General
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Independence 101

11 Lessons Easy

About this course

I think I’m safe in saying that employment is the most difficult issue that homesteaders face.  We have known many people who made the move to the country and faced a lot of difficulties with finding work.  We certainly did.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I wish I had known years ago what I do now, as it would have made earning a living in the country so much easier and less stressful.  But in order to have this kind of experience, you have to do your homework ahead of time and prepare accordingly.

Here’s the deal…So many people focus on where they are going and the land and power and water and all that, but they fail to consider that troublesome issue of an income.  “We’ll find a job when we get there.”  Unfortunately it often is not that easy.  The kind of locations that many of us want to move to may also be economically depressed and jobs may be few.  Or perhaps the type of occupation that we are trained for is not one that is feasible to do at our new location.

I hope you can see the extreme importance of calculating your work into the equation of where you move.  It’s just as important as having water and trees and privacy and all these things.  Without work, you won’t be staying at your new homestead very long (unless you’re independently wealthy).

So here are some thoughts I’d like to share with you after having connected with thousands of folks who are interested in making this move…

Your Current Occupation

Is there any way that you could continue with your current occupation (perhaps with a different employer) while living at your new homestead?  Is that feasible considering the distance from town or part of the country you’ll be located in?  If so, that would likely be the best course of action for you right now.  You already have the training, experience, and contacts to be successful, so why “upset the apple cart” right now while you have so many other big changes happening in your life?  Even if your current job is one that requires you to come into an office every day, don’t be afraid to ask for other options.

A friend of ours handled IT and payroll for a corporation.  She had to go into the office every day and assumed that she would have to find a new job when they moved several hours away to a rural location.  When she broke the news to her employer, they considered her such a valuable employee that they offered to let her work remotely from home, and even paid to have a special phone line run into her new home for communicating with the local office.  Her part of the bargain is that she has to do a bit of traveling once every month or two to go on-site to various locations where she is needed.  So don’t automatically assume that you won’t be able to keep your current job.

Once you rule out your current job, explore all options for the same type of work in your new location.  But it’s important to do this AHEAD OF TIME!  That means, before you purchase property, sign up for a rental, or move.  This MUST be part of the criteria that guides you about where to move.

Previous Occupations or Hobbies

If you have exhausted all options for finding a similar job in your new location, then it’s time to start thinking about any previous occupations or serious hobbies you may have had and which could potentially provide a reliable income.  At least you have some previous experience with these things and are not starting from scratch.

If you find that there is good potential for any of these options, then it’s time to start brushing up.  Start attending any necessary training that you can, start researching and catching up with the tips of the trade, and do whatever you can NOW while you still have job to transition into this new occupation.  If this new job involves starting your own company, go ahead and get things rolling.  Go through the legal paperwork, get any necessary licenses, and start trying to get business now in your spare time.  The goal is to keep your current job until you have proven that this new endeavor is viable and reliable, and only then do you quit.  Or better still, transition to part time if you can while you ramp up the new business.

Here’s the point.  If you build it, they will NOT necessarily come!  That goes for websites, advertisements, or anything of a business nature.  It takes time and work, and you want to be putting in all the preparatory time and work while you still have a paycheck coming in.  And many seemingly great business ideas end up in failure.  You NEED to find that out while you still have a job.

Another friend of ours was a dental hygienist and was interested in not being so tied down to an office.  She wanted to be able to move to a new location.  While working, she learned of a need for a particular type of hand made product that was not being commercially made.  Since this idea was related to a hobby of hers, she took an interest in it and decided to fill that need.  It started out very small and humbly, with her building the products one-by-one in her home.  But since it was a needed product and she was able to connect with numerous businesses that needed this product, this side business grew and grew until she had to hire an employee and it was taking so much of her time that she decided to quit her dental hygiene job.  But it was not until she had a proven business model that she quit.  And that’s what I’m strongly suggesting for you, if you venture into the land of self-employment.

