Staying off the employment grid

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Caitedid, May 3, 2005.

  1. Caitedid

    Caitedid The Prairie Plate Supporter

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    Looking for any ideas of ways to stay off the main-stream employment grid... I've been volunteering and doing odd-jobs for the last 3 years, off and on, and i really like the off better than the on. Because I'm a full-time student, I can't be as self-sufficient as I would like. I don't require a large income, because of financial aid, but I need something to put on the resume ( I guess), and something legal to provide some pocket money. Any ideas?
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    On your profile, I see that you are an animal science major. Perhaps you would like to try beekeeping?

    If you cannot keep them where you live, you might want to put them at a farmers or a market gardeners place.

    On the DOWN side, it takes a year for a hive to produce excess honey. On the UP side, you can divide most hives every year, so you end up with a stock that can double yearly on top of annual honey sales.

    Do you live where you can have a big garden? You could sell veggies at the local farmers market. A little experience in sales is a very fine thing if you are going into a field where most businesses are small businesses.

    Does your school allow animal projects? A fellow student when I was younger had a pig on campus at the animal unit. Her project was to raise it, breed it, and sell the piglets. Perhaps you could talk them into a chicken tractor project?

    A gent wrote a book about low-risk ranching. He rented vacant land, put growing cattle on it in the spring, and sold them in the fall. He rented the land between his home and his job, so he drove by them twice a day and he could check on them easily.

    Lastly, if your financial assistance is in the form of a loan, the payments start when you graduate even if you have no income yet. A savings account sounds like a very wise thing. Otherwise you could find youself graduated, with no money and no income, and with payments to make every month.
     

  3. henk

    henk Well-Known Member

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    What are your future plans? Do you plan to make use of your degree in the future in a "formal" job? In modern society its hard to get by without any (startup) money. Write down some realistic 5 and 10 year goals. Start cutting down costs. Start working on skills you can use in the future.

    On this forum there is a lot of info on selfemployment kind of jobs you can create. Send a pm to Ken Scharabok for his ebook, read the money topics on this forum, visit the magazine sites (http://www.backwoodshome.com/ http://www.countrysidemag.com/past.htm ect.)

    Whether you stay in school or not, find a job either for money, skills or plain fun. There is always a gardner/woodshop/steelshop/farmer/bakeryshop/ect nearby who needs some parttimer thats motivated. O and start gardening, either on campus or with a community/city garden. Dont worry about a resume to much, if you want in on the ratrace start networking, within college/university, local business and the political party of your choise.

    Btw. selfsufficient or simple life most of the time still means working hard, if your just lazy dont plan to live of the land/street, but finish you education and get a highpaying (parttime) job ;)

    Henk
     
  4. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    It sounds to me that you're already an "undocumented self-employed general contractor". Setting up a small (one-person) business would give you something to put on a resume - and would likely require a minimum of paperwork to file with the State, both to set up the business initially and the quarterly or annual paperwork.
     
  5. Caitedid

    Caitedid The Prairie Plate Supporter

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    Hmm, the major problem right now is that I live in a dorm. It's not that I'm lazy by any means, it's simply that working for money isn't my major priority right now. Because my school is large, and quite conservative, it is hard to get anyone to let you try new things. Also, I'll be doigna lot of traveling for school, and hopefully for my "real" life, so I don't want to commit to animals right now. Longterm I'm wanting a job in sustainable rural development, but not sure where that might take me. Are there any good ways to hook up with people who are looking for day labor? Thanks for all the suggestions, I really appreciate it. Caite
     
  6. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    Hey Caite,

    When I was in grad school, I petsit, housesit and trained/rode horses for people. My classmates worked in vet practices, did housekeeping, one was even a lingerie model (I have no idea what that is, actually)

    My big advice to you is PAY OFF YOUR STUDENT LOANS!!!! YOu can't really be free until you are debt free. Speaking from one who is in the middle of becoming debt-free!

    Beaux
     
  7. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Caite, have you read You Can Farm, by Joel Salatin? (I know Morrison Corners doesn't like the book, but it's really very good.) He has a lot of ideas in there.

    Kathleen
     
  8. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you want low-committment income, no hassle with marketing, etc., no land, no animals right now...why not check into the local Temp Services like Kelly or Manpower or whatever they call it in your area? You can say no when you aren't available, you earn money, no paperwork for you to keep, a variety of jobs for you to try with no commitment.
     
  9. diane greene

    diane greene Well-Known Member

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    Call the local landscapers and plant nursery people in your area. Many hire by the week or day depending on the job schedule. Many will pay cash if you ask.
     
  10. bugstabber

    bugstabber Chief cook & weed puller Supporter

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    I was thinking of "dog walker". You could leave posters with the Vet clinics. The dog owner would have to furnish the leash, you would have very little overhead. Don't know how that would work for your resume.
     
