Do you struggle with time management and taking on too many projects? There are so many things that we homesteaders want to do but often we overextend ourselves and then get overwhelmed.
In today's podcast, Pioneering Today episode #293, I share tips on how to be more organized and focused so you can be more productive and continue to make progress towards greater self-sufficiency on your homestead.
Figuring out how to manage your time when you want to learn and do “all the things” can be tough. No matter where you're at in your homesteading journey, there's always some type of new skillset that you're eager to learn or eager to try.
In This Episode:
- Meet Tracy, a member of the Pioneering Today Academy, who started her homestead journey six years ago and lives on 40 acres in Southern Illinois.
- The balance of finishing projects completely, or finishing projects as money allows and staying debt-free.
- Why planning is twice as important as the actual “doing” of a project.
- What to consider when making money or earning a living using homesteading skills.
- Brainstorming ideas on how to teach classes on homesteading skills.
- Tips on just getting started!
If you like this series where I'm helping members of the Pioneering Today Academy troubleshoot their homesteading struggles?
- How to Create a Gardening Plan to Grow More in a Small Space
- How to Grow a Large Scale Garden & Raise Livestock Without Acreage
Melissa Norris: Hey Pioneers, and welcome to episode number 293. Today's episode is a bringing back the popular series where I am doing a personal consult with a member of the Pioneering Today Academy. And this one is really one that I think you're going to enjoy because we start to break down how to manage your time when you want to learn all of the things. So no matter where you're at in your homesteading journey, there is always some type of new skill set that you are eager to learn or you're eager to try, or you may even be just trying to keep up with all the things that you want to do on your homestead already.
Melissa Norris: So I break down the tips that I use in order to get everything done, both from the business standpoint of running the academy and my courses and the website and this podcast, all of those things, plus the actual homesteading lifestyle where we're raising a good portion of our food, doing sourdough, making things from scratch, preserving our food, all the things that come with self-sufficiency. And then of course, now, I'm having my children at home, so they have school at home, being a wife, all the fun household things like making sure everybody is fed, clothed and some semblance of order and housecleaning alongside with it.
Melissa Norris: And personal care, so making sure that I am exercising, working out, doing all of those different things can be a juggling act, even just spelling it all out or literally listing it all out for you right now. I'm like, "Man, that is a lot." So how to get those things done. And then, what I really think you'll enjoy about this episode is if you have ever wondered or maybe had dreams or a goal of making money from your homestead or doing some type of homesteading business, and actually, the tips and the things that I share, it may not even be a homesteading related business per se, but other things that you're looking at of running a business on your own or bringing in some type of side income, though, in this consult specifically, it is revolving around homesteading skills.
Melissa Norris: So if you are new to the podcast or new to this series, this is where members of the Pioneering Today Academy, which is my online membership, have the opportunity for, I guess you'd call it a hot seat in a way, but they come on the podcast, they get personal consult time with me with an issue that they're dealing with or they want to have more questions answered or some help with, and you get to listen in and get the benefit, if they are questions that you have too. So far, this new series that we've been doing on the podcast has really been a big hit. So I would love your feedback. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And I think you're going to get a lot out of this episode today with Tracy.
Melissa Norris: If you are interested in becoming a member of the Pioneering Today Academy and also doing one of these, you can go to melissaknorris.com/PTA, for Pioneering Today Academy, and either get on the wait list if we're not open for new members and then you'll be emailed as soon as we are, or if we're open, you'll be able to join right then and there. So without further ado, let's go straight today's episode.
Melissa Norris: Well, I am so excited to get to chat with you today and have you on the podcast. So Tracy, welcome to the podcast.
Tracy: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Melissa Norris: Yeah. Tracy and I have actually known each other for at least a couple of years now. I was trying to remember back and I'm like, we've known each other for quite a while. Obviously, just getting to meet virtually is how we got connected. But I feel like we've been friends for a couple of years now, and it's been really fun to watch your guys' homestead evolve. And as you've gotten to do more things on your guys' place, you guys have really been working on that. But for those who don't have the privilege of knowing you, like I do it, and getting to see what you guys are doing, just give everybody just a little bit of a brief of where your homestead journey is at and your guys' place.
