Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Daniel Given, owner of Mountain State Farm, located in Strange Creek, WV, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our customers come to us for high-quality, humanely-raised local meat. We raise grass-fed American Bison that are free to roam and graze in our pastures. We also raise pastured poultry that is moved through our meadows daily to provide regenerative nutrients to the soil and delicious chicken meat. Finally. We also raise pigs that are free to root, roam, and receive supplementary forage in our silvopasture. We strive for transparency, so consumers are connected to their food source!
Tell us about yourself
Family farms and ranches always seem to have a way of luring the ones who leave back. I am no different. There is a lot of hard work and tangible satisfaction with farming and ranching. When you look out your window every morning and see your progress, you feel deep joy. However, the work never ends, so you have to learn to enjoy the journey. I always knew I would come back to the farm but was unsure of how to make it sustainable - both financially and environmentally. Raising bison and delivering a finished product directly to the consumer seemed to be the answer for me. There has always been a love and connection I have had for the family farm, and seeing incremental progress motivates me to get up early and work late. I am not much of an artist, but I see the farm as my canvas and enjoy painting the picture and the creativity that comes with the journey.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am guilty of always looking ahead to the next challenge, but my greatest accomplishment is when a customer tells me how much they enjoyed the meat that I sold them. It means the world.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The buck stops with you. There is no hiding from responsibility. Everyone looks to you to solve the problems. Whether they are financial, technological, or operational, you're in charge. You can always ask for advice, help, and input, but ultimately the responsibility lies with you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I recommend starting your business on the side while you maintain your current day job/career. There is always time on the weekends and in the evenings to start planning and working on your business. During this time, you will also discover if you have the dedication and necessary passion for forgoing other "fun" activities to work on your business.
- Build up reserves of cash while putting yourself in a strong financial position before quitting your "day" job.
- Be cognizant that there will be differing opinions on your business choice, strategy, and execution by others. Some input will be good, and some will be bad. Carefully filter out the bad advice and utilize the good advice.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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