Finally, after gathering numbers our tax return is filed. I do not like what in the United States we call “tax season”. The time of year when a person has to gather all their financial information to send to the government to make sure we pay the taxes owed.
I used to be a bookkeeper for others, but I do not like working inside. I prefer to be outside breathing fresh air and working with animals or playing in the dirt. But during each month I sit down at my desk and do our financial records, and once a year we file the tax information.
Financial records are important for the sheep farm. I need to know if I am making a profit on raising the sheep and what my cash flow is. A person can have many assets, but no cash flow. Cash flow is important as I have to purchase feed every month.
Bookkeeping is the necessary evil of having a business. There are advantages of being self-employed, I get to do what I love doing, taking care of animals and growing plants for food or pleasure.
One important task of being self-employed is to do the bookkeeping to know if what you are doing is making money or costing money.
The hardest part for me and others is treating the business like any other job. You have set times to work, and schedule certain tasks with a deadline. I have a schedule I keep in my planner on breeding dates that lead to lambing dates. I also schedule the deworming, vaccinations and hoof trimming times. The days in between are sometimes difficult to fill with tasks. There is always fences that need to be check and repaired, shelters to clean and other sheep care items.
During the scheduling of what to do with your time, there needs to be time off. The time in the week where you do something besides work. I find this to be the hardest time to schedule. There is always a long list of things that need to be done or improved upon.
The past two years I have learned I am more productive and my problem solving is much faster if I stay to the scheduled time off from work. Just like when working a job for someone and being there scheduled times during the week, when those days off come around you unwind, clear your thoughts, destress. It is the same when you are self-employed. You need time to unwind, clear your thoughts, destress, think of something other than your business to get refreshed.
Raising sheep is harder to get a day totally off, as the sheep need to be fed and watered. During the months when the grass is growing, they are herded to pasture and returned to the pens at night. They need care seven days a week all year long. But on my scheduled days off, I only do the feeding part of taking care of sheep. After the chores of feeding and water are complete, I have me time.
What do I do with me time. In the spring I plant flowers and a vegetable/herb garden. Or I might decide that I am going to paint or sew something. I do anything that is not related to the business that I can be creative doing. The most important is the activities of the day bring me joy, no pressure.
So, with the work of raising sheep and time doing something to relax, when do I clean house. I clean house on Sundays. I keep the house up daily, like washing dishes, etc. But the mopping the floors, laundry and what I call heavy cleaning is done on Sundays. Why Sunday? Monday through Friday other businesses are open, so if I need something to do a task, I am able to get it. Saturdays are sheep auction days, I am at the auction sale barn to socialize and keep track of the markets on sheep. Sunday is the only day left for the deep cleaning of the house.
The important decision is to make a schedule that allows you to get things done just as you would working for someone else. And stay with the schedule.
The most helpful tool to being self-employed is an alarm clock. You set the alarm clock to get out of bed and start your day. No sleeping in when it is a day to go to work for yourself. You want to treat yourself as a boss, just as you would if you worked for someone else. Yourself deserves to have a good employee in yourself.
I had to change and grow to be a good employee for myself. The hardest was starting my day at the same time each day and not be sidetracked. I am still working on the side track. I do not always do the task I scheduled for that day.
Do you have the discipline to work for your self? Have you ever thought about working for yourself? What would your schedule be?