2021 COVID-19 Small Business Relief on the Way for EGBI Clients

By Joni Foster, EGBI Program Director

Applications for the new $900 billion COVID-19 small business relief package begin for new borrowers the week of Jan 11, 2021 from community financial institutions like PeopleFund in Austin. What this means for small business owners:

  • If you did not apply for a SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in 2020, you could be eligible for a First Draw PPP loan under this new legislation starting Jan 11, 2021.
  • If you received a PPP loan in 2020, you could be eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan under the new COVID-19 relief package starting Jan 13th.
  • If you did not apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL loan) in 2020, there is additional money in the legislation to fund new loans.

Major rules relevant to EGBI small business clients

The following is a quick glance at the Interim Rules for the PPP. Please refer to the SBA for the complete regulations or talk to your lender about your specific situation.

  • Small businesses apply for PPP loans from financial institutions. Talk to your lender. If you don’t have a lender, the SBA will roll out funds to community financial institutions like PeopleFund, LiftFund, BCL of Texas before banks and credit unions. Use this link to get on PeopleFund’s waiting list for a PPP loan: https://peoplefund.org/covid-19-loan-programs/
  • The loan is guaranteed by the SBA. No collateral is required. No personal guarantee is required. The borrow will not pay any fees for the loan. Lender must make a one-time disbursement of the loan within 10 days of approval.
  • The full amount of both First Draw and Second Draw PPP loans may be forgiven if used according to law.  The interest rate is 1% for 5 years for any part not forgiven.
  • Small businesses are eligible if you were in operation by February 15, 2020 and have less than 500 employees. Documents that can establish your eligibility: payroll records, payroll tax filings, Form 1099-MISC, Schedule C or F, income and expenses from a sole proprietorship, or bank records.
  • Second Draw Loans have special eligibility criteria:
  • Borrower for a Second Draw Loan must prove a revenue reduction of 25% or greater in any one quarter in 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019. This provision appears to make start-up businesses ineligible for a Second Draw Loan if they did not have significant revenue in 2019.
  • Business has 300 or fewer employees.
  • Borrower must use the full amount of the First Draw Loan on eligible expenses before the second loan is disbursed.
  • You don’t have to apply for forgiveness for your First Draw loan before you apply for a Second Draw Loan. The forgiveness process for the First Draw Loan should be clarified and simplified by the end of January 2021. You have 10 months from the end of your loan forgiveness period (typically 24 weeks after disbursement of the loan) to apply for forgiveness. Contact your lender to apply for forgiveness.
  • The FORMULA for PPP loans is the same as last time, 2.5 times your monthly payroll costs and may include owner’s net profit in lieu of payroll as calculated on the Schedule C for 2019 or 2020.
  • Payroll costs consist of compensation to employees (whose principal place of residence is the United States) in the form of salary, wages, commissions, or similar compensation; cash tips or the equivalent (based on employer records of past tips or, in the absence of such records, a reasonable, good-faith employer estimate of such tips); payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care or group life, disability, vision, or dental insurance, 62 including insurance premiums, and retirement; payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees; and for an independent contractor or sole proprietor, wages, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation.
  • USES of the loan: At least 60% of the loan must be used for payroll costs; the remaining 40% may be used” to support the ongoing operations” such as:
  • Mortgage interest payments
  • Rent
  • Utility
  • Interest on debts prior to Feb.15, 2020
  • Refinancing an SBA EIDL locan made between Jan 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020
  • Covered operations expenditures such as business software or cloud computing service that facilitates business operations, product or service delivery, the processing, payment, or tracking of payroll expenses, human resources, sales and billing functions, or accounting or tracking of supplies, inventory, records and expenses
  • Property damange related to vandalism and looting due to public disturbances that occurred in 2020 that were not covered by insurance
  • Certain supplier costs that were essential
  • Certain worker protection expenditures


As background, the Relief legislation will be administered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and included:

  •  $284 billion for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The new relief package includes:
  • additional funding for new PPP loans
  • the ability to obtain a second PPP loan for small businesses facing significant revenue declines in any 2020 quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019
  • clarifications providing for the deductibility of business expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans (a material change from existing IRS guidance)
  • loan eligibility for Section 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organizations for the first time
  • $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions
  • $20 million for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

