Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Self Sufficiency, Autonomy and Being a Hippopotamus

And there's always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do - The Raconteurs

I left a good job in the city
Working for the man every night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleeping
Worrying 'bout the way things might have been
- Tina Turner

Take a match and break it. Now take a thousand, hold them together and try again. Impossible.

While there is safety and strength in numbers, when you go out on your own, you will end up pushed to the brink. Don't expect support from those around you, even your most avid supporters, every step of the way (unless your business is producing cash flow immediately!).

Tim Ferris makes a great point about setting up your next income BEFORE you leave corporate. While this is common sense, for me, leaving NOW was a health decision that couldn't wait.

At any rate, you can count on the fact that people, important people, will not understand many actions you take to make your transition from coal mining slave to community building entrepreneur a successful one. For example, people tend to marginalize technologies they don't understand. "What's the big deal about Twitter? It's stupid, I don't get it, anyway." Never mind that 250 Million, that's a quarter of a billion, tweets are being posted daily. And don't get me started on the power of Facebook and YouTube!

If you can reach only a fraction of these people with some product or service, you can easily support yourself and your family. A website (or any business) that produces $200 in profit daily (average or otherwise) makes $6000 per month! Pre-tax of course, but you get the idea.

Ask Sarah Johnson hows she's doing selling travel sized perfume sticks! You can buy them here. "Because you should always smell lovely."

I don't love the idea of perfume sticks, but that's the whole idea. It only takes a few customers per day to equal freedom. That really flips the matchstick analogy on it's head, too!

The real question is, how to we turn Pizza Hippo into a website that produces cash, not just a brochure for the location of Vermont's Best Organic Pizza.

Any ideas are welcome. It's not easy being a Hippopotamus!

This just in... Pizza Hippo and the Pizza Stone have begun talks to organize a Pizza Throw Down to fund raise, potentially for Music for Minors. Thanks to Twitter, of course.

The moral of the story is to trust yourself, even when you don't trust yourself and no one else does either. Stay focused, and you too can become a hippopotamus.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Southern Vermont Pizza and the Art of Being a Hippo

"Hey, look at him", I'll never live that way
And that's okay, they're just afraid to change - Blind Melon

Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live
and let's change the way we treat each other. - Tupac

Change. The universal constant. Lifeblood of the galaxy. The antidote to a boring existence.

Today's question is: "How do you change...yourself, your life, the world around you?"

The answer is at once simple and elusive. Action. Where you go from there, what actions you take TODAY, who you enlist for help, and how smart you move when you start moving are all important parts of the puzzle.

Now let me personalize today's question. How do you quit your job, spend all your corporate money, and start a community/world changing business from your front yard with less than $100?

So far, it's been going pretty well. Quitting my job and spending the money was easy. Traveling for a year was so amazing. Even moving out of NYC to the green hills of Vermont was pretty easy, thanks to Amber and Miles. Falling in love shines a new light on many "illogical" courses of action.

Starting Pizza Hippo was a little more involved. In fact, it was an act of desperation. Sometimes it takes extreme circumstances (and a broken down Volvo) to kick start our dreams.

At any rate, selling Vermont's Best Organic Pizza from my front yard in South Windham, Vermont was an incredible experience and a great beginning. But it was just that, a great beginning.

Pizza Hippo certainly transformed our little community on Windham Hill Road, but the reach was too small. And it was probably illegal. (Like I said, an act of desperation.)

This season, we're planning to expand to five farmer's markets in Vermont (Brattleboro, Townshend, Bellow's Falls, Londonderry and Putney) as well as potentially opening an actual legal and legit pizza stand.

We're also partnering directly with Kindle Farm School to bring you the best in local, organic vegetables, all the while supporting the Kindle Farm kids' and staff's hard work.

My dream is to transform communities through the power of organic food (and to become a hippopotamus).

Today's action include starting this blog to chronicle our struggles.

What are you doing today to change the world around you?