Category Archives: Time and Money

Crawling to the finish

I think I haven’t done much on my diploma, or this website, for pretty much a whole year. I’m not going to beat myself up about that. I was busy bringing a human being into the world. But now she’s here, and we’ve got our routines, I need to just finish this thing. Why is finishing something so hard? I have done more or less all the work, I just need to present it in a compelling way.

 I have never been much of a ‘finisher-completer.’ I am far better at having ideas and getting them going than I am at seeing them to completion. It’s probably one thing doing this diploma has driven home. It’s now a matter of pride to take bite-sized chunks and see them through to completion. I am doing well in other areas of my life, but finishing the diploma seems to elude me. I know why though. I haven’t given it full headlights-on focus. I need to think about it, and just it, for a period of time. And that’s the issue… I am doing plenty of other things (not least looking after a baby) and they seem (and frankly are) more important than what my brain now regards to be ‘admin.’ But, but… I have to finish this darn thing so I need to make time and space to do so. 

So, here’s what I am going to do… I am going to set myself two simple tasks… 

1. Read the diploma guidance manual in detail and check how I should be presenting my designs (and whether I have missed any steps). 

2. Contact a diploma tutor and ask them to look over my designs (I jettisoned mine a number of years ago). 

That shouldn’t be too hard! 

Now, where am I up to with my designs? I’m afraid not a lot has progressed but a few things have. 


Action Learning Pathway

Not redesigned. I need to be honest with this one. It’s less of a redesign and more of a historical document. I just need to write down what I did. I’m happy to be honest about this. Were I to do another diploma, I would be able to plan it in detail from the start, but when I started this one, I had not yet developed the skills to have that overview. So, it developed piecemeal, and designs chopped and changed though my focus was always on developing designs for livelihood. So, I think this design needs to be a sort of ‘how my diploma panned out’ précis to the whole thing. Suddenly it’s seeming more achievable 

Action: find my original ALP and work out how I got from there to here.  


Career Design

Written up! 


Scythe Teaching

Written up! 


Permaculture Teaching

Written up!

DVD

Yet to be written up. 

Action: write it up


The Seed Blog

In all honesty, I can’t remember where I am up to with this. Implementation of this has all but ground to a halt, because of the baby and because of the need to focus on other projects. I think it’s written up in draft form though. 


The Garden

As I am currently implementing this design, I have written up what I can. I need to revisit this and finish this write up. 

Action: finish this write up


The Larder Project

Yet to be written up

Action: write it up


Fat Hens

Designed and written up!


Baby

Designed and written up! 

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My career design

I have decided to write this design as a list of goals, starting from the broadest patterns and moving towards the smallest details.  The broad patterns will be about my whole life, my raison d’etre, and the details will be about the specifics of what I am doing now.  There won’t be many SMART goals amongst the broad patterns.  I can’t set myself measurable targets for the biggest things, only aims.  But these aims will be a compass for me when opportunities come up that I am not sure whether I should pursue, so in many ways they are more valuable than the more detailed measurable goals.

Ok, here goes:

Goal 1:  Become known for my purpose, not for the ways that my purpose is expressed.   

Almost exactly this time last year, I wrote this post about my purpose in life which is,

“to enable people to create meaning and security in their lives by helping them to produce rather than consume life’s essentials – food, clothing, warmth etc – and to help people understand that the land is where all of these essentials come from.  I intend to do this in a beautiful, innovative, creative and captivating way.”

This is the basis of my career design.  This is still absolutely at the core of what I want to do with my life.  If I can focus on becoming known for this, rather than for one of the ways in which I put this purpose into practice, then I can easily take my career in all sorts of different directions.  But how do I do that?

Goal 2:  Build an community

From observation over a number of years it seems that if you can gather a community around you who believe in what you believe in (or are intruiged by it at least), then you will always have people who are interested in what you are doing.  There are hundreds of ways to do that, and I have chosen a few (yep, those secret projects again).