Tracy: Okay. So we started, I guess, probably about six years ago and we lived in town. We lived in a subdivision in town, and my husband I had always wanted to be in the country. He had had property previously and we had sold that when we had kids, but we always wanted to get back to the country. So we bought this property that we're on now. We have about 40 acres here, and we're in Southern Illinois. And so we bought the property. It had a little tiny house already on the property. So, for the first month that we were here, we actually lived in our RV because when we bought the property, we had not even seen inside of the house. Basically, there wasn't any value attributed to the house at all. So we bought the house sight unseen.
Tracy: So we lived in the RV for about a month, just getting the house clean and livable. And then we lived in that while we built our home. And so during that time, that was crazy because we didn't have actually a bedroom for the kids even, they had to sleep in the living room and we had a couch and we had a twin sized mattress that we'd throw on the floor at night for the kids to sleep on. And all we had for heat was like a little gas wall unit. So we started building our house, we built a majority of the house ourselves, and then we paid for it as we've gone along.
Tracy: It's still not finished even we've been here for six years. We're in the house and it's mostly complete, but there's a lot of finished work, flooring and things like that we're still working on as we go, but we wanted to do this debt-free and pay as we go and so we've done that. And as we've worked on the house, we've also added to the homestead. We have chicken and bee and the garden. I just got two Nubian goats last year.
Melissa Norris: Ooh.
Tracy: Yeah. They haven't been bred yet so I'm in the process of looking for a buck right now so that I can breed them and have babies and milk and all that. It's just been a long journey. And actually, you have been with us for pretty much all of that journey. I can remember my husband coming home from work, we were still in that little house and I was just starting to learn about all the homesteading stuff, and he said, "Oh, you have to check out this lady's website. I think you'll really like her."
Melissa Norris: Well, props to [crosstalk 00:06:41] there.
Tracy: Yeah. So I did, and of course I loved everything that you were sharing, and I've been following you ever since.
Melissa Norris: Well, you guys actually have gotten a lot done in six years. And I love that you're doing it at debt free because aside from the mortgage that we took out for our property and our manufactured home, that's really how we've tried to live too. And one of the reasons we did a manufactured home was because that was a mortgage that we knew that we could get paid off pretty quickly, and like you guys, didn't want to have debt. And so now any of the projects that we do are debt free and it feels really good. But it also, I know what you mean, like things are unfinished. I'm like, "Oh, I so need [crosstalk 00:07:26]."
Melissa Norris: They're like, "Nope, we have to wait until one, we either have, obviously the time, but then also the resources and be able to do it. So as you were talking, I'm like, "Oh my friend, I so understand it." But it's such a good thing because debt is just a monster that none of us want to be under. And so I'm really grateful, even though it might not be the home of my dreams, I am very grateful for it and that we don't have the debt. I love that. And that wasn't even part of our initial talk that we were going to talk about, but I'm glad that you brought it up because it's a really wise way to go if at all possible.
Melissa Norris: But, I know that there were some things that you wanted to chat about that you'd like to have some insight on to help you guys. What is it that you feel like you really could use maybe some clarification or some tips or guidance on?
Tracy: Where I'm at right now, obviously, I'm still working on building the homestead. There's still so many things that you want to do to become more self-sufficient. I actually just ordered some fruit trees this year, so I'm pretty excited about that. What I found along the way is that it takes money and it takes time in order to get to where we want to get. I've found that I have an easy time learning the actual skills that are required for homesteading, I'm an avid reader, I love reading. And so I can easily pick up a book or read an article and feel like I can teach myself at least how to get started on doing something, and then I usually just jump in and do it. But I feel like I take on a lot of projects at one time, and so it can get really, really overwhelming just trying to find the time to do all that.
