Lesson #3: Start With What You Have

When launching any business it’s easy to get frustrated with inadequate resources. Don’t get me wrong, there are some occupations where expensive equipment is needed but when Cale and I started Green Couch Design we knew we had to build a business with the resources we had on hand. We started with what we had.

Nearly two and half years ago, on an October Monday, we met up from our corporate design jobs for a quick lunch date. We had been talking for years about running our own design firm, but it was time to draw a line in the sand and just go for it. We decided then and there that unless we felt a blatant “no” within our spirits we would quit our jobs come the first of the year. That was Monday. On Thursday Cale was laid off from his Architecture job. Obviously this was not the plan we had figured out in our heads, but we saw this as an opportunity and a definite sign that it was time to pursue our dream of establishing a business around our home life.

At that time I continued working full-time while Cale started up the business from home. Because of my employment at that time we could not offer any kind of graphic design services. We had to come up with another way to make a living; an original idea that would allow us to show off our design skills in a creative way. With no savings, not even a printer for our computers, and an income that barley covered our monthly living expenses we had to design products using the materials we had on hand.

For us, that was an extra bag of concrete found in our old Milk Barn.

Once we narrowed down the materials we had available we began asking the following questions:

  • What products have been made with this material before?
  • What products can’t be made with this material?
  • What are the type of products that people want to buy on a regular basis?
  • Are there everyday items that are typically seen in a gift/retail shop that you could put a unique spin on?

When starting your own business it’s easy to get intimidated by the lack resources that are available. Don’t get me wrong there are things that are needed to start a business, but you cannot let a lack of resources stop you from moving forward! In the beginning when we found ourselves in need of extra overhead to produce products we would look around the house and see what we could sell off? We sold all kinds of stuff from old windows we replaced in the old farm house to a quesadilla maker! Ultimately, we refused to let lack stop us from moving forward.

We didn’t know at the time that a bag of concrete would help launch and establish our little business, but out of it grew a series of concrete jewelry, candle holders, and pots! Obviously we don’t sell all these items today, but that bag of found concrete gave us a starting place to hone in on our craft, experiment, and find a niche that is truly original to what Green Couch Design is today.

Who knows, maybe it’s your lack of resources that will be the thing to force you out of your box and into an idea that is uniquely your own! :)

Are you having a hard time getting started with your home based business? What resources do you feel like you are lacking? What resources do you have access to that you may not have considered before reading this post? Have you or do you know of someone who has come up with a new idea or spin on a product due to their lack of resources?

From the Farm

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About meg:

I like curly lines, and the simple joys of life. Good coffee and the perfect souffle.

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8 Responses to “Lesson #3: Start With What You Have”
  1. 04.05.2012

    Love this and LOVE your concrete jewelry! Sent you a little message on the GCD FB page yesterday :)

    • 04.05.2012

      Thanks Briana for ALL of your encouraging words. I just responded to your FB message. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Summer

    Your story is a gem! Write a little ebook about it :)

  3. Regina

    Thank you for the inspiration. Yes, I am in the same boat but you have helped me to not focus on what I don’t have but to use my imagination and the resources I do have.

    • 04.06.2012

      So glad to hear that Regina! Hang in there and look for ideas outside of the box!

  1. [...] Meg & Cale, my friends over at Green Couch Design have this lovely little series, I’m loving L... thistexanwife.com/2012/04/07/weekend-note-4-7-12
  2. [...] Meg & Cale, my friends over at Green Couch Design have this lovely little series, I’m loving L... comeandtakeitblog.com/2012/04/07/weekend-note-4-7-12
  3. [...] using the materials we had on hand. For us, that was an extra bag of concrete found in our old Milk Bar... karapaslaydesigns.com/blog/random_posts/inspire-me-series-green-couch-design

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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