Bootstrap Business Ideas

The following are bootstrap business ventures that were inspired by articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

| January/February 1980

061 bootstrap business - Fotolia

Not only is home where the heart is, it's where you're likely to launch a bootstrap business.


A bootstrap business can flourish in any number of market niches. These readers established theirs in micro publishing, knitting, trash hauling, welding, and tree selling. 

I was doing my best to support six children (on a very meager salary) when I read "You Can Start Your Own Publishing Business" in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. I've always been an avid cook, and I've noticed that many mail order advertisers charge outrageous prices for no more than a handful of recipes. So I decided to put together a sizable (and, I hoped, salable) culinary collection of my own. 

My first step was to spend $50 on paper, printing, and postage . . . and before long I'd come up with a monthly newsletter called Honeysuckle, which contained not only recipes, but also household hints, energy-saving information, tips about livestock, monthly planting guides, a kitchen metric system, tables of weights and measures, caloric guides, crafts instructions, book recommendations (frequently selections from Mother's Bookshelf), and sometimes even poetry. On occasion, I also include recipes for feeding groups of 100 or more . . . as well as short profiles of some of the interesting people that I've met. 

A one-year's subscription to Honeysuckle is $15 . . . and I've made a pledge that, once 1 reach my goal of 10,000 subscribers, each of my "charter members" will receive an extra year of the newsletter free! I've made every effort to keep the price reasonable, too, so that my income will be just enough to make ends meet (before inflation moves the ends) . . . and my first year in business has already brought in an average monthly profit of $450!

Many of Honeysuckle's readers have written to tell me that they save every issue of the publication in order to pass them all down-along with their collections of MOTHER EARTH NEWS to future generations. That's about the best encouragement I could hope for from my subscribers.

Thanks, MOM, for helping to make it happen!

mother earth news fair


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