Farm Small Farm Smart Daily (permaculture,business)

In the last regular show episode 107 with Bill Bean I referenced an upcoming webinar.

This episode is a replay of that webinar - Building Quick, Convincing Business Plans That Deliver Confidence, Capital, Market Share & More was recorded on April 30, 2015.

In the presentation Bill introduced proven tips, tools and techniques to help you quickly organize your thoughts into a succinct storyline that explain:

- Why your initiative is needed in the market place.

- What makes your approach unique and valuable to your clients?

- How you will introduce your concept successfully and grow it for impact and profitability?

This episode is a recording of the full webinar. The presentation part of the webinar lasted about 45 minutes and was followed by 30 minutes of questions.

Show Notes:

Direct download: b020-05052015.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:14am PDT

In business there is no such thing as new business, there is only other people's business. That's the subject of today's show.

Strategically planning your business so you can capture a share of the business. Doing that planning ahead of time, so you don't end up spending a lot of money, time and energy going in the wrong direction selling something that people don't want or can't pay for.

Most people don't do that "The problem is, most people don't spend as much time thinking about it as they should. They just try and go do something that they think is exciting, and they don't really test it as much as they should."

The goal of this show is to get you thinking. Testing your ideas and thinking them through to determine is the concept really worth the time, energy and money involved?

Let's tackle that subject today with Bill Bean.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP107-04232015.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:45am PDT

This episode is a presentation given by Erik Ohlsen at PV2 in March 2015.

Learn real world tools for design and implementation of Permaculture based contracting businesses. Permaculture principles applied to business design. Use the ethics of permaculture as triple bottom line.

Create a marketing plan that has a social impact. Imagine being able to make a career out of your passion for Permaculture. Create a business that catches millions of gallons of water, builds soil on hundreds of acres, plants hundreds of useful trees every year, restores native habit, redesigns our cites our schools and new developments.

Join Erik Ohlsen, Principal of Permaculture Artisans and Executive Director of The Permaculture Skills Center as he shares tangibles recipes for economically, ecologically and socially just businesses.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP106-04172015.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

What if you had all the time, money and energy in the world?

What would you do?

Frank’s wife asked him that question 5 years ago, and he realized he needed to get out of the Navy, make mead and share it with people. Hear how connecting with his passion to do good for people and planet through mead making has inspired a ton of personal growth and now a successful business that is shifting paradigms in the markets it serves.

This talk was presented at PV2 in March 2015 by Frank Golbeck of Golden Coast Mead.

Listen to more at

Direct download: A5-FrankGolbeck-04032015.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

This episode is a recording of Luke Callahan's presenation at PV2.

Want to start your business, but don’t know where to begin? Does starting your business feel scary and overwhelming?

In this session, you’ll learn the seven surprisingly simple steps to easily start any business. We’ll analyze a few successful permaculture businesses through this step by step framework so you can see exactly how it works in the real world. At the end of this session, you will have a step by step plan to start your business.

Show Notes:

For all of the audio presentations from PV2 visit:

Direct download: PVP104-03242015.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

What do you do if you have a passion and there is no one out there offering you a job to fulfill that passion?

One option is to just work any job, foregtting what you are actually passionate about.  And that is what many people do, and I think that those people can attest to the fact that that option sucks.

Another option is to find the intersection between your passions and your strengths and problems that need solving and solve those problems by starting a business.

This podcast is about that.   this is the audio from Rob Avis's presentation from PV1.

Show Notes:

Direct download: b016-01232015.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 9:11am PDT

This episode with John Pugliano is meant to get you to start thinking in a different way and to plant some seeds in your head. I think that everyone can benefit by starting thinking more like an entrepreneur.

We will touch on business idea generation and John will cover some value add type businesses that anyone can start with low capital. They aren’t directly permaculture, but they are related. The theme being like start where you are, take a step in that direction.

