The $100 Startup
A couple of weeks ago, I won a copy of Chris Guillebeau’s latest book, The $100 Startup via his facebook page. I have read it twice since. If you would like to “Reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future”, then this book is for you. I did a lot of highlighting and thought I would give all of you kindred spirits out there a teaser…
1. “Two years ago in Minneapolis, Lisa Sellman attracted my attention by telling me about her dog care business. At first, I didn’t think much of it. How profitable could a dog business be? But then Lisa told me how much money she made: $88,000 the previous year and on track to clear six figures the next.”
This one appeals to me for obvious reasons : ) Pick something you love and pursue it.
2. “To succeed in a business project, especially one you’re excited about, it helps to think carefully about all the skills you have that could be helpful to others and particularly about the combination of those skills.”
What are your skills? Write them down and brainstorm. Some of the entrepreneurs featured in this book are doing things I never would have guessed there would be a market for. Good for them!
3. “The basics of starting a business are very simple; you don’t need an MBA (keep the $60,00 tuition), venture capital, or even a detailed plan. You just need a product or service, a group of people willing to pay for it, and a way to get paid.”
Having a diploma doesn’t guarantee success and not having one certainly doesn’t equal failure. More startup capital would have been nice when it came to my businesses, but it wasn’t a necessity and less important than my goal of becoming debt-free.
4. He kept waiting for it to be perfect…and then he kept waiting. “I finally just had to give up on perfection and get the thing out the door,” he said later.
Odds are you do not have to wait until you finish taking those classes or writing that business plan to get going on that exciting project. I struggle with this one and am really trying to just learn as I go versus reaching ‘perfection’ before even trying something new. Obviously, this is relative. I am not performing surgery on anyone, after all. Odds are you aren’t either.
5. “The point is to do what makes sense to you. Get up in the morning and get to work.”
It is hard to work at something that doesn’t feel right. So many of us complain about our jobs over and over, all of the time. If this is you, please ask yourself what it is you would rather be doing and brainstorm ways of making that happen. You will be doing yourself and everyone around you a huge favor.
6. “Low paying buyers are the worst,” one business owner who sold a broad range of products at different prices told me. “We have far more complaints from people who pay $10 and expect the world than from those who pay $1,000.”
Some people will appreciate you and your services and some won’t. It does not behoove you to take it personally; those people are most likely treating everyone around them the way they have treated you. Let them and their $10 go. Seriously.
7. “My rule of thumb is that a successful partnership (or any type of collaboration) should create a combined business which is at least 33 percent larger than the sum of what the two individuals can achieve on their own.” Ralf Hildebrandt
I hadn’t looked at Caretaking Couple like that before, but it is absolutely true for us. We can say yes to more opportunities as a team. While we split a lot of CC down the middle, I enjoy promoting our biz via networking and social media, while Paul is really good at packing up the 4Runner and mapping our routes when it comes time for our next sit. We save a lot of time & money this way.
8. “All the bad days have two things in common: You know the right thing to do, but you let somebody talk you out of doing it.” Tom Bihn.
Tune out those that think they know what is best for you when it comes to your business and your personal life. You know what is best for you. Respect to the intuition.
9. “Without a doubt, the smartest decision I made was to set a specific intention to not grow the business. Growing up as the daughter of an entrepreneur, I watched my father’s creativity and inventor mind-set get sapped as the business grew from just him to over fifty employees.” Cherie Ve Ard
Go with what feels right to you and your business model. Again, don’t listen to what everyone else says (especially those that have never owned and operated a business). By the way, if you are a fan of location independence, you owe it to yourself to check out technomadia.
10. “There’s no rehab program for being addicted to freedom. Once you’ve seen what it’s like on the other side, good luck trying to follow someone else’s rules ever again.”
Chris Guillebeau will be at Powell’s Books in Portland, OR on Wednesday. Click here if you would like to catch him on tour!
Raised Garden Beds ~ Before
Paul and I started looking for rentals here in Portland, Oregon last fall and found a sweet little Craftsman in the Alberta Arts District. The house had almost been sold but the deal fell through and we were given the opportunity to rent it month to month. One of the things we loved best about it was the fact that it had a backyard with raised garden beds. We couldn’t wait to start playing in them come springtime!
Weeding, Fertilizing & Planting a Bed at a Time
The house was unoccupied for a while, so there was some catching up to do. We tackled the beds one at a time, netting each one upon completion in order to keep the cats out (strays had taken to using the back yard as their hang out and the garden beds as jumbo litter boxes). We pretty much had to start from scratch with these beds (weeding, then digging out old soil, then adding new soil/fertilizer, then planting and covering with net). By the way, the strays are still welcome, but not in the garden beds.
Sweet Pea Prep
We used a combination (about 50/50) of seeds and starters to fill the beds with, depending on what needed to go in when and what we were able to find locally and were able to find just about everything we wanted at Portland Nursery, Marbott’s, and Garden Fever.
