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Business Owners... How can I make your life easier?

 
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Hey fellow permies,

I'm highly interested in starting a business and am just in the research phase of it all. If possible, I'd love to make said business revolve around homesteading and permaculture practices.

Now, I want my business to be focused on making your business easier for you to manage and possibly more profitable. Would you be willing to answer a few questions to see if I can help you out?

The questions are as follows:
  • Over the last year, what has been your most consistent problem in your business?
  • How do you solve this problem right now?
  • What happens if you don't solve that problem?
  • If you had a magic genie available to help, what would you wish for in order to solve the problem?
  • Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?


  • As I said, I'm just in the research phase but if your problem and my own assets align perhaps we can work together to create that dream solution you have.

    I'm very interested to see what you all have to say :)
     
    pollinator
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    1. Over the last year, what has been your most consistent problem in your business?
    2. How do you solve this problem right now?
    3. What happens if you don't solve that problem?
    4. If you had a magic genie available to help, what would you wish for in order to solve the problem?
    5. Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?





    1. My most consistent business problem is that I haven't chosen to start one, yet!  I feel like so much research is needed to explore the various legal and regulatory requirements at the federal, state, and local levels, even for farm and cottage industries.  There are so many laws and regulations about food production, environment, building codes, water, earthworks, health and sanitation, taxes, employer requirements, insurance, unemployment, licensing for various industries, grants and support groups, governmental inspections, and national program standards.  Sadly, I feel it's easier to mind my own 'business' than productively contribute to the world by starting a business.  God bless all you small business owners out there!  You make the modern world run!

    2. I've made a big outline (Google Doc) of different business ideas I'm considering.  Next I gradually either whittle business venture ideas away, based off SWOT, or I list all the questions I need to answer in order to start the respective revenue stream, from start to finish.  Simultaneously, I try to create living "SOPs" listing the fun, operational tasks and cottage industry knowhow, so that if I do start a business, I'll know where my time and effort will go to add value.

    3.  If I can't learn all the regulations and laws and requirements, then sadly I just won't start a business.  I have no intentions on rebelling and circumventing the Department of Sadness.  Unless something is unconstitutional, immoral, or against my religion, I'm going to do my best to follow it as designed.

    4. I'd wish for a big, beautiful, comprehensive wiki here on Permies.com listing all the common hang-ups, requirements, regulations, links to laws, Q&A, etc. to answer all of my cottage industry and homesteading legal questions.

    5. Yes, but I'm not sure how much.  I think some kind of cottage industry Q&A "bounty" system would be neat.  Like if people could ask a specific legal or business question, and say how much the answer is worth.  And people could chip in to have the answer solved for everyone.  Unfortunately, every time I learn the answer to a business question, it sparks several other regulatory or business questions!  But some kind of fractal organized Q&A system would be neat.  Probably would need a lawyer to help with it though.  And someone to distill the complexity into charts and easy bite sized answers.
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    Those are some great ideas! I love the thought of the big, super helpful Permies thread.

    For larger businesses, a lawyer would definitely help. But when it comes to cottage industries, getting started can be fairly simple. Perhaps we can get something going for starting off small with a small cottage industry and then expand on that as time and resources come by!
     
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:Hey fellow permies,

    The questions are as follows:

  • Over the last year, what has been your most consistent problem in your business?
  • How do you solve this problem right now?
  • What happens if you don't solve that problem?
  • If you had a magic genie available to help, what would you wish for in order to solve the problem?
  • Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?



  • 1 - promotion has been a huge hang up for me.  I do not like social media, and don't have a phone, so can't even access some forms of social media (instagram).  This is a bit of an issue for a business based on visual art (surface pattern design).  I am open to paid advertising, but don't know enough about it to know if I'd get a decent return on investment.  A sub-issue with promotion is finding companies interested in licensing my work, which is a lot of research time I would rather spend in creating new work.  

    2 - I solve it by ignoring it.  My little business is secondary to my day job, family, garden, orchard, and livestock.  I create new art when I have time, and rarely promote it at all.

    3 - Nothing really bad happens.  I earn less money, which is not tragic at the moment; I still have the day job.  I would like to build the side thing into a more steady income stream, though.  

    4 - I would wish for an agent or a very knowledgeable virtual assistant who was good at social media and also knew a lot about paid advertising in the surface pattern design industry.  Maybe both.

