In the beginning when I first decided to turn my hobby into a business I was asked by so many people “WHY“? Every time I was asked this question, I would again ask myself why? There were the usual answers, such as working for myself, working my own hours, being able to work around my children and family life and personal satisfaction, but – if truth be known – it was something I was passionate about and I had self-belief that I had a great product that the market was missing.
There is a need in the market place for a product such as mine; the feedback that I received from those who tried my jerky all confirmed for me that my passion for creating a wonderful product was not wasted. It was quickly becoming apparent that Nicks Beef Jerky had a place in the world, not just my heart.
This is when I started to face my first challenge: cash flow. It was my first major issue – when making jerky for friends or family I could ask for the money upfront to purchase meat or even get them to buy their own meat, but I couldn’t ask that of new customers. As my confidence in myself and my product grew I booked Nicks Beef Jerky into our first event (March 2013) and with a meagre budget I purchased all the meat I could and made 4 flavours jerky. That event was over in a flash but I had $1200 in my pocket and lots of very happy people asking where they could buy more. There was a demand for my product, and since I struggled to get my product onto store shelves, I decided to go down the online sales path. That’s how the website came about.
At first I struggled to find enough budget to get a website up and running, but in Oct 2013, just before my biggest event up to date – The Deni Ute Muster – I decided to put it off no longer. On a friend’s recommendation I opted for WIX and built a basic website. And I have not looked back! Today the website is one of our biggest sources of income, and it keeps getting bigger as our audience increase. We are also now doing events in the cities where we can refer users to the website, bringing our product to areas where there are no stores to purchase it from.
A bright future
WIX is great for the single user but over time I have encountered a few limitations. For instance, I would like to set up a second shop and cart to allow my wholesale users to order online, but under my current set-up I am unable to achieve this. I am also aware that I am not using it to its full potential, and that I should find some time to explore it fully. Next on my list is an e-newsletter so I can send users regular information on our latest offers and product releases.
I have spent the past 2 years working day and night – 7 days a week – to build a business that has grown from that initial purchase of 30 kilos – that took me 5-6 weeks to sell – to today buying 200 kilos a week. Today, with 2 years of challenges under my belt, many awards later and with a motivated and passionate team around me, I am again faced with the same question why, as I try to move my business to a wholesale path. I am also again faced with the same ongoing issues of cash flow. If that allows, I am planning on purchasing new equipment to increase production, launching an advertising campaign and upgrading my visual presence in social media.
In my experience the challenges don’t change – they just develop with the business. However with a clear vision and a driven team I am confident that Nicks Beef Jerky will be around for a long time to come as after all “ It’s the way Jerky should be”.