What does it take to keep so many moving parts moving? A team. A team that is as vested in your mission and goals as you are. However, no one will be as invested in your business as you, unless they have skin in the game. Something that is tangible to them to win or lose. A personal investment in the success of the business and its longevity.
We have so many 22-30 year olds in our life. That’s a large part of our team. A team that are mostly millennials. Millennials by definition are turning 24 in 2020 and the oldest millennials are turning 39. In general, I think millennials get a bad rap. The reputation for some millennials are that they are over educated individuals, living with their parents, waiting for that six figure management job to come through on LinkedIn, and focused on quality of life over being career driven. I’m the mother of a millennial. My little angel actually has her doctorate and has been active in her career for 10 years now. She works full time, and also continues to push herself to excel in her career path. However, she makes a priority to carve out couple time with her partner, friend time, and mini vacations as well as big ones. She is frugal, she is conscientious about what her discretionary funds go towards, and she prioritizes her family. She also owns her own house, and DOES NOT live at home. I feel she is a hybrid millennial. Maybe a throwback to the work ethic and family values of a Baby Boomer, combined with some millennial characteristics. She is our pride and joy.
On to my Millennial Hippies. Feel free to utilize that phrase in your daily conversation. Millennial hippie. We started with 2, and we have expanded to 5 on the farm. I can’t decide if it’s like a domesticated tom cat that got out for the evening and makes babies, and brings his baby kitty momma home. Or, is it they are multiplying like feral cats that control the mice population on the farm? Still too early to say. I digress. My description of a Millennial Hippie is a festival loving, earth worshiping, farmers market going, don’t believe in deodorant with aluminum, bamboo toothbrush using, recycling, hard working, curious, willing to sacrifice in the short term for long term gains, hard working human. I adore our millennial hippies. Well I adore David, Lynae, Amy and John. Kyler, I want to grind up adderall in his morning coffee, maybe punch him, or hug him depending on the day, because he is me in male form. It’s hard dealing with yourself. I love him too, he’s just our special kid.
What have our MH’s brought to us? Wind in our sails. They gave us a breath of life in our new journey. Two sold their house and bought a camper and moved to the farm. Two are renovating the original homestead to move into, and one quit his job and jumped in the deep end to make this journey with us. Crazy! These kids are literally crazy. Their belief in us is unwavering. Our belief in them gains momentum everyday. Can you imagine taking this kind of gamble with your life?
Kyler has no farm experience, he is crazy smart, reads voraciously and throws farming practices at Dave like he has a PHD in Agriculture from Iowa State. He gets dirty. He asks questions. He has learned to propagate an elderberry plant, drive a tractor, mow acres upon acres of berry patches, and he is learning the theoretical practice of farming versus the reality of farming. He is excited, driven and has found a place that he wants to make his own. He makes us better. Better parents, better business owners, more open minded and he is pleasant to fight with.
Lynae is the anchor that grounds the group. She is quiet, methodical, dependable, and the voice of reason at times. She has worked with Dave in every aspect of the farm for a year. Creating new products, custom planting, and marketing products. She is the face of our Farmers Market program. Always ready with a smile and a great memory for repeat customers. She is the well of kindness in our group.
John. John and I had an immediate connection the first time we met. He has that skill very few people have of being a genuine listener. He is thoughtful in his responses. He also is a brilliant herbalist. John joining the team has expanded the horizons of what we want to do. He is passionate, conscientious, and has the knowledge to create amazing natural products, and is one of my most favorite people. He is an old soul with a well of knowledge and patience to deal with Kyler’s hyper puppy days.
Finally, Amy and David. Amy and David we inherited through Lynae and Kyler. David loves plants, has a knowledge of machinery, and is amazing help to Dave when he needs an extra hand. Amy comes right along with them, and has learned quickly. This group of young Millennial hippies are at the heart of Elder Farms. They are also sustaining Buehler Farms with their belief, work and love.
My final type of millennial is the OCD/Peace and Calm Millennial. This one lives at the dance studio. Her name is Tori. She grew up dancing for me. Went to college and danced, then we reconnected at multiple different places and times. One day I saw her and I said “Hey! You still love to dance? Why don’t you come work for me?” She did. She saw me through some highs and lows, 4 maternity leaves (for other employees) and also literally saved my life. She has slowly and quietly started taking some of the incredible work load off me. She did this by casually saying “Oh hey. I was thinking that we should organize the music this way for competition so it’s easier for you to find.” “I got the company login in for that competition in May from Heather and I did the entries for you. You are so busy I wanted to help.” She’s sneaky, this one. Then there is her love of all things essential oils. We have diffusers of oils going in all the studios and Peace and Calm is her jam. She has a plan, she has a schedule, she has her Energy and Valor oils to keep her going, and the kids too. She’s a silent assassin of organization and handling me. I don’t even realize I am being handled until it is too late.
My studio is my passion. I love what I do. It’s not really a job. It’s like being a kid and going to Disneyland to me. But, I want a legacy. I want someone to love it as much as I do. I have found that person in Tori. Being a dance teacher is so much more than teaching steps. I spend so many hours a week with my serious students, more usually than their parents. That’s a huge responsibility. I have expectations. I hold them accountable. I want them to be first and foremost productive, responsible, good people. Let me tell you, I have had a hand in raising some of the smartest, talented, and most incredible humans ever. I appreciate those parents allowing me to help them do that more than they can ever imagine. I see in Tori that same passion and determination. I also consider her a kid I helped raise a bit. I’m beyond proud of who she has become.
I have more people to introduce you to over time. My point is a vision takes a team. A team needs to be united by the same morals, goals and ambitions. How did we stumble onto this team? God has a plan for us and we are doing our best to follow it. I think he put us in our Hippie’s lives because they needed someone to give them an opportunity to pursue their dreams, and they are in our path because they are the future to sustain the dream we created. Life is funny that way. You never know what might fall out of the sky. Could be a meteorite that kills a couple cows on the landing or a meteorite that changes life as you know it. Probably depends on your perspective.
If I look put together in photos it’s because
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