This morning, I started my new job. Which, actually, isn't a job, but the beginning of my own horse business.
You see, I am working at a different farm than I have been for the last decade-plus. But I don't work for them. I am not their employee. That is not the way the pay system is set up. This is becoming more and more common at horse farms and other similar places: you hire in to perform a set of tasks, and you are paid as a 1099 employee (meaning you pay the taxes on your income, not the farm--and they don't have to offer you health insurance) rather than being hired in to work x number of hours on y days a week. In other words, an independent contractor. Self-employed.
Which is really ironic, as I've been wanting to have my own horse business for a long, long time (since I was sixteen), yet the time, finances, real estate, etc never aligned perfectly in order for me to do so. And when I decided to look for some other farm to work at so that it would be possible for me to leave the situation I was in at the other farm (the decade-plus one), I didn't think of it as going out on my own.
Honestly, until this morning I thought of it as a stepping stone; a way to make a (much needed) break from the other farm while I get all my ducks in a row to pursue a business loan (this winter/next spring) to get the start up funds I need for finishing off the horse facility we began at this little place here when we seeded pastures, built the shell of the barn, and began growing hay more than a handful of years ago. A horse farm was the original intent for purchasing this raw piece of land, way back in 2001 when we made an offer on it.
Two weeks ago, when I accepted the position at the new farm, I thought I was just biding time (and earning cash) waiting for next spring to get here when it would be construction season again--as in, once the ground thaws for putting in fence posts, running water lines, etc since I don't have the cash on hand to begin that stuff now before winter hits.
But actually, I just started my self-employed horse business. I'm freelancing, as it were, at the new horse farm doing much of the same things I will be doing at my own horse farm once all the physical structure is installed. Which means, as a self-employed person, the rubber knee boots I bought this afternoon to replace the ones that cracked and sprung a leak yesterday, are now a business expense. A write-off against those income taxes I will have to pay. And the miles I drove to get to the new farm (and home again) are also a business expense.
I'm kinda liking this. I was so afraid to jump into self-employment partially because I couldn't see how to juggle the monetary stuff. Yet, today it's so clear. Need new boots to do the horse-related job because the ground is currently very muddy? Buy the dang boots and write them off instead of worrying how to squeeze such a purchase into our personal budget (in other words, out of DH's paycheck). Stop worrying about the 9 miles further drive to the new barn each day versus the old barn. Those extra miles are now worth their weight in gold in reducing our income tax responsibility at the end of the year. Gloves from last winter worn out and in need of replacing so my hands don't freeze this winter? Just like the boots: go get some good warm work gloves, write them off, and enjoy having fingers that stay supple and toasty instead of stiff and icy.
Just think; I have all winter to get the hang of this self-employed/business owner thing before laying out a big chunk of change (or signing on a loan) to complete my own farm at this little place here. And, all the while, I am making contacts who are all potential future clients.
Win-win. Not to mention I'm starting to feel like my lifelong goal of working for myself and no one else is actually obtainable. A dream that really will come true.