Guest Post with Kelsey Jorissen: The single most powerful thing you can do for your farm's success

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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.

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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 hello@kelseyjorissen.com, 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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How to create an Instagram profile landing page on Squarespace

One of the most frustrating things about Instagram is that it doesn’t give users a lot of options for sharing links. If you use Instagram for your business and want to link to important content like your email list sign up, blog posts or other social media accounts, you’re options are limited to one link in your profile.

Many people work around this problem by using a service like linktree or linkinbio, but it only takes a few minutes to create your own Instagram landing page on your website, which allows you to more closely track clicks, and gives you all that good traffic!

When you create an Instagram profile landing page on Squarespace or whatever site hosts your website, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. In fact, I kept mine extremely simple and mimicked the look of the link in bio services many people use.

Take a look at the video below to see the simple step-by-step process to create your own instagram profile landing page if you have a Squarespace blog.

While you’re at it—how about an Instagram bio makeover? Make sure your Instagram bio has these 5 important things.

Don’t miss out on all the FREE learning and resources. Click below to join our group.

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9 things I've learned from starting my own business

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There's nothing quite as intimidating as deciding to become your own boss and start your own business. You'll experience every emotion from bliss to complete and utter discouragement. Other the past several months, as I've ridden the roller coaster of emotions and managed to make it through to the other side, I've learned a few things. I jotted down some thoughts in my journal a few weeks ago, on the things I'd tell a friend who decided to go for it on her own. Here are a few things I've learned along the way. 

  • FIND YOUR TRIBE. For me this happened in the form of a Rising Tide Society, TuesdaysTogether group I lead every month. It is a group of creatives--from writers to food bloggers, photographers and florists--all working to build their own businesses or go after their creative passions. It can be a lonely pursuit sometimes. But we get together once a month to share what we're learning, encourage each other and hold each other accountable on our goals. 
  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE EDUCATION. The opportunities for online learning are endless. Do you struggle with money management or workflows or social media? There are so many amazing resources, courses, podcasts--all for free--that can help you grow your business and brush up on the areas where you may be struggling.
  • DON'T OVER EDUCATE. Yes, I did just tell you to stock up on webinars in my last tip. But don't make the mistake I did. I had a laundry list of classes and free downloads and webinar replays clogging up my inbox and my brain. I was spending so much time taking every course I came across that sounded interesting, that I forgot to actually make progress on my own work. Ooops. So go for it, but don't go crazy. 
  • TAKE NOTES, BUT ALL IN ONE PLACE. Go get yourself a moleskine*. (Yes, I just gave you an excuse to buy a new journal.) And do all your list-making, brain-dumping, journal-writing, note-taking in one place. I started out with about 4 different journals and notepads and notebooks. Ugh. The disorganization made me crazy. 
  • SEEK OUT A MENTOR OR A SOUNDING BOARD. I need to talk things out. Thankfully, I found a close friend who is much further along in a similar creative to field to be my sounding board and wisdom-giver. Though we don't talk often, it's just enough to keep me moving in the right direction and I'm comforted by knowing she's just a phone call or text away if I need her. Don't have a mentor you can seek out? Find a friend, who's working on her own business and be each other's person. 
  • DON'T OVER CONSULT. When I designed my first logo for my site, I asked everyone and their sister what they thought. By the time I'd asked just about every contact in my phone, I had just as many opinions. Trust your gut. Ask one or two people you trust and move forward. 
  • PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. People. This is my mantra. I'm always tempted to say, "I can't do this until I have x,y, and z perfect." Make progress, don't get hung up on perfection or else you'll never get there. 
  • UNPLUG. Starting a new business requires SO MANY THINGS. All those many things can consume you. They are the things you stew over in the car, in the shower and the things your brain won't let go of when you go to sleep at night. It is so important to walk away, unplug, do something outside, work with your hands, go for a walk--whatever is your way to unplug. Otherwise, you'll be burned out before you even begin. 
  • HAVE COURAGE. This was my one little word in 2016. I got it engraved on a bracelet. And kept it always at the forefront of my mind. If there's one battle you'll always fight when starting a business, it's the little voice in your head telling you that you probably have nothing to offer. That your ideas are not unique or special. And that everyone else is probably better at this than you. Fight the good fight friends and tell those voices to get lost. We all have a story to tell and amazing gifts to offer. We are each called to something--whether its the beauty of motherhood or the artistry of photography--we all have something of worth to share and to give. 
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