Tracy: And I have actually picked up some part-time work to help fund some of these projects just to move us along a little bit faster so that money is not so much an issue, but I would like to get to the point to where I'd love to have my own business as a homesteader. So I guess just some tips on how you do all that you do and how you manage your time and your resources and all of that to have built your business and your homestead and all of that.
Melissa Norris: Yeah. This is great. Some of it can go together, like building a business from the homestead, and there's lots of different ways that could go about that. But first to the time management, because I think no matter if you are wanting to build a business from either homestead directly or homestead skills, etc, for the homestead skills part, we all have to manage our time. And the first thing for me has always been identifying, what is the most important in this specific season. Because there are always... Oh my goodness, with both the homestead and business, like everything in life, there are always more things that we want to do.
Melissa Norris: And you and I are very similar in that aspect, we're both go getters and we don't have really that fear or paralyzation of like, "Oh no, I'm not going to do it right, so I'm not going to do it." Ours is, we want to do everything, and we just jump in and go about doing it and then realize we can't do it all. So for me, it's really been identifying this as the most important thing in this season first, so I will break up what I'm focusing on by quarter, obviously as the season, so winter, spring, summer, fall, because as a homesteader, not only are my planning and planting and livestock all determined to a degree by some of those seasons, so that way...
Melissa Norris: It forces me to pick, obviously in winter time, I can do some garden planning, but I'm really not doing a ton of gardening at that time, whereas I know spring and summer, I'm going to have a huge push where I'm actually out in the garden and planting and managing and all of that. I will break it down first by seasonally and picking what is the big project or the most important thing to me to get done for this season? Like, what do we need to accomplish in this season? So I sit down and do that first. And I usually will try to look at a couple areas of my life and identify the big things at each of those areas.
Melissa Norris: So right now, it's winter time, and then I do it within the season or within the quarter, and then I'll break it down by each month, so obviously, there's three months in each of those quarters and identify, okay, this is like the big overall project. And then I may have a project that's really important for me for each of these months. And so it's like looking at the big thing and then working our way backwards. So then breaking it down by those three months, and then of course getting more micro and going into by week, and then I look at my week and break down into each day. So I reverse engineer basically, but I have to start first by picking a couple of big things. And those things, my way of choosing is dictated by the season.
Melissa Norris: Just for example, for this quarter at the time we're recording this, we are in the winter quarter. And so for me, one of the big things was... This is both a homestead skill, but it's also business. And because mine are related, I feel very grateful for that. But one of the things is really mastering cheesemaking, which has been on my homestead bucket list for a really long time.
Tracy: I'm so excited about that.
Melissa Norris: Yes. And I am too. I have had doing fermented dairy for very long time, like over a decade, making like my own yogurt and kefir, kefir, however you prefer to pronounce that one, and that type of thing. But actually getting into some of the harder, like press cheeses and even some of our softer aged cheeses, that's been something that I would not call myself a master cheesemaker yet. I haven't really mastered that. I've done some dabbling. And so within the membership, the Pioneering Today Academy, everybody voted and really wants to start to learn cheesemaking. And so I'm like, "Okay, I have got to get down my process and my recipes and really get to testing, obviously, before I could teach anybody, because I can't teach what I don't know."
Melissa Norris: And I feel like I need to be pretty well versed in it and not necessarily expert level, but more than like, I've only made this recipe once or twice, that's not going to cut it. So that has been what I was focusing on and starting my cheeses, actually beginning the learning process and really diving into all of the science and all the different techniques and figuring out what was going to work best for me, etc, the end of 2020, so the fourth quarter, so that now I can apply it. And I'm actually doing all of the steps this quarter. And so I have it each month, I'm doing this process, and then moving on to this one. So that's just one example.
