Now that the year has progressed so far—here we are, already in the fourth day! I’ve had a bit more time to think about 2011. Perhaps I ought to reassess my decision not to assess the last year, at least to a certain extent.
Briefly, I’ve come to realize that we had a great year, one that has brought us to a point where most aspects of our life are progressing satisfactorily.
Our main achievement in 2011 was graduating Aly from homeschool and getting her into—and to, the college of her choice. Even if that had been our only success in the year, it would have been well, as, save for staying alive and unharmed, it was our most important project.
The other big issue has been monetary income. While we focus on subsistence, we’re Americans, meaning we must have money to get by, if only to pay property taxes, even if we didn’t have to buy much of our food stuffs. We’ve been living off savings for the most part since we moved here. We reduced our periodic bills to almost nothing, even paid off our mortgage early on, but we still need to pay for food, gas, car repairs, and other supplies.
We maintain a series of micro-incomes, including revenue from ads around the Website, residuals from purchases made on links on our book list and elsewhere, and sales of my short story book, Shy Ghosts Dancing: Dark Tales from Southeast Alaska. I confess that this last has seemed like the most micro of the incomes. That’s not strictly true. Sales were good, but are they ever as much as a writer hopes? Still, the pennies do add up.
My micro publishing business, Yeldagalga Publications, LLC, has been more encouraging. I worked with a Web client much of 2011, nothing large scale, but enough to bill a few hours now and then. Toward the end of the year, interest picked up, and as 2012 dawns, I’m working with two other clients, one new, the other a return. The other aspect of the business, helping writers navigate the print-on-demand publishing gauntlet, is garnering some interest. I may even have work out some sort of schedule for the coming year. Listening to the radio, supposedly most small businesses are on the edge of collapse because of (fill in the blank with the favorite boogie man of your particular political persuasion). That, so far, doesn’t seem to be my fate. Perhaps the key is that I’m a really small business?
In addition to that, Michelle worked two different short-term jobs last year that helped our bottom line immensely.
As far as the homestead itself, we’re maintaining all systems fairly well. We’re looking forward to new projects and ideas. Some, like an optimistic return to wine making, have already started. Others we’ll dive into at the end of the Christmas season, coming up on January 6th. Nothing too ambitious at this point, but they continue to point us toward the future, which, thankfully, remains a hopeful one.