Microgreens Business Plan

 

Earn $1,000/week growing and selling microgreens

 

Follow this step by step guide to starting your own profitable microgreens business.

 

The lovely Sarah, of Nightlight Farms, showcasing the microgreens for sale at the Portland Farmers Market.

 

What are Microgreens?

Microgreens are one of the most profitable crops you can grow, often selling for more than $50 per pound.

Microgreens are great because of their high value and fast growing times. They are perfect as a standalone business or addition to any small farm.

Best of all, a crop of microgreens can be grown in 10 days inside under lights or in a greenhouse.

Growing and selling microgreens is one of the best ways to start your urban farm. They’re easy to learn to grow, will bring cash in quickly, and allow you to focus your time on getting new customers.

 

Cover - The Complete Guide to Growing and Selling Microgreens

 

I’m here to teach you step-by-step how to grow and sell microgreens for profit.

 

 

My loyal customers at the Portland Farmer’s Market

 

Starting a business takes hard work

Starting a successful business takes hard work, perseverance, and no shortage of elbow grease. I’m not saying this to discourage you, just to set the expectation of what your journey will look like.

Anyone who’s started a business knows how scary it can be. There is so much unknown to deal with, and it can often feel overwhelming just trying to figure out where to start.

The key to building a successful business is just getting started and showing up every single day. You’ll soon find that no one single task is difficult. The real challenge comes from knowing what to do and when to do it.

I wrote this guide as a step-by-step path you can take to success. My goal is to give you confidence that growing and selling microgreens is something that you can do.

 

 

“But I’ve never grown anything”

Neither had I. When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. I barely even knew what microgreens were.  BUT, that didn’t stop me for two very important reasons.

1) I believed I would figure it out.

2) Microgreens are easy to grow. Once you have the fundamentals that I’ll teach you, you’ll be off and running.

 

To illustrate this, I’ll tell you exactly how I started Nightlight Farms.

Curtis Stone, a successful urban farmer, and I were co-teaching a week by week urban farming course. The premise was that if he could teach me to start an urban farm, we could teach you.

I was the guinea pig.

As I hustled to find a plot to get started on, I realized that I wouldn’t have time to find a plot, secure it, and start growing on it, and still keep up teaching our weekly lessons.

Curtis suggested I check out microgreens because you can grow them in a small amount of space. I had no idea what microgreens were. After a bit of googling, I got a rough idea of what they were, and decided to try my hand at growing them in my basement.

That day, I found myself at the local garden nursery and bought the following:

  • Six packets of different types of seeds
  • Potting soil
  • Five Germination Trays
  • One fluorescent grow light.

It still makes me laugh to remember how little I knew, and how excited I was to get started.

 

The very first supplies I bought for Nightlight Farms.

 

 

When I got home, I put the soil in the trays, distributed the seeds, and then watered them by, I kid you not, pouring water from a big jug through a spaghetti strainer. I had no idea what i was doing, but the important thing was that I KNEW I was going to figure it out.

Three days later, I was elated to see that the seeds had sprouted. I then put them under the fluorescent grow light.

Another three days later, I was disappointed to find that they grew tall, skinny, and looked terrible. Certainly no one would be buying these sad looking greens.

I soon learned this was because the lights were too far from the young microgreens. (1st crop pictured below)

 

The first crops. Notice how leggy they are as they reach for the light that is too far away.

 

The next day I sowed another crop, this time much more densely. When it came time to put them under lights, I made sure to bring the light within 12 inches of the crop. This made all the difference in the world. They turned out perfectly!

 

 

The next crop of microgreens. Notice how much denser they are planted, and how much thicker and healthier they look.

 

Now that i had gotten the knack for growing these, it was time to try my hand at selling them…

I bought a package of competitor’s microgreens from the local grocery store, took them out of the packaging, and replaced them with my own.

I then placed a Nightlight Farms label on them, and headed out to try my hand at selling these to local restaurants.

What a scary day!

I was absolutely terrified. Luckily, I went for it anyways. I made a list of four restaurants that I wanted to meet with in Portland, and headed out.

With a bag full of microgreens, and my stomach in my throat, I asked to speak with the chef at Blue Hour (a restaurant in Portland).  He met me in the kitchen, quickly looked at the sheet I had printed, and said, “Not interested.”

What a bummer.

I went to two more restaurants, and got similar responses. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, my spirits were low.

Nothing sounded better than heading for home and calling it a day.

