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Are you interested in MACHINERY?  Then you might find one of these articles handy:

Pint-size Plow-horses by Doug Smith

Friend, Anybody can Weld by Doug Smith

Non-Electric Dreaminí by Barbara Bamberger Scott

How to Buy a Pickup for the Homestead by Jamie Svrcek

The Complete Sissy-boy's Guide to Pick-Up Trucks by Neil Shelton

The ďSwiss Army KnifeĒ of Homestead Tractors by John Molloy

Homestead Truck Turned Mobile Workshop by Tony Collela

How to Buy a VERY Used Tractor by Neil Shelton 

Classic Tractors by Mary Beth Woods

Book Review: Operator's Manual - Ford Model 8N

Bush-hogging by Neil Shelton

The Metz 22 Non-Stop Run

The Snow Devil  (Video)




Are You Sure You Really Need a Job?  by Neil Shelton

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EXCUSE No. 2: Iím broke.  We just have enough to live from paycheck to paycheck. 

None of us has enough money (and those that do are often the stingiest in spending it).  If all you have is access to a computer and your good looks, you can still start your own business.  To make an extreme example, letís say youíre a heavy equipment operator.  A new bulldozer may cost upward of $150,000 so you canít possibly start up as an excavation contractor, can you?  Well, yes, you can.  You donít need a new bulldozer to be an excavation contractor, you need a client who will pay you more to do a certain job than it will cost you to borrow, rent or make payments on the equipment you need to do the job.

EXCUSE No. 3:  I have the ambition of a three-toed sloth.  If it werenít for the threat of complete self-destruction at the end of each work week, Iíd probably never get out of bed at all. 

Of the three, this is without question the best excuse, because in order to build a business large enough to replace your job, you will almost certainly spend more time working on it than you did at your employment.  If ambition is your problem than probably this is not the direction for you.  However, I think youíll find that working for yourself is much more rewarding and more interesting than letting someone else call all the shots.  You might just have it in you after all.

If youíve been an employee all your life, then the most important parts of gaining self-employment may be relatively unfamiliar to you, that is, decision-making. 

More Fun, But a Lot of Work

Success at being your own boss depends very much on the basic decisions you make as you start up your start-up; decisions, like, "what do you want to do in the first place?".  Here, you have to balance practicality with what stirs your soul, and I would emphasis that itís most important not to let either aspect have dominance.

In order to promote success, you need to spend your time working in a field that you find interesting, challenging and fun.  If you donít really enjoy what youíre doing, then you may as well stay on the job you have now.  On the other hand, you canít ignore the fact that the path is littered with the dead corpses of young start-up companies dedicated to the ownerís favorite hobby. 

Maybe you love canoeing, but that doesnít mean that youíll love manufacturing canoes, or that youíd enjoy running a guide service, or thrill over publishing maps of rivers.  Maybe youíd be better off concentrating on a completely different field, and letting your hobby remain your hobby. 

One thing is certain though, if your hobby is the basis of your new business, you need to make sure that the business end takes precedence over the hobby.  To oversimplify, if you make doughnuts, you need to be sure you donít eat up all the profits; if you want to move from being a coin collector to being a coin dealer, you need to be able to purchase items that will sell, not the ones you want to own the most.


Maybe you already have an idea for your new business, or if not, perhaps youíd be happy to take the job youíre doing now for wages and convert it into something you do for yourself.  You already know how the job is done, and you may have a few ideas about how to do it better.  Maybe youíre thinking that your area wonít support another egg-candling shop, but I think youíll find that in many ways, competition can build up both businesses.  Notice how often auto dealers try to locate themselves close to their competitors.  Sometimes your rivals advertisements will wind up bringing people to your showroom/storefront/website and sometimes the opposite will happen, but youíll both do more business than you would alone.

One more word about competition: while this may not be true in big business, I think youíll find that in any job you do well and diligently, your competition will not be a problem.   The world is littered with successful, but poorly-run businesses.  Just be sure your own work is done to the best of your ability and as consistently as possible, and you can forget about the competition.

It could be that you strike out on your own with a plan completely new to you, neither a hobby, nor a former job, just a great idea.  This is the stuff of which the American dream is made.  If this is the way you choose to go, you'll want to be sure that you do all your research and try to be realistic about your brain-child.

Start Small

You may be ready to go into business full-tilt starting tomorrow, maybe your great uncle died and left you his doughnut factory, but more likely, youíll do well to start out small and work up.  This way, you donít need to quit your job or make any major investments until youíre ready.

Starting small also allows you to get a feel for your market; to try a number of different approaches, then when you find one that works particularly well, do that again and again, while always experimenting with other methods as often as you can dream them up.

One last word of caution, beware of the human factor.  If you choose a vocation that involves dealing with the public, and virtually all of them do to one extent or another, you are going to encounter some unpleasant moments.  If you do business with 100 people, 99 of them will make you realize how glad you are to be in control of your own life.  One of them, however, will make you wish youíd never been born.  This isnít your fault, itís his, that one guy in a hundred, but he is your problem and when you encounter him, just remember, you donít work for this guy (at least not anymore) and, "Tomorrow", as the enterprising Scarlett O'Hara said, "is another day".

I hope you choose to start working for yourself and if so, I wish you the best of luck.  Like anything else, you'll have good times and bad, but you'll never be out of a job.  I've seen plenty of times over the last 30 years when, if I'd been one of my own employees, I'd have considered letting myself go.  Of course, that's not an option. 


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