Show Notes:

PV2 Info:

Direct download: PVP093-11202014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Maddy and her partner Tim started the magazine back in 1992 out of their home office. At that time the readership was tiny. But they had a vision for something bigger. A vision of world where permaculture could provide solutions to some of the problems that the world was facing. But in order to make that vision a reality, they had to help get the word out there.


And going from the home office with a readership in the hundreds to the hundred thousands took some work.

As Maddy says, "I'm not going to pretend it was easy. It was really, really tough."

But she put the work in with her team and today they are a working model of a 22 year old permaculture business, one that looks at the business through a whole systems lens, minding the triple bottom line, not just the single bottom line. Let’s get into it and see what’s possible when you mix business with permaculture..

Show Notes:

PV2 Info:

Direct download: PVP092-11182014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Today’s show is a pretty inspirational one.

What would you do if you only had a year left to live?

And if you aren’t doing that now, why not?

Keep that phrase in your head during this episode with Fraser Bliss of

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP076-09232014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

My guest Pete Kanaris is a serial entrepreneur. He has started a whole bunch of businesses, some have worked, some haven't. Despite the failures, he has always found a way to push on and try new things to ultimately get to where he wants to be.

That also references another unique point in Pete's story. One of Pete’s most successful businesses was a lawncare business. It was a business that Pete ran for over 10 years and it was really successful. But it wasn't something that Pete liked doing anymore. Along the way he became exposed to permaculture and it became clear that the pathway into the future didn't involve cutting grass, it involved permaculture. So he put it all on the line and started a permaculture design company, Green Dreams. It wasn't about the money; he wanted to do something that he loved doing and something that he believed in.

Given the risk and uncertainty involved in starting any new business it would have been easy to take the safe route and stick with what he had, a thriving lawncare business. But he didn't take the easy route, and he put in the hard work to make Green Dreams a reality. Pete's continued push to innovate and try new things has already paid off and Green Dreams is growing. His story is inspirational for anyone out there looking to take that hard first step. As he says, “start small and when the door opens, go big and never look back.”

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP067-08192014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 7:31am PDT

"Instead of trying to support 1000's of people, let's get really good at supporting 150 people and we'll duplicate it."

Once we do that we will have models that we can refer back to. Models that can be used to train people to go start other small impact zones. Then we start getting more and more impact zones, and suddenly the picture looks a lot brighter. But that will take time, and it's early in the journey, but the conditions are ripe for change. We just need to kick start it, by incubating innovation.Creating the conditions for success and sustainability to happen, something that I learned from Larry.

In fact it's one of the many things that I have learned from Larry. Larry has a wealth of knowledge and the experience to back it up. He's a permaculture pioneer having involved with permaculture since the 80s. He has travelled with Bill Mollison. He's worked on countless projects in the country, the city, and other countries. He gets it. And in Southern California when you mention permaculture, there is one name that comes to mind.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP066-08152014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

As my guest today Akiva Silver will explain, you can start a small scale nursery with very little space. Putting a lot of plants on really tight spacings;I mean A LOT of trees on REALLY tight spacings.

When you hear it intuitively your first thought is probably, that's way too close. The trees will suffer and the roots will tangle up.

But that is not the results that Akiva Silver has had. Akiva has a small nursery business where he grows over 1000 trees on a half an acre. Thousands of trees plant tightly together in loose, friable soil. Very tight spacings that force trees to grow tall and straight in competition with their neighbors resulting in a lot of nursery stock that can be sold in the first year.

How many people out there have some extra space where they could grow a few hundred trees? Trees to use in the development of your own property or to sell. If you sold each tree for $5 or $10, then we are talking about some significant money given the amount of space it takes.

It is simple, but it does take time, it is hard work. We aren't talking about any sort of gimmicks here. It is about putting time, work, and care in to nurse these trees along to the point where you can sell them.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP063-08052014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:19am PDT

This episode is actually the audio from Jack Spirko’s talk titled just that, Building a Profitable Permaculture Business from PV1. This is his actual talk, verbatim.