Goal 3:  Play to my strengths (and get other people to help me surmount my weaknesses)

There are things that I am good at (having ideas, expressing myself creatively in words, being friendly) and there are things that I am not good at (attention to detail, being a perfectionist, focusing on finance).  To achieve goal number 2, I need to play to my strengths.  And I need to get other people – hire other people if need be – to help me work around my weaknesses.

Goal 4:  Just do it

I have noticed that I keep returning again and again to the design process trying to work out why I am not enormously successful yet.  I need to remember that constant self-reflection is another form of procrastination.  Regular self-reflection is good, but constant self-reflection means that I am not doing whatever I should be doing.   Planning is extremely important, but then I need to focus on putting the plan into practice.

Goal 5:  Then just keep doing it. 

Don’t give up.  Adapt and change, but don’t give up.

Goal 6:  Maintain a balance of thinking and doing

By nature, I am a thinker rather than a doer.  I came to ‘doing’ in later life but I find that I need it as a counter-balance to the thinking (and to give me something to think about!).  At the moment, I am doing this through a combination of scythe teaching and writing which seems to work well.  I also need to make sure that I value the ‘doing’ that happens in non-career areas on my life – in the kitchen, in the garden, in the woods.

Goal 7:  Focus on creating easily distributable ‘things’ at home

Because of the plans for the rest of my life (endlessly discussed here over the past few days), it won’t be particularly easy to go to places and talk to or teach people.  For now, my focus needs to be on creating ‘things’ that people can engage with all over the world (I’m being very vague here, aren’t I…).  This may well change in the future.

So, that’s it.  My career design, guiding principles etc.  I now propose to take my own advice and shut up about the strategy and just get on with implementing.

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Am I finished? How I know when a design is done.

At the beginning of my diploma, when I was looking at my big, sprawling, open-ended designs, I wondered how on earth I would know when they were finished.  It was a good question, and the lack of clarity was definitely a flaw in my design process.  Two years in, I find that the constant process of thinking about what I want to achieve has really developed my skills in defining project  boundaries and knowing when I am done.  I find that I can come up with an idea and not only know whether or not it is feasible (through experience of biting off more than I can chew), but also know how I will know when I have finished that particular design.  I have italicised the I, because I think that markers of success are very person-specific.  For example, in a design for a business, one person’s goal might be to earn a certain amount of money, but financial goals just don’t work for me, I am not motivated by them.  I would prefer to set goals along the lines of ‘run x amount of courses,’ or ‘raise prices to x amount’.  What I have realised is that being able to clearly define what you want out of a project means knowing yourself, your priorities and what is feasible for you really really well.  So, for me, the first step to knowing when a design is done is to know yourself well and set project boundaries that fit in with that.

The second way I have discovered of knowing when a design is done it to understand the lifecycle of how things are achieved.  I wrote about this idea in this post.  It’s the Hero’s Journey, the idea which suggests that all of the stories in the world are based on one story – the monomyth.  My friend Erica has just written a book on how you can use this idea in your own life.  The hero’s journey goes (a little) like this:

The call to adventure – “wouldn’t building a garden on this roof be cool?”

The refusal of the call – “nah, it would be too difficult and I couldn’t do it.”

The acceptance of the call (this is when you get cool stuff and people want to help you) – “ok, sod it, let’s have a go!  Wow, thanks for all of the plants, mum.  Yep, it’d be really great if you helped me out.”

The belly of the whale – “Aggh, it’s really hard to get stuff to grow up here because of the wind.  This isn’t as exciting as when I started out.”

The Supreme Ordeal  – “All my plants have died.  Ok, I’ll plant the whole lot again.”

Triumphant return – “I’ve done it!  I’ve grown all these plants through a whole season on this less than easy roof. Want me to teach you?”

When I think about all of my designs, I can plot them along a point on this journey.  I have come to realise though, that a greater ‘journey’ (e.g. making a living from scything) might be made up of several smaller journeys.  You might not get your big success all at once.  In fact you probably wont.  I think that every success (for example, I feel like I have done really well with scything courses this year), heralds a rethink and a new journey.  I have discovered that it is impossible to create a design that is too big, because each big design with naturally break itself down into several smaller ones.  A garden design will do this – e.g. a smaller design for a pizza oven, for planting for beneficial insects, for year-round produce.  This ‘breaking down’ is a pretty good example of designing from patterns to details – a principle that baffled me when I first started, but which I really really value now.

