The 3 key financial figures profitable farmers track

The 3 key financial figures profitable farmers track

Most farmers struggle with profits.

Even if your revenues are high, you can still lose money after all your costs, interest payments, and other expenses are paid out.

Like our student Travis..

In the 2014/2015 year, he and his brother had a great revenue on the farm – $2.12Million.

But they actually lost money that year. After they paid back the bank interest, it eroded their profits which led to a NEGATIVE return on equity (-4.2%).

The bottom line: despite high revenue, they ended up LOSING $57,000 in profit that year.

Far out!!

When you’re working so hard on the farm, day in and day out…that’s not a situation any farmer deserves to be in.

Luckily, there are ways to turn it around…

We helped Travis make some changes (which had nothing to do with working harder, by the way) that completely transformed his situation.

Because of these changes, in the 2017/2018 year, his business profit grew to over $500K (a 997%  increase…in just three years!)

So how did these farm owners turn things around?

The first thing they did was analyse their numbers.

If Travis didn’t look at his numbers, he’d still be working his backside off for very little return. And that just doesn’t make sense.

In this blog post, you’ll learn about the 3 key financial figures to analyse your results so you can increase profits.

This ties into Take Stock – Step 2 of the TOP Producers Model, the system that helps our students achieve 4.6% higher returns than the average farmer. 

The Take Stock step is all about understanding and interpreting your numbers so you can make smart financial decisions from them.

And it all starts by understanding these 3 key financial figures…

 

The Importance of Tracking Your Numbers
 

I know what you’re thinking:

“Andrew, I have enough on my plate…do I really need to add one more job in tracking these numbers?”

The answer is “hell yes .” Here’s why…

Think about a pilot…

Even when the flight is smooth, they’re always looking at their dashboard. It’s full of dials that provide feedback – Are we on course? Is the pressure right? Any bad weather up ahead? – which allow them to make good decisions.

Profitable farmers do the same thing. They look at their key financial figures (their “dials”) to measure their businesses and make good decisions going forward.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to study accounting or finance to master this! It starts with just three figures that will help you make profitable decisions in the short-, medium- and long-term…

RELATED PODCAST: Generate More Profit by Getting Your Financial Records in Order

The Cash Flow Statement (Short-Term)
 

What it is: A snapshot of how much liquid cash you have available

How often to analyse it: Weekly when things are tight, but monthly is ok

There’s a saying: “Sales are vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is reality.”

The Cash Flow Statement tells us what’s going on in the business right now. You can think of this as your ongoing day-to-day budget – it’s the liquid cash you’ve got to play with.

Did you know more businesses fail due to a lack of cash flow than making trading losses? That’s why it’s key to track your cash flow and make sure you always have enough to keep the farm afloat. 

 

I also recommend farmers create a Cash Flow Forecast, where you predict your revenue and expenses for a year. This allows you to roughly predict incoming cash and outgoing cash…so you can spot any bottlenecks before they occur.

For example, let’s say you notice on your Cash Flow Forecast that in July, your costs are very high. You could take action to balance that out by:

  1. increasing revenue
  2. decreasing costs, or
  3. negotiating with a supplier to pay the goods at a later date 

Maintaining your Cash Flow Statement really helps you make good decisions and look for cash gaps.

You’ll also get better as you go. Your first year, you might not be very accurate in your predictions and that’s okay! Every year, you’ll learn more by tracking your numbers and you’ll get better at predicting your cash flow.

Profit and Loss Statement (Medium-Term)

What it is: A recording of your true revenue and expenses

How often to analyse it: Yearly and also quarterly. (If you can do it monthly, too, that’s ideal.)

While the Cash Flow Statement focuses on liquid cash, your Profit and Loss Statement takes into account non-cash assets and costs to give you an accurate picture of what the business actually made in profit over a period of time. 

 

I recommend breaking your income down by category, so you can see which crops and products are bringing in the most revenue over time. You may decide to reallocate land to focus on your highest-revenue products and get rid of ones that aren’t bringing in much money.

You’ll also see your true expenses (including things like finance, tax, and FCF) pulled together in one place. This helps you spot any areas where you can reduce your costs…or maybe even eliminate an entire category if you don’t truly need it.

Analysing your Profit and Loss Statement helps you make great future decisions. You can also use the data to update your budgets in the Cash Flow Forecast, so you’ll have even better predictions going forward.

Balance Sheet (Long-Term)

What it is: A statement that records ALL of your assets and liabilities to give you a clear idea of your true Net Worth

How often to analyse it: Yearly (your accountant should provide this to you on an annual basis, which makes it easy!)

Your Balance Sheet totals all the cash in the business account and the value of all the assets (land, plants, livestock, etc.)…

And also includes all of your liabilities (money owed to suppliers, banks, etc.)

