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October 13, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Okay, so it’s strategy week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast. And nothing says “strategy” more than business planning, so that’s the focus this week. Now, the first thing you're told to do when starting a business is to write a business plan. But should you? Do traditional business plans help? Or is there a better way. Yes, there is a better way, and in this episode I'll walk you through how to create an actionable one-page business plan.
October 6, 2019
smallfarmnation.com What do most people think of when they think of branding? They think of logos. In fact, many people think that their logo is their brand. And you can’t have a great brand without a super cool logo design, can you? Today, I’m gonna tell you the mistakes you’re making with your farm logo design and what you really should be doing, instead.
September 29, 2019
smallfarmnation.com What can you do if you have a business but you’re not a natural entrepreneur? Today, I’m gonna show you how to stop working ON your business rather than being a slave to it so you can avoid burnout and realize your entrepreneurial dreams. And I've got a special, awesome download to help you do just that.
September 22, 2019
smallfarmnation.com One of the challenges I hear most often expressed from small farmers (really any small business, actually), is how difficult it is to create an email list of potential customers. In this episode, we'll discuss three keys to putting your list-building efforts on autopilot so you can grow your email list.
August 4, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Big businesses spend a fortune building their brands. But is branding important for your farm business? Today, I’m here to tell you that it absolutely is critical to build your farm brand, and I’ll explain why.
July 7, 2019
smallfarmnation.com So what’s the secret to marketing farm and local food products? Today, I’ll tell you, and set you on a solid foundation for marketing your farm and/or food products.
June 30, 2019
Free farm marketing training at smallfarmnation.com We all know that sustainably produced food is more expensive than supermarket food, so how do we explain that when challenged? This week I want to discuss a challenge that many small farmers face.  It’s one that they seem to all dread and it puts them on the defensive. It’s the whole issue of defending why their products cost so much. Or, at least seems to cost so much. Now, this is a real issue for many of us, so it’s not one we should run from. We need to be prepared to face this head on, and the better you get at this, the more it will become a non-issue. Why is that? Because, as your skill improves at conveying value, that skill will permeate all aspects of your marketing. Your blog posts, your social media updates, what you say on your website and in your email marketing. You’ll become proficient at conveying value and focusing on benefits, rather than being defensive. Before we dive in, I want you to understand something. The Dollar Store shopper isn’t your farm's customer. Or at least not for most of you. You’re not running blue light specials. I want you to understand that price objection is a good sign because it’s usually a buying signal. The prospective customer wants to buy but needs to rationalize this objection. And it’s your job to help them do just that. And in this episode, I explain how to do that.
June 23, 2019
FREE farm marketing training at smallfarmnation.com - Email marketing is a great way to sell your farm products, but how do you build a list in the first place? In this episode I walk you through the four not-so-simple steps of email list building for your farm business. You’ve heard it many times, but an email list is your most important communication asset. It’s the best way for you to control getting a message directly to your customers. But most farm websites do an awful job of list building. I mean, list building comes down to four simple steps. have a place to capture emails. drive traffic to that place give people a great reason to sign-up give subscribers a way and reason to share Of course, successful list building is much more detailed than that and requires tools and know how. I just covered all this in an 11-video course on list building. That was released to the Small Farm Nation Academy just this month. But what you can do now to review how you’re doing with those four steps? Listen in as I guide you through how to grow your farm's email list!
June 16, 2019
FREE farm marketing course at smallfarmnation.com Small businesses routinely fail in every industry segment, but what   causes small farms to fail? In this episode I share 7 reasons why small farms fail, so you learn what not to do so that your farm thrives. I'll walk you through seven reasons why small farms fail.
June 9, 2019
Free marketing course at smallfarmnation.com The phrase hobby farm is cute and all, but what’s the difference between a hobby farm and a farming business? In this episode, I’m going to tell you why you might have a farm hobby that costs you money rather than a thriving farm business that earns you money. So, this topic of understanding the difference between farm hobbies and farm businesses is very important. It’s an issue I’ve see often with small farmers, as they seem to operate partly as a farm business and partly…or mainly, I should say,…as a hobby farm. And I understand why this happens when people opt out of other careers for farm life.  What draws them is the idea of working on the land. Of having animals…livestock. Of tending sheep or chickens, collecting eggs, planting seeds, harvesting crops. Of growing food under blue skies to the soothing sounds of birds and bees rather than grating sounds of traffic and ambulances. And those are all great reasons to embrace farm life. But, notice I didn’t mention anything about finances? About customers? Because folks are rarely lured into this lifestyle by thoughts of, “I’ve got an idea of how to make a boatload of money farming.” So, it’s generally not the business plans or finances that lures them to these businesses. And that’s a shame, because, as you yourself may already know, these ARE businesses. And they’re not immune to the laws of business. Namely, they need customers and a sales price that far exceeds the production cost. And, that’s how they would approach any other business, right? I mean, if someone was stuck in a soul-sucking cubicle job and wanted out, and if they stumbled across an opportunity to start a dry-cleaning operation, wouldn’t they assess it as a business? They wouldn’t daydream about folding clothes and cleaning suits. No, they’d assess the business model, get confident with their profit projections and marketing strategy before pulling the trigger on the business. But this is where farming is different than most businesses. Not all, because, I know just as many people who have started restaurants, because the love to cook, as those who started farming, because they love to garden. But just because you can cook doesn’t remotely mean you can run a profitable restaurant. And ditto for farming. Listen in as I help you get on track with your farming BUSINESS!
June 2, 2019
Free video ecourse at smallfarmnation.com Many people dream of starting a sustainable family farm, but what are the keys to having a successful farm business? In this episode, I share my 11 business rules for starting and running a successful farm business. 11 may seem like an arbitrary number, but I think you'll find these to be compelling rules for starting and running a family farm business. I dive into all aspects of the business side of starting and running a farm business, covering: competitive differentiation and farm business strategy farm go-to-market approaches debt and farming bridging the gap between what the land needs and what the market needs understanding the impact a farm business has on family relationships balancing profit with passion understanding the critical difference between profit margins and cash flow when to start marketing your farm business Plus, in rule #10, which I'm sure will be the most controversial of the 11 rules, I give a piece of advice you rarely hear elsewhere. But I think it's critical to your success, if you truly want to have a profitable farm business.
May 26, 2019
Free training at smallfarmnation.com When you search for rural land you’ll find all sorts of places that look promising. But how do you know if you’ve found your dream property? Today, I’ll share what we’ve learned and cover the 23 questions you should answer before buying that rural property. Welcome to Episode 27! So, Liz and I have bought rural property twice now. It’s both an exciting and exhausting time, but before you plunk down that deposit on the first rural property that screams your name, consider this: you are planning to make a move there for life. A new life, a better life and, perhaps, not only the rest of your life but a homestead that future generations will cherish. So, yeah, it’s appropriate to take time and weigh the decision against criteria that are important to you and your family. With that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 23 important questions you should ask and answer when looking for rural property. But, really, these 23 questions are more like 23 categories. As you’ll hear in this episode, each question…or category…has many sub-questions, so it’s way more than 23 questions. Listen into this episode as I walk you through the 23 Questions to Ask Before Buying Rural Land. So, if you're looking for ways to tips and inspiration to become more self-sufficient, you won't want to miss this. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
May 19, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Whether you're selling market vegetables, pastured meats or raw milk and farmstead cheese, one thing's for certain. You gotta keep your products cool to preserve shelf life. In this episode, we learn how farmers use Coolbots to do just that.
May 12, 2019
smallfarmnation.com You’ve probably heard how important it is to define and communicate with your ideal customer. So is it? In this episode, I’ll tell you why it’s a waste of time focusing on mythical ideal customers and walk you through what you should be doing, instead!
May 5, 2019
smallfarmnation.com This week I’ll answer a listener’s question on whether it’s best to start a Facebook page or a Facebook group for her farm. I cover the pros and cons of each and describe what you can do with a Facebook page that you can't do in a group, and vice versa.
April 28, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Today I want to discuss a crisis in small business. A crisis in most businesses, actually, but particularly in farm businesses. It’s a problem that creates undue stress, panic and results in farmers not building their brands, getting enough customers and growing their farm business. I’m talking about Random Acts of Farm Marketing.
April 21, 2019
smallfarmnation.com If you’re planning to start a farm—or any small business—when should you start marketing it? In this episode I explain why you should start marketing your farm BEFORE you even open for business.
April 14, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Big businesses spend a fortune building their brands. But is branding important for your farm business? Today, I’m here to tell you that it absolutely is critical to build your farm brand, and I’ll explain why.
April 7, 2019
smallfarmnation.com This week I’ve got three questions to tackle. One is about the tricky issue of selling meat by product weight online. A related question is about managing inventory of meat when selling both online and at a farm store. And the third question is about managing the reservation and payment process for farm tours.
March 31, 2019
smallfarmnation.com This week I'm joined by Robert Brady of Righteous Marketing. Robert has a very unique background of great interest to Small Farm Nation. He grew up on a farm and his father still runs a successful pasture-based beef farm. Yet, Robert has become an online marketing expert and has a particular expertise in Google Ads, formerly Google Adwords.  In this enlightening discussion, Robert gives concrete examples of how he markets his father's grassfed beef farm using Google Ads. He also explains clearly why Google Ads has a decided advantage over Faceebook ads when it comes to attracting people who actually become paying customers. If you're interested in farm marketing, you'll get a lot out of Robert's expertise, as I did.  Enjoy the episode!
March 24, 2019
smallfarmnation.com This week I address listener questions on: When to buy farm equipment, whether to buy new or used equipment, and how to set wholesale prices for farm products.
