This little film explains exactly why I had to escape the Rat Race before I was trapped.
Lee (The Slacker) Cain
This is an earth-ship home with tires. What makes it affordable is the small size and lots and lots of work, but it is very doable.
Lee (The Slacker) Cain
Step 2: How will you conduct your business?
There are several questions to ask before starting a business. The answers will guide you around the pitfalls that cause most small businesses to fail. And, yes most small businesses do fail…..because they didn’t ask these questions before starting.
These questions are:
Is there a need for your product/services locally? With the internet as competition, it is becoming much harder to make a local business profitable. The size of the market is getting smaller and the competition is getting larger.
Today’s digital economy almost requires you to go digital or go bankrupt. Can any part of your business be done online?
You can use sites like Etsy or Amazon Handmade to sell craftwork. If you like to write or teach a skill, you can use Amazon Kindle, Clickbank, Udemy or Lulu to publish your products. You can even use Pinterest and Facebook to advertise your local products for free. With a little research, the sky is the limit.
This step is about conducting your research and creating a business plan.
Why write out a business plan in the first place? Don’t you only need business plans if you are borrowing money from a bank? (Paying cash for all of your purchases is a major step to Escaping The Rat Race.)
Yes, you do need a business plan when borrowing money. The bank studies the plan, looking for reasons the business will fail.
That’s exactly why you need your own business plan. Holes in your business will stand out like a sore thumb. You can fix the weak points before you even start.
Don’t let a business plan scare you. It doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you are not dealing with banks. All you really need are some simple basics like:
A summary of what you want to do. Where do you want this business to go? What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how will they affect your plans?
A list of the products you are creating. These products don’t have to be the traditional mini-farm products like veggies and chickens. Are you an artist? Do you like to write? Are you a good teacher or tour guide? You get the idea. Your possibilities are endless.
A list of the costs for creating those products. Time, labor and materials are all included in this list.
How can one product reduce the cost of another product? Goats can clear off the brush for your future garden. They can also fertilize it at the same time. Then you can sell your baby goats. See how one product can have multiple uses?
How are you going to market those products? We mentioned this part earlier. Will your products be sold locally? At a nearby city? Or, can you use the internet for a worldwide market?
How are you going to deal with finance issues like cash flow and emergencies? Unexpected things always happen. Do you have an emergency fund figured into this plan? No emergency fund means you are working on a hope and a prayer. Don’t base this dream on luck. Create an emergency fund, even if it’s only $10 a week. I guarantee you will need it sometime down the road.
Do you have the right resources? If you are creating e-books, selling crafts online, or running a blog with affiliate links, naturally you will need access to the internet. If you are living in the country, that may not be available. If you are creating a mini-farm for a farmer’s market or local restaurants, you will need several different resources.
The point is, do you have what you need for your business in the location you want to live?
Can you do the work? That mini-farm takes a lot of physical work. Are you in good enough shape to do the work. Writing a blog or an e-book takes a lot of discipline to stick with it until it is finished. Look at your strengths and weaknesses and decide what you can and can’t do.
Do you want to do the work? This is an important question. Think it through with each business type. Traditional farming takes a lot of work. You will spend a lot of time in the hot sun. Raising livestock requires a daily commitment that will tie you down. You cannot take off for a small vacation without planning for their care. Dairy cows and goats need milking every single day. If you aren’t willing to do that, then don’t consider them in your business plan. What does your business need? Are you willing and able to provide all you need? If not, can you designate some of it to someone who can provide it and still make money?
Can most of that work be automated so you won’t become overwhelmed with all the work? Automation is the answer to the traditional operation of a business. If you don’t have to be there every single day, you can have a life outside of the business. You will need breaks from the routine. If you don’t build in the automation of your business, it will overwhelm you. Your dream will become a nightmare.
Lee (The Slacker) Cain
Starting your own business can be scary. There are so many questions. How do you choose which business to start? How much money will it cost? Don’t most small businesses fail? What if I don’t have any marketable skills? What if I don’t have a clue on what business will work for me?
