“Prepare your work outside And make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house.” Proverbs 24:27
First establish yourself and develop an income stream. Then start your family.
That was wise advice thousands of years ago and it’s still wise advice today. Interestingly, there was a stat quoted at a Cato Institute talk back in November, that a recent study showed almost 22% of men between the ages of 20 and 29 had not been employed in over a year. Students were specifically excluded. When asked why they didn’t get a job, the response was typically that they couldn’t see the point.
The cohort in their 20’s has traditionally been the most employed of all groups of men. This seems to reflect the point that it’s easier to get a job if you’re a woman. The fastest-growing job fields are all in female-dominated healthcare, which reflects the fact that the boomer generation is aging and needs more healthcare. If a horrible environment wasn’t bad enough due to working around a lot of women, there is another reason why men aren’t going into female-dominated fields:
Given that “women’s” jobs are growing more quickly, men could enter those fields, Kolko said. There are various theories for why they don’t, including the fact that female-dominated jobs actually tend to pay less overall. In fact, when more women tend to enter a certain field and it becomes more female dominated, pay in those professions drop, according to a study by researchers at Stanford, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania.
The single most influential factor in where you live is where you work. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you find a product or service you can provide for a profit. That’s called a business. If you can’t figure out how to provide a product or service to the public and make a profit, you’ll need to work for someone else who has it figured out. That is called a job. Everyone focuses on “go get a job” but you should really be looking at it as being in business for yourself.
Over 95 million Americans of working age are not working. Over 46 million are receiving “SNAP” benefits (foodstamps). Think about that. Recent decades have proved that nothing is safe, no job is secure, so what does the point about 46 million SNAP recipients tell you? What should it tell you? That anyone who can produce food for a reasonable price will be able to sell it.
Your Labor Is Your Asset: Invest It Wisely
This is not to tell anyone what to do, merely to point out that of all the areas a person might go into, the most anti-fragile and the most lucrative for the “common man” is not so much a career, it’s a lifestyle called homesteading. Modern homesteading is centered on farming and the production of food and other products with value.
A homesteader (what was once known simply as a farmer) is among the most independent people on earth and they are anti-fragile in the extreme. As long as God sends the rain in season and they care for the land, they are independent. The greatest threat to farmers is government because government can tax the farmers out of existence, steal their land and use force to destroy them. One of the most famous examples of this was the Holodomor in the Ukraine in 1932-1933, less than 100 years ago.
Today, being a homesteader isn’t viewed as a career or a way to earn a very good living. In fact, it’s viewed as weird and a rather strange lifestyle. Everyone will tell you to go get an education in STEM and focus on finding a job that pays well so you can slave away in hopes of a good retirement 30-40 years from now. Such a career choice usually places the individual in a high-pressure, politically correct environment working for a capricious corporation. While the money is good the position is quite fragile due to the ability of SJW’s to destroy one’s career with lies or twist a foolish remark out of proportion.
The work environment isn’t the only toxic environment, because such careers typically require living in cities that are governed by the same political correctness. The cost of living is high and feminism reigns supreme. The children are practically required to be placed in public school to be indoctrinated with the shibboleth’s of liberalism, feminism and political correctness.
Why not invest your labor to receive a better lifestyle, more money, more control over your environment and less danger to your continued ability to earn a living? Being a homesteader is the best choice, but most are so ignorant that they disregard it because of what others might think and because of their ignorance of how lucrative it can be.
There’s an old joke about a farmer who won the lottery and when asked what he was going to do with it, he said “I guess I’ll keep farming until the money runs out.” The reason it’s a joke is because a lot of farmers listened to the USDA and adopted their policies, which is why they were going broke. When it’s done correctly, farming is a very lucrative business and there are some people who know how to do it right.
Joel Salatin of PolyFace Farm is one of them. Joel is a farmer, but he’s also a salesman and he’s written multiple books to explain it. His videos on YouTube are better in terms of learning something. Best of all he offers internships on his farm, which is where the intern trades hard labor for the chance to learn things. Joel is an excellent example of a successful farmer.
