I’m so excited to turn over this space today to Kelsey Jorissen of Green Willow Homestead. Kelsey and I met through Instagram and immediately connected over our desire to serve farmers and help them use technology and social media to grow a thriving business. She is a farmer and educator and podcaster and believes in living and farming sustainably.I’m so inspired by the words she shares here today. And I hope you are equally inspired to take her up on the challenge below. —Molly
When someone asks you why you are or want to be a farmer, lover of the land, or a homesteader when you could just buy your food at the grocery store, it’s hard to get through the emotional downpour you feel inside and respond coherently.
Finding the right words to convey why we live this life, or dream of living this life can feel next to impossible. I know for myself when a customer used to ask why I would farm when it’s so hard and the weather is so unpredictable, I felt close to tears trying to explain myself and how deeply called I am to this farming life.
Let’s call this feeling my Farming Why. Through using specific tools and spending dedicated time, I’ve found the words to explain my Farming Why - and I want to share these tools with you.
But why is clearly defining your Farming Why so important? When you harness the power of your why, you can skyrocket farm sales, make online marketing so much easier for yourself, and help your perfect customer find you and fall in love with you. Simply put, your Farming Why is the foundation for everything you do when using online marketing.
How does finding your Farming Why accomplish this? It’s the window through which your farm is seen by potential customers. When you unearth your Farming Why and learn how to effectively communicate it to the world around you, (i.e. online!) you become a magnet for your farm’s perfect customer. We’ll focus on the effective communication part soon, but for now, let’s focus on finding your Farming Why.
Simon Simek said it best in his book Start With Why, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Customers begin to trust you when they are let in on your “why.” You need to give them the chance to fall in love with your “why”, to fall in love with your farm, and then become loyal buyers who tell everyone they know about you.
So today I want to give you the tools you need to easily define your why, or more specifically, WHY you are a farmer. Let’s dive in!
Over the next week, I want you to carve out an hour for yourself to answer the following four questions. Open up a Word or Google Doc and actually write the answers out for yourself and save them so you can refer back to them (this will become very important in the future).
1. Why are you a farmer?
This is where telling your story can be extremely powerful. Ask yourself how you got into farming and what is it about this life that’s calling to you.
2. How are you farming and why is it important that you are farming in this way?
Go through the livestock you raise and produce you grow. An example for me, it’s pastured chickens raised out in the sunshine so they can have access to grubs and bugs for the healthiest eggs possible. Talk about your herbs, bees, pigs, hemp - whatever it may be and HOW you farm it and WHY it’s important you farm the way you farm. One of the best ways to frame these answers is, “I create immense value by…[growing x product in x way]”
3. What future for the world are you farming for?
This is where I want you to ask yourself the big questions. What change do you hope to see your farm accomplish in this world? Is it restoring your local eco-system, helping pollinators, or growing incredibly nutritious food to heal and nourish your community? Look into the future with your heart and ask what you want your farm to accomplish for the world at large.
4. What future for yourself are you working toward with your farm?
The answer to this question is what gets you up in the morning. What vision do you have in your head and heart for what farming will do for you? Is it healing, getting back to nature, living a slow life, or teaching your children how to respect the earth? Honor what future your heart is working toward for yourself with your farm and write it down.
Now, this is when it gets extra fun.
Once you’ve completed these four questions, I want you to take another hour and use those last two questions - what future for the world you are farming for AND what future for yourself that you are working toward with your farm - and turn them into a vision video for yourself.
Now I know some of you have “dream farm” Pinterest boards, but I want you to go the extra mile for your Farming Why and turn these dreams into a visual representation that you can come back to and watch again and again. A vision video is so much more powerful than just mindlessly scrolling through images you’ve liked over the past few months. A vision video is interactive, made just for you, and focused on exactly why you are a farmer.
Use a simple program like PowerPoint or Keynote to put slides together. Nab pictures of your dream farm and your dream future off of sites like Pinterest, Unsplash, or Pexels. Copy and paste your written answers in there. Put some of your favorite quotes on some of the slides to motivate and focus yourself. Then, play your favorite motivational song while you watch it. I swear it makes even the worst days better when you take two minutes and watch your vision video.
Why is creating a vision video so powerful? Because your brain begins to visualize that future for the world and for yourself as possible. It moves your dreams from “someday” to “today” and helps your subconscious get with the program and make your dreams your reality. I know it sounds woo, but visualizing is the single most powerful tool you can use to make your dreams a reality.
If these two calls to actions make you crinkle your nose, I am going to pull out the tough love card and say if you don’t have the time to dream for yourself and your farm, to understand the power of finding your why - that’s super sad. Who are you living for and farming for, if not for your dreams? Taking time to do these exercises is a form of self-care and business-care. You can do it my fellow farmer - I promise you’ll be better for it!
Want to know how I know these exercises work? Because I went through them for my farm and my future a few years ago and created a vision video for myself. I still refer back to it. I still watch it almost every day and have updated the pictures as my dream and my reality become one and the same. And... I am actually going to share it with you at this link.
I practice what I preach, my fellow farmer.
So take the time this week to answer my four questions and find your Farming Why, then create that kick butt vision video for your farm. If you want to share your work with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would absolutely love that, but no pressure. These exercises are for you and you alone.
If you want more tips and insights into how to use online marketing to hone your farm’s selling skills and find your perfect customers, visit Kelsey at her website here.
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