I use Craigslist randomly (and cautiously) to check out any opportunities that people may have posted. You would be surprised what kind of lead generation can happen when you are just clicking around. One day, I noticed a local listing that would prove to turn into a viable side business on it's own. The ad stated that transportation was needed for a crew of Amish workers who were building houses for a contractor. The pay was a set amount every day and the only requirement was that you supply the vehicle and be timely and dependable. After figuring the drive time I calculated it was about 4 hours worth of work every day and would fall very early in the morning and in the late afternoon (toward the end of the traditional business day). Considering the pay would potentially generate $1000+ monthly, I decided to give it a try.
To be honest, I am not sure what I expected at first. I know there are many people who have daily dealings with the Amish and have known them for years. For me, the only things I had ever experienced were what I had seen in movies or TV or the occasional sight of them at a distance. Making the first trip out to where they lived showed me the basics of their lifestyle and desire to attain "simple living" and be unattached from what they perceive to be the hang-ups of the modern world. The choices of how they dress and live were not what surprised me (I already knew that mostly). The thing that immediately struck me was how dedicated and strict they are to a schedule. Their entire lives are streamlined around getting the most done every single day. By the time I arrived at the first worker's house in the mornings it was 7 a.m. and they already had been up for at least 3 hours and done more "morning chores" than the average person probably does all week. Yet, there they were ready to load up in the van and get going to the job site to build a house for the next 8 hours. After taking them home around 5 or 6 p.m. they would then proceed to do "evening chores". In the 6 months I personally drove them, I never heard any of the 7 or 8 workers that I met complain in the least. This is not just expected of them but it is accepted by them gratefully. Clearly a stark contrast to the attitude and outlook that most people have in the modern world.
The other aspect that jumped out at me was one that I recognized and appreciated greatly. The Amish devote much planning and hard work to developing multiple income streams so that they are not reliant on just one source of income. The past few years have seen a major focus arise in the business, start-up, and "side-hustle" communities on the importance and flexibility of having multiple income streams. To hear some people talk about it there is almost the feeling that it is a new and revolutionary concept. Let me just say, I think the Amish are old hands at it. It was refreshing to see them taking the same concepts of what so many online and in business hope to achieve and doing it on a small, direct, "offline" scale. Of the families I had the privilege to meet, there were varying scales of income from ventures ranging from raising cows, selling milk & eggs, planting & harvesting crops, saddle/leatherwork, baking, cleaning services, and, of course, the contracting of house construction services. These were just the ones made known to me. I have to believe that there are surely more across the entire community.
I have since hired a driver at an hourly rate to drive the van I dedicated for this route.