For more information about the Interim Rules:

 Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program as Amended by Economic Aid Act


Second Draw Loan provisions


How to calculate maximum loan amounts by business types (particularly self-employed)


Mata el tiempo haciendo estas 10 cosas durante la cuarentena

  1. Comunícate con un amigo o amiga que no hayas contactado en una semana
  2. Llena tu encuesta anual de EGBI así Barbra dejara de estresarse.
  3. Ayuda a dar forma al futuro de tu comunidad. Llenando el Censo.
  4. Publica algo en las redes sociales de tu empresa.
  5. No se te olvide estirarte 30 segundos al día.
  6. Organiza tu Cajón de baratijas o basura
  7. Agrega algo positivo en tus redes sociales personales
  8. Da una caminata a alrededor de la cuadra y respira aire fresco.
  9. Revisa la página de EGBI sobre recursos para COVID-19
  10. Limpia tu armario y prepárate con un nuevo estilo para cuando esto termine.

Telecommuting Resources

Due to the current unprecedented events, many of us have been forced to move our work remotely or adjust to a new way of communicating from our homes. Now the questions is, where do I even start? Here is a quick go to list to begin.

DropBox  Bring your files and cloud content together with the tools your team wants to use.

Free Conference Call provides HD audio conferencing, screen sharing and video conferencing with up to 1000 participants. Sign up for a free account.

Google Free access to Hangouts Meet, which allows up to 250 participants and live streaming up to 100,000 viewers per domain, and G-suite until July 1, 2020 .

Jamm Free platform for voice and video collaboration for teams working remotely (integrates with Slack) .

Loom Video recording and sharing service offering boosts to free service plan, discounted prices on LoomPro, and free access for educational institutions through July 1, 2020 . There is no recording limit until July 1, 2020.

Microsoft 365Free 6 month trial of Microsoft 365 E1, with web-based Office apps and business services including email, file storage and sharing, meetings, and instant messaging 

Webex– Video Conferencing, Online Meetings and Screen Share 

Zoom  Online video and web conferencing platform .

Updates During the Covid-19 Crisis

EGBI offers small business owners’ guidance for how to keep your business afloat in the time of Covid-19. These tips are compiled from various websites, conference calls, and conversations over the past two weeks and are SUBJECT to CHANGE from day to day. These tips are not a substitute for legal guidance and your own investigation. Use this guide to point you to things you should be thinking about.

Governmental Health and Safety Orders

  • Federal covis-19 orders trump State Covid-19 orders. State orders trump local orders, but right now in Texas the governor is allowing cities and counties to pass stronger orders than the state.

If you violate the orders, you could be arrested and fined up to $1200 per offense.

The link to the current State of Texas current Covid-19 orders AQUÍ

Austin Covid-19 information:  http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19

Keeping your business afloat

You have a couple of choices for Revenue:

  • Stay open and generate revenue if possible, based on your city/county public health response orders)
  • Use the assets of the company (checking, savings and investments)
  • Make a loan to the business from your personal assets
  • Existing line of credit with a financial institution. It is unlikely that you would be able to get a line of credit in the middle of a crisis. If you do have a line of credit, be prepared that the financial institution might cancel it during the crisis.
  • SBA disaster loan – currently – Apply directly with SBA. SBA will determine the loan amount. Must have business financial records and tax returns to prove your need. Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.
  • If you are declined an SBA loan, they will follow up with you to review your application. Don’t take NO the first time. Check out the Press Release.
  • You can start filling out the documents you will need:

SBA Form 413Personal Financial Statement

  • SBA Covid-19 disaster loans – proposed – as part of the 3rd bill that congress is debating, part of the proposal is that small businesses would apply for SBA Covid-19 disaster loans through financial institutions; offering working capital to keep the business open and staff in place even while there is no revenue; and potentially loan proceeds for wages might be forgiven in an effort to keep people employed.
  • Other disaster loans as they become available from cities and counties.
  • Unemployment compensation – Self-employed people may apply if you have a loss of 50% of revenue or more as verified by financial records and IRS tax records.

