How to appropriately price your homestead products or your homesteading skills, is the topic of today's episode. This podcast is a goldmine of information if you're planning on creating an income from your homestead or homesteading skills, or even if you've already begun your homestead business venture.
What we're discussing today actually pertains to any entrepreneur! The best part is if you're interested in this topic, Anne Briggs from Anne of All Trades and I are hosting a FREE three-day challenge where we will teach you how to get sales without an email list or website on social media. You can sign up for this FREE homestead business training right here.
The “Cheap” Mentality
We buy things all the time, but very rarely do we sit down and think about how prices are created, or how we should price our own products by taking into account all aspects of what goes into making or creating a product.
I came from a very frugal background. I always had a roof over my head and food in my belly, but I didn’t always have the designer clothes I dreamed about, nor did we eat out often as a child.
Looking back, I’m thankful for the upbringing because that lifestyle really stuck with me. Especially as a newly married bride, buying and building a homestead with my husband, that mentality always stuck with me.
My husband was a bit of the opposite in that he would say, “cheap is not always cheaper”. This holds true for so many things I’ve purchased over the years, especially when it comes to must-have kitchen tools!
I would buy a new “thing” every year because the old one would break, and over the years I spent way more than I would have if I would have purchased a high-quality item in the first place.
Know Your Worth
As a homesteader, knowing your worth is so important before setting out on a business venture. The knowledge you’ve gained over the years should be factored into your pricing for your items.
For instance, if someone wanted to butcher their own chickens, how much time would they have to spend first learning how to properly butcher the chicken? Would they need to invest in specific tools? And have they first raised their own backyard meat chickens, or do they need to first buy the chickens, then butcher them?
When someone really steps back and considers all that goes into buying fresh, free-ranged chickens that are butchered, wrapped and ready for the freezer, the price tag may all of the sudden be more acceptable.
Factoring in the entire process (including the learning process) should be included in the cost of your item.
Know the Value of Your Items
Because they don’t have a monetary value coming from your pigs (lard) or your goats (milk), you have to consider what it would cost you to go purchase goat’s milk, or pasture-raised lard, and factor that into your pricing.
That soap is not going to cost, nor should it, the same price as a bar of Dial soap. Never run your business by playing the game of lowest price. The knowledge, skills, and supplies that have gone into that bar of soap will cost extra!
Know the Baseline Cost
One of the problems I see when people are pricing their products is that they don’t know how to figure out the true cost of the item.
Whether it’s a skill you’re teaching or a physical product you’re selling, you have to know what your baseline cost is. If you don’t know this overhead cost, and you haven’t set a profit margin, then you will not be able to stay in business.
And remember, even if something only costs you time to make, it still COSTS you something, there is a monetary value for your time!
This relates a bit with the previous interview I did with Anne where we talked about time management on the homestead. In that podcast, we discussed time tracking. I do this to keep track of my tasks to accurately track how much time these tasks or activities take.
You must know how much it costs you to make a product and price your product accordingly. If you undersell your product, you’re literally paying people to buy your product.
Data, Data, Data
The very best way to figure out the cost of your product is to keep a time-tracking sheet. Write out how long something takes you, how much you’re paying for products and supplies, and the overall time and investment combined… trust me when I say it is so eye-opening!
We often underestimate how much time a certain task takes to complete, but when it's tracked right there in a spreadsheet, those numbers don't lie.
Keeping track of it all can be very informative, especially when it shows you where you’re not using your time most effectively. This can help shave time off of certain tasks, eliminate tasks completely, or show you where you should spend the bulk of your time.
Anne encourages us all to track your progress and your time, even if you don’t think you’re a data person, or someone who will thrive on time-tracking. She shares how she’s not a data person either, but it has helped her businesses grow and flourish!
She also recommends the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It talks about the psychology behind time tracking, resolutions, diets, etc., and why they often fail, plus how to develop true habits that last.
Make Your Endeavors Pay For Themselves
Anne shares how, as a young woman, she always made her endeavors pay for themselves. If she wanted to learn a new skill, she went into it with a business mindset in wanting that new skill, and the cost that went into obtaining it, to pay for itself.
This was especially helpful when it came to homesteading. Homesteading can be a very expensive venture (there are so many myths about homesteading I love to clear up for people), so going into it as a business made it all possible for Anne (who has created a flourishing YouTube channel, Instagram following, Facebook page and her Anne of All Trades website, along with countless other products and courses in her online Farm Store).
Be OK Making People Pay for Your Time
Oftentimes businesses or entrepreneurs create their business out of things they would do even if they weren’t in it for profit, so they have a hard time putting a price tag on something that isn’t tangible.
Anne figured out that selling cheese to someone would initially cost $150 per ounce based on the time she’s put into learning the skill, the cost of the materials and supplies she's had to purchase, and the time it takes to actually make the cheese itself.
It’s for this reason that it’s so important to have hard data to make sure your venture is worth your time!
You have to also consider what it would cost someone else to make themselves the item that you’re selling. As mentioned before, if they had to purchase the supplies, tools, equipment, etc. for the item, then spend their own time making the product, they would look at what you’re charging much differently!
Be OK NOT Making Money… Sometimes!
A perfect example of being OK doing something that doesn’t make you any money is this podcast. The Pioneering Today Podcast doesn’t make me any money. I pay for hosting, I pay for editing, and I pay for my team to get it ready to go on the blog. I don’t typically have sponsors who pay for each episode, so I’m paying not only for the podcast, but for the time it takes me to record it, and all the aforementioned aspects.
But I find the podcast worth it because it’s so beneficial to many people, and I hear from them all the time which makes me happy and is the motivation I need to keep it going (we're over 300 episodes in!).
Sure, occasionally a listener will buy a product like our homemade heirloom wood scrapers and bench knives, or maybe they'll join the Pioneering Today Academy, but there are a whole lot more people who listen and never buy a product than those that do.
The value of the podcast is there for me, however, to continue with it.
Finding Your Target Market
If you want to sell free-range chicken eggs, your target market is not going to be the person who goes to Walmart to buy the cheapest eggs possible.