This shows your true Net Worth: the equity left over when you take EVERYTHING into consideration.  

Your goal is to increase your Net Worth every year.

The Balance Sheet paints a great picture of where you’re going on a long-term basis. It helps you objectively see if you’re improving year on year. It’s also a very good indicator of the ability of the business to cope with poor seasons or prices.

RELATED PODCAST: It’s How You Respond to the Drought that Matters Most

Putting It All Together: What to Track When
 

So how do these financial figures fit into the farming season? Here’s a quick breakdown:

Start of the Farming Season: Analyse & Plan:

  • Set goals
  • Project forward:
    • Cash Flow Forecast
    • Profit and Loss Statement
    • Balance Sheet

Each month of the farming season: Implement and Track:

  • Monitor Cash Flow
  • Profit and Loss Statement (recommended monthly but not required) 


After the farming season has finished: Evaluate and see how it compared to your estimates:

  • Profit and Loss Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Balance Sheet

     

You’ll use your evaluations from the end of the season to help you project forward at the start of the new season. 

It comes back to what I always say…

Sometimes, you need education to change direction instead of motivation to speed up.

When you measure your numbers, you’ll see the full financial picture of what’s really happening on the farm. Then you’ll have the ability to make tweaks that can improve the overall performance of your business.

A profitable farm starts with these 3 simple financial statements.

Don’t just think about tracking your numbers. Let’s DO IT.

Unless you have a system to track and review your numbers, you can’t use this priceless financial information to make better decisions that lead to higher profits.

Inside our Take Control Program, you’ll learn our proven system to track and review your key financial figures – along with spreadsheets and formulas to make it all so simple.

Click here to learn more about Take Control and sign up for the program.

The 7 deadly sins that keep most farmers stuck

The 7 deadly sins that keep most farmers stuck

Between Greg and I, we’ve been working with farmers for 50 years.
 

And during that time, we’ve noticed a really troubling trend:
 

Most farmers stay stuck, forever.
 

Longer than forever, actually…
 

Because they spend a lifetime stuck and then pass that legacy down to their kids and then they stay stuck and the cycle continues for generations.
 

We’ve also seen the other side…
 

Our Farm Owners Academy students make, on average, 4.6% higher Returns on Assets Managed than the average Australian farmer – meaning that they make $108,000 more every year (assuming a $3million property).
 

In analysing the TOP producers compared to the average “stuck” farmers, we noticed 7 key mistakes that the average farmers were making.
 

These mistakes keep the average farmers stuck, grinding away but never achieving the financial success they know they’re capable of.
 

The good news is that all 7 of these mistakes are fixable. Once you learn what they are, you can improve on them and get out of the “stuck” cycle for good.
 

In this blog post, we’ll break down each mistake and then give you the first action step to fix it:
 

Mistake 1: Thinking They Don’t Have Enough Time
 

I’m the son of a wool farmer so I know how busy you are.
 

You’re working 10, 12, 14 hours every day…and there’s still work to be done when you pack up at night.
 

So it makes sense that you reckon lack of time is your problem.
 

But in reality, it’s not about time management…it’s about priority management.
 

The most profitable farmers manage to find time to grow their businesses. So you can, too.
 

It’s really about focusing your limited time on the MOST important tasks. It’s about getting clarity on the $500/hour tasks that will really propel your business forward… and hiring help to do the $25/hour jobs that eat up your time.
 

Your first step to cure this mistake: Open yourself up to the possibility that you DO have enough time.


There’s so much power in the beliefs we have. (We’ll talk more about this in our next blog post.) So if you keep telling yourself, “I don’t have enough time,” you’ll never have enough time!

 
The key is to start paying attention to how you use your time. Throughout your day, ask yourself: “Is this really the best use of my time? Is it moving me towards my big goals? Or would I be better off hiring someone else at $25/hour to do this job?”


(Priority management is a key module inside our Take Control Program. Many people have told us that this is the best time management course they have ever done and that they have tripled their productivity since completing this module! Click here to learn more.)


Mistake 2: Lack of Big Vision


For most farmers, there’s so much to do on the farm that they’re not really thinking big picture.


They’re just trying to get through the day! They never think about how it will affect their year, 3-year picture, 10-year picture, or the life of the farm.


As a result, they keep repeating the same day, month, and year over and over again…never really improving or growing.


To get un-stuck, you need to create a big vision of where you want the farm to be 10 years from now.


Really let yourself dream and imagine how great life could be if the farm was more profitable and could run without you.
What would that look like?


And here’s the kicker…


Don’t be skeptical about this
. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking anything that looks good is too good to be true. Don’t reject the idea that you have the ability to transform your life.


(Farm Owners Academy students like the Freak Family who took a five-month holiday and David who cut his work hours in half have already proven that it’s possible!)


