Posts Tagged ‘amish’

Half the size – twice the price

December 14, 2009

On Thanksgiving weekend Joanne and I traveled up to the Amish country in Ohio to visit my dad in his retirement home.  As always, I am amazed at the micro enterprises that cover the back roads of this farming area where I was raised.  At one shop, where I bought some fresh unpastuerized apple cider, we saw a pile of miniature straw bales, about half the size of regular bales.  My brother told me a local Amishman had rebuilt a hay baler to produce the tiny, decorative bales.  While regular sized bales sell for about $2.00, these half sized ones sell for $4.00.  That’s the power of a unique idea. 


We also visited the local winery featuring Amish Country Wine.  And we stopped in at Homestead Furniture where we’ve had a couple of beautiful custom pieces designed and made for our home.  There is certainly some amusing irony in the Amish being winemakers and having the latest laser technology.   But the point is they are great about finding unique ideas and building a successful business around them.

If you have an idea, you’ve got to have a well thought out business plan.  The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be overemphasized.  Much hinges on it: credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, and achievement of your goals and objectives.

Here’s a free Business Planning Guide – you will see examples and questions to help you develop your idea.  You’ll also see information relative to taxes, insurance and legal issues.  I love to see simple ideas produce unusual success –

If you have an idea you want to turn into income this next year you may want to check out the growing group of Members who are sharing ideas and growing their businesses. There’s no cost to be involved and you can tap into the best braintrust I know of anywhere. 

Now, tell us about your unique business idea – that may defy logic.

Past humiliation — but stuck in sameness

December 17, 2008

This gentleman has been taking a 90-minute train ride into New York each day, where he walks the streets wearing this sandwich board sign.  It reads, “Almost homeless; looking for employment.  Very experienced operations and administration manager.”


He says he’s beyond the point of being humiliated – he just needs a job.  He says, “When you’re out of work and you face having nothing – I mean, having no income – pride doesn’t mean anything.  I have to take care of my family.”  His resume includes 36 years in the toy industry before being laid off in February of this year.

I know this is an all too common situation for lots of people right now.  Hey, I’m an old farm kid.  If the cow is old and has stopped giving milk, standing there begging for more milk is probably not a good solution.  I’d be out looking for something new to quench my thirst.  Predictions are that by 2010 only 50% of the American workforce will be “employees.”  The rest will be contingency workers, independent contractors, temps, freelance workers, consultants, entrepreneurs, electronic immigrants – and lots of other interesting descriptions that are showing up every day.  Rather than trying to force the sameness of the old work models, lead the way into the new ways of working and making income.

When my Dad was 88 years old, he was driving his own van, hauling Amish people to places they wanted to go.  He charged $2.00 a mile and often drove 500 miles a day, providing them with a valuable service and enjoying the time spent visiting. 

If you are out of work – don’t wait on a paycheck.  It may never come.  What is it that you can do that fulfills a need someone else has?