Melissa Norris: But within that, I also look at like, this is what I have to get done for this quarter, the actual work that needs to be done. But then I also need to look at the next quarter because there's some things, I feel like I'm always in a planning stage on one thing and that I'm in the actual execution stage in the same time on the project because they're always overlapping. Like last quarter it was the learning, getting the gear, deciding what I'm going to do. This quarter, it's implementing it. And same thing with gardening and the livestock. Like right now, we're in the planning phase for this year, deciding are we going to do pigs this year? If so, we have to contact the breeder. And do we need to redo any of the fence or the structures in order to make it easier or to enlarge what we're going to be doing? And that type of thing.
Melissa Norris: And then it would incorporate, okay, let's look at what skills we need to have and, or funds, money in order to make this happen in the next quarter. So I feel like it's always that overlap of the planning and then the implementation, but it really does go back to picking the thing that's the most important and focusing on that first. And then, if I get that part done or I feel like, "Oh man, I've got my plan and I could actually fit some more in," then I'll fit the end, but I try not to really work on more than say two projects at once.
Melissa Norris: Sometimes it'll be one thing in the kitchen of the homestead or inside the home, and then another will be either livestock and, or gardening, but the things outside because I can't be outside all the time and I can't be inside all the time either, so I like to have that balanced. But then, when I reverse engineer that back and then I look at the month and then at the weeks, I do the same thing with my days. So I really try to reserve the weekend for no work. And because I do work from home, I have to really give myself that hard line to actually take time off and have it focused solely on home stuff, because I really love what I do, but I've also noticed, you probably noticed this too about our personalities is, I can easily be a workaholic all the time, even if it's just homestead stuff for personal.
Melissa Norris: I have a really hard time just sitting and being, but if I don't do that, and you probably notice this too, that's when the overwhelm gets really kicking and then I'll get anxiety and I'll start to get into the phase of burnout, both on doing the homestead things and the work things. So I that found that I have to have a hard line on when and where I'm doing certain projects, but that actually is good when I stick to it because whatever time we have set for a task, that I found how long... So I've learned to give myself deadlines, because that's how long it'll take me to do it.
Melissa Norris: And so I found giving myself deadlines for both work projects but also personal life projects, like, "Okay, this has to be done by this date," and actually putting it in my schedule. And this is gardening tasks, it's even cheesemaking tasks, I'm like, "Okay, you have to make this cheese by this date." And so that forces me when that date is coming, I look at the week and I'm like, "Where am I putting this in?" And I actually put it in. And then I've also found, for me, if I can batch things together, I have found that to be a lot more effective because I'm doing the setup of everything once and then I'm doing all of that work, and so I don't have the setup and the take down, or even getting my mind in that frame, that focus point.
Melissa Norris: I do that with cooking. I do that on Sunday. Sunday afternoon is my batch prep for the week. So I'll do the majority of the baking for the week, a lot of the, especially lunches, like meal prep and that type of thing. And then do my meal planning just for that week, like, "We're going to have this and this," and making sure I have all the ingredients. And so I do all of that on Sunday afternoon, so then the rest of the week, I either have to pull a few things out that have already been prepped and maybe cook a few things to make the meal, or it's just pulling out and reheating or eating it cold depending on what it is. And I found that's really helpful for me, especially just on the home front.
Melissa Norris: And then I'll also do the same thing, like I'll batch the cleaning, like I'm going to do all of the bathrooms get done here, because I have all the bathroom cleaners out at one time and I'm already in the frame. Those are some of my tips. But, if you have any questions or want further clarification on any of that, please feel free.
Tracy: Okay. Yeah. I think probably for me, I would think, and maybe for a lot of other people too, that I am that person that wants to just get in there and do something. And I tend to be very spontaneous. I tend to not really have much of a plan for the day, and so a lot of times take things as they come. And I know that's not always the best method, but it's a matter of, I think, along the lines of what you said too, where you have to take that time to just take a break and focus on your family. It's also, I think, in that planning process, I think in my mind sometimes, I think, "Oh, it's going to take me so long to sit down and plan it out. I just need to do it."
