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Commerce badge brainstorming  RSS feed

 
gardener
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This thread is for brainstorming ideas for the commerce badges.

The key to this aspect of PEP is gaining the skills necessary to be able to do business.

Some pieces might be setting up residual income streams, bringing in income from the greater community, or bringing in income from the global community.

The things in this badge need to be practical. There needs to be something to show for it. With commerce that might be easier than with other badges, but maybe not always.

What are some tangible tasks that people can do to start on this path?

I think a very basic one to start with on the residual income stream route is writing a couple of blog posts somewhere. Maybe with a link to an affiliate product.

This can go 1000 different ways, but I would like to hear what you think some key tasks might be.
 
master steward
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possible sand badge:

   - develop a possible residual income stream that brings in at least $5 per year
          - must bring in at least $5 before this BB is complete

   - sell "goods" (something you made, grew or foraged) for a total of at least $20

   - sell your permaculture labor for at least $100

   - perform some sort of labor over the internet and get paid at least $100


possible straw badge:

  - spend a day helping a booth at a saturday market for pay
  - attempt to have your own booth at a saturday market or similar event
          o document the hours and dollars put in, the total dollars received and what your total dollars per hour is
                  -  compare that pay to the pay you received when you worked at a booth for pay
  - rent out a cabin

possible wood badge:

  - host an event with food you have grown and/or foraged
        - create a report on what you saved in food costs and what your event earned you
  - rent out several cabins by hosting an event
  - honor system farm stand


iron badge:

(need to go through my podcasts/presentations about "how to make the big bucks with permaculture")

  - sell food for more than $20 per pound
        (lots of discussion in the BB about how to pull this off:  selling high end food to resaturants, a magnificent farm-to-table meal, etc.)



Any other thoughts on filling out these badges?
 
pollinator
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I definitely respect your opinion where it comes to the potential for farmers' markets to suck.

At the same time, I recognise that there are places where they don't, and places where it's the single best place to get a leg-up on a marketplace for your goods. I have one glassblower friend who started a t-shirt business that he pushed by buying a table at a popular Saturday Farmers' Market at the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto, which is literally a short walk from what is considered the downtown core. They've done so well over the last two years that they are considering moving out of province with their family to pursue what they really want to do, which I suppose has less to do with the city and more with t-shirt printing, glassblowing, and family-raising.

Perhaps "finding an appropriate market" or "finding a better marketplace" would encompass your feeling for the possible straw badge and accomodate more saturday market-friendly circumstances.

I reserve the right to be wrong.

-CK
 
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I would like to see a skill/task based on creating a business plan/financial planning/basic  economics. This can range in complexity from scratched out numbers on a pad of paper to fully researched with quotes from suppliers and average price data. I do these all the time in my head, and rarely manage to make one that makes sense for me to pursue (the ones that are, I don't have the startup capital or existing resources  to do ... yet).  I see a lot of businesses fail mostly because they fail to account for how much they will need to sell to cover their costs plus make a profi, or neglect to consider adequate startup capital, or.. As someone who grew up helping in a small profitable family business, it always hurts to see people lose money despite hard work just because they didnt figure out their numbers well, and i think good business planning is an often neglected skill, and it would be good practice to get people thinking about these things.

Completely unresearched examples thrown in as an example of a potential business plan, numbers will definitely vary based on where you live. Reducing expenditures is nice, but the government no longer accepts livestock  for tax payments.  

Calculating how much money they require per year (ie... I need 15000 per year to pay my mortgage, insurance, taxes, and living expenses) - if your business doesn't cover this, how are you going to make the remainder?

Calculate expected revenue and max possible/probable revenue (ie...if I sell 100 chicks at $5 each, I will make $500, I can only sell a maximum of 500 chicks per year with my current setup, $2500)

Calculate startup costs, fixed and variable costs ( building a new coop for 20 chickens will cost $400, (one time), buying chickens will cost $200, i need $10 of chicken feed per month, an ad in the paper costs $50, etc)

How much time will this take? How much labour? ( fixed amount of hours in a day, can't do everything... would another possible business be a better use of time? Do I have enough time to devote to this business to make it work?