March 17, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Lots of farmers struggle with how to share their story. In this week's farm podcast, I share the advice I gave to a farmer about how to share her story and create a great about page for your website.
March 10, 2019
smallfarmnation.com In this farm podcast, I discuss why you may not want to use automated sales funnels and marketing gimmicks in marketing your farm business. I describe the Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula, what it's designed to do and why I recommend that farmers exercise caution with this strategy.
March 3, 2019
smallfarmnation.com This week Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms and I have a provocative discussion about how to quit an unfulfilling job and start a farm business. Joel offers some real gems in this episode, as he outlines his seven rules for starting a profitable farm. We talk at length about his latest book, Your Successful Farm Business, which can be thought of as a graduate course to the book that got so many people started in farming, You Can Farm! You’ve heard Joel and you’ve seen him in movies discuss the importance of regenerative agriculture. Now listen as he outlines step-by-step how to quit your job and start your own profitable farm. We discuss grassfed beef, pastured poultry and: -Joel Salatin’s seven rules for starting a successful farm business. - What type of farm enterprise Joel would choose to start today if starting over, and why. - Why someone should want to trade jobs and start a farm. - Ways for new farmers to get experience and get up to speed. - The critical importance of building a team, and why most farmers don’t do it. - How Polyface uses standard operating procedures and sets performance expectations for apprentices. - The risk-free tactic Polyface used to grow their Metropolitan Buying Club from only 30 families to over 1,000!
February 24, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Joining me today is Niki Irving the flower farmer and florist behind flourish flower farm in Asheville. Niki's farm grows specialty an heirloom cut flowers using sustainable and natural practices and Nikki also creates seasonally inspired floral designs for weddings and special events. In this episode, you'll learn... - How Niki started Flourish Flower Farm with no farming background. - The capital and equipment needed to start a flower farm. - "Surprise" expenses Niki encountered in running a flower farm. - Niki's tips for storytelling and marketing on Instagram and social media. - Selling and arranging flowers for the wedding market. - Why Niki doesn't like the CSA model and why she sells to retailers - The importance of soil testing in starting a farm. - When/how to harvest and and store fresh cut flowers. - How Niki used a CoolBot to set-up refrigeration for her flower farm. - The shelf-life of cut flowers and when to harvest. - Why Niki chose flower farming even though she apprenticed on a vegetable farm. - The research and business planning Niki did prior to starting her farm business. - Why Niki thinks you should quit your job if you want to farm, and how she found the courage to do so. - How and why Niki started with leased land instead of purchasing land. - Whether you should grow flowers on flat land or sloped land. - How Niki chooses which flowers to plant and what are her most profitable crops. - Dealing "organically" with Japanese Beetles, deer, turkey and other pests. - Niki's best flower arrangement tips. - Don't forget to check out the smallfarmnationacademy.com whenever you're ready to GET GROWING!
February 17, 2019
smallfarmnation.com As sustainable livestock farmers, we want to honor the whole animal. But what about when it comes to using the animals hides? Joining me today is Sarah Scully founder of Vermont Natural Sheepskins. Sarah and her husband, Rick, started the first commercial organic tannery in America.
February 10, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Today I'm speaking with Paul Grieve of pasture Pasturebird, a pasture poultry operation whose meat chickens are enjoyed by the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers and numerous chefs and consumers in Southern California. Paul is also one of the founders of Primal Pastures a family owned pastured farm that offers grass fed beef lamb chicken pork and other products. But whereasPrimal Pastures sells directly to the public pasture Pasturebird was created to sell wholesale. So Paul and I discussed selling wholesale versus direct to consumers and we also discussed shipping meat since both pasture Pasturebird and perennial pastures do exactly that. Now Paul discusses how online marketing and public relations have been invaluable tools in building their business from startup to multi-million dollars per year and just a few years. Paul also discusses the importance of building a farm brand.
February 3, 2019
smallfarmnation.com This week I talk about the sometimes long and steady process of setting up a new farm. My guest is Jenn Colby of Howling Wolf Farm in Vermont. We also tackle the touchy issue of why it's sometimes more challenging for women farmers than men. Listen in to see what you think.
January 26, 2019
smallfarmnation.com I’ve got a fascinating episode this week as we examine one of the biggest problems consumers face when wanting to buy directly from farmers. And that problem is, it’s inconvenient. Today I’m speaking with Joe Heitzeberg, co-founder and CEO of Crowd Cow. Joe’s not a farmer—far from it. He’s something of a serial entrepreneur having started a number of tech companies. But a few years ago he became enamored with the whole idea of buying meat directly from a farmer. You’ll hear him tell the story in a few minutes, but it’s a transformation that I, and many of you, have gone through as well. Joe was a typical consumer who bought meat at the grocery store, giving little thought to where it came from or how one cut of meat could possibly be different from another. That all changed when a co-worker bounced down the hallway of their Seattle offices exclaiming, "I'm so excited! I'm getting my cow this Friday.” Joe couldn’t imagine what it meant to “get a cow” especially in downtown Seattle. But when the co-worker described how much better the beef tasted and the relationship he had with the farmer, Joe was hooked and decided he, too, had to get a cow. Now, for a lot of people, the story would end there. But when you give an idea like that to an entrepreneurial minded person, it tends to become more than an idea. It becomes a business opportunity. Joe and his partner Ethan launched Crowd Cow in 2015. It’s an interesting business model that is endeavoring to make it easier for farmers and consumers to come together and celebrate what Crowd Cow calls “craft meat.” Let’s find out what Joe means by that and listen into the story of how an innovative business is born as Joe and I discuss the story of Crowd Cow.
January 20, 2019
smallfarmnation.com Today I’m speaking with Callene and Eric Rapp of Rare Hare Barn in Kansas. They raise a few types of heritage breed rabbits, including the American Chinchialla, which I’ve also raised quite a bit of. Now, I love this topic of raising rabbits for meat because our society has become very disconnected from our food—and what food is, right? Nowhere in the meat world is that more evidenced than with rabbits. Because, when I raised and sold them, we’d often get skittish consumers who claimed they had no idea what to do with a rabbit. So is cooking rabbit any different from cooking with chicken or other meats? You bet, and I discuss that and many other fascinating aspects of running a rabbit enterprise on a small farm. For those of you interested in raising rabbits either as a commercial enterprise or for your homestead, we discuss differences in breeds, growth rates and mistakes many people make with feeding and breeding. We also deep dive into the issue of production models. That is, we explore using cages versus pasture tractors versus colony raising rabbits. Doesn't matter if you’re a consumer, chef, homesteader or farmer, this is a thoroughly interesting discussion about the life (and death) of rabbits and of how one family is making a living in our small farm nation. Let’s get right to it with Callene and Eric Rapp of Rare Hare Barn.
January 13, 2019
smallfarmnation.com In this episode I’m joined by Sarah Hoffman of Green Dirt Farm in Missouri, where she raises sheep on pasture, milks them and turns their milk into award-winning cheese. We discuss Sarah’s journey to farm life and how her desire to raise children in that setting led her and her husband to make some courageous career choices. Sarah ditched a medical career to become a first-time farmer. She’s learned a lot about selecting farmland and maximizing its potential, learning to safely make excellent cheese, marketing and cultivating customer relationships, animal husbandry and forage management. A big part of Green Dirt Farm’s success today is agritourism. Sarah shares her approach to farm dinners, cheese appreciation events and other tactics that deepen the relationship between her farm and her community. Whether you’re interested in farming yourself or wanting a deeper knowledge of where your food comes from, you’ll really enjoy this interview with Sarah.
January 6, 2019
smallfarmnation.com It’s nice to kick off the year by hearing from Greg Judy. If you’re not familiar with Greg, he’s well-known for two things. The first reason he’s well known is that he has created a sizable farming operation by first custom grazing other people’s cattle before leasing many different farms. So Greg and I recap how he got started, mistakes he’s made and what he looks for in therms of farm properties. He shares his best tips on negotiating leases, what fencing tools to use and even what type of cattle to raise. The second reason Greg is well-known to pasture-based farmers is that he practices mob-grazing, or putting lots (and I mean LOTS) of ruminants on a small piece of land and moving them multiple times a day. With his experience, Greg has a lot to share. So let’s dive right into my discussion with Missouri farmer, Greg Judy.
December 10, 2018
smallfarmnation.com So it’s December and we’re winding down the farm season. While that means we have fewer chores to do, we still have farm chores, right? Frozen water troughs, hay that’s gotta be dished out, pigs still need to be fed and so on. But the chore load is definitely reduced this time of year, and that’s a good thing. Because we need to rejuvenate, celebrate the season and recharge our batteries. No doubt about it. So what can we do on these frigid winter days to drive our farm businesses forward. I suspect many of you are looking at seed and hatchery catalogs, or even working on planting calendars. But we also need to take advantage of this time to focus on one of the most strategically important areas of our business—of any business. And that is marketing. In this episode I'll walk you through 7 Farm Marketing tasks you can perform this winter to get your farm in great shape for next year.
December 3, 2018
smallfarmnation.com Today I want to cover a critical mistake—a huge mistake that almost everyone makes with their email list. Not just farmers, but I’d say over 90% of ALL businesses. And I don’t want you to continue making that mistake, so we’re gonna set you on the right path today. Because, as you no doubt know why now, building a thriving, engaged list of email subscribers is hugely important to the success of your business.
November 26, 2018
smallfarmnation.com So it’s branding week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast. And we’re going to talk about not just branding, but how many farm brands you should have. So this isn't a super long episode but it is super important. Because farming lends itself to multiple enterprises and multiple products more than any industry I know of. I mean, imagine you raise cows and only cows. Sounds like you have one product, right? Well...
