By Kellene Bishop
There seems to be the misnomer that the only way to become more self-sufficient is to be loaded with money. Well, I can assure you from personal experience, such is NOT the case. It’s a matter of priorities, not paychecks.
A few years ago my husband and I had just gone through a horrible financial set-back; while 2008 hit a lot of businesses, we managed to do quite well until…well, until a whole lot of things happened all at once. We closed up a business, walked away from over $2.5 million in contracts that were due to us, filed for bankruptcy, held garage sales, etc. etc. I can honestly say that I had never been lower. Up until that time I couldn’t fathom anything more “failure oriented” than having to file bankruptcy! I kept praying I kept smiling and I kept hoping, but the rest of me just wasn’t buying it. I didn’t want to DO anything anymore–not consult, not clean house–nothing. I stopped doing the things I needed to do for my own mental and physical health and, to be a bit vulnerable in sharing this, my husband started to worry after a few days of lengthy hours of watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island and Happy Days. So, he sat me down. Not 100% sure what we were going to do next he asked me a key question. He said “if money was not an issue, what would you love to do every day for work?” My answer? “I’d write and teach others to approach a self-sufficient lifestyle with peace and comfort in mind instead of panic and suffering.” My hubby paused for a moment and then said, “Then do it. I’ll take care of the bills. You do what you love. At least one of us will be totally happy.” (Now that’s LOVE for ya!) He was right. I was happy and no one could get in the way of that because I wasn’t held hostage by any advertisers or customers. I could stay focused and true to what I really wanted to do. I’ve never felt more liberated and the funny thing that I discovered was that there’s always a way to earn a living doing what you love to do. With that attitude, we chose to learn from our complacency and never repeat those mistakes again; we moved forward; and we’ve really never had to suffer “without” since then.
price for those items; I worked for them—literally worked for them. I found a line of products that I knew I wanted to acquire for the purposes of my health and well-being now and in the future. So I simply submitted a proposal to the company’s president—my work, which he was clearly in need of and couldn’t obtain for what I was willing to take—in exchange for his products at wholesale costs. The agreement worked out so well that after about a year the company started paying me additionally in a currency that was a little more acceptable to utility companies. And ultimately I needed to move on from that relationship to focus solely on Preparedness Pro duties, but what I have to show for all of that work was better than any strict budget I could have put myself in. It required me to meet deadlines, study like I’m preparing for a dissertation or something just so that I could understand enough to write all of that marketing copy, and spend my “money” on preparedness supplies. It worked out perfectly and I’ll always have all of that knowledge I had to learn too.
Another example was early on in this experiment. We continued to pray and somehow kept moving forward day after day. I learned how to be a superwoman with couponing, I was able to rely on my cooking skills, and I was always able to come up with odd jobs using the marketing and talent skills I had to pay the bills. One day I received some seemingly insignificant bit of information. The next thing I knew I had this crazy idea that we would start a business selling used plastic buckets. We bought them used and gooey and grimey, cleaned and sanitized them, and then sold them as used buckets to the large market of “food storage” fans in our area. One thing led to another and another and a full-fledged business that actually supported us was born. All we’ve ever wanted is something sufficient to pay the bills and to provide enough funds to increase our self-sufficiency supplies.
My point in all of this is that I’m 100% positive that there’s a way for others to do the same. I am a HUGE proponent of households having at least ONE stream of self-employment income. In a perfect world, there would be no “staff” or “employees.” Mankind would have enough faith in themselves that they would work based strictly on results and get paid accordingly. I’m quite convinced that that’s God’s way too—“The law of the harvest” as it’s been called, reaping based solely on what you sow that way YOU are in control of your income, your retirement, your healthcare, the time you get to spend with our family, etc.