    5 - Yes, it would be worth paying for, if they were effective, but I'm not sure how much.  I had an amazing VA who I paid $10/hour, but she moved on to other pursuits, and everyone I hired after her was not very effective or self-motivated, so they were not worth the investment.  Agents usually take a 30-50% cut of deals (which, if there are lots of deals, works out to A LOT more than $10/hour; depending on the art and the company it's licensed to, any one licensing deal can run to the thousands of dollars over time), and that would be worth it if they could get me sufficient work.  I have a very large portfolio of work, so in theory it could be worth plenty, if I could find the right person.

    What sort of business are you researching, Rebecca?
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    Jess Dee wrote:What sort of business are you researching, Rebecca?



    First off, thank you for answering my questions Jess! Is there a place I can check out your designs? Do you sell them on anything like spoonflower?

    I've been playing with the idea of running an online business for about 3.5 years now. For various reasons it has been a whole lot of research and not a lot of action thus far. I'm only in my 20s, so it's also been kind of a journey just finding out who I am and what I would like to do with my time on this Earth!

    I finally feel like I've settled into something I'm passionate about and could make a business of doing without hating the work I do (permaculture). Sometimes I kick myself for "wasting" 3.5 years just thinking and researching about it, but I think it was time well spent so I'm not working toward something that becomes more of a burden because I dread the work I do. I of course have learned a lot in that time as well.

    In the end, I think I'd love to do something like run online courses since I also have a passion for teaching. But I'm being realistic and realize that just because I create an online course doesn't mean it will be something people need. Hence, why I've asked the questions above. If I can find a way to use my interests, passions, and expertise to help solve other permie's problems, that would be perfect!

    Reality is, we'll be building our own home soon and that is a job in itself so my business prospects may have to wait another year or two. But I'm hoping to refine my image for my prospective business now so I know what to work towards. As of now, I'm planning on starting my online presence by writing about building our home and perhaps others things. No way to be successful with online courses with no online presence after all :)
     
    master steward
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    As someone who has owned several businesses, I feel the first approach would be to have a good lawyer, a good insurance agent, and then a good tax accountant. This is helpful to answer your questions.

    Though this is also related to the kind of business you want and if you want or need an LLC.

    Someone who is starting a soap business out of their home might get by with just the tax accountant. The state will want to collect sales tax so this is where the tax accountant can advise the business owner.

    Several people have a successful website business and maybe only need that tax accountant.

    Cities or counties also require business licences which is easy to research via the world wide web.

    Now to answer your specific question the most answers is that I didn't have any problem that I could not figure out the answer.

    As to

    5. Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?



    I would not be willing to pay for it because I have my lawyer, insurance agent and tax accountant to do that for me.
     
    Jess Dee
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:

    Jess Dee wrote:What sort of business are you researching, Rebecca?



    First off, thank you for answering my questions Jess! Is there a place I can check out your designs? Do you sell them on anything like spoonflower?

    I've been playing with the idea of running an online business for about 3.5 years now. For various reasons it has been a whole lot of research and not a lot of action thus far. I'm only in my 20s, so it's also been kind of a journey just finding out who I am and what I would like to do with my time on this Earth!

    I finally feel like I've settled into something I'm passionate about and could make a business of doing without hating the work I do (permaculture). Sometimes I kick myself for "wasting" 3.5 years just thinking and researching about it, but I think it was time well spent so I'm not working toward something that becomes more of a burden because I dread the work I do. I of course have learned a lot in that time as well.

    In the end, I think I'd love to do something like run online courses since I also have a passion for teaching. But I'm being realistic and realize that just because I create an online course doesn't mean it will be something people need. Hence, why I've asked the questions above. If I can find a way to use my interests, passions, and expertise to help solve other permie's problems, that would be perfect!

    Reality is, we'll be building our own home soon and that is a job in itself so my business prospects may have to wait another year or two. But I'm hoping to refine my image for my prospective business now so I know what to work towards. As of now, I'm planning on starting my online presence by writing about building our home and perhaps others things. No way to be successful with online courses with no online presence after all :)



    I'm in my 40's and still haven't figured out what I want to do if I grow up!  I have a stable but difficult day job that I don't love, but it pays the bills; then I have a bunch of irons in the fire - things I enjoy, some of which make a bit of money.  I sell patterns on a bunch of venues, including Spoonflower here and as digital designs (to use digitally or print out at home) on Etsy here  It's a fun sideline, and drawing and playing with patterns and colors is a way I can relax and wind down from my day job.  Running courses sounds like an interesting option.  Digital stuff gives you a lot of opportunity for residual income, which is nice.  I have some patterns that I made in 2015 or so that still sell, so the work I did six years ago is still paying off, which is kind of amazing when you think about it.  
     
