This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/17/19

This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/17/19

Hi everyone, 

Spring has sprung the grass has ris, I wonder where the flowers is. 🙂 Okay, I’m wishing there, but spring is close. Anyway, here’s what I have to share this week:

  • my podcast episode on how to share your story and create a great “About” page for your website, and
  • my weekly farm marketing tip.

First up, this week’s podcast called How to Write a Great About Page for Your Farm. This week I walk you through how to create an About page that not only shares your farm story, but trains your future customers to take action. I know that many farmers struggle with sharing their story, and if you aren’t sure what a great about page is, or how to create it, tune in. Help is here 🙂

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.” 


 This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by

Farmers Web: Software for Your Farmfarmers web


 and sponsored by:

CoolBot, Home of The Most Revolutionary Walk-in Cooler on the Planet

FYI, get $20 off a new CoolBot by clicking the logo below!

 

coolbot discount

 


 

Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:
Define a marketing objective for each page of your website  

 You probably have several pages on your website, right? Your home page, your about page, a contact page and probably one or more pages that list what products you offer. You may have online shopping pages, FAQ pages and more. But do you have a clear and measurable marketing objective for each of those pages?

Probably not.

That’s because most people still think of websites as online brochures. So, when they craft their pages, they think of them more as a “list” of things they do or offer.

Wouldn’t it be better if you defined a clear and measurable marketing goal for each page of your website? Because your pages exist, why, exactly? Just to give someone something to read? No…they’re there to further your business goals. To bring in new customers, right? And to be found when people search for you.

Take a look at each page, including each blog post if you’re a blogger, and answer, “what is my marketing goal for this page?” Make sure the goal is both measurable and helps you to bring in subscribers and customers. If it doesn’t, why do you have the page in the first place?


 

thanks for your kind words

  • A review of Small Farm Nation Academy: “#businesssaver“ I see this lifting our business out of a stall. My husband and I are extremely invested and excited about what we’ve watched and implemented. I originally thought the course would help me with a website. Who knew it was actually a coaching session for my business?! Thank you so much.” – Jennifer, Moxie Farms

 

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This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/17/19

This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/10/19

Hi everyone,

I. Am. Ready. For. Spring!!! But Mother Nature isn’t…quite yet. Still, that didn’t stop me from doing what I do every late winter…planting trees. I planted 8 apple trees, along with grape vines, plum, peach, almond and various berry plants. Ah, if only someone would have done this for me 20 years ago 🙂

  • my podcast on why your farm should avoid sales funnels and marketing gimmicks,
  • my weekly farm marketing tip,
  • commentary on the most interesting thing I read this week, and
  • current farm and food safety news of interest.

First up, this week’s podcast where I dive into the issue of sales funnels. I’ve heard some (ridiculous) advice that farmers need to either only use sales funnels (and not have a website) or that they should embrace the Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula model in selling farm products. In this episode I cover:

  • What a sales funnel is.
  • All about Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula.
  • What landing pages are and how to use them.
  • Why a sales funnel cannot be your farm’s website.
  • Why you’ll want to avoid gimmicks and slick sales funnels with your farm marketing efforts.
  • Where you can use sales funnels with marketing farm products.
  • And much more.

I have some strong opinions about sales funnels to share in this episode, so LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.”

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Small Farm Nation podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn or Stitcher.


This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by
Farmers Web: Software for Your Farm
farmers web


Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:
Create a viral giveaway to drive explosive email list growth

This is something I’ve done a few times, most recently in this CoolBot giveaway, where I added almost 500 subscribers in a week. The approach is to create a viral giveaway using KingSumo Giveaways, a WordPress plugin. Third-party tools like this are one reason why I recommend only using WordPress as your web platform rather than Squarespace, Wix, Weebly or closed platforms.  

Here’s why this is a “viral” technique.

Normally when someone enters a giveaway they have only one entry. But KingSumo creates an incentive for people to not only enter, but to share and promote the contest on social media.

How?

