Truth time. Unless the business is sustainable, the farm won't be either.
Every farm is a business, but only some farms are intentionally run as businesses. This is a systematic problem that others are speaking out on vocally, but today I'd like to share a few tools that have helped us own our farm as a business and put it to work for us.
This post contains a mix of links, some of which are affiliate links. I may earn a small income if you make a purchase. In all cases, I am not being directly paid to promote the product. My standard for affiliate marketing is that if I wouldn't promote it without the commission, I won't promote it with.
Clear Family Systems
This deserves a post of its own, and someday it is definitely coming (teaser- it will involve a set of tools you can make your own), but for now let me say this. Dreams don't happen by accident. Yes, there is a huge amount of grace and even at times a bit of luck. But there is also something called discipline.
Set times for work, prayer and rest
Systems for communication and task management
Staying on top of budgeting and finances
There are not family systems and business systems, there are family business systems. Weakness on one side will one hundred percent show up on the other side. This goes for relationship issues, financial issues, health issues, spiritual issues...basically it goes for EVERY issue. This is a team endeavor and we are intentional about everyone knowing what their role entails! One of our key components is our weekly couple business meeting. We run through all of our active projects, update to-do lists, prioritize tasks and always we spend time together just hanging out with Jesus and/or each other (usually both- adoration followed by a coffee shop is a popular combo).
Square & Canva Pro
Ok, this one is a total product sell, but I honestly couldn't live without these two services. Both of them make it easy to work with teams on a scale that is appropriate for family business. A Canva pro subscription makes me look like I know what I am doing when it comes to marketing and social media images. Canva is like having extra staff to make things look pretty.
In fact, our oldest son is majoring in communications and with the pro membership, he can be a member of our team and make design suggestions from his college campus. We can jump on FaceTime and play with things together. We trade textbook money for logos and cover image design work. As a bonus he has access to the pro tools while he is working on presentations and coursework. I absolutely love when everyone wins!
I have all of our brand colors and fonts saved and I can make graphics for social media with one hand while I'm nursing a baby. This saves me a huge amount of time. Recently I've started using it for more of my ebooks and Teachers Pay Teachers products and I'm never disappointed. If you are just starting to think about your family business journey, you might not be ready for this just yet but I assure you the time will come.
If you are running a product or service based business, Square is my absolute favorite payment processing service. There are a variety of paid products, but I've been able to stick with the free system including invoicing and in person sales. The reports are easy to use and make filing taxes much easier. With Square, I only pay credit card processing fees and if you sign up through my link we both get rewards after you make your first sale!
As a Catholic small business owner trying to find a way to grow our business without compromising our values, networking with other Catholic professionals is absolutely key. When we first started farming, I didn't realize how valuable the connections I made as an author would be.
I have been a member of Catholics Online almost since its founding and I have met many professionals who help me learn about social media, email marketing, websites and more. All of the families featured in the Catholic Families in Business series I met through Catholics Online. To be honest, I consider being listed in their directory a bonus. The real value comes from being inside the Facebook group for networking opportunities and trainings. Catholics Online founder, Amy Brooks is even available to hop on a strategy call and talk through a plan that will work for your business or ministry. I have done this myself and I walked away with ideas- yes- but more importantly I walked away with a renewed sense of encouragement that we are all in this together. Collaboration is one of the key goals of Catholics Online.
(Psst...If you do join Catholics Online, be sure to let them know Heidi from Euphrosyne Corner sent you!)
Owning a family business- Catholic, farming, both or neither- is a lot of hard work. It is also extremely satisfying work. Digging into our local economy, teaching our kids about business and having the flexibility to do what we love has strengthened our family because of the challenges, not in spite of them. If you are a family business owner, what would you add?