There’s a measure of risk in being your own boss. Will my business plan work out? Is there any demand for my product and service? Do I have the skills and outreach in order to meet sales goals? Is sufficient infrastructure in place?
All business owners have to ask themselves these questions and more. I am no exception.
Why I Quit My Day Job
In mid-January 2017 I left a career of 17 years to pursue my dream as a small acreage homestead farmer and small business owner. Now I am my own boss. I left behind the security of my salaried job, health insurance, 401K match, and other benefits for an ideal. While the decision was easy, the reality took time and effort. After identifying my goal to be a homestead farmer and acquiring the necessary property, I spent the next three years developing the business plan. Then the opportunity to put that plan into action became a reality.
We decided to leave our second home in the city and live permanently in our country home. And while both my wife and I enjoy(ed) our secular employment, my wife decided she would prefer to stay with her organization and I would build my business. We also decided not to find another nanny for our daughter after our nanny gave notice that she was having another baby and would be unable to continue on with us. So, instead I am privileged to play the part of the stay-at-home dad, educator, and kid coordinator. These two major changes and the knowledge I gained by researching, planning, and building skills as a homesteader prepared me to jump right in.
Have you wondered, “How can I quit my day job, start my own homestead business, and be my own boss?”
Well, is a simplification of your lifestyle possible? Is the pursuit of the American consumerist dream getting in the way?
A Sustainable Homestead Business Plan
A sustainable homestead business requires a business plan, budget, expense tracking, and an audit and reform process. In late 2016 I was invited to guest post on a friends blog as part of a series she wrote on Alternative Living Arrangements. Within that article I share some of the ideas I had to make our homestead pay for itself and reduce our family’s expenses. Continuing those efforts, and as part of my business plan today, I’m forging on in several areas of interest. I’m counting on a small profit from the soy-free, organic egg production. The demand for eggs from the neighbors is sufficient. As backup a local grocer offers a fair price for any unsold dozens. A nearby French restaurant has committed to purchasing any colony rabbits I raise. I’ve already received my organic, non-GMO seeds for the large vegetable garden this spring. And maple syrup sales are good.
Together, my daughter and I are telling buyers at the market and people we meet at her ballet and our area community events about our available products. If I convert an unused portion of the barn I will have a storefront for local craftspeople to showcase their goods. There is room for additional livestock in the existing outbuildings and available pasture space. Interest in pasture-raised organic pork is high. We decided not to list the mother-in-law unit again after our renters left at the end of 2016. Instead we are exploring adding a guest house as a rental property. A local non-profit is interested in a CSA partnership (community supported agriculture) and a maple syrup event. And there are many more potentially profitable ideas I have that need to be put to paper.
Will any of the homestead ideas above work for you and your family?
A budget is in place for each product and service. I track expenses. Furthermore, when adjustments are necessary they are made quickly and decisively in order to ensure profitability or savings. When one of these becomes a drain on resources it will be reevaluated and potentially cut from the business model. Worth noting is that having a variety of products and services going year round ensures opportunities to determine demand in new markets and generates interest in existing markets.
While the risk of being my own boss and running my own business is great, the reward is already worth it. I get to spend every day with my daughter. We enjoy quality and quantity time together as a family. And my dream of running a sustainable homestead is even closer to reality now.
What goals have you made in order to reach your dream of being your own boss and running your own business?