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What We Covered
If you need to relocate to the country, one of your first steps should be to make a plan for how you’re going to make a living once you move.
In this episode, we pull from our recent Country Living Survey to see how folks are making a living in the country. And we also discuss a systematic plan of action for figuring out what is best for you, when it comes to making a living in the country.
00:00 – Intro
03:37 – Employment data from our Country Living survey
13:33 – A system for working through your occupational options
14:17 – Option 1: Work the same job remotely or commute
19:17 – Option 2: Same type of job, new location
20:32 – Option 3: Prior occupation
21:18 – Option 4: Hobbies or other areas with prior experience
22:23 – Option 5: A completely new job/business
25:27 – Tips for home businesses
34:29 – The Country Living Survey
- Country Living Survey – Whether you live in the country or are just dreaming of it, this survey is for you! It will help us help you better by identifying the tips that help folks to have a successful experience and also identify what is most needed by those who have not yet moved.
- Sustainable Preparedness – details on how to make your homestead systems (water, power, heat, etc) more independent
Hi there I’m Nick Meissner and I’m Lisa his life and we want to welcome you back to The Ready Life podcast where we show you how to make your homestead as independent as possible for your basic needs like water power heat food and things like that.
You know, this week we want to talk about making a living because it’s a common challenge that most of us have faced when relocating to the country. It’s a challenge that honestly is easier for some than for others, but it’s 1 that we all face unless you’re retired or something like that. But we’ve noticed that sometimes this important topic is overlooked and folks think that a job will just materialize when they make the move. It’ll just happen. But I will say that at the moment, it is easier to find a job in many industries than it’s been in quite a while.
But even still, I can’t stress enough the importance of factoring employment into your relocation plan. Rural areas typically don’t have as many jobs as cities, and the pay usually isn’t as good. So this is something that you want to work on beforehand so you have a plan and you’re not just going into this blind. So to start, it’s helpful to know what has worked for others. So we want to share some data from our recent Country Living survey about what others are doing for their employment and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.
That’s right, that’s right. By the way, if you haven’t taken the survey, please head on over to survey.susprep.com. That’s survey.susprep.com And this survey is going to help others in learning from your experience so that they can avoid the mistakes that you might have made or repeat the things that worked well and it’s also super helpful to us and learning what you need help with what is helpful to you on these podcasts and and other forms of media and all of this. So just head on over to survey.susprep.com if you haven’t already taken the Country Living Survey and we’d really appreciate that. You’ll find that same link though down in the show notes for this podcast as well.
That’s right. But so far, the survey is still open, but so far we found that household income before the move was in the there were 3 categories under $50, 000, $50, 000 to $100, 000, and over $100, 000. And so the largest category was 50 to 100, 000, that was 41%. Less than 50, 000 in household income was 33%. And then lastly came over 100, 000 in household income, and that was 26%.
So I thought that was interesting And encouraging that it’s not just folks that are, you know, in upper income brackets that are doing this. There’s a lot of folks spread across all 3 of these brackets that are doing this. It was a really good mix of all 3. So then after, so then we asked them, you know, after you moved, did your income change or did it stay the same? And when it changed, did it increase or did it decrease?
Because we were just curious. When people move to more rural areas sometimes it’s harder to find the higher paying jobs or whatever. Our assumption was that. Yeah, our assumption was that. So it was very interesting to see the data from those that have taken the survey already.
So for 56% of the people who have already made that move to the country, their income stayed the same relatively. Over half. So over half of the people who moved to the country were able to keep their income relatively the same. Now, there were 31% that said that they had a decrease in their income when they moved to the country, but there was 13 percent that said their income increased when they moved to the country. So kudos to them.
That’s awesome. 1 interesting point that I noticed, I haven’t delved into this in depth yet, but 1 thing that I noticed for those that said their income declined, I noticed retired fitting into that in a number of times. So I think that’s possibly affected that number to a bit. But you know that was our assumption is that you’re typically going to reduce your income and I was quite surprised that 56% stayed the same. And I think that that must be in some measure due to the increase in remote work that we’ve seen in the last few years.
That’s true, which we’ve experienced ourselves also. Right, right. So then we asked, what was your employment status before you moved? Options being employee, self-employed, retired, unemployed. And 58% were employees before they made the move, 23% were self-employed, 15% were retired, 4% were unemployed.