November 19, 2018
smallfarmnation.com What can you do if you have a business but you’re not a natural entrepreneur? Today, I’m gonna show you how to stop working ON your business rather than being a slave to it so you can avoid burnout and realize your entrepreneurial dreams. And I've got a special, awesome download to help you do just that.
November 12, 2018
smallfarmnation.com So it’s marketing week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast. And one of the challenges I hear most often expressed from small farmers (really any small business, actually), is how difficult it is to create an email list of potential customers. In this episode we'll discuss three keys to putting your list-building efforts on autopilot so you can grow your email list.
November 5, 2018
smallfarmnation.com It’s online marketing week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast. And this week we’re talking websites, or, more specifically, what website design tool you should use. And we have plenty of options, right? There’s lots of website builders out there—you know, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, and WordPress. I'll walk you through all the options and help you decide what's right for your farm business.
October 29, 2018
smallfarmnation.com What do most people think of when they think of branding? They think of logos. In fact, many people think that their logo is their brand. And you can’t have a great brand without a super cool logo design, can you? Today, I’m gonna tell you the mistakes you’re making with your farm logo design and what you really should be doing, instead.
October 22, 2018
smallfarmnation.com Okay, so it’s strategy week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast. And nothing says “strategy” more than business planning, so that’s the focus this week. Now, the first thing you're told to do when starting a business is to write a business plan. But should you? Do traditional business plans help? Or is there a better way. Yes, there is a better way, and in this episode I'll walk you through how to create an actionable one-page business plan.
October 15, 2018
smallfarmnation.com Okay, so it’s Marketing week here on the podcast. And it’s an important episode, and if you’re a farmer, this is gonna really resonate with you. I want to talk about why small farms struggle so much to sell their products. If you’re a small, family farmer, you know what I mean. I gave this issue a lot of thought, both from my own experiences selling farm products as well as from what I hear from so many other farmers. And when I thought it through, I created this list of ten reasons why small farms struggle to sell their products. Listen in and see what you think. Now, in this episode I’m going to just go through the list of ten. I’ll tell you what I think the issues are and why they exist.
October 8, 2018
smallfarmnation.com Okay, so it’s Online Marketing week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast, and we’re gonna discuss the dirty dozen...the 12 Fatal Flaws of Most Farm Websites. I'd say at least 90% of farm websites commit these sins. Do you?
October 1, 2018
smallfarmnation.com One of the most common things new farmers stress over is what to name their farm business. Well, in this week's episode I'm going to tell you there are lots of WRONG names to choose, and give you a tool for choosing the right name for your farm. We'll also cover how to choose product names and taglines.
September 24, 2018
smallfarmnation.com A few months ago…back in June 2018, I believe, NBC Nightly News ran this piece titled, “Best advice to U.S. dairy farmers? ‘Sell out as fast as you can.’ The article featured a dairy farmer, Curtis Coombs and his family, of Smithfield Kentucky. It said, and I quote, “All Curtis Coombs wanted was to raise cows and run his family’s dairy farm in this slice of Kentucky hill country, less than 35 miles from Louisville. But a few weeks ago, he was forced to sell his milking herd of 82 cows, putting an end to his family’s nearly 70-year dairy business.” In this episode I explain why Wal-Mart is not the problem. Rather, your farm's business strategy is the problem.
September 19, 2018
smallfarmnation.com So, of course, Small Farm Nation is far from the only agricultural podcast out there. I’m sure you have other favorites. But I’d like to introduce you to a rather new one if you don’t listen to them already. It’s the Modern Acre podcast hosted by Tim and Tyler Nuss. The Nuss brothers, nothing but Nuss on the Modern Acre podcast. Recently I had a fun conversation on their podcast and they’ve given me permission to share that episode with you, so I’ll do that today. And if you enjoy the episode, head over to their site at themodernacre.co and subscribe to their episodes. I really enjoyed my talk with Tim and Tyler because I felt a kinship. I mean, if you read the “about” section of their website, you’ll see they have one foot deeply planted in agriculture, as they both have farming backgrounds and are involved with farming and food businesses now. But they have another foot deeply planted in the business world. Tyler has worked at Apple and in tech startups, and Tim studied international business before joining one of the larger produce marketers in the U.S. And you know how much I enjoy blending the business side of farming with the romantic, pastoral side, so this was a fun interview. In the interview we discussed: how I got into farming how our pasture-based livestock farm grew go to market approaches for farming using employees and apprentices on our farm the Small Farm Nation Academy common marketing mistakes farmers make and much more I think you’ll get a lot out of this interview I did on The Modern Acre podcast, so let’s dive right in.
September 17, 2018
smallfarmnation.com So, of course, Small Farm Nation is far from the only agricultural podcast out there. I’m sure you have other favorites. But I’d like to introduce you to a rather new one if you don’t listen to them already. It’s the Modern Acre podcast hosted by Tim and Tyler Nuss. The Nuss brothers, nothing but Nuss on the Modern Acre podcast. Recently I had a fun conversation on their podcast and they’ve given me permission to share that episode with you, so I’ll do that today. And if you enjoy the episode, head over to their site at themodernacre.co and subscribe to their episodes. I really enjoyed my talk with Tim and Tyler because I felt a kinship. I mean, if you read the “about” section of their website, you’ll see they have one foot deeply planted in agriculture, as they both have farming backgrounds and are involved with farming and food businesses now. But they have another foot deeply planted in the business world. Tyler has worked at Apple and in tech startups, and Tim studied international business before joining one of the larger produce marketers in the U.S. And you know how much I enjoy blending the business side of farming with the romantic, pastoral side, so this was a fun interview. In the interview we discussed: how I got into farming how our pasture-based livestock farm grew go to market approaches for farming using employees and apprentices on our farm the Small Farm Nation Academy common marketing mistakes farmers make and much more I think you’ll get a lot out of this interview I did on The Modern Acre podcast, so let’s dive right in.
September 10, 2018
smallfarmnation.com In this episode I'd like to share an excerpt of my Mastermind interview with John Suscovich of Farm Marketing Solutions. John has just published a new book on Marketing Pastured Poultry, and we discussed key parts of that book in this episode. In this excerpt, John and I discuss: What Howard Stern and pastured poultry have in common What a pastured poultry business is The investor reasons for starting a pastured poultry business How much land is needed for a pasture poultry business How John took the "Forrest Gump" approach to pastured poultry The critical success factors for running a pastured poultry business How a new farmer should go about building an email list John and I had a great talk. He's a wealth of inspiration and knowledge and I think you'll get a lot out of it. Of course, the entire hour-long mastermind is available in the Small Farm Nation Academy.
September 3, 2018
smallfarmnation.com Today I want to discuss a crisis in small business. A crisis in most businesses, actually, but particularly in farm businesses. It’s a problem that creates undue stress, panic and results in farmers not building their brands, getting enough customers and growing their farm business. I’m talking about Random Acts of Marketing.
August 27, 2018
smallfarmnation.com Where oh where can you go to learn all the skills you need to market your farm business? Today I’m going to tell you about the greatest farm tool you can invest in this year, the one that will help you to get growing! A membership site full of training videos, Mastermind interviews and resources to teach you how to market your farm business.
August 20, 2018
smallfarmnation.com Big businesses spend a fortune building their brands. But is branding important for your farm business? Today, I’m here to tell you that it absolutely is critical to build your farm brand, and I’ll explain why.
August 13, 2018
smallfarmnation.com So what’s the secret to marketing farm and local food products? Today, I’ll tell you, and set you on a solid foundation for marketing your farm and/or food products.
August 6, 2018
Many people dream of starting a sustainable family farm, but what are the keys to having a successful farm business? In this episode, I share my 11 business rules for starting and running a successful farm business. 11 may seem like an arbitrary number, but I think you'll find these to be compelling rules for starting and running a family farm business. I dive into all aspects of the business side of starting and running a farm business, covering: competitive differentiation and farm business strategy farm go-to-market approaches debt and farming bridging the gap between what the land needs and what the market needs understanding the impact a farm business has on family relationships balancing profit with passion understanding the critical difference between profit margins and cash flow when to start marketing your farm business Plus, in rule #10, which I'm sure will be the most controversial of the 11 rules, I give a piece of advice you rarely hear elsewhere. But I think it's critical to your success, if you truly want to have a profitable farm business.
July 30, 2018
Show notes at smallfarmnation.com - Each month, I conduct a mastermind interview for members of the Small Farm Nation Academy. They’re video calls between me and an expert in matters that relate to growing a profitable farming business, and they tend to be an hour long, give or take. In this episode, I’m gonna share some highlights of my discussion with Greg Gunthorp of Gunthorp Farms in Indiana. 2018 marks Greg’s 20th year as a successful sustainable farmer. This year he’ll raise and market well over 100,000 poultry in addition to 2,500 pigs. Tune in as Greg and I discuss: how to process and wax ducks,  what poultry processing equipment to use, how to sell farm products to restaurants, how to pitch products to chefs, what chefs look for in terms of consistency,  building a meat smoking/curing facility, financing a farm business, managing the wholesale order process, the most profitable farm distribution channels, much more!
July 23, 2018
Show notes at smallfarmnation.com - Each month,I conduct a mastermind interview for members of the Small Farm Nation Academy. They’re video calls between me and an expert in matters that relate to growing a profitable farming business, and they tend to be an hour long, give or take. In this episode, I’m gonna share some highlights of my discussion with Jordan & Laura Green of J&L Green Farm in Virginia. The Green's have built a fast-growing pasture-based meat business and, get this...they don't even own a single acre of farmland. We discuss: how they started their farm farm investors, partners and contractual relationships the pros and cons of selling at farmers markets why J&L Green Farm hasn't aggressively pursued selling to restaurants logistical issues shipping frozen meat products delivering farm products via drop sites (or metropolitan buying clubs) and so much more that relates to marketing and running a farm business So listen in, now.