You CAN have more money, time, and freedom on the farm. But you have to be open-minded or you’ll miss the opportunities in front of you.


This picture says it all:

Your first step to cure this mistake: Start believing in what’s possible. (A coach is a massive help here!)


A coach will see more in you than you will. I should know…a coach pulled me out of my darkest time and helped me build two million-dollar businesses…simply by helping me believe in that bigger vision!


You can speak to one of our coaches for a free session where you’ll start to see the possibilities in front of you. (What do you have to lose…it’s free!)


Click here to book a complimentary coaching session with a farmer.


Mistake 3: No Ongoing Education


If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!


All jokes aside, ongoing education is something all top farm owners invest in. The stuck farmers reckon they know it all…but the profitable farmers know there are always ways they can improve.


TOP producers are constantly learning.
They’re listening to podcasts, reading books and articles, taking courses. They’re always looking UP – to people who are doing it better than them and can help them continue to get better.


RELATED PODCAST:
The More You Learn, the More You Earn


Henry Ford said:
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”


I don’t know about you…but I want to stay young. Top farmers never reach a point where they stop learning. That’s when you plateau, which is a fancy word for “stuck.”


The good news is that you’re here reading this blog, which shows me you’re taking steps to learn and grow. You’re already ahead of the game!


Your first step to cure this mistake:
Learn with us (for free).


Hop on our FREE webinar The 3-Step System for a Highly Profitable Farm to learn how to free up 20 hours in your week
(yes, really!)


You’ll walk away with proven strategies to better leverage your hours, so you can make time for the high-level work to grow your business. This is an easy step to continue your education and become the best farmer you can be.

Click here to sign up for the training.


Mistake 4: Letting Fear and Doubt Stop Them from Having a Go


Here’s something I’ve learned over my 20 years as a business coach…


Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.


A comfort zone is a beautiful place…but nothing ever grows there. The only time you’re actually growing is when you’re uncomfortable and stretching yourself to be better.


Average farmers let fear and doubt dictate their actions:

       What if I try my hardest and it doesn’t work out?

       Am I really good/smart/strong enough to do this?

       What will people think if I fail?


The fear and uncertainty stop most farmers from taking action, forever staying stuck in place.


But successful farm owners know that fear is part of the process of growth.
So they feel the fear…and then do it anyway.


As I always say, you can’t steer a parked car. You need to be moving! Even if you’re driving in the wrong direction, that’s okay — you can use your momentum to turn around and try again.


TOP Producers know that failure is just feedback to start again more intelligently.
And they’re not afraid of messing up…they’ll just get back up and start again.


Your first step to cure this mistake:
Because the fear of failure is something we all struggle with, we recorded a podcast episode to talk more about ways to outsmart it. Click below to listen:


RELATED PODCAST: How to Deal with the Fear of Failure


Mistake 5: C.A.T.F.W.


Complaining

About

The

F*cking

Weather
 

Enough said. 😉
 

Seriously, though. There are plenty of things you can’t control in farming – the weather is one of them.


A TOP Producer will make money, no matter what the weather is. An average, stuck farmer won’t make much money, even if the weather’s perfect.


RELATED PODCAST: It’s How You React to the Drought that Matters Most


You can complain about the weather all day and blame it for your misfortune. OR…you can get serious about creating a business that won’t be broken by one or two bad seasons.
 

The choice is yours.
 

Your first step to cure this mistake: Stop CATFW. It’s that simple!


Mistake 6: All Learning, No DOING
 

Most people believe that knowledge is power. But knowledge is only potential power.
 

Implementation is the true power.
 

Success is rather simple:
 

  1. Plan the things you need to do to grow your business
  2. Do them


That’s it!
 

Some people succeed because they are destined to. But most people succeed because they are DETERMINED to.
 

Actually doing all the things you plan to do is the difference between staying stuck and being successful.
 

This is why coaching is so powerful.
 

A coach doesn’t just help you strategise how to grow your farm, they’ll also push you to follow through. They won’t accept excuses or let you coast by. They’ll help you make the time and create the systems so that you’re taking action every day, week, month, and year, to help you achieve your big 10-year vision.
 

Your first step to cure this mistake: If you’re really ready to commit to taking action and making big changes to increase your farm’s profits, check out our Take Control Program.
 

This is a 12-week coaching and mentoring program to help you become the best farmer you can be. Click here to learn more about Take Control.
 

Mistake 7: Not Following a Model
 

Many farmers go to courses and learn about the technical aspects of farming, but they don’t know how to put it all together.
 

They don’t understand how to balance the mindset stuff with the action steps with the day-to-day running of the farm. As a result, nothing really changes.
 

That’s where a model comes in.
 

