Last week I was giving one of our AIRBNB guests a tour of our farm. As we rode around, I pointed out the ginseng patch and our trout raising pond, mentioned how we focus on Florida oranges in the winter. We also discussed our real estate investing and how my real business was writing. He stopped and asked, “Just how many businesses do you have?”
I had to stop and think about the answer. Because our micro businesses are so seamless, so interconnected, I rarely think of them as numerous businesses. Actually each is a business on its own and I have to say, this makes life interesting as well as provides an income with staying power.
Diversification into multiple micro businesses increases the odds of always having enough income from one activity or the other. The years bring ups and downs in any business, but when there is no pressure for immediate income, the ability to work through slow times increases… a lot. When you have numerous businesses, odds are there will always be one of them that is doing well.
Here are seven tips on how to find micro business ideas that make sense for you.
Tip #1: Look for businesses where the activity is enjoyable and fulfilling… for you. What can be more important than enjoying a fulfilled, satisfied life? Having multiple businesses stops us from becoming bored or burned out if each is varied and fun. A passion or interest, not the money, is always the starting point we use to find new ways to serve and earn.
Don’t get me wrong, businesses have to be profitable, but a lot of fun and a little profit is better than being miserable just for the sake of more profit. Plus the way life works when you enjoy what you do, the chances of profit are best.
Tip #2: Look for businesses that are compatible and support one another. For example, we have our self publishing business. This has always been our main source of income. Writing is a great way to earn and I love writing. Writers can work where they want, when they desire and keep the process casual. Because I like to be out of doors a lot, in the summer I often work out in the forest.
During the winter, while we are in Florida, I can still work outside at our home.
The writing business has always meshed well with our real estate business. When we find good real estate markets, we are able to invest ourselves plus conduct plus write reports about real estate opportunity and conduct real estate tours. So over the years we have invested in Swiss, London, Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador real estate, written reports about each and conducted real estate tours in each of these countries.
Tip #3: Look for businesses that create tax benefits. Merri and I have loved to travel all over the world. Almost of that travel has been tax deductible.
We have an orange grove in Florida. This is not a good earner right now with citrus greening but one benefit that remains is reduced property tax. The property tax on the acreage we have in orange groves is hundreds of dollars instead of many thousands.
Tip #4: Look for businesses in things you know. Since I have been investing in real estate for 50 years, Merri and I are always looking at property. We have a real estate rental business with annual leases and also use Airbnb to rent cabins at our farm.
We raise trout which we sell locally in North Carolina. Those cabin rentals are reinforced by our trout business (guests can fish).
Since I love to fish, this is really fun and even the fishing equipment I buy (used in the trout business) can be tax deductible.
Tip #5: Look for businesses that are easy.
Our trout micro business is a natural. We only started it because we already had a perfect creek and had already added a pond.
There is a trout hatchery near our farm where we can buy the trout small. We bring them back in large, aerated tanks
We dip them into the pond.
The trout weigh about a pound each when we get them.
All we have to do is feed them a bit and they grow quickly which creates the profit.
We gain similar benefits with our ginseng business which is also a natural on the farm.
The environment at our North Carolina farm is perfect for ginseng and goldenseal to grow.
We began in our back yard, a north facing slope with many hardwood trees.
Starting with a few seeds, the ginseng (and goldenseal) have grown naturally.
Each plant then provides a number of seeds.
We have ginseng all around the house and because this is the natural environment it grows without fertilizer, cultivation or any real effort. Non fertilized ginseng is the most valuable type of ginseng so we get the highest price product by putting in less effort.
When we create businesses with multiple streams of income, we put ourselves in a position that whatever happens, whenever, wherever, we have improved our odds of always having enough, purpose, fulfillment and income .
Tip #6: Start small and let everything grow naturally.
The world is in an era of global structural change… in economics… in politics and the way we work. Technology brings us low cost administration, low cost access to data, low cost communication, and low cost travel. Plus the opening of markets beyond material logic means we can create products and services for markets based on passion and purpose rather than just cost.
No matter your age, your health or your education, you can find something you love to do that can create an income. Even if it is small it, go try it. Learn as you fulfill your purpose.