July 16, 2018
smallfarmnationacademy.com We all know that sustainably produced food is more expensive than supermarket food, so how do we explain that when challenged? This week I want to discuss a challenge that many small farmers face.  It’s one that they seem to all dread and it puts them on the defensive. It’s the whole issue of defending why their products cost so much. Or, at least seems to cost so much. Now, this is a real issue for many of us, so it’s not one we should run from. We need to be prepared to face this head on, and the better you get at this, the more it will become a non-issue. Why is that? Because, as your skill improves at conveying value, that skill will permeate all aspects of your marketing. Your blog posts, your social media updates, what you say on your website and in your email marketing. You’ll become proficient at conveying value and focusing on benefits, rather than being defensive. Before we dive in, I want you to understand something. The Dollar Store shopper isn’t your farm's customer. Or at least not for most of you. You’re not running blue light specials. I want you to understand that price objection is a good sign because it’s usually a buying signal. The prospective customer wants to buy but needs to rationalize this objection. And it’s your job to help them do just that. And in this episode, I explain how to do that.
July 9, 2018
Show notes at smallfarmnation.com - Each month,I conduct a mastermind interview for members of the Small Farm Nation Academy. They’re video calls between me and an expert in matters that relate to growing a profitable farming business, and they tend to be an hour long, give or take. In this episode, I’m gonna share some highlights of my discussion with Curtis Stone. Curtis is well known for maximizing farming profits on small, urban lots, and has helped lots of folks to do the same thing. Whether you’re interested in urban or rural farming, I think you’ll get a lot out of this. So listen in, now.
July 2, 2018
Show notes at smallfarmnation.com - So you jumped on the band wagon and created a Facebook page, but no one is responded to your posts, right? In this episode I walk you through the 2018 Facebook newsfeed algorithm change and tell you how to survive the social media circus. Facebook has yet again made significant changes to its algorithm, and this is a big one. Facebook is now focused not on the brands…or those of you who have farm Facebook pages, but rather focused on the individual FB user. Mark Zuckerberg flat out said, "We're making a major change to how we build Facebook. I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.” As if you weren't already struggling enough, right? Getting people to read or engage with your posts. Okay, with all these Facebook newsfeed changes, am I suggesting you give up on Facebook. No, of course not, for the simple reason that many of your customers are there. And lots of potential customers are there that you’ve yet to engage with. But, the mistake a lot of people made—farmers and non-farmers—is they focused on building a following on Facebook and DID NOT get those followers onto their email lists. So, as I’ve now said many times over the past few years, they built their house on rented land. And the landlord, Facebook, has changed the lease terms once again. So what this all means is that we have to become much better at creating marketing funnels. In this episode I walk you through the five key takeaways of this change and strategies you'll need to execute unless you want to become a Facebook dinosaur. So listen in, now.
June 25, 2018
Show notes at smallfarmnation.com - Email marketing is a great way to sell your farm products, but how do you build a list in the first place? In this episode I walk you through the four not-so-simple steps of email list building for your farm business. You’ve heard it many times, but an email list is your most important communication asset. It’s the best way for you to control getting a message directly to your customers. But most farm websites do an awful job of list building. I mean, list building comes down to four simple steps. have a place to capture emails. drive traffic to that place give people a great reason to sign-up give subscribers a way and reason to share Of course, successful list building is much more detailed than that and requires tools and know how. I just covered all this in an 11-video course on list building. That was released to the Small Farm Nation Academy just this month. But what you can do now to review how you’re doing with those four steps? Listen in as I guide you through how to grow your farm's email list!
June 18, 2018
Small businesses routinely fail in every industry segment, but what   causes small farms to fail? In this episode I share 7 reasons why small farms fail, so you learn what not to do so that your farm thrives. So, starting a business is a risky venture, right? And it doesn’t really matter what sector you start a business in. If you start a restaurant, and insurance or law practice, a car wash or even a marketing agency, there’s a pretty high probability that you’re gonna fail. That’s just a fact. But let’s just examine the reasons why these business fail. And actually, the agriculture sector has a much lower failure rate after 5 years than most industries. For example, 50 or more of agriculture businesses are still going after five years, whereas only about 36 of construction businesses make it the long. So the perception that some have that there’s a high failure rate in small farms isn’t born out by the data. And one of the reasons that many farming businesses make it that long and go much longer is because they’re subsidized. Not by the government. But by the farmer, who is most often working a second job so that the farm can work. And that’s cool if that’s what you want to do. But, again, that’s more of a hobby farm and not really a farming business. And the point of this episode is to discuss why farming businesses fail and what you can learn from those mistakes. So let’s get right into them. Here’s reason number one that small farms fail. 1) They approach it as a lifestyle and not as a business You see, many people are attracted to farming because they love the notion of the lifestyle. They want to farm or grow produce. Or have a collection of animals, and they want to spend their days in the sunshine, producing something with their hands and being out on the land. And that’s great. But is that how you would approach a business opportunity? Is that the opportunity you’d pitch to an investor or a bank?…that you want to go work with your hands in the soil and have some animals? Of course not! Because a business approach means identifying the market first. And that’s very different from what most farmers do, who start simply because they want to grow things. Or produce things like soap, herbs and cheese. So they treat selling and marketing as an afterthought. Now, as I’ve said many times, that’s a mistake. A business is a business because it has customers that buys from it. So you always start with the market in mind. There’s an excellent publication for small farmers called “Growing for Market and the title means just that…produce what the market will buy and that you can sell. And sell at an attractive profit margin. That means focusing on high value crops and products. For me, that was artisan cheese, raw milk and grassfed beef. For you it may mean cut flowers, herbs, soaps or what not. But there are many farm enterprises that aren’t high margin or high value, and that leads me into the second reason why small farms fail. 2) Reason number two is that they choose low-end profit streams In these cases, the math just doesn’t work, because the farmer chose either a low margin product or is targeting a very cost-conscious consumer. And while Wal-Mart can pull off that strategy…at least until Amazon buries them…that’s only because they achieved enormous scale, efficiency and supply chain integration. Those aren’t benefits you’re likely to achieve as a small farmer. So it’s real difficult in small-scale farming to make it on the price dimension and, let’s be honest here, there’s no business opportunity selling to people who don’t have money. Just. A. Fact. So target opportunities with segments who do have disposable income. And select farm enterprises that don’t have such a low barr...
June 11, 2018
A lot of people dream of starting a family farm and selling directly to customers, but how do you protect yourself from getting sued? In this episode, join me and the Food Lawyer, Jason Foscolo, as we discuss farm law, liability and how to protect your personal assets.  This is part of the mastermind interview I did recently in the Small Farm Nation Academy with Jason Foscolo. We discuss: the best legal structure for your farm business. when a sole proprietorship makes sense versus an LLC. what do farm lenders look for from the farm business? the role of insurance, structure and processes to protect your assets. does a signed agreement with a customer (to purchase raw milk, etc.) actually protect the farmer from liability? how to choose their farm business name...can you choose the same name as another farm? managing the legal risk of agritourism events. the laws surrounding apprentices and interns. when farm products need a label, and when they don't. the legality of herd shares and selling meat in butchering classes. whether a farmer can copy another farmer's raw milk herd share agreement. when to trademark business and product names. and much more Listen in as we give you food for thought on how to legally protect your farming BUSINESS!
June 4, 2018
The phrase hobby farm is cute and all, but what’s the difference between a hobby farm and a farming business? In this episode, I’m going to tell you why you might have a farm hobby that costs you money rather than a thriving farm business that earns you money. So, this topic of understanding the difference between farm hobbies and farm businesses is very important. It’s an issue I’ve see often with small farmers, as they seem to operate partly as a farm business and partly…or mainly, I should say,…as a hobby farm. And I understand why this happens when people opt out of other careers for farm life.  What draws them is the idea of working on the land. Of having animals…livestock. Of tending sheep or chickens, collecting eggs, planting seeds, harvesting crops. Of growing food under blue skies to the soothing sounds of birds and bees rather than grating sounds of traffic and ambulances. And those are all great reasons to embrace farm life. But, notice I didn’t mention anything about finances? About customers? Because folks are rarely lured into this lifestyle by thoughts of, “I’ve got an idea of how to make a boatload of money farming.” So, it’s generally not the business plans or finances that lures them to these businesses. And that’s a shame, because, as you yourself may already know, these ARE businesses. And they’re not immune to the laws of business. Namely, they need customers and a sales price that far exceeds the production cost. And, that’s how they would approach any other business, right? I mean, if someone was stuck in a soul-sucking cubicle job and wanted out, and if they stumbled across an opportunity to start a dry-cleaning operation, wouldn’t they assess it as a business? They wouldn’t daydream about folding clothes and cleaning suits. No, they’d assess the business model, get confident with their profit projections and marketing strategy before pulling the trigger on the business. But this is where farming is different than most businesses. Not all, because, I know just as many people who have started restaurants, because the love to cook, as those who started farming, because they love to garden. But just because you can cook doesn’t remotely mean you can run a profitable restaurant. And ditto for farming. Listen in as I help you get on track with your farming BUSINESS!
May 28, 2018
smallfarmnation.com This week I was a guest on the popular Peak Prosperity podcast. It was a great pleasure speaking with Adam Taggart, who co-founded Peak Prosperity with Chris Martenson. We discussed many aspects of starting and running a successful small-scale farming business, including if you can make money farming, how to market your farm business to earn more customers and command higher prices, how to build your farm brand and, of course, the Small Farm Nation Academy.