Your target market is going to be the person who would love to raise their own backyard chickens, but either doesn’t have space or time, however, understands the value of what they’re buying.
Get creative with your storytelling to sell your product. Know who your target audience is, and write a story that will speak to them. When you tell the right story, your product will naturally sell itself.
Our Time Becomes Our Dollars or Our Dollars Become Our Time
When thinking about our business, be thinking about the problem you are solving for your target market.
If someone is willing to buy eggs, they’re paying for the privilege of not having to spend the time to raise those eggs themselves. For me, their dollars allow me the time I need to tend to and care for my chickens so they continue to produce.
3 Days To Sales Course
Want to learn more? If you have a product or business (or an idea for one), Anne and I want to save you many of the lessons we had to learn the hard way and share a free business training with you. Sign up here for the 3 Days to Sales: How to Effectively Sell Your Product On Social Media
Verse of the Week: Proverbs 13:11
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Melissa K. Norris: Hey Pioneers, welcome to episode number 309. Today's episode, we are going to be talking about pricing, how to know how to price appropriately and actually earn a good income from either your homestead through selling products maybe that you're creating off of your homestead or your homesteading skills. This episode is a goldmine of information if you are planning on starting a homestead business in any way, shape or fashion. Honestly, it doesn't actually have to be just from your homestead, but I know most of you are practicing homestead or wanting to practicing homestead on some level and your goal would be to earn an income from home and off of your homestead in some fashion.
Melissa K. Norris: Really a lot of what we're going to be talking about today pertains to any business or any entrepreneur, so it is really, really good. I hope that you enjoy it and we get to welcome back one of my favorite guests and people for today's episode. Now, on at this episode, if you want to sign up for a free challenge, this is the first time you guys that I have ever publicly done business coaching as well as business training and teaching, even though I have been running a blog and doing social media and that type of stuff since November of 2011. That's quite a while, almost 11 years now. I really didn't start running a business, not in the true sense of the word where I was really earning an income until March of 2016.
Melissa K. Norris: I have had business conversations and I've actually coached people privately doing business stuff, but it's the first time I've really brought it front and center here on to the podcast and have you ever run a free type of thing that's really business focus. For those of you who are interested in being able to make money from your homestead in one fashion or another, you are going to love today's episode. I hope that you sign up at melissaknorris.com/businesschallenge, melissaknorris.com/businesschallenge and join us for this completely free challenge, but for now, I can't wait to introduce you to, again if you didn't get to hear her in a previous episode or you're not already familiar with and following her online, very, very dear friend of mine, Anne of All Trades.
Melissa K. Norris: Hey, Pioneers. Well, I am really excited to bring you on to this episode because, Anne, what you have heard before, I have had the lovely Anne on the Pioneering Today Podcast before, but Anne and I are actually working on a project together which you are going to be hearing more about and actually getting an invite to, but we were talking about things and we were like, "Hold up, let's just stop and let's jump on a call and actually record this and share this with people because this is actually very valuable information and it shouldn't be just between the two of us. " That is how this conversation came to be. Anne, welcome back to the podcast, and listeners, welcome in to this conversation.
Anne of All Trades: Thank you so much for having me. I absolutely love talking to you about all things business and everything because you, a, are a wealth of knowledge, right? We have so much in common along this process, so I am really excited to have this conversation because in all the private coaching that I've done for people with growing their businesses, this is a topic comes up a lot. I think it's good that we get to share it.
Melissa K. Norris: Me too, and yes, I thoroughly enjoy you. We are very kindred spirits, which you guys are like, "Okay, well what are we talking about?" It's pricing, which it's amazing because we buy stuff all the time. All of us are always buying things at one point or another, but I feel like even as business people, very rarely do we sit down and really think about pricing, both strategically and in detail and really giving it the full attention that we should. I don't know about you, Anne, but for me, I really struggled with pricing stuff and the price of things for a very long time and this was actually way before I even came into business but even in the beginning of my business.
Melissa K. Norris: I think part of the reason for that is, and I wouldn't say a lot of homesteaders in general are probably this way or maybe it's just when you're younger in life, I don't know, but I came from a very frugal background. We never went without food. I never went hungry. We always had a roof over our head. I always had clothes. They weren't the designer clothes that I necessarily wanted or the brand clothes that I wanted as a younger child or even a teenager, but to say I never went truly without. However, there was not extra funds to do certain things. When I was little, we would go to town and my mom would pack our lunch because we didn't have enough money to go through a drive thru, which now looking back, like Hallelujah, we didn't go through McDonald's when I was little very often which is really a benefit to my health now, but back then, it was very different from what I would experience when I was at friends' houses and a lot of instances and would go with them.
Melissa K. Norris: That really stuck with me, and then as a young married person, it was the same thing. We didn't have a lot of extra money when my husband and I first got married. Coming from the childhood upbringing that I had, you were always looking for the cheapest thing and the best bargain. That really stuck me. It was always the rock bottom price, the lowest price. However, sometimes a budget demands that. I'm not trying to discount that, but over time, and my husband was always like, not the complete opposite, but he was like, "The cheapest is not always the best," but that was really hard for me to truly grasp and understand until enough time had went on, wisdom and time are great teachers, and I realized like, "Okay, we're buying the cheapest thing and it's breaking every year. It will only last a year because it is made so cheaply and I bought the same cheap thing for three years in a row because that keeps breaking. If I had actually bought the first thing and it was the more expensive model that was quality in would have lasted, I actually would have saved myself money over the long run."
Melissa K. Norris: Anyways, I share that story because that was a mindset that I've really struggled to get over, but honestly held me back in not just business but also in life and actually made me waste money in some aspect.
Anne of All Trades: Absolutely. Coming from a scarce background or a background with scarce resources, psychologically speaking, it is very easy to fall into the mindset of it's cheap yet replaceable because cheap is the only option that you have. I grew up very similarly. My family did not have any money of which to speak also funnily, every time Melissa and I talk, we find other things that we have in common. I had never had processed food until I was like in college. I had my first Big Mac when I was living in Asia. Just funny little crossovers there, but literally for the exact same reason and my dad is the same way and it's been so funny, as an adult who I didn't grow up around tools, but now I use them as part of my living, but my dad when I was a kid would always buy a new drill like a $30 battery-powered drill at Ace Hardware when it would go on sale every year and then he'd have to replace it the next year because it would break and then over and over and over.