Paul planted the peas about a month ago, and here they are a few weeks later. The combination of sun and rain has done our little garden beds lots of good. We are both super excited about enjoying and sharing the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers of our labor, including raspberries (already growing wild), strawberries, leeks, cauliflower, carrots, brussels sprouts, string beans, peas, eggplant, collard greens, bib lettuce, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, chamomile, lavender, rosemary, basil, oregano, dill, and dozens of different wildflowers (making sure to choose ones that attract bees and hummingbirds).
Raised Garden Beds ~ (Almost) After
This can’t really be called an ‘after’ shot as there is still much growing and maintenance to do, but I really couldn’t wait any longer to share with you what we have been up to these past few weekends. I will add another picture or two in the coming weeks if I see that there is interest here on the blog (feel free to ask questions, give gardening advice, etc. via the comments button).
I Love Garden Gnomes
It has been sunshiny these past few days and today we are getting just the right amount of rain, it seems. The Pacific Northwest is in it’s glory this time of year and Paul and I continue to love it here. Now, to pick out the perfect gnome (or two) from Garden Fever. Paul is not convinced that we need one ~ what do you think?
PS Thought I would add another garden shot, a month or so after this post was written. We have enjoyed this back yard SO much!
Raised Garden Beds ~ A Month (or so) Later
Hope you like pictures, because I am finally able to post them again and I have lots to share with you, thanks to my new hosting company, bluehost. So many friends have asked us what it is about Portland that inspired us to actually stay here and rent a place. I am not sure where to begin, so I am going to allow my pics to do most of the talking.
Indie shops are all over NE Portland. This is a pic of Wanderlust owner Vanessa with her friend and her hubster. Other favorite shops of mine include digs (if you love gnomes, you gotta check this place out) and Tumbleweed, where lots of the clothes are sewn by the owner and one of a kind. Sigh. I could go on but will save that for another post.
When you live in a cool city, you are more likely to have friends visit. Not that Nancy and Chad wouldn’t come to visit us elsewhere, but it just helps to live in a cool city. This is us at McMenamins Kennedy School, an old elementary school that now sports a hotel, pubs, movie theatre, etc. etc. It is walking distance from us. Our favorite spot is there is the Detention Room, thanks to the atmosphere and Alex, who tends the bar.
If you love live music, Portland will not disappoint. Sade played here not too long ago and it was phenomenal. Our friend Libby came out to celebrate her 50th with friends and we are so happy she included us in the festivities. This concert was at the Rose Quarter, but there are plenty of smaller venues that host outstanding acts as well…
First Thursday is huge on Alberta Street during the summer. Twenty blocks are closed to traffic and it is one big party. Here you see Myrtle singing “You can take my husband, but please don’t take my man” outside the Star E Rose Cafe. There are jam sessions going on here constantly.
My little sis came out for a quick visit last month. So happy she hung out with me for a few hours when she could have been hanging out with friends (I am a generation older, after all). This is her outside the Alleyway. I can’t vouch for it as we haven’t been in yet, but Em liked the sign. We had a yummy meal at Thai Noon, which I can definitely vouch for. Paul and I love it there.
So. The food. It is out of this world. I am not kidding. We are walking distance from deliciousness in all directions. I do love a good breakfast, and Helser’s has never let me down. Never. This pic is of their potato pancakes with creme fraiche and applesauce. Another favorite of ours is Vita Cafe. I get the huevos rancheros for breakfast and the buffalo tofu wrap for lunch.
What you see here is my favorite burrito joint, La Bonita. I grew up on Mexican food and it will always ALWAYS remain near and dear to me. I can make a pretty mean burrito (according to the Brit, anyway) but this place is SO GOOD. I know, I know, I sell Beachbody products for crying out loud. The good news is that there is plenty to do here to stay active. Between meals.
This is Aaron, manning the Townshend’s Tea booth at the Alberta Street Fair. This place has every tea you could possibly imagine. We went to a tea tasting the other day, which was super interesting. Does that make us tea nerds? Whatever. Don’t care. Latest addictions = White Rose Kambucha and Roasted Coconut Mate.
And no, I have not lost my love for latte. There are so many great coffee shops all around us. I am *trying* to limit my coffee consumption to the weekends. Caffe Vita is one of my faves on Alberta. The baristas are great. I also enjoy fuel cafe and Random Order. Oh, and I can’t wait to try Barista now that their space has been renovated (there was a fire on July 4th).
Introducing three of the lovely ladies from binks…Holly, Grace and Ally (you are lovely as well, Dan). This has become Paul’s local. I am sure it has nothing to do with the binkstenders pictured above. Yes, I am rolling my eyes over here. Seriously, though…we love this bar. Next door is another fave, Siam Society, where it is always a pleasure to see Don. He reminds me of a young Leonard Cohen. We also enjoy Bernie’s and Bar Lolo. All of the above are walking distance from our abode.