May 21, 2018
We’ve all heard the term corporate branding, but what is a personal brand, and do farmers need one? In this episode, I’m going to tell you why you need to develop your own personal farm brand, and how to do it. Because, from a marketing perspective, a sustainable farm business is quite unique in the scheme of business models. Like other businesses (big and small), a sustainable farm business needs to build a strong business brand in order to thrive. Yet, the heart of any farm business is, what?  It’s the FARMER. After all, the farmer is what makes a farm, a farm. The best farms are those where the farmer has established something of a personal brand that is just as strong as the farm brand he or she created. And, successful farm businesses know that the personal brand is intertwined with the farm brand. In other words, the perception of the farm business mirrors the perception of the farmer. But, with over 3 million farms out there, what’s the secret to breaking through and establishing your own farm brand persona? This episode outlines 8 tips that can help you to achieve just that, and there's a fantastic free download that will help you to start building your own personal farm brand.
May 14, 2018
It’s easy to grow your farm or small business, right? Just define your ideal customer and find more like them. Well, today, I’ll put an end to this myth and explain why it’s not about your ideal customer, but rather it’s about YOU! You know, it’s frustrating when we start a farm or any new business. We hear things like, if you build it they will come. Experts advise us to simply define our ideal customer…our avatar, in modern speak, and we’re all set. Simple as that. But is that really sound advice? On first glance, maybe it is. I mean, it sounds both simple and logical…just target people who are likely to buy from you. So, in theory, it’s one of those things that sounds sensible, so people keep repeating this advice you hear. Don’t believe me? Just Google “how to identify your ideal customer” and you’ll see millions of results on it. But, despite being advice frequently dished out, there’s a big problem with this approach. And, actually, in my experience, there are five problems with this approach. I cover them in this episode and explain what you should do instead of trying to define a mythical ideal customer.
March 31, 2017
From smallfarmnation.com When people think of retirement, they often think of golf or travel. But what about homesteading or farming as a retirement strategy? In this final episode of season 1, I’ll share with you how we and many other farmsteaders are thinking very old-school about retirement. Several years ago as we prepared to transition from sprawling urban life to our rural farmstead, Liz and I were filled with excitement about growing our own food and being immersed in nature. Yet, during that period of intense change and learning we also spent many hours discussing, of all things, retirement. At the time the idea of retirement was many years away for us, but in our “former” lives we at least understood what the plan was, so we rarely thought about it. The plan back then was simply to keep working until we were, I don’t know, 62 or so and then let a 401K or pension plan fund the rest of our lives, perhaps with a little help from social security. But moving to the farm meant that there may be no pension plan and for many people it means converting a 401K or other savings into hard assets such as land. And then, just as we were moving to the farm the “great recession” of 2008 hit. Just like you, we witnessed the economic hardship forced onto so many people as a result of reckless lending and investments by major lending institutions and equally reckless government spending, which required government bail-outs and central banks intervention to prop up global markets. After that experience, our confidence that pension fund obligations would ever be met had eroded anyway, so we began to consider thinking of retirement planning, and homesteading, in a new way. Or, actually...an old way. You see, the concept of retirement is actually quite new. It's an outdated concept that's collapsing, and I explain why in this episode. Grab some coffee or tea, pull up a chair and listen in as we invite you into our world of modern homesteading.
March 24, 2017
Welcome to Episode 29! First off, we've received 70 reviews on iTunes, and Liz and I would like to thank each of you for leaving a review. This podcast is a labor of love for us and we greatly appreciate you showing us that it's not a waste of energy. This week Liz is back on the podcast, and she shares a surprising challenge that we've had to deal with in recent months. And that challenge is, boredom. The climate in our new homestead means winter is longer and spring arrives later, so we've really had to adjust to having more time off from garden and farmstead chores. Sounds like a good thing...but it it'll drive you stir crazy. Still, we've got a lot going on, and in this episode we discuss: our recent cruise vacation and how these crazy preppers prepared to spend a week on the ocean clearing land for pasture and putting in a one-acre pond getting laying hens and building a micro-eggmobile a new Dexter calf building a milking parlor for our Jersey cow home milking procedures and raw milk quality hugelkultur and adding compost to raise or not to raise meat rabbits our Tamworth pigs top bar bee hives and adding bees permaculture, plantings and installing a vineyard of Norton grapes expanding the medicinal garden Grab some coffee or tea, pull up a chair and listen in as we invite you into our world of modern homesteading.
March 17, 2017
smallfarmnation.com We love animals, so farming livestock was an easy decision for us. So how can we eat the animals we love? Today, I’ll tell you why PETA is dead wrong and why eating the "right" meat is best for people, the environment AND the animals. So, of all the decisions we contemplated when we began farming a decade ago, choosing to farm livestock was the easiest. Of course, that meant we would care for livestock, and then eat animals we cared for. We spent years hatching cute little chicks, watching Ossabaw Island piglets being born in the woods, pulling calves, collecting and cleaning eggs, and just watching our cows and sheep graze lush pastures. We’ve loved farm animals since we took our first steps out of the rat race, and we love everything about them. So it seems strange to some folks that we not only eat our animals, but we give them names and develop relationships with them before we do. If that doesn’t make sense to you, let me explain why it does to us. You see, there were four reasons why the path of raising animals for food was so clearly right for us 10 years ago, and continues to be today. Grab some coffee or tea, pull up a chair and listen in as I share why PETA is dead wrong, and why the best decision for the land, the eaters AND the animals, is to eat them.
March 10, 2017
When you search for rural land you’ll find all sorts of places that look promising. But how do you know if you’ve found your dream property? Today, I’ll share what we’ve learned and cover the 23 questions you should answer before buying that rural property. Welcome to Episode 27! So, Liz and I have bought rural property twice now. It’s both an exciting and exhausting time, but before you plunk down that deposit on the first rural property that screams your name, consider this: you are planning to make a move there for life. A new life, a better life and, perhaps, not only the rest of your life but a homestead that future generations will cherish. So, yeah, it’s appropriate to take time and weigh the decision against criteria that are important to you and your family. With that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 23 important questions you should ask and answer when looking for rural property. But, really, these 23 questions are more like 23 categories. As you’ll hear in this episode, each question…or category…has many sub-questions, so it’s way more than 23 questions. Listen into this episode as I walk you through the 23 Questions to Ask Before Buying Rural Land. So, if you're looking for ways to tips and inspiration to become more self-sufficient, you won't want to miss this. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
March 3, 2017
Many people believe that The Great Depression was a hard time for all Americans, but is that true? This week, I’ll tackle that myth and share 10 Survival Lessons from The Great Depression era. Listen to the Podcast Subscribe to Self-Sufficient Life on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play or TuneIn So, we all grew up reading and hearing about The Great Depression, right? That time in American history when times were tough, everyone was thrown out of work, food was scarce. On top of that we had the Dust Bowl with infertile land and tremendous storms of dust blanketing the heartland of the country. And, of course, virtually no one had money. Sounds like a made-for-TV nightmare that’s almost beyond belief. But—as terrible as that time was, was it really terrible for everyone? I ask, because sometimes the impact of events is often exaggerated when recalled, whether it be a personal or societal event. And, even if it is horrific, what percentage of the population is it horrific for? Just a few years ago, from 2007-2009, we had what we’re now calling the Great Recession. That’s when the 8 trillion dollar housing bubble burst. It led to a big reduction in jobs and consumer spending but, to be honest, I didn’t have much of an impact on my family. We were farming at the time, selling pasture based meats direct to consumers who still were hungry and could afford to eat. And, the truth is, while many people lost paper money during those years, the unemployment rate peaked at under 11%, meaning that over 88% of people could find jobs. It’s true that perhaps maybe not the jobs they wanted, and it may also be true that the real unemployment rate was considerably higher, when you factor in people who gave up looking. But the point I’m making is that it’s often a common misconception that times are harder than they actually were. I found that to be the case for The Great Depression when I listened to the audiobook, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. In it, author Mildred Armstrong Kalish recounts her childhood fondly as she retells many stories of what it was like to live through hard times.  Funny thing though; like many who lived pretty self-sufficient lifestyles, she wasn’t aware that there were hard times. Of course now, those who lived in the cities and depended on paychecks fared far worse than Mildred’s family. And, while a small number of people remained wealthy, being able to provide for oneself made the family much better off since stocks and bonds became worth far less and money was very tight. As a modern homesteader, I’ve thought a lot about those times and what I’ve heard over the years from grandparents and others who endured them. Now, well over a decade after
February 24, 2017