Calculate payback period /break even point ( neglecting feed costs, and a lot of other things, I will pay back initial cost of chickens and coop after I have sold ($600+other costs)/$5 = # of chicks - until this point I won't be making money. This will take about x amount of time)

How and when will  I interact with/be available to customers- (fixed times, time of year, by arrangement, etc. How much time will this take? )

Consider value added or additional opportunities. ( ie, I can also sell 12 eggs for $5, or sell hatching eggs, or fully grown chickens, or having baskets of produce for sale by the door when people show up, or a flyer of other things for sale, or.... )

What can be done to make numbers better?( Ie better marketing of virtues of your chicks to get higher sale price, reduce feed costs, etc.... )

Consider how profitability will change - what are costs in second year? Will market reach saturation? how much demand for this kind of chicks is there and what is the geographic area? Who are the customers? How vulnerable is this to someone else entering the market and becoming competition ? )

If I don't manage to break even, how long can I tolerate the loss for? ( i believe most businesses take 1 yr + to become profitable, and fail around 6 months)

There are a lot of good books/ blogs/government papers out there on how to do this, a lot with more complicated formulas , but this would be the minimum I would like to see for a business plan.
 
paul wheaton
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Chris, I updated my notes about saturday market stuff.  

I think in the BB, I hope to remember to add "Work hard and really try to make this all work out.  But the real takeaway from this is most like to be that over the next 20 years when 700 different people think you are awesome and suggest 'you should have a booth at the saturday market!' You can tell them this story.

The new wording is to give space for positive outcomes!
 
Chris Kott
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Awesome. And it fleshed out some of that BB too!

That definitely sounds more like you're suggesting that farmers' markets are a transitional step rather than suggesting they suck 100% of the time. I think that position is closer to my own, so obviously it's brilliant (note sarcasm).

Great idea, though. A good fit for the PEP program, I think.

-CK
 
paul wheaton
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Catie,

You bring up a lot of good stuff.  And I do think that while the other badges will feature pics of projects completed, this one is going to be a bit more of "tell us the numbers".  I would like to get a pic in for stuff other than numbers too.

While I think personal budget is something I prefer to stay out of, I do wonder if this badge should feature some evidence of frugality.  Or if we can introduce some ERE stuff, maybe some sort of journal that shows "improving luxury while lowering monthly expenses."   Not sure what that would look like.  

A lot of stuff here is tied to "the otis test".  And I do think some project budget stuff might be wise.  But there has to be some sort of photographic evidence of a real life project too.  

This is where the brainstorming part gets a little challenging.
 
paul wheaton
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Chris Kott wrote:Awesome. And it fleshed out some of that BB too!

That definitely sounds more like you're suggesting that farmers' markets are a transitional step rather than suggesting they suck 100% of the time. I think that position is closer to my own, so obviously it's brilliant (note sarcasm).

Great idea, though. A good fit for the PEP program, I think.

-CK



I was tempted to add something in there about CSA stuff, but that is way too much time to learn a lesson like that.  

At the same time, I think the farmer's market approach or the CSA approach could be viable paths to attempt for some folks - more because they just plain enjoy it!   So it is something they super enjoy and a few bucks come out of it too.


As a wood badge, there might be something where the command is:  Earn $5000 doing something that is very permie.   And at iron badge it might be a simple $30,000.  

Plus, I think each bade level should beef WAY up on passive income streams - that is the thing I wish to encourage the most.  


 
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I wonder if perhaps in the higher level badges the goals should be less about an exact dollar amount like $5000 or $30,000 and more about a percentage of your total income.  This would do two things.  First it wouldn't require you to have excess economic activity to meet the requirements.  For example, I'm hoping to get my required expenses down to $6000 a year for a bare bones retirement level.  I'm pretty sure I could live quite nicely on $12,000 for a more luxurious retirement.  Thus if I were earning $30,000 to meet the PEP requirement that is a lot more of the earth's resources being used to generate that extra economic activity.  On the other hand one would need more skill in commerce to generate that $30,000 figure so a percentage might not be an equal sort of measure.

Though a the second advantage of using a percentage system is that it would force people to track in at least some basic way their own flows of money.  I've found the tracking of my income and expenses is a huge boon in getting a handle on finances.

I suppose this is mixing the Early Retirement Extreme stuff with commerce which aren't necessarily the same.  Maybe this isn't the right spot to bring in the ERE stuff, but I do hope you include it somewhere as I personally feel it is WAY more important than commerce for both it's personal impact and environmental impact.
 
paul wheaton
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To get PEP4 certified ...

Requires 3 iron badges + 12 wood badges + 7 straw badges.  



So if somebody seeks gertitude and they seek PEP4 certification, they will probably seek a straw badge in commerce.   If somebody gets an iron badge in commerce, it does seem like they need to be able to bring in $100,000 in one calendar year with purely permaculture stuff.  