Because when they refer, lets say, 3 friends to enter the giveaway with their unique link, they receive 3 more entries, thus INCREASING their chances at winning. And for every new email sign up that they refer, they get 3 (or whatever number you choose) additional entries into the contest. So they dramatically increase their chances of winning by sharing it with their friends and telling them to sign up.

Visualize this.

Imagine that one person refers 3 new people, who each refer 3 more people, each referring 3 more people. All of the sudden, that one single email subscriber just turned into 48 email subscribers. So you can add a LOT of subscribers to your list quickly.

A word of caution though, because many of these subscribers may not be qualified as likely customers for you, right? And you don’t want a big list of people who will never buy from you. So, you can qualify them by how you choose what prize to promote.

For instance, if it were half a lamb that had to be picked up locally, you wouldn’t get entrants from the other side of the world. So align your giveaway with your offering so you only attract qualified subscribers 🙂


Most Interesting Thing I Read This Week:
T
hank golfers (not farmers) for CURRENT Daylight Savings Time

This week I tried to explain to my six-year old daughter why the time was changing today. I stuttered for a moment, then quickly changed the subject. To me, anyway, it’s a ridiculous practice that I wish we’d have the sense to do away with. But why did we start it in the first place?

We can thank Germany and Austria for getting the ball rolling. Both countries adopted the practice in 1916 and were quickly followed by much of Europe. That prompted the U.S. to formally enact An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States‘  in 1918. But the law proved so unpopular that it was repealed in 1919, although individual states were allowed to keep Daylight Savings Time as a local option.

Fast forward over 25 years to World War II, and FDR instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, which was called “War Time,” from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. But then it ended. From 1945 to 1966, there was no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time, so states and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. And confusion set in.

If I think it’s hard to explain to my daughter what Daylight Savings Time is now, imagine if I had to explain it 50 years ago! In the early 1960s, observance of Daylight Saving Time was very inconsistent, with a scattering of time observances, and no agreement at all about when to change clocks. But, by 1966 100 million Americans observed Daylight Saving Time based on local laws and customs. Therefore, Congress ended the confusion and established the Uniform Time Act of 1966. That  created Daylight Saving Time, which was to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the last Sunday of October. Any State that wanted to be exempt from Daylight Saving Time could do so by passing a state law.

Okay, so if it was to begin on the last Sunday in April, why are we here in 2019 “springing forward” on the second Sunday in March? Well, according to Michael Downing, a professor at Tufts University and the author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness Of Daylight Saving Time,” the golf industry estimated the game would increase revenue by $400 million if Daylight Savings began a month earlier. It’s good for golf is because it creates more daylight when people are likely to play.

But the original factor that led to current Daylight Savings Time adoption was to reduce energy use. But studies suggest that energy usage decreases very little, because any reduction in light usage is offset by increased air conditioner use.

So, what do I tell my daughter? I guess I just say believe whatever the clock says. Because any time change doesn’t impact us anyway. We homeschool her and rarely leave our homestead. We almost never have meetings that require coordinated time, and the animals we’re surrounded by still rise and settle based on natural daylight, regardless of what the clock says. 

We pretty much do the same.


Farm & Food Safety News 

U.S. bolsters ‘Beagle Brigade’ to sniff out deadly hog virus

The U.S. government will employ more dogs to sniff out illegal pork products at airports and seaports in an effort to…

Free-range eggs producer accused of deceiving US consumers

Nellie’s Free Range Eggs packaging shows hens in open pastures, but lawsuit alleges as many as 20,000 are crammed into sheds…

Water additive recalled for potentially deadly bacteria

The FDA says drinking the water has the “remote probability of necessitating medical or surgical intervention…


thanks for your kind words

  • A review of Small Farm Nation Academy: For Non-Farmers Too! After reading Tim’s books and hearing his podcast I knew he was a real sharp business person with a heart for helping people. So when the Small Farm Nation Academy opened, I jumped in immediately. I’m finding the courses on marketing just as relevant to my pest control business today as they will be to my future farm business!” – Coby, Coby’s Pest Control

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This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/17/19

This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/3/19

Hi everyone,

What a great week! I had good enough weather to build a new chicken coop and still got a lot of “business” work done. Here’s what I have to share:

  • my discussion with Joel Salatin about How to Quit a Job and Start a Farm,
  • my weekly farm marketing tip,
  • commentary on the most interesting thing I read this week, and
  • current farm and food safety news of interest.