If you know what steps to go through and what questions to ask yourself, it gets easier to decide. Let’s start with the steps. There are only four. This is really easier than you thought.
“Hey, I don’t care if I enjoy it, I just want to make a lot of money so I can Escape The Rat Race!”
That’s what I thought the first time I read about this step. I just wanted out of the system and fast.
I’m afraid that mindset is really a trap. If you don’t like what you are doing, your heart won’t be in it. You won’t stick with it until it starts to show a profit. You will start to hate what you are doing just like you do right now. You will still be in the Rat Race, the only difference is you now own your little piece of The Rat Race.
If you enjoy what you are doing, You won’t see it as a job. You will look forward to building it until it is profitable.
Why do you want to Escape The Rat Race in the first place? What would you rather be doing?
Some of us are lucky enough to already know what we want to do, but most of us only have a vague idea. We want to escape our present humdrum, mind numbing job and start taking control of our own lives. We do know that much, however the rest of the dream is still pretty sketchy. Most of us really don’t even know what the options are.
Isn’t that why you are reading this post in the first place?
Now is the time to ask what you like to do. Notice I didn’t say “what you know how to do.” You can learn how to do almost anything, especially with the internet. The important question is, what do you want to do? List out what puts a smile on your face. What would you do even if nobody paid you to do it?
Hey! That’s not a rhetorical question. Take out a sheet of paper and start listing what makes you happy when you are doing it. Don’t question if it will make any money or if it’s a stupid idea. We will deal with that later. Just start making that list. This should be fun. Get everybody that’s sharing your dream and start writing down those crazy ideas. You will need a large list of ideas you can play with. All kinds of great new ideas come from the ‘crazy’ ideas, so don’t leave anything out.
During one of my list creations, I wrote down photography and wood sculpting along with several other ideas. My first thought was that neither one would make much money. Photography has a lot of competition, and wood sculpting takes way too long. Then it clicked! Put the two together. Film how-to videos on wood sculpting and sell the videos on the internet! Sometimes a combination of ideas is better than one idea by itself.
Hey! Why haven’t you started your first list yet? Your future happiness depends on it. Start writing now. I’ll wait right here. I’m not going anywhere.
Now that you have your list started (You did start that list, didn’t you?), let’s see if you missed anything. Ask yourself, “What is a life of passion?”
What have you done in the past that completely caught your attention? You knew you had chores to do, but you just couldn’t break away from what you were doing, at least not yet. The chores could wait.
That was a passionate time! Those moments create a life of passion. Add those times to your list, even if you can’t see a way to add them into your new lifestyle. Remember, you are custom creating your future to fit your dream. Don’t make the mistake of creating a business that really doesn’t fit your dreams.
Start dreaming, then write those dreams down. Check out our categories on this site. they might help with your newfound dreams.
Lee (The Slacker) Cain
I know you want to quit your present lifestyle and jump into this independence dream, but hold your horses just a bit! You can do this the hard way, or you can do it the easy way. Charging into this new adventure may feel like the only way you will ever escape your present lifestyle, but in reality, it’s a sure way of turning this dream into a nightmare.
You have to plan this transition into small steps. Small steps can turn this dream into reality.
The Most Important Step: Know What You Are Getting Into.
Most people envision a life of independence a little like this: They find a small parcel of land, build a small energy efficient home on it. Make it even more energy efficient by using wind generators and solar panels. The idea is to lower their monthly cost and dependence on the utility companies (and that is a good idea). Then they plan on making a living raising chickens and growing organic gardens or some other poorly thought out plan.
And that’s about as far as their planning goes.
They are in for a rude awakening!
You can easily spend all the money you’ve got and more just setting up your small farm (or workshop or whatever your dream needs)! It takes land. It takes equipment for raising animals, growing crops, creating your craft and building structures on that land. And, this assumes you know how to use all that equipment, if not you have some learning to do.
