1) Work in the weeds vs. in the trees
I grew up on a farm so I know the “hard work” culture that’s ingrained in farmers from the start.
And don’t get me wrong, hard work is a beautiful, noble thing. I have so much respect for the farmers who are out in the field, doing hard jobs seven days a week. That’s how Dad was.
But as a businessman, I also know the dangers in that.
Think about your favorite team. There’s one person responsible for the success of that team…and it’s not the star player.
The coach is the puppeteer behind it all. He’s the one making training plans, finding the right players with the right skills for the right positions, and keeping everyone playing at a world-class level.
Great farm owners do the same. They move from being a technician to being a strategist. They step out of the weeds and take a 30,000-foot view from the treetops, to maximise how everything works together.
2) Do it all yourself vs. build a great team
What if the coach fired all his players and tried to play every position himself? About three minutes in, he’d be losing beyond hope.
Not to mention, he’d be so exhausted that he’d never have time to think about strategy, growth, or any of the other pieces a coach needs to direct success.
If you’re doing everything on your farm, you’re the overworked coach.
Top farm owners don’t try to do it all. Instead, they hire clever people to create a well-rounded team.
This thinking enables them to make money off others. As John D Rockefeller said, “I would rather earn 1% off 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”
When you bring on qualified team members to handle the $25/hour jobs, you can move up to the leadership role and operate at the business-owner level.
3) Busy vs. productive
If you ask the average farmer how he’s going, he’ll tell you he’s “busy”. But what about the most successful farm owners?
They’ll say they’re “productive”.
Top farm owners know the difference between the tasks that matter and the distractions. They don’t fluff around doing things that are not aligned with their goals and can easily brush away distractions when they arise.
Top farm owners FOCUS (Focus on One Course Until Successful) on just ONE thing at a time. They know multitasking is a myth and if you try and chase two rabbits at once, you’ll catch neither. It’s much more productive to pursue one goal until it’s achieved…then move on to the next.
4) Automate your work vs Do it all manually
Today we live in 21th Century and if you ignore technical progress you lose the opportunity to increase profits and save your time.
Modern tractors are good but...
If your finances doesn't allow you to buy a new modern tractor (what I actually did), try to improve your current machine.
How? There're few important factors.
- Take care of your tractor. This is important. Even if you still have warranty, you don't need to get stuck in the middle of your work.
- Improve you machine. Use modern GPS systems that can give you good accuracy, track your work and even automate your driving so you can take a rest during your work. After I bought GPS system for tractors and integrated it into my farm, I started to save around 40 Euro per Ha and 90 hours per month (But I was working 6 days per week). That's insane!
- Hire other people to work on your field. That will save you a ton of time and energy. And if you combine GPS systems with hiring peoples that will be much cheaper for you if you just hire a man to work on your field.
5) Super serious vs. Fun and Joyful
Farmers are some of the hardest-working people on the planet. But the top 20% of farm owners have loads of fun along the way.
Life is short. And I’m pretty sure none of us wants to look back and say, “I worked damn hard…and that’s about all I had time for.” We want to enjoy our time here.
The most successful farm owners turn business into a game. They play to win, but always play because they enjoy it. They find the joy in the journey and make it as fun as possible. They know that’s the secret to showing up every day motivated, bringing that high vibe, and staying committed for the long haul.
Remember, as the owner of your farm, you’re in control — so design work to be fun! Hire team members to cover your weak areas and handle the jobs you don’t like. Respect the journey and find the joy.
6) Just dive in vs. make a plan
Almost all farmers struggle with time management and simply dive into work every morning. As a result, one week blends into the next, one year blends into the next, and nothing ever changes.
In contrast, ALL of the successful business owners I know make and follow a strategic business plan.
One reason I was able to create 2 million-dollar companies was that I took the time to plan. (More on this story next week…)
I knew what my goals looked like and exactly what I needed to do to get there. Once I had my plan in place, all I had to do was implement it.
If you don’t have a planning system in your business, my suggestion is to get one or go and get a job. I don’t mean that to sound harsh, but it’s honestly my best advice! Without it, you’ll keep treading water in your farm and never move forward
7) Speed up vs. slow down
Most farmers believe that more, bigger, and faster is better. So they keep working at a breakneck pace, afraid that if they slow down, they’ll lose momentum.
But top farm owners know the exact opposite is true.
Slowing down in the short-term can help you speed up in the long-term.
Picture a runner who’s suffering from shin splints. He keeps pushing himself…but what he doesn’t realise is that he actually has a hairline fracture causing the pain. Continuing to run makes the fracture worse and eventually causes a major injury.
Instead, the runner could choose to slow down. He could visit a doctor, take a few weeks off for physio, heal his bones and strengthen his muscles. And when he gets back onto the race track, he’ll be stronger and faster than ever.
…All because he slowed down.
I’ve witnessed incredible results when business owners slowed down to take stock of what’s happening.
When they took their foot off the accelerator and made time to…
- Get clear on their goals
- Create a strategic business plan
- Hire a new team member
- Learn from an event or a course
- Get their mindset right