 

 

 

 

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End of winter round up: Part 1

Welcome to my six-monthly round up of how my projects are going.  Please overlook the fact that it’s nearly the end of May and cannot really be described as the end of winter any more.  On the surface of things I have hardly done anything for my diploma this winter – no blog posts for four months etc – but actually I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my designs, about my motivations for doing them, about how to make them work individually and all together as a group.  What follows is fairly dense, apologies for that now.

ACTION LEARNING PATHWAY

I am using my diploma to effect major change in my life.  I have chosen to do it over four years to give myself the time to make these changes happen.  This long period of time has also meant that I can observe and redesign the more complex designs.  I’ve also used it as an opportunity to do ‘practice‘ designs in some cases.  I’m working on a redesign of my Action Learning Pathway as I have refined my ideas a lot since I used Hedvig’s as a jump off point.

One of the ways in which I have refined my ideas is working out just how big or small a project should be.  In my head, the optimum size for a single design is the size of Hedvig’s clean air plant design (which I can’t seem to find a link to right now, but I am sure Hedvig will supply in the comments).  I’ll admit that when I first saw it I thought that it was quite unambitious in its scope, but that’s before I learnt how much observation and analysis it takes to actually make a design work properly.  Now I think it’s just about the right size to be interesting without being so big that it needs to be broken down into smaller designs.  This realisation has actually made a big difference to my designs as it as given me a scale at which I feel comfortable doing observation and analysis.  I feel like I have ‘got real.’

I have also realised that there is a different between a project which is large in ‘area’ (i.e. happens over a large piece of land) and a project which is large in complexity (i.e. has lots of different facets and therefore requires lots of different mini-designs).  A design could be large in size but not complex (i.e. the coppicing design I am working on – more soon), or be complex but not obviously large and important (such as the marketing designs I have been doing).  What I realised is that it’s really hard to work out the size and scope of a project without either quite deep analysis or without doing it.

As I know that I naturally tend towards massive overblown projects that will change the whole world (and which I haven’t got a hope in hell’s chance of pulling off), this has been the biggest win of the diploma so far.  Using the design cycle has made me slow down, observe, analyse and really think about how a design will fit into my life because for me (and I suspect for most people), it’s self observation rather than external observation that makes the difference between the success and failure of a project.

So, in redesigning my ALP I have decided to include a ‘non land based design starter kit’ which can function as my jumping off place for all non-land-based designs, as well as the basic roadmap towards my goals.  I’ll include the checklist in this starter kit obviously as I am already finding it immensely useful.  I’m so glad that I managed to write those ideas down because where the hell you start a non-land based design has always baffled me completely.  There’s so much help with land based design and almost none at all with non-land-based design.

ACTION: Write up redesigned ALP and ‘design starter kit.’  

 

TIME AND MONEY

The design is a basic overview of the ways in which I make/hope to make my livelihood, how much each strand will contribute to my finances and how much time it will take.  With this design as with a few of the others, I hit the issue that it was impossible to do real observation and analysis without actually implementing it.  I found that without actually launching my scythe teaching business I could not estimate how much time it would take up nor how much money I would make from it.  My first design was based on a series of guesses.  This is because almost no one (with a few exceptions) are teaching scything at the scale that I want to do it.  Even if I could have done, I think I would have struggled to estimate how much time it would take me to get up to speed with running a micro-business (a long time).  I really feel like I had to learn by doing in this case.

Despite ostensibly being about ‘time and money,’ this design is really about me – what motivates me, what I want to spend my precious time doing.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this recently and when I have finally come to some conclusions (I’m 90% of the way there), I’ll need to do a redesign of this.  One of the biggest changes I’ll need to make is to take account of how many different income streams one person can really deal with.  I am still in favour of the poly-income (a portfolio career) – spreading out your income over a number of different streams so that it is resilient to crisis – but I have come to realise that the number of different subject areas that one person can keep in their head at the same time is limited.  Changing gears, e.g. from thinking about marketing scythe courses to writing, is an activity that takes time in itself.  Working out which strands to keep and which to drop is hard though and I have not quite come to the end of that process so I don’t feel like I am in the right place quite yet to do a redesign of this project quite yet.