My guess is that PEP4 will require an iron badge in gardening and an iron badge in natural building.   The third iron badge will be the student's choice.   My guess is that that will be round wood woodworking or woodland care.  Maybe foraging or food prep/preservation.  Maybe a few do community.  And I'm looking forward to somebody getting an iron badge in oddball.  But my guess is that very few (possibly zero) people will pursue an iron badge in commerce.
 
pollinator
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How about sell X amount of produce "raw" you can sell it via online marketplaces, roadside stands, markets however suits. and then sell X amount of product "processed" show all costs and demonstrate a increase in profit, or a use of an unsaleable product. So an example would be sell 10 500g punnets of strawberries (my numbers obviously) @$3 each and then sell 10 jars of strawberry jam, at $4 each each jar containing 250g strawberries or strawberries which were not up to a saleable standard. You would need to show all costs, fuel, jars, sugar, punnets etc.

 
gardener
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Here is a thought...

Sand Badge

- Earn a minimum of $5,000 in one year through a mix of the following options (at least 2 different sources)
    - Affiliate income
    - Your own digital products
    - Your own physical products
    - Your own services/consulting
    - Selling your labor for a permaculture related tasks online or in person
    - Selling your produce (foraged or grown or raised or ...)
    - Rent out one or more structures

- 5% of your income is from passive income streams

Straw Badge

- Earn a minimum of $15,000 in one year through a mix of the following options (at least 3 different sources)
    - Affiliate income
    - Your own digital products
    - Your own physical products
    - Your own services/consulting
    - Selling your labor for a permaculture related tasks online or in person
    - Selling your produce (foraged or grown or raised or ...)
    - Rent out one or more structures

- Create your own website to sell your products direct (not through a 3rd party site)
    - Make at least 10% of your income through this site directly

- 10% of your income is from passive income streams

Wood Badge

- Earn a minimum of $45,000 in one year through a mix of the following options (at least 4 different sources)
    - Affiliate income
    - Your own digital products
    - Your own physical products
    - Your own services/consulting
    - Selling your labor for a permaculture related tasks online or in person
    - Selling your produce (foraged or grown or raised or ...)
    - Rent out one or more structures

- Expand your website and make at least 20% of your income through the site directly

- Engage with your local community through workshops, farmers markets, etc. to bring in at least 10% of your income through these sources.

- 15% of your income is from passive income streams

Iron Badge

- Earn a minimum of $100,000 in one year through a mix of the following options (at least 5 different sources)
    - Affiliate income
    - Your own digital products
    - Your own physical products
    - Your own services/consulting
    - Selling your labor for a permaculture related tasks online or in person
    - Selling your produce (foraged or grown or raised or ...)
    - Rent out one or more structures

- Expand your website and make at least 33% of your income through the site directly

- Engage with your local community through workshops, farmers markets, etc. to bring in at least 20% of your income through these sources.

- 20% of your income is from passive income streams

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I tired to keep this general enough that people could create a package of income streams that make sense for their specific situation while also requiring certain things like passive income, selling to your local community, etc. The part about having your own website is because if you rely too much on any one website and that website shuts down or changes the rules you can loose your income overnight.

The details of course could all change. Mainly I just wanted to suggest a bit of flexibility for someone to develop their own way of making money through a variety of means. My thought is that through this setup the focus would be more on someone proving they can make an income themselves. It seems to me that would be something that would impress Otis

What do you all think about this approach?
 
pollinator
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At some point, I think an important aspect of this is going to involve liability insurance and business entities (LLC/LP/Corporation/equivalents in other countries), esp. if one has land/assets and is doing business with the public, esp business involving food sales, heavy eauipment, rented structures, etc. Also learning how to minimize one’s tax burden. This can be relatively expensive and somewhat involved, but if I were Otis I would not like to leave the farm to someone who’s going to lose it because they are doing business as a sole proprietor and get sued, or as a general partner whose other partners obligated the business in some disastrous way, or something similar.
 
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Right now, Paul wants to concentrate on the Sand Badge level, so he can get the booklet ready for the Kickstarter.

Paul's suggestions for possible sand badge:

  1. develop a possible residual income stream that brings in at least $5 per year
         - must bring in at least $5 before this BB is complete

  2. sell "goods" (something you made, grew or foraged) for a total of at least $20

  3. sell your permaculture labor for at least $100

  4. perform some sort of labor over the internet and get paid at least $100


Can we build on this?

For #1, what about a list of ways to create a residual income stream - and you have to try a certain number of them? ("Try 100 things . . . ") Should it be a list that includes things that computer-challenged people can get involved in?

For #2, do the "goods" have to be permaculture related, or can they be anything you create? Arts and crafts?

I'll think on this some more, and see what I can come up with.





 
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Maybe selling products or services over different platforms could be at different levels, depending on how much you sell
 
Shawn Klassen-Koop
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Tracy Wandling wrote:For #2, do the "goods" have to be permaculture related, or can they be anything you create? Arts and crafts?



Something you made, grew, or foraged. Food, fiber, crafts, art, natural medicines, woodworking, etc.
 
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make a physical item and sell it on the internet

find an affiliate link and make money somehow

learn how not to be spam
 
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