Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jared Uecker, owner of O’tillie Meats, located in Lincoln, NE, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Since 2017, this family-run meat shop has been providing our customers with local meat products on a small scale, working almost entirely with whole animal butchery. We support the farmers that are taking the time, care, and attention to raise their animals in the highest of regard in relation to feeding, welfare, environmental impact, and humaneness. We are fighting back against the idea that quality food should come with a price tag, and we believe that we ALL deserve proper food sources.
Tell us about yourself
I'm the grandson of a butcher that grew up working on a small family farm in Northeast Nebraska. Spent most all of my adult life working in food service with jobs in restaurants, bakeries, and country clubs. Graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Moved to Oregon in 2015 to pursue a career in cocktail bartending and winemaking, which is where I sort of stumbled into a career in butchery after meeting Zeph from Proletariat Butchery and acting as an apprentice.
Each day I strive to work only with the best in local animals, coming directly from farms in and near our community. Knowing these farmers and their practices helps me to pass along knowledge to my customers, being 100% transparent in each and every step along the process.
I'm motivated by simply having the opportunity to connect with others. Be it the farms we work with, customers, or fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners, I just love meeting and learning more about people.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Balance and Longevity. We are coming up on five years since we first started this dream, and I'm praying for many, many more to come! I'm proud of the balance I've been able to achieve between work, family life, and personal time. Often as entrepreneurs, we are led to believe the only way to succeed is to adopt a mentality in which we work constantly, pushing ourselves to the point of physical and mental exhaustion.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being kind to yourself. It's easy as a small business owner to continue to judge yourself constantly. To compare yourself to others and feel like there are just never enough hours in the day to actually get everything accomplished. More often than not, you're always feeling like you're behind and just not quite where you'd like to be. You continue day after day to raise the benchmark just out of reach. It keeps you growing and improving but can be incredibly tough on you mentally.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure it's something you truly enjoy, a job you can see yourself doing for quite some time. Chances are you'll be doing the same task day after day, so you best like it!
- There's no time like the present! I know it sounds cliché, but you've just got to start. You'll never have enough money, enough experience, enough of anything to be in your dream start-up position truly; there will most certainly always be something out of place.
- It's ok to ask for help. You don't have to fight this battle all on your own! So many times, I've had to rely on family, friends, and others to help me get things accomplished! Also, there are plenty of amazing resources out there to help you get going. Just don't be afraid to ask!
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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