A Brand New Occupation

So, none of the above options have worked out?  Then and only then would I consider looking at an occupation that you have never done before.  Much of the same cautions that I’ve already described would apply, except that you should be even more cautious when moving toward work that you have no experience with.  I would suggest that you not choose an occupation that will require extensive or expensive training.  And don’t forget to answer one of the most unasked questions—is there a real demand or need for this service or product.  You can’t just assume that there is a demand for it.  You need evidence of that demand.  Otherwise, you could spend months or years preparing for a business that nobody (or few people in that area) want or need.

A Word About Online Businesses

It’s amazing how many people are starting their own online business these days!  The internet presents some incredible opportunities for connecting with customers all over the country and the world.  But there are a few cautions I want to mention, having started a couple of online based businesses myself.

First, as mentioned earlier, if you build a website, they will NOT necessarily come.  A website is simply an advertisement and a means to collect leads and make sales with customers.  But a website is not some magical thing that brings customers to your door.  Just like a catalog or a flyer, it does no good until you get someone to look at it.  And that is where a lot of the work in internet marketing originates—getting new “qualified” prospects to your website.

While trying to rank well in search engines is wonderful and can bring you some great free traffic, search engines are constantly changing and evolving, and if you entirely depended on search engine traffic, you could lose your business in a very short time due to a tweak made by Google that knocks your website further down the page of search results.  Not a good position to be in!  So I suggest that you also make paid advertising part of your business plan.  But you have to do it wisely or you can quickly run a business into the ground with effective advertising or a lack of follow up campaigns with your new leads.  Right now, I think Facebook ads are the safest and easiest way to get your feet wet and start getting some feedback and results without investing a lot of money.  You can spend as little or as much as you want in as short or as long a period of time as you want.  It’s very flexible and you can target your ads to only those with an interest in particular topics.

Once you have traffic coming to your website, it will be a waste or time and money if you don’t have a solid way for connecting with them in a meaningful way.  But asking a brand new contact to purchase something from you (a business that is unknown to them) is a hard sell and not very many will do it.  So you need to develop a means of connecting with them and collecting contact info so you can follow up and “warm them up” over time.  So you need to develop your website in such a way that it is collecting new leads and connecting with them as much as it is selling products.

When I say “connecting with them” I’m referring to sharing valuable content with them that will fill a need or solve problems in their lives.  One of the best ways for doing this is via regular emails that have substantive content in them.  You can also use your blog as a place to share valuable content and connect with your audience.  This enables you to break the ice, gain their trust and then you can share your products with them as an additional resource at their disposal.  In other words, give them some of your best content, and if it’s good stuff and fills a need, they will want more and will be willing to pay for it.

But in order for this to happen, you have to make that initial connection, and that’s what happens when a visitor shares their email address with you in exchange for some free content or a webinar or something like that.

This is a huge topic and I could not begin to do it justice in this one page, but there is an excellent resources I can refer you to for further in-depth training on starting an online info-product based business.  It’s a training course by Dave Westbrook, a good friend of ours who really introduced us to this business model of online marketing.  His course is called Country Home Business and I can highly recommend it (after having spent thousands of dollars on other internet marketing courses).  This one is money and time well spent if you are interested in being successful with this type of business model.

Supplementary Income

Maybe you have a job that can follow you to the country, but you are just barely getting by.  Or perhaps the income will likely go down in your new location.  Or maybe your spouse has some time that could be used to bring in extra money.  Whatever the case may be, who couldn’t use some extra cash, especially if it didn’t take a lot of extra time to acquire it!

With that in mind, you might consider some part time income generating options.  Some of these have even been known to grow into a livable income with enough time and work.

Network Marketing

Most of these are a waste of time, as you end up working yourself like crazy just to earn a bunch of money for your “uplines” and the company executives.  We know folks who have been almost superhuman in their efforts and have received awards in their MLM for being a top producer, but they still have to have a day job to squeak by each month.

You might wonder why anyone would get sucked into such an arrangement, and I think the reason why is because the company generally takes care of most or all of the business end of things that you would have to do if this was your own business.  They have the website and payment processors and promotional material, the products, and all these things ready to roll for you.  Also, there is typically very little up front expense to get started (unlike starting your own traditional business.  In exchange for all this, you end up drumming up lots of new customers and sales and reps who are downline from you.  And in addition to that, you typically make very little profit.