Action: Time and Money redesign when ready

Two projects down… more coming up in the next posts!

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Designing information: Organising my RSS reader

bloggery pokery crop

 

I spent a few hours today reorganising my RSS reader.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and an RSS reader, like Google Reader (which I use) means that you are informed when blogs are updated and don’t have to visit them individually to find out.

I follow a lot of blogs  (yes, including interior design blogs, I am entering into ‘that’ stage of my life…)  I’m unapologetic about the number of blogs that I follow.  I do spend a reasonable amount of time looking at them which used to set up a frisson of guilt in me (Am I wasting time?  Should I be doing something ‘more useful?’).  In the end I just concluded that I was interested in certain subjects which other people wrote about so why feel guilty about garnering inspiration, information, advice and ideas.  Actually, why feel guilty about being interested in someone’s life?

I am a ruthless culler of blogs too.  I only keep the blogs that I look forward to reading, otherwise looking at my RSS reader turns into work.  I also cull blogs that I enjoy, but which give me the feeling that my life is rubbish.  These tend to be American blogs written by women whose children are perfect, husbands are perfect, houses are perfect, Christmases and birthdays were perfect…  Likewise blogs that rejig the same tired ideas.

I signed up for a few more gardening blogs today because I am looking for places to write guest posts about scything for and by the time I had added them, the list of blogs that I follow was enough to give you a migraine.  No more!  I decided to put them into really simple folders according to their subject.  Previously my folder titles had been things like ‘Inspiration’ and ‘Green Thinkers.’  They date from a time when I had many few blogs to follow, but even then they were a bit vague.  Inspiration for what?  Thinking about what?

Putting these blogs into categories was really interesting because when I was done I looked at it and thought, yep, those are my life interests.  I thought through my diploma projects and considered whether I followed blogs about all of those subjects.  The answer was, almost all of them – coppicing, preserving and scything didn’t get a folder of their own but they fit in under rural skills and food.  One area that I did notice was missing was general life design, livelihood design and blogs about money.  These are all things that I am working on very hard in my diploma and yet they weren’t represented in my blog-roll.  I think this is because I still find the idea of talking about, thinking about or designing for financial rewards a bit gross – the way I felt about marketing before I discover Marketing for Hippies.  I’ve signed up for finance/entrepreneurial blogs in the past and always unsubscribed because I didn’t read them because it made me feel icky.  I need to find someone who is talking about these things in a way that I am willing to listen to.  Any ideas?  They need to be funny and directed towards money-phobes.  I’m also looking for some life-coaching/life-organisation blogs that don’t make me want to be sick.  Help gratefully received…

After I had taken the picture above, I went and looked at these folders and put the ones with some connection to each other next to each other.  Really, they all have connections to each other in my head, but I wanted to draw out the most important ones.   Gardening, foraging and permaculture went next t each other and also next to food.  Photography and graphic design went next to each other and were also linked to lifestyle.

I have decided to read them in a different way too.  Instead of clicking on the feed for the individual blog and seeing a stream of posts just from that blog, I have decided to click on the category – e.g.  Food.  This will show me posts from all of the blogs in that category in the order that they were updated.  Doing it this way means that it’s much harder to discern immediately which blog you are reading.  This is useful because it means that I can see which blogs broadcast their individuality immediately.   For example, I predict that in the ‘food’ category I will be able to recognise Smitten Kitchen immediately because while the pictures are good but not amazing, the writing is hilarious (which is, I have to say, unusual for a lot of the blogs that I read).  I also predict that I will be able to recognise What Katie Ate immediately because of her distinctive photographic style.  This sort of observation is really useful for developing my writing and photographic style.