Anne of All Trades: Funnily enough, as I've started teaching other people how to do what I do, not just my dad, overcoming that cheap is not actually cheaper mindset has become a constant challenge because literally multiple times a day, I'll get the question, "Hey, how do I get started woodworking? What's a beginner tool that you recommend?" and I'm like, "A beginner tool is going to be the same tool that I'm going to recommend to someone else because I want you to be able to learn how to sharpen it and to use it to its fullest and I want it to be able to actually work the way that you need it to work, because so many things in our life now are priced low and it's not actually even the object.
Anne of All Trades: My friend, Chris Schwartz, he always calls tools that are not tools that work, he calls them tool-shaped objects. It's it looks like the thing, but it doesn't operate the way that you need the thing to operate. Coming from that scarce or that background of scarcity is such a hard thing to overcome, but funnily enough, even having come through that background, I have now become a staunch advocate for knowing your worth and asking for it. When I'm doing business coaching or anything in this whole sphere, homesteaders tend to be the worst because I think they understand having little more than anyone else does, so they understand and they want to be good stewards of people's money, but actually in doing that they're robbing themselves of the opportunity to make a fair income and they're robbing others of the opportunity to invest in something that's truly of value.
Melissa K. Norris: I agree and the reason I wanted to start from that point is because a lot of homesteaders want to have a business and maybe it's a full-time business from their homestead like maybe their homestead completely is their entire income source. Then there's other people who would like to start a homestead, like a side business from their homestead where it just brings in extra income, it's part time, maybe it's just seasonal, whatnot, but either of those aspects. Sometimes they'll start small and then it grows into something much bigger, but regardless of that, you have to know how to price things and exactly what you're saying. I see this so often, especially with homemade things.
Melissa K. Norris: People will look at a homemade item that is made with incredible ingredients, because homesteaders, that's what we're about, especially if you're using the lard from your own pigs from your homestead, for example, if you're making soap, so maybe you're making goat milk soap and you're using the milk from your own goats or you're using lard from your own pigs and maybe it's a combination of both, depending upon it, but you're using amazing quality ingredients, but you price it at what someone would pay for a bar of Dial soap because you have that frugal mindset.
Melissa K. Norris: Because you have those assets, you don't really look at them because you're like, "Oh, well, I have this extra fat that came off of the pork and we really raised it for the meat," where you're not looking at like if someone had to go buy organic pasture-raised lard as an ingredient source because they weren't raising their own pig, that's expensive, but we don't look at it as being that valuable or at least I know, I didn't always. I just looked at almost as like, "Well, I have this thing almost for free because we're really doing it for the meat." I want to bring that up because I felt like a lot of times people look at their things that they do want to sell, but they are coming at it from the completely wrong angle for pricing.
Melissa K. Norris: I think it's really important that we talk about pricing and I don't feel that we can, especially to homesteaders, which you and I both are, without addressing that mindset aspect first.
Anne of All Trades: Absolutely, well, there's also the other very, very real thing that unless we start from a place of having a pretty significant amount of money from the outset, very few of us can afford to have "a hobby farm." I started farming and all this stuff eight years ago. I didn't grow up on a farm. I grew up around farms, but it wasn't something that my family did. My parents are missionaries, we spent a lot of my life living in other countries, places that we couldn't farm. For that same reason, we couldn't have animals or anything else. I started all of this from scratch eight years ago and that start was literally out of necessity.
Anne of All Trades: I was volunteering at a food bank so that I could take home the stuff that they were throwing away, so that we had food to eat at home. I realized, "Hey, I could grow some of this stuff in a raised bed in my backyard and offset some of these costs," but even in that, I realized just to get started, just to buy seeds and other things like that it was so expensive unless you were being super business minded. That is the one thing about my childhood of scarcity that really started to pay off really quickly. That's because since I was six years old, I have viewed everything I've done as a possible business which is also been how I've ruined basically everything that I've loved, but I decided from the outset, "Hey, I'm going to at the very least make this endeavor pay for itself."
Anne of All Trades: I found ways that I've kept track of so that I can help other people that are getting started as well. I've had ways that from the very beginning, I was like, "Okay, I'm going to do this thing, I'm going to have this cost, but I'm going to offset it in this way. At the very least we want to think of our homestead as a zero cost game. If we can rise above that or if we have any desire to rise above that, then we also have the diagnostic tools that we're going to need to be able to scale what we're doing.
Melissa K. Norris: I'm with you because it's really funny when I was growing up, we had a garden and my dad raised his own beef because we couldn't afford not to. It's been really interesting as an adult watching people come into homesteading. Yes, if you don't have a cow, you have an output cost of, one, leasing land if you don't own land or renting that or working at a bargain with someone else who has land because you do have to have land if you're raising something as large as a cow and then there is the cost of the cow to get started. Yes, there is upfront costs, but I see a lot of people moving into homestead and it costing them so much money when, I'm like you, it's like that was the way that we survived. it had to pay for itself and then some in order for us to do it because it was so that we didn't have to buy it. We didn't have the money to buy the things from the store and so we didn't have a lot more money to invest, obviously, into this food source.
Melissa K. Norris: I think some of it is that, but I also think, like you were talking about when you're looking at it as a business aspect especially if you're looking to make a profit from something and something that I see a lot of people make mistakes when they're pricing and not even necessarily homestead products or things from their homestead, any product pricing going into a business, is not being fully aware of the true cost to make the item. I think that's a great place for us to start, because especially if you are looking to sell something from your homestead, be it a physical product that you're making or it can be one of your skills that maybe you're teaching people how to do something because both those avenues, if not more or maybe it's some of your livestock, you still have to know what your baseline cost is because your pricing has to come from what your expenses are.