 

But, I had told myself that I would go to all four restaurants, so I decided to head for the last on the list, Besaw’s.

When I walked in and asked to speak to the chef, I was directed back into the kitchen.

There stood  Cheffy. I told him what I was up to and asked if he’d like to try a sample.’

He seemed amenable and tried the sunflower shoots.  He loved them!

I could hardly believe it!

He said he’d love to put in an order and asked how soon I could make the delivery.

Best of all, for five pounds!

Astonished. told him I would be back in two weeks with his order, knowing full well that I had no idea how I was going to produce five pounds of microgreens!

On the bike ride home, I immediately started figuring out how I was going to be able to make this order happen within two weeks. With a bit of imagination, I came up with a design for a high capacity growing station. Basically, 4 shelves of plywood sheets that could handle 64 trays of microgreens.

In the next days, I got my tools out, and built myself a grow station. It had four levels and could handle 64 trays. (pictured below)

 

The microgreens growing rack, ready for harvest. Notice each level can support 16 trays. With 4 levels, and about 1 pound of microgreens, per tray, we’re looking at 64 pounds of microgreens. All in the space of a sheet of plywood (4 x 8′).

 

Exactly 14 days later (four weeks after learning what microgreens were), I was making my first delivery!

It was one of the most exciting days of my life. I couldn’t believe I had started a business selling to a high end restaurant in such a short amount of time.

 

 

Making my first delivery to a local restaurant. Only four weeks after learning what microgreens were!

 

My imagination went wild. I made a map of every single restaurant in Portland. Within a few months I had 15 weekly restaurant customers, and had to build even more growing infrastructure.

The following season, I acquired an insulated shipping container, and built my operation into it. That season I also got a couple helpers and we started selling to the local farmer’s markets.

Soon we were hitting peak sales of over $2,000 per week. Nightlight Farms was truly thriving.

As word got out about my success, other people starting asking me for advice.  I was happy to help them get their business starts.

It felt great to work with new entrepreneurs and hep make their business succeed.

 

As time went on, I found myself answering the same questions time and time again from more and more people. Finally, I realized I could help everyone more effectively by putting my step-by-step process in one place.

After 3 months of putting my wisdom into words (a whole new challenge in itself!), I can now present to you..

The Complete Guide to Growing and Selling Microgreens.

 

The microgreens in action at Besaw’s Restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

 

 

Is this right for you?

 

Growing microgreens certainly isn’t for everyone.

It is far better to be realistic at this point and say no to building this business than to force it and fail.

Let’s determine if this is a fit for you.

 

We need to determine two things:

#1 – If growing and selling microgreens can be profitable in your market.

#2- If you are the right fit to succeed at a microgreens business.

One big reason why this may NOT be good for you

 

You can’t commit the time and energy needed to start a business

Building a business isn’t for everyone, and that’s just fine.

Before you go on any further, take a minute now to ask yourself this question.

 

Am I willing to fully commit to building a sustainable business?

 

If you’re answer is anything less than a definitive “Yes!” this might not be a fit.  

 

However, if you are truly ready to commit to a path full of growth, challenges, and high reward for your efforts, then let’s get started together.

 

Market Research

 

Get Started

OK, you’re reading this because you’ve expressed a clear intention to build a highly profitable business.

We need to make sure that a microgreens business can thrive in your market.

It’s far better to do a bit of research now and determine that your business will succeed, than to invest the time, energy, and money,  only to find out later that there just aren’t enough customers for your microgreens.

Lots of businesses fail early on, and I’m here to make sure that you’re not one of them.

Now we’ll go through the steps to make sure you can succeed in your market.

 

I. Get to know your customers

Understanding the potential customers of your microgreens priority number one. To start, let’s identify who these two primary customers are and why they like microgreens.

 

1. Farmers Market goers

Farmer’s Market goers love microgreens because they’re delicious, fun to snack on, and a new treat they’ve never heard of.  There’s nothing like the look of gratitude a mother gives after seeing her child exclaim “I love these!”

 

2. Restaurant Chefs

Restaurant chefs love them because they’re full of flavor and will transform their plates into a beautiful work of art.

 

II. Find the customers in your market

1. Farmer’s Markets

  • Identify every farmer’s market in your area.
  • Reach out to the Market Managers and ask if they have a space available next season for you.

Example –  Two potential Farmer’s Markets

 

2. Restaurants

  • Identify all of the independently owned restaurants that have sell dinners for $12+ plates.

