between a low-lying tree branch and some brush. This web is not a great location and won’t yield a good summer feast. There are also webs that are built in, perhaps, a too-high traffic area (read: human traffic areas). We’ve all been there: with that spider web on our face wondering if the spider is now somewhere in our hair as we frantically do a dance like a 2-year old with a full bladder.

Each scenario is reflected later in the season when we observe if the spider has stayed small or has grown to its full potential. When choosing a clinic location it’s important to find a place that is populated enough to allow open-minded folks to enter your practice. If we open a practice in a smaller populated area, it might be advantageous to offer a sliding-fee scale, or even travel between that clinic and one located in a larger city-centre. (If only spiders had cars. Or wings. Gah! - either sounds like a plot to a scary movie.)

Also, while I don’t believe in competition, I do believe in saturation. Too many spiders in the same place may cause a poor yield, or even worse, there might be a big, bad human that walks right through the web and all the work has to be restarted - often a little too late in the season.

Pace yourself

Really smart spiders seem to catch their prey, wrap them up and save some for later. I would think they are banking on some lean times ahead. This can be akin to continual grassroots marketing and financial planning. It’s important to get out in the community and continually give. Give what you have, give what you know, and give what you love. Perhaps some community acupuncture with a local instructor is up your alley.

Upon interviewing recent graduates, one of the top complaints about their schooling was the lack of business classes. Most graduates felt mal-prepared for becoming a small business owner. Perhaps this is or isn’t the function of an acupuncture school. Perhaps this is or isn’t the purpose of a business course at a community college. Regardless, there will always be ups and downs in business. Preparing for lean times is an essential part of running a clinic. January and September were always slow for me. For others, it was the summertime. Plan accordingly.

Sensitive to opportunity

How do spiders, who are likely sleeping in the morning sun, know that a fly has flown into their web? While spiders are vile and disgusting looking things under a microscope, they’re actually quite sensitive creatures. (I’ve had many a heart-to-heart with them.)

When their web shakes, even a little bit by a little fly, they are aware of the opportunity. As acupreneurs, we must stay open, creative, and sensitive to collaboration opportunities. As cliché as it may sound, when one door closes, there’s always a window to jump out of. (I think I got that right.*)

There are so many people out there who want to work with you, and help you, they just haven’t met you yet. Plus, it’s your (mobile / on-site / online / whatever) clinic and you can make it look like anything you want!

So the next time you see a spiderweb in the morning sun, perhaps glistening with the overnight dew, stop for a second to observe the life lessons in nature. And go ahead and tell that spider about all your troubles. They’re sensitive, you know.

*If you even feel like jumping out of a window, please send me a message and I’ll screw your head back on straight and strap a base-jumping parachute to your back at no charge. Nobody will be left behind!!!

Kenton Sefcik