Tracy: I know that not having that plan a lot of times hinders me, but I have to get my mind, I think, in that spot where realizing that that planning time is just as important as the actual doing time.
Melissa Norris: Yes. And I have not always been a planner, I used to be... There are still areas that I need to even do more planning, and I know it, and I have to force myself to do it because I'm like you, I'm like, "Well, let's just go do it. I'll just figure it out as I go." And that has worked for me in certain areas, but really, with that planning, I would say the planning, honestly, when I actually sit down and do the planning for whatever it's going to be, both personal business, etc, if I have that plan in place and then I go and execute, I would say the planning honestly is probably like twice as important as jumping in and doing it, just in the return on how much faster it goes, how much more efficient I am, how much better that the end thing is, whatever it is that I'm doing that that small amount of time planning wise is so worth it.
Melissa Norris: But it definitely takes, I think one, you have to do it a few times to actually see the benefit, like how much it really does help. And I have to constantly remind myself like, look at how much time this actually saved you, because you did take the time to do this, or you discovered something in the planning that you didn't have ready. And if I had just jumped in, I would've been missing that and then had to go back and do something later or just skip that step and hope that it turned out okay. I know. I know. One of the things is I've tried is like Sunday evening, everybody else's in bed, is to just sit and look at the week that's coming and write it all down.
Melissa Norris: And then I just put a big star, like these are the musket, most important things done for this week. Because I think for me, and possibly for you too, because I feel like we're very similar in this, the list will never end, my to-do list, I'll never get it all crossed off. Never.
Tracy: I had a friend tell me one time, she said, "Tracy," she said, "You could live 1,000 lives and never do all of the things that you want to do in your life." And I'm like, "Well, yeah, maybe, but my goal is I'm going to give it my best shot."
Melissa Norris: Yeah. I'm very much that way, and so that's why I said, I'll just make a big list of everything in a perfect world if I was cloned by five that I could get done in a week and I'll write it all down and then I just go back through and I start like, this has to be done this week because if I don't get the seeds ordered by today or tomorrow, then I'm not going to have them in time to actually seed start. And if I don't get my tomato seeds started in time, then I'm going to miss that planting window, etc. So I will just go through that to help identify them. And that way, I've still got everything on that list, but I'm not like, "Oh, I don't have to do all of this, I'm just going to focus on these." But I've still got it all down so it feels like it's outside of my brain.
Melissa Norris: Once I've written it down, then I feel like I can release it and I'm not, "Oh, I've got all of this stuff." But for the homestead business aspect, so for that, what type, I guess actually, because there are different types of obviously of things that you can do from your home set in order to earn money. Do you have a certain direction that you're leaning or wanting to explore?
Tracy: I have thought about making and filling product before, so then different things like that. And then I think about all of the regulations and just all of that stuff. And I think, "I don't know if I want to do that or not get into all of that." I'd love to have like a little homestead store here on the property at some point, and I'd really love to focus on herbs and different things like that and different kinds of natural products, but I also really, really love to teach. And so I feel like I have a passion to share a lot of what I've learned and helping people to just live more natural lives, to be healthier, to be more self-sufficient and all of that kind of stuff.
Tracy: So I definitely want the teaching aspect to be incorporated into whatever it is that I'm doing.
Melissa Norris: Do you guys have, one, do you have this... Well, you have 40 acres, so I know that you have acreage, but do you have space on the homestead where you could create a little storefront or a little side building or something like that to have a physical store?
Tracy: Yes. Initially, we had intended on the old house, I was going to turn it back into the store, but I think we decided that it might be better off to just tear it down because there was a lot of things that would need to be repaired on it and all of that. So there's definitely a place where we could, and if we had it over there, that would be perfect, over on the other side of the property, It's got water access and all that kind of thing already there, and there was a nice spot right there. It would just be a matter of tearing down the old house and building a new little building, but I think that would be-
Melissa Norris: Right. How are you guys' location basically to customers to town? Would it be where you're on a road or a highway that gets a lot of traffic where you would easily be able to have customers come in, or would it be more just like word of mouth or people who would know you where it is as far as the physical store location?