You have a couple of choices for lowering Expenses: (use the same thinking for your personal expenses)

  • Insurance – pay your insurance: health and business (if you remain open) Once you miss a payment, you are without insurance.
  • State Sales Tax – CALL AND GET ON A PAYMENT PLAN send them their money when its due.
  • Key People – You want to take care of your people so that they will return to you after the crisis.
  • Employees: Read your Employee handbook. These will tell you how your business will treat your employees for termination, sick leave and vacation time.
    • Employees will qualify for unemployment compensation if they have lost significant revenue from their job or have had to reduce hours because of government orders. The waiting period for unemployment compensation has been waived. APPLY early. They are very busy. (Employers can request a waiver from an increase in unemployment insurance caused by employees filing claims because of Covid-19)
    • Furlough (pay benefits but not wages for employees you hope will return after the crisis) vs termination (end employment). Your employees are the backbone of your business.
    • If you don’t have an employee handbook, at a minimum write down your leave policies.
  • Loans – start talking to ALL your lenders about deferring payments.
    • Have your account number ready.
    • GET THE PERSONS NAME, a physical address and an email. After your conversation, send them an email recapping what was agreed on. MAKE A PAPER TRAIL.
    • They might tell you that you can defer now but will have to pay off in a few short months. You might be able to catch up payments in a few months via an SBA loan (more about that later).
  • Foreclosures won’t happen immediately – courts are closed to non-emergency actions; HUD, Fannie and Freddie (mortgage buyers) have stated they will not foreclose or evict during the crisis.
  • Vendors – check with all to see what they are willing to do. For instance, ATT has offered to defer phone bills under certain situations.
  • Reduce expenses: save as much as you can to be able to keep paying employees
  • Start preparing financial plans for 2 months, 4 months, and ramp up when this is over. (EGBI can help)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (law passed last week)

  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
  • Employee must have worked one month to be eligible
  • Two Weeks (2) / Eighty (80) Hours paid sick leave ( for Coronavirus) at usual rate
  • Cannot force employee to use other accrued leave first
  • Eligible employees may take up to twelve (12) weeks of job-protected FMLA leave where they are unable to work or telework because of a need for leave to care for a son or daughter if their (primary or secondary) school or place of care has been closed, or their child-care provider is unavailable, because of a public health emergency declared with respect to COVID-19- coronavirus.
  • The first 10 days of FMLA leave is unpaid, but employees may elect to substitute accrued vacation, personal leave, or sick leave for the unpaid leave under this section.
  • An employer may not require such substitution.
  • After the 10 days are exhausted, employers must pay the employee not less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay for each day of FMLA leave taken thereafter, capped at $200 per day, and $10,000 in the aggregate.
  • House Bill 6201
  • What Employers need to know about Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Switching to a delivery service.

  • Insurance: if your business is moving to a delivery service using employee vehicles, make sure they have auto insurance and make sure they call their insurance company and let them know they will be using their vehicle in part for business.
    • Employer insurance: ask your insurance for a “drop down policy” to also cover the business for any auto insurance issues.

Succession planning – who can keep your business going if you were to get sick or worse.

  • Speak to an attorney about your LLC operating agreements and your estate planning documents and who can operate your business when you are not available
  • Ask about a Special power of attorney vs durable power of attorney


Lastly, small business owners can schedule telephone or Zoom coaching sessions with EGBI staff. For current clients, coaching is free during the crisis. Please visit our website for staff contact information and updated information at www.egbi.org.

Online Tips to Improve Your Business Productivity

By Nara Lee

Is your business experiencing down time?  How can we make the most of these  unexpected weeks for our small businesses? Change this time into your chance to improve your business productivity through some online activities!  Here are some tips for your work online. 

  • Prepare for incoming questions and requests

People might be facing a lot of unexpected difficulties which could last longer than what we originally anticipating. In this situation, small business owners shouldn’t panic and must prepare for incoming questions and requests from clients. For instance, the owner of a restaurant business adjust his business to now offer delivery services and prepare for cancellation calls.

  • Create and organize your client email list

You probably haven’t had enough time to create and organize your email list because of your busy schedule, but this is a necessity for all business owners. Creating and organizing email list helps you find out whom to send event information for your business marketing. When you’re organizing the list you also need to segment it, consider the type of customers you will communicate to like potential customers and current clients.