A model gives you a framework to follow. It’s a set of processes that, when put together, help you achieve your goals and objectives.
 

It’s kind of like paint-by-numbers. You simply follow the steps inside the model and before you know it, you’re making huge progress towards your big vision.
 

When you take a passionate farmer and add the right business model it leads to PROFOUND RESULTS.
 

At Farm Owners Academy, we created a business model that is proven to help you maximise your returns. When you give yourself a few years to implement this model, you’ll completely transform your business and your life.
 

Your first step to cure this mistake: Read next week’s blog post. We’re going to start walking through the TOP Producers Model. ← This is the model you need to transform your farm!

“Some people get results, other people find excuses.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
 

What about you?
 

Are you ready to step up and become the best farmer you can be? Or will you continue making excuses for why you’re staying stuck?
 

I really hope you choose Option #1. Because over the next few blog posts, you’re going to learn the model to help you transform your farm.

The #1 success secret that most average farmers don’t think about

The #1 success secret that most average farmers don’t think about

Here’s a mind-blowing stat:

Farm Owner Academy students get 4.6% higher Return on Assets Managed than the average farmer.

Given a $3Million property, that’s an average of $108,000 more every single year (compared to the ABARES figures).

The big reason why our students are so successful?

They follow a proven model.

…Specifically, they follow the TOP Producers Model, (which is something we’ve shared at our Platinum Mastermind and TOP Producers Program 2-Day Workshop…but never before publicly!)

When used properly, this model has the potential to:

  • increase your profits
  • decrease your work hours
  • skyrocket your fulfilment and happiness levels on the farm 

 In short: it’s POWERFUL stuff.

Drumroll, please…because it’s time to pull back the curtain and give you a look at The TOP Producers Model: 


I know that’s a lot to take in so don’t get overwhelmed! We’re going to walk through it together, step by step, over the coming weeks on the blog.

Let’s dig into this first level now and talk about practical ways you can start leveling up in this area.

Step 1 of the TOP Producers Model

Michael Phelps (regarded as the greatest swimmer ever) said his favourite book is The Power of the Subconscious Mind.

Jim Rohn (a world-famous business teacher) said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your business.”

Steve Jobs (the visionary founder of Apple) said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

What are all of these successful people telling us? Our thoughts and mindset matter.

That’s why the first step in the TOP Producers Model is to Tune In to a winning mindset.

From 20 years of coaching, I’m often asked, “What’s the fastest way to change your outside world results?” I simply state, “Change your inside world.”

To move from being a good technical farmer to a brilliant strategic business owner, you need a very specific mindset.  It’s a small distinction but trust me, it will underpin your success over the next decade.

A lot of people would call this rubbish. I know that. But in doing so, they miss an enormous opportunity to grow.

When you get the Tune In step right, the other layers of the TOP producers model become so much easier.

 

Here are the 5 ways to Tune In to a winning mindset: 

1. Define Your Goals
 

When I’m teaching the TOP Producers Model at our annual, live TOP Producers Program 2-Day Workshop, I use the metaphor of golf to explain this…

Imagine you set a goal to become very, very successful at golf in the next 10 years. You decide that you want to have a 0 handicap, which is basically a professional golfer.

When you set that goal, do you reckon it creates some movement?

Absolutely! That’s what a goal does — it creates movement in a specific direction.

Now, for a goal to create positive movement, it needs two main things:

  • It needs to be measurable (0 handicap)
  • It needs a time frame (10 years) 

Without those criteria, a goal remains a dream.

A few examples of clear farming goals are:

  • 10% return on assets managed in 5 years
  • 30% net profit (what’s left when you take costs from revenue) in 7 years
  • Have $2m invested off the farm in 10 years
     

The mistake most farmers make is they declare their goal…and then stop. There are actually four more steps you need to Tune In to so let’s keep going…
 

RELATED PODCAST: How Setting a Major Goal Will Bring You More Focus than You Can Imagine and Beat Procrastination
 

2. Employ Winning Strategies & Tactics
 

In our golf analogy, you might decide to do things like:

  • Practice 3 times a week
  • Play in 2 golf competitions every year
  • Engage a coach
  • Buy a set of clubs
  • Watch videos on golf

…in order to achieve your big 10-year goal.

The second step in the Tune In phase is uncovering all the big-picture strategies and tactics you need to achieve your goal. This makes your goal REAL by giving you tangible steps to take.

Once you define your goal, decide on the strategies and tactics that will help you achieve it.

Farmers might want to use some of these: 

  • Learn how to interpret your financials
  • Create job descriptions for each team member
  • Work on genetics for livestock
  • Create systems for how the business runs
  • Get a coach (top producers have them!)

