As I was driving from my parents’ house over the weekend, I went by a house with a handmade sign in the yard that said:
“Topsoil for sale”
Makes sense, the homeowners dug up the ground for some project, they don’t need the dirt, so they’re selling it.
It reminded me of a business concept I read a while ago…
“Sell your sawdust”
The idea is that you take the by-products of your work and package them together for the benefit of your clients, your marketing or yourself.
Lumbermills have a ton of excess sawdust. Instead of throwing it away, they use it for heat in the winter, turn it into particle board or sell it to other industries like farmers (for animal bedding) and landscapers (for mulch).
Sawdust isn’t just an easy way for lumbermills to get rid of waste, it’s a key part of their business model. Some industry experts say that these byproducts have been the saving grace of the lumber industry.
Think about your business, do you regularly have by-products from your work that you could repurpose in other ways?
In what ways can you use your “sawdust”?
Personally, I do this:
For my clients: When I answer a question for a client which I think others could find useful, I’ll turn it into a blog post or a newsletter.
For myself: Whenever I create new code, I put it in a folder that I can go back to in the future. Then I’m not always starting from scratch.
The extra effort it takes in the short term will pay dividends in the future, making business more productive and profitable.
The Takeaway: Find ways to repurpose by-products of your work to make your business more efficient.