Sunday, December 4, 2011

Announcing Cold Antler Farm Webinars!

I have been getting suggestions through comments and emails to have some sort of online version of workshops for folks who can't travel, but want to support the farm. I have been mulling this over, trying to suss out the best way to meet such a request. I run most workshops in a casual and homey style, people are welcomed into this farmhouse like old friends and enjoy an afternoon at Cold Antler meeting the writer and animals they are used to spending internet time with everyday. They are friends to this farm they know well. So how do I turn that into a video? I don't have the ability to film myself, or hire a film crew, so how could I offer a webinar option? How could I price it? How would the subscriber even get the information?

Here's what I have come up with. I am offering a year-long pass to webinars based on the workshops the farm is hosting. You buy your pass like a CSA share, and then as each of the workshops happen here on the farm, you are emailed a link to a private video explaining (by me) how to do the things we are teaching, in detail. For example: the black sheep wool workshop coming up is a workshop in all things yarn. We'll turn raw wool into fleece, use a drum carder and drop spindle, and learn to knit. A webinar pass-owner would get video footage from the workshop, and step-by-step lesson exactly how they are explained to the people there in person. By the end of this year, you'll have videos on wool processing, chicken care and raising, backyard slaughter, mountain music 101, homebrewing and sausage making and more. Each instructional video will be between 10-20 minutes and non available to the public. And, if you do buy a webinar pass (which would be a huge help to the farm now) I'll offer you a half-price admission to the in-person workshop of your choice! So, there you have it. Learn to frail a banjo, butcher a chicken, and wash wool. See tours of the farm and meet other CAF community members through video and clips. I think it'll be a hit (and possibly a future DVD).

A year pass to these videos, a half-priced admission to a future workshop at the farm, and knowing you are helping a girl in New York work towards her dream. I hope some of you sign up. I think the price to cover a "season" pass of videos (probably rounding out to 8+) will be a $100 even. That is the number that seems accurate to me for time and energy put into them, plus the added value of future workshop savings.

I know you can probably scrounge up free videos all over the internet, get library books, and take free classes to learn many of these skills, but what you are getting for your money is a comfortable and clear series of lessons from someone who is trying to figure out a way to make this farm work, one mortgage payment at a time. More and more, this blog is becoming my business and life. It is what I want to do for a living, but first I need to find a way to make a living at it! Workshops, books, magazine articles, and CSA shares so far aren't enough to keep this place running and bills paid on time. While it is a bumpy road right now trying to figure out bills and day-to-day needs. This was an idea that struck me yesterday while feeding the pigs and seemed like its own form of CSA, and that is the spirit I offer it to you in.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I hope some of you will sign up. I'll happily throw in a signed copy of Barnheart to the first 5 people to get a season pass to CAF's workshop webinars.

Email me at jenna@itsafarwalk.com if you're into it.

39 Comments:

Blogger finsandfeathers said...

I think it's a fantastic idea and was thinking about this today. You shouldn't limit yourself to only farm craft seminars. There's a number of folks in our community that offer workshops on photography, pottery making, Photoshop, web design, etc., to pay the bills and keep their farms plugging along. Maybe a webinar about how to create a successful blog and draw advertisers. Or how about a webinar on using social media? You've got a whole bunch of assets to share. You are blessed with skills and resources!!!

November 23, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Awesome idea, Jenna! I know that is something I would love to buy and learn from! I'd pay for one right this moment, but methinks I need to save up a bit more money first... I just quit my day job, so I have to budget myself very severely this winter. But I'll be tucking all my spare cash away for a webinar pass! :)

November 23, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thank you fins, haven't heard from you in a long while!

quit your job?! wow! to stick with the farm!?

November 23, 2011 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Karen Smith said...

Great idea, Jenna! Go for it! Making our farm work (future tense) is what I want to do for a living, too, and I am also trying to figure out how to make that happen in ways that work for us. Once we have a house to live in and make it happen in, that is....

November 23, 2011 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Yeah. I just couldn't handle the other employees there. There was a lot of gutter talk, I was the butt of many inappropriate jokes/remarks, and was being treated badly. I didn't need money bad enough to put up with that day after day, so today I quit.
Luckily, I'm able to live with my folks, but I still have to pay for stuff. Just 'cause there ain't bills in the mail for me, doesn't mean I'm exempt from all financial issues! LOL. Anywho, rant off now. Maybe in a couple weeks I can afford a Pass...

November 23, 2011 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger crashdown said...

$100 for a full subscription doesn't seem flexible enough--not everyone is interested in every seminar. And the half-off price for a live seminar isn't much of an incentive for people who are signing up because they live too far to attend live. I think you'd have better luck with an a la carte system: price each seminar at $10 a pop and see what happens.

November 23, 2011 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger jim said...

think i agree with Crashdown- certain segments will appeal to certain people and i would think you would get more support this way.