Your strategies and tactics will change all of the time. That’s why we’re HUGE fans of working a 90-day plan that includes your key strategies and tactics for the next 90 days. (We’ll share more about creating a 90-day plan in a future blog post.)

You can’t become a professional golfer, or a world-class farmer, without the right strategies to move forward. That’s why you need to Tune In to powerful tactics to get you to your goal.

(If you want the fast track to learn all the strategies and tactics to become a world-class farmer, click here to apply for our Take Control coaching program.) 

 

3. Practice New Habits
 

If you want to become a professional golfer in 10 years, you’d need to develop some new habits, wouldn’t you?

You’d need to develop the habit of practice. You’d probably need to work on the habit of getting your mental game correct. Good food. Fitness. Keeping your eye on the ball. There are all sorts of habits you’d need to adopt to become the top golfer you want to be.

It’s the same with farming.

What habits do you need to have to be a winning farm owner?  

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Planning your year, quarter, week, and day
  • Reviewing your financial figures monthly (if you don’t know much about finance, stay tuned, because we’ll be talking about that soon on the blog!)
  • Benchmarking
  • Having regular team meetings
  • Reading and learning
  • Having a morning routine to get going
     

It takes motivation to start something…but it takes HABITS to continue. So many people start well but lose traction. This is why it’s key to work on developing winning habits to push you towards your goal.

 

4. Develop New Beliefs


Unless you have strong beliefs like:

I’m a winner. I’m great at golf. The ball goes where I want it to.

…You’ll never become a professional golfer.


Most of us have limiting beliefs that hold us back.
They’re often subconscious thoughts we don’t even really think about, such as:

  • I have to work hard to make money
  • I never have any luck
  • No matter what I do, I never get good returns from farming 

But if you want to be a top producer, you need to believe things like:

  • Making money is easy and fun
  • I’m lucky and rain LOVES this property
  • Our business is a profit-generating machine
     

It might sound cheesy but it’s so important for you to work on developing these beliefs (daily is best). Because unless you believe it’s possible, you’ll never do what it takes to achieve it.

So let me ask you…

Do you believe you’re a world-class farmer?

When I ask this at the TOP Producers Program 2-Day Workshop, no one’s hand goes up.

But don’t you reckon that needs to come first? Don’t you reckon you need to work on that belief before you can create movement towards achieving your goals?

By changing your beliefs, you’ll change your reality.

It takes work, and you do need to know what you’re doing here.

But trust me – it’s worth it.

RELATED PODCAST: Could Your Money Beliefs Be Holding You Back?


5. Have a Powerful WHY

Have you heard stories of women lifting cars off the kids in accidents? It seems impossible yet they can

summon the unbelievable strength to do this. It’s because they have a huge reason WHY.

Wouldn’t you agree if you’re gonna go on the journey of becoming a professional golfer for 10 years,

you’d need a pretty big major reason why that goal is worth it to you?

 

That’s what would keep you focused for 10 years — practicing every day in hot, rainy, or even snowy conditions, even during the periods where you seem to lack progression.

Having a strong why is even more critical in farming because, let’s face it, farming is a tough business to be in. You need a strong why to keep you focused and working towards your goals.

How do you find your why?

After setting your goal, write out as many reasons as possible (selfish and unselfish) about why you want that goal. I like to come up with more than 50. The more reasons, the better!

Here are some to help you get started: 

  • To be a role model for my kids and put them through school
  • To go on family holidays EVERY year
  • To one day live off off-farm investments
  • To have other members of our community aspire to what we do
  • To become the best person I can be

Pick the reason (or reasons) that make you feel the most alive and excited — THAT is your why!

Your why is the glue that will keep you focused and seeing out your goal. When you create a why that is bigger than you, you have the ability to access so much more of your potential.

The First Step to Tune In
 

Most farmers wonder why they never become world-class, even though they’re working so hard. The reality is, in farming, hardly anyone takes the time to Tune In.

So what do you do to get started?

The first thing you need to do — and you can do this right now — is to commit.

Commit to stepping up and being the best farmer you can be.

Once you commit to your vision, you don’t muck around anymore. You step up. You set that big goal. You start developing new habits. You work on improving your beliefs. You get that coach that’s going to help you succeed.

You implement what needs to happen to reach your goals and your dreams.

That commitment is your first step to becoming a TOP producer. And you can commit right now.

Next Up… 

We’ll explore the second step of the TOP Producers Model, which is all about Taking Stock of your financial picture.

Don’t let the numbers scare you! You only need to focus on 3 key financial figures to get started. And you’ll learn exactly how to do that in our next blog post.

These business lessons could’ve helped my dad’s farm

These business lessons could’ve helped my dad’s farm

The biggest fear for most farmers? (and for most people in general?)

Failure.

The thought of giving it your all but still not making the cut terrifies a lot of people.

