It’s June and honoring the agricultural industry, June is Dairy Month as well. You probably are wondering why, a marketing company, would even dwell on agriculture. Well, I want you to realize that even though our business is all about marketing and design, I received most of my education, out behind the barn. Literally on the farm. As I reflect back on my life, I want to share with you the 10 things that I’ve learned from being raised on a farm, and how it has helped make me who I am today. P.S. It was the best education I ever received.
- Hard work pays off. I’ve learned the physical and emotional aspects of hard work, and what it really means. My boys today, really have no idea of what we went through on the farm, every day. Loading the dishwasher, cutting the lawn or vacuuming is nothing compared to what we did on the farm day in day out, in addition to attending school. We worked hard physically, every day there were chores that we had to complete before any fun was had. For example, every milking we fed the animals, scraped pens, swept alleys, we worked in the field and everything in between. There were always odd jobs and projects that we had to too. By the end of the day, with school, farm and any extra activities, I was exhausted. And slept really well (now not so good.:) Same holds true in business. It’s about putting in the time, showing up and setting an example…it is hard work.
- How to wing it. Yes, with farming things change, and sometimes in an instance, and you have to be able to adapt to every circumstance that comes your way. I can remember one early Sunday morning (4:00 a.m.), our heifers were spooked, brook a fence down, and got out. I remember running through two feet of water, muddy fields, through neighbors yards trying to find them and corral them. The young heifers had made it to Hofa Park, miles and miles away from home. Sometimes, being a business owner, you need to change at a moments notice too. You have to be ready for whatever is thrown your way, you have to be able to wing it.
- Resilience. The ability to get back up after being defeated. Farming definitely had its ups and downs. I watched Mom and Dad day after day, when things went wrong. Tractors and equipment would break down. Animals would get sick. One time the milk had to be dumped because it was contaminated. One stormy summer, all of the chickens were killed, and Mom was so desperate to save this one chicken, she tried CPR, and it died. Bad things happen, but Mom and Dad never stopped. They always got back up from a fall. In business, you need to be able to get back up. Yes, you may make a wrong choice from time to time, you might lose money, or an employee, a customer but you need to keep moving. There are going to be trying times. You will fail, but you will learn from each failure. What I learned is to never, ever, ever stop trying. Get back up, keep moving.
- Things aren’t as bad as they seem. Living on a farm, I saw animals born into this world, and those same animals die two days later. Heartbreaking. Probably, the hardest part for me living on a farm to was to witness death sometimes on a daily basis. Even though it’s difficult for me to understand, it’s given me a different perspective on life. Life is not guaranteed, so don’t take it for granted. Death is permanent, but having a bad day is not. In business, sometimes you may think it’s the end of the world, but it’s not. Dealing with irrational clients, or a tough loss. It’s hard, but nothing as difficult as someone or some animal dying in your arms. In business, I try to remember that it’s not the end of the world. We’ll get through this, things could be worse.
- Teamwork. Yes, teamwork. That’s how we got things done. Working together. Don’t get me wrong, teamwork isn’t an easy thing. Remember, I had siblings, 2 brothers, and 3 sisters, and yes we fought, even while we were working, but the end goal was to get the job done, and that we did. Whether we had to make hay before for it rained, finished chores in the barn, or painted the shed, we had a focus. We worked together to get things done, and I might add we didn’t get to play, sleep overnight at a friends house, or even watch tv until the work was done. Sometimes, Mom and Dad had to intervene to make sure the job was accomplished. In business, you have to have teamwork as well. All it takes is one person to make a job difficult to complete. And yes, I’ve had past employees that were self-centered, and were more worried about themselves than the end goal, and this hurts the team. What you want to do is create an atmosphere where everyone works together for a purpose, you are going to win. Make sure everyone on your team knows your company goals. Make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction and you will get to your destination a lot quicker.
- Life Skills. Planting a garden, baking, hammering a nail, roofing, taking care of animals, butchering chickens, cleaning, filling up a tire with air, checking the oil in the lawn mower, milking a cow, helping a calf to be born, nurturing sick animals back to health. These are just skills that I learned growing up, that you might not learn if you haven’t been raised on a farm. Just knowing how the food chain works, or how a baby is born is something that you just don’t get out of a book. Knowing it, living it, doing it, gives you skills that you will have for life. Skills that you never forget and may someday really help you. Believe it or not, I’ve had employees that don’t know how to make a cup of coffee, or clean a toilet and we’ve had to teach some life skills along the way. Yes, really. These are life essential skills and knowledge that we all need as simple as it may seem.
