Over the years I’ve often mentioned a fellow named Tim Young at Self-Sufficient Life. Tim has always been an inspiration to me. A bit over ten years ago, he left a high-powered, high-stress corporate job and bought a ragged run-down 60-acre parcel of land in Georgia. In a staggeringly short amount of time (through a combination of business savvy and sheer hard work), he became an expert in numerous enviable enterprises, including humanely-raised meat, raw milk products, cheesemaking, etc.
Having dabbled in small-scale farming on and off for 20 years, I can attest to the remarkable and varied skills he’s picked up much quicker than we ever did. He’s also a brilliant writer, marketer, teacher, and mentor.
One of Tim’s passions is helping people start their own home-based business, whether it's directly related to farming (raising meat, eggs, vegetables, etc.) or farm-related enterprises such as soapmaking, the fiber arts, landscaping, or permaculture. He is also knowledgeable about numerous food-related businesses such as artisan bakeries, wineries/breweries, dairy and raw milk operations, agritourism, restaurants/catering, etc.
Recently Tim has put together a mentoring course called Small Farm Nation Academy which guides people through what it takes to start a successful (as opposed to unsuccessful) business. The nice thing about his workshops and coursework is they don't just apply to farming-related enterprises. Speaking from the perspective of our long-term (and successful) craft business, his principles apply equally well to anything home-based since they focus a great deal on marketing. He mentors people along their journey and steers them away from making common mistakes that can doom them from the start.
This is the kind of stuff I wish Don and I had known from the beginning, much of which we had to acquire the hard way (y'know, via the School of Hard Knocks). Tim teaches about branding, website development, social media marketing, PR and media coverage, marketing strategies, etc. Resources include reading material, podcasts, videos, and community involvement through forums with other entrepreneurs.
I've always maintained the key to successfully living in the country is having a home-based business. Whether it's farming, crafting, writing, or any other innovation, a home business means you can live farther from the city (with cheaper property prices) and spend more time together as a family rather than being separated all day at distant ends of a commute.
If any of this sounds interesting, I urge you to visit Tim's academy website and see what he offers.