TIV, THE MASTER OF FARM TECH THAT TURNS INTO  MONEY, TALKS TO YOUNG CITY FOLKS WHO WANT TO FARM
My advice young people on coming to the country, running a farm on a budget an even making money? On  frugal living? I am treading lightly, since I am presently trying to winterize the farm, walls, windows, chinks. Octogenarian limitations dictate priorities that don't allow for much pontificating at present. But---I have been thinking about a Theory Of Everything in making a home work for the occupants instead of occupants working for the home. The only universally applicable function toward this end is the acquisition of workshop skills and a workshop in which to develop, manufacture, and sell cottage-industry products. 

Depending on skill-level and scope, the chosen product(s) can be elaborate, or as simple as the kitchen table. I tend toward simplicity, both to reduce cost of entry and limit loss from the attempts that don't succeed well enough to merit their expansion. Nothing wrong with trial-and-error, but t is essential to quickly recognize and abandon products that don't sell, and substitute products that sell and have sufficient potential for growth to keep them in a product line. 

This also means the average experimenter in developing a (farm or) workshop income should follow, not run ahead of the money-trail. And, to limit initial risk, the workshop experiments should be done nights and weekends, while keeping the rent paid with employment income. Fifty is the magic number. Best if a business is started when the owner is under fifty and still employable at a reasonable rate of pay. Over fifty, you've got to scramble like hell to develop and make products that you own and control. The market is a lot kinder to fifty year-old business owners than to over-fifty employees. 

So I'll try to crank out an expanded home-income article, focused on alternate workshop skills, tools and products soon. If I drag my feet, bang on the door to get my attention. Octogenarians often need drastic wake-up calls to wobble to their mental feet in the morning. 

Of course, I want my daughters to get the hell out off the employment treadmill, so am assembling information and tools to start two or three business start-ups this winter that take some  trial-and-error design skill, and limited initial tools. 

a.)Rockfinding the local jade or quartz could turn into Jewelry making. Get a grinder, drill, tumbler. Learn to pan gold. Learn to recognize semi precious stones.

b.)Growing berries, peaches,nectarines, figs, pears, grapes, kiwis, lemons, could turn into jam making. 8$ a jar currently at Farmersí markets.

c.)A few goats or cows could turn into cheese making. Tip: add garlic and herbs, get a unique, flavored cheese. Only one garlic cheese in the marketplace, Sonoma Jack, it sells out all the time. I wonder why other cheesemakers donít try this!

d.)Cleaning attics at reduced rates turns into Scouting down country antiques that you put on Ebay.

e.)Grow grains, find a local mill or get a VITA-MIX, make bread. My fave as itís only healthy one, is pre-soaking grains, overnight, rinsing, then using VITA-MIX to make BIBLE bread. Not just wheat, but rye, barley, spelt, oats, andlots of sesame through out the loaf. 

The really difficult, expensive and time-consuming effort to build a direct-sales or dealer-system is now relatively easy with the advent of Internet sales, coupled with market-testing in local or nearbyflea-markets, craft-shows and potential brick-and-mortar retail shops. The biggest bugaboo of all---how to expand a small business on internally-generated capital, is now gone with the advent of credit-card (AND Paypal) payment. You still have to pay attention to minimizing risk of fraudulent orders where you lose both your merchandise and charge-back by the credit-card banks, but that is a solve-able problem. 

Forgot---an illustration of how quickly times change when a high-cost item becomes a commodity sold at commodity prices. Delete the above reference to making a good living repairing computers---you now can't, any more than in the once-profitable TV repair business I dabbled in as a sideline. Now it's cheaper to buy a new TV or computer than to repair one. 

You can make good money in home-manufacture of specialty electronic items---but not in those which have become commodities. Just a note, from the master of all, TIV! 

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