My permaculture diploma is largely about developing my income streams so I have been giving a lot of thought to how resilient they are (or will be). With that in mind, I decided to do a little analysis of the income streams that I am currently developing as well as ones that I would like to develop in the future to see how they hold up against uncertainty…
I asked myself several questions:
Is the income stream moveable (i.e. can I do it from anywhere)?
It’s looking more likely now that I’ll be sticking around this area for a few years, but even so, that’s not a long time in business development terms, so I looked at how possible it was to move my income stream to another place.
Is it something that needs to be worked on all the time, or can it be done/does it need to be done at certain times of the year?
Some work that I do can be done all the time (like journalism), but some of it is seasonal (like scything). Some of it (like teaching permaculture) can be organised for when I am less busy and so doesn’t need constant attention throughout the year.
Is it 80/20 (i.e. will putting a lot of work in at the beginning result in less work later on)?
Some work is front-loaded (like making contacts in journalism), while some work will always take the same amount of time and effort. I need to make some decisions about what to focus on.
Can I work outside?
When I first started my diploma, my aim was to be inside 50% of the time and outside 50% of the time. It’s been really challenging to achieve this and I have come to come interesting conclusions.
Do I need any new skills, experience or resources?
There are some potential income streams that I don’t yet know enough about. There are some that I can’t do because I don’t have the space to store equipment. There are also some that I can’t do because I don’t have that equipment. I looked at how much time, effort and money it would take to get to a place where these projects could be started.
What do I need to do in order to make this happen?
I wrote down brief notes about the path that I would need to take in order to make these projects happen.
How passionate am I about it?
This was the key question and it threw up some interesting answers…
How much money will it make me?
Not quite so important, but still a key question. It was very interesting to weigh this up against other aspects of the jobs.
And what did I learn?
(1) That I am not going to make the amount of money that I want to make from working outside. As we all know, I want to make £26,244 pa. That’s not a crazy amount of money, but it is a crazy amount if I want to do it by say, coppicing, or teaching scything alone. However, I still want to achieve my 50% inside/50% outside balance… So I have decided that I need to work smarter. There are a few things that I am training myself/being trained to teach (like teaching permaculture) and when I feel confident about teaching those things then instead of setting up a class, my first thought needs to be of developing an e-course. E-courses take loads of work in the beginning, but once they’re created, they need minimum input to maintain an income from them. They’re not connected to a place so I can move around and create them. They don’t even have to be connected to a time, if you don’t want or need to give input into the course. At their most basic, once they’re made, you can put them up on the internet and sell them while you are gardening…
(2) That space is a really big consideration for me. There are lots of things that I would be able to do if I had more space, so I need to work on getting that…
(3) That teaching and education is what I am all about, whether it’s through writing or courses of various kinds…