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:

  • Over the last year, what has been your most consistent problem in your business?
  • How do you solve this problem right now?
  • What happens if you don't solve that problem?
  • If you had a magic genie available to help, what would you wish for in order to solve the problem?
  • Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?



  • Dear Rebecca,

    My "Permaculture" business is the Food Forest Card Game and, more recently, the Food Forest Garden Club (foodforestcardgame.com & foodforestgardenclub.org respectively). I think you are approaching this well for someone in your position.

    To answer your question, I should probably start with a little bit of backstory. When I started out, I had a goal of raising money for reforestation (which continues to be the main goal of the card game) but I didn't know how to do it. I toyed with many ideas but. ultimately, realized that if I didn't create something of value, locally, in an environmentally and socially responsible way, I wouldn't feel good selling it. It took a year from start to finish, but the product is a good one and has found a friendly, enthusiastic, Permaculture following.

    The garden club has been a more recent venture. Over the past year I realized that people were losing touch with other gardeners and might like an online club where they could meet (via Zoom), learn from each other, and swap seeds, plants, etc. This January I launched the Food Forest Garden Club. It's growing slowly but surely, supported by my YouTube channel, Instagram profile, and other social media outlets.

    To answer your questions directly:

    1. My most consistent problem has always been getting enough traffic to my websites and convincing the visitors to buy the card game or join the garden club - both of which I feel are a very good value. Paid advertising is expensive, and free advertising (like spreading the word in these forums or creating educational videos) is time consuming. I do both, regardless, but often find that the payback is barely worth the money or effort. Most years, I barely break even.

    2. How do I solve this problem right now? Like I said, I don't solve this problem very well. I generally don't make much of a profit, spending most of my profits on reforestation donations and advertising. There are lots of spammy ways of getting "free" advertising, which I try to avoid. I try to give lots of value every time I reply to a forum post or create a video. Sometimes I make a plug for my products and services, sometimes I don't. It just depends on the situation. While spreading the word about Permaculture solutions and reforestation was my first goal, making a living is also important, since I recently lost my day job. Without a living, I can't spread the word.

    3. What happens if I don't solve the problem? I will have to get another day job and will have less time to spend doing what I love - gardening and promoting Permaculture.

    4. What would I wish for? I would wish for more website traffic at an affordable price. There are lots of services that say they'll do this for me, but I have found that most of them are scams. They generate traffic alright but not sales. When I have tried this, my analytics will get all screwy for a few months with tons of "visitors" which are probably just web bots. My bounce rate goes way up, and my conversion rate drops like a stone. I have found that certain types of advertising pay for themselves, but there is little profit after the cost of the ads. My most cost-effective advertising is podcast appearances (permaculture podcast and permie kids) but I get tired of telling the same story over and over. I should probably pursue these opportunities more aggressively, but there are limited hours in the day to pursue them.

    5. It would be worth paying someone who would assist with my social media work and help me get more podcast interviews, but that person would need to be very media-savvy and Permaculture-savvy. Training them would be a chore, and trusting them would be difficult. Since I don't make much of a profit right now, I could only pay them based on commissions - perhaps at a rate of $4.00 per card game sold or $5 per new garden club member (above and beyond what I already expect to sell). I suspect it would be a below minimum wage job. ;)

    My advice to you would be to look at what you really like to do and find Permaculture-style ways to bring value to people with your talents. If you are looking to produce products, develop something scalable and with the possibility of repeat business. If you can't service 1000 customers as easily as 100 customers, it may not be a profitable idea. For me, the garden club is better than the card game for the simple reason that it is a residual income and is almost infinitely scalable. That's the benefit of a service over a physical product. That said, not all services are created equal. A service that pays you by the hour is only ever going to be as profitable as your hourly wage - plus a cut from whatever wage you pay your eventual employees. With physical products, you have to realize that your competition will not be burdened by environmental concerns or local production costs. They will blithely dump their sludge in a hole or pay slave labor in Indonesia to create products that are similar to your own. They will also copy you relentlessly if you are not careful - which is what a foreign company did to Paul Wheaton when they stole and reprinted his own card game without permission.

    Anyhow, I don't mean to be a downer at all. Just make sure you are doing something you enjoy before you commit to it. And Anne Miller is right. Get good legal advice, good accountancy advice, and the right kind of insurance for your business. Pay close attention to patent and copyright law, and be aware that people in other countries won't abide by the same rules, no matter how carefully you protect yourself. Small business is a challenge, but it is not an insurmountable one if you are willing to work like crazy for very little money. Loving what you do can make all the 16 hour days seem a lot easier. ;)

    Feel free to contact me through either of my websites if you have any questions. I am always happy to help when I have a free minute.