In this presentation Jack gives a lot of great insight into creating the framework for a profitable, meaning sustainable, business. He touches on different traits that a successful business should have including a well-defined mission statement and a well-defined revenue model.

Jack also throws out some ideas for building a business around permaculture.

Whether you are a farmer, a consultant, or someone looking to take all of that permaculture knowledge that you have up in your brain out to the world, then this episode is for you.

This episode is full of real world, practical advice that you can apply today.

It is advice that can make you money.

It is advice that can hopefully help get you thinking about that career in permaculture that you are always thinking about. And that is a lot of what I am about, getting people thinking about taking permaculture from a hobby, to a right livelihood, a career in permaculture. If that is your thing then hopefully this episode delivers some value to you.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP060-07222014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

I welcome Frank Golbeck of Golden Coast Mead on the show today.

Frank story is a great example of someone who went after their dreams in a smart and systematic way. He isn’t any different than any of us. He didn’t start with a huge some of money or some other advantage. But the difference between Frank and a lot of people is that took on the scary unknown, the hard part starting.

Fast forward ahead a few years and the dream has become a reality. Things still aren’t easy, but they are very real and Frank is enjoying every moment of it.

No matter where you are at in your life, I think Frank’s story is inspirational and highly copyable. Hopefully something in here will resonate with you and will inspire you to start that thing that you always wanted to do.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP052-06172014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:19am PDT

Every story has a beginning. Including our own. So many of us want to live out our own story and go from A to B. But where do you start and how do you prepare for that journey.

I am happy to welcome Bill Bean from to the show today.

Bill is going to talk about business plans and planning for business. As Bill defines it figuring out a way to go from point A to point B using organized common sense. It is about thinking about things ahead of time. Focusing on things in a rational way so when problems hit you don't react emotionally because you've thought it through - you have a plan.

Part of the planning process is also about understanding the magnitude of change you want to take place. Do you want a big change, or a small change. Where do you want to be in three years? Figure that out and now you have a direction to head in. Then you just have to build a plan to get there.

This is not an episode about creating pro-forma financials or filling in a template or boiler plate plan. This is more about the higher level thinking that goes into the creation and skeleton of the plan itself. Once you figure this part out then the details will fall into place. In any business you don't have to know all of the details at the beginning, just that it is a unique viable business that provides value to specific set of customers, and you can deliver.

Remember, this episode is about thinking about your plan and the process. If you take the time to think about the things that are scary or intimidating up front, when no risk is on the table, it makes taking them on a lot easier because suddenly they aren't so scary or intimidating anymore.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP048-06032014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Chad Sentman of Action House Productions joins me to about video, permaculture, and business. Chad is the videographer that filmed PV1. He is also an permie entrepreneur who started his own video production company. Now he is using those skills to get more involved in permaculture.

In the podcast we talk about the idea of permaculture looking at itself more holistically - getting more people from other fields involved in permaculture. Lawyers, financiers, real estate agents, etc. - not just permaculture designers and agriculture related fields.

Chad will talk about filming video and give you some tips on producing good video.

And we will finish up the podcast talking business.

"Instead of focusing on why something isn't possible, focusing how you can make it happen."

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP044-05062014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:30am PDT

John Pugliano of Investable Wealth joins me to talk about navigating the fear of leaving one job and starting a fresh career.

One key theme that I hear from a lot of people is that they want to transition from their job doing X into doing Y (something related to permaculture). But that desire to make the transition is often overshadowed by fear, fear of the the unknown.

Common fears include:
How can I afford my mortgage, insurance, food for my kids, etc.
What if my business fails. I will be financially ruined.
I have too much debt, so I can't afford to quit my job.

These are some of the many reasons that John and I have heard from people when it comes from giving up income 'certainty' for the unknown income volatility that comes with being self employed. These reasons, may or may not be justified. Often times these are just quick excuses that someone comes up with for why they really don't want to do do what they say they are going to do.