First up, this week’s podcast with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Joel and I had a wonderfully provocative discussion about how to quit an unfulfilling job and start a farm business. Joel offered some real gems in this episode, as he outlines his seven rules for starting a profitable farm. We talk at length about his latest book, Your Successful Farm Business, which can be thought of as a graduate course to the book that got so many people started in farming, You Can Farm!

You’ve heard Joel and you’ve seen him in movies discuss the importance of regenerative agriculture. Now listen as he outlines step-by-step how to quit your job and start your own profitable farm, so LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.”

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Small Farm Nation podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn or Stitcher.


This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by
Farmers Web: Software for Your Farm
farmers web


Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:
Schedule This Year’s Events  

If you haven’t done so already, schedule your farm events for this year. These can include farm tours, market dates, and any special events, such as farm dinners, instruction classes and so on.

Be sure to align your events with your brand positioning, and make sure they’re relevant for your audience. If you’re selling premium artisan cheese to foodies then a corn maze probably isn’t the event you want to focus on. Think more along the lines of cheese appreciation dinners paired with local wines, brews, and spirits.

Farm events can be a great offering. Not only can they be real money makers, but, when done well, they create deep, lasting relationships with customers who now have a bond with the farm.

I know what I’m talking about here…I’ve done lots of these farm events. I think it’s a great opportunity for you too, and now’s the time to plan out yours for next year.


lab grown meat

The Most Interesting Thing I Read This Week

Cultured Meat is Much Better than Animal Agriculture? (as seen in The Conversation)

Okay, I’ll tell you right off the bat this article gets all five of my F-Bombs.

The article, written by a name-dropping (Bill Gates, Richard Branson) moral psychologist, attempts to make the case for why we should embrace replacing animal agriculture with “cultured” meat. Meat that’s grown from stem cells taken from a live animal without the need for slaughter.

One of the quotes that really hit me was this one:

Perhaps the loudest opposition to cultured meat is that it’s unnatural. This argument relies on the premise that natural things are better than unnatural things.

Uh, yeah! At least when it comes to what we put in our bodies, natural things ARE better than unnatural things. How do you think we humans got to this point in the first place? By eating REAL (natural) foods, of course!

And the article completely misses the point that animals on pasture provide a critical source of fertilizer that’s critical for regenerative agriculture. But, of course anyone who suggests that fake meat is better than real meat would also suggest that chemical fertilizers are better than animal fertilizers.

There’s no reason for me to rant about this. Read it for yourself and choose your own position. Regardless, with big names and big money behind it, get ready to not only see cultured meat on the shelves and menus, but to not even know if you’re eating it. Because big money will influence legislation and labeling as well.

Of course, I do agree with the idea of ending factory farming, but there’s a much better way to do that than making meat in a lab.

Find a pasture-based farmer. And buy from them.


Farm & Food in the News 

86 Tons of Boston Market Frozen Meals Recalled Because They May Be Contaminated with Glass or Plastic

If you recently bought some frozen meals from Boston Market and they’re still in your freezer, you might want to pull them out and look them over. About 86 tons worth of Boston Market’s boneless pork rib patties were recalled because they may be contaminated with pieces of glass or hard plastic…

Green beans, butternut squash recalled for listeria risk in 9 states; Walmart affected

Bagged green beans and butternut squash shipped to nine states – and retailers including Walmart – are being recalled for the potential risk of listeria contamination…

Houston seafood company recalls more than 50 tons of catfish

A Houston-based seafood company is recalling more than 50 tons (45 metric tons) of wild-caught catfish …


thanks for your kind words

  • A recent Facebook review of Small Farm Nation: “Tim has been invaluable in helping me realize my farm dream. One goal I had was to create a weekly podcast to engage with my customers and to help build my email list. I procrastinated for some time. Tim kept bringing me back on track recommending that I the focus on cheese. Hooray! I’m now fully engaged with the podcast which revolves around cheese. I now have the proper perspective on how to use it to market my business. Thank you so much Tim!!” – Melanie, Peaceful Heart Farm

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This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/17/19

This Week in Small Farm Nation: 2/24/19

Hi everyone,

I have some inspiring and fun news to share, including:

  • a really fun and inspiring interview with a profitable flower farmer,
  • my weekly farm marketing tip,
  • commentary on the most interesting thing I read this week, and
  • current farm and food safety news of interest.