 

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An end of the summer round up: part one

May to September is always a crazy time for me.  There is so much scything, traveling, and general ‘doing’ to be done that I almost always lose track of my ongoing projects.  So the next few posts are going to be a catch-up of where I am with my various diploma projects – mostly for my own benefit.  I’ve also been doing my diploma for approximately a year, so it’s probably time for a general look at how I am getting on.  I’ve decided to do this by using the four questions.  These are (lest we forget):

–  What’s going well?

–  What’s challenging?

–  What’s the vision?

–  Next steps?

Project one:  Action Learning Pathway

I wrote my action learning pathway last year, right at the beginning of my diploma.  I am still extremely pleased with the projects that I chose.  I think they’re exactly the ones that I should be doing, the ones that I would be doing anyway.  So, the content of my ALP is great, but what I am finding challenging is presenting my ALP in a way that I find useful.  When I first started I copied Hedvig’s ALP from her first diploma, but now I know a bit more about what I am doing, I want something that’s designed with my own projects and aims in mind.  I want to present it as a pathway – i.e. ‘here’s the next step you have to take, and the next, and the next’ and I have been experimenting with ways of doing that but haven’t quite got it right yet.

Next step:  Keep experimenting until I find an ALP form that I am happy with, then write it up and submit it for interim assessment.

 

Project two:  Time and Money

This project is all about managing the development of my income streams.  When I first wrote up this design, I said that these income streams would be: teaching scything, teaching permaculture, writing articles, writing books and coppicing.  A year on, I am still happy with that plan, although some are further on than others, some of the plans have changed and I have had quite a few other ideas too…

I realised quickly that pursuing all of these projects at the same time would not allow me to give enough time to any of them, so I decided to focus on two – writing articles (journalism) and teaching scything.  I chose journalism because I recognised that it holds the greatest opportunities for actually making some money – a big focus for me at the moment, and I chose scythe teaching because I realised that I needed to learn a whole lot of business skills and if I could make scything work, I could make anything work.  I am treating it a little like a task in The Apprentice, but without the rudeness and recriminations if I get something wrong.

A year on, I’ve got a much better idea of the viability of these income streams and have adjusted my focus accordingly (for example focusing on journalism – with its greater earning capacity).  I’ve also decided that I do not see myself coppicing for money, but that I would like to make the firewood and building materials a big part of my household economy – working for resources, rather than the money to buy the resources.

Time-wise, everything is going to plan.  I’m spending enough time on each of my projects because I really enjoy them and I take them seriously.  Money-wise is a bit of a different issue.  Frankly, money has always been my issue…  I don’t mean that when I get it I piss it up the wall, I’m actually very frugal, I’ve just never seen the point in earning more than I really really need to survive.  Hence why I am continuously on the breadline…  However, the need for money is starting to make itself known (I’d like to buy a house, I’d like to pay for a pension, I’d like to have a reserve), so this is my focus right now.  I don’t want to earn oodles of cash, just the average wage.  But I want to do it entirely on my own terms.

My design included a set of financial targets which were frankly (mostly) wildly optimistic.  Not only did I misjudge how much money I would make from various projects, I misjudged how much time they would take me.  I got one approximately right – journalism – for which I set myself the target of earning £3000 this year which I probably won’t make but is at least achieveable should I pull my finger out.  For scything though, I set myself the target of earning £5000, and teaching 20 courses – in the first real year of running it as a business.  I failed pretty drastically at that.  I think that target might be achieveable in a couple of years time, but not in the first year when I am trying to sort everything – pricing, marketing, etc etc out.

I don’t feel like I have failed with this project this year though, actually I feel like I have calibrated the system.  I have a much better idea of how much time things will take me and how much money I can expect to earn from them.  I’m progressing, and that feels really good.

