Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Setting Goals for Farm Income - Phase 1

In the past few years I've read dozens of books about how to sustainably, efficiently and effectively make money from your backyard garden/small urban farm. I always walk away from those books all charged up about how we're going to run our farmstand, and what all we can offer up for sale there. Then crazy things like last May's car accident happen, and we suffer a big ol' setback. Not this year - I'm determined.

Someday, it'd be lovely if this farm alone provided us with enough income so that Bill could retire from his real job and work here at home instead, side by side with the new and improved me, milking goats, weeding the garden and picking apples. I'm not really sure exactly what it would take to make that happen though.

If you're a fan of the show The Fabulous Beekman Boys, then you'll know that they have been working toward a similar goal as us. Somehow or other, they arrived at the conclusion that they'd have to sell a million dollars worth of food/soaps/farm tchotchkes in order to offset Josh's nine-to-five income and allow him to work on the farm full time. I'd love to know how they came up with that number, and I'd like to figure out exactly what our magic number is, but I don't have the faintest idea how to work that out.

Instead, because I really need to set an attainable goal for myself after this past year of missed opportunities and failure, I'm starting low - $5 per day.

Even before we get our farmstand up and running, I figure that I can produce at least $5 worth of salable product each day with my knitting. A single dishcloth goes for $4, and I can easily turn one out per day. A pair of bike helmet earmuffs can also be done in about a day, and sells for $15, covering me for three days if I should somehow fall behind. It is an extremely small goal, but, when regarded in the context of a full calender year, gives me over $1800 worth of knitted inventory to offer at my bazaars and online. Assuming that 50% of that is profit, I can make us $900 doing something that I thoroughly enjoy and that relaxes me. Pretty cool!

And so, that is what I've committed myself to so far. When I have a clearer idea of how much honey and wax that our beehives will give us, how much produce we can grow and sell, and how much soap we can produce with our goats milk and homegrown botanicals, I will set production and income goals for those areas as well. But for now - small, teensy, microscopic potatoes are all that I can honestly commit to. Every successful business has to start somewhere, right?

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