Here at Farm Owners Academy, we’ve worked with all kinds of farmers over the years:
- Rich ones
- Broke ones
- Ones who feel real joy and purpose in their work
- Experienced farmers
And…ones who spend every day stressed out, burnt out, and zoned out because they’re too overwhelmed to really connect.
When I look at the most successful farms (the top 20%) and the least successful, there’s one big difference:
The most successful think like business owners. The least successful think like farmers.
This subtle difference shows up in 8 key ways.
Keep reading to learn what they are and how to make the switch from farmer to business owner — to experience more profit, more control, and more freedom on your farm.
Work in the weeds vs. Work 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 favourite 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.
Do it all yourself vs. build a great team
Going back to our soccer analogy…
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.”
We have a great podcast episode about trading the $25/hour jobs for the $500/hour jobs on your farm. 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.
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.
Figure it out yourself vs. leverage others’ knowledge
Most farmers have an internal drive to look good to their peers. After all, everyone likes to be seen as capable and successful.
But the top 20% of farm owners? They’re very comfortable asking for help and admitting they don’t know it all. They invest enormously in self-education.
From reading books, to listening to podcasts, to going to courses, to hiring coaches and mentors — successful business owners know that one of their greatest sources of leverage is other people’s knowledge.
Learning from others is far more effective than trying to figure out everything yourself. (Many of the farmers inside our Take Control say learning from one another is the most powerful part of the program.)
And they enjoy being the dumbest person in the room! They like surrounding themselves with people that know more than they do — because they know that’s the biggest shortcut to success.
Live on autopilot vs. manage their mindset
There’s something beautiful about working with your hands and being out in nature. It’s probably one of the main reasons you became a farmer in the first place.
But there’s so much more to a successful farm than just the physical stuff.
Top business owners understand the power of positive vibration. They might not understand how or why it works, but know that when they feel good and their mindset is right, things on the farm start to flow. In contrast, when they feel crappy, more problems seem to come into their lives.
That’s why they seek out books, mentors, videos, podcasts, music, etc. that keep them feeling positive. They pay attention to what they’re putting into their eyes, ears, and minds and only choose the good stuff.
Successful business owners are also quick to recognise when they enter a negative vibration. They know being in a bad mood won’t help anything, so they take responsibility to change state to get back into their positive vibe.
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.
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.
Creating your business plan is a small investment of time that creates a huge amount of flow throughout the year. It will help you move forward in a really controlled and powerful manner.
Need help creating your plan? It’s the perfect place to start.
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
…They took time to do the most important work.
That’s what a CEO does. That’s what the most successful farm owners do. And that’s what YOU need to do, if you want to be in the top 20% of farm owners.
I know these ideas may be very different than what you’re used to, especially if you’re currently doing all the work on your farm yourself.
All I ask is that you have an open mind…
To learn from the experience of farmers who have achieved a lot of success by doing things differently…
And start thinking about the ways you can apply these lessons to your farm.
Next week, I’ll share the story of David, a farmer who had his most successful year financially…while cutting his work hours in HALF (from 60 hours to 30 hours). He never would have believed it was possible, but he had an open mind to try doing things differently.
David made three big changes in his farm to achieve these results. If you’re stuck in the 60-hour per week cycle, keep an eye out for David’s story next week to see how he did it.
I’ll also be releasing a brand new FREE training “A 3-Step System You Can Use To Create A Highly Profitable Farm… Giving You More Time And Financial Freedom”.
If you’re not already on the email list, click here to be notified when the training goes live. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!