Melissa K. Norris: If you don't know all your expenses, then there's no way that you can actually create an accurate price. If you don't know what your profit margin is, you do not have a business, then you're not going to stay in business.
Anne of All Trades: Absolutely. Well, this is funnily relates to our last podcast episode that we did together because last time we were talking about time management on the homestead and making more time and things like that. One of the tools that I shared in that interview was a practice that I've been doing for a really long time. Just to be clear, not all the time, just seasonally when I need to recalibrate, but we talked about time tracking. For me in, as part of my absolute necessity of making use of every single possible moment that I have available to me, so that I can homestead and work full time and run my business and all these other things too, I started very early on in my homesteading stuff carrying around an actual notepad and a pencil and a physical timer.
Anne of All Trades: I would time every activity that I was doing and then take notes about that activity like, "This activity takes me this amount of time." Well, to take that further, this actually also helps us to determine the cost or the value of producing anything on the farm because we can then look at all of the little things that we do all day and how all of the, I like to call them buckets because I always think about buckets in a barn when it rains and there's holes in your barn, you put buckets under the holes and some buckets will catch a little bit of water and others will catch a lot of water, but I always call our little segments of things that we're spending our time doing buckets.
Anne of All Trades: We'll look at how we're spending. In the morning, we go and we open the chicken coop. We get the fermented feed that we've prepared the night before and we get it ready to take out to the chickens. Then we go out to the chicken coop and then we collect the eggs. Then we bring the eggs in and we wash the eggs and we put them in their containers, but you might think, "Okay, well that makes sense. That amount of time we can put into our cost of our eggs that we're selling, whatever," but there's also, "How long did it take to build the chicken coop? What did you use to build it? How much did that cost? How about when you bought the chicks, did you raise them as chicks or did you incubate them? How much time did it take you to get the brooder ready for them? How long did you have them in the brooder? How much energy did you pay for it to have your grow lights on your chicks during that time? How much chick feed did you feed them?"
Anne of All Trades: All of that stuff ultimately goes into the cost of the first six months of the chicken's life to that day that it lays its first egg and then you have to amortize out how many eggs that chicken is going to lay. Then that ends up being your baseline for pricing, how you sell your eggs. It ultimately comes down to what it actually costs, not what the market is asking for and we're going to talk more about this in a little while, but you have to know what it costs you to do this thing because if it costs you more than you're able to sell it for, then you're literally paying to do more work for no reason.
Anne of All Trades: I have gotten myself in that trap multiple times. Thankfully because of my time tracking, I've been able to catch that before it's cost me too much time or money, but if we find that it's taking us more time to create the product than we can actually sell it for, we then actually have a marketing opportunity. We can start telling that story to our potential customers and maybe seek out a different kind of customer that will value everything that's gone into, "Hey, we started with chicks. They've had the best life ever. We have done all these things. Our chickens get checked on six times a day," like all these things, and then all of a sudden, we have a $12 a dozen of eggs for the right customer that we have told the right story to and then we can actually afford to pay ourselves for collecting those eggs.
Anne of All Trades: Otherwise, we can do a really hard thing, but that's just cut our losses with things that are not actually able to pay for our time.
Melissa K. Norris: I think that it's so smart because we have to have data. A lot of times, we operate on assumptions. I do this in all aspects of my life and even homesteading to a degree, but we all have an assumption in our head on, one, how long something takes us. I tend to drastically think I can get way more done in an allotted amount of time than I actually can. I guess I have an over inflated idea of how productive I really am.
Anne of All Trades: It's not just you. It's literally everyone.
Melissa K. Norris: If you're operating on those assumptions, it's even true with diet. I know we're talking about business, but even with diet, if you are trying to hit a certain weight goal, oftentimes we're assuming we're eating a certain amount in a day, but if we're going off with those assumptions instead of actually having the data in front of us like writing down exactly what we are eating in a day, oftentimes reality and our assumptions are quite different, hence the name assumptions.
Melissa K. Norris: Once we have that data, like you're saying, time, cost and the true costs analysis of this, not just this one egg in this one bag of chicken feed for the day, but the whole project of it, once we have that data, then we decide to cut our losses if it's not there, as you said. We learn to tell a different pricing and marketing story or/and, sometimes it goes together, we're looking at ways now that we have this data, "How can I bring these costs down? Do I get more efficient with my time if I buy something in bulk, then I get it a lot cheaper and so therefore, my cost comes down?"
Melissa K. Norris: There's lots of ways to do it, but if you don't have that data to begin with, you have no idea how to do any of these changes or pivots or whatnot, so really just being really clear on what your true cost is from ingredient cost to time, all of the things, I think is really, really key. Oftentimes, it's really overlooked when people begin pricing products.
Anne of All Trades: Let me also just encourage you, gentle listeners, data sounds great. I don't think anyone would argue with the value of budgets or the promised value of tracking our time and keeping track of our costs and those kind of things, but it's not ... I am literally the number one person to say like, "That's great, so that works for you. It doesn't work for me because I'm not a data person." I am not a data person. I am not one to track. I have had to develop habits that are so far against who I am as a person to be able to have the data that can support the businesses that I want to have.
Anne of All Trades: If you are struggling with that, a fantastic book to read is called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I highly, highly recommend it. It's just great. It will talk to you a little bit about time tracking. It will talk to you about the psychology behind why things fail. It actually talks about fad diets and New Year's resolutions and why they never work. It's a funny thing to be recommending this from a business standpoint, but literally, that book has changed my whole life, my business life as well as my personal life.
Melissa K. Norris: It's a fabulous book, same thing. I've read the same book. It's funny because I am not a spreadsheet type of person, data person. I excelled in English and creative writing and reading in school, big surprise, I know. I detested math. I detested math and spreadsheets. I kid you guys not. I've been running my business really as a business since March of 2016. Do you want to know when I did my actual first spreadsheet?
Anne of All Trades: I do because this is fascinating to find out because, you guys, Melissa has sent me so many spreadsheets during our friendship, it's not even funny. The amount of shared Google Documents between the two of us is truly fascinating, hearing this bit of information [crosstalk 00:24:51]. Please, yes, when was your first spreadsheet?
