Follow along as we set up our new homestead. Before the very first post hole is dug, we needed to do some soul searching and make sure we're on the same page. Being two separate individuals with separate dreams, you can imagine we'll run into difficulties, disagreements, and occasional hurt feelings. I have to admit that I'm the one who really, really, really wants a farm and Farm Hero (his new name) may or may not be as ambitious as I when it comes to planning, building, and the work that needs to be done. Not that he won't do it, but perhaps not at the pace I would like. If nothing else, this new farm life has caused both of us to stretch and grow, and mostly, communicate!
Farms don't just happen on their own. They take planning. They take work. They take money. I'm a process person, so here it is... our planning process. Follow along on our blog for the next couple months, and feel free to use anything and everything that may help you on your journey, even if it's not a farm.
Our planning process is divided into steps, from making decision, through defining values, understanding resources, crops, animals, marketing, long-term goals, and so on. There is no time-line for the actual work that needs to be done, but these planning steps will be covered in depth. Please sign up on the homepage of our website to be notified by email of each blog so you don’t miss a step!
STEP ONE - THE BOSS
Who’s in charge around here, anyway?
First question: Who are the decision makers on your farm?
Let’s just get this elephant off the table right now. Are you in charge? Is your spouse in charge? Does your father-in-law hold a large claim because of the money he loaned you? How are you going to split up the decisions and the responsibilities? This cannot be a free-for-all!
Everyone who has a claim or a stake in your farm needs to sit at the same table at the same time and make some very clear decisions and decide on some very solid boundaries. Many people’s draw toward farm ownership is the peace it brings. Let’s make sure the inside of the farmhouse is as peaceful as the outside. Let’s get everyone on the same page to avoid frustrations and disagreements down the road.
Are you the organized one who orders seeds months in advance, color codes the pantry, balances the record books to the penny? (Yeah, that' me.) Is your spouse the compulsive type who buys a shiny new tractor without consulting anyone else, and now your plans for building that new greenhouse next spring are dashed? (Yep, I know that guy.) Let’s draw some lines in the sand (or the hay field, as it were) and ask everyone to get on board.
Take a hard look at everyone’s talents and input and decide right now who is in charge of what. These delegations can be changed at a later date if all agree. Perhaps dealing with customers is driving you to drink, but your spouse is a people person who could chat with the ladies at the farm market until the cows come home. Let’s put your spouse in charge of customer service! Whew, that takes the load off, doesn't it?
On our farm, Farm Hero is the dreamer. He’s always rambling about doing this or building that or buying the other, but without my planning, none of his dreams would ever come to fruition, for I am the planner, the record keeper, the organizer. With all my award-winning planning skills, I still don’t have the muscle to get big physical projects done without hiring someone to do them. Therefore, he is the muscle behind what I need done, when I decide to move a fence, or redesign a coop.
I’m also the marketing whiz. I love all the details and planning that go into putting ideas out into the public light. (I wrote this blog, didn’t I? And even though I can write a blog, I have no patience for computer glitches. Farm Hero has the patience of a saint and will methodically work through the most complex tech problem.) Anyway, back to marketing. I have tons of ideas about ways to get attention, but my husband is the visual guy and graphic designer. He can work Photoshop like nobody's business. If I put my ideas out on my own, they’d probably be mailed to you in colored pencil with crooked pictures and some thumb tacks included so you could hang them on your wall.
All that being said, if you’re ready to start planning your farm or homestead or new business, and you have a partner, spouse, investors - begin with these basic questions:
Who are the decision makers?
What skills do each bring to the table?
Who is the marketer?
The record keeper?
The garden planner?
The customer service person?
The blog/website admin?
The animal tender?
The whatever-it-is-you-do person?
Which jobs are split and how do you split them?
So, How Much is this Going to Cost??
Now that you know who is in charge, take some time to set some financial boundaries. This can also be a moving line in the sand, but everyone needs to know where that line is. My husband says his budget to spend on the farm without our mutual consent is $300. He says that my budget is apparently $563.91. I don’t know where he came up with that, but I really did need that new dress, shoes, and purse for the wedding. I didn’t think special occasion attire was included in the farm budget. Obviously, we need to talk about finances just a little more. Do you see where this can go from happy farm to grumpy disagreements very quickly? Compulsive buyers may have a tough time with this whole boundary concept, but if everyone is on the same page, there will be no arguments later, and that’s what we’re aiming for.
So, what's your budget or project size that you need everyone’s agreement to proceed?
Join us next time for Values
Learn how to make farm and business decisions with your core values in mind.
Until next time,
Grab one of these cute coffee mugs and make your statement! :)