November 23, 2011 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

$100.00 doesn't even get this farm through two weeks of feed, so I will keep the offer as is. Selling downloads on a one-at-a-times basis would be hard to keep track of, too. So I won't be offering single webinar views. Sorry if that's prohibitive, but that is what best suits this particular farm.

November 23, 2011 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

I'm one of the ones who was suggesting doing this so I feel compelled to respond so you don't think I just bailed. I understand your logic and reasoning, but I won't be able to participate with it set up this way. Out of the upcoming workshops, I already do all of them except the music and the wool. While I'd LOVE to be able to see the music workshop, I have no interest in the wool stuff at this time and $100 for one webinar is just out of my budget. Sorry, but best of luck with it!

November 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

I'll say this: I know how to do all of what's covered in the workshops, except the music one! But I am willing to pay $100 for 'em, as my small way to help keep CAF running.

November 23, 2011 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Jenna, this sounds AWESOME, $100 is reasonable—probably even a bit conservative if it will be ½ as informative as your workshops. I'm kind of a want to know how to do everything kind of person so I could see investing/supporting CAF. Getting your take on things has been fantastic. Your personality as an instructor keeps me light hearted in a world where I’m often surrounded by stressed out and frazzled teachers!

Have a great time hosting Thanksgiving…hosting for friends adds a new element to the holidays for sure! I know you all will have great day.

November 23, 2011 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger alewyfe said...

Good for you, Goat Song! I quit my full-time retail job to work part-time for an awesome urban farm and to be able to sell my soap at weekend markets... it's less money but totally worth it. Jenna, you're an inspiration to so many of us and we're happy to support you and your dream! Go gettem' girl!

November 24, 2011 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Trekout2 said...

I too feel $100 is cheep when you take in the cost of travel even if you lived with in a few hours of CAF it cost me $80 just to fill my gas tank these day for one trip and Jenna offering a year long of information to view at the day and time of your choice. She is also taking a chance of pouring money on this to get this up and going as many here have requested. I support her efforts because I get a lot of good infromation here not to mention enjoyment from reading her blog. She puts a time and effort in here almost every day of the week.One last point we all talk about supporting small business and local farms well here is our chance.. Count Lisa & Gerard in

November 24, 2011 at 1:13 AM  
Blogger Carissa Kennedy said...

$100 bucks is reasonable for the long distance folks. But I think you should have the videos private for a certain period of time and then have the option of selling them individually. Private only really limits the potential profits.
How would you deal with a potential customer if they just found your blog but were interested in older videos? How would the time frame work of signing up and seeing videos? Would it be a year from when the payment is received or, say, someone signs up on December 21st 2012 and can access all videos of that year but then goes back to 0 as of the first of the year (or whatever date schedule you have)?

November 24, 2011 at 4:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Hobbs said...

I'm interested. Would the videos be downloadable or just a link? I've learned alot from your books and your site. Heck we now have a coop and 14 chickens in the back because of you and Ashley English, that and our two girls love the antics of chickens. This would be a way to get more involved as NY is a bit too far from the Central Valley in CA.

November 24, 2011 at 5:49 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Thank you for all the ideas and feedback!

November 24, 2011 at 6:15 AM  
Blogger Cheri said...

Jenna - long-time reader, first-time poster. Don't farm, but dad had dairy farm over in Cattaraugus county (way far away from you in upstate).I admire your pluck & enterprise, but I have one question: have you ruled out loans? My dad built his farm from the ground up (no family inheritance or legacy in sight), & despite working fulltime as a meatcutter, there was no way he could have made it without a loan. This was nearly 40 years ago, & financial times may be different. You might be philosophically opposed to loans (if available), but as someone who will be paying off student loans till retirement (by choice),you would be investing in yourself. All the luck, pluck & gumption in the world sometimes is not enough.

November 24, 2011 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger crashdown said...

Mike: All videos are downloadable. If they're on YouTube or Vimeo, there's software available to save them to your computer.

November 24, 2011 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger CDS said...

Happy Thanksgiving Jenna! I made your Chicken Pot-pie in a canning jar the other night and it was a huge hit! My husband said, "Do we get turkey ones after Thanksgiving?" :) Love your webinar idea. I need to save up though with the holidays right now.

November 24, 2011 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger shepherdkelly said...

yes yes yes!! I am in! I will buy my share the first friday in December. I too have to pay the mortgage first, hehe. Thanks Jenna, I'm so Excited! It's also nice knowing i will be learning from a trusted source and not just a random internet source.