    Cheers,
    Karl
     
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    I don't currently have a business but I've owned several online businesses and am also looking at starting a permaculture course or marketing firm. I have been considering creating a platform for people in the regenerative agriculture niche host online courses without paying thousands of dollars for some 3rd party white label service.

    The two big problems I see people who want to make a living doing permaculture are the following: | (1) Buying Land (2) Online promotion  | A lot of farmers I know are not very tech savvy and there are a lot of people who want to be farmers that don't have land.

    I have a lot of online infrastructure:

    -The ability to create a course hosting site that generates custom certificates (for cheaper than a month of a white label service).
    -Automated process for creating mobile app versions of websites (that retain affiliate tracking data).
    -Experience in cryptocurrency/decentralized token ownership (think land shares or certificate validation).
    -Experience marketing & self publishing online & via social media.
    -Equipment & software to make animations, promotional material, apps etc..


    What I don't have is:

    -People to help
    -Much startup capital


    I'm also in my 20's and trying to figure out how I can contribute with all my tech skills. I might start a permaculture ministry with some local friends to promote permaculture to religious groups; but I'm also looking for way to diversify income streams and all the tech I've built over the years can definitely be used in multiple ventures.

    Does Permies.com have an app? Having an app where affiliate tracking doesn't break would probably help a lot of people here with sales. Top permaculture apps get around 100k downloads.
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    Jess,
    A really easy thing you can do to give your patterns more visibility online would be to put a link to your Spoonflower or Etsy shop in your signature on Permies, jut like Karl did for his card game :) Automatically you add on over a 100 locations where your link can be found (under each post you have ever made). I could see this being a benefit to posts you may have put in the textiles category. Anyone there making their own clothes may be interested! Granted, permies may tend to opt for cheaper thrift store fabric, but you never know.

    Karl,
    Nice to meet you! I remember the first time I stumbled upon your card game I was very enamored. Haven't purchased one yet because I doubt my family would play it with me... but one day the kiddo will grow up and maybe I can force her to play with me! muahaha.
    That may be a beneficial piece of information for you: a roadblock to buying is needing other people to enjoy the game with. I would also add to your listing on your website how many players it is recommended for.

    I checked out your garden club website, if you don't mind I'd like to make a few suggestions. It sounds like a really neat idea, but I felt like there wasn't a lot of information about what exactly the garden club does. On your "Contests" "Swaps" and "Projects" text link and images on the home page I think it'd be great to have those direct visitors to a page giving more detail on what it will be like in the garden club for those particular activities. (Currently it asks me to sign up) On the swaps page it may be neat to include "We've made X number of swaps happen!" and the contests and projects page could give an example of one project/contest that has been run. If you're asking people to pay, they need to be fairly aware of what value they are getting and I wasn't feeling like it was too clear.

    Sounds like multiple people would be in need of a Permie virtual assistant, interesting.

    Anne,
    Thank you for your words! It's so frustrating to see how the legal aspect is such a roadblock to many people. But the reality is, you need those professionals.

    Could you share with me what kind of businesses you have run? Are any of them local? I see that you may not be that far from me :)
     
    Karl Treen
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    Thanks Rebecca.  Indeed, both websites could use a few tweaks, as you suggest. I don't mind feedback at all! I have been thinking of making some changes, so your insights are very helpful.

    Best wishes,
    Karl
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    T Simpson wrote:

    The two big problems I see people who want to make a living doing permaculture are the following: | (1) Buying Land (2) Online promotion  | A lot of farmers I know are not very tech savvy and there are a lot of people who want to be farmers that don't have land.



    I've noticed that too: problems of acquiring land and online promotion.

    I was thinking about different ways to help permies/homesteaders promote their stuff online but the only idea I thought was neat didn't sound like it could sustain- considering it would had been a means to bring people together for bartering. And bartering generally means no transaction of money to take a cut from. Perhaps a subscription service could work, Idk.

    I'm not software savvy so the project idea was too big without any verified ways to make money for costs.

    Let me know if you ever get started on any permie/techy venture.
     
    T Simpson
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:
    the only idea I thought was neat didn't sound like it could sustain- considering it would had been a means to bring people together for bartering. And bartering generally means no transaction of money to take a cut from. Perhaps a subscription service could work, Idk.



