If I didn't know better, I would've thought the sham-wow guy tried to sell you a farm.
Farmers as a whole can be a skeptical bunch. One thing we all have in common is that bootstrap mindset, saving dollars where we can throughout the year. So, when we see an internet salesman selling us hopes, dreams, and greater profits through an online course, our ‘rip-off’ radar goes off immediately.
The Rise of Online Education
In the past few years, online courses as a means of education have exploded, and now it’s made its way to the farming industry. Some have found quite a bit of success, but all of them came with a quite a bit of skepticism too. Seeing this as a ‘get rich quick scheme’, a vocal minority lashed out at the $100-$2500 price tag, scolding those involved for daring to make such profits off of farmers.
What These Courses Really Offer
The information provided inevery single one of these courses is out there somewhere, free of charge. The people who buy into these courses understand the value proposition they are getting: organized content, presented in a clear and concise manner that includes a support network and implementation program. You might get only 1 of those things from a YouTube video.
I’d be willing to bet that if you interviewed almost every farmer selling an online course of some kind, what you’d really find out is that they’d been through the ringer at some point in their career, and because of that, they’ve developed a passion for teaching others the hard lessons they’ve been through. They don’t want to see you go through that yourself, but you have to learn to avoid those things somehow, right?
The Elephant in the Room
Yes, Bootstrap Farmer just sponsored the State of the Soil Virtual Summit Season 2. It’s basically an online summit, done through a series of interviews, lectures and panel discussions. At last year’s cost of $100 per ticket, I’m sure it was met with its own bit of skepticism. Even so, the post-mortem reviews were positive, so those that took the leap seemed to be grateful for the experience.
Not that we should ever aim to please everyone, but this year we’re going to give the remaining ‘online course’ skeptics a chance to see the value that can come from these things by allowing EVERYONE to watch it free the first week. The organizer and I decided that if he’d allow Bootstrap Farmer to cover the baseline expenses of running it, the only way he’d actually make any profit is if people found the thing so damn valuable, they had to keep recordings of it, for a measly $20.
So this year, hopefully, some of these skeptics will be converted. If not, I know I’ll be done trying to convert them. I’m hoping if we can remove one’s excuses, outdated ideas or bad attitudes get exposed -to themselves. Only by knowing realizing your own truth can a chance for a real change in mindset occur.
Starting From Scratch...
1st-year conferences/courses starting with an audience of 0, being created out of one's own passions is a pretty big risk and strain on one’s family. The cost of video equipment, editing, web hosting, plus the man-hours in planning and executing that are taken away from one’s actual business that’s actually bringing in money to put food on the table, is a massive endeavor. Nick Burton, the creator of the State of the Soil Virtual Summit did just that, as did many others before him for things they were passionate about.
How I Invest in Myself
In 2017, this Bootstrapping Farmer paid $5,000 to be in a private business education & mentorship group called ‘The Tribe’. From a balance sheet perspective, I could barely afford it. I had been reinvesting everything back into Bootstrap Farmer & Veg2Bowl, but also knew I had to keep reinvesting in myself.
This was a group of people that had more and less experience than me, but what we all had in common was a passion and desire to do something greater with our lives. Surrounding myself with other people with that mindset was the best decision I made in 2017.
I feel like I’ve accelerated my learning in all aspects of running a business much faster thanks to the people I’ve met and have mentored me inside of that group. I've had long, deep conversations with business owners doing huge things I couldn't even have envisioned for myself. But talking to them one on one, you realize that we are all just people with varying levels of education, experience & discipline.
In 2018, I want to build the community that can push me (and YOU) even further, the Bootstrap Farmer Business Network.
Saving $, Increasing Productivity & Making Connections
With the increase in courses becoming available, the bar is only being raised higher and higher. Consider for a moment the benefit of not needing to leave the farm. That's a huge time & cost savings compared to in-person conferences and courses. Most will also get you into a private online community that you can use as a support network as you push yourself forward with what you’ve learned.
The days of having to drive to the local extension office after a long day, for a class on one subject are coming to an end.
At the $100-$2500 price tag, I think in MOST cases, these courses are still a bargain, but ONLY IF you are willing to put in the work to implement some of the things you’ve just learned.
It’s funny, in all these Facebook comments, I hardly see anyone saying anything bad about the courses and teachers when they actually have experience with them. The people that pay the money, invest their time into implementing what they’ve learned are the ones that give testimonials. The ones who pay and disappear probably know that they haven’t done the real work of implementation and follow through.
For the rest, I guess it’s just easy to armchair quarterback…
Till next time…
Founder, Bootstrap Farmer