THIS IS OUR STORY
Hello there! We are Gerald, Kelli, and little Sawyer. Thank you for stopping by our blog and learning about us!!
We would like to take you along on our journey toward our goal of our “dream” homestead. As we work toward our goal, we will show you things like:
- How we started a successful business at home with DIY CNC carve machines after quitting our corporate jobs.
- We will show DIY projects that we will do while we work to reach our goal to move out of Florida to our dream homestead. Examples will be how we made our CNC machines; a look at our DIY laser engraver; our project of turning an old wet blaster motor into a propane-fueled 12,000 watt generator; work around our property such as converting an old chicken coop into an elevated hay feeder for our horses; raising chickens and working on their coops and pens; and much more.
- How you can save money on making improvements and repairs to the home, farm, property, animal enclosures, and vehicles ourselves and by re-using items and materials.
- Our search for our dream property.
- Our future move and work on our new homestead and how we live, raise little Sawyer, and run our home-based business to create the life we have both envisioned for our family’s future.
First, a little bit about us:
Kelli and I met in 2010, when we were both in our early 40s. The series of events that led to our introduction is quite a story and proves that sometimes great things in life are just meant to be, even “late in the game.” We were married a year later and in 2012, we welcomed the surprise of a lifetime…a new little baby boy!!. We already had four grown children between the two of us, the youngest being 21 at the time Sawyer came into the world. This new child made us take a very long look at our lives and where we were. We decided we needed to work toward living a different life and providing Sawyer with a great childhood, away from the cities and suburbs.
I worked for many years in a management position at a nationwide propane company. After many changes in upper management I decided I had had enough and resigned. I was working an interim job as an oil delivery driver trainer, when we met, until I could figure out my next career move.
Kelli was working for a New York company scheduling television and radio commercials. She worked from home and loved her job. The owner of the company was a great fellow to work for. Unfortunately, sometimes good things must come to an end.
After five years with the company, and while she was on maternity leave having little Sawyer, the company she enjoyed working for was sold to a large corporation. When she returned to work she found that the new company treated their employees as expendable “numbers.” As with most corporate buyouts the layoffs and terminations began immediately. People in her department were terminated. The overflow accounts were split up between the remaining employees and a “hiring freeze” was implemented in her department. Her job was a very high stress job with extremely tight deadlines and hundreds of thousands of advertisers’ dollars at stake each day.
With a new baby, changes come…
When Sawyer was born we didn’t want to utilize day care. Kelli’s salary was twice mine, so we decided that I would quit my job, which I did in 2012. I stayed home to care of our new little boy.
I still wanted to bring income into the household, so I began researching businesses I could do from home. I always loved computers, electronics, and mechanics. While browsing some online forums, I came across people making signs on CNC router machines. These people worked from their home garages. Something clicked with me. I knew I could make that work. I wasn’t too sure what products I would make at that time, but I could see the potential.
I have always been the type that I would rather build something, where I know how everything works and goes together, rather than buy a commercial-made product. By building it myself I could use electronics and hardware that I could tailor fit for my application – rather than buy something tailored for the masses.
Our New Business…
I built my first CNC machine in 2012. It is a 5 foot x 9 foot “Joe’s Evo” with a 3-1/4 horsepower Porter Cable router. If you would like more info on the specs of this machine look for my blog post titled “My first DIY CNC Machine”.
This new venture started out pretty good. Kelli and I created a line of custom and personalized wood products. We came up with items such as personalized wood elevated dog feeder stands, wall mounted rifle and gun racks, and some small signs. I landed an account making custom golf putter heads out of exotic woods, as well.
Time for a Move…
At the time we married I moved to Kelli’s place which was on one acre. I own a piece of property in North Florida, which I bought years ago, as an investment and was renting it out. When the renter moved out, and after going over the pros and cons of each property, we decided that my property was a better fit for our animals and our now-growing new business until we were in the position to move to a large homestead. The property is just over 4 acres with a 40 x 60 pole barn, a 16 x 22 workshop, and an older single wide mobile home.
After talking a lot about our future and the future we want to provide Sawyer, we both agree Florida isn’t a fit for us any longer. Kelli and I decided our long term goal would be to homestead on a large piece of property in the “real country” in a more northern state. We’ve looked at states with better school systems, less taxes, and a more laid back lifestyle. We don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck just to cover our bills. We want to go back to our roots. Homestead on a farm, raise animals, and grow our own food that will provide us a more healthy life…really just get back to nature.
Everything was going along pretty well when the problems with Kelli’s job became too much, so we decided to cut down our expenses as a “just-in-case” move. After months of stress from the “corporates,” Kelli couldn’t take anymore and she told the company what she thought of them and quit. This was a huge leap of faith, as we went full on with our business to move forward into the future and grow it to its full potential.
And so our New journey begins……..
We moved our horses, dogs, business and ourselves to the North Florida 4 acre property, to put us in a better position to work toward our dream move. By the time we moved at end of 2014, the sign and woodcrafting business had grown considerably.
I designed and built a second CNC router machine just to keep up with the our on-line orders. I also designed and built a 6 watt CNC laser engraver. This was a test to see if laser engraved products were a viable market to tap into. After discovering there was a ton of opportunities in laser cut/engrave products, we purchased a large 60 watt laser from china and rebuilt it, to our specs (article on that come soon!).
Kelli handles the customer service, photography, product finishing, online shops/website, and shipping side of the business. I handle the designing, cutting, engraving, purchasing of materials, and just about anything else that needs to be done. Our business turned full time just over two years ago and we’ve increased sales each year. We sell our products on multiple online venues and have our own e-commerce website where we sell beautiful wood signs and items, as well as wedding accessories and decorations.
We started this blog to document our journey on working toward moving from the suburbs to a more enriching way of life on a large property homestead. We hope to be able to pass along some knowledge to others who want to pursue the same path, but are unsure where to get started. We will be writing articles on how we created a six figure work from home business from scratch in just a few years, DIY projects around the homestead, researching property for our dream homestead, and much much more!
Come along with us!
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Thanks for dropping in. Gerald, Kelli, and little Sawyer