A self-employed farrier working on a horse

The 5 Year Assessment – Do you Enjoy Being Self Employed?

Last week we talked about the three-year evaluation of your farrier practice. This week we will cover the 5-year assessment. Start by taking a good hard look at yourself and your practice. Do you still enjoy being self-employed?

Ask yourself these things:

  • Have you stopped washing your truck? Is it just filthy and disorganized inside?
  • Have your clients became a problem rather than an opportunity?
  • Are you talking people out of creative solutions because it's just not worth the effort to you?
  • Have you lost sight of your personal appearance? You don’t need to wear a suit to shoe horses but if you are unshaven in dirty clothes that's a problem.
  • Do you resent phone calls from clients because you'd rather lose the client than engage in a conversation about their horse?
  • Do you find yourself shoeing every horse the same way every time?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, you're just an employee of your practice, and you’re not a very good one. You’ve lost sight of your primary aim and your strategic objective. Would you hire somebody unshaven, unkempt, and apathetic to work in your truck?

If you doubt that this works, think about your next big project. You’re going to build a deck, put in a garden, or construct a shop — something you enjoy doing. While you're out shoeing and driving around, think about this project and how much fun it’s going to be. Build everything in your brain 4 or 5 times and figure out how long it's going to take you and how much money you need.

When the time comes to start working on that project, you're up at sunrise, you're singing along to the radio, you're working and having a great time. Why? Because you're accomplishing the goals that you set for yourself. You know where you are, you know where you're going, you know how far you’ve come, and you have the energy to do the work.

A lack of energy in your shoeing practice suggests you’re living life on accident. After five years of shoeing, it’s time to gravitate toward a specialty. Here’s your goal. People will same your name plus hunter jumper, or barrel horses, or reiners, or dressage.

Name Your Specialty

When your name is linked to a specialty, you can charge a premium. Start by seeking out experts in that discipline. Read about it, find successful farriers around the country that are doing what you want to do.

Contact these people. Find out what it takes to ride along in their truck for a week. Just don't ride anybody's rig, find the person who's making the most money doing what you want to do, and ride in their truck.

At year five, it’s time to find someone to evaluate the mechanics of your trim and shoeing. The best way to do that is through a certification with the AFP. You can also do start contesting and find a mentor to evaluate your work and make sure you're not getting into bad habits.

Set Your 10 Year Goals

Just like with the 3-year assessment, the final step of the 5-year evaluation is developing a plan for the next five years. This plan should include attending clinics, reading books, and completely dedicating yourself to this profession.

The best way to predict your future is to create it. The harder you work, the luckier you get. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is successful people have a vision for their life, and they work on it every day.

When you put your plan together, you're going to have people telling you it won’t work. We’re here to differ with that opinion. There's a Chinese proverb that says, “the man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the man doing it.”

Sit down and write out a 10-year plan for your shoeing practice. Set up your business to grow in the direction it needs to get the kind of clients that you want to work with. What do you have to lose?

Do you think you would like being self-employed? Apply Now