It’s been a dream of mine for sometime now to own and operate my own upcycling business. And when I tell people this, the reactions range from a subtle scoff to raised eyebrows. What exactly is upcycling?
Upcycling is the creative repurposing of waste and unwanted materials into something new and useful.
I want to leave my mark on the green movement by keeping products (that could otherwise be useful) out of the landfill. There’s just one problem: it’s not a lucrative business.
Our capitalist society does not incentivize a waste free, eco-friendly lifestyle. On the contrary, we are encouraged as consumers to buy and discard as much as possible. We live in a single-use, plastic based wasteland, and any deviation from the norm is often costly or inconvenient. In many instances, the cost to repurpose an item is more than what it’s worth after it’s repurposed. It’s a discouraging endeavor, but one I am passionate about nonetheless.
Fortunately, I’m a realist and not about to take out loans or try to pay my bills by turning trash into treasure. And my mission goes beyond upcycling. I want to be involved in the green movement as many ways as I can whether that be investing in green energy, encouraging green landscaping, or owning a rental shop to discourage people from buying products they could otherwise borrow. One silver lining is that the green movement is buzzworthy as countries scramble to deal with an ever-warming planet. I figured now is as good a time as any to break ground on a relatively new business that discourages waste and consumption and incentivizes repurposing and reusing.
Now, I’m no stranger to taking on new tasks and endeavors. I’m not easily bogged down by all of the details. I successfully lived and worked abroad, turned a bus into a motorhome, and I’m currently flipping a house. The challenge of owning my own business doesn’t frighten me. However, I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I have the tenacity, the drive, the passion, and the planning and organization skills. What I lack is a basic grasp of mathematics, and that seems important for running a business. For this reason, I’ve worked out a detailed plan to initiate small, self-funded steps to make my dream a reality. I’ve done all the research about writing up a business plan, read the books, and set up multiple avenues for marketing. After all, this isn’t my first rodeo. I went through this process when writing an e-book about how to turn a bus into a motorhome. It was a fantastic learning opportunity, and I made plenty of mistakes along the way.
My biggest challenge is trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to convince people to buy repurposed items and invest in green living in our consumer driven, economically unstable, politically divisive world? I try not to get overwhelmed by the big stuff and focus instead on my community here in the 417. Start small and work your way up. I can’t tell you how many people have told me this. And they’re right.
But where do I start?
As with most endeavors, I begin with research. At first, I decided to research just how far gone we are in destroying the only planet we have to live on. The numbers are daunting. I would love to believe climate change is all a big hoax, but the data is there. We really are in trouble, and it’s only going to get worse. I’m not a climatologist, but I believe the experts. It’s time for us to radically change the way we deal with resources.
Rather than try to convince people that we really are in trouble, and that climate change is real, I’d rather take the approach of promoting green living as a way to save time and money. It’s hard to convince doubters of anything, but who doesn’t want to save money and live more comfortably? I want my business to go beyond upcycling. My big vision is to be a green living consultant that offers a variety of services based on a step by step guide for living the greenest life possible. I’ve developed a rough draft of a 10-step guide for achieving green living. We’ll get more into that later.
I believe the first step to greener living is organization. Removing all the clutter and junk from one’s home will make it easier to recycle, reduce, reuse, and all of the other activities necessary to reduce one’s carbon footprint. I’m going to start this journey by offering my organizing skills to friends and family, and see if I can’t expand from there. After all, if I’m going to be upcycling products I’m going to need the products to upcycle. An incentive of having one’s home organized and decluttered is the peace of mind knowing that I won’t be putting any discarded items in the landfill.
Am I nervous to begin this journey? Not really. Maybe nothing will come of it. Maybe I’ll just be another upcycling hobbyist with a tidy following. Or maybe I’ll tap into that green movement and really make something of myself. Whatever comes of this journey will be. I’m just excited to finally get started…