Booker T Whatley wrote the book “How To Make $100,000 Farming 25 Acres”, which was his plan to save the small black family farm. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1957 with a PhD in horticulture before affirmative action. Whatley really knew what he was talking about and that fact that farming would make a lot of money, but none of the blacks and very few of the whites were willing to listen to him. Those that did have revolutionized agriculture.
If Whatley provided the economic model, Bill Mollison provided the biological model of “permanent agriculture”, or “Permaculture”. His books on permaculture, especially “Introduction To Permaculture” and “Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual” have been extremely influential around the world. The concept is simple: work with nature instead of against it in order to get what you want. Bill was followed by some innovative people who showed others how to put permaculture into practice. In no particular order:
- Ben Falk: “The Resilient Farm and Homestead“
- Sepp Holzer: “Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture:
- Toby Hemenway: “Gaia’s Garden“
One might ask… “What’s the point?”
The point is that everyone has to eat. The question is where your food comes from. Right now, in good times, it’s better to be in control of your food and produce it yourself than to not know what you’re actually eating. In addition it saves an enormous amount of money. Those are simply incentives, however. The real value in the long term is having the tools, resources, knowledge and experience to produce your own food if food isn’t available. The idea that such a thing can’t happen is ludicrous because history says it can and does happen.
But… where does the money come from? Producing food is great, but what about buying gas for your car and paying the electric bill?
The Problem of the Cash Crop and the Job
We live in a credit-driven world in which it’s almost unheard of to purchase high-value items without a borrowing money. And, while it’s possible to produce a lot of the things one needs on a farm, there are still a lot of things that cannot be produced and this requires a source of income. Which is where the concept of the “cash crop” came from. The farm produced the basic needs for the family and a crop of something was produced for sale off the farm in order to get income for everything else. Like taxes.
In an environment in which everyone had a farm and was producing the basics, this required a commodity crop that could be sold elsewhere to people who could not produce it. The English colonies in North America were founded on the production of tobacco, furs and lumber. Europe provided manufactured goods. The Caribbean colonies produces sugar, molasses and rum. Slave labor came from Africa, which worked out to a handy trade pattern:
This graphic illustrates the 18th Century movement of the commodities that were “cash crops” for the various groups who specialized in their various positions of advantage. And while that’s all very nice, what about today? We still have the same kind of trade, although it’s a lot more complex and diversified, but one factor has been added to the equation.
People no longer produce their own food, which means they are forced to purchase it. Not only that, people no longer have the basic knowledge, tools and experience necessary to produce food even when they have enough land to do so. Today we have basic vegetables moving thousands of miles from from to market instead of moving a few hundred feet from garden to kitchen.
This change means that virtually everything grown in a person’s garden is now a marketable product and there are a lot of consumers who will buy that product. The trick is to go direct to the consumer and make it easy for them to buy it.
But, what if you don’t want to do the work of direct marketing and selling? Why can’t you just be like everyone else and get a job? If you want to be like everyone else there’s no point in reading this blog. And, before you can do the work of direct marketing and selling of your produce, you first have to grow it for yourself and get good at it. That takes years.
The truth is that unless you had the good fortune to grow up living and working on a diversified farm, you have a lot to learn and it takes time. You also need the land and the tools, which takes money. So, between the time and resource requirements you need a way to make money to get the project financed up front. The question is how to balance preparation for a career (training and education) that won’t accomplish your goals in the long run and how to acquire a homestead and get it up and running.
Short term, I’d say getting a teaching certificate and working as a school teacher or something similar to that is the way to go. An elementary school gym teacher is a good choice because there’s no homework to grade. The downside is having to coach teams. Other jobs are available that will pay the bills and allow you to move forward. There are several problems that will prevent you from gaining anything other than “dead end” employment and/or prevent you from going into business for yourself.