  11. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I never thought as Iowa State University as "conservative" but but whatever. Good place to party but I thought UI in Iowa City was a better party school. Full of raving loons but the bar scene was better.

    There is all sorts of part time work you can get if you look. Temp companies are good. I did that for a little while and it was neat because you got to do a lot of different things. Sometimes you can find little jobs on campus to do. A guy I know does janitorial work for his school. Ask around and see if they need a spare person on the janitorial staff. Or food service for that matter. If I lived closer I'd put you to work on my farm. I need an extra hand and can't find anyone who isn't afraid to work. This summer ask around and see if you can get hired onto a detassling crew. Everyone in a rural area should do that at least once. Wages suck now because of the illegals but it was one of the first "real" jobs most everyone I knew had.
     
  12. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I detasseled for Pioneer the summer before I turned 14. “Farm Help” is the only paid-work in Iowa legal for kid’s under 14 years of age. Interestingly, piece-meal work like paper routes at 3AM is also legal – even on school nights.

    Manpower out of Des Moines places some people in Agricultural roles, but you need to be specific or else they’ll ask you to do trash-pickup on the highway too. I worked for Accountemps my last two years at Iowa State doing application custom design in Excel. Several of the Agencies and Not-For-Profits in Des Moines look for summer work, until she started her career as a stay-at-home mom, my wife was in charge of hiring the summer intern for the Iowa Pork Producers.

    What do you really want to do? This will really determine what you ought to try. Myself, I took “one summer off work” at Iowa State, talked to a couple of my favorite professors and did research for them while I tutored international students in English, Finance and Accounting. That pay sucked, but it bought beer and pizza.

    There are several organic farm operations in Story, Boone, and Dallas county, including L.T. Organic Farms out of Waukee – the fellow who owns this place is tight with the Seed Savers Exchange. You could contact these directly and ask if they need help. My step-brother runs a truck-garden out of Warren county selling at several Farmers Markets, although he doesn’t use sustainable practices. The County Extension offices often are looking for summer interns that can check spore-traps or do bug counts for minimum wage, but most of these positions are filled way before May.
     
  13. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

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    Wow-I'm surprised to see so many people that are familiar with ISU! I'm a graduate from there, too (vet med 2002, 3 years of an sci before that). I'm with the people who suggest pet/house/farm sitting and dog walking. I work in Des Moines now and people here even pay people to come by every so often to pick up their dog's poop! I'm sure there are lazy pet owners in Ames, too. The techs at my clinic make quite a bit of extra cash pet/house sitting. Sometimes they just walk the dog several times a day and give meds, etc. and sometimes they actually stay overnight. I think they usually get $25-$50 per day depending on how many pets there are. Considering the cost of kennels these days, that's a steal for most pet owners!

    Quint-you're right ISU maybe is quite as conservative as it could be (at least for my taste), but U of I is MUCH more of a party school (and liberal!).
     
  14. Caitedid

    Caitedid The Prairie Plate Supporter

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    Thank you so much for all the ideas. A large part of the problem is not having a vehicle. Although Ames has pretty good buses, it really rules out a lot of farm work. Good to see so many people from my school. It's not that ISU is really that conservative, it's that I'm that much of a "crunchy, love-bead wearing hippy" (at least according to one of my profs) :) Oh well, I came here so that I would be taken seriously by the more traditional people, so I guess it's OK... How do I get started in pet sitting or dog walking?
     
  15. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

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    Put up some flyers at vet offices, groomers, The Ark, etc. Let vets know that you're available (maybe get some business cards printed or something for them to hand out) and they may be able to recommend you to clients. There's a bulletin board at the vet school in the waiting room there for flyers. Just try to go where there are pet owners and get the word out. Once you get a few clients, offer incentives for referrals.
     
  16. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

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    I forgot the very best place of all to hang a flyer in the Ames area-Brekke's! They sell the more "top of the line" pet foods in addition to some (overpriced, but I still buy it) livestock feed. They are probably the most popular pet food store in Ames. You will have to get a non-transportation challenged friend to take you there, but it's not far. Take Hwy 30 east (towards Nevada) and go about a mile east of I-35. Then turn north onto a paved road (south is gravel). There is a big seed company and a small (crummy-I used to work there) vet clinic at that corner. Brekke's is about 1/4 mile north on that road, you can't miss it.
     
  17. Caitedid

    Caitedid The Prairie Plate Supporter

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    Sarah-Too funny, we used to live down the road from there, the smell of Brekkes makes me homesick:)
     
  18. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    GoldenMom

    If you remember Jen Emerson from the Vet program at ISU, she recently moved back to Iowa and is living and working in Adel now. I think she graduated 2001 from the vet school.
     
  19. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

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    The name is maybe familiar, but I really didn't know too many people from the years ahead. And it seems like half of the girls got married and now have different last names, too (myself included!).

    Caite-
    Brekke's is one of my favorite places in the whole world, I'm glad I live just far enough away now that I am not tempted to stop in all the time!