A regular reader of this blog brought it to my attention the other day that articles like the one I did about Dandelion Jelly run the risk of losing my audience of would be entrepreneurs. I feel that I should clarify why I occasionally do articles about leading a self-sufficient life.
There are a couple of different approaches that people can take when attempting to get themselves out of the rat race. The first method is the one that I believe most people employ. That is to try and generate enough income through self-employed means to maintain their current lifestyle. This is often not so much a conscious choice as it is a subconscious continuation of current lifestyle habits.
Another approach to getting out of the rat race is to strive for a self-sufficient life. Meaning that you grow much of your own food and perform most home repairs yourself. This of course often applies to energy consumption as well. The idea here is that if you are more of a producer than you are a consumer then you require less income to support yourself. A self-sufficient approach to life isn’t for everyone, I myself certainly don’t aim for total self-sufficiency. Allow me for a moment though to make a case for it because I believe that it is becoming far too much of a lost way of living.
Let’s start with home energy since that is a hot button issue at the moment. If sky rocketing heating oil and natural gas prices don’t have you thinking about alternatives then I don’t know what will. Your ability to affordably heat your home is currently being held hostage by terrorist nations and our own government alike. If you don’t believe me just write your senator and ask him or her why we currently have a ban on drilling for new oil in our own nation when there are vast oil reserves off of the coasts, up in Alaska, in the Dakotas, and elsewhere. You do have options though with commercial and home brewed solar systems, wind generators and micro hydro-electric plants that can be easily made at home.
Your food supply. How many meat and vegetable recalls have we seen in the last couple years? Far too many for my liking and I don’t expect the situation to improve as corporations continually push for quantity over quality. A vegetable garden is fairly easy to maintain and you will end up with higher quality more flavorful and more nutritious produce than you can buy at the supermarket. Fruit trees once they are established will give you decades of free food. Keeping animals requires much less space than you might think and unless you are living in an apartment you could quite easily keep a few chickens for meat and eggs. If you have an acre or more to work with a few pigs and a cow is not out of the question either.
Home repairs. There will always be a long list of plumbers and electricians willing to clean out your wallet for minor home repairs. So this is not an issue of market availability. It’s an issue of not spending money on even minor repairs that you could easily learn to do yourself from a couple decent books on the subject.
As I said, I don’t plan on becoming completely self-sufficient. These things can be very time consuming after all and I enjoy doing other things a bit too much to commit myself to milking a cow twice a day for several years. I would encourage you though to at least learn some of the concepts of the self-sufficient life, you may find yourself applying them more often than you think. And if you are the paranoid type that envisions apocalyptic nuclear annihilation scenarios then you definitely want to learn to fend for yourself.
So for those of you who only come here to learn business concepts and strategies I hope I don’t lose you on the self-sufficiency topics. Stick around you might be surprised at what you can learn while I’m learning it too.