    The challenge with a bartering platform is having a large enough userbase, barter for online services works alright but barter for goods or anything physical usually does not. I live in an area where 90% of the populous is not very tech savvy so apps like cragslist & offerup usually don't have any people in the area using them. So there is the challenge of adoption. As for monetization you simply charge for promoting listing, adding additional listing and displaying adds. A platform like this would have some serious up front development costs as well. Personally I think barter apps are a saturated market. Maybe a land share type thing would be better but then you already have programs such as woofing and you would run into monetization challenges and legal issues involving property insurance.


    I have considered creating NFT "land shares" that pretty much act as cryptocurrency stocks in which the owner is entitled to X amount of revenue from a farm and/or they have voting power. The challenge being the use of cryptocurrency and finding a steward. The benefit being it is easier to buy an NFT than an actual stock market stock and ownership of a farm or regenerative project could be decentralized and if managed well could offer exponential returns to all investors.


    Ultimately I think all investments, trades and big land deals are best settled locally with people you know and can hold accountable. This is why most tech companies that try to automate these things struggle without a large firm backing them.

    This thread is helps though because maybe those things are in more of a demand than my own research would suggest.
     
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:

    The questions are as follows:

  • Over the last year, what has been your most consistent problem in your business?
  • How do you solve this problem right now?
  • What happens if you don't solve that problem?
  • If you had a magic genie available to help, what would you wish for in order to solve the problem?
  • Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?




  • I grow seeds for a living. Some of them are currently listed on Seedwise.com, although I prefer selling through companies like Baker Creek. In order for this to cover my expenses, I need to be able to process larger amounts. So to answer your questions:

    1. Lack of equipment, which includes funding to buy equipment, space to store equipment, and room to build prototypes for equipment that hasn't been invented yet.

    2. Right now I haven't solved it. During normal years, certain family members would travel for a week or more at a time, and I would get 90% of my prototyping done during those times. With covid, everybody's home all the time. I get NO time to myself. And unfortunately, my family includes one person who likes to sabotage while pretending to help, and another person who insists that I let the saboteur take control of every single project, because after all, "he's an engineer, so he knows better than you".

    (I'm sorry that this is turning into a rant. I am not in  the best of moods right now.)

    3. If I can't find a way to buy and/or build the equipment I need, then my business will stay limited to what I can do by hand. I have a chronic pain disorder, so doing things by hand presents a serious limitation.

    4. Perfect health. Or a house on my farm so I don't have to keep living with family an hour's drive from my land. Or for my dad to check himself permanently into a mental institution. I'd even settle for just a workshop that my dad doesn't know about so he can't screw up my projects.

    5. I'm working on that part. Any solution would need to be less than $15000, because that's all I have saved up for my house fund, and it has to cover EVERYTHING. Local regs for my farm turned out to be stricter than I was told when I bought the place, and all the simple solutions I've thought of (such as RV or a tinyhouse) aren't allowed.




     
    Rebecca Blake
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    Ellendra Nauriel wrote:
    5. I'm working on that part. Any solution would need to be less than $15000, because that's all I have saved up for my house fund, and it has to cover EVERYTHING. Local regs for my farm turned out to be stricter than I was told when I bought the place, and all the simple solutions I've thought of (such as RV or a tinyhouse) aren't allowed.



    I'm sorry to hear about your pain points. How big of a home do your regulations require? Are mobile homes okay? I feel like you'd be able to find a used mobile home if you do some digging. Though I have no expertise in this. Of course it costs money to move in addition to purchase- but then you'll be closer to your point of production and thus can be more productive :)

    We're working on building our own ICF home with aerated concrete forms. Building ICF blocks can get fairly complicated and expensive, but could you build with simple aerated concrete blocks in your climate? Here, the aerated concrete has all the insulative value we would need to stay warm in the winter (ours are 10inch thick). There are people building homes with 100% aerated concrete on youtube, roof and all. That might not jive with the regulations, but maybe it would?

    As for ICF, it's not a standard building process but it's considered relatively normal so it should get by your regulations. It's not as cheap as doing only aerated concrete blocks though.
     
    gardener
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    Anne Miller wrote:As someone who has owned several businesses, I feel the first approach would be to have a good lawyer, a good insurance agent, and then a good tax accountant. This is helpful to answer your questions..



    You clearly and plainly stated some of the best reasons to avoid going into business. I avoided any excessive reliance on those three for years until success brought out an array of hands wanting to "share" in that success. It wasn't long before it became clear that my business existed at least partially for the benefit of a series of entities that had little or no contribution to its ongoing profits. The fun drained out of it in a direct proportion to the involvement of lawyers, insurers and accountants.

