By Diana Gomez
Saving the planet has to happen organically, one individual at a time. As an entrepreneur, you have the world at your fingertips to do as you please.
The decision to start your own online business is alone a huge step in the eco-friendly direction. Think of the good you’ll do by staying at home and off the road, for instance. Fewer overhead costs also means less energy used. You’re the boss, so you have the right to decide that you’ll recycle daily or send vendors paperless bills.
But beginning your own business means you can do more than using less paper — it means you can actually make your living with a green business idea. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas to help get the creative juices flowing.
Recycled Clothing Shop
Why not start an online clothing store? With resources and platforms like Etsy available, it’s easy to do your part for the planet by selling used goods, turning your products into recycled ones. Whether it’s vintage clothes, designer labels, or regular modern wear, you have a market. And the best part? Besides an environmentally satisfying career, you get to shop for a living. And once you get started, you’ll find that friends and friends of friends will even give you their used stuff to sell — for free.
So maybe hoarding clothes isn’t your thing. Love to work with your hands? Try your hand(s) at taking old, thrifted or roadside furniture and turning it into a work of art. Take a look around and you’ll notice that more and more homes are full of furniture that’s used but endearingly rustic. Many stores are even filled with tables and chests that are brand new, but made to look shabby chic. How senseless is that when you can create the real deal? People will appreciate the heart you put into your work. And you’ll be saving a tree or two in the process.
It doesn’t take a serious environmentalist to figure out how wasteful events can be. And whether it’s a business meeting, a wedding or a festival, bringing people together often brings up the problem of wasted materials, energy and water. By becoming a green event planner, you can use your eco-friendly know-how to make decisions that are not only mindful of the planet but also ones that clientele will be grateful for. It can be frustrating attending a concert that doesn’t recycle beer bottles or a nighttime event that’s unnecessarily lit up. By making sound decisions in your event planning, it can not only save you money, but the business image it generates can only be positive as a result.
The yummiest thing you could do as a business owner is to grow your own vegetables and consider selling them at your local farmer’s market. The organic movement is in full force, and so it’s a great time to use that as a launching pad for your dream (green) business. If cooking’s more your thing, consider a baking venture. Yes, you can make it as an online baker! There are plenty of sellers on Etsy who make their living sending beautiful edible goods off to faraway places. There’s no reason you can’t get in on that, giving yourself an edge by making your products totally organic. When possible, use ingredients you can grow yourself or buy locally, like herbs and fruits.
If you’re laughing at the thought of growing foods or cooking them, but you’re still interested in the notion of being good to your body, why not start an online business as a green nutritionist? The number of people needing guidance away from processed, convenient foods toward whole, real food is a growing one. Why not elect yourself as their savior? You could go the extra mile and create (or hire someone to) an app to complement your efforts by providing clients with a place to track what goes in and helps people choose what to eat next. Forget counting calories and tracking how many steps you walk in a day. Get back to the basics and help people eat more like our grandparents and less like Homer Simpson.
Green Trade Sites
Why not take the idea of renting a movie by mail further and apply it to other types of used goods, which saves money on purchasing tons of new stuff? I read an article recently about a guy who’s applying the notion to renting used ties online. Never buy a new tie again! Why not rent out a hat by mail or a set of tea cups for a special party? The creative options are endless.
What kind of online green business have you been impressed with lately?