I guess I’m not like most people in this respect. Because I’m quite open about the fact that I’ve had a few failed businesses over my career. Or, as I like to call them, “learning experiences.” 🙂

That’s because the failures taught me powerful lessons that eventually allowed me to build and sell two million-dollar companies.

Albert Einstein once said, “Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex.”

When I strip back my million-dollar businesses, I can see three simple elements as the foundation of their success.

I wish I could go back in time and teach these lessons to Dad. They would have had an instrumental effect on his farming business and I know they would have helped him have a better quality of life, too.

But until someone invents a time machine, I’m happy to use these lessons to get YOUR farm on the path to becoming a success.

The best part is you can implement every one of these lessons in your farming business TODAY — no specialised tools or skill sets required. I’m following my mate Albert’s lead and keeping things nice and simple.

Here are the 3 biggest lessons behind my two million-dollar companies:

Lesson 1: If you don’t believe in you, no one else will.

One of the things that helped grow my first million-dollar business was a piece of advice from my business coach.

At that point, things weren’t going well…to say the least. I’d bought a franchise but had no clients. I was $350K in debt. I saw no way out and I was DESPERATE. It was like I had a bad odour about me; no one wanted to work with me.

Something my coach said at this time completely changed my life…

“Until you believe in you, no one else will.”

He was right. I was working hard and putting so much pressure on myself. But because I had that little voice inside telling me I wasn’t good enough, I was never going to succeed.

That was a painful realisation for me.

I would have done anything to help my failing business. So when my coach suggested some mindset tools and strategies, I was skeptical…but hey, I was willing to try.

(If you’re not keen on mindset, bear with me. Because when you hear how it turns out, I think you’ll be willing to try it too…)

I worked very hard on two things:

  1. Letting go. I had to find acceptance with my current reality of being $350K in debt and stop panicking all the time. I focused more on what I did have and what I was grateful for than what I didn’t have.

     

  2. My mindset. I had to trick myself into believing in myself. I had to rewire my brain to believe that I could be successful and that “what I say to myself about myself when I am by myself is what matters most”.

    Related: Mindset Determines Everything

I set a timer to go off every hour to notice what I was thinking about. If it was a negative thought, I’d replace it with the vision of what I wanted to see in my life and my business.

Within two months of really working on improving my mindset, I had 20 paying clients in my business. I was actually one of the top billing coaches in the franchise. All in two months!

(And two years later, my business partner and I owned 15 other franchises. We had a team of 20 great people working for us. And we were doing $3.6 million a year.) 

I can track ALL the success back to the work I did on myself. It’s amazing what a huge shift came from that one decision to take responsibility and improve my mindset.

Many of the farmers in the Take Control Program are surprised at how powerful the mindset work is to their successes, too. They never knew how important it was until they started seeing tangible results in their businesses…and now they’ll never go without it.

Now I grew up through a number of droughts…and far out it affected my Dad.  Dad sadly didn’t have any control over the weather, but he did have control over his mindset, and If only he knew how powerful this was, he just might have been able to get through the drought with a little less stress.

Lesson 2: The more you learn, the more you earn

One of the best things I ever did for my business was so easy, it felt like cheating (but it totally wasn’t!)

I stopped trying to figure out everything for myself and started looking to others who were already doing what I wanted to do.

I found the most successful business owners in my space — the smart ones who were achieving incredible things — and I watched them.

I paid attention to what they were doing and then implemented the tactics that worked in my own business.

I got mentoring from a few of them, too, and also bought courses that they put out. I soaked up as much knowledge as I could from the people who were at a level above me.

…And I saw massive business growth as a result.

Many farmers don’t spend enough time learning from other successful farmers.

Dad didn’t.  He was brought up to believe that he had to figure everything out.  So he just worked harder when things got tough.  This is probably what lead to Dad being forced to sell the farm at a younger age.  The stress got to him, and he was over it.

Find someone doing better than you than copy them! At school, we call this cheating, but in business, we call it “market research”. It’s 100% allowed.

Imagine there’s a farmer in your niche that makes over $1m a year in net profit (even in bad years). Wouldn’t you agree that if you interviewed them, they might give you some ideas on how you could do it better?

Learning from others a step ahead of you is one of the most under-utilised strategies out there. You don’t have to do it all yourself! In fact, you shouldn’t.

Smart business owners know that LEARN comes before EARN. So they invest the time and resources to learn the skills that give them the edge.

They never stop learning and are always looking for ways to do things better.

Lesson 3: Clarity is power

I spent many years NOT being clear on what I wanted…and getting terrible results. (Remember those “learning experience” businesses??)

But with my 2 million-dollar companies, I was crystal clear on where I wanted to go and exactly what I needed to do to get there.

Creating and following a strategic business plan is the best way I know to guarantee a successful business.