Tracy: We are we're in the country, but we're also right on a two-lane highway. so we're about 20 minutes away from the closest town. So it would be a little bit of a dry for a lot of people, but like I said, it is right on the main road, so it's easy to get to.
Melissa Norris: Okay. You do have some traffic that's going by. Personally, the way I have done almost everything in business is to test it first, especially before I put in any type of large investment. And like building, of course, you could use the building for something else down the road, but the expense of building a physical building and then looking into the insurance for having a business on your guys' property, as well as all of the different licensing etc, that type of stuff, personally, I would do some test runs of a couple of the product, like you said, and identifying first to like, which products do you enjoy making?
Melissa Norris: Do you have a good supply source on for the raw materials? Of course, some of the herbs stuff you're probably are growing yourself, but how much do you, do you have grown? Would you need to increase the amount of herbs that you're growing for the different inventories, etc. And also the ones that you feel the most passionate about or the most excited about to make and/or create is another big thing, because once we turn it into a business, if we don't have that passion for it, or we're like, I really don't like making this, but I think people would really like it, well, if people do really like it and you don't like making it and then start doing that, it's not a good place to be.
Melissa Norris: So really identifying first where your passions lie and all of that. And then doing a test, so say, maybe 50 bars of soap, for example, or maybe 50 of some of the herbal products or that type of thing. And then just testing and seeing from either, it could be online if you don't mind doing shipping and don't mind doing an e-commerce thing. Of course, then you'd have to have still payment processing, but that's all pretty, that's all really easy to do, most people are very familiar with PayPal now. That's an easy way to go without setting up a huge business account with some other online processors.
Melissa Norris: And then just saying like, "Hey, I have just this small amount done, it's a test run, and then seeing you put it out for sale through whatever avenues you have, like on your social media or personal contacts or whatever you're planning on building from, and then seeing how fast and how well did it sell? And then you're going to see, if I made 50 of these and I sell through and really quick, then you're like, "Okay, this is something people are interested in and not only interested in... " Because I see this happen a lot. A lot of times we will have people will say, "Oh, I'd be super interested if you did X, Y, Z."
Melissa Norris: And then you do X, Y, Z, interest is not always equal paying customer, however, So I would really just test it. And the great thing about testing like that with a product is, one you'll know if people actually buy, then you're like, "Okay, we actually have legit customers and a legit market for this." So then I can look at doing more and streamlining my processing, getting costs down, like buying in bulk and then do another test run on like say of 150, just to see. But the people who do buy from you can give you great feedback. And so that's really fabulous because that'll give you a chance to go back and make any tweaks that may or may not be neat.
Melissa Norris: Everybody might be like, "Oh, I love this." Or you might have some who'd be like, "Oh man, I wish I could have got a bundle of three," or, "Oh, I wish," depending on what it is, "I wish you had different size offerings. I realized I would have wanted a bulk bag," like for herbs, for example, or, "Oh, I wish I would've had a smaller one of this." Or if it was in a container like, "Oh, I wish the container was actually shallower and wider, I had a hard time..." I'm just ball parking here because I don't know exactly what the products that you're thinking of. Just that feedback or even just that type of thing., and then you can talk to them and you can be like, "Oh, they really loved this."
Melissa Norris: And then you can say, "Oh what would you think of this? Would you be interested if I had this too?" So you're allowing your actual paying customers to help determine where you go next or how something may need to be tweaked or not before you make it in a bigger run and invest more time and more inventory, and maybe more equipment to a larger customer base, so that you can really get that all dialed in before going big and move in spaces.