Melissa K. Norris: 2020.
Anne of All Trades: Oh, my gosh, what?
Melissa K. Norris: Yeah, in fact, I didn't even know when Excel like ... I didn't know that you can put equations in there to add up cells.
Anne of All Trades: Oh, my gosh.
Melissa K. Norris: I thought you just took your calculator literally. You just took a calculator and did the numbers and then wrote the total and the bottom, but the reason is-
Anne of All Trades: It's so precious. Oh, my gosh. Now I feel like a failure as a human being because I have known about and been using spreadsheets a lot longer than that, but you are already far beyond where I'm at, so good for you for making that change and making it happen.
Melissa K. Norris: That's the reason I think I really preached the data aspect though is, because no, it doesn't come to me intuitively. For those of you that it comes to intuitively, you are probably just dying laughing right now or shaking your head in complete sorrow with this story-
Anne of All Trades: Also, please come work for me if that's the case.
Melissa K. Norris: ... but the reason that I'm saying that data is so important is because once I started tracking it and I have that data, oh, my goodness, my decisions were made from educational standpoints and were made with this data. It changed so much. It changed my pricing. It changed the way I did things. It changed the way I source things. There were so many changes that came and still to this day from having that data and having it in the spreadsheet. That's why I am preaching this because I'm like, "Oh, if I had realized how important it was and how much it would truly make a difference," and that's ... I don't know about you, but if I understand the why behind it, you can tell me you need to do such and such, but if I don't really understand the why or how it benefits me, I'm like, "Oh, that's great, but I'm not going to do it until I get it."
Melissa K. Norris: That's why I really think this is so important to bring up because I didn't get it for so long, but now that I've saw the difference that it's made, I'm like, "Yes, like this is why we have to do this tedious part because I still feel like it's tedious, but because it makes such a difference for-
Anne of All Trades: It does. When we're talking about money, there's so much psychology when we're talking about money, but specifically when we're talking about valuing our time, it's not just homesteaders, it's literally everyone. I've talked to flooring people, to people who bake pies, to all these things in my business coaching and it is a universal thing that people don't understand how long or how much is involved in producing the thing that they are producing and that they need some sort of emotional permission to be okay with charging people money for their time. Especially entrepreneurs and I would say homesteaders more than anyone else probably, we start doing this because we love it. Whether it's we love gardening, we love chickens, love animals, we love livestock, we love just being outside and working in the sun, we start as a passion.
Anne of All Trades: Then it's a funny thing for us to then be able to ask for money in exchange for that because we're like, "Well, this is something that I would be doing [inaudible 00:28:07], would be something I'd be doing anyway, so I can't really charge you for it," or, "I don't feel like I'm an expert in this, so I can't charge you for this." Those two things, not feeling like you are the authority and you can charge or feeling guilty about charging because you understand scarcity for whatever reason, stop you from giving yourself the emotional permission that you need to charge what you have to charge and having hard numbers in front of you makes that decision process so much easier because literally it's just like, "Wow, I had no idea that I was spending this amount of time doing this."
Anne of All Trades: This is why people ask me all the time to ... I build furniture. I carve spoons. I make cheese. People ask me to make them cheese. They're like, "What would it cost for you to make us cheese?" I'm like, "The opportunity cost of my time to make cheese would mean that I would sell it for $150 an ounce." I literally calculated it out just so that I could definitively say, because growing up poor, I will say yes to any opportunity. If someone's like, "I'll pay $15 to do that," I'm like, "Absolutely. Let me stop what I'm doing and do that for you for $15," but you literally cannot do that if you sit ... As homesteaders, I think probably the most important thing that we could possibly realize is the opportunity cost of our time. Saying yes to one thing means that we are saying no to something else.
Anne of All Trades: If we are passive about that, we'll find ourselves running ourselves ragged on our homestead. If we're trying to do it as a business, we're going to kill ourselves trying to make our business run and we're going to be running in circles and we're going to lose sight of our sanity and our happiness and our passions and the whole reason that we got this started in the first place. Having hard data to look at and to be like, "Okay, this is absolutely not worth my time," or, "This is absolutely worth my time," or even on the passion side, I love doing this so much that even though I'm going to make less money doing this thing, I am going to still do it, but that means then that I have to prioritize making time to do this other thing to offset the time loss or the dollar loss on this other side.
Melissa K. Norris: It just helps to make those educated decisions. Like you said, there are some things that you still choose to do even though they aren't making you money. It's funny because we're talking about business and we're talking about pricing products so that you obviously are not working at a loss actually, costing yourself money, giving stuff to people because you're not actually getting paid enough to make money because you don't know what they are, but there are times ... There's certain things quite honestly like the podcast, this podcast. I don't make money off the podcast. I pay hosting costs. I pay editing costs.
Melissa K. Norris: There's a lot of costs that actually I incur to do the podcast and it doesn't tangibly bring me in money, but I love it. I love podcasts and I am passionate about this lifestyle and I do want people to be encouraged and inspired and I want them to learn how to homestead. For me, it's still worth it to do the podcast. There are people that discover me on the podcast and then listen in enough that they decide to buy some of my books or join my membership or buy a course down the road, but I tell you what, there's a whole lot more of them that don't and I'm totally fine with that.
Melissa K. Norris: Again, it's knowing and it's not all about the money because I don't want anybody listening to this being like, "Oh, well, you only make all of your decisions based upon if you're making a profit, if you're making money off of it." No, that's not true, but you do have to know and make decisions so that you can make money, because quite frankly, we live in a world whether we not like it or not that you do have to have money or a way to barter and maybe bartering with your time, but you have to have that. Anyways, I wanted to throw that out there and then I think that the next piece, which you touched on, Anne, and we're going to talk a lot more in the free challenge that we're doing that we're going to invite you guys to that's going to dive on to this a lot more, but one, is telling a story.