I remember when a relative was interested in getting into one of these MLMs, and I sat down with her and went through the compensation plan.  Needless to say, I told her that she would be working her tail off to make the company a bunch of money.  Not a very good deal!

However, there is at least one of these types of organizations that we actually know people who are making a sizable income without taking forever and a day and without burning the candle at both ends.  In fact, we were so impressed by the first hand accounts and by the company’s compensation plan, that we signed up and are growing that as a side business.  While I assist when needed, Lisa is heading it up as she wanted to help bring some extra cash into the family while being a busy stay at home mom, and this business is right up her alley.

You are probably wondering what this business is.  It’s doTERRA.  I know…we’ve all run into the zealous doTERRA and YoungLiving reps who portray essential oils as a cure-all and the silver bullet for mankind.  In fact, having organized preparedness expos for years, we would chuckle and roll our eyes when the flood of vendor applications would come in from doTERRA, Young Living, and Thrive Life reps.  But once we heard from friends how much they are making in a relatively short period of part-time work, we decided to put away our pre-conceived ideas and take a look.  And since we have been using essential oils for years, it seemed like a good fit.

Initially, Lisa started out with this endeavor to just try and make enough to pay for the oils we use, but a long hard look at the compensation plan convinced her that it was worth her while to invest more time and make an income out of it.  And she really likes the way that it rewards upline reps for investing in and assisting new downline people.  It makes for teamwork rather than hoarding.

Lisa loves connecting with folks about their health and working to make their business as successful as possible, so if this sounds like it might be a fit for you and you’d like to explore this option, why not connect with Lisa and let her call you and explain the details?  She’s happy to do it and there is no obligation.  Well, actually there is one.  Your only obligation is to be okay with occasional interruptions and the sounds of laughter and cries in the background (yes, the kids!).  LOL!   You can email lisa at lisa@susprep.com .

eBay/Craigslist

This option is used by at least a few families I know, where one spouse does not work out of the home but does have a little spare time to dedicate to generating income.

The general idea is that you regularly make the rounds at yard sales, flea markets, and watching eBay and Craigslist for really good deals on items that are in demand.  You purchase those items, perhaps do a little cleanup/restoration as needed, and then sell them for a profit on eBay or Craigslist.  Nowadays, there are lots of local Facebook shop & swap groups that could also fit the bill for this purpose.

Course Structure

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Starting With Independence

Please take a couple minutes to read this before jumping in!

It's a quick overview of this course so you get the most out of it and end up with your roadmap to independence.

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The First Step

In this lesson we look at things you can start doing right now.

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Start Getting Out Of Debt

Debt can be a "ball and chain" around your neck.  NOW is the best time to start shedding it.  Here's a step-by-step method that has been proven to work...

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Downsize

Your future movements will be much easier if you are "lighter".  And you won't need such a large home either.

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Grow Your Skillset

Anything new skills you can learn now will be incredibly helpful on your future homestead.  Also, now's the time to think about retraining for your future employment (if necessary).

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Practice Makes Perfect

Rather than waiting for some unknown time to start doing, why not get your feet wet now?  There's a lot you can do NOW to start getting practical experience that will be valuable in the future.

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Collect Equipment

Now is the perfect time to start acquiring tools and equipment that will be useful in your new life.  You also may be making more money now than you will in the future, so anything necessary that you can buy now will be a huge help.

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Take Care Of Yourself

There will never be a better time than now to work on getting your health straightened out.  Start now so you can enter your new homestead with a clean bill of health (if possible) or at least improved health.

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Disaster Preparedness

Since you are probably in a vulnerable position right now, there are some simple things you can do to make yourself better prepared for a short-term disaster.  That way you have done something now to tide you over until your long-term homesteading plans are in place.

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Start Your Off Grid Transition

While your current position may not be ideal for going off the grid, there are a number of things you can do NOW to start the process and make it easier to go off the grid in the future.

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Work On Employment

One of the biggest challenges that most folks face at their new homestead is making a living.  What they didn't realize is, they should have been working on employment long before making the move.  Here's some advice for how to do this wisely.

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