I recently sat down and calculated my finances, and was pretty surprised to realize I made a whopping $3,000 in less than a month. “Wait a minute”, I thought… “I’m barely working and that’s approaching what I was making my first few years as a full-time teacher…” How is it that I quit my job and am still making money, when I’m barely even working?
I decided to break down the figures:
In the last 25 days, I’ve completed around 51 hours of paid gardening and taken care of two cute Kelpies for a total of 14 days. In those 14 doggy-days, I only did about 3 hours of real “work” (feeding, brushing, sweeping up dog hair, driving dogs home). Dog sitting didn’t get in the way of doing any other paid work, nor did it alter my personal life or schedule. I walked the dogs when I normally took walks in the morning or evening, brought them with me on errands, threw the ball while working in my own garden, etc. I also put in about 3 hours of cyber-time to make sure my rental property was going smoothly, as new tenants moved in on September 1st. This adds up to 57 hours of work, or a gross profit of $3,000, with very little overhead. And I was still able to spend my mornings in the sunshine, just me, my new veggie garden, the chooks, and my coffee… Sure beats full-time work!
As you can see, my new little business, Girl vs. Garden, has been a great success. I’ve even hired my first employee for a few hours of work (my boyfriend! He’s the muscles behind the operation). Every time I think it’ll be a slow week, I get more emails from potential clients. I’ve intentionally not re-posted my ad so that I wouldn’t get too bogged down with work. I’ve taken it easy, which is what I want: still waking up late, and generally working short shifts, an average of 4 hours every couple days. If I did decide to work full-time, I think the economy here is strong enough to support it, especially in this beautiful warm weather when people want to enjoy their gardens most. I’d be making a ridiculous $5,700/month- WAY more than I was making as a teacher, even with my master’s degree. And that only factors in gardening and my rental property, not doggy-care.
In similar news, I was recently hired to work as a gardener on a farm once a week, taking care of gorgeous ornamental beds and organic vegetable gardens. The place is stunning, located on a big hill overlooking Australian pastureland. The best part? Bottle feeding one week old lambs and being accompanied by a herd of adorably fat terriers all day long (they keep the snakes at bay, and I like to pretend they’ll protect me from spiders, too).
It’s a real paradise. It’s also amazing to see the prolific vegetables they’re able to grow in this climate, straight through winter.
It’s great to know that with a little innovation and flexibility, it’s possible to not work full-time, and still be able to save and live a good, well-rounded, wholesome life.
I’ll keep you posted on my own veggie garden successes and failures in the weeks to come. It’s time for Girl vs. Garden to go meet up with two prospective clients!