Melissa K. Norris: We're not talking about making up a fabricated fiction, non-true story but telling people and inviting them into your world and into your passion like why you're doing this, like you said with the chicks, and letting them see the whole story, so that they understand. Because for those who aren't doing homesteading, now I know that we're talking to homesteaders here, but really people who are going to be ... We'll use the egg customer for an example of an egg business. For people who've never raised backyard chickens, all they think about is going to the store, they grab a carton, you open it to make sure none of the eggs are broken or at least that's what I always did, that they're not cracked and then you bring it home. That's all really the context that they have.
Melissa K. Norris: Unless it's somebody who's conscious about health and doesn't realize that if they're just buying the cheapest eggs at the store, they don't realize the deplorable conditions that those chickens are in-
Anne of All Trades: The nutritional deficiencies they have.
Melissa K. Norris: Yeah, that they're not even getting. There's so many, so many things, but those of you who are homesteaders, you know this, and that's why you're raising your own eggs to begin with and you care about pasture-raised and free range or in chicken tractors where they're getting moved to fresh pasture every day. You know the difference between a farm egg that has that deep orange lovely yolk versus the pale anemic thing from the factory farm-raised store eggs that I don't even know how people eat now having the difference, but that's the story that you tell which is a true story, but it's educating people and it's making them aware of where they weren't aware of it before.
Melissa K. Norris: Then some of those people, as they learn this as your storytelling, then they see the value that's there because they also see the work and they didn't know that before. They didn't know any difference. It's education in the story and it's also just sharing some of the details and there'll be curiosity because people who've never raised chickens before are like, "Oh, I don't know what all of this entails," and there'll be that curiosity factor, but you're telling that story. In telling that story, you're also finding the market of people who care about this and who value their own health and time even if they aren't going to put that in and raise their own chickens and so you're finding your target market.
Melissa K. Norris: That is the key with pricing as well is finding the price for your target market because the person who is going to Walmart to buy the absolute most cheapest egg that they can, that is not the homesteader's target market. We need to understand that from the get go. That's something we're going to go into a lot more depth because there's a way more to that than that just brief encapsulation, but once you understand that, then it helps you determine your pricing after you've taken those data steps and then understanding that process. Do you have any thoughts, Anne?
Anne of All Trades: You said it really well. Funnily enough, for me with my business and where I've brought my business to now, it doesn't actually make any sense financially for me to do any of my farming that I do as a business venture. For me, I use this example when I'm talking to coaching clients all the time like, "We only get one life, right? Our time is an opportunity [inaudible 00:36:07]." I say this all the time, "Every yes that you say to something, even if it's a passive yes, you're saying no to something else." For me, I wanted to homestead, I wanted to have my own business so that my time was my own. I wanted to be able to afford because whether ...
Anne of All Trades: As you were saying earlier, in today's day and age, you have to have something of value that you can trade for the things that you need to survive, whether that's you're bartering your time. Really going to work and getting a paycheck is bartering your time for the money that you need to offset the cost of not spending all your time homesteading, really when it comes down to it, but for me, my business is at a place that every single moment that I don't spend doing things that are earning enough money to pay all my employees and make all my things happen is technically lost money, but I literally did all this so that I could homestead and there's something too. Even though I'm making less money doing this thing, I know that it's making money, it's not losing the money, but I can afford to spend this time doing this thing that I love.
Anne of All Trades: The minute that I stopped loving it, I can look at the data and be like, "I don't have to do that anymore. I'm not going to torture myself. There is nothing about homesteading that we should be doing just because other homesteaders do it and we have to do it." Actually funnily enough, I hate chicken. Let's just say that out loud. It's okay. Everyone listening, you can delete me on social media. It's fine at Anne of All Trades, if you want to go ahead and click that block button. I have chickens and my chickens have the best life possible, but they have a very specific job on the farm.
Anne of All Trades: The only reason that I have chickens right now instead of ducks or geese, which I prefer, is because during the pandemic, I wasn't able to get those things and I was able to get this group of chickens from our Amish neighbors and they are great, but chickens are disgusting. They burn the earth that they walk upon, but they also do a whole bunch of things for my homestead. Really, I looked at it hard and long, "What is a way that I could make these chickens earn their keep? Does it make sense for me to have an egg business where I'm selling $7 a dozen eggs?" No, not really, but I still all of my eggs to a very specific market at a high dollar value and it requires almost none of my time or investment and the chickens are doing something really important for something that I actually want to do, which is raising beef. They help with the ticks and the flies and they help improve our land, and therefore, it's okay.
Anne of All Trades: Even though I despise those little dinosaurs, they do what they need to do and I get great eggs for myself and for my community and I have something that I can share, but if we're looking at the dollar value of the time, it is not worth it at all compared to other things that I could be doing, but it facilitates something that I do like doing and that has been so important to prioritize in this process. That was a tangent, oops. Here we are back on track. Our dollars or our time is something that we ... Literally, our time becomes our dollars or our dollars become our time. No matter how you look at it, that's what it is. In today's society, there's really no getting around that except in pretty extreme situations. I love bartering. I do that all the time.
Anne of All Trades: In fact, the eggs, they're part of a larger barter that I don't have time to get into, but what we are doing when we're spending money is we are paying to have a problem solved. Even as we're looking at the psychology of pricing for our products or services or anything for our businesses, if we are able to define very clearly the problem that we are solving with our business or product or service, then we can become totally unencumbered by the dollars and cents of it because every single other person on this planet is trading every single dollar or every single moment of their time for one problem or another to be solved. When we pay our rent or our mortgage, we are paying for the problem of not having a roof over our head to be solved.
Anne of All Trades: We will go to work or we will do whatever we have to do to be able to get the dollars to pay for that roof to be over our head that solves that problem for us. If someone's buying eggs from me, they are paying me to solve their problem of not having enough time or really having that mental stability to not have chickens, they're paying for that privilege and I am giving them the privilege of having delicious farm fresh pasture-raised healthy eggs. All of these things, if we can define what problem we are solving for people, then it actually becomes way easier to ask for their money because if we promise a solution and we deliver on that solution, it is worth so much money.