  • Make a website or rebuild your business website

After this period, you may not have the time to rebuild your business website. Take this chance to improve it which you’ve been put off for a long time. If you still don’t have your business website, I have some suggestions for website tools. Squarespace, Wix, Bigcommerce, Weebly, and WordPress are well-known website builders and Google my business also offers free website builder for small businesses.

Don’t be frustrated by this global crisis that came from the virus. You can overcome this hard time by improving your online work productivity!


Por: Carlos Nazario CPA, JD

Los contribuyentes tienen la opción de elegir la deducción del costo del uso de su vehículo por tasa de millaje estándar o los costos reales implicados. El mejor enfoque es poder calcular ambos costos y tomar la mayor deducción.

  • A partir del 1 de enero de 2020, las tarifas de millaje estándar para el uso de un automóvil (incluyendo furgonetas, camionetas o camiones) serán:
  • 57.5 centavos por milla conducida para uso comercial, menos de medio centavo de la tasa de 2019
  • 17 centavos por milla conducida con fines médicos o de mudanza, tres centavos menos que la tarifa para 2019
  • Y 14 centavos por milla conducida en servicio de organizaciones de caridad.

Entonces, por ejemplo, si en 2019 una empresa usó un automóvil exclusivamente para fines comerciales y lo condujo 15,000 millas, con los siguientes gastos reales: reparaciones y mantenimiento $ 50, gasolina $ 2,000, depreciación $ 3,000, seguro de auto $ 1,500. Los gastos reales suman un total de $ 6,550 y cuando se comparan a la cantidad de millas estándar el total es de 8,626 (15,000 x .575), el contribuyente puede optar por tomar la deducción más alta de $ 8,625.

DEductions for Mileage in 2020

By Carlos Nazario CPA, JD

Taxpayers have the option of choosing to deduct as costs of using their vehicle a   standard mileage rate or the actual costs involved. The best approach is to be able to compute both and take the biggest deduction.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

•        57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a cent from the rate for 2019,

•        17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down three cents from the rate for 2019, and

•   14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

So for example if on 2019 a business used a car exclusively for business purposes and drove it 15,000 miles, with the following actual expenses: repairs and maintenance $50, gasoline $2,000, depreciation $3,000, insurance $1,500. Actual expenses total $6,550, and when compared to the standard mileage amount of $8,625 (15,000X0.575), the taxpayer may elect to take the higher deduction of $8,625.

Quiero empezar mi negocio, pero no lo sé todo.

Por Leonardo Pozzobon

Emprender un negocio puede ser una aventura, un reto o algo que da miedo. Pregúntele a cualquier emprendedor que por qué empezó su negocio, y responderán cosas personales como “quiero trabajar en lo que me apasiona, y convertir mi hobby en un negocio”, “no soy un empleado, no está en mí tener un jefe, yo necesito dirigir y ser mi propio jefe”, o inclusive “había una oportunidad”, “este mercado existía y estaba vacío” y “yo podía hacerlo mejor”. Sigue indagando y llegará el tema “Si hubiera sabido esto antes me habría ido mejor”, y el emprendedor va a hablar de cosas que le causaron dolor y que usted puede aprender. Todos los emprendedores tienen historias para compartir sobre pasar noches sin dormir tratando de resolver problemas operativos o haber perdido negocios por falta de experiencia o no saber la respuesta a un problema. Por esto y mucho más, es importante tener acceso a recursos de quien aprender y a donde pedir consejos cuando se está en problemas.

Lamentablemente, las mejores oportunidades para aprender y ser un mejor empresario muchas veces vienen después de fracasar con un negocio anterior. Cuando estás en las malas, pasas mucho tiempo ocupado “apagando fuegos”, y no es sino cuando cierras la empresa que tienes la oportunidad de hacer un “post mortem” y entender qué pasó. Por esta razón, es importante no perder la cordura, estar consciente de cambios dentro y fuera del negocio, y hacer cambios antes que sea muy tarde.