It’s a practical way to map out the steps to take you from TODAY to your dream. It’s logic-based, which is great for those of us who are analytical thinkers and like everything laid out in black and white.

The process is simple:

  • Start by visualising what you want your business to look like 10 years from now. What does that goal look like?
  • Now work backwards from that vision. What will you need to achieve in 3 years to stay on track to reach your goal?
  • What will you need to achieve in the next 12 months?
  • And finally…what do you need to do in the next 90 days to stay the course?

It’s very easy to get tricked or distracted into doing work that won’t move you towards your vision. Your strategic plan keeps you on the bridge of discipline, doing the things that get you to your goals.

Once you have your 90-day plan, all you have to do is implement it. It gives you a clear roadmap to follow — just focus on it daily and execute to reach the finish line.

I get more done in 90 days than many can in 12 months. It’s all thanks to the plan…and does the thinking for you.

Clarity requires thinking, and this is why so few farmers engage in it — because it is hard work. It’s easier to wake up and just dive in.

But once you do it (set the goals, make the plan, learn how to focus on what needs to be done) you’ll have everything you need to succeed.

Click here to download our Clarity Action Plan template to create your own strategic business plan.

Bonus tip: Become a business owner

This is a lesson that I learned a few years into my business journey.

When I started out, I was so busy working IN my business (doing all the day-to-day tasks) that I never worked ON my business.

I see so many farmers making the same mistake.

You’ve spent years learning how to be a farmer (maybe even decades) and you have a very specialised set of skills, right?

But I bet none of those farming skills help you run a profitable business.

That’s because running a business is a completely different skill set. You wouldn’t say, “I know how to farm so I know how to perform brain surgery,” would you? It’s the same with business.

I’ve seen many farmers get down on themselves if they don’t achieve the financial success they expected to. They think they’re not working hard enough, they feel like they’re not smart enough or capable enough. But the truth is…you never learned how to be a business owner.

The good news is that business is a skill that can be learned. And once you learn the skill, you can apply it in many different areas, if you want to. (Richard Branson runs 7 $1billion companies, including music and air travel. He’s definitely not an expert musician or pilot…but he’s an expert businessman.)

To generate million-dollar profits, you need to step away from being a farmer and start being a farm business owner. It’s a small distinction but it makes ALL the difference.

Here are a few things that business owners know about that farmers don’t:

  • Marketing
  • Leading
  • Hiring
  • Delegating
  • Systemising the business
  • Reading financials
  • Project management
  • Planning
  • Negotiating
  • Strategising

Once you combine the skill of being a great farmer, with the skill of being a great business owner — look out!

Business doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s best when it’s not.

The most powerful lessons that led to my two million-dollar businesses are also the most simple:

  • Believe in yourself, or no one else will
  • Learn from others who are doing it better than you
  • Get clear on your goals and map out a 90-day plan

But it’s not enough to just think. If you’re serious about growing your farm to seven-figure profits, you have to ACT.

Choose one of the lessons and commit to making it happen. I’ve given you tangible suggestions in this blog post — pick just ONE and run with it this week.

I know if Dad did, he just might be still farming today….

And make sure to register for our free online training!

David had his most profitable year…while working 50% less. Here’s how he did it.

David had his most profitable year…while working 50% less. Here’s how he did it.

When I tell farmers it’s possible to:

  • Earn more
  • Work less
  • And actually enjoy the process

     

…They look at me like I have six heads (and maybe half a brain between all six of them!)


Then they start to tell me all the reasons why that can’t possibly be true for them. They think because I wear a suit and have a business background that I don’t understand the ins and outs of the farming industry.


That’s where they’re wrong.

I grew up on a wool farm in NSW and watched my dad work himself to the bone and eventually burn out. I know what the reality of being a farmer looks like all too well.


And for the last 3 years, I’ve been business partners with Greg Johnsson, a lifelong farmer with decades of experience.


At Farm Owners Academy, we’ve helped many farmers
maximise the profitability of their farms by applying the same business practices giants like Apple and Virgin use.

Greg and I know it’s possible to work less and make more. But I know that you don’t know that yet.

So today, I want to share David’s story with you.

David is a farmer from Kangaroo Island who thought I had six heads and half a brain when I first told him all this, too.

But by opening his mind, listening to our ideas, and testing out the strategies, David was able to go from working 60 hours a week to 30 hours a week on the farm…while having his best financial year yet. AND he was able to take a holiday with his family during the busiest time of the year.

The secret to David’s success came down to three key things.

But first, a little bit about David…

Busy, overworked, and nearing burnout.

David believed that:

  • In order to get ahead, you have to work harder than anybody else.
  • If there’s a job that needs doing, just do it.
  • If you aren’t working hard, you aren’t really good enough.

