1. Define Success
You must first know where you are going before you can start in that direction, otherwise you’ll run in circles and probably end up where you started…confused.
Some people have huge goals, others just want to get through the day. Some people want to be wealthy so they do not have to work, some want to be wealthy so they can give to the needy. Some people want to be famous and respected. It all boils down to how you define success.
For our Jeff and myself, we want to break some chains of bondage that are in our families. We want our children to know how to live debt free, which to be honest is a huge struggle. We want our children to be free, not only from debt, but also from the box that most people limit their expectations to.
Most people believe there is only one way to have their own home, one way to educated their children, one way to make a living, etc…
If money were not an option, how would you live? What would you do with your days? What really are the most important things to you? Is it simply to live comfortably? Is it not to ‘have’ to work? If those are your goals I am afraid you your idea of success is shallow.
For our family, we are learning that there are only a few things that define our success.
- To Know God and Enjoy Him- Which means we must seek after Him and live as obediently as we can.
- Family Relationships- Whether we are very wealthy, or always scraping by, our family relationships are most important. The character that is built in each one of us as we live and work together is what will bind our hearts or rip us apart. To obtain wealth or fame and have no close relationships with our family members would be my definition of failure.
- To Serve- In our pursuit of knowing and loving God we are called to serve. It is our duty and our desire to be able to help in situations when they arise. One of the greatest joys of having a successful family economy, and for us it includes being self employed, is that we have the freedom to be flexible to go do what is needed, when needed. That doesn’t mean you are free to neglect your responsibilities, it simply means you adjust your schedule to make it work. When the recent tornadoes hit our area we were able to help more than some simply because we had the flexibility to be there.
2. Spend Less than You Make
No matter how much money you make if you are spending it as fast as you are making it then you will always be spinning your wheels.
This really has been the hardest part for us. Neither of us were ever taught how to manage money growing up and we’ve spent so much of our married life repeating a LOT of the same things. It’s hard to break old habits and wrong thinking, but for the sake of our future generations we HAVE TO MAKE CHANGES!
3. Have Multiple Streams of Income
You cannot put all your eggs in one basket!
One of our main complaints against trusting in a degree is that a person has focused on one trade/field. Everyone should know how to do several different trades/skills. If your field of specialty fades out or for some reason you loose your ability to do that skill you need to know how to do other things.
This is the main thing that keeps us afloat! When Jeff lost his job 6 years ago we took the giant leap of being self-employed. I’ll be honest, it has been tough as nails, and although the financial rewards have not been GREAT, the rewards in terms of family relationships, being able to serve the community and truly learning to pray and seek the Lord, have brought such sweet rewards. We are paying down our debt and God faithfully provides for our needs and many of our wants.
Our family is able to do many things, and we’ll do whatever needs to be done to make the money without violating our values.
Here is a list of things that we as a family have done and will do to generate income for our home:
- Build Barns
- Build Decks
- Build Chicken Coops
- Home Maintenance
- Scrapping/Recycling/Salvage- Whatever you want to call it. This is Jeff’s thing! ;o) When people need basements cleaned out, etc… he hauls it all away. We get a lot of treasure this way, but also a lot salvage, which he hangs on to some of it to resell. He also keeps a check on cull lumber piles where he buys lumber cheap! Our phone is always ringing with people wanting to know if Jeff has this or that.
- Cleaning- The girls and I cleaned houses for a couple years (on our schedule), now just the girls are doing this a few times a month.
- Teaching Good Things – website/sales
- Make DVDs
- Write E-books
- Teach Domestic Classes
- Host Carpentry Camps
- Governess/Nanny (Olivia)
- Babysit – We will occasionally help with children.
- Granny-sit - Once a week or so the girls will fill in for their grandmother who sits with a 93 year old lady. This is such great experience for them and they get paid.
- House-sit- I’ve done this a few times for a friend, it paid REALLY WELL! The girls also do this for another family friend a couple times a year.
- Pet Care – We have several neighbors that pay Emma to take care of their animals while they are on vacation.
- Yard Maintenance- We have a few yards that we do a couple times a month.
- Craft Shows/Festivals - We use to do this a lot, not so much anymore.
- Mary Kay- Emma is learning some great business skills doing this.
So you see, we’ll do just about anything, but we do it all family based. Most of it does not make GREAT money, but it all adds up. It keeps life very interesting, never dull and we are working together to make things work. We are always working on our relationships, always asking God for our daily bread, and free to serve when we can! It’s not a glamorous life, bit it’s a great life!
Next week I will post what a typical week looks like for us, witch pictures. Did I say “typical? Is there such a thing?
I’m also writing over at The Legacy of the Home.