From smallfarmnation.com A lot of folks have asked me if they can make money farming or homesteading, but is that even the right question to ask? This week, Liz and I will share why it may not be and what we’ve learned about the financial side of a self-sufficient lifestyle. Welcome to Episode 25! So, we can't count the number of times someone has asked us over the years, "can you make money farming or homesteading?" Usually the question is more revealing than any answer I could provide, for it fails to consider one of the most obvious benefits of homesteading: saving money. Because, the truth is that homesteaders have far more opportunities to eliminate or reduce expenses than most people do. In this episode we list dozens of ways we found to save money WHILE enjoying a more fulfilling, free lifestyle. Some of the areas we cover include: the importance of house size the value of buying cheap (infertile) land and restoring it unnecessary expenses you can do without ways homesteaders and preppers reduce food costs alcohol, gifts and other things you can make yourself what and how to barter to build your homestead the importance of paying for quality how your need for vacation and entertainment changes once you move to the country So, if you're looking for ways to tips and inspiration to become more self-sufficient, you won't want to miss this. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
February 17, 2017
From smallfarmnation.com Myself and many others on this podcast use the phrase modern homesteading, but what does that really mean in this digital age? Welcome to Episode 24! So, here's a question for you: What do you visualize when you hear the phrase homesteading, self-sufficient or self-reliance? I’m willing to bet that many of you visualize a natural setting. Perhaps a loving family working hard together. Listen to The Accidental Farmers on Audible. Something between Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons, for those of you old enough to know those television shows. We often picture a family living off the land, tending to crops and animals while being…well…self-sufficient. But...this ain't the 1800s. This is the digital age. In this episode I'll define what modern homesteading really is, and dispel some myths surrounding the notion of homesteading. I also share why I walked away from big-time corporate America, trading in the boardroom for the barnyard. And I share several tips on how to start homesteading and becoming more self-reliant, even if you're cramped in an urban apartment. Things you can do right now to start down your path to self-sufficiency. So, if you're looking for ways to tips and inspiration to become more self-sufficient, you won't want to miss this. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
February 10, 2017
From smallfarmnation.com Many modern homesteaders made a choice to opt-out and provide for themselves, but what impact does that choice have on their children? This week, we’ll begin a series of discussing the real life ups and downs of homeschooling children. Welcome to Episode 23! This week, Liz and I discuss how we arrived at the difficult choice of homeschooling our daughter. Now, since we've embraced modern homesteading, it's natural that people would assume that we would homeschool. But Liz has a Masters in Special Education and is a former public school teacher. Homeschooling her own child is something she would have never embraced...in our old life. Back before we "opted out" of the rat race. In this episode we share intimate details about: what led us to decide that homeschooling was right for our daughter and our family the unschooling process that Liz has had to go through as a former teacher the fears and worries we had before deciding to homeschool, and how we overcame them how we set-up our permanent homeschool room (see this post for pictures of our set-up) the various curriculum options we examined (Montessori, blending multiple styles - Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio, unschooling, thematic unit study, etc.) and how we chose what was right for us We also dive into the benefits and downsides of homeschooling, and what we've learned in our first year on the job. And, of course we talk about the "S" word, or the concern newbies have about "socialization" of homeschool children. We'll continue this discussion quarterly or thereabouts to track our progress. For now, if you're curious about the decision to homeschool, you won't want to miss this. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
February 2, 2017
From smallfarmnation.com I’ve shared many stories of people who have opted out of the rat race, but some of them had saved money to do so? But what if you haven’t? Welcome to Episode 22! Today, I’ll deal with a caller’s frustration on how to start a homestead or farm with no money. So, I got this call in from a listener a while back and haven’t had a chance to center an episode around it yet. In the call, you can really hear his pain and heartfelt desire to live freely in the country. But, while he has really enjoyed the stories I've shared of others who have "opted out," his perception is that they (and I) made enough money in the corporate world to afford to do so. What he wants to know is how can people with no money afford to live freely in the country. It's a struggle I hear all the time, and today I provide as much help and as many ideas as I can, including the six macro categorical options, at least as I see them. Have savings Inherit land or money Pay as you go Borrow money Raise money Get someone to give you money I dive deep into the ways to get money, from conventional bank and USDA loans to crowdfunding, venture capital, government grants and more. If you're looking for ways to find money so you can start your farm or homestead, you won't want to miss this. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
January 20, 2017
From smallfarmnation.com Moving to the country means you still make money, so how do you decide what business ideas to pursue? Welcome to Episode 20! This week Liz and I address a caller’s question about how to research and decide the best way to make money homesteading. Listen in as we discuss the many ways to make money farming or with modern homesteading: First, find your PASSION Why exactly do you want to homestead or farm? What excites you and what do you want to do? Do you long to grow the best tomatoes and sell directly to leading chefs? Do you simply want to feed your family? Do you want to be the next Joel Salatin and have a farm of chicken tractors, eggmobiles and salad bar beef? Do you want to live freely in the country but still make a lot of money? Three Revenue Categories to Profitable Homesteading How to Make money homesteading using your land Large livestock -raising cows, selling calves or animals (registered or not). After all, we bought our pigs and Dexters from somewhere :-) Small livestock - chickens, rabbits, etc. (heritage/rare breeds) Farm Stays, events, wedding, private parties Boarding animals How to Make money homesteading with your skills Locally or Physical Teaching classes (preparedness, permaculture, edible landscapes, medicinal herbs, etc.) (we’ve taught classes on cheese, butchering, etc.) Organize and market classes and events on topics you can’t teach (we’ve marketed many classes we couldn’t teach) wilderness survival foraging butchering classes Start a business helping farmers Guided fishing or hunting service Woodcraft business (Patrice Lewis) Online or Virtual Monetized Blogging (Jill Winger, Lisa Steele, Daisy Luther and others) Monetized Podcasting (EO Fire, etc.) Copywriting or editing Authoring (Mark Goodwin and others) Illustrating for authors, web designers, etc. Become a virtual assistant Web or graphic design Voice overs Make money homesteading selling products from your land Farmstead meats (grassfed beef, pastured poultry/pork, etc.) artisan meats (charcuterie) Raw milk Farmstead or artisanal cheese Eggs Become a grower (vegetables, cut flowers, pick your own, transplants, etc.) Artisan soap (Little Seed Farm) It was a insightful discussion and I hope you enjoy it and find that it gives you a lot to think about as you prepare for your self-sufficient life. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
January 13, 2017
smallfarmnation.com Moving to a new homestead you get to start with a clean slate. So how do you decide what you need? This week, Liz and I share what animals and infrastructure we settled on for our new homestead. Listen in as we discuss our animal and food choices: What breed of pigs we settled on, and why Cows, both dual purpose and specific breeds for beef and milk Meat chickens Hens German Shepherds versus Anatolian or Great Pyrenees Top bar hives and bees Garden area requirements We also cover all the infrastructure and building we've done in the past year, including: Raised bed Hugelkultur garden (click here for pics) Building a tall fence to keep deer out of the orchard/garden Integrating a play area into the garden space (click here for pics) Creating a medicinal herb garden Adding a metal building workshop Milling lumber and building a barn with hay feeder (click here for pics) Building deer blinds Building a dual dog house with center "warm" area Building shelves (so many shelves!) for pantry, craft area and homeschool room Building a homeschool room with bookcases, tables, etc And building a woodland trail and survival practice area (click here for pics) It was a fun discussion and I hope you enjoy it and find that it gives you a lot to think about as you prepare for your self-sufficient life. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
January 6, 2017
smallfarmnation.com Welcome to Episode 18!  So, if you’re the daughter of a famous homesteader, you’re destined to live off the land yourself, right? Today, you’ll find out what falls from the sky when a teenager rebels against the mother of modern homesteading. So, imagine your mother wrote the book on Country Living. I mean—literally. In addition to bearing seven children in the 70s, Carla Emery also found time to write The Encyclopedia of Country Living. That’s the first book that many wannabe homesteaders place on their mantles. It’s a million word tome that’s on my bookshelf, and I’ve thumbed the pages of my copy until they’ve frayed. But this isn't a story about Carla. It's the story of Esther Emery, Carla's youngest daughter. Carla was 30 when her first child was born in 1970, 40 by the time Esther, her seventh, arrived. In a “back-to-the-land” era when it seemed everyone wanted to know how to make it in the country,The Encyclopedia of Country Living began selling like hotcakes. But Esther grew up on the latter side of that trend, as the go-go 80s and 90s saw Silicon Valley capitalistic values render the idea of homesteading as quaint and archaic. When tragedy struck Carla's family and resulted in her losing her homestead, Carla, the mother of modern homesteading, was forced to move to the city to homeschool her children. As a result, Esther knew nothing of the life of open spaces and farm chores that her mother wrote about, and took a long and winding path through life to where she is today. That path included battling bulimia, enrolling in a far away college at the age of 15, a career in theater in southern California and even a full year of self-imposed exile from the Internet, a story she chronicled in her new book, What Falls From the Sky. After that year of exile she and her husband, Nick, felt a calling to return to their Idaho roots, where they have lived off-grid in a yurt for three years while Nick builds their cabin from timber he milled himself. Now that Esther is baking bread in a wood stove, doing laundry with the help of a bicycle and fighting off bears, she is finding that the circle of life is becoming complete. She is becoming like the mother she rebelled against as the land has summoned her home. It's a great story of renewal and redemption that you won't want to miss. Grab your coffee and listen in.