First up, this week’s podcast with Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm near Asheville. I really enjoyed my conversation with Niki because, most of the time, I’m speaking with livestock farmers.Or dealing with my own livestock. Starting and running a flower farm is a bit alien to me, so I was fascinated to learn about Niki’s experience in both growing flowers and providing/arranging flowers for weddings. That’s a bit out of my comfort zone 😉

We covered everything about starting and running a profitable flower farm, from capital and land requirements to agritourism and events to pest control, harvest schedules and everything in between.

This is an inspiring entrepreneurial farm story, so LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.”


This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by
Farmers Web: Software for Your Farm

farmers web


and sponsored by:

CoolBot, Home of The Most Revolutionary Walk-in Cooler on the Planet

FYI, get $20 off a new CoolBot by clicking the logo below!

coolbot discount


Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:
don’t make this common “list building” mistake  

“List building” is the phrase used to describe the practice of building your email list. And this week I want to remind you about a huge mistake that over 90% of ALL businesses make with their email list.

Whether you’re a farm, restaurant or any other business selling directly to customers, building your email list HUGELY IMPORTANT. Like, way more important than getting followers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter and elsewhere. Because the primary purpose of those social platforms is to just funnel people into your email list anyway, so you can market to them directly.

To understand this big mistake you’re likely making let’s walk through the most common approaches to list building. 

Now, the good news is that most people have an email capture form on their websites (please tell me that you have a HIGHLY VISIBLE email capture form on your site). But, in most cases the email capture form simply says, “sign up for our newsletter” or something like that. And that’s a big problem in itself, because signing up for a newsletter isn’t much of an incentive to the visitor.

But that’s not the big mistake I want to focus on today.

The mistake, and the opportunity, I want to concentrate on is what happens AFTER someone signs up for your list. 90% of the time they see a “success” message or similar, and they’re not redirected anywhere.

AND THAT IS THE HUGE MISTAKE.

The new subscriber should be redirected to a “Thank You” page. To see an example of exactly how this should work, go to smallfarmnation.com/habits and download my free guide, the 7 Marketing Traits of Highly Successful Farms. When you sign up you’ll immediately be taken to a thank you page. Click the image below to check it out for yourself.

Now, here’s why this thank you page is so important.

This “Thank You” page is the ONLY time that you are 100% guaranteed your new subscriber will see your message. This is your ONLY opportunity to be absolutely certain this new potential customer, who has shared an email address, will read what you have to say.

Why?

Because many people who sign-up never even see your confirmation emails, or your follow-up emails. Often it’s simply because Gmail or their email service provider puts your message in a promotional or SPAM folder and the person doesn’t check there.

By contrast, when you create a proper thank you page the new subscriber is directed to that page on YOUR website. So you still have them there. Then, on that thank you page, you can start a conversation with them.Again, this is the only message from you that you can be 100% certain the new subscriber sees. Because they’re directed there when they sign up.

 If you want to read all about how to create your Thank You page and what should be on it, see this post and podcast episode I did on the subject. And create your own Thank You page ASAP!


The Most Interesting Thing I Read This Week

Lawmaker wants to make it illegal to drink fresh milk from your own cow
I wrote about this issue a few weeks ago, but now my blood is really boiling. Here’s the actual proposed bill, and here’s what this bill proposes:

prohibits a person who owns a partial interest in a hoofed mammal from using the milk of the animal for the person’s personal consumption or other personal use.

Okay, so this is so preposterous that it has forced me to come up with a ranking system for news like this. I call it my F-Bomb scale, and it works like this.