- Prioritize what’s important. Being a farmer’s kid wasn’t always easy. We didn’t have a lot of money. I didn’t get the brand name clothes my friends had. I wasn’t always able to be in every extracurricular activity I wanted to be in. In fact, I remember how upset I was that I wasn’t able to be in dance in third grade because of the expense of it. I’m good with it now, but Mom and Dad prioritized things. I also remember how Dad sold a cow to pay for my concertina (we’ll really his concertina that is still use) that I really really wanted for the concertina lessons I was taking. What was important was that we had food on the table, and we had clothes to wear, and mostly we had was each other. I remember Mom reading to us stories each night when we were younger, playing card games with us, and taking us ice-fishing, camping or to the airport to watch the planes come in. That’s what I remember. Prioritize what’s important to you, and make sure you never forget that. Business or work is tough at times. You may have to work late to finish a project or leave early for a meeting but make sure you remember what’s important. Having supper together as a family, watching a baseball game, or going to a band concert, or even helping your kids with homework has its prioritize. That’s what they will remember. Prioritize your personal and business life, keep things in balance the best you can.
- Always offer to help someone in need. It was neighbors, helping neighbors as I was growing up. That’s what I saw. When we were done working in the fields, we’d go help the neighbors get their crops in. With farming, it was the weather that we couldn’t control. The old saying “make hay while the sun shines.” is something that has stuck with me. It wasn’t just neighbors either it was everyone, it was all the time. I remember in winter, cars would get stuck on our road, and Dad would fire up the tractor and pull them out of the ditch never wanting anything in return. Mom and Dad were always helping people along the way. Bringing food to people, visiting sick relatives, fixing equipment, borrowing tractors or tools, and the list goes on. I learned when you help people and expect nothing in return, good things will happen to you. So, anytime I can help someone, I do. Yes, we are in business to make money, but there are many times that I offer my services or give advice to people to help them. I know that someday the favor will be returned, and I know that it’s the right thing to do.
- Listen to the universe. When things are going good, keep going. It’s the universe telling you that you are doing the right thing. Listen to the universe. If we were making hay, and things were going good, we would work till sundown and we got things done. If things weren’t going so good, breakdown after breakdown, it was the universe telling us to stop…and sometimes just smell the roses. Sometimes in business, nothing is going right. In fact, you might even be going backward. Maybe it’s an employee that you are having issues with, or a customer, or a job flops, or its finances. If you are in business, you’ve encountered issues. Nothing is going right. My advice to you is to stop, just stop. Take a breath, re-evaluate, look at the situation, and decide what to do after really diving into the challenge.
- Do What You Love. My Dad worked in a mill for 11 years before quitting and doing what he always wanted to do, and that was own a dairy farm. When he made the decision to leave the mill, everyone told him not to do it. They told him that he was making the wrong decision. He didn’t listen to everyone else, he listened to what was inside of him. He was passionate about farming, and he quit in spite of what everyone told him. I get excited when people take a leap of faith and try something that they are passionate about and leave the corporate world or a job that’s just draining them. That’s why in our marketing firm, we want people to succeed and will do everything possible to help our clients carry out their dreams. A lot of our clients are just like my Dad; hardworking, determined and passionate. I know I’m where I need to be in life, helping people with their passions, and I’m able to do that in our business. You see our business is a lot like farming. We help our clients plant seeds or ideas, we inspire them. Then we take those ideas and nurture them, provide a plan of action. We help them market themselves so that their target audience sees them for who they are. Finally, the best part is watching our clients grow, or a campaign be a success. When our clients are successful, we all thrive.
My thought here today was to give you a different perspective on agricultural and how it really does, in fact, relate to our marketing firm. These ten things that I’ve learned from being raised on a farm have made me who I am today. These characteristics have helped form this company, and bring the right people on board at the right time. Agriculture has definitely played a part in our lives. So, during this month of June let’s honor an age-old industry helps feed this country, and specifically, help bring about a marketing company that is here to help you succeed with a passion.
If you are too busy to market your company effectively and consistently, or from time to time need a lending hand, give us a call at Dynamic Designs Unlimited, LLC, 920-822-4450. We can help guide you in the right direction, and provide services that will get you noticed in your business. Services such as website design, online marketing, promotional products and branded apparel. We are here for you every step of the way – like a farmer, we help you grow. I’d love to hear from you, feel free to email me your story at Tammy@dynamicdesignspulaski.com. #lifelearning #ddupulaski #dynamictammy #tips #marketing