If you don’t ask yourself some basic questions, like “What kind of lifestyle do you really want?” this independent lifestyle can quickly become a prison.
Animals need care every day of the year. Set your farm up wrong and you are shackled to those animals.
The traditional garden needs work every day. Set your garden up wrong…well you get the idea. Building a traditional sanctuary is a lot of work.
The traditional idea of a sanctuary is creating some degree of self-sufficiency with very little use of public utilities such as electricity, water and waste management. Then you grow or raise your own food with animal husbandry and gardening. All of this lowers your cost of living. A lower coat of living allows you to persue your dream lifestyle.
Another basic question you should ask is “Why would you do all this?”
The first reason is to save money. No electric bill, no water bill, no sewer bill, no food bill.
I’ve got some bad news here. For most of us, this is a pipe dream. You have to spend money to replace the public utilities, and becoming self-sufficient costs a lot of money (or work, if you have the know-how.) With a huge investment you might make utility bills disappear, but you will still have the initial cost of the investment. Then, you have the animals and the garden. Unless you do it the right way, that’s a lot of work.
The second reason is to ensure you have services when the grid goes down. This is probably the best and most rational reason for minimizing your reliance on public utilities.
Unless you are a survivalist and want to prepare for the worst, you really don’t need to get completely off the grid. Some simple preparations like a gas generator, a safe emergency water source and some stocked food is all you really need.
The third reason is you want to live in the middle of nowhere where there are no utilities and grocery stores. You like the idea of relying on nothing but your own efforts. Again, this is mostly a pipe dream! A select few can do this without going nuts. The rest of us need some degree of modern conveniences. The idea of living in an isolated home with no connection with the rest of the world sounds more like hell than heaven to most of us.
So, what is the real reason most of us want to escape the Rat Race?
Escaping the system is all about independence, not relying on a job or the public infra-structure to make a living. It’s about living life on your standards, not your bosses’. To hell with what everyone else wants you to do! It’s all about you calling the shots. That is the real reason we want to escape the system.
Now, for some good news. You can make this dream happen, and you can design your dream to fit your standards.
The secret to success is….do it one step at a time.
Unless you are a survivalist (and I do have a little bit of that in me), you really don’t have to get completely off the grid. Do this one step at a time and design your lifestyle to fit you as you go.
You are much more likely to survive the transition from city folk to country folk if you do it one step at a time.
Browse the categories that fit your dream and you will find those steps.
Lee (The Slacker) Cain
Ah, the lure of escaping the system. No more commute to a job you hate, working for somebody you really don’t care for. No more following everyone else’s rules. A life where you decide what’s important. The thought of living life your way is so attractive.
So, if this lifestyle sounds so good, why isn’t everyone living that way? The answer is easy. Money. Or, rather, the lack of money and all the fears that come with that lack.
How are you going to protect your family if this independence dream turns into a nightmare? You can’t ask them to take a leap of faith when you don’t have that faith yourself. You need a safety net; that safety net is money.
There are always unexpected emergencies that pop up. What if you are blind-sided and are caught unprepared. The solution to that emergency is usually money.
What if your ideal life does not include a backwoods, no luxuries, completely off the grid lifestyle? Again, that requires money.
The thought of walking away from your current lifestyle and job is really scary, even if you think you have all your ducks in a row. You are leaving your familiar job and everything you have relied on. Now you have to rely only on you. If you can’t create what you need, you will have to buy it, and that takes money.
It’s a scary business, this idea of independence, especially if you don’t know where the money is coming from.
The best way to remove this lack of money fear is by having multiple streams of income you can count on. You have to stop thinking like an employee and start acting like an entrepreneur.
That is what this site is all about, being your own boss and producing multiple streams of income that are a part of your perfect lifestyle. I can’t think of a safer way of creating this dream than multiple income streams. Browse through the different catergories and start learning how to create your own lifestyle dream.