Tracy: That's good. And I definitely think that like the storefront-type thing, that would definitely be something that would be down the road, because that is obviously a big investment and all that, but that's the ultimate end goal, I think, is to have the little shop here on the farm where people can come, buy things that are handmade. And then also just be out here because it's just such a peaceful place, and there are so many people that don't have access to just the trees and the land and all of that. My son had a friend come spend the night with them here a while back and he hadn't ever been here before and they were outside and he was like, "Wow, there's stars. I haven't seen... "
Tracy: And we don't live in the town that's nearby to us that we became from, it's not a huge town, it's probably between 20 and 30,000 people. So it's not a huge town, but you have all the lights and all of that. And in town and you don't see the stars the way that you see them out here. And he was just so amazed by the stars. And I've lived here for six years and I still if I take the dog out to go to the bathroom and I look up at the sky and I... And so it's one of those things I want to share this place with other people too, people that don't have access to that.
Melissa Norris: Yeah. Well, with the storefront, depending on the size and everything, I could really see where you could have like workshops where people would come out if they wanted to learn how to make some of the different products and do classes like that. I could see like lady sign, especially around the holidays. I really have seen a lot of people do that successfully with some different shops, even in our area, they'll do around the holidays a common make or even do like a mother-daughter thing even around like Mother's Day, come together and make things together and get experience that hands-on part.
Melissa Norris: And then taking a product with them too, but then you'll also have people who are like, "I love it and I want to use it, but I'm not really interested in making it." So you could have it be a dual purpose spot, and then that would allow people to also come in and see, and you could just do... There'd be lots of different events that you could do and marry the two together, and then you could get a feel too for which you really liked. But I think they both could fuel the other in a really complimentary way.
Tracy: Yeah, I think so too. Well, I actually, before all of this stuff hit, I actually had been doing, I had done a couple of different workshops where I taught people. I did three products, we did lotion bars, lip balm, and sugar scrub, because those are basic things, most people can handle making something like that. And I even had a friend of mine who bought gift certificates for her two daughters that are in grade school. And so the three of them came and the girls made the lotion bars and the lip balms and the sugar scrubs, and they needed a little bit of help pouring and things like that, but I really did enjoy that.
Tracy: And I really think that having that and as part of the shop would be yes, some finished products, but then also the ingredient and in bulk so where people can come and they can buy bee's wax by the ounce, or the different herbs and oils and things like that.
Melissa Norris: Yeah. One company in particular that has done that, now it's with soap, but it's like the same thing, they teach all of the ways to do soap making, but then you can also order from them in bulk, and now, quite a bit of it is online. And actually, I don't even know with the pandemic if they still have their in-person store, just because things are so dominant all parts of the country, but has been the Soap Queen or Bramble Berry. And they actually, one of their stores was up in Bellingham, Washington, which is about an hour and a half away from me, but I've been to their store.
Melissa Norris: And so you can actually go into the store and buy all your base products to make soap like you were saying, or the finished stuff, or they have a lot of online. I think they did also have in-person ones. And so that might be something, I know you do soap, and I think I've mentioned Bramble Berry in the past and some of our soap things within the academy. So you may or may not have already looked at them, but that would maybe even be somebody to look at their motto, go do a little bit of studying. I do that a lot, I'll go and look at different businesses that have been really successful that have certain aspects of things that I would like to replicate, but within obviously, my own field, but look at like, "Oh, how did they do that? And what are they still doing right now?"
Melissa Norris: Because obviously, if they're still doing it right now and they're a large company, then that's probably working for them. And look at the history that they've had and where they're at now and be like, "Oh, is there pieces of that that would work well for what I'm doing?" And that type of thing. So that might be a good one to check out because they do have that both the bulk where you order your supplies, the teaching model. And if you don't want to do any of that, you could just buy the product.
Tracy: I'll have to look into that and see. I think even right now it would be hard to get workshops and things like that going, but you could even do some online workshops, ship them a kit, tell them the supplies that they would need to make whatever project that they're working on.
