As I was growing up, I made it a point (no idea where I picked this up) to keep my future options open. I knew I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I tried to do a bit of everything to see what I liked and to pad my experience level. Before I graduated college I had done all of these for money; waiter, cook, dishwasher, groundskeeper at a golf course, digger on an archeology dig, research genealogist, electricians helper, painter, body guard for a modeling agency, Pinkerton security agent, lifeguard/swim instructor, pizza delivery and substitute Middle School teacher. As I have gotten older, I have discovered that many of these varied skills have yielded multiple benefits, and they all taught me much about working for and with others.
So, as I continue to examine life after the Army, I want to keep my options open. There are a multitude of ways to build income that I see. While I am not above taking things I have grown and made to a flea or farmers market I don’t see sitting around the bed of my truck all day as particularly profitable, so here are some ideas I am exploring.
Goat herd rental: This involves a portable electrified fence, automatic watering system, guard dog and a herd of goats. The goats eat for free and I charge a modest fee to clear a piece of land, plus organically fertilize the soil.
Maker’s Space: This would be a Kickstarter type project where we rented or bought an industrial site and various large ticket equipment items. Members pay a fee to join and a replacement fee for the various pieces of equipment and they get a workspace and storage space and use of the equipment to do small scale manufacture without needing the investment capital to buy everything themselves.
Industrial Kitchen: Similar to the Maker’s Space, but a certified and inspected kitchen where food products could be prepared and packaged for resale. Members would be “employees” and all food products approved by the Kitchen staff. Individuals could then sell directly or through the Kitchen’s online store.
Artisan greenhouse: Locally, beyond organically grown tropical items with a high return. For N. AL I don’t think it irrational to believe we could grow meaningful amounts of coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, olives, cocoa and citrus, among others.
Outfitters service: Have all the equipment necessary to outfit various outdoor activities and be expeditionary, so if a group wanted to hike the AT in NC, we would meet them at a pre-determined location with the necessary gear and even provide guide services and instruction upon request. There are some licensing issues with this in relation to NF land, but there are areas it is feasible.
Permaculture design and instruction: I have not found many people doing this in the SE yet, looks like a wide-open market.
Reenactment vendor/blacksmith: travel to historical reenactments and renfaires and sell my wares and practice my trades. I talked to a blacksmith at one once who said he normally cleared several thousand dollars per faire, or he didn’t come back to that one.
And, my fertile mind keeps imagining.