That's all totally fine. Follow your own path But if things really seem scary, then take some time to run the numbers, ask the tough questions, and figure out a way to de-risk things. Maybe it really isn't as bad as you first thought..

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP041-04222014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 6:26am PDT

Toby Hemenway joins me to talk permaculture - how permaculture has changed and how we can work more permaculture into our lives.

Toby also talks about being one of instructors for the new Ecological Landscaper Immersion Program that is being put on by the Erik Ohlsen and the Permaculture Skills Center.

Key Takeaways

It really benefits anyone in almost any field to be able to think in whole systems. Someone who embraces permaculture can do a lot more than teach and design property. Apply permaculture techniques and principles to what you do.

Find good mentors. Many people want to help others. You just have to ask.

Some standard economic training is good. You can get a great toolkit and then apply it however you want. Standard training is a tool, a means to an end if you goal is ecological design.

Catch kids while thinking in whole systems. Before they are trained out of it into compartmentalized thinking.

Starting with soil fertility and building organic matter is a good idea. It is almost a universal panacea along with being careful with water.

Move to the highest generalization. For example, do you want to open a store, or do you want to make a living providing good products for your community.

Find the things in life that you are really good at and do those things. It gives you good feedback and then you start building confidence and making forward progress.

Want to transition careers? Find ways to make it less scary - lower expenses.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP037-03282014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 8:05am PDT

Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture joins me to talk about the business of permaculture - a right livelihood.

We live in a world where we are surrounded by environmental liabilities that have a real economic impact. So why not solve those problems and earn a living in the process?

Rob talks a lot about approaching permaculture as a profession. What opportunities are out there. What works in permaculture based business and what doesn't. And how we in the permaculture community should embrace business, charge an appropriate price for our services while we solve the world's problems.

This episode should dismiss the myth of the pauper and permaculture. There are legitimate large scale problems that need to be solved. And permaculture provides a matrix of solutions to solve those problems. There are a huge number of business opportunities out there do what you love to do, earn a living, and make a better world. The hardest part? Just getting started.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP035-02282014.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 9:03am PDT

John Kitsteiner of Temperate Climate Permaculture joins me to discuss his series of blog posts, The Myth of the Perfect Job.

So many of us are stuck in the rat race. We want to be farmers, homesteaders, or something else that involves working closer to home, and not for the man. But we never end up doing that. Why? I think people are either afraid to take a risk and start, or they don't know where to start.

This podcast should start to address both of those issues and at least get you thinking.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

Be careful of the danger of just pursuing your passion. At the end of the day you have to make a living and get some sort of yield for your work.

Balance: Biological, physical, social, spiritual health. Most people focus on one or two areas, not all. Consider this when pursuing a career path.

Start looking for a career where your passion and skills overlap. Then start adding in what does the world need (will they pay for it) and does it have meaning to your own life.

Think about if a new career is sustainable. Could you do it every day all day for the next 1, 2, 5, 10 years? Along with all of the side baggage that goes with it - accounting, marketing, legal, etc..

A lot of marketing is driven to you to consume more stuff. Often times that consumption is fueled by debt and is filling a void to pursue happiness.

Forcing kids into careers. How many people were "forced" down a career path by parents, counselors, and teachers because it "was a good career path." And the you could parlay that career into a life of "success with a big house, nice car, and a whole bunch of bills.

Embrace the idea of having a few primary careers, and multiple secondary careers. That creates resiliency and helps to eliminate boredom and burnout. Permie examples - think: Paul Wheaton, Joel Salatin, Darren Doherty, Rob Avis.

Permaculture Principle 10: Use and value diversity. "Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which is resides." [] Apply this thought to careers and finances. Embrace the diversity to meet your needs and become more resilient.

Money is the excuse, but fear it the reality. It doesn't take a lot to get our needs met. But it takes courage to step away from the rat race.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP025-12202013.mp3
Category:permaculture,business -- posted at: 7:02am PDT