Recently I read an article which had a line in it that really stuck with me – “The solution is within you.” I wish I could remember exactly where I read it and who wrote the article so I could share it with you… I vaguely remember a friend sharing it on social media but cannot seem to locate it. This quote can be related to so many aspects of life, but today I would like to focus on it in terms of doing what you love to earn a living. Especially since I often hear people say; “I would love to do something like… but I can’t!” Which instantly makes me think… why not?

“Your desire for change must be greater than your desire for things to remain the same.”

~ unknown

If working for yourself is something you would dearly love to do but you have no idea how to go about it, then keep in mind that there will be no advertisement for this position, no job interview process, no set wage, hours or even a job description. You set the rules!

As an artisan earning a living working from a home based studio it is completely up to me to set the expectations and meet them. So how do you do this when there are no guidelines to follow? How I have approached this over the years is to look at my expectations for living over all, from a lifestyle perspective, as well as a monetary one. After spending many hours on the road and away from my family as a portrait photographer it was important for me to be able to earn an income while being available for my family. At the time that I started this current business I had a new baby and a child just starting school so I worked within the constraints of that and set realistic expectations for what could be achieved. Back then what I expected to be able to earn income wise was a lot lower than I expect now. For the mere fact that my situation was different, I focused on building the foundation for my business, using the little free time I had to establish my business without it costing our family more than our budget could allow.

As I grew, my business did too, so with both children in school my expectations changed and I reached a point where I was able to set myself a reasonable annual income amount to achieve. I then broke that amount up into a minimum monthly income figure, allowing for two months off over the Christmas/New Year school holiday period. So looking at this based purely from a financial return perspective it is important to know what you expect to earn each month and what costs you will incur in order to earn it. For me the establishing of an online store with a global reach enabled me to work in and around my family and reach my customers while we slept. But selling in person at markets was equally important as it meant that I could speak to customers face to face, plus having to create a number of items for one event helped establish my production processes. The two combined worked beautifully in meeting my expected annual income.

Recently my husband and I realised one of our biggest dreams; buying our own home, with some land that we can live off, in our quest to live more self sufficiently. Having reached that goal my daily routines have changed a little. So this year I adapted my expectations once again. It is important to be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to the different aspects of life and know your limits. Being aware of what is really important to you as an individual as well as for your family and to be adaptable. When you work for yourself from home, and are trying to live off your land, other activities become a part of your ‘work’. I now dedicate time in the morning to maintaining order in our home and caring for our livestock before even heading into the studio to commence a days work. The fact that I don’t spend a lot of time driving to and from my work place enables me to do this. Add to this, the fact that the costs I incur in order to earn my living are extremely low in comparison to someone who spends a good portion of their income on fuel, train or bus fares, work attire, parking fees, coffee, lunches and after school & holiday care for the children. The more I contribute to our family saving on everyday expenses the less I really ‘need’ to earn, and in turn I get to spend my days doing what I love to earn a living. Aside from this though, working from home enables my family to enjoy this lifestyle too. So, instead of commuting to a job, my morning routine on a regular day looks like this:

~ Preparing school lunches filled with homegrown goodness.

~ Sitting down to a breakfast of homemade pesto or chutney alongside an egg laid by our feathered friends. Yes, we sit down for breakfast as a family, albeit briefly somedays, but we still do our best to sit and eat together before everyone departs.

~ Help my boys get out the door on time, then clean up after the morning madness.

~ Do pilates or yoga.

~ Put my overalls on over my clothes to feed the pigs without having to change again due to them rubbing their sweet muddy noses up against me in the loving way that they do.

~ Check the paddock for duck eggs as the new layers tend to lay them in plain sight of crows & the older layers like to hide theirs so each morning is like a treasure hunt.

~ Feed the chickens scraps and let our young Rooster Lucky into the paddock with the ducks until we get him some hen friends of his own… his father King George is a gentlemen, he is not prepared to share his girls 😉

~ Then give one or both of our beautiful cats a cuddle.

All this takes place before heading in to the studio to respond to email enquiries, fulfil orders, work on new designs, list products online, plan for future growth and share my experience through social media. After a days work the afternoon/evening routine commences…

Weekends these days are now rarely spent travelling to trade, this has now become something I do occasionally… instead they are often spent sharing this new lifestyle with my family, working in the garden to grow our own food, preserving our harvest, planning/building housing for future livestock, designing our future landscape, maintaining our property, restoring furniture for our home etc… that is of course, when we are not entertaining guests, visiting friends or off on an adventure. The irony is this year, even though I have spent a lot less time out on the road travelling to trade at markets than in the previous three years, I have increased my income significantly! At the same time as increasing my duties and responsibilities around our home. Which has always been the plan… to live a lifestyle we believe in, while earning an income from home… made possible for me only at this stage, by planning, adapting and refining things along the way.

Every now and then we find ourselves assessing where we are and where we want to be in another five years time, defining exactly what that looks like. This usually starts to happen around a time that we have reached another stage in getting closer to our bigger picture goal. It is important to recognise this once each stage is achieved, rather than simply looking at the desired destination. I truly believe we will reach that bigger picture goal because of what we have achieved so far. Earning an income while working within the constraints of my family did not just happen to me, just like buying our own home on a little land did not just happen to us. We have dedicated ourselves to making these things happen, because we truly believe in a way of being!

Having a clear vision in your mind of what your goals look like gives you the guidelines you need to make decisions that will enable you to reach those goals and solve the problems you will face along the way. Your vision for a way being will not be the same as mine/ours, so the rules and expectations you set for yourself will be different too. If you really want to earn a living doing what you love, imagine what that looks like and then make it happen. Take it from me, it will be worth it!

“The solution is within you!”

<<== by marie-nicole ==>>

xx

Ps. Upon completing this post, I went across to Marie Forleo TV to catch up on recently missed episodes, timely that this was what I watched: Why You Lost Your Business Passion – And How To Get It Back. It compliments this post perfectly. I highly recommend you watch it if turning your grand ideas into a reality suddenly feels unachievable. As always, Marie shares a great quote during the episode

“You won’t have to push yourself to keep going if you have a big enough vision to pull you ahead.”

– Marie Forleo

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