Lately I’ve been thinking about ways I can leverage things that I am already doing for my family for the benefit of others. Specifically employed “others” who might be willing to exchange a few dollars for a beneficial service. Full time employment is an enormous commitment of time and energy and it does not leave a lot of time to prepare healthy meals from scratch. I know because I used to try to do both. Thankfully I gave up conventional employment but I continue to create high yield and healthy dishes. None of it is gourmet but I do receive positive feedback on dishes I bring to gatherings.

My theory is that the time, effort and cost to make a few extra servings of these dishes is incremental. So I’m in the early stages of a micro-enterprise I’ll call Lunch for Friends. Lunch seems to be the meal that many struggle with as time is limited, sandwiches get boring and eating out is expensive and not usually as healthy as you’d like. I’ll structure it as a private club and invite a few friends to “buy in” the cost of 2 reusable, sectioned food storage containers, one to return each time and one for me to fill with lunch.

I really want this to be a winning scenario all around so I’ll do some beta testing with a few close (honest!) friends who can give feedback as to taste, portion size and a price that would feel like a good deal to them and will cover additional food costs plus a little for effort. The target price in my mind is around $5. It’s hard to get a healthy meal for that amount and they’ll know the source of the food and the care that went into making it.

The creative challenge for me will be to offer sufficient variety, make interesting and balanced combinations, keep overall costs down and improve efficiency in food prep and the logistics of getting the lunches to participating friends. Luckily a lot of them live close by. I’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that people I care about are eating at least one healthy meal a day!

Another idea in micro-enterprise I thought of is dog walking. If you have one and regularly go out for a walk, how much more time and effort would it be to pick up a couple of working neighbors’ dogs for a much needed midday break? I would have loved this when I was working full time and had a dog. Let’s say each neighbor pays $2/day and you’re able to walk 2 dogs in addition to yours. $4/day x 20 weekdays = $80/month. That’s not going to pay the rent but in combination with other micro-enterprises, freelance work, etc it could be something that helps you AND your time constrained neighbors. Those gifted with the talent for sewing could mend a few clothes for friends without too much additional time or effort. And so on…

Are ideas coming to you even as you read this? I’d love to hear them…

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