Example – 20 potential restaurants

 

III. Do the math

a. Determine the minimum amount you want to earn weekly

It is important to get an idea of the minimum amount of money you can accept making weekly. This value is different for everyone and I encourage you to come up with your own number. Personally, $1,000 earned per week was my minimum. Keep your minimum number in mind as you assess your market.

Example – $1,000/week

 

b. Determining how much money you can make weekly

Make a very conservative estimate of revenue based on each of these sources.

One Farmer’s Market – $400/week (average across 4 months of markets)

One Restaurant client – $75 order/week

 

Let’s look at two separate examples:

Example #1:

If we get into one farmer’s market and acquire one restaurant account we’ll earn:

Farmer’s Market Revenue: 1 x $400 = $400

Restaurant Revenue: 1 x $75 = $75

Total – $475 earned per week

If this was me, earning $475 would be below my minimum of $1,000 so I would decide not to build the business.

 

Example #2:

If we get into 1 farmer’s markets and acquire 10 restaurant accounts, we’ll earn:

Farmer’s Market Revenue: 1 x $400 = $400

Restaurant Revenue: 10 x $75 = $750

Total = $1,150 earned per week

 

If this was me, $1,150 is above my minimum of $1,000 so I would decide to build the business.

Again, these are just examples. Do your research and decide how much you can earn in your market.

 

It is far wiser to say no to building a business that doesn’t have a market, than to try and fail.

 

 

Luckily with microgreens, there is often an incredible potential to make money!

If your research shows that you and your city are ready for microgreens, let’s look at what it will cost to start this business.

Startup Costs

Here’s a quick breakdown of what it will cost to start your microgreens business.

(Most of these products can be found at your local hardware store. Costs are estimates.)

  • Growing Trays 100 @ $2.00 each – $200
  • Seeds – $400
  • Fluorescent Grow Lights 8 @ $20 each – $160
  • Soil – $50
  • Guide – $79
  • Farmers Market display- $100

Total – $989

Let’s call it an even $1000

 

You’re going to need invest $1000 initially in order to earn $1000 per week.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Then, why does it seem so difficult to start a business?

 

Because, building a business can be scary.

While no individual task is all that difficult, the combination of everything can feel overwhelming. Here are a few common issues that can keep you from starting your business:

  • Not knowing where to start
  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of organization
  • Forming the right business structure
  • Taxes
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of consistent income

I’ve experienced each of these issues first hand which led me to develop the solutions that I’ll share with you in this book – The Complete Guide to Growing and Selling Microgreens.

Over the course of 67 pages, I’ve detailed every step that you need to take to build your own profitable microgreens business in your city.

 

 

Here’s a quick look at the table of contents:

Microgreens - Table of Contents

 

What customers are saying:

“Dear Luke,

Thank you for teaching me how to get my business started. I had always wanted to make a living for myself but it always seemed so scary and intimidating. Your guide made me at ease by showing me step by step how to do it.”

–Mike Light

“I had always seen entrepreneurs and wondered how they did it. I had no idea that it could be so easy with the right guidance. Now, I’m able to contribute to my community in such a meaningful way, it’s hard to put into words. I highly recommend this guide to anyone who wants to start their own microgreens business or urban farm but is a bit scared to do it!”

–Josh Donoghue

 

“I was starting my urban farm and having a really difficult time making money. By growing and selling microgreens using Luke’s easy to understand step by step process, I am now making much more money and have more free time appreciate the benefits of being self-employed!”

–Susan

 

“I have always wanted to live my values and do something that would benefit the environment and people around me. I think deep down, I never thought it would be possible. This all changed once I discovered The Complete Guide to Growing and Selling Microgreens. I had no idea I could grow and sell vegetables to my community and actually make money doing it! It’s been an incredible journey to build my business and become a leader in my community. It’s crazy to think I’ve come so far in just one year!”

 

 

–Gina

* Testimonials Published With Client Permission.

 

 

 

3 Reasons to get started right now!

#1. Step by Step Guidance

No need to make the same mistakes I did,

I’ll take you through step by step and get you started the right way!

#2. All the bonus templates I’m including from my business ($300 value)

To help you get started even faster, I’m giving you all the templates that took me countless hours to develop for Nightlight Farms. For Free!