Melissa Norris: And that would actually be, honestly, Tracy, that would be a really good way to test things because you wouldn't have all of the expense of carrying a huge amount of bulk inventory, or the store part yet. And you'd have the safety of it being online as far as pandemic and different things, just trying to keep, especially if you're running it as a business, obviously, trying to keep in with whatever phases and mandates for each person's area are, but it would also allow you to really reach a lot more people, which is one of the beautiful things about online, that we wouldn't be able to in the physical sense, but it would give you a taste of, do I like stocking and shipping this stuff?
Melissa Norris: And then it would give you a chance to test doing the online and if enough people were signing up and if they were ordering, I think that could be a fabulous way. And it would allow like, you could just do one and you could be like, "No, this isn't for me." Or you'd be like, "Oh my goodness, I love this. And I have a whole bunch of people wanting to do more of these." And then you could build that way as well. So I think that would be a great way to test it.
Tracy: I'm going to get planning right?
Melissa Norris: Yeah. Planning, planning, planning. Plan first, I know. And I laugh because I'm giving you my own advice or advice that I have from my business coach, because I am really excited about doing fitness and especially just because it allows me to do this whole, the home setting stuff and the chores. And so I'm like, everything is online now and I already have the online infrastructure in place and I'm like, "Oh, I could do this whole, it would be like a whole farm fitness." I'm just ready to launch this whole farm fitness thing. And the coach is like, "Why don't you just do one YouTube video and one podcast first and see if anybody is actually interested in it?'
Tracy: I love your YouTube videos. So it was awesome.
Melissa Norris: I'm like, "Oh, that might be a smart way to do it instead of creating and filming an entire course first before even knowing." So kind of parroting the advice I was given, but I'm like, "Oh yeah, that is really good advice, let's take a step back and plan this in phases."
Tracy: Oh goodness, too funny. Well, I guess that's part of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Melissa Norris: It is. We get so excited and we truly do have a heart, I can hear it in your voice and how you're talking, we have a heart, we know we can help people or give someone an experience that's going to enrich their lives or in some way, impact it for the good and make it better. And we just want to do that, we're so gung-ho to do that, and we get so excited, we just want to... And so it's easy to get ahead of ourselves, but it comes from a good place.
Tracy: For sure.
Melissa Norris: Yeah, definitely. Well, I'm excited to see how things go and yes, plan first, my friend, plan first.
Melissa Norris: So any other wrap-up questions or one final thing on your mind?
Tracy: No, I don't think so. I think that gives me some good direction and stuff that a lot of it is stuff that I've probably, sometimes you know things but you just need to be reminded.
Melissa Norris: Yes, that is so true. In fact, there's oftentimes, I will, maybe just even listening to a podcast or perhaps it's in a mastermind group or even just watching a show or talking to somebody, and they'll say something and it just hits you at the right time. And you're like, "Oh, I've known that, it's not anything new." But I finally have this revelation and realize that for myself almost, and then it makes this huge difference. And you're thinking like, "But I've known that for years, I just never saw it in this way or actually used it in this way." So yeah.
Melissa Norris: Well, thank you so much for coming on and I can't wait to see what you decide to do and how your planning goes and everything like that. So I'm excited to see what the future holds for you.
Tracy: Hey, thank you so much.
Melissa Norris: Yeah. Thank you for coming on.
Melissa Norris: I hope that you enjoyed that as much as I did and got some great takeaways that you can apply. And if you want to go to the blog post that accompanies every episode for any links or resources, you can do that at Melissaknorris.com/293, because this is episode number 293. Thank you so much for joining us today, and I can't wait to be back here with you next week, where I'm going to be breaking down my final thoughts on raising American Guinea Hogs this year. If we'll do it again and what we thought of the overall process and what we ended up getting and the amount of meat in our freezer.
Melissa Norris: So, a lot of you have been asking me questions, you've seen the YouTube videos I've done with them in some of the previous podcast episodes and wondering what we really think of them and what our final yield was. So I am going to be sharing all of that with you next week. For now, blessings in Mason jars.
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