Is your life taking over your life? Do you crave something simpler? Something that includes dirt roads & homemade blackberry jam? County fairs & small-town ice cream shops? Do you imagine fat hens pecking around your porch, juicy red tomatoes growing in your garden, harvesting your very own watermelon? Are you wondering where to start?
One of the first steps in planning your homestead is to figure out who’s really in charge of what.
Who are the decision makers on your homestead? Are you in charge of planning? Is your spouse in charge of designing projects? Building projects? Does your father-in-law hold a large claim because of money he loaned you?
Everyone who has a claim or a stake in your homestead needs to sit at the same table and the same time and make some decisions and set some clear boundaries. Most people’s goal of owning a homestead 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 kitchen pantry, balances the record books to the penny? Is your spouse a compulsive type who would buy a shiny new tractor without consulting anyone else, and POOF!, there goes your plans for building that new greenhouse next spring? Let’s make some decisions and ask everyone to follow them.
Take a good look at everyone’s talents and input and decide right now who is in charge of what, but don’t worry, these delegations can be changed at a later date if all agree.
Perhaps dealing with customers drives you to drink, but your spouse is a people person who could chat with the old ladies at the farm market until the cows come home. Let’s put your spouse in charge of customer service! Don’t be afraid to set delegations. This is your personal plan and as I wrote before – it can be changed.
On our farm, Farm Hero is the dreamer. He’s always rambling about doing this and building that and buying the other, but without my planning, none of his dreams will ever come into fruition, for I am the planner, the record keeper, the organizer. With all my planning skills, I don’t have the muscle to get physical things done without hiring someone to do them. Therefore, my planning can’t magically make things happen. Farm Hero is the muscle behind what I need done, like when I decide to move a fence, or redesign the coop. I’m also the marketing whiz. I love all the details of putting ideas out into the public light. (I wrote this blog, didn’t I?) I have tons of ideas about ways to get attention, but Farm Hero is the visual and graphic designer. If I put ideas out on my own, they’d probably be mailed to you in a crumpled envelope, decorated in colored pencil with crooked pictures, and would arrive complete with thumb tacks so you can hang them on your wall.
All that being said, if your wheels are now spinning and you’re ready to start planning your homestead, let’s 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?__________
WHAT ABOUT MONEY? THAT’S IMPORTANT, RIGHT?
Since you have everyone together, spend some time setting financial boundaries as well. This can be a moving line in the sand also, but everyone needs to know where that line is. Farm Hero’s budget to spend on the farm without our mutual consent is $300. He says my budget is apparently $563.91. I don’t know why he thinks that, but I really did need that new dress, shoes, purse, and hairdo 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 to grumpy very quickly? Compulsive buyers may have a tough time with this concept, but if everyone is on the same page, there will be no later arguments, and that’s what we’re aiming for.
Is there a budget or project size where you need everyone’s agreement to proceed? What is it? _____________
In future installments of the Homestead Set Up, you will learn how to make farm and business decisions based on your long-term plan. You have one of those, don’t you? We will discuss your values, your mission statement, and your budget, along with marketing, social media, and setting up your homestead land. I promise all this will get clearer as we dig deeper, but it all starts with communication about responsibilities and boundaries.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please fill out the comment form on the “Contact Us” page of our website. We’re happy to help!