So, I don’t know where you come down on the raw milk issue, before or against. And I don’t really care. But if you care about freedom this has really got to get your blood boiling. I mean, how the heck have we elected lawmakers who want to propose that you can’t make butter, cheese or drink milk from YOUR OWN animal on YOUR OWN land? I mean, I gotta watch my language on these newsletters because, you know, mama might read it. But WTF?

So, yeah, this story scores all 5 F-Bombs (mom, the “f” means farm).

 


Farm & Food in the News 

An End to Food Allergies – CBS News

By comparison, this CBS news story gets only One F-Bomb from me. Because they’re basically saying what I and other farmers/homesteaders have been saying for quite some time. We’re too clean. This of course gets to the heart of the “hygiene hypothesis” which I’m definitely a believer of. There are countless articles that support this theory, including the article, “Kids Raised on Farms Are Healthier in Two Important Ways.”

I’m thrilled that we raise our daughter in this type of environment, but I know that most people can’t. Totally get it. But, what you can do is this…find a farmer, buy from them as frequently as you would a grocery store, and visit them. Let your kids get out there on farm tours, see the animals, harvest the produce and get involved.

You know how when you go into a grocery store they have those sanitation wipes so you can wipe those cooties off the shopping cart? THAT’S THE PROBLEM!

We don’t have sanitation wipes on farms. We have dirt and plenty of it. You probably do, too, right in your backyard. So let your kids scoop some up and play in it. If you’re looking for ideas, I wrote a whole book of games and survival skills called Playful Preparedness.


thanks for your kind words

  • A recent iTunes review of Small Farm Nation: “I’ve listened to every episode and a handful of them multiple times. My goal is to leave the safety of a traditional job and income and spend all my time on the 40 acres we recently bought. Woven throughout ever podcast is the idea that 80% of your time is spent on some form of marketing. No one else elegantly weaves this into the culture like Tim does. So important! Thank you!” – Kevin, Bear Bottom Acres

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This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/17/19

This Week in Small Farm Nation: 2/17/19

Hi everyone,

This was another awesome week and I have some inspiring and fun news to share, including:

  • an informative podcast interview about tanning animal hides,
  • my weekly farm marketing tip,
  • commentary on the most interesting thing I read this week, and
  • current farm and food safety news of interest.

First up, this week’s podcast with Sarah Scully from Vermont Natural SheepskinsWhen Sarah sent one of her lamb hides off to be tanned, she discovered she had an allergic reaction to the chemicals the tannery used and wondered if there was a better way. When she couldn’t find any organic tanneries in the United States, she rushed off to the U.K., where she learned the art of organically preserving sheepskins. She returned home to Vermont, quit her job as a librarian and started Vermont Natural Sheepskins. 

This is an inspiring entrepreneurial story, so LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.”


This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by
Farmers Web: Software for Your Farm

Create your own availability calendar to show buyers your product availability for the whole year! Check out the Farmers Web availability calendar here.


Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:
IT’S ABOUT YOU, NOT YOUR “IDEAL CUSTOMER”  

Stop looking for your ideal customer. Stop wasting time defining your “avatar.” I gave you five reasons why this isn’t necessary in my article/episode, The “Ideal Customer” Myth, so I won’t rehash them all here. It’s just one of those phrases that people hear and start repeating until they believe it.

Please! This notion of focusing your farm marketing on an ideal customer avatar will set you on the wrong path.

As I said in the article, I sure as hell didn’t start that way on my farm, or in any business I’ve started. And I know from conversations that Joel didn’t start by looking for an ideal customer at Polyface. Neither did Greg Judy, Will at White Oak Pastures, Paul at Primal Pastures, Greg at Gunthorp Farms, Jordan at J&L Green Farm, Curtis Stone (the Urban Farmer), John Suscovich or anyone else I’ve interviewed.