And I compared that number with national statistics and it actually almost mirrors what the national averages are for these categories. So that was interesting. So then for the employees that were, that made the move into the country, we asked them, did you keep your same job and just transition to a remote role at the same company or did you commute? Well those 2 were in the same category. Well that’s true.
So you kept the same job, you just switched to either remote work or commuted. And 33% of the people who moved to the country that were employees said they kept the same job either they were commuting or working remotely. So then the next 1 was, did you keep the same job, but you just have a new employer at a new location? So if you were a nurse working somewhere, you’re still a nurse, you’re just working at a new hospital in the new location. And so 16% of the people said that that was the case for them.
So then different job, different employer. We had 11% of the people say that after they made the move, they ended up with a different job, with a different employer. And then 7% of the people said that they were employed before they moved, but then after they moved, they started their own business. So that was 7% of the people. And then there was an other category, which there were 33% that fell into the other category.
So honestly I was actually surprised at how many people were able to keep their same job with the same employer and just either transition to remote work or maybe they already were working remotely, which then moving is- Makes it a lot easier to move. Yeah. And keep the job. So that was really interesting. I didn’t expect the percentage to be quite that high, but encouraging, very encouraging.
So then for folks who were self-employed before they made their move to the country, we asked, did you, you know, 1 of the categories was that you continued the same business just in a new location. So basically you picked up- You were self-employed? Yeah, you were self-employed. Picked up shop. So you picked up your business and just moved it to a new location.
And that was 64% of those who were self-employed did that. And then another category was started a new business. So they had 1 business in their former location, and they started a new business in their new location, and that was 14%. And then other miscellaneous scenarios that we couldn’t capture in the survey was 22 percent. So very interesting, just moved the business, vast majority did that, almost two-thirds.
So then we asked also what their occupation was. And for this 1, we’re just going to go from most popular to least popular. We don’t have percentages because we don’t know what the specific occupation of everyone who took the survey was. So we couldn’t give you accurate percentages. All we can do is, you know, that was kind of a open field where people can type in whatever they wanted so all we can do is tell you these were the most popular categories you might say yeah so the most popular occupation categories was in the medical field.
So doctors, a nurse, maybe a physical therapist, ultrasound tech, paramedics, that sort of, you know, that sort of field was probably the top category of occupations. And then the next 1 was trade related. So for example, construction, welding, mechanics, maybe a plumber, machine operators, that sort of thing. So that was the second most popular category. And then the third was the tech industry.
So software engineering, IT, tech support, that sort of thing. So that was the third 1. I expected that 1 to be tops. I know I expected that 1 to be much higher also but it wasn’t it was further down on the list. It was still still 1 of the top 3 I just expected it to be number 1.
Anyhow and you know you got to bear in mind with the survey this is not exhaustive it’s not a huge massive survey so we’re not saying this is statistically accurate or anything, but it is interesting to note. And that was more in taking entire categories. If we drill down to specific occupations, here’s several that were mentioned specifically going, once again, working our way down from most popular. IT was the most popular and IT, once again, we kind of used that as a bucket because it was, you know, software engineer, all sorts of- Tech support. Yeah, tech support, all these kinds of things.
But IT was the most popular if you drill it down to that single type of occupation. Construction was next, and then teacher, that was interesting. And then doctor, and then accounting, and sales clerk, something along those lines, something related with working on the floor. And farming, I was pleased to see a number of farmers. PT, engineer, nurse, consulting, dog breeding.
That was an interesting 1. Yeah, I thought that there was some very interesting unique jobs that we ran across people that had, you know, unique businesses that, yeah, were fascinating and the dog breeder was 1 of them. Hey, you can make money breeding dogs. I mean, our son is starting a breeding little business right now with turkeys. You can probably, I don’t know if you can hear them in the background.
We’ll see. Squawking. We’ll see how well our noise filtering apparatus works. But if you hear squawking in the background it’s little turkey poults that just hatched out like in the last 24 hours. Yep It’s so sweet.
Anyhow with that in mind we wanted to suggest a order that would be a good idea to use when you’re working your way through how you’re gonna make a living in the country of you know start with this and if that does not seem to be a good option, then try this. If that doesn’t seem to be a good option, try this. Kind of a flow chart, you might think of it as a flow chart type thing. And so the first place that I would suggest that you start when you’re looking at how to make a living in your new location in the country if you are moving or if you’re moving from 1 country location to another, first and most convenient option would be to keep your current job and work remotely or commute, which happened to be the most popular category in the survey. That’s what most people did.
