This week I finished saving seeds from my first batch of tomatoes.
We've had a bunch of the fruits and love the taste and how productive the plants have been. All qualities I look for in a tomato.
The seeds came from tomatoes that were overripe, had soft spots, or weren't good for fresh eating. Basically tomatoes that would be wasted in some form or another.
It was a new seed saving process for me (fermenting) but easy to learn. We've already ended up with 500 or so seeds and the season's is still going.
We can't plant these seeds right now but come next year, we have more than enough (probably enough for several years). Plus statistically-speaking, they should grow better here and produce big plants again just like the parents.
These seeds are from waste that would have been thrown away and composted. By taking a bit of time to learn how to process them, we're going to benefit from them for the next few years (and so will our neighbors we'll share with). I also learned a few time-saving tips that will make it easier to save a little bit every week.
The first time you do something it can be slow and difficult. With practice it gets easier and faster. This experience is what drives the ROI.
The ROI for the tomato seeds?
Probably saved $5-10 in seed costs and quality. Not a great exchange for the time learning yet, but I could see it taking only five minutes with practice. (And I'm not doing it for the financial ROI, I'm doing it for the genetics)
The first time you work on your SEO, you're likely to spend hours and not see very much revenue improvement. But keep it up over a year and it'll build up to a measurable bump. Year two and three, watch out.
Your first emails to repeat customers probably won't boost retention much either. But keep it going for a year and it could be driving a significant portion of your repeat sales.
Using good tools can make the learning process much easier. Mesh netting, strainers, and a dehydrator helped me save seeds more effectively. Google Analytics with a solid keyword tool can help your SEO, while Repeat Customer Insights and a decent email service provider can speed up the ROI for customer retention campaigns.