Instead of thinking about what your mythical ideal customer may look like, do this:

  • Nail down your mission and values, making sure they are clear and concise.
  • Take a stand for or against something.
  • Regardless of whether you stand for or against something (likely it will be both) make sure you inspire people to take a positive action.
  • Reach under your bed, pull out your soapbox, hop aboard and promulgate your values. Loud and repeatedly.
  • Always ask for the sale! But you don’t phrase it that way…you ask people to HELP you end factory farming (or whatever). The way they help is to buy from you.

That means that every social post, every blog post, every newsletter should start a dialogue with your audience centered on your values. So stop posting so many pics of your piggies frolicking. That’s cute and all but makes it easy for people to thumb and swipe to the next meaningless item in their feed.

Instead, ask provocative questions or make strong statements that force people to stop, think and react. Even if they react negatively (hey, maybe they love CAFO’s). Give people something to react to and get involved with.  And ask them to take action to support your cause (by buying from you).

The successful farmers you’ve read about didn’t start by creating an ideal customer profile. And they didn’t create one later, either. Instead, they all TOOK A STAND. By doing so, they inspired others to hop aboard their train and buy from them. Those who did, by default, became their “ideal customers.”

So be the conductor of your own train and inspire people to seek you and join you, rather than you trying to find them. Because you’ll get way more marketing leverage by becoming a magnet than becoming a hunter.


The Most Interesting Thing I Read This Week

The Bloomberg headline,”Cows Get Own Tinder-Style App for Breeding” got my attention for a couple of reasons. For one, I didn’t know what the hell Tinder was. I soon learned it was a dating app of sorts. Here’s their description:

“With 30 billion matches to date, Tinder® is the world’s most popular app for meeting new people. If you’re here to meet new people, find a Valentine’s day date, expand your social network, meet locals when you’re traveling, or just live in the now, you’ve come to the right place. We’re called “the world’s hottest app” for a reason: we spark more than 26 million matches per day.”

Of course I’ve never heard of it. I’m very happily married and the only dating I think about is who to breed my milk cow too.

Apparently I’m not alone, and that’s what the Bloomberg article was about. There’s a new “tinder” style app called “Tudder” that allows farmers to find dates for their cows. Here are some screenshots from the app:

cow dating app

So, technology is alive and well in the world of farming.


Farm & Food in the News 


thanks for your kind words

  • A review of Small Farm Nation Academy: “Tim’s feedback helped me focus on what needs to be done and the steps I need to take to get there–all before even following the first course. His knowledge and desire to help his fellow farmer shines through! I’ve been extremely impressed with the content of the academy!” – Teresa, Bracken Belle Creamery

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This Week in Small Farm Nation: 3/17/19

This Week in Small Farm Nation: 2/10/19

Hi folks,

I’ve got some great content for you this week:

  • my podcast about starting up a new farm with Paul from Pasturebird and from Primal Pastures,
  • my weekly farm marketing tip,
  • commentary on the most interesting thing I read this week, and
  • current farm and food safety news of interest.

First up, this week’s podcast with Paul Grieve of Pasturebird. Now, a lot of people have started a small pastured poultry operation, but how many actually turn them into a thriving business? Paul is on a mission to make Pasturebird a national brand for pasture raised chicken.  As a former CPA, Paul quit his job as an accountant and started a business that’s producing 300,000 chickens a year, all on pasture.

Paul is also one of the founders of Primal Pastures, a family-owned pastured farm offering grassfed beef, lamb, chicken, pork and more. But whereas Primal Pastures sells directly to the public, PastureBird was created to sell wholesale. Pasturebird’s chickens are enjoyed by the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers and numerous chefs and consumers in southern California. So Paul and I discuss selling wholesale vs direct to consumers, and we also discuss shipping meat, since both Pasturebird and Primal Pastures do exactly that.

We also dive-in to how online marketing and public relations have been invaluable tools for Paul in building their business, from start-up to multi-million dollars per year in just a few short years. Paul also discusses the importance of building a recognizable farm brand, something I’ve discussed many times.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say: Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.


This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by
Farmers Web: Software for Your Farm

 

Create your own availability calendar to show buyers your product availability for the whole year! Check out the Farmers Web availability calendar here.


Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:
EMBRACE COLLABORATIVE MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES 

A lot of farmers and small business owners get stuck with marketing. What tactics they should implement, why they should do them, how they should them and so on. Paralysis sets in and they all too often do nothing, other than random acts of marketing.

One way you can get some traction with your marketing is to embrace opportunities to collaborate with others. Think of this like a strategic alliance, though not as formal and, perhaps, only for a specific campaign.

Here are some examples:

  • A farm approaches a respected chef to collaborate on a marketing campaign to promote the virtues of a heritage breed or heirloom varieties. They come up with a social media and content marketing strategy to promote these virtues to drive traffic to the restaurant. The consumers win, the chef wins and the farmer, who sells the heritage meats/veggies to the chef, wins.
  • A pasture-based meat farm plans/hosts a farm dinner and partners with other farmers to fill out the menu. Perhaps the farm recruits a well-known chef, as I did, when James Beard award-winning Hugh Acheson cooked Ossabaw pork for 150 of my guests. For this dinner (pics below), we partnered with vegetable and fruit farms, a bluegrass band and a local winery. Each of them promoted the event to their own fans, helping to create buzz for our event and awareness of our farm. If you don’t have a great place for an event, don’t worry. We held ours under a rickety old pole barn and everyone had a great time.

farm dinner

  • A cheese maker offers to speak at a restaurant or event during dinner to discuss the history of and process for making the cheese patrons are enjoying. I’ve done this a few times. It benefits the restaurant and opens a direct relationship between the customers and the cheese maker.
  • Two farms, offering different products, form a delivery club. They divide specific marketing responsibilities, i.e., social media platforms, email, etc.

There’s no reason to list more…the opportunities are endless for collaborative marketing. Just find someone with, A) a common objective and B) a non-competing offering. 


The Most Interesting Thing I Read This Week

CNBC ran an article called, “How to know when to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur.” What I found interesting is the three things they uncovered that united the entrepreneurs who actually succeed. Those three things were:

  1. Having a dream
  2. Having a catalyst
  3. Getting buy-in

In my entrepreneurial experience, the first two are absolutely critical. The third…I don’t agree with at all.

Having a dream, or having a vision, is crucial. That entrepreneurial vision is what provides the fuel to propel the business owner and all stakeholders. In farming, stakeholders include family members, community members and local-food businesses such as restaurants and retailers.

Of all the entrepreneurial traits and skills I’ve relied on over the past 25 years, the vision is the most critical for me. Because when you solidify a truly inspiring vision, you can’t stop pursuing it, even if you’d like to. And, for many of us, that becomes…

The catalyst.

Back in 1994, I was struggling to find the courage to quit my job. I had been president of a division of a Fortune 500 company for eight years and, apparently, was living the dream. But it was a dream where I was an employee, and that meant I was restricted. I wanted freedom.

In the search for courage I contacted every successful entrepreneur I read about in the Boston Globe. I visited them to seek where they found their courage to start. You know what I found in almost all cases?

They started their business after having been laid off or downsized. In other words, their catalyst was external.

That’s fine, but was of no help to me. I couldn’t rely on an external catalyst to ditch a high-paying secure job. What I could rely on was my passion to pursue something I believed in: my vision. 

What I don’t agree with in the article is the need to get buy-in, or external support. I mean, of course you need family buy-in, but that’s not external. If you have an inspiring vision then why in the hell do you need my buy-in, or anyone else’s? 

Instead, what you likely need is resources to help you realize your vision. That I do agree with. Resources can take the form of:

  • advisors, such as CPA’s or lawyers,
  • consultants and mentors, 
  • professional training and coaching (which is why I offer the Academy),
  • incubators and so on.

If you want to be a business owner rather than an employee, my advice is to focus on your vision. Your “what and why.” Then you won’t have a choice but to pursue your passion. 


Farm & Food in the News 


thanks for your kind words

  • A review of Small Farm Nation Academy: “Absolutely money very well spent!!! Small Farm Nation Academy helps with all aspects of building a farm business and even helps navigate running a top notch FarmPress website! ” – Samantha, My Barefoot Farm

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