And it’s the easiest and the most seamless transition. Obviously, it’s only an option for certain occupations because for some things you have to be present. For instance, construction or floor nursing, you know, you’ve got to be there to actually be giving care to your patient or be driving nails in that house. But having said that, I will say don’t forget to take off your blinders, even if you are in an occupation where you feel like it’s something that probably you can’t do remotely or in that kind of a situation. Obviously, commuting could be an option if you moved within driving distance.
But even as far as the whole remote type thing, don’t forget to take the blinders off and think of options outside the box. For instance, with nursing, while just running with that as an example. While you can’t do floor nursing remotely, there are options for nurses to work remotely. You know, things such as insurance, medical claims review, case manager can sometimes work remotely and sure there’s many other options that I’m not aware of that was just a couple that that came to mind in construction. You know while yes most construction jobs you got to be there, you got to be present like a framer, you know, trim carpenter, plumber, all these kinds of things.
There are a few remote options even in the construction industry such as project estimator or project manager. They can sometimes be remote. I will say that your chances are going to be better after you’ve had some experience in a track record, especially with that particular company. They’re going to be more inclined to let somebody with a proven track record work remotely. And, you know, it might require that you have to do some travel or maybe even make some kind of a hybrid type arrangement where you come in for a few days a month or something like that.
But my point is just take the blinders off and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I have a friend that years ago, I mean decades ago, before remote work was in vogue, she decided that they were, their family decided they were going to move 3 hours away or so. And so she told her employer, you know, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to resign because we’re moving 3 hours away. And she was such a good worker and they didn’t wanna lose her. And her presence was not necessarily required there in the office for the job that she did.
And so they told her, they said, we’ll be okay with you working remotely. We’ll run a phone line in there. And as long as you’re okay with traveling for like once a month, I think, she had to go to an office location for a couple of days, once a month, something like that. And it was workable for her, and so they were willing to do that. And so that just kind of illustrates that even if you think it’s not an option, it never hurts to explore it and see if you want to work remotely.
Now, not everybody wants to, but remote work, while it has become very popular, it’s also, we’re starting to see a decline as a lot of companies are issuing back-to-the-office initiatives and but you know it’s hard to find good employees And if you are good at what you do and you’re conscientious and you’re a pleasure to work with, then the company might be willing to let you work remotely rather than lose you because it really is hard to find good employees these days so you know if you’re willing to make a hybrid arrangement like I mentioned that can sometimes help them to get it through because even these companies that have the back to the office initiatives, a lot of times they’ll be willing to make hybrid arrangements. And so maybe that’s something that you have to do to get it through upper management to show your face in the office for 1 or 2 days a month or something like that to make it work. So the next 1 would be that you would keep your same job or same type of job. So the first 1, just to review because I spent a little while on that 1, the first 1 was keeping your current job and working remotely or commuting.
So the second 1 would be you’re keeping the same type of job just at a new location, possibly a different employer. So you know you already know the ropes, maybe you’re a nurse, a floor nurse, and you’re moving to a new area and there’s a hospital that’s closer to the place where you’re wanting to move, you already know the ropes. So it’s just a matter of getting used to the new company or the new hospital or the new people that you’d be working with. But you already know how to do that work, and you must be pretty good at it. So yeah, keep your same job.
Just find a new job doing the same thing in the new location. That would be probably my second choice if I were moving. Because you’re not having to relearn your occupation. You’ve still got your certifications or licensure or whatever. Yes, maybe you have to get a license in a new state, but there’s usually reciprocity and things like that.
It’s just going to be, you know the ropes. It’s going to be a lot easier. Yep, for sure. So if you’re not able to keep your same job and work remotely or commute, then second would be, Try to find the same job. Same job in a new location, possibly new employer, if that doesn’t work or if that’s not a good option for you, then I’d suggest that you think of any prior occupations that you’ve done in the past, where you’ve got some experience, You know the ropes and that.
Yes, you’re going to have to dust it off. You’re going to have to refresh your memory about some things. You might have to take some refresher courses or whatever, but it’s not an unknown to you. And you may still have some connections in that industry. So that’s going to be better than something that’s just completely out of the blue that you know nothing about.