December 29, 2016
smallfarmnation.com How can a modern homesteader expect to achieve personal privacy in the digital age? This week, Liz and I discuss the homestead we settled on and the steps we have taken to live a private, self-sufficient life. Welcome to Episode 17! This week Liz and I tell describe the homestead property we settled on, and share what concessions we had to make since there is no "perfect" property. Here's what we discuss about the property: How much acreage we settled on Woods vs pasture/open land House size/configuration Well vs gravity water Streams/water features Southern exposure Fruit trees Garden space and outbuildings To heat or not to heat with wood Proximity to populated areas Homeschooling/homesteading culture We also discuss our overall objectives for homesteading. Those include: Living as freely as possible maximize free time having a property that requires low maintenance time to develop skills we're interested in, such as foraging, medicinal herbs and bushcrafting maximize time together as a family able to travel if desired Be as independent and sustainable as possible grow our own vegetables and most of our fruit grow and butcher or hunt for our own meat produce dairy and eggs Teach our daughter about animal husbandry and...you know...the birds and the bees Provide pollination and collect honey and wax from bees Use our land's materials for building projects Grow, harvest and produce as much of our own medicine as possible Beyond that, we had an overarching goal that we began discussing in Episode 16. That is, to achieve and maintain a high level of personal privacy. That's a hard thing to do in this digital age. But when a listener called in and asked about privacy, we decided to share our approach on achieving privacy in this episode. Here's what we discussed: Why privacy is important to us bad guy takes license plate number (road rage, etc.) That privacy is about keeping our private life private. It’s not about avoiding taxes or even asset protection, although it helps with the latter. The importance of separating your name from physical residence driver's license managing FedEx, etc., deliveries home ownership titling deposits for utilities, DirecTV, etc. Setting up PO boxes BEFORE moving. That way you can complete the USPS forms truthfully with your two forms of ID. Providing no forwarding address Setting-up bank account before moving or keeping existing bank account Using passport for ID instead of Driver’s License. DL very seldom actually required. Using cash over credit Dealing with family who wants to know why they can't tell people where you live What is a lie (intent to both deceive and cause harm) It was a spirited and interesting discussion, and I hope you enjoy it and find that it gives you a lot to think about as you prepare for your self-sufficient life. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
December 16, 2016
smallfarmnation.com This week’s episode is a little different in that it doesn’t profile another homesteader or farmer. Instead, it begins the process of profiling us. By that I mean my wife, Liz, and myself, and the life of modern homesteading that we’re enjoying. Now, many of you have followed our journey since we left the rat race, back in 2006. You read the farm blog we maintained years ago. And bout a quarter million of you listened to our podcasts from 2010-2012, many from all corners of the world. And tens of thousands more have read my books, most notably The Accidental Farmers and How to Make Money Homesteading. Still, many of you are unacquainted with our story. In a nutshell, we lived in suburban Atlanta in 2006, on a golf course with a strict HOA. We’d never farmed, but that didn’t stop us from buying over 120 acres in rural Georgia, leaving behind our careers in corporate America and teaching to become first-generation farmers. We raised pretty much anything that walks. Grassfed beef, meat chickens, laying hens, rabbits, pigs, geese, ducks, dairy cows and, just for fun, donkeys, guineas and guardian dogs. We built a great customer base from Atlanta to Athens, GA, and loved hosting farm tours for up to 100 people a month. And then—we sort of went into seclusion in late 2012. We stopped blogging and podcasting, though we continued farming through 2015, selling grassfed meats and farmstead cheese. But in 2015 we stopped farming commercially and began the process of migrating from being farmers to being homesteaders. This is a story of what to look for in a modern homestead property. Liz and I spent a couple of years searching for a new homestead property, as we transitioned from being commercial farmers (for others) to homesteaders. Of course, the process took longer than we wanted, as we had to sell off farm animals and a farm business. We discuss how we handled that in this episode, as well as the reasons that drove us from farming to homesteading. Once we completed those tasks, we still had to find a new homestead. We wanted this to be a very long-term move, if not for life, so we established a series of criteria in looking for a new homestead. Those criteria included: 1) macro criteria for new property incurring no debt / strict budget proximity to family slightly cooler garden zone southern exposure higher elevation rainfall low taxes low/no restrictions on building codes state friendly to homeschool 2) micro criteria for new property mature fruit trees at least 20 acres, unless on a mountain good well water or gravity water/water on property (pond, mountain stream, springs) no sight of paved road no sight of neighbors good hunting/foraging much smaller house ideally heated with wood pasture, but no more than a few acres within an hour of sizable town, 30 mins of grocery store/hospital around like minded-people (homeschool groups, homesteading culture, farming, etc.) 3) things we knew weren’t critical school system fencing high quality pasture outbuildings existing garden (because we’d be putting in raised beds) cosmetics on house…just well insulated and sound Liz and I discuss all these criteria in detail as well as the life of farming versus homesteading. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
December 9, 2016
smallfarmnation.com Welcome to Episode 15! So, what can happen when an active youth pastor gets the results from his life insurance physical? Today, you’ll hear how those results and what the doctor ordered drove the youth pastor to become the beginning farmer. Ethan Book dreamed of being a farmer when he was a kid, but life's necessities steered him in a different direction. After having children, his practical wife insisted he procure life insurance. But that required a physical exam, which revealed Ethan had very high cholesterol. The two options for treatment included a lifetime of medicine, which Ethan wanted to avoid, or a drastic diet change centered on grassfed beef. Ethan opted for the latter approach, but there was a problem. Grass fed beef was expensive, and Ethan didn't earn too much as a youth minister. So, he did the only thing he could do--he bought land, and became a farmer. Today, Ethan blogs at thebeginningfarmer.com, and has an excellent podcast called The Beginning Farmer Show. Listen in to how Ethan and his wife feed their family of seven on less than $150/month at the grocery store, while producing excellent pasture raised pork, beef and lamb for local customers in Iowa.
December 2, 2016
smallfarmnation.com In this episode you'll hear the story of how an investment banker and a fashion designer traded the glamour of Manhattan for goats and brambles in Tennessee. Imagine being a young couple living the good life in New York. One's an investment banker, the other's a fashion designer and both are on their way to the top. Then, they get this wild idea--"Hey, let's quit our jobs and move to the country to milk cows and make artisan cheese." Only when they find their farm, it's not what they imagined. This is the story of starting an artisan goat soap business. Actually, the dream was to start an artisan farmstead cheese business, but one obstacle led to another and forced James and Eileen Ray down a different path as they struggled to give birth to Little Seed Farm. If you're into modern homesteading, self-reliance, preparedness or self-sufficiency, grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
November 22, 2016
smallfarmnation.com So, what can happen when a suburban couple living on a golf course decides to take a horseback riding trip? Turns out they decide to chuck the house, buy 100 acres in the country and become the accidental farmers. Welcome to Episode 13! This is a story about...well...it's my story. Or more accurately, the story of how my wife, Liz, and I found ourselves out here in the country when we used to be in there (corporate America). Liz was a teacher with a Masters degree. I (Tim) was an entrepreneur, running marketing-type businesses. We were both successful, but not over the top successful. Just...typical suburban people living the typical suburban life. I'd like to say we planned our escape out of the rat race, but we never even contemplated it. We just took a horseback riding trip for Liz's birthday and fell in love with the notion of rural living. Then, after reading books such as The Omnivore's Dilemma and Slaughterhouse, we immediately became aware of and appalled by how food was produced. So, rather than doing something sensible (like just going to a farmers market), we sold our golf course house, bought a run-down piece of land deep in the country and became first-generation farmers. We produced every type of meat--grassfed beef, pastured pork, chicken, turkey, duck, rabbit and geese, and even started a grass-based dairy. From there we began making farmstead and artisan cheese, and loved serving customers in Atlanta and north Georgia. But we continually struggled to find the balance between farm life and homesteading. We openly shared that struggle for years in our blog and podcast, called the Nature's Harmony Farmcast. In this very special episode of Self-Sufficient Life, I share one of our old Farmcasts, recorded six years ago in November 2010. It's appropriate to share now at Thanksgiving, and for you long-time fans and follower, I hope you enjoy this trek down memory lane.