    I'd open a lemonade stand and have a blast making $1 a day before I ever venture back into anything requiring those three.
     
    Ellendra Nauriel
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:

    Ellendra Nauriel wrote:
    5. I'm working on that part. Any solution would need to be less than $15000, because that's all I have saved up for my house fund, and it has to cover EVERYTHING. Local regs for my farm turned out to be stricter than I was told when I bought the place, and all the simple solutions I've thought of (such as RV or a tinyhouse) aren't allowed.



    I'm sorry to hear about your pain points. How big of a home do your regulations require? Are mobile homes okay? I feel like you'd be able to find a used mobile home if you do some digging. Though I have no expertise in this. Of course it costs money to move in addition to purchase- but then you'll be closer to your point of production and thus can be more productive :)

    We're working on building our own ICF home with aerated concrete forms. Building ICF blocks can get fairly complicated and expensive, but could you build with simple aerated concrete blocks in your climate? Here, the aerated concrete has all the insulative value we would need to stay warm in the winter (ours are 10inch thick). There are people building homes with 100% aerated concrete on youtube, roof and all. That might not jive with the regulations, but maybe it would?

    As for ICF, it's not a standard building process but it's considered relatively normal so it should get by your regulations. It's not as cheap as doing only aerated concrete blocks though.



    There's a line in the local regulations that expressly forbids mobile homes.

    I've looked at ICF and foamcrete. The crews that build with it won't even talk if the project is less than $200,000. There's a housing boom going on, so they focus on high-priced contracts. Understandable, they're business owners too. But again, it means I'd need to do everything myself. And watch that video again. There's at least 10 guys and a lot of big machinery there!

    My current idea is to try something with charcrete. There's a thread around here that discussed it. By using charcoal in place of sand, the concrete ends up 1/5th the weight, and highly insulative, without any loss of strength. I can make charcoal from stuff on my land, I'm already making some every year to use as a soil amendment. (Although better ways of doing that is on my list of projects that are hard to work on with family around.) I think I can make interlocking bricks from that, sort of like Legos but with holes that line up when the bricks are stacked, and then rebar is threaded through. That way I can cast the bricks a little at a time as my stamina allows, and they'd be stable enough that I can stack them a little at a time as well.

    I'm also trying to contact a realtor who has vacant land listed for a ridiculously low price. Chances are the rules there are even stricter, but on the off-chance they're not, I'm checking it out. An out of the way spot with a snap-together shed would give me room to work on things undisturbed.
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    Best of luck on the land and home!

    I do think the foamcrete or charcoalCrete could work. My only question would be getting a roof on there. Perhaps charcoal would be better than foam since it will probably have greater load bearing capacity!

    Just make blocks instead of the large panels that require big machinery. (As you said) glad you’re already thinking of it :)
     
    Karl Treen
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    Ellendra Nauriel wrote:

    Rebecca Blake wrote:

    Ellendra Nauriel wrote:
    I'm also trying to contact a realtor who has vacant land listed for a ridiculously low price. Chances are the rules there are even stricter, but on the off-chance they're not, I'm checking it out. An out of the way spot with a snap-together shed would give me room to work on things undisturbed.



    Hi Ellendra,

    Try envisioning the impossible. Friends of mine started a Permaculture non-profit farm on land trust land several years back. They made a deal with the town that they would maintain the property, which was basically abandoned, and it cost them almost nothing but blood sweat and tears. Check out https://revivetheroots.org/ I, myself, have bought condemned property with very little money down and then refinanced it for repairs and improvements. I have found that a standing structure, albeit in poor repair, is often easier to handle than no structure at all. It can be very challenging to take on any project that involves construction, or even repairs, so keeping things simple is key.

    Your needs may be even simpler than this. If all you need is a shed, barn, or garage, I bet you could work out a deal with someone who already has property but needs something you might be able to offer - like helping them in the garden, driving them to the supermarket, or just being present in case of emergency. Yes, it could be messy, but it might just work as a stop-gap measure while you build your business. If I were in your shoes, I would place a series of Craig's List posts describing what you can offer and how much space you need in return. It often takes a few months and some trial and error for unusual ideas like this but, if you are patient and creative, I am certain you can make it work. Many people have way more than they need for property but much less than then need for less tangible things - like human contact.

    I never do anything the normal way, myself, but I have always found that creativity goes a long, long way toward making dreams come true. Before going to the trouble of building your shed brick by brick, just be sure you can't find a simpler solution. ;)

    Cheers,
    Karl

     
    Michael Helmersson
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    Karl Treen wrote:
    Try envisioning the impossible.
    Cheers,
    Karl



    That line there is more important than anything. I can attest to the power of intention, imagination and focused determination. That sounds cheesy, but I mean it literally.
     