November 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I love the webinar idea, I've always wanted to go to one of your live ones, but being in Canada it's just too far of a trek right now. I think $100 for what you're offering is great, especially since to take a half decent soap making course locally I would be paying over $100 in addition to supplies and gas, and that's only one craft. I spend more than that at the Farmer's Market on a Saturday supporting local farmers, I see no reason why I wouldn't want to do the same with CAF and get some hugely great information from it! (Although I do strongly believe this blog is the reason our life is a constant strive to find a farm, and why we have a chicken coop in our garage... but that's okay ;) )

November 24, 2011 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger candy in sc said...

I think it's a great idea! I love your blog! Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

While I would prefer to purchase individual webinars for each topic I am interested in, too, but I can see how much extra time this would take to keep track of.

I would be happy to pay the $100 for the year-long pass.

Thank you, and happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Kelly McMichael said...

When are you thinking about opening this up for purchase? Are you planning to sell from here on your website? Like through paypal?

thanks!
Kelly

November 24, 2011 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

I think this is a good idea and no approach will please everyone. You can always make adjustments along the way.

If you can get paid to create footage youll use to make a marketable dvd go for it!

November 24, 2011 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Yes, passes are on sale now, just email me at jenna@itsafarwalk.com

November 25, 2011 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

After the holidays I hope to have the money for the webinar series. I want to learn everything! I love your blog, and I know you will accomplish everything you set out to do.

November 25, 2011 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger jim said...

jenna -in addition why not put the individual segments on dvd's and sell them on your on=line store or the whole series on dvd such as Mother Earth News does

November 25, 2011 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Catcoco said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 25, 2011 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Catcoco said...

Jenna, I really enjoy your blog, I admire the will you have to live the life you chose to live but I am really getting over the complaining about the lack of money thing. It finds it's way into the majority of your posts. Times are hard for most. Times are hard for farmers. Most small farms have at least one of the partners working outside the farm full time. This is also part of the life you chose to live. While I admire the ways you find to do earn a little extra money, I am getting tired of the complaining. I am certain you have more than most of your readers do. You HAVE the farm most of us suffering of barnheart dream of. You HAVE sheep. You HAVE the opportunity of raising your own meat and eggs and growing your own fruits and vegetables. You HAVE book deals. You HAVE a job.
I am certain there are a ton of us who wonder if the next mortgage payment will be made on time... Perhaps doing a business plan for the farm would be a good idea. You could figure out what it would take to make it profitable. Good luck !

November 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Your right, I do have a farm and sheep. But writing about the stuggle to keep the farm and sheep is part of my life now, and this blog is a journal. I write about what is on my mind, and months like this where the mortgage is 25 days late is plenty of reason for that.

I don't think sharing what happens here is complaining, it's just sharing what happens here. You certainly don't have to read the blog if it bums you out, and you shouldn't. But I will continue to write exactly what is going on in my heart and day-to-day life. Sometimes it's nervous energy like now, sometimes terror, sometimes joy, and sometimes plain ol' tired happiness. It's part of the ride.

And hey, if the money posts really do bother you, can I interest you in a webinar pass?!

November 25, 2011 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger City Girl said...

You go girl!

November 25, 2011 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

Goat Song, I gues that your post was a response to mine.

I'm glad that can buy a pass right now, but your post made it sound like I'm being chastised because I can't.

If money wasn't an issue I'd LOVE to throw $100 to Jenna and several others, too.

Money is tight, though, and if I'm going to scrimp up $100 over several months, it HAS to be something that will benefit the entire family and the music section I'm interested in is purely for my enjoyment.

Hopefully later on they can be made into DVDs and I can get in on it at that time.

Good Luck, Jenna! Please do consider making DVDs later on. You know, in all that spare time you have! ;)

November 26, 2011 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger bookkm said...

Just catching up with all my favorite bloggers. Jenna, I love this idea and if you decided to do it, I am interested in buying a share. Send me your address and I will send you a check. I am not a weekend workshop perosn but I can do webinars just fin. Thanks.

November 27, 2011 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

Odd, thought I left a comment on this post yesterday. Was it deleted?

December 5, 2011 at 7:53 AM  
OpenID 95acresofsky said...

I think it is a great idea! We are setting up a small farm next spring and I'd love to hear from someone who's already done so. It would also be great to hear it from a woman as I'm going to be the one on the farm day to day and I'd like to know how you meet those challenges, I think it would give me more confidence to hear it from another woman if that doesn't sound odd! I'd love to know more.

December 5, 2011 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Olli said...

I want a pass!! Jenna this idea is amazing, and while I've only just recently learned of you & your farm, I will definitely be signing up for one once the funds allow. I too, quit my job not too long ago. Soon though, perhaps as a Christmas gift?? :D

December 8, 2011 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Sitakiana said...

It is great, but I think you should also consider after a certain number of webinars perhaps releasing a DVD of them for some of us. Especially for people who may not be able to afford your webinars right off the bat. That way any we have missed we can purchase or something. Plus I like to have DVDs to look back over whenever I need to.

January 19, 2012 at 2:13 PM  

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