Anne of All Trades: Obviously different problems are worth different amounts of money, but as homesteaders we are solving a lot of problems and we're taking our time to do those things on behalf of other people that don't have the time, the land or the knowledge or the understanding to do those things. Again, it comes down to marketing and storytelling. If we need to tell the right stories to the right people, well, really telling the right stories is going to naturally attract the right people. It's how it happens. There's a little magic in there and we'll talk more about that in our course that we're offering, but yeah, telling the right story to the right people basically means that you can ask for whatever price makes sense. Then you don't have to feel guilty about it.
Melissa K. Norris: I completely agree. I think the beautiful thing is, honestly, because I worked a day job, so I was a pharmacy tech for 18 years, right when I graduated from high school and I got married actually all at 18, and that's what I started. Two weeks before I got married, I started working at the local pharmacy in our little town and then became a pharmacy tech and worked at two pharmacies in two different towns, both local to us, for 18 years. Nothing wrong with that job whatsoever. However, by the end of it and I think it would be any job, I hated it. I dreaded the days that I had to go to work. I don't mean just ... We've all had jobs. I've had a lot of jobs. Most of my life, I've worked two or three jobs at one time.
Melissa K. Norris: Having a good work ethic is never something I have struggled with. However, there's jobs where you're like, "Oh, man, I just don't want to go to work today," or it's like the end of the week or there's a project going on at work or you've got this customer who is just a stinker butt that comes in all the time. All of us know what that means. There's rarely a job that you love. Even with homesteading working for myself now, there's certain jobs that I don't love as much as others like Anne's talking about with the chickens, for example, but I really got to the point where I really hated going in to work.
Melissa K. Norris: There's a lot of factors. One, I was leaving with my kids, I was leaving the homestead, I was leaving this business which was my passion and my love, but really, it was the freedom aspect. If the cows got out and my husband was already at work and I needed to be to work at a certain time, what do I do? I either have to try to call in late or I can't leave my cows out, so then I'm torn or if my kids have a field trip, but I can't get the day off of work, what do I pick? Yes, having money in my pocket to put a roof over their heads, that is a big need, but there's also that need of not being able to be there for certain events in their life that I really wanted. I know that we all struggle with that.
Melissa K. Norris: For me, it really came down to, and I think this is really true for homesteaders like let's look at homesteaders and entrepreneurs, we don't like being told what to do by someone else. We don't mind doing the work because if you're a homesteader, then by golly, you know how to work.
Anne of All Trades: You know how to work.
Melissa K. Norris: You know how to work. If you're an entrepreneur who's successful at all, you know how to work. Honestly, if you're an entrepreneur who's not successful, you still probably know how to work, you just don't have quite all the pieces you need yet to make it work, but we watch-
Anne of All Trades: Which by the way is another thing that we're going to be hopefully helping ... We sussed out the 10 problems that every homesteader/entrepreneur has, have at least a few tips on how we've solved those for various things in the past in the challenge that we're offering.
Melissa K. Norris: I really wanted freedom. I wanted the freedom to be like, "I'm going to work hard, but this is when I'm working hard. If I need to do this with my kid right now, then I know I can just get up earlier in the morning to do it. I can shift things around. Everything will still get done, but I have the freedom to do"-
Anne of All Trades: The flexibility.
Melissa K. Norris: I'm actually not sure how that tied in, but once I got going, man, I was passionate and excited about it. I know where I was going with it. Sorry, guys. I get so excited. I'm like [inaudible 00:45:24], but I want that for everybody. I want that for homesteaders and I didn't realize that I could have had it so much earlier and that it was truly a possibility for me. That's not just someone selling you marketing, I'm making air quotes if you're not watching the video because we're recording this. It's not someone selling you a dream, it is a true possibility. I honestly think everybody, maybe they're not a full-time entrepreneur, but there's definitely a way they can bring extra income into their life that can lead to that, I truly believe that's possible for everyone, but not everyone knows that or believes it yet.
Anne of All Trades: Or even knows how. Really, I think for most people, it's not even they don't believe it's a possibility. It's just that they don't know how to connect the dots to make it a possibility for them. That can be crippling because so many people, if you're looking at ... If you're starting homesteading because you're inspired by someone on social media, chances are that person on social media had some bankroll behind the scenes that you don't see and they're doing things in a certain way that if you don't know any better, it seems like the only way.
Anne of All Trades: Then you're spending, spending, spending, spending, spending to do all these things that you think that you have to do, you're doing all these extra things that you think that you should do, but you don't actually need to be doing, there's a lot to that, learning how to be frugal and learning how to get the same results for less, really, gosh, wow, we're just data hound, but really understanding where all of your dollars are going and figuring out ways that you can do it more cheaply or offset that cost with some sort of income is basically the ticket to all that.
Anne of All Trades: Because really with homesteading, we're offsetting the cost that we would be incurring elsewhere, but if we're not careful, we can actually incur even more cost trying to get there. If you're planting a huge garden and the only way you know how to get seeds is buying these little like $6 heirloom seed packets. Even that gets expensive. Plus if you're trying to buy the compost tea that someone's telling you, you have to have, instead of learning the behind-the-scenes stuff that about how to make your own compost or like whatever it is, there's so many things that you're constantly being sold things and learning how to weed through that and see what you actually need and suss that out, and at the very least, offset your costs is huge. I lost where I was going with that, but here we are, wherever we are now.
Melissa K. Norris: Well, on that note, we've actually been talking for a very long time, which you can tell, Anne and I are really passionate and excited about this topic and we would love, if this is something, if you are either like, "Yes, I started a homestead business, but my product isn't moving like I would want or I'm having trouble knowing how to position it or how to do some selling on social media or"-
Anne of All Trades: "I haven't start."
Melissa K. Norris: "I haven't start. I have an idea."
Anne of All Trades: "I have this idea to start."
Melissa K. Norris: "I have an idea of stuff I want to do and some things I'd like to earn money off of, but I'm not sure where to start how to get going with it," then we would love to invite you to our Three Free Day Challenge. We're going to be hosting it, the both of us together, so hopefully you enjoy this together because you're going to get more of us if you sign up for it, but it's completely free. It's going to start June 22nd. It will go for three days, obviously June 22nd which is a Tuesday to that Wednesday and Thursday, three days in a row. We're going to be doing live masterclass trainings.