    Posts: 40
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    The questions are as follows:
    Over the last year, what has been your most consistent problem in your business?
    How do you solve this problem right now?
    What happens if you don't solve that problem?
    If you had a magic genie available to help, what would you wish for in order to solve the problem?
    Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?

    1. Covid, I do not feel like doing much.
    2. I wait
    3. I get sick for I'm around others
    4. Get rid of World Governments would solve a lot of problems :)
    5. Well soon I will have $100M+ in a Gold, copper, cobalt from an Ocean tailing dump recovery operation. With that, I can create a $T's New Industry by starting North America Largest Graphite mines and Graphene manufacturing Deepwater Port facilities

    Someone said to Think BIG. Maybe it's too big ;)


     
    Jess Dee
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:Jess,
    A really easy thing you can do to give your patterns more visibility online would be to put a link to your Spoonflower or Etsy shop in your signature on Permies, jut like Karl did for his card game :) Automatically you add on over a 100 locations where your link can be found (under each post you have ever made). I could see this being a benefit to posts you may have put in the textiles category. Anyone there making their own clothes may be interested! Granted, permies may tend to opt for cheaper thrift store fabric, but you never know.



    I don't feel like my patterns really relate to permaculture, particularly, and I hate spamming folks.  Maybe not good 'business', but good for my sense of what is right and proper.  There are more suitable places for me to promote my stuff :)  
     
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    Hi Rebecca, I have been in business for about 10 years. I've run my own Yoga Bnb and given free-lance yoga healing sessions, yoga classes and therapeutic counseling. I've also co-produced a local yoga festival for going on 6 years this year with about 30-40 in attendance. Last year, due to Covid we had 12 paying weekend campers and still covered our expenses and made about $3,000. I live and work in community so overhead for me is very low because the living includes all expenses including food. I pay for insurance, fuel and my own personal and meal expenses as well as travel expenses and of course professional training and education.

    Over the last year, what has been your most consistent problem in your business?
    1. Over this last year the most consistent problem has been the number of people that come to my online yoga classes and the amount I bring in from teaching yoga and offering online and in-person healing and yoga classes along with not having a consistent message in the offers I make for these and other speciality workshops and classes I teach. I give a Svaroopa yoga class once a week online through a Buddhist center-Lotus Light Center, in Knoxville, Tennessee,  where I have had consistent students, ranging from 1-3 this past year. I've brought in between $40-$90 per month for teaching 4 classes a month. I do these classes by donations, but my problem is that I don't have a sweet number that I'd like to make each month for the class-so, I take what the universe or the people give me. I realize as I write this that my so-called problem is that I have not figured out a happy number that I'd like to get for teaching this very important and really valuable Svaroopa yoga class. If you'd like I can send you a video or actually, I have uploaded it to youtube, here is a sample class. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drV1U_YY5XI. The usual class time is 90 minutes.

    How do you solve this problem right now?
    2. I do offers online mostly through Facebook for an April Series, a Spring Series. Sometimes I do a 'speciality class' and charge some money for that. In winter I did a 3-class special and made $120 for the 3 classes, more than I usually bring in. I solve the problem by focusing on the person whom I am teaching and finding value in the healing and benefits that person is receiving from the work I'm offering. I solve the problem by sending emails out to clients that have taken yoga classes before, reaching out to clients who have taken private sessions and updating my gmail contact list so that I am continuing to add people to my list. I make Facebook posts about yoga and I record classes and then upload them to my Youtube channel. This month I have had 23 views for my yoga class which is the most I've ever gotten so there is some exposure going on. I also am doing a first quarter review and am very thoughtful about the actual work I did do for the first quarter and am intentional about the work I've done and the work that is longing to come through me in terms of yoga classes and online teaching.

    What happens if you don't solve that problem?
    3. If I don't solve the problem, and I don't send out emails, nobody shows up for yoga classes and I don't have that source of income. If I don't solve the problem than I cannot grow as a yoga teacher because part of the growth of being a yoga teacher is actually teaching the yoga! There is incredible work to be done in this field and as I teach, I see how much more I want to teach, the subjects that I want to teach on and can teach on-from yoga scripture to mantra recitation, to asana practice, meditation, breathing and so much more. I don't solve the problem, I stop growing, and I will not have that so each day I do my best to solve this problem and that's why I'm taking the time to write these answers to you!