Portlander’s love their pets and we are enjoying our new canine and feline friends. Jonny C brought Charlie over for a photo session the other day. She is a nine month old Beagle/Pointer mix and very sweet. She sniffed all around, vacuumed the kitchen floor for me, ran up and down the stairs and otherwise entertained us for a good hour before conking out at Jonny’s feet.
Adorable, I know. And while we are on the subject…
Allow me to introduce Macey. I met her at the Alberta Main Street office. She is the mascot and Sara is her human. I love this pic because I swear she is smiling at me. She let me follow her around and take several photos and of course my two faves of her are in front of the trash cans and the boxes you see here. Macey prefers to keep it real.
We have even made a handful of human friends. People say it gets harder to make friends as we get older and I am doing my best to prove that theory wrong. I met Michelle and her hubster Jeremy (see below) at a bloggers meeting set up by Sara, who I met at WordCamp back in September. This pic is of Michelle and I at Livewire, which was performed and taped at the Alberta Rose Theatre that night.
Besides being world travelers (sigh) Michelle and Jeremy boast some serious culinary skills. Michelle has her own blog, Feed Your Skull. Jeremy is a developer and an all around smart and mellow guy. This is Jeremy with his delicious apple pie at our place on Thanksgiving. Thanks for all the yummy meals, you two!
Portland is the land of creatives. One of my favorite places (again, walking distance ~ dangerously so) is Collage. I took an embroidery class there and plan on taking others as well, including bookbinding and encaustic painting. Getting the nerve up for that last one. They have tons of fun stuff for sale, too, including stamps. I gave away most of my stamps when we left Cape Cod (Trish, I hope you are using those stamps!) and am rebuilding my collection, one stamp at a time.
I helped out behind the makeshift bar this past Thursday night for a Community Cycling Center fundraiser. This place and the people who keep it going are great. Tomorrow, they will be giving bicycles to over 400 youth across Portland. Watch this short video by Quin, a twelve year old who volunteers for CCC.
The sense of community here in Portland is strong all around. I took this picture at a recent Occupy rally. This woman gave me a wink afterwards. I know there are a lot of people that disagree with this movement. So be it. I find the people involved to be a huge inspiration.
Portland is about an hour and a half away from the Oregon Coast. Life was good back in Evergreen, Colorado but I never did get used to being that far from either the Pacific or the Atlantic. I need an ocean nearby. We had a couple of weeks off of our sit a few months back and spent some time in Yahats at the SeaQuest Inn en route to the Redwoods. That trip was nothing short of magical.
On our way back to Portland from the coast, I spotted this mother of all busses parked along the road. Paul turned around so that I could take a closer look. Since then, I have seen a variety of rolling homes that make my heart go pitter pat. We love living in a place that celebrates individuality.
So, there you have it. Just a few reasons why we chose Portland for our home. If you are looking for someone to take care of your own home sweet home, please let us know. We are staying local for the most part these days, but have several sitters that we know personally and are happy to recommend. Thank you for reading, and be sure to drop a line via the comment link ~ we love hearing from you! Seasons Greetings,
Our friend Alane of Blissful Botanica just brought to my attention this blog:
Don’t have any soap/shampoo to spare? The crafting community is also stepping up and showing their support. Find out how by going to my friend Rachel’s blog:
And if you are needing or wanting anything from Mary Janes Farm, please consider purchasing those items this week as 10% of sales will go to Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts:
Most of us cannot begin to imagine the circumstances the Haitian earthquake victims now find themselves in. Thank you for doing whatever you can to help. Hugs,
Valynne & Paul
PS I just sent 50lbs of random soap chunks in 2 large Priority Mail boxes, which cost me $29 total. Two normal boxes would have cost me around $80 to send. Be sure to use the “Flat Rate” boxes, which you can pick up free of charge at the post office.
Can we, as individuals afford to give what has been deemed socially acceptable in our human circles? Can we, as a global community, afford it? If not, then let this be the year we begin (or continue) to change our habits for the better.
Are our purchases improving societies and eco-systems or destroying them? Let us all try to wrap our heads and hearts around this question and honor the answers this Holiday Season.
Brick and Mortar
Our Indie businesses need us now. What may seemingly cost more up front can ultimately save our communities on a global scale. Please let’s support our local shopkeepers and restauranteurs who in turn support our local artisans and producers and economy in general.
Giving does not need to involve the spending of money we cannot really afford to spend. Writing a poem, singing a song, handmaking a card, baking a treat, infusing a bath oil, shovelling a driveway, teaching a skill, walking a dog, sharing a photo…the posibilities are endless.
A gift is a gift, be it humble or grand . Let us give what we can to those we want to give to, and let us receive with gratitude in our hearts. Happy Holidays, everyone!