And you know that would be the next in line in my mind if that didn’t work. So if that doesn’t work, then what would our next option be on the list? Well, to look at maybe some hobbies or skills that you have that you might be able to turn into a business or a career at another company. For example, I love decorating cakes. I know it’s kind of bizarre and I’m not a professional and I’m not really good at baking, actually, but I love decorating cakes.
So, you know, maybe look for a job at a little cake shop decorating cakes that might be local to wherever you’re moving. But look at your skills and what you might be good at that’s outside of your current career or occupation and see if there’s any way that you could make that a new career. Or even starting a side business doing that which you totally could have done this summer. I could have. I did a lot of wedding cakes and all kinds of cakes but I don’t know I really don’t I don’t have the need to do that for income right now.
I’ve got a lot of other things on my plate. And if that’s not an option, then last on the list, in our opinion, is considering a completely new job that you’ve never done before, you don’t know, you have no prior experience with it, yes, it certainly can work, plenty of people have done that, but it’s the highest risk because it’s just completely unknown to you and you’re gonna have to start from scratch. You’re gonna have to learn about it. Learn new skills and possibly get training, maybe certifications, whatever is required and that sort of thing. So if you’re gonna go that option And I don’t want to discourage you from that, but if you are going to go that way, now is the time to be starting that process of researching, working on your training certifications, getting experience, you know, finding somebody that does whatever it is that you’re wanting to do and seeing if you can work for them or work with them to make sure that you really like it and that you can learn the ropes in the real world.
Host 2 Ideally, while you still have your current job before you’ve made this transition because it costs a lot of money to move and it costs money to live in the country too. So it costs money to live anywhere. Yeah, it’s true. And so you really want to make sure that you’re in a good place financially before you take that leap. So ideally doing something like this and pursuing a new career idea while you still have your current job.
That’s right. That’s right. Like I said, now’s the time to be doing your preliminaries and be doing whatever you can to make yourself successful in this new job if you’re gonna go that route. A few things to be aware of though, it takes time to start a new business. It really does.
This is not something that just boom in a month or 2 you’ve got a profitable business that’s making good money. It has happened occasionally but most of the time it doesn’t. And you know realize that you’re going to be losing money initially with almost all businesses there’s a period of time where you’re losing money and then if successful you’ll then reach a point at which you’re breaking even and then you’re there for a little while and then you start making a little money, you start being profitable, but it’s still a little while before you’re making enough to actually support yourself. So it takes time and you’re going to need a runway to give you time to make this transition. And preferably, like Lisa said, it would be ideal if you were able to keep your old job, to some extent, even if it was part-time, to keep some steady income going while you’re in this transition.
That would be ideal. It’s not always feasible, but that would be definitely ideal. And 1 thing I wanna mention, sometimes there’s a misconception about websites, for instance. You start a home business and you make yourself a website and it’s like, okay, I’ve arrived. Now bring them on.
Here comes my customers. You build a website, the people will come. That is not true. I have news for you. If you build it, they will not necessarily come.
You have to have a plan for driving traffic there. And a website is just like any other advertising mechanism. Think of it as a printed flyer, as a you know any other form of communication to your customers you still have to get their eyes on it and so yes Organic search engine traffic is certainly 1 aspect and it’s option, I mean, it’s awesome, it’s free, but it takes time to get organic traffic flowing and it can change at the blink of an eye when the Google algorithm changes, things like this. So don’t bank on organic search traffic. Word of mouth is incredible.
Once you have customers that you have changed their life or changed their experience in some way, given them a really good experience, yeah, made a difference in their lives, that’s huge if you can get them to tell their friends about you and get testimonial, these kinds of things, and share it on social media, have them share it on social media, whatever. These kinds of things are huge, but most businesses do find that in order to get enough traffic they’ve got to do some paid advertising. And so just realize that that’s going to probably be a necessity at some point, but I wouldn’t suggest taking that step until you have a good system in place for monetizing that traffic that you’re sending to your website, for instance, because Otherwise you’re just pouring money down the drain. And if you don’t have a way to connect with those people where they can sign up for you either buy something from you, buy your product or sign up on your email list or whatever, if you don’t have a way to connect with them, then you’ve just wasted money on that paid advertising to drive traffic there. And you know, another thought that comes to mind is that having competitors is not necessarily a bad thing, is it?