Credentialism. Knowing how to do something is no longer good enough, you need a piece of paper that says an institution or board has decided you know your business. If you need a degree, the University of the People is probably the best thing going. Completely online, no tuition, $100 fee for each final exam. Fully accredited, it’s the best thing going for getting a piece of paper that says you’re a college graduate. Community colleges and technical colleges offer a wide variety of instruction on various skills and if you choose to pursue something specific you can get accredited. Becoming a certified welder is a good example.
Lack of opportunity. A lack of opportunity is frequently location-driven. A lot of jobs are never advertised and one has to be local in order to have a chance. One problem is that the average person sees going to a new city to find a job as a huge expense because they want a hotel room and food from restaurants. If you take the approach from the radical reboot outline, you can move just about anywhere and quickly find a job that interacts with the public. Talk to people and ask questions. Spend some time looking around and start applying for work. It may take a few months, but if there are jobs to be had you’ll find them. If it doesn’t work go somewhere else.
Ignorance. Today is a significant event to mark on your calendar because I am now recommending that you take some time and watch TV. For 8 years the show “Dirty Jobs” ran on the Discovery Network with host Mike Rowe. Take a look at the list of episodes and give it some thought. Someone has a torrent up that has all the episodes up to the point the show went down under (49 gig) and there were 15 seeds when I looked. These shows are more important than they might seem, because they offer a view of work that’s seldom seen and the insights offered by many of the people are profound.
One of the ways you can get into business (especially a dirty jobs business) is to find someone who is already doing it that’s approaching retirement age. Talk to them and ask for a job. If you like the job, sit down with them and tell them you’d like to learn everything about the business and in a couple of years take over the business. You can buy him out over the course of a few years and he can be available to offer advice and introductions for years to come. One problem with a lot of small businesses is that the owners children have no interest in pursuing it and the owner either has to find a buyer or shut it down. Often they’re simply shut down.
Diversification, Offense and Defense
The book “The Millionaire Next Door” made the point that when it comes to amassing wealth, quite a few middle-class families became wealthy because they had a good defensive game. Making money is the offensive side, not spending money is the defensive side.
Having multiple income streams is a good thing if you can handle it. However, one of the best bets at this point is to have a killer defense. I’ll talk about this in the post on housing, but adopting a homesteader lifestyle is a very good idea at this point. With the correct housing you can have extremely low cost of housing. If that’s combined with the production of most of your food, the two largest items in most budgets are drastically cut. To put that in perspective, if you figure a mortgage payment of 20% of net income, the food bill is another 25% and utilities are another 20%, it’s possible to save an enormous amount of money with a good defensive game.
Someone who has a $30k annual salary can easily raise 5-6 children on that amount of money and still have some left for savings if they’re homesteaders and homeschool their children. The kids homeschool year-round and help with the farm. Around 12 years old they finish their high school material and get started on a bachelors degree (University of the People). By age 15 they have a bachelors degree for less than you can imagine. By the time they finish their bachelors degree, if they want a masters degree they can move on with that and have it by the time they’re 18.
That isn’t a fantasy. In addition to the academic credentials, they also learn to play a musical instrument and become reasonably fluent in a foreign language. All that assumes everything keeps on keeping on. If it doesn’t, they’ll also be well-educated with the knowledge and skills to run a homestead and have the tools and training necessary to defend it. In other words, they’ll be equipped to survive in whatever world they find themselves in.
One might wonder why I’m talking about children in a post about business, money and income, but the children are why we do what we do. Far too many people have forgotten that.
How To Make Homesteading Pay and Pay and Pay.
There is an agricultural product that is frequently known as “green gold” and it can be produced with very little maintenance. Just plant the seed and harvest and dry the crop when the time is right. Check on it from time to time while it’s growing and make sure nobody is stealing it.
This is the sort of crop that has certain requirements in terms of sunlight and soil and it’s best done on a farm out of sight. However, if set up correctly it’s extremely lucrative. It takes a while to get going and have a major operation, but once everything is set up then you can plan on going into semi-retirement after 10 years.
No, I’m not talking about marijuana, this crop is legal everywhere. I’ll cover it in my next post.