  • Farmers Market Revenue Tracking (excel)
  • Restaurant Revenue Tracking (excel)
  • Growing Trial Template (excel)
  • Business Card Template (photoshop)

 

#3. I’m committed to your success

As you get started, there may be some questions you’ll have that were not covered in the manual. You will have my contact information and are free to use me as a resource. In fact, I absolutely encourage you to. I will answer your questions in full detail because nothing makes me happier than helping people succeed!

What you’ll Get:

  • The Complete Guide to Growing and Selling Microgreens (PDF)
  • Business Card Templates (Photoshop format)
  • Growing Trial Spreadsheets (excel format)
  • Fresh Sheet Templates (Photoshop format)

 

How To Order

Scroll down and click on the “Buy Now” button. A window will pop up, and you can securely enter your billing information. After you submit your payment, you will instantly be emailed the book and all of the resources I’ve developed for you.

 

Luke Miller Callahan Photo

-Luke Miller Callahan

 

About me

Hey, I’m Luke Callahan, a business builder, learner, and educator. My mission is to help you build a business that provides an income for you and your family while building resilience into your community. In the last years I built Nightlight Farms to be a profitable urban farm. There is alot of opportunity to build something similar and I want to help you live your values and make a living doing it.

 

If you have any questions or comments, you can always reach me directly at: luke@localbusinessplans.com

 

 

 

 

This guide will get you on path to success with your microgreens operation whether it is a standalone business or an addition to your farm. People ask me if the $64 is worth it. I always reply that if you are truly serious about starting your own microgreens business, it is a no brainer. This guide has helped 67 other people (as of Summer ’14) start earning money within 6 weeks of buying the guide. If they can do it, you can too. Besides, there is no risk because I have a 100% money-back, no questions asked, guarantee. I mean it when I say I’m here to help you succeed.

 

 

 

Questions?

 

 

What is LocalBusinessPlans.com?

The mission LocalBusinessPlans.com is to empower entrepreneurs to build businesses that will provide healthy incomes for people while making their community more resilient and self-sufficient.

 

 

What if I don’t like it?

If such a tragedy were to occur, just reply to the order email and I will personally issue you a refund. No questions asked. I understand how scary it can be to start a business, let alone part with your hard earned money. I want to give you every chance at succeeding. That’s why I stand behind this business plan fully.

 

 

Is it worth it?

If you are going to start growing and selling microgreens, it’s a no-brainer. You can invest the $64 and soon be earning $1,000 per week. If I had had this guide when I started Nightlight Farms, I would have saved myself countless hours and frustration. When building a business, if you have the opportunity to follow in someone’s foot steps, you’d be foolish not to  do so.

 

Will you help me later on?

Absolutely. Nothing makes me happier than being able to help you make your business succeed. Feel free to email me anytime – luke at localbusinessplans.com

 

 

Buy the Guide

 

Cover - The Complete Guide to Growing and Selling Microgreens

 

Buy now for $64

 

 

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  • ben noordam

    What the best microgreens to start with

  • Sim

    Hey Luke,
    Just a question about the degree of new or further detailed content in this book on microgreens as compared to the Profitable Urban Farmer course by your good self & Curtis Stone? Cheers, Simeon

  • Sim

    Also – the text for these comments might need some changing as it’s currently invisible as white (feel free to delete this comment if resolved)

  • Fo Shizzle

    It’s a decent guide but definitely provides vague descriptions in some of the sections. Gave the feeling of reading a homework assignment that was completed the night before it was due; thrown-together. The page-count should be readily available without having to purchase the guide. Questionable practice if you ask me. For those that are wondering, it’s a 50-page PDF file. Not hating, as it does contain some useful information. Just giving an honest opinion.

  • ants

    I just found this article. I live in Portland, would you say there is still a market for microgreens or is it saturated?

  • Rene Alfaro

    why dont I see any comments?

    • Luis Eduardo Gómez De Aranda J

      Yeah it’s weird, the text is white. If you select the text, you can read what people have written – that’s how I found yours :)

  • http://cannabischurchfl.simplesite.com/ TheFirstCannabisChurchFlorida

    Nice job

  • Luis Eduardo Gómez De Aranda J

    Wow, I’m impressed you’re able to cover so many trays with just one 4-foot fluorescent … or am I getting it wrong?

    From your shopping list I think you got two lights per tier (thus the total 8 lights) or am I wrong?

    It’s a pretty awesome business you got yourself there. In these days where all the kids want to be the next Zuckerberg it’s nice to see young people getting interested in agriculture – with a twist! :)

    Best of luck to you my man!