I’ve only had a handful of hourly jobs since I was 12 years old. I just never saw the boundaries that most kids did. My first “job” was when I was 13 and convinced a church member who owned a print shot that he should hire me to create a community newsletter. The deal was I would sell advertisement in the newsletter and he wouldn’t have to pay me while I learned how to do his business and helped around the space. A year later I convinced this same owner that at the age of 14 I was good enough to be his office manager and he agreed. (I was great too until I got too involved in boys, drill team, and jazz band performances. Hee hee)
I’m 100% positive that regardless of your physical and mental obstacles we can all discover something that works well for us so that we can invest in and rely on ourselves. Frankly, if a person can’t rely on his or her own self then they have no business charging someone else to, in my opinion. There are all kinds of opportunities now thanks to the technological advancements. For example, some time ago I wrote about fish antibiotics and how they were a viable back up for a person to use in lieu of traditional antibiotics in a crisis. I even jumped up and down and spit rubber nickels in the article and challenged people to take a cue to the fact that there weren’t very many online sources for such a commodity. Someone could have easily jumped on that and started a nice little home business.
Here’s another idea. We all know that our food sources are so volatile, questionable and downright dangerous. When I read the Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog (yes, I said READ) I get all excited to start another business. There’s a bazillion possibilities among the pages of that catalog for some industrial people to make more than enough to support themselves each year. There are some truly RARE seeds available there that are GMO-free, non-hybrid, and even organic which produce STAR attraction kinds of produce that can easily be sold at flea markets and farmer’s markets anywhere. Not only can you grow the everyday stuff—non-GMO, which is NOT SO everyday, but you can grow the amazing kind of stuff that folks haven’t ever seen before that have memorable tastes and heavenly aromas! I’ll never forget the day I tried an Israeli Melon! I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I have several friends all over the U.S. who do this very thing. They purchase the seeds for around $2 and then they painstakingly grow the produce like caring for a newborn baby but simpler (and quieter). Then they turn around and multiply their investment nearly 100 times over and over plus they give themselves an agreed upon salary for their time—all while selling out of their goods at Farmer’s Markets. Did you notice that one part, by the way? The part about paying yourself to work?? Too many entrepreneurs go under because they forget to pay themselves and to account for that in their budget.
Over the years I’ve made a pretty good living doing marketing consulting. I get paid to tell people how to earn more money at their business. I also frequently get paid to write marketing copy for their business products. As such, I’ve run into a LOT of business owners who don’t know diddly about business (let alone marketing, grammar, customer service, etc.) and yet they STILL make a good run at it. Come on, think about it. Have you ever been so incredibly disappointed in a product or customer service nowadays and yet those businesses are STILL in business! Unfortunately, our society has accepted the mass of mediocrity. Now I’m not telling you that so that you can go ahead and be mediocre too, but what I am saying is that you don’t have to be picture perfect before you start out on your own. And I’m also trying to point out that it takes VERY little in terms of intelligence and customer service skills to outdo any competitor out there. Did you see that? Intelligence and customer service skills—not money!
Lastly I just want to leave you with this thought. Sun Tzu was a vicious warrior but he’s often been looked at as a viable “mentor” of sorts for business people. There’s one lesson that “Suz Tzu’s The Art of War” taught me. That is to burn the Mother Ship. You see, when Sun Tzu was leading his army to conquer a region, he required the men to burn their mother ship so that it wasn’t a temptation to run back and retreat to it. In other words, he left his army with no choice but go forward. I’m not suggesting that you move forward in striving for your financial independence haphazardly or without Plans B through Z, but I am suggesting that you take the leap of faith in YOURSELF and give YOURSELF a job that you love. More importantly you’ll give yourself a peace of mind that no one else can take from you. You don’t have to trust that your employer is managing the money properly or that there really IS a retirement fund, etc. YOU can decide what you can do. You don’t have to go “all or nothing” on this path, but in your pursuit of self-sufficiency, surely you realize the problem with getting there while working for someone else, right? So, take a chance. Take the time to earnest pray about what you could do and then DO IT!! Once you get on that road, you’ll see just how cheaply you sold yourself and your time with your loved ones before. And hey, I’ll even be around for some free marketing advise here and there. Then perhaps you’ll understand what I mean when I say “Self-Sufficiency Comes Cheap”.