This post from last summer was lingering in draft mode. Now that Niche is having it’s first birthday, I realized I’d better get it posted! -Lina
This summer I’ve been going through a Transition Time as I wrapped up my Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, my Urban Design Certificate, my work with Intrinsic Ventures in the Ford District. On top of all that, I moved from my Home, Sweet Yurt into my Home, Sweet Pea. And then I immediately spent a couple weeks catching up with my long-lost family.
So as the dust settles, I’d like to introduce you to Niche Consulting LLC and tell you about my next adventures. In January I created Niche, my own sustainable design consulting company, so that I could do design and lifestyle consulting with people interested in creating their own small homes and so that I could work on sustainable development projects. You can read Lina’s Next Adventure, the letter I wrote to the folks in the Ford Building for more about that.
I remember declaring as a sophomore in college that I wanted to be a sustainability consultant someday, but I didn’t know quite what that meant. So I was researching the sort of companies for which I’d like to work. The trouble was that I was most intrigued by fringy sustainable housing ideas like natural building, cohousing communities, district sustainable energy use, and creating small homes by converting garages and basements. I couldn’t find a single company that seemed like it would allow me to pursue my passions.
But as I graduated, the parent of one of my dearest friends gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Gayle told me:
“The jobs you’ll love best throughout your career probably don’t exist yet. So just be ready for them, when they’re ready for you.”
What better way to prepare myself for all the exciting projects to come than to create a company that will allow me the flexibility to pursue them?
I give credit to three people for convincing me I could – and should – start my own company. Matt Eppelsheimer of Rocket Life Incorporated taught me an incredible amount about start-ups. Joan Grimm helped me understand that creating my own single-member LLC would enable me to work with companies like Portland Alternative Dwellings more easily on a contract-basis. And Lizzy Caston, a fellow Portland State University Masters of Urban and Regional Planning alum, inspired me to strike out on my own by telling me about creating her own consulting company. I met with her for a cup of tea in early January and by the end of the week my company was registered!
Now that my graduate school degree is complete, I have the time to see what that means to be self-employed. I’m looking forward to site managing for Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel in September, co-instructing the Tiny House Design-Build course at Yestermorrow in September-October, team teaching Tiny House Basics Workshops with Dee Williams and Joan Grimm in November, and doing some capacity-building work with Portland Alternative Dwellings. Hopefully, I’ll also have lots of opportunities to do consultations with individuals.
If you’ve who have been trying to find your niche and haven’t yet, maybe it’s time to make it! If you’d like to talk to me about small house designs or tiny lifestyle consultation, please contact me.