Con respecto a este tipo de aprendizajes, es fácil buscar en Google y conseguir cientos de resultados por estas líneas: “10 cosas que debí haber sabido antes de empezar mi empresa”, “7 cosas que debes saber antes de abrir tu negocio”, “ 5 cosas importantes que aprendí con mi empresa” etc. Por supuesto, dos personas con negocios y estilos de vida totalmente diferentes van a tener aprendizajes y experiencias muy distintas, pero no hace daño escucharlos a todos y tomar nota de lo que a uno lo va a beneficiar más. Aquí hay varios aprendizajes que aplican para la mayoría de los emprendedores:

  • Vas a tener que ocuparte del negocio las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana

La diferencia más grande entre un trabajo formal y un negocio es el horario, o mejor dicho la falta de horario. Siempre va a haber un riesgo de que un proveedor tenga un problema durante la noche o un cliente tenga un problema durante el fin de semana. Tomando en cuenta estas posibilidades, haz un plan de contingencia para atender a tu cliente, y organiza a tu equipo para poder recuperarte ante cualquier eventualidad.

  • Optimiza, Externaliza y Automatiza todo lo que puedas

En EGBI hablamos con frecuencia de “Los Cuatro Roles Que Toma El Emprendedor” (Gerente de Producto, Administrador y Organizador, Vendedor y Mercadeo, Gerente de Finanzas), y queremos que entiendas la importancia de dedicar la mayor parte del tiempo a aquel rol que eres bueno. Tu trabajo de emprendedor empieza ocupándote de varios roles, y cuando tu empresa tenga cierta tracción, será hora de comenzar a buscar especialistas y así te puedas dedicar a lo que más te gusta.

  • Un trabajo medio tiempo te dará Paz Mental

Al dejar tu trabajo de tiempo completo y dedicarte a tu negocio, estás también dejando de tener un ingreso fijo y constante, y pasando a depender de variaciones temporales en tus ingresos. Para minimizar el riesgo al que te expones, puedes ahorrar y crear un pulmón financiero que te apoyará, o también conseguir un trabajo de medio tiempo que te dé una pizca de estabilidad y paz mental.

  • Cuando empiezas, todos a tu alrededor se van a emocionar y querrán ayudarte. Cuando necesites esta ayuda, te va a costar encontrarla.

La gente a tu alrededor estará emocionada y ansiando tu éxito. Sin embargo, nada garantiza que el día que necesites ayuda estarán disponibles. Por esta razón, es importante tener acceso a recursos seguros (consultores, coaches, EGBI, etc.) que estarán disponibles para ayudarte en los malos momentos.

Con esto en mente, espero ya sepas que el camino del emprendedor trae consigo dificultades y retos que hoy no hay forma de predecir, y tienes que tomar todas las oportunidades que aparezcan para aprender. Estas dificultades que mencioné arriba no son el fin del mundo, y manejar un negocio no es imposible. Los retos existen para que tú te mejores a ti mismo y a tu negocio, y el día que sientas que te enfrentes con dificultades que no sepas atacar, eres bienvenido en EGBI para entrenamiento, coaching y apoyo.

Shirts Write Men Business Help Discussion Two

I want to start my own business, but I don’t know everything.

By Leonardo Pozzobon

f you ask entrepreneurs why they started their businesses, motives spread all over the place, from following passion and wanting to turn a hobby into a business; being personally unable to hold an office job and needing to be its own boss; all the way to just “I saw an opportunity”, “I saw a market”, “I saw room for improvement”. After this, conversations often go into the “I wish I knew” topic, and that’s where pain starts talking by itself. You will hear stories about sleepless nights trying to solve operational problems and lost business opportunities due to lack of experience or not knowing where to find an answer. Thus, it always helps to have resources to learn from and reach out to in times of trouble.

The learning chance that helps one become a better business owner often comes as a result of a previously failed business. When the business owner is busy putting out fires day and night, it is only after failure that one will take the time to do a postmortem and understand what went wrong. Thus, it is important to stay on your feet, listen to your business, and make timely changes if/when needed.

A quick google search will get you to hundreds of “10 things I wish I knew before starting a business”, “7 things to know before opening your business”, “5 things I learned from running a business” and similar results. Of course this experience will be very different for people running different businesses and with different lifestyles, but here is a list of selected quotes I found quite relevant for most entrepreneurs:

  • Running the business takes 24/7

The biggest difference between a 9-to-5 job and being a business owner is the total lack of a fixed schedule. There is always the possibility for your client to have an issue with your product at an inconvenient time, or a supplier to have trouble in the middle of the night. Consider these possibilities, have contingency plans to address your customer’s needs, and organize responsibilities among your employees to ensure resiliency.

