Let’s face it, many of us can only dream of working from the comfort of our own home. In my case, working from home has been an ongoing process of trying to turn “nothing” into “something”.
From writing to marketing and selling products I either make or grow, this is how I would like to earn a living. At this point in the process, it has been slow and not as financially fruitful as receiving the expected paycheck from working outside the home.
Thankfully, my husband works a traditional job which affords us the opportunity to try and make something of our 25-acre farm. Farm to market potential is there, but as with all good things, it takes oodles of time, a ton of effort, a bit of seed money and much planning.
Over the last year of being “jobless”, I have never worked so hard in my entire life. Spring, summer and fall, I literally work from sun up to sun down. Many times, I’m so busy I forget to eat or I look at the clock and wonder where the day has gone.
I deal with expectations associated with my time at home, such as self-imposed deadlines, various goals and daily duties. I care for the animals, mow, remove snow, do the laundry, care for the house, cook and clean. Some days I write, grocery shop, run errands, plant, harvest, gather and sell what I grow. Yet, in the opinion of mainstream society, this is not enough. Let’s face it, it doesn’t exactly pay the bills.
When passing conversation turns to, “What is it you do?”, or “Do you work outside the home?”, or “Are you looking for a job?”, sour bile starts rising in my throat. Some of these people obviously know I do not have small children at home. They also know I don’t own thousands of acres of farmland or raise cattle.
It is at this exact moment, I freeze. How do I share with them the scope of my work, the value of what I’m trying to accomplish? Must I go into detail and explain? Do I really need to hold down a job outside the home to substantiate being a useful part of society? In America, it seems so. Your job outside of the home essentially defines you.
WORKING FROM HOME
Working from home is not a cush job, its just one that doesn’t require a daily commute. For the most part, I can choose what I will do for the day and in which order I wish to do it. And yes, the ability to throw in a load of laundry here or there doesn’t hurt. The house is lived in and contrary to popular belief, it is not pristinely spotless simply because I am at home every day.
A big misconception is that working within the home is solely for mothers of young children or for the financially privileged. Well, I’m here to tell you, life at home is a lot of work. My days do not revolve around reading romance novels, watching soap operas and eating bonbons. Those thoughts are found only in the imagination of someone who relates “home” with “leisure”. For me, home, my life, my work, it is all here on the farm.
GET PAID DOING WHAT YOU LOVE
The life I want to lead isn’t a life spent working on someone else’s dream. It’s a life created from the desire to make a living by doing what I enjoy. I want to live a life doing something I am good at and knowing the value of financially reaping from what I personally choose to sow.
For me, success is not defined by a long list of parameters created by society. Why must we sell increments of our life away doing something we dislike? Aren’t there better ways to earn a paycheck?
From time to time I need to remind myself just how far I’ve come. I started off with a simple blog detailing the activities of first-time farm ownership. While still in its infancy, this same blog is now financially self-sustaining. Dirt On My Plate is growing, just as more and more folks are choosing to live a more simple lifestyle.
Writing my blog was the spark I needed to ignite the flames of my literary desire. In addition, I now guest write for two other blog sites and I get paid to do it! Although the income is minimal, it’s a start. Perhaps one day, I’ll finally gain the skills required to write that book!
Putting our farm back into production and opening new gardens have also blessed us with more than just food on our plate. Selling excess produce in a local farmer’s market revealed a demand that I could cater to. And…I could make money doing so. The bonus? What little I sold at this year’s market will pay for the following year’s seeds and plants! In 2018 I plan to grow gardens with the intent to sell most of what I harvest.
While selling eggs wasn’t something my husband and I had intended to do, our eggs are in demand. While the birds are not totally self-sustaining in their expense, they definitely add a little more notice to what we do and what we sell.
Even when it comes to raising meat such as chicken and turkey, our friends are taking notice. Expressed interest in the process and taking part in next year’s butcher day have been outstanding. More people are learning from the example we set – that is priceless!
What I’ve realized is this, I shouldn’t take offense when people ask what I do. Instead, I should be prepared with an answer befitting of where I am and what the ultimate goal is. In this way, I can define my own sense of success and value in the way I choose to live.
Perhaps saying something other than, “I take care of the house, chickens and I mow”, can be more impressive. Such as, “I grow and sell the farm to market goods, write for 3 farm living websites, one of which is my own and I also take care of the home.”
In any case, it’s up to me to define a life I recognize as being successful. It just so happens that I live and I work from home. What I do, takes skill and dedication…and yes, I can choose to do it all in my pajamas.
Thanks for writing this, I needed this so much! As an adult woman that’s spent the majority of her adult working years working from home: first as a stay at home mom that ran a childcare business from home, and now as a struggling gardening blogger, I needed this reminder and it’s great to know that someone else is going through the same struggle. I’m definitely going to print this out and keep these beautiful words up as encouragement.