This post was originally posted on Modern Homesteaders: http://modernhomesteaders.net/2013/03/04/how-to-finance-your-homesteading-dream-with-a-j-o-b/ When you have a second, please go check them out. They are chock full of interesting stuff!
I saw this question recently come in via the Modern Homesteaders Facebook page and as a professional career coach by day and budding homesteader by day/night/every moment in between, I thought it would be a good thing to address:
Question from fan Adam Kinsman: Hi, I’ve got a question that I wonder if the fans can help me with. I would like to move to the north shore in MN. But there are too few jobs out there to be able to support my family of 5. My question, does anyone know of businesses, services, or trades that can be done from home? I would need to make a minimum of 4k/month to pay bills and provide for my family. Any help/ advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks -Adam @Everyday Survival
We’ve blogged about this very topic on Blueberry Acres Farm site before because let’s face it, unless you are one of the lucky ones who has inherited your farm/homestead, chances are-you are going to have to work to either purchase that homestead or improve/sustain that homestead. But yet balancing that need to work with the desire to live in less populated areas can be a real challenge. It’s pretty simple math: fewer people typically equals fewer jobs. Sheldon and I always thought that the nature of our careers would keep us in the city, but of course, God guided us into making some decisions that ultimately allowed us to move from the city to the country without sacrificing careers too much. We have been very fortunate indeed. But not everyone is going to come into this situation. So how can you explore making your own situation of finding that work/life balance that gets you to the homestead? Well, a couple of things that I would recommend:
Explore a portfolio career. You may not be able to find one job that pays your needed rate, but can you cobble together a full-time job and a part-time job to make the ends meet? If you work full-time can your spouse/significant other also work full-time? If not, part-time? What about contract or as needed?
Check out Government jobs. While we all probably have deep opinions about our government, the reality is that the Federal and State government is still often the employer of choice. Check out sites aimed at helping you explore these jobs but also check with your local city and counties as well.
Open your own business. There are numerous resources available to help you start a new job. Do you have gunsmithing skills? Can you sew like a madwoman? Are you the world’s best cookie baker? Would you make a great community handyman? Well, stop giving that skill away for free and charge for it! There are great organizations that give you coaching and expertise (for free!!!) and they can help you explore small business ownership. Check out Score and the SBA to start with.
Retrain for a different career. Sure, there are careers that will lend themselves better to larger cities. But then there are careers that will translate in any locale be it medicine, small engine repair or fry cook. Granted, it may not make sense for you to go back and become an MD, but perhaps you can pick up new training in a trade in 12-18 months. It doesn’t get you to the country life immediately, but it certainly puts you on the path to being more self-reliant with a skill that will be in demand in multiple markets, including rural markets. Not sure what to explore? Check out the O*Net, the DOL’s occupational database. Not only can this site help you assess where your interests lie, but it will also give you employment outlook for particular functions.
Do a combination of the above. As a family, we are working on diversity in our working lives so that we can ultimately become more self-sufficient financially. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it will involve traditional corporate work, consulting work and a revenue producing farm. It’s not going to be easy, but we are confident that it will be worth it. If your family longs to make that move, you need to start laying the groundwork professionally soon. If I were to offer up some hard truth gleaned over years of career coaching, it would be this: if you are looking for a job magic bullet, it doesn’t exist. If there were perfect careers that paid well, allowed you to work anywhere and enabled you to live your dreams, we would all do it. Sometimes you have to pave your own way…but hopefully we have given you some ideas to begin that process. Managing your career to the benefit of your family is a journey-not a destination.
Good luck, keep the faith and happy homesteading!
Contributing Writer, Modern Homesteaders
Journey with us at Blueberry Acres Farm
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