No, no, I think we could share a lot from our experience doing a home business and being self-employed. We’ve been employed and self-employed for many years. And so, yeah, we learned very quickly that having competitors in a specific niche is not always a bad thing. And the reason why is because if you have no competitors, there could be a reason why. There’s no new thing under the sun, and the chances of you discovering some new niche that nobody else knows about are slim.
It’s possible, and so it could be, but it’s unlikely. And so if nobody else is doing this for a business, then there’s likely a good reason, and that could be because there’s just not enough customers to support a business. So don’t be afraid just because there are competitors. Yes, you don’t want to jump into something that’s way overcrowded, flooded with competitors, but having some competitors could be a good thing. And niches are often recommended for small businesses because you can make much more of an impact if you own a narrow niche.
You know, if you own this 1 particular thing where whenever people search for it or think of that particular thing they think of you that can be a lot more profitable than just being 1 of a hundred other generic companies that are in a more broad category and so it’s scary I know we’ve struggled with the concept as well because you think, oh, is there going to be enough business to support that? And it’s possible. It is possible to niche yourself down so far that you don’t have enough customers. But getting that right balance in a niche can be really beneficial and help you to make a splash in a crowded marketplace. Just to bring this back around, you mentioned something that I wanted to expound on briefly.
Earlier we were talking about starting a new career, starting a new business, perhaps, and doing it while you’re still holding down your current job. I know for some people, that can be a bit of a challenge. We’ve actually faced that. And you mentioned, you know, if you aren’t able to do that during your current job, then make sure you have a runway. And I just wanted to kind of go back and mention what you meant by that, runway financially, make sure that you have enough to cover your personal expenses as well as business expenses for an extended period of time before you up and quit your job for starting a new business or a new career.
And in order to do that, you have to know how much money you need to live every month. Yeah, and not just how much money you need to live on every month, but you need to overestimate how much money it’s going to cost to get this business off the ground because that takes a lot more money than you think. And so you really need to do your research and make sure that you have a good long runway for yourself before you quit your job to work full time in self-employment. Because it takes time, it takes a lot of time to get a business profitable where it’s working. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that about the runway, what that runway is and what it looks like.
That’s a good, because that’s important. Good thought. Yeah. And 1 other thing that I just want to share from experience is that if you are currently employed and you’re looking to potentially be changing jobs, I would really encourage you to do everything that you can now to streamline your work hours at your current job. Don’t take on those extra tasks that are going to require overtime.
Resist the urge to apply for that management position that popped up. Let me tell you, it’s going to take more time and commitment right now at a time when you’re needing to put any extra hours into your future. And so limit your job to the required 40 hours or whatever it is that you’re obligated to work, whatever you can do to minimize your time commitment and your stress level at your current job while still faithfully fulfilling your obligations at work that’s going to be huge and the and I want to stress that I don’t mean to be a slacker and you want to do right by your employer and be honorable and and leave on good terms and all of that. I’m not suggesting anything like that but you know what I mean if you’re if you have a good work ethic it’s likely that you’re doing all kinds of things that you’re not paid to do and that are not required of you and now’s the time for you to invest that extra time that over time that you’ve been putting into that job invest that into your future and like I said I’m speaking from experience because I took on management work before I started preparing for my exit.
And this consumed my time. And in order to do my job faithfully, I had very little time left to work on building our home business. And it made it really, really challenging. So learn from my mistake and start streamlining your work obligations now. So true, there’s so much more that we could say about starting your own business, about working remotely from, you know, for another company as an employee.
We also wanted, in the coming episodes, we’re planning to interview folks who are working in the country, so kind of spotlight them so that you can get a feel for what folks are doing for work in the country and things like that so to be continued yes and I’m sure we’ll have more to say also on future podcasts but Please don’t forget to take our country living survey. Whether you already live in the country or whether you’re still in the city and you’re dreaming about that country at home and homestead that you’re wanting to set up, it would be a huge help to us in helping you. And it can be super helpful for others too, to learn from your personal experience. So the survey is still open. There’s plenty of time.
Please get on there and fill that out for us and for yourself so we can know better how to help you. And the web address for that again is survey.susprep.com, or you can find the link down in the show notes. So please Fill that out for us. Yes, we really appreciate it. Well, thanks for joining.
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