Melissa K. Norris: There will be replays because I know some of you still have day jobs and we talked about that freedom and flexibility. You may not be able to join us at the live time, but you'll be able to watch them. However, you do have to register in order to get the invite to come and join us and to get those replay links.
Anne of All Trades: Wait, Melissa, what are we teaching about though?
Melissa K. Norris: You want those important details?
Anne of All Trades: It might be helpful.
Melissa K. Norris: You don't want to just come hang out with us for anything?
Anne of All Trades: You should want to do that, but okay, yes, tell us.
Melissa K. Norris: Yes, it is the Three-Day Sales Challenge where you are going to learn in three days, yes, how to sell effectively on social media without a website or an email list.
Anne of All Trades: Or a sales page. What are all the things that we've been writing recently? What are those marketing campaign? If you have an idea of something that you want to sell or if you ideally even already have something that you would like to sell and you need a little bit of a push on how it is that you actually get started marketing it or even literally how you make your first sale and feel okay about it, that's what we're going to be talking about in this challenge and we would love to have you there.
Melissa K. Norris: The link is in the description of the podcast or you can type it in and it is melissaknorris.com/business challenge, melissaknorris.com/business challenge. You're going to pop in your name and email and then you're going to join us for a wonderful three days of challenge and master training. We hope to see you there. It's going to be a lot of fun. There may be some extra bonus stuff. We'll just leave it at that.
Anne of All Trades: Awesome. Well, Melissa, my gosh, we always have so much fun when we talk. Well, at least I do.
Melissa K. Norris: Same here.
Anne of All Trades: Good. Good. Good. Thank you so much for having me and I am so excited to get this started with you.
Melissa K. Norris: Same here. Thanks, guys. We hope to see you.
Anne of All Trades: Bye.
Melissa K. Norris: Now for our first of the week, I'm going to be sharing from Proverbs Chapter 13, Verse 11, "Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow." Now, I thought it appropriate to share a verse about money because we have been talking about earning an income and the way that we look at money and the way that we spend our time and just a lot of things quite frankly in this episode that revolve around money. I find it interesting, because oftentimes, money is like this taboo thing that we don't talk about. People become affronted if they are mentioned anything about tithing, which I am not telling you one way to tithe or another. The Bible, it speaks about tithing, but I find it interesting to see people's reactions when it comes to tithing and when it comes to money.
Melissa K. Norris: It's been really interesting because in this online world that I have been in and I share a lot of free stuff. Obviously, you're listening to this podcast episode and it is free for you to listen to. I do it almost every single week. I have a brand new podcast episode. I have a brand new YouTube that goes out weekly. There is a plethora of blogposts with recipes and step-by-step tutorials. I send out emails every week that have information in them. I give away a lot of free stuff, but despite that, when I do share something that I do have for sale, maybe it's my books, maybe it's when the membership is open or perhaps it's one of my individual courses, it always amazes me.
Melissa K. Norris: In fact, my family and I have started creating and selling handmade wooden bowl scrapers as well as bench scrapers. We also make the wood butter that we use to condition not only those wood products, but I use it on my butcher block countertop, on our island, I use it on my cutting boards, any of my other wooden spoons and my wooden tools. I had people ask if we would offer that for sale. Can you make your own? Yeah, you absolutely can. I'm actually planning on shooting a video of that on how to make what we sell, giving you my exact recipe and ratios if someone wants to make it themselves for free, but what I found really interesting is I shared that video in a video that I did which was how to take care of wood products, so that they last for generations and for years, how to take care of them properly as well as how to choose wood products that are made from wood that will last.
Melissa K. Norris: A lot of free content educational how to showing you, and then I said if you want to get the wood butter that we make, I do offer it for sale. I have a small amount. You can click this link and go and decide if you want to buy it or not. Oh, my goodness, one, I had a lot of people who did purchase and who actually said, "Thank you. I've learned so much from you." My daughter is the one that is packaging and shipping all of this stuff and she's only 12. It's a family affair. I had so many wonderful responses from people, but I also got comments where people told me they were unsubscribing from my channel because I had offered to sell the wood butter.
Melissa K. Norris: I was just flabbergasted. I'm like, "Wait a minute. You're watching a free video right now and it just says if you want to buy the one that we make that you can go into it here, otherwise you had a completely free video. You said you liked all of my other videos that were for free, but because I offered something for sale you're going to unsubscribe for everything," which, honestly, I'm like, "Well, if that's the way you feel, then obviously go and unsubscribe," but I just had to scratch my head. I'm like, "Well, if you like everything like just because I offered something for sale, why would you unsubscribe when you still got all the information for free?"
Melissa K. Norris: I really don't understand it, but the whole reason that I shared that story with you is when you bring up money, people can get really funny, but there is nothing wrong with whoever gathers money little by little and makes it grow. That has definitely been a testament of my life and the way that my husband have gotten out of debt and are living debt-free, was by taking the little money that we had, and my friends, when we were first married for many, many years, it was a little amount of money, but we have been able to make it grow. A lot of what I've learned and being able to make that grow is the stuff that Anne and I are going to be sharing in that Free Day Challenge that I hope that you guys come and join us for, which is free.
Melissa K. Norris: I just wanted to share that because I think that, oftentimes, obviously there's also another Bible verse that says, "The love of money is the sin of all evil," not money itself, the love of money and having a disproportionate relationship about money and with money is the cause of a lot of strife. When we look at it as it is simply a tool and something that we can choose to be a good steward of and use what the Lord has given us in order to multiply that in order to serve others and continue to be a good steward, it is not a bad thing at all. It has taken me a while to be able to see that and so I just wanted to share that with you. I hope that I get to see you in the free training, and if not, if running a homestead business is not something that you're interested in, just completely fine if it's not. I will be back here with you next week with a brand new episode. Blessing and mason jars for now, my friend.
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