Next steps:  My next step is probably to set some more realistic goals for 2013.  Just a word on goal-setting and motivation though…  Having set myself these targets to meet, I then found myself completely uninterested in working hard in order to hit a number.  I had to admit that even though I wanted to earn more money, I still wasn’t all that motivated by it.  I thought about what did motivate me and it was learning things, meeting new and exciting people and passing on skills.  I just decided to allow this to be my motivation and to have ‘making money’ as a background driver that would kick in if I felt that I was selling myself short.  I also had another minor breakthrough recently (though it felt huge to me) which was that when I thought of money as numbers, my brain zoned out completely, but when I thought about it as a winter coat, or a set of life coaching sessions, it made a lot more sense, and motivated me to do something a lot more.  Identifying something that I want and then finding a way to make enough money to get it is immensely powerful.

 

 

 

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Developing resilient income streams

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…

 

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Club £26,244 – Obtain a fucking yield my friends (Or: ‘We need to talk about money)

£26,244 is what the average salary was in 2011 according to this article.  In my time and money design I said I wanted to be earning £25,000 per year in three years.  I plucked this figure out of the air as the amount I thought would be feasible to be earning from what I have chosen to do and it turns out it’s pretty bang on in terms of average earnings…  So this is what I am aiming for – and I’ve formed a club.  Club £26,244.  All you need to do to join is say that you want to earn this too and give yourself a time frame.

I know, many of you are recoiling in horror at this moment.  Beth is talking about money and her desire to get it.  Is this what Permaculture is about?  Money – the earning of it at least – is something that I have only just got over my distaste for doing.  I think this type of thinking is pretty endemic in the kind of ‘green’ culture that I exist in.  But actually, why shouldn’t I earn a ‘good’ (or at least average) living doing things I love to do and am good at?  Fair shares means making things accessible to as many people as possible, but it also means being fair to yourself.

Hedvig and I have had multiple conversations about how we get rewarded for what we do, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what constitutes a yield.  I think the culture greenies exist in puts other forms of economy above the monetary economy and demonises working for money.  I’ve come to the conclusion that this is bullshit.  Barter, goodwill etc have their place but aren’t better than exchanging cash.  Neither, I should add, is exchanging cash better than these ‘alternative’ economies.  Everything has its place…

Whilst sweating over hazzoumi, we talked a bit about barter and how it works in practice.  I said that in the past I had been asked to do scythe courses for free/less than I would usually.  On these occasions I usually say no (I already do lots of courses for free) and suggest that they get sponsorship or a grant to pay me to do the course.  I’d really like to offer ‘or equivalent barter’ but I wasn’t sure what I needed…  In saying this, I realised that there were loads of things that I needed.   A graphic designer, someone to look over my marketing plans and advise me, a photography teacher …  But barter here actually presents a few headaches.

First there is the thorny problem of the ‘double coincidence of wants.’  Let me explain this…  I have a place on my scythe courses and Bob wants a place on my scythe course.  Bob is a graphic designer and I need a logo.  That would be a double coincidence of wants.  If Bob is a piano teacher and I have no interest in learning to play the piano, then we have failed at the first hurdle.

Headache number 2.  Bob is a graphic designer and I want a logo, so I could swap him for a scythe course, right?  Well yes, but then the question of value comes up.  Last time I asked, getting a logo designed cost around £300 and my day course costs nowhere near that much.  Bob would feel really pissed off with our transaction if he felt like he wasn’t getting value out of it.

The last headache isn’t about methods of transaction.  It’s about dealing with people.  What if I want a logo and Bob is willing to design me a logo in exchange for a scythe course but actually, I don’t really like Bob’s designs.  Can I ask him to go away and do them again as I would if I was paying him?

Sometimes, I have concluded, cashmoney can be the way to go…  That said, my housemate recently took some professional photos (he’s a photographer) for his joiner friend in exchange for a new front door.  They were careful to work out that what they were bartering was of equivalent value though, so neither of them got annoyed.  They were careful to be fair, which is crucial.  And let’s be truly honest, most of us keep an unconscious eye on our goodwill and get irritated if we’re doing a lot for someone who isn’t pulling their weight in return.    Fairshares, fairshares, fairshares.

On another note, I am going to get a reputation as the Permie geek that swears a lot, aren’t I?

Protected: Random Assembly – How my ‘time and money’ design came about…

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Protected: Time and money design

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