November 18, 2016
smallfarmnation.com So, what happens when a Harvard educated lawyer trades in the bright lights of the city for rural farm life? Well, when he stops bringing home the bacon he learns to actually make award-winning bacon and sausage. That's what! This week you’ll hear the real-life Green Acres story of how a lawyer learned what it really means to bring home the bacon. In the 1960’s fictional television series, Green Acres, Eddie Albert played the character Oliver Douglas. Oliver was a Harvard-educated lawyer who traded city life for a farm in Hooterville, deep in rural America. Likewise, James Faison is a Harvard-educated lawyer who, after the death of his grandparents, traded in fancy dinners and big paychecks to restore his grandfather's farm to health. But after taking a few farming classes, James the lawyer quickly learned, as he says, that he "couldn't grow a blade of grass!" Undeterred, James found a better way to make an impact in the local farming scene. He identified a gap in the market between chefs and retailers who wanted pastured meat products and small, family farmers who struggled with how to market their products. James created a business to fill that gap. The business, Milton's Local, was named after his grandfather, and is a distributor for family farmers as well as an award-winning brand of pastured pork products. Their mission is to support sustainable agriculture by creating wholesale channels for family farmers. James teaches us that there are many ways to "play" the farming game, and that you don't necessarily have to be a "grower." If you're interested in figuring out how to get out of the rat race and earn a self-sufficient income living off the land, grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
November 11, 2016
smallfarmnation.com Whatta ya get when you combine a drunken homeless man, a deer tick and the Internet? Today, you’ll find out how those three ingredients, along with a determined entrepreneur, add up to Abundant Permaculture. This is a story about Justin Rhodes. A fellow who didn’t opt out of the rat race, because he never even opted in. Justin has taken a winding journey from western North Carolina to Honduras and even Australia before landing back near Asheville to start his online homesteading business, Abundant Permaculture. Along the way Justin encountered a homeless man who prophesied his homesteading future, faced financial crisis that threw his family onto food stamps and even battled Lyme Disease that forced him to abandon market farming and find other sources of self-sufficient income. But Justin is a determined, resilient man and an outstanding example of modern homesteading. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Justin launched Abundant Permaculture and a wildly popular YouTube channel and has figured out how to make money homesteading with online courses, blogging, selling homestead videos and via his YouTube channel. If you're interested in figuring out how to get out of the rat race and earn a self-sufficient income living off the land, grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
November 4, 2016
smallfarmnation.com Everyone wants to be a millionaire, but where do you turn when you strike it rich then lose it all in a real estate meltdown? In this episode I share the story of a hot dog who rescued a couple of corporate drop-outs who lost everything in the Great Recession. Welcome to Episode 10! This is the story of Laurie Charpentier, who accomplished something we all dream of--becoming a millionaire. Then, in the blink of an eye she lost it all, including her house, before a dachshund came into her life and changed everything. After dropping out of high school, Laurie earned her GED, then a college degree and climbed the corporate ladder, first as an accountant and then as director of human resources. Her employee-loving boss appreciated her, so much that he rewarded her with a six-figure income and an annual bonus. But when the boss sold the company, the new buyer had a very different perspective on how to treat employees. Laurie lost her job, but thanks to the stock options she had been rewarded, she had some time to chart a new course. So she became a life coach, only to find out that you actually have to sell to get new clients. Laurie's introverted personality prevented that, so she and her husband, Mark, decided to focus on generating passive income by investing the millions they had made from the company sale. They invested every penny in the real estate market. In 2008. Of course, they lost everything, including the house they lived in. So Laurie got another job in HR. Again, she was valued so much that her new boss doubled her salary within the first six months. And shortly thereafter, with no warning--he fired her. With her life out of control and with no security, Laurie didn't know where to turn. She was dependent on others for income and her identity in life. That's when a little dog named Max entered into her life and changed everything. Max allowed Laurie to think, not of what had gone wrong, but of what was still possible. Laurie and Mark soon found a way to start a small farm. After analyzing other farm enterprises--milking goats, market gardening, etc.--she decided to start a lavender farm in Rhode Island. And Max decided to start an apothecary for dogs. This is really a powerful story that winds through the highs and lows of life, and ends up on a small farm. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
October 28, 2016
So what would cause a trained scientist and big pharma executive to sell everything he owns and move to the country? Well, find out as I share the story of, not a mad scientist, but a scientist who got mad when he discovered we’re on a Crash Course with economic collapse. Listen to the Podcast SUBSCRIBE TO PODCAST IN ITUNES Welcome to Episode 9! This is the story of Chris Martenson, who isn't your average scientist. Or corporate executive, for that matter. While he was "nature boy" as a child, Chris loved science and data, and continued his formal education until he was almost 30. He wanted to teach at the secondary level, but found himself forced to purse a career in business. His passion for science landed him in "big pharma," where he pulled down big bucks and played the game just the way it was supposed to be played. But when a market "correction" wiped out 40{f08661e966cfbba2afdc219076bf0ce6e15467ec087bdfb769bbeccdbc1c77ea} of his portfolio, the scientist in Chris became mad. So he began to investigate, and found that, not only was the game rigged against him (and you), but that we're on a crash course with collapse in energy, the environment and the economy. So Chris and his wife, Becca, opted-out and changed everything. They sold the waterfront home and big boat and moved to rural Massachusetts to begin homeschooling their children and homesteading to buffer themselves from the hard times ahead. In the midst of that, Chris began sharing his concerns and built a large following for his Crash Course book and videos, and his website, Peak Prosperity. Chris shares his thoughts on the economy, the importance of becoming resilient through self-reliance, the value of gold, silver and precious metals, how to decide where to locate, homeschooling and so much more. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair! Subscribe to the Self-Sufficient Life Podcast Make it easy on yourself and subscribe to the show, and you’ll never miss an episode: Thanks for Listening! Thanks so much for joining me this week. If you enjoyed this episode, please SHARE it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post. Also, PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and I greatly appreciate it! Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates!
October 21, 2016
smallfarmnation.com If you think it’s tough trying to raise a kid, try raising 185 hungry kids. Today, I’ll share the story of a New York lawyer and a high-end builder who decided to ditch their demanding clients so they could herd goats and make artisan cheese. Kathryn Spann grew up in the farm country of Durham, NC, but she quickly fled to become a high-flying New York lawyer. But things go full circle in life, and when she met a high-end builder, Dave Krabbe, who had as much stress in his work as she did, they decided to opt-out of the rat race. They bought land, fell in love with goats and became farmstead artisan cheese makers at Prodigal Farm. In no time, their goats were giving birth to almost 200 kids a year, meaning Kathryn and Dave had to quickly learn every aspect of sustainable farming. Milking, breeding, marketing, cheese making, pasture management--the skills and chores seem endless, and Kathryn and Dave work more hours for less money than before. But their life is much fuller and more rewarding, and they wouldn't trade it. Kathryn shares her thoughts on cheese making, farming, Kickstarter crowdfunding, goats and much more. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
October 14, 2016
smallfarmnation.com If you want to change the way people think, sometimes you just gotta get right up in their grill and tell ‘em what you think. Today, I’ll share the story of Daisy Luther. A freedom fighting, gun-toting, homeschooling mother who’s inspiring a nation of Organic Preppers. This is the fascinating story of Daisy Luther from the blogs The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com. I think you'll really enjoy the story of the winding path that led Daisy to homesteading and outspoken preparedness. A series of family tragedies, job losses and hardships drove her deep into the wilderness to homeschool her children, and learn that homesteading isn't as easy as it first seems. Her experiences reignited the skeptical, always questioning persona of her youth and inspired her to take up writing. She wrote books and multiple blogs centered on prepping, preparedness and delivering the truth in an unabashed way that you never see in mainstream media. Daisy shares her thoughts on homeschooling, homesteading, online courses, self-sufficient income, prepping, preparedness and much more. So grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
October 7, 2016
smallfarmnation.com We all love our children, but what do you do when that cute little girl of yours grows up to be a defiant teenage trouble maker? Today, I’ll share the story of how a rebellious teenager in a gang-infested neighborhood escaped to develop a new life on a homestead. Raising a teenager is challenging—always has been. But imagine you’re raising one in a busy California coastal town—say—Santa Barbara. It’s 1996 and the city is besieged by violence. The police have their hands full with over 800 gang members, creating a steady stream of mischief. And there’s been an increasing trend in real violence. Drive-by shootings, gang rapes, brawls, stabbings, And here you are, a single mom trying to raise a 15-year old by yourself. So, what do you do with your rebellious daughter? You stick her on a plane and sentence her to a new life on a homestead. This is the inspiring story of Kendra Lynne from the blog New Life on a Homestead. Grab some coffee and pull up a chair!
September 30, 2016
smallfarmnation.com Some men get trapped in the purple haze of life, only to see the light when God himself answers their prayers from the county jail. This week, I share the story of one such man. A man who kicked his drug addiction to become a prepper and bestselling author of post-apocalyptic Christian novels. Kentucky is the bourbon capital of the world. It's also where Mark Goodwin grew up and where he learned practical preparedness from the best--The Boy Scouts. But he wasn't prepared for life's temptations after he got out of school. He made great money working bars and restaurants, but spent every nickel on partying. He may still be doing that today, but he received two loud and clear messages from above that forever changed his path in life. Today, Mark is the host of the Prepper Recon podcast, and is a bestselling author of post-apocalyptic Christian novels. We discuss everything from prepping, preparedness and overcoming addiction to making money as a Kindle books author and modern homesteading. It's a great, inspiring episode. So pull up a chair!
September 23, 2016
smallfarmnation.com In this episode, you'll hear the story of a little girl who pushed her city wheelbarrow to the life in the country she was destined for. Little kids dream of becoming all kinds of things when they grow up, but usually outgrow their fantasies when they become adults. But every now and then a kid holds on tight and grows up to live her dream. Jill Winger grew up in the city. But from her earliest memory she fantasized about living in the country. So when she turned 18, she fled and began pushing her childhood wheelbarrow to rural Wyoming. Today she's a successful modern homesteader, earning enough money through blogging and her essential oils business to pay herself and her husband. Jill offers great advice on how to start and monetize a blog, building an essential oils business, the value of frugality, following Dave Ramsey and avoiding debt and so much more. It's a great listen to anyone inspiring to be more self-sufficient. Keep up with Jill at The Prairie Homestead.
September 15, 2016
smallfarmnation.com In this episode, you'll hear the story of how a monster traffic jam in Sacramento sparked a rural revolution in Idaho. Patrice Lewis sat in a monster Sacramento traffic jam and reached her tipping point. Patrice was a project coordinator for an agricultural research firm in Sacramento.Her husband, Don, was a geologist with a geo-engineering firm. They entered their respective fields because they loved the outdoors.But, as they sat in traffic with the heat waves rising from the asphalt, they realized the truth.They rarely got to be outdoors. It had begun to gnaw at them. The commute. The flickering fluorescent lights. The cubicles. And the crowds. They reached the tipping point--and fled. First to Oregon, but later deeper into the wilderness to an Idaho homestead. When they fled they were young, idealistic newlyweds. But they were also broke, and with no jobs available where they moved, they had to learn to take care of themselves. Patrice and Don mastered the "Three H's" of self-sufficiency: homeschooling, homesteading and home-based business. Their woodcraft business (they make medieval wooden tankards) has now sustained them for over two decades. But Patrice and Don also mastered the concept of multiple-streams of income, and earn money freelance writing, selling grassfed beef and other ways. Keep up with their journey on Patrice's blog, rural-revolution.com.
September 14, 2016
smallfarmnation.com In this episode, you’ll hear the story of how Lisa Steele escaped the concrete jungle surrounding Wall Street and built a lucrative brand around backyard chickens. Lisa Steele made Gordon Gecko proud, living the high-life on Wall Street during the go-go '80s. But when terrorists bombed the World Trade Center for the first time in 1993, Lisa reached her tipping point and began looking for a simpler life. It was many years later when boredom and necessity motivated her to start writing about her passion; chickens. What started as a simple Facebook page grew into a thriving blog, books and television series, all centered around Lisa's brand, Fresh Eggs Daily. A lot of people start blogs, but few turn their passion into a blogging business. Lisa Steele did just that, and now earns an income to rival what she walked away from when she left Wall Street. Lisa teaches us how giving readers what they want can earn you more than chicken feed.
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