Have you ever been planning on something for such a long time and then…BAM! It smacks you right in the face out of nowhere? Or even worse, had several long-term plans and then they all start compounding and suddenly plans you’ve had for months are on your doorstep and there’s no way you’re prepared to deal with them yet? Well that’s what happened to me and, man, where did the time go?
Those who know me well know that I love me some structure. I like to know where I’m going, how to get there, what I’m doing once I’m there, and how long I’ll be there. I like making 1, 5, and 10 year plans for my life; it just makes everything so organised and not terrifying to have all my ducks in a row. Last July-ish I embarked on a journey with my best friend in the world, my wonderful boyfriend, to realize a dream that we’ve both held onto: owning our own chunk of land and working that land for our own food. Becoming a little more sustainable, a little more off-grid, a little more back to our roots, and a lot happier (we’re both farm kids, you see). We worked two different farm option business plans (one cash-crop and one alternative livestock) and settled on the alternative livestock option. What animal did we choose to raise? Well, we chose alpacas!
Since deciding on becoming a textile producer we have visited 3 alpaca farms, different agriculture events (International Plowing Match, the Royal, various farmers markets…) and we’ve become so wrapped up in finalizing our research, becoming genuinely excited about working with these animals, and setting industry-topping goals for the province of Ontario we lost track of time. We were able to secure a farm that’s a currently-operating alpaca farm and fibre mill so we have a property…in May/June. MAY OR JUNE, PEOPLE. We’ve had this in the works with the current farm owners since October and it still snuck up on us. Earlier today I went over our timeline for getting the business set up and noticed that there were several key items that were supposed to be completed in January; most notably talking to the banks to, you know, start the business.
A minor freak-out proceeded.
You see, no alpacas = no farm. Us renting this place out is 100% dependent on acquiring a small herd of the fluffiest creatures I have ever seen. We have applied for a business grant (here, if you would be interested in giving us a daily, no-spam-attached vote), tried an Indiegogo campaign that bombed (thank you to our overseas supporter with a similar dream, your sweet words were very kind!) and, well, there’s only so much birthday money. But money woes aside, we got this. I hope. Cause, you know, almost a year of planning will have gone into this once it gets started and I don’t really want to trip on the starting line.
I think it would be easier to take being a week-ish behind if this wasn’t a big year for the two of us. His brother is getting married, I’m on the flower-growing committee, and my friend is getting married and I’m in the wedding party. SO MUCH GOING ON. This is my introduction to the wedding season segment of my life. Deep breaths.
So between the wedding stuff and the farm I’ve been running in circles trying to juggle everything at once and, as it turns out, got nowhere and now everything is sitting right in front of me, waiting for me to start spinning again. Now I know that some of you are probably thinking “oh, get yourself together, you’ve got plenty of time” and I know that. I know I’m only about a week behind and, in reality, I gave myself plenty of a buffer for this timeline because I know delays happen, but…structure.
Anybody out there started up a business? How long did you plan it, what were your financing methods (bank, crowd funding etc.), am I being way too overly stressed about having only 3ish months to go until the farm move without having talked to the banks? If you’d like to share your small-business story I’d love to hear it!