    If you had a magic genie available to help, what would you wish for in order to solve the problem?
    3. I would like for the magic genie to make a beautiful flyer that says all the wonderful qualities that yoga by Ajeet brings to you, and this genie would manage all the look of my classes and promote me so that people could see how wonderful it will be to do this lovely yoga class. If I had a genie I could easily imagine all the courses that I would like to teach like my Mantra Soul course where I teach people how to use their voice for chanting and healing themselves. If this genie was available, I'd love help in easily and effortlessly working online or in person with clients with Svaroopa yoga and the therapeutic counseling technique I am trained in-AAIT-Acceptance and Integration.  I'd like for this wonderful genie in the lamp to rub on anyone who is on the fence of seeing a yoga healer and this genie might help them reach out to me so that I am available to talk with them, perhaps allowing them to gain some restorative healing and me to gain some income that I can put toward building my homestead.  I'd see the genie helping me so that I can work with clients online and help them get them back into yoga!  I'd like this genie, if they could, to design a gorgeous, fun and simple, elegant website called perhaps... Yoga with Ajeet, or 8 Maple Trees or Nivase'. And on this site, I would be able to speak about the work that has come through me over these last 30 years and to explain myself from the heart and have it flow easily out...


    Would that magic solution be worth paying for? If so, how much would you pay?
    4. I think I would pay a monthly fee, maybe $40-$90 per month for about 5-9 months for the service of creating and building this site and for the ability to bounce ideas off someone who is capable of deeply listening to the work that is coming through me. I have spent a good decade in tribal, yogic, ancestral and lineage practices that have given me a depth of intuitive understanding. I love what I do and am very good at it. I also like the life that I'm leading now and have enough of what i need to live on. However! I do want to build my own homestead and work with my partner to build our yoga festival, called Bliss Fest and live in the country, at a learning lab-kinda like Wheaten Labs except more yoga related and offer workshops, healing fairs, centering weekends and of course yoga festivals and retreats. I would love to bring this into being over the next 4 years and to have about $4,000 more in cash so that I can pay for a great design of my own yoga space to teach in.

    Thanks for your reaching out and look forward to speaking with you if this interests you and connects to your heart, get in touch!

    Namaste,

    Ajeet Khalsa
    865-282-6515
    www.lotuslightcenter.org
     
    Posts: 90
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    I can tell you this much, by far the biggest hurdle my father and I's business has faced is a litany of various federal, state, and local laws and regulations that have absolutely destroye'd our ability to grow at a reasonable rate. Many of these regulations cost tens of thousands of dollars, and in total over 100k to be in compliance with before I could even legally sell the rocket heaters for indoor use. It is so expensive and arbitrary I'd wager a fair chunk of change that its deliberately made that way to protect large established businesses from what would otherwise be new up and coming competition so these large corporations dont have to adapt, innovate, or change their business model. This is why the human species technological prowess has been stagnant for decades, with the exception of materials science and computer technology which are unregulated. If you could make something that would make lawmakers and bureaucrats disappear humanity would be kardeshev type 1 by the end of the decade.
     
    T Simpson
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    Sky Huddleston wrote:regulations cost tens of thousands of dollars, and in total over 100k to be in compliance with before I could even legally sell the rocket heaters for indoor use.



    Like selling "oil filters" that are "totally not firearm suppressors" but "might" happen to have just a similar enough fitting to screw onto a firearm...you may want to just start calling them "pizza ovens" and including an extra "utility tube" that totally isn't a DIY "chimney adapter" *wink* *wink*
     
    pollinator
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    I can't speak for myself as I don't have anything that really fits your list.  I problem solve.

    But I deal with a lot of farmers and probably the biggest need I see is someone who really knows resources available to them for fast problem solving.  If you knew a lot of different things and where to find it inexpensively or quickly it might have real value.
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    Thank you all for the feedback!

    I definitely see the same pattern as you, Letellier. The dreamers, shakers, and movers have great ideas and ambition but just don’t know what’s available to them to make it happen.

    That, or legal things such as the rocket mass heater problems or simply tax issues and setting up a business... as much as I hate to see this being a road block, I can’t help with it.

    I’m thinking of some ways I can help both for free and for a fee, but it will take some time of course.

    I’m really loving the idea of helping others with creative ideas get their stuff known more. I don’t really see myself as a creative, so it would be very fulfilling to help those who are creatives to get their stuff found. It will be my little way to contribute to the world domination of permaculture :)
     
    Thank you my well lotioned goddess! Here, have my favorite tiny ad!
    100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine - now FREE for a while
    https://permies.com/goodies/45/pmag
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