  • Optimize, outsource and automate everything you can

We at EGBI take our time to explain “The Four Roles An Entrepreneur Must Take” (Product Manager, Organizer and Manager, Marketer and Salesperson, Financier), and we emphasize that the entrepreneur must focus on the roles he is best at. Start by wearing many hats, but as soon as you have some traction, consider the best use of your scarce time will rely on dedicating your full attention to what you’re best at and outsourcing or hiring for other activities.

  • A part-time gig gives peace of mind

Once you give up a regular full time job in place of a business, you will be subject to the whims of seasonality and economic ups and downs. You can plan for these risks either by building a strong savings lung, or having a part-time gig to supplement the varying income from the business. This resiliency will give you peace of mind.

  • At the beginning everyone is excited and ready to help. When help is needed, it’s hard to come by.

People want you to succeed, and as soon as you start will get excited for your success. However, not everyone is willing or available to help you when you’re in such need for help. What should you do? Find access to reliable resources to help you through the hard times, find mentors, find a business coach.

With all this in mind, you should now know that you will face unexpected challenges, and learn from every opportunity you have. These common challenges I mentioned are not the end of the world, and do not mean that running a business is impossible. Challenges and obstacles are there for you to improve yourself and your business, and once you get to such a point in your entrepreneurial adventure, you will be more than welcome at EGBI for training, coaching and support.

Shirts Write Men Business Help Discussion Two

Steps to moving forward with your business

By Joni Foster

The first step to starting a business

One of the first questions I ask a new client is, “When do you want to open your business? Tell me a date.”

I often get a blank look from my client. “I don’t know” is not acceptable. We sit together and come up with a date because setting the date makes things fall into place.

Once my client has said the date out loud, she often gets a look on her face of excitement and terror at the same time.  Excitement because it now sounds real. Terror because she doesn’t know how to make it happen. 

Once we make the goal, though, we can start making a plan. We quickly start making a list of what must be done before that date arrives. The list starts telling us other things like what she or he needs to buy and how much money she needs to get started. If we need to adjust the date, that’s okay. We just need to make a goal to get the process started.


Goals are aspirational destinations. Goals are not what you have to do. Goals are how you know when you have arrived. Goals tell you WHY you are doing what you are doing.

Plans are your best guess today on HOW you will get to your goal. There are many “almost right” ways to get there and almost never “the perfect way” to do it. There are a few “horribly wrong” ways to get there. Horribly wrong ways are often great stories at a party five years from now.

Goals tells you the destination for your journey, but the journey will only be fun if you stay flexible along the way. If this is your first time on this journey, there is so much to see and do along the way. Set up your journey so that you don’t have to be in a rush to get to your goal.

Fail fast, fail often, fail forward.  You can’t start something new knowing how to do it.

Your best advisor is someone who has done it before. They can tell you all their mistakes so you don’t have to make them, too.

It has to be okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn and grow.

Research, plan and go!

My husband and I moved out to the country a few years back. It was a very strange environment for us having lived in the city most of our lives. But together we had dreamed of having our little plot of land and now here we were.  Pretty quickly, we realized we didn’t know how to do all the things that this new environment required. How do we build a chicken coop? How do we fix a leaky roof? How do we keep critters out of the house?

Ten years later, here’s my recommendation for tackling new things:

  • Research: Find local folk who know more than you do; and use the internet to ask questions
  • Plan: Lay out your plan including how much it’s going to cost.
  • Action: Just do it.

The last one has been the hardest for me, being a perfectionist. I don’t want to start something new until I know exactly how to do it. Thankfully, early on, my husband and I made a pact: we weren’t going to let “not knowing” stop us from “doing”. We gave ourselves permission to fail.

I have learned to just start with what I know, make a bunch of mistakes, and do it again. We look around our property today and feel very proud at all the improvements we have made. I can also tell you stories about what didn’t work, but we had to do it wrong many times before we got it right.