Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Homestead Mindset

As I am sure you can guess, I talk to everyone I can about being self sustainable. I have come to the conclusion that most people do not even know what it is to have a homestead mindset. It is almost like homestead has been educated or programed out of people. Especially those who have a desire to make the homestead life way to make a living. I am going to try to explain why I think people no longer understand what it means to make a living on the homestead and the things we can do to get the homestead mindset back.

The homestead life is about cash flow not salary. We have been taught that our hourly wage or our monthly salary is what matters. We look at our financial lives and the decisions we make in lieu of monthly payments and whether or not we can get overtime or bonuses. People have not looked at things that way for very long. I have talked to a lot of people who could not live without knowing when their next payday will occur. A person who truly lives off of a homestead may know within a few days when pay will come, but it is not normally everyday. A farmer may only get one payday a year. The farmer's expenses continue just like everyone else... well kind of.

My family is fairly new on the road to self sustainability, I am not new to this lifestyle. I was blessed to have been raised in a family that believed in producing as much of our own food as possible. Just the other day my daughter asked me, "When was the last time we had to buy eggs?". I told her ,"Well baby, it has been a couple of months. "She said "That is awesome". We haven't had to buy green onions in months. My goal this year is to produce as much of our own food as possible. That means less money that has to be spent for our food. A true homesteader is not just interested in a profit.They are interested in producing as much of what they need and finding a way of turning their over production into an income. I am not saying that there are not folks that run a business in conjunction with their homestead. I know several who do just that. Homesteading is more about knowing that you can provide for yourself no matter what happens.

Let me say right here I do not see anything wrong with a person making millions of dollars because they invented or improved a product. Awesome for them. What I am saying is the person whose sole focus is on earning or amassing more and more money is missing something in their life. I have known a few people like this. They are never happy. When they make X amount of money one year, their goal is to make a certain amount more next year. They run their life like a corporation. Anytime they meet someone with more money than they have, they will not rest until they have learned how this person did it and have made just as much. Again I say if your primary desire in life is earning more and more money please, look at your life and see if you can find something else that will fulfill you.

The first duty of a homestead family is to provide for their family, then for their neighbors, and finally for a profit. There is no shame in making a profit. But you cannot view profit in the normal mindset. Profit is after you have produced enough for your family. Think self sustainable. Don't get into debt for anything except real property.Pay off the debts you have. We must break the chains of financial slavery.

No one can produce everything they need. No one can know all the skills they will need. The important thing is to know we cannot do it all. Do what we are best at and work with others who do different things better.If we do this,we can trade what each of us do best. This is called a symbiotic relationship. Community is important. We should be able to rely on each other. We can reduce our dependence on government and corporate powers. We just have to change our mindset and be more homestead minded.

We can learn to.

Keep It Rural

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Marketing strategies (How commercials Influence)

I,like many thousands more, did not watch the 2013 Super Bowl. I waited til the next day to be able to watch all of the commercials. As always there were winners and losers. This started me thinking. No one wants to have the worst Super Bowl commercial. Every company that placed an ad during the big game believed their ad would represent their company well and that they would see increased business as a result. Each of the companies that had even a single spot during the big game spent millions of dollars to try to tell you something. To make you see their product or company in a more positive way.

The days of basic information to help you make a more informed decision are long since gone, if they ever were at all. Every television and radio ad is designed to ellicit a response. Each company chooses the response they want to create. Ralph Lauren for example has always promoted a lifestyle through their advertising. They would lead you to believe that everyone who wears their clothing line is young, good looking, as comfortable in the great outdoors as they would be on the ocean or in the boardroom. This is the image they portray.

Fragrance companies, along with many others, use sex to sell their product. Every colonge or perfume ad is about sexual attraction. To be honest I cannot think of any other way to sell these items. If these companies were not allowed to use attraction as a selling tool they would have to turn to a lifestyle model, no one would buy a cologne simply because "it makes me smell good".

If we were to want to promote a product, we would have to decide what our target market is. A target market includes things like age group, education level, income range, and even occupational type. Once we have decided on the target market, we would start working on our ad. If we are wanting to excite our target, we would want our announcer to talk fast, probably use a movie voice. Depending on what we are advertising show quick clips of our product in action. If we are wanting to appeal to our markets ego, we would talk very smooth, imply that our market deserves our product. We would say something like "you have worked hard. Can't you see yourself with... (insert our product here).

If just listen to a commercial, you can tell something about the target market. Car company commercials on the radio are the best for this. If the announcer is shouting, the target market is the lower education levels or people who are on a very tight budget. These people have so much to worry about that an ad has to break into their thoughts to even be heard. Luxury autos are very smooth, talking about performance and "how you would look in this car". A friend of mine from work gave me the best description of car ads. A BMW ad shows a beautiful person driving a beautiful car in a beautiful landscape. A KIA commercial shows an urban landscape and their car driven by hamsters (thanks Renee).

Another method that is used is packaging. Companies do research to find out what colors promote their product, where to place their product on the shelf, and even at what price point people will buy their product at enough profit. Take food for example. Things packaged in green we believe are more healthy than the same item packaged in another color. Packaging can be very powerful.Another friend at work said he was at a drugstore and he saw a generic cold medicine.It was packaged in black, red, and silver, his favorite color combination. He admitted that he started to buy the medicine even though no one in his family was sick. (thanks Josh) Remember advertisers are trying to sway your buying decisions.

If I could work my will, every person who reads this would ask themselves these questions when they find themselves being influenced by an advertising blitz. (1) Am I the target market that this company is trying to reach? (2) What is this company really selling? Are they selling the product or a lifestyle, confidence, or are they stroking your ego? (3) What does this ad say that this company thinks about me? (4) What does this company think about my values, my world view, and my intelligence level? After we answer these questions do we still want to deal with this company?

By thinking a little more critically we can reduce the influence outside people have over us and we can better learn how to

Keep It Rural

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Best Birthday Gift

My wife gave me my birthday gift a day early. She is working tonight and will be a zombie most of the day tomorrow. She came in with a pine wood case, it was beautiful box, in that box was a lot of wonderful things. She proved beyond any doubt that she loves and listens to me.

Some of the things that were in that box were as follows. A farmers almanac, lots of recipes and tips and tricks on gardening. A word find, hours of cheap entertainment for me. An insulated mug, for hot cocoa or coffee when I am working in the yard or garden on a cool morning. An insulated pair of work gloves, I don't use them much but when I do they are priceless especially on cold mornings. Two packs of playing cards, on rainy days nothing is better than the family playing a good game of spades. A chainsaw tool. A compass, lots of snacks, ink pens, and a seed spreader.

Now I am going to tell you the items that brought tears to my eyes. I am not kidding. She bought me a straight razor, a shaving mug and brush, and a real fancy garden journal. She knows that I want to keep records of our garden adventures and that I have been wanting to learn straight razor shaving and the mug and brush is a way for me to never have to buy shaving cream again. One more step to self reliance.

My wife's gift was thoughtful and extremely well put together. I loved every part of her gift. Now I just need to sharpen the razor, I have already used the mug and brush and started filling out the garden journal. Greatest birthday present every.

Thank you baby for an incredible birthday gift that will help me to
Keep It Rural