     

Which is exactly what happened to David…

When David first become a farmer, he was very busy.

He quite prided himself on working big hours. If he ever finished up his list of jobs, he would look for more work, find something else to do. He liked the hardship of it all. Being really rugged and tough out on the farm made him feel kind of invincible.

Because he was so busy, David never stopped to reflect on what tasks were the best use of his time. He thought as long as he was working hard, the farm would be successful…because that’s what he’d always believed.

But his results definitely didn’t support that belief.

The farm wasn’t financially successful. David needed to make more money…but had no more hours to give.

Working such long days also meant David didn’t have enough time for his wife Becky and their three young children. He was afraid that if he kept up his workaholic pace, he’d miss their entire childhood.

That’s what led David to Greg and I, and to our mentoring program, then it all started to change…

Here are the three things that changed David’s farm forever:

 

1. Plan the week and focus on the *right* things


It’s easy to get faked out by being busy. But in reality, it’s not just about how much you do, it’s about how much you do of the right stuff.

At first, David thought that planning and office work was a waste of time. He felt guilty and thought if he wasn’t out working then he wasn’t being productive.

But here’s what he learned:

It’s not about managing your time. It’s about managing your priorities.

There are so many things to get done on the farm. When you write everything down, you can compare all your tasks and prioritise the most important ones.

David asked himself, “What am I so busy doing all day long? And do those things really make a difference?”

He mapped out his jobs and realised that he was spending most of his time on the wrong ones.

When David started to focus on the high-priority activities, the farm’s profitability significantly improved. (Click here to learn more about the $25/hour vs. $500/hour farm tasks.)

It also allowed him to get his hours down, because he stopped wasting time on the tasks that didn’t produce a lot of results.

David now embraces office time and always plans his week out in advance. He knows it is an essential step in managing his profitable farming business.
 

2. Hire (the right) help

While prioritising his tasks, David realised something important…

The strategy, the planning, the mission of the farm: those were all things only David could do and needed his specialised skills. But there were many day-to-day tasks that David could easily train someone else to do.

He knew he needed to start thinking like a business owner, not a farmer. And a business owner would hire help.

Because he was focused on maximising profitability, David first saw hiring someone as a cost he couldn’t really afford. (This is what most people think when they consider hiring help.)

But then David realised he couldn’t afford to NOT hire someone. He had a wake-up call that he’d never make a lot of profit if he stayed trapped doing $20 to $30 per hour work. He’d have to stop sleeping, stop seeing his family, and somehow fit another 24 hours into the day to make the kind of money he wanted working for $25/hour.

So David set out to hire someone to do the lower value tasks.

He found a great farm hand, educated him through systems and training, and discovered how to maximise his productivity on the tasks that made the biggest difference to the farm’s finances.

Hiring help was the ONLY way David could cut down from 60 hours a week to 30. Training someone else to do the lower-value tasks allowed him to enjoy more time with his wife and young kids. 

3. Shift your mindset 

The final thing David did to upgrade his farming business was to give himself permission to stop working so hard.

This was a real challenge because there’s a paradigm in farming that you need to sacrifice a lot of things in order to succeed. David had been trapped in this cycle for a long time.

But deep down, he knew that working 60+ hours a week and never taking time for his family wasn’t the life he wanted.

In the Take Control Program, we challenged him to think differently.

The Dalai Lama said it so well:

“Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Sick of this paradigm, David gave himself permission to:

  • Allow time for health (one of his biggest priorities).
  • Come home and enjoy his three kids growing up.
  • Make a lot of money without working 12-hour days.
  • Have a holiday.
  • Let the business wait.

     

This new mindset (which David admits was challenging at first) was what allowed him to make the changes to have his most profitable year ever on the farm.

He needed to believe that he was allowed to work smarter, not harder — to make money without sacrificing his life — in order for all the other steps to work.

This paradigm shift also brought his family so much closer together. He now prioritises spending time with his wife and his kids. And he actually has energy when he comes home from work…whereas before, he was too exhausted do anything.

David also took his family away to the Sunshine Coast in QLD for a holiday — when the year before he was totally trapped by his farm — which made him feel so proud and fulfilled.

And this was all on top of the most successful year he has seen in farming (from a financial perspective).

As a result of those three things — prioritising his tasks, hiring help, and changing his paradigm — David completely changed his farm.

On the surface, he now has more of the big two: more money and more time.

But there’s so much more…

David now has more energy, more health, and more connection with his family. That has a ripple effect, as it’s carried back into being a happier, better leader for his business.

When you take control of your farm, truly everyone wins.

The 8 mistakes that keep farmers broke

The 8 mistakes that keep farmers broke

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
  • Startups
  • 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.

Related: Run Your Farm Like a Professional AFL Team

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!

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