I’ve been running Verge Permaculture for five years now, and before that worked as an engineer in the oil and gas industry. Starting a business was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I didn’t know if Verge was going to work out, if anyone would hire me or take my courses, or if I could really make a difference. Keeping these experiences in mind, I recently reached out to some of the best in the field to get their advice for those just starting out in permaculture, particularly around untapped opportunities and common barriers. We got responses from the following amazing people:
The Trick of Starting Out
“The hardest thing about getting started is getting started.” – Guy Kawasaki, The Art of the Start
It’s easy to become obsessed with the logistics of setting up websites, social media and business plans. But that’s not the real work. All of those activities are important, but we tend to overemphasize them when we are first starting out. Business plans help you choose your strategy, and social media plus websites help you define your niche. But those things only become important when you evolve your business and your opportunities begin to multiply. When you are first starting out, there are three areas you should focus your energy on:
Start Small, Assess – I started with public speaking and writing blogs. It was cheap, easy to do (once I got over my fear of public speaking) and I was quickly able to get a pulse on whether Calgary was going to be able to support a permaculture designer and educator. There are many easy and tangible ways to get started that don’t cost a lot; they can build a lot of confidence necessary to make the next step into a full-time enterprise.
Ask for Advice – Ask the people who are doing the work, even if you have to pay them to talk to you. Their advice is worth tons and it will save you time and money in the long run by helping you avoid big mistakes.
Get the Basics – Take a few courses, but don’t get trapped in the course vortex. You can only put so much information to productive use.
“When the line between work, learning and satisfaction becomes obscured then something is going well, the potential for growth and development is huge.” – Richard Perkins
One of the best ways to find your first niche is to focus on your passion. What you need to assess is: Is there a need in the marketplace for the passion I wish to share with the world? I have seen and encountered a lot of opportunity and barriers over the years, so I would like to share my own thoughts alongside the insight provided from some of the industry’s best.
Stay tuned for the following: