Which Entrepreneur Do You Want To Be?

When it comes to entrepreneurship I find myself caught between the images of two different entrepreneurs.

As a kid an entrepreneur was a person with a vision and the passion to make that vision become reality.  The entrepreneur of my childhood would work 80-100 hours per week to make that vision come true.  And someday, somewhere in the future it would all come together and they would achieve success.

Today when I read about entrepreneurship it is all about lifestyle, morning rituals and pivoting.  The way that entrepreneurship is getting sold is based on the life you can have, not the money you can make. The wealth accumulation motive is still there, but from what I can tell it comes second to lifestyle.

The entrepreneur from my childhood still exists.  They still start restaurants and dry cleaning businesses.  And the whole family is still devoted to making the business succeed.  I don’t think they ever went away or ever will.  But today the lifestyle entrepreneur has emerged.  Both exist in a world that now offers more opportunities to start and succeed in business than ever before in history.

MORNING RITUALS

Since I began my entrepreneurial journey in about 2009 I have been reading about morning rituals.  In all honesty, I considered the whole concept to be just a fad that made people sound cool.  But as time went on I started interviewing more and more successful entrepreneurs that talked about having one of these routines.

I started to think that there might actually be something to this, so I am giving it a try.  For the last few weeks I have been “finding an hour” each morning to go on a walk.  All that really means is that I am getting up an hour earlier and hitting the road (or in my case the canal) for a walk well before the sun comes up.

So far I am discovering myriad benefits.  Just like everything else in entrepreneurship, you just cannot see all the benefits until you get out there and start doing it.  Here is a list of what I like about this:

Seeing The Stars: I love to see the stars in all their glory, but I rarely make this happen on purpose.  Usually, by the time that enough light fades away in the evening to give me a really good look at the stars I am crawling into bed or watching television with my daughter.  But on my morning walk the stars are vibrant and they are in a different position than I am used to seeing them.  This is really one of the top things I look forward to when I go to bed at night.

Hiding From Farmers: Now this begs for some explaining.  I say this mostly tongue in cheek….mostly.  As an aspiring farmer in my community I pay attention to what the social norms are in my peer group.  As far as I can tell recreational activities like long walks, jogging and bike riding are not one of those norms.  So, by walking at this time of day I am turning otherwise unproductive time into something beneficial, and I can pull it off without anyone being the wiser.

Fitness: I feel great when I am done with my walk, and I am wide awake.  The endorphin release from the exercise is just what I need to power me into the rest of my day.  And my belt seems to be a little looser.

Connecting To Old Ways: One of my favorite authors, Jerry Apps, writes all about farming in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.  In one of my favorite stories he talks about a neighbor, who lived over a mile away, walking to their house on a snowy and windy day for a visit.  The farmer was dressed in a warm hat and a Mackinaw wool jacket to protect him from the weather.  On my walks, as I pass all my neighbor’s farms, I feel connected to that story and those simpler times.

Thinking: There is something about a peaceful walk when it is beautiful and quiet outside that really gets the mind going.  This works so well that now I am deferring thought on certain topics until I take my walk in the morning.  I know that I will really be able to devote myself to that one particular problem or concept during that time.  I do not listen to music or podcasts on this walk.  I just listen to the wind, to the dogs barking and the roosters crowing and let myself think.

THE LIFESTYLE ENTREPRENEUR

My walk this morning really got me thinking about the two entrepreneurs I described at the beginning of this post.  There is no question that I chose entrepreneurship for the lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid to work.  As a matter of fact, when I first started I had no choice but to be that 80-100 hour per week entrepreneur.  I don’t think that any entrepreneur has a choice if they are going to transition from full-time career work to full-time entrepreneurship.  During that transition period you are going to be working your career job while you build your business into something that will allow you to quit the career.  You will be doing double duty during that time….which I did.

And, the lifestyle I was seeking was not one of leisure but one of farming.  So there is always plenty of work for me to do….if I want to.

What dawned on me today was the lifestyle that I have been able to achieve by making this transition.  My career life was one of odd schedules, long weeks, being called out in the middle of the night, conflict and stress.  Today, I am in complete control of my schedule and the future looks bright.

I am in a phase of life that has more to do with raising my daughter than it does with achieving my personal goals, financial or otherwise.  I have been a full-time entrepreneur since 2013.  For the last four years, while my daughter was in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades I have put her on the school bus every morning and been there when she gets off.  I have been at all of her sporting events and I am home with her every night.  I have even coached her softball teams.

I am able to do all of this because of entrepreneurship, not in spite of it.  I have dreams of what I can achieve when she is off to college and working 50-80 hours weeks will not feel selfish.  But those can stay dreams for now.

The biggest benefit of entrepreneurship that I have realized since making the transition is what it allows me to do, and how it allows me to live.

Why are you choosing entrepreneurship?  How will it allow you to live?


If You Have An Agricultural Message To Share You Better Have A Podcast

I was driving through the San Joaquin Valley of California last September, and I went past a small ranch that I really admired.  Whoever owned this place was devoted to raising cattle.  They were surrounded by almond and walnut orchards which would pay them thousands of dollars more per acre than cattle, but they were determined to raise cattle.

On this ranch the fences were perfect.  There were brand new corrals and a separate area for the working chute.  Both had a pole barn structure covering them for those hot summer days that you get down there.  There was a shop/barn structure that was brand new, well built and sized well to take care of the owner’s cattle.  Then there was the house.  About 50 yards off of the road, down a short driveway, there was an unassuming, manufactured home with a very small footprint.

Looking at this property you could see the dichotomy.  All the equipment for handling, securing or working the cattle were luxury level (in ranching terms).  The house, although well kept up was unassuming and just beyond being a bunkhouse.  You could almost hear the rancher saying “oh yeah, I need somewhere to sleep at night.”  Obviously, the person who developed this ranch put their time, effort and money into where they were (and their livestock) were going to be spending the majority of their time.

Agricultural people spend their time outside, period!  This is where they want to be.  They are one with the dirt, the weather and the hot or the cold.  They are not up to date on the latest season of The Walking Dead, and they do not have a blog reader on their computer so they can sit down to read for 2 hours each day.  They all are forced to sit in front of the computer from time to time, but they do what they must and then they are back outside.

Until podcasting came around if you wanted to share your message with these folks you had to be a master strategist.  You had to catch them at the right place and the right time, or you were not going to be able to get their attention.  It was an expensive and ineffective process.  If you wanted to have the time to get your point across to agricultural people you needed to be leaning on a pickup bed speaking with them out in the open air or paying for a radio commercial on a channel you were hoping they listened to.

Commercials were expensive and only for companies with a significant advertising budget.  Agriculturists live in rural areas.  There are only so many pickup beds you can lean on in one day.  After you factor in the driving time from ranch to ranch or farm to farm, this number gets pretty small.

But now that we have podcasting and smartphones this has all changed.  Agricultural people are still not staring at computer screens and reading blogs for hours on end.  But they are carrying smart phones and listening to podcasts.

The reason that podcasts work for us in agriculture is because in one way or another we are all alike.  We are out the door in the morning and back in the door as the sun is going down.  The time in between is all spent in activities that require our hands and eyes: feeding, opening gates, driving tractors, driving pickups, pulling calves, etc.

The only way to communicate your message with these folks to give them a way to hear it while their hands and eyes are busy.

Who is the person you are trying to share your agricultural message with?  Are they farming or ranching?  If they are, are you still hoping they will change the way they go about their day and read your blog?  Or, will you change the way you deliver your message so they can really hear you?

Matt Brechwald is an agricultural broadcaster who creates custom podcasts for and consults with companies that have a story to tell. Matt is the host of “Off-Farm Income”, a 3X weekly podcast that focuses on agriculture and entrepreneurship; the host of the D&B Supply Show, a weekly podcast and radio show airing in Eastern Oregon and Southwest Idaho; and a contributor to “FFA Today”, a weekly national radio program that airs on Rural Radio, SiriusXM Channel 147.  


OFI 261: Is Your Company Missing Customer Connections Because It Only Communicates With A Blog?

Does your company have a blog?  Have you ever asked why?

Maybe you started one because someone thought that was what you were supposed to do.  Perhaps more went into the decision such as increasing web traffic through search engine optimization.  Over time this could have developed to the point that you began communicating your companies message in the way that you want it delivered.  Even better still, your vision may have evolved to the point that you have a solid content marketing strategy in which you are providing very valuable information to your potential customers while positioning yourself as the expert in your field.

Congratulations to you if your company publishes a blog for any of the above reasons.  It demonstrates forward thinking, the abandonment of a static website and a continual focus on sharing your message and mission with the people you hope to work with.

In the Entrepreneur Magazine article “Why Your Small Business Must Start a Blog” the author describes a business blog as a salt lick.  I rather liked this description since my world and the world of those who listen to my podcast is farming and ranching.  But putting my own personal bias aside, it was a great metaphor.  If you are not familiar with how farm animals utilize salt licks, what the author of the article was saying was that if your blog is providing compelling and useful information, it will continue to bring potential customers back to your site, over and over, exposing them to the other messages you want them to see.

Who are these people who are spending their time on a computer, tablet or smartphone reading blogs?  Is this anyone that you know?  All of us at one time or another have searched for information on the internet and been directed to a blog post.  Probably one that was useful.  But, did we really develop a habit of going back, over and over, and reading every new post from that site?

If you did, did you develop a connection with the author?  Here is a more fair question, can you tell me the name of the author of the company blog you read?  You probably cannot, even if the post is written consistently by the same author, which they frequently are not.

If we count on the “salt lick” blog metaphor to be true, we have to accept that readers are going to want to keep coming back to consume your content, over and over.  Why would they want to do this?  One answer is compelling content.  We are all passionate about our companies, but when you are really honest with yourself, how much compelling content can we come up with if we have a non-compelling business?  If your line is tractor sales, you can come up with not just consistent but compelling content about tractors?  It is going to be difficult to write one post after another that makes the reader look forward to the next post.

Another reason that a reader might come back, over and over, is that they feel a bond with the blog.  But we already know that many business blogs use a collection of authors, so the possibility of creating this bond is diminished.  That is a difficult sell already.

93% of communication is non-verbal, but that is when you are standing in front of someone.  When you are putting words on paper, there is no body language, voice inflection, volume or pitch changes and no spontaneity.  Even if you have just one author for your blog posts, unless your business is involved in a business that tugs at the heart strings, it is going to be difficult to create this “salt lick” type situation.

Even if your company blog is capable of developing a connection with its readers, do the people in your target market have the time to consume it on a regular basis.  Let’s take my target audience as an example.  I am focused on agricultural people.  My ideal listener is already working in agriculture, farming, ranching or hustling to find a way that they will eventually be able to do this.  The person who listens to my show is likely not in a cubicle, behind a computer screen all day.  If they are, and they are listening to my show, they likely will not be there for long.

The experts say that a blog post can be as short as 200 words, if you can communicate your message that succinctly.  However, a better number is 600-800 words.  If you want your blog to communicate your message and drive traffic to your website, then a length of 1500-2000 words is ideal.

The average person reads 200 words per minute.  Depending on which of these blog lengths that you choose, your ideal reader, will have to devote between 1 to 10 minutes to just reading your blog.  This does not take into account going to the page, turning on the computer, eliminating distractions and stopping all other activities.

For my ideal listener, this just is not, well, ideal.  My ideal listener is working outside, away from a computer.  They are busy and working with their hands either taking care of animals, walking through a field or driving a tractor.  For the people who consume my content, if they are going to consume anything, they are going to have to be able to do this while doing something else.  They are classic multi-taskers.

How about the people that you want to reach?  Even if they want to read your blog, are they going to purposely stop their day for 1 to 10 minutes to sit idle and stare at a computer, tablet or smart phone screen?

It is likely that without very compelling content, or a compelling reason to search for the answer to a problem they are not going to do this.  At least they will not on a regular basis.

A blog is a very good way to help potential customers discover you.  When they have a specific problem, go searching for the answer and find it on your blog you have just won the opportunity to reach out and shake their hand digitally.  For the most part, that is where it ends.

Why Your Company Should Add A Podcast To Your Blog

The reason that I podcast, and the reason that your company should add a podcast to your blog is that it fills in all the gaps that were described above.

An Easier Introduction To Your Company

A potential customer will find your podcast at the same time they find your blog post.  I believe you should keep your blog, but you should add a podcast to it.  Your IT professional will be able to create a podcast player button for your website.  This can be placed at the top of your blog post so when somebody navigates to that post, they have the option of listening to the content as well.

When you create a podcast, you should also publish it on sites like iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.  These are all free, and they all are gigantic search engines.

Podcast consumption continues to double almost every year.  People prefer getting their information this way.  This means that many of your potential customers are only looking for their information on podcast players like these.  If you are not communicating audibly, they are not interested.  If you are not podcasting, these people will never find you.

Podcasts can be located on conventional search engines like Google.  In the same way that people used to find just your blog post, now they can find your blog post and your podcast.  Shouldn’t we all make it easier for prospective customers to find us?

Connecting

Your company can make a true connection with its potential customers through a podcast.  Once listeners get introduced to the concept of podcasting, they understand that they are not looking for professionally trained, radio broadcasters.  They are looking for real people who are sharing information that informs and entertains them, who are just like they are.

This is where the connection is made.  Podcast listeners love their hosts because they are their peers.  If you listen to a nationally syndicated radio show such as Dave Ramsey or Rush Limbaugh, do you feel like they are your peers?  The answer is “no”.  They are so polished, so powerful and so well paid that there is a huge chasm between the host and listener.  The listener never realistically imagines a relationship with those hosts.

A podcast host is just like you and me.  The fact that they are unpolished, not as well produced and occasionally make mistakes is endearing to the listener.  This is a person who you could see yourself having coffee with.  And because the listener can realistically imagine themselves in that kind of one on one, equal conversation with the podcast host, the episodes they listen to feel as close to a personal conversation as you can get without really having one.

When your listeners develop this bond with the host, a true connection is made.  This is the type of connection that will keep them coming back to hear more and not wanting to miss an episode.  This is the connection that will make them download and listen to your past episodes.  And this is the connection that will get them to tell their friends about your show and grow your audience for you.

Rapport Building

When a potential client finds your blog, you get the chance for that metaphorical digital handshake with them as you introduce them to your company.  But, when they find your podcast, you get the same handshake and more….

As they listen to a podcast they begin to develop trust and rapport with the host.  Of course, the host is not standing in front of them, but they are able to use a lot of non-verbal communication with the listener.

Through inflection, volume changes, pitch changes, cadence, etc. the podcast host can come across in a more sincere manner than with words written on a screen.  The listener can get a feeling from the host based on the tone of their voice.  They can begin to empathize or really trust based on the non-verbals that they consciously or subconsciously are hearing.

Intuition is a powerful and mysterious force.  If your host is sincere and has the best interests of the listener at heart, the listener will know they can trust them without knowing why.  There is no way to overcome the natural human need to protect itself through your writing style.  No matter how many times you have read an authors words, you always still wonder what they are really like.

When a person hears another’s voice the barriers of trust and rapport building come crashing down. The listener can physically feel their subconscious protective instincts loosening up.

Multi-Tasking

A podcast takes away all the excuses that those same people might have for not reading your blog regularly.  Think about all the time during the day that your potential customer is incapable of reading your blog: driving, exercising, showering, cooking dinner, doing the laundry, mowing the lawn, working, feeding, driving tractor, etc., you get the point.

With a smartphone and free podcast subscription, they can consume your content, learn about your company, connect with your host, develop rapport and enter your sales funnel when doing any of these things – and they will.

A lot of what we do in our daily lives are mundane activities.  Mowing the lawn does not require intense concentration or study, but it does require our eyes.  Our eyes cannot be diverted lest we run over the garden hose and slice it up.  But our ears and mind can be focused elsewhere as we push the mower around the yard.  And with a player like iTunes, if you missed the last three sentences for some reason, with the click of a button you can rewind 15 seconds and make sure you absorb it all.

Expertise

You want your company to be known as the leading expert in your field.  Broadcasting carries weight when this is your goal.  There are millions of blogs in the world, and some have very bad reputations which drag the whole concept down with them.

Podcasting on its own carries the weight of expertise.  It was not that long ago that only the best of the best were on either television or radio.  When we had limited radio stations people would scratch and claw to get that platform.  This was good if you were looking for talent on the radio, but it was bad if you were looking for shows that interested you.

Podcasting has broken down this wall.  Now you can go to iTunes and find a show that is all about what you are interested in.  You can find a group of people that have the same interests as you.  And even though the podcast host did not have to get anybody’s permission to make the show, the fact that they are broadcasting still carries the weight of expertise from days gone by.

This is not manipulation, this is just the way broadcasting is perceived.  So, it is the obligation of the host to provide the best information possible to live up to this perception.

Very few companies are using podcasts yet.  This is in spite of the fact that podcasting has proven to be much more than a fad.  Podcast listenership continues to skyrocket, and people who already have incredible platforms continue to start their own podcasts.  This is obvious just based on the number of celebrities that have devoted themselves to sitting down once per week or even five times per week to create their own podcast.

Any company who adds a podcast to their blog not only sets themselves apart as experts in the field, but they are getting in on the front end of an unprecedented opportunity to lead their respective industry.  You have a chance to be on the front end of what will soon be standard practice.  At your industry association’s national conference next year, you will be speaker chosen to talk about best practices in the field, highlighting how you are connecting with your customers.

What Is Needed To Add A Podcast To Your Blog?

Technology

You will need an IT professional who can embed an audio player on your screen, develop an RSS feed and set up the system to distribute your podcast to players like iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.  Larger companies will have this person on staff.  Smaller companies will have a freelancer who can do this for them.  I actually was able to do this on my own.

Host

You will need a host.  Who will this be?  This will depend in part on the format of your show.  Will the show be one person speaking and providing information all the way through?  Or, will you conduct interviews with professionals in the field with questions developed and asked by your host?

My guess is that you will opt for the latter and use the interview format.  This makes sense when it comes to content marketing.  You want to provide useful information to your listeners with no sales pitch and no strings attached.  This must be absolutely free.  In order to provide this wide array of information you will need to “borrow” the expertise of others in the form of interview guests.

I suggest that your host know a great deal about the field in which your company is part.  For example, if you are promoting the health benefits of consuming dairy products, then your host should know a great deal not just about dairy, but about agriculture.  In this way, when they are formulating questions about a specific topic involving dairy, i.e. hoof trimming they have the background to be able to talk about cattle, feeding, ag business and any other aspect of agriculture that might naturally enter into the conversation.

In a sense, your host should be a generalist.  They should be somebody with a great deal of interest in your field.  And, they should have knowledge that is born of a genuine and vast interest in that field to the point that they have had many experiences and conversations about that industry.  These conversations should not be because of their profession but because of their genuine interest.

Do you have that person in your organization?  You might.  But if you do not, go find that person and make them your host.  Find the person in your industry who freelances as a broadcaster or creates custom podcasts about your field.

That person is out there.  They are already talking or writing about your field because that is where their interest lies.  Many people will tell you that they are the person you are looking for because they want to be the host of your show.  Find the person that was talking about your topic just because they liked it, when nobody was paying them to do it.  This is your future host.

These people may already be freelancing as hosts in their particular area of interest already, or they may not have though of doing it.  Approach them with the idea.  This is the host that you want.

Equipment

Your equipment needs will depend on who you select as your host.  If you select a freelancer who is already broadcasting, they are going to have their own equipment and you will not have to purchase any.

Just a tip here, do not be afraid to purchase equipment to improve your show if you think that is necessary.  If you find the right host, but they are working with inexpensive equipment that might just be the proof you need they are the right person for the job.  There is no better social proof that they would be doing this for free anyway, and that they found a way to share their message and interest.

If you find your host, but they do not have any equipment because they have not been broadcasting I suggest putting them in school.  Do not worry, this is not an exhaustive process.  There are a lot of free resources out there that will educate you very well about equipment, getting started, creating content and publishing your show.

When I started I watched a free, 5 part video series, created by Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income Podcast.  I took notes and implemented what he suggested.  I have been able to flourish with my podcast ever since.

This is the microphone that I started podcasting with.  It is very reasonable.

Cost

What should you expect to pay for the right host who is going to develop connections for your company with potential customers, fill your sales funnel and be the voice of your business?

Admittedly, I am biased here as custom podcasting is a large part of my business.  However, I can tell you with all confidence that you should expect to pay between $250 and $2,000 per episode for this service.  I know because when I began as a freelancer I did my research.

Believe it or not there are not many custom podcasting companies offering this yet, so market research is limited.  There were about 5 at last check, 6 since I jumped in.  I have seen rates as high as $2,000 per month for just editing and publishing.  This did not include the cost of the host.

What you pay for this service is going to depend on a number of factors.

  • Who is your host?
    • Is your host known in the industry already?
    • If your host is already broadcasting and gives you more than just a knowledgeable person behind the microphone they will and should cost more.
    • If your host is already a brand in your industry and especially in the podcast space, they are more valuable.  This just makes sense.
    • Does your host already have a platform, and will they promote your show to their listeners?
    • Are the listeners to your host’s podcast in your target market?  This is a big factor as the hosts current listeners are likely to follow her or him to the new show.  You should consider the value of the advertising you are receiving here as well.
  • Is your host going to create content or find guests, or will you have someone at your company do that for them?
  • Is your host going to edit, insert music and possibly commercials?
  • Will your host be publishing the material for you or just turning the audio over to your IT department?
  • Is the host providing their own equipment?
  • Are you purchasing any equipment for the host?  Is it theirs to keep when the contract ends?
  • How long will the episodes be?
  • How frequently will you air the show?

Whatever reason you added a blog to your companies website, it was the right decision.  Continuous communication with your potential customers demonstrates a commitment to their success.

With the addition of a podcast to your blog you can turn a good tool into a magnificent one.  Other than one on one meetings with potential customers, there is no way to develop as strong of a connection to them as you can with a podcast.  Will you take the next step and set your company apart?

Matt Brechwald is an agricultural broadcaster who creates custom podcasts for and consults with companies that have a story to tell. Matt is the host of “Off-Farm Income”, a 3X weekly podcast that focuses on agriculture and entrepreneurship; the host of the D&B Supply Show, a weekly podcast and radio show airing in Eastern Oregon and Southwest Idaho; and a contributor to “FFA Today”, a weekly national radio program that airs on Rural Radio, SiriusXM Channel 147.  


OFI 231: Merry Christmas 2016! From Autumm, Hattie & Matt

Graves of American Soldiers, WW II, Belgium

OFI 231: Merry Christmas 2016! From Autumm, Hattie & Matt

The picture you see above is of American graves in Belgium.  The graves are of those who fought and died in World War II to liberate Europe.

Our Christmas episode this year ties together the Greatest Generation, farming and story of a truce inside a hunting cabin in the Ardennes Forest on Christmas Eve, 1944.  I like to try and find something special to present you with on our Christmas episode, and the movie Silent Night / Peace on Earth which tells the story of this truce kept coming to mind.  I hope you enjoy this episode, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Books And Movies Referenced In This Episode:

Transcript Of David Hunt’s Article:

No Repeat of the Christmas Truce of 1914

In World War Two, there was no truce similar to the one that occurred during Christmas in 1914 in World War One. In that earlier conflict, thousands of British, French and German soldiers, exhausted by the unprecedented slaughter of the previous five months, left their trenches and met the enemy in No Man’s Land, exchanging gifts, food and stories. Generals on both sides, determined to prevent fraternization in future, saw to it that such activities would be severely punished and so there were no more Christmas truces the rest of that war or the next. But, in December of 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, while the Americans fought for their lives against a massive German onslaught, a tiny shred of human decency happened on Christmas Eve. A German mother made it so.

Three American soldiers, one badly wounded, were lost in the snow-covered Ardennes Forest as they tried to find the American lines. They had been walking for three days while the sounds of battle echoed in the hills and valleys all around them. Then, on Christmas Eve, they came upon a small cabin in the woods.

Elisabeth Vincken and her 12-year-old son, Fritz, had been hoping her husband would arrive to spend Christmas with them, but it was now too late. The Vinckens had been bombed out of their home in Aachen, Germany and had managed to move into the hunting cabin in the Hurtgen Forest about four miles from Monschau near the Belgian border. Fritz’s father stayed behind to work and visited them when he could. Their Christmas meal would now have to wait for his arrival. Elisabeth and Fritz were alone in the cabin.

WW2: Battle of the Bulge. American soldiers.
WW2: Battle of the Bulge. American soldiers.

Visitors at the Cabin

There was a knock on the door. Elisabeth blew out the candles and opened the door to find two enemy American soldiers standing at the door and a third lying in the snow. Despite their rough appearance, they seemed hardly older than boys. They were armed and could have simply burst in, but they hadn’t, so she invited them inside and they carried their wounded comrade into the warm cabin. Elisabeth didn’t speak English and they didn’t speak German, but they managed to communicate in broken French. Hearing their story and seeing their condition– especially the wounded soldier– Elisabeth started preparing a meal. She sent Fritz to get six potatoes and Hermann the rooster– his stay of execution, delayed by her husband’s absence, rescinded. Hermann’s namesake was Hermann Goering, the Nazi leader, who Elisabeth didn’t care much for.

WW2: Battle of the Bulge, Young German soldiers
WW2: Battle of the Bulge, Young German soldiers

More Visitors

While Hermann roasted, there was another knock on the door and Fritz went to open it, thinking there might be more lost Americans, but instead there were four armed German soldiers. Knowing the penalty for harboring the enemy was execution, Elisabeth, white as a ghost, pushed past Fritz and stepped outside. There was a corporal and three very young soldiers, who wished her a Merry Christmas, but they were lost and hungry. Elisabeth told them they were welcome to come into the warmth and eat until the food was all gone, but that there were others inside who they would not consider friends. The corporal asked sharply if there were Americans inside and she said there were three who were lost and cold like they were and one was wounded. The corporal stared hard at her until she said “Es ist Heiligabend und hier wird nicht geschossen.” “It is the Holy Night and there will be no shooting here.” She insisted they leave their weapons outside. Dazed by these events, they slowly complied and Elisabeth went inside, demanding the same of the Americans. She took their weapons and stacked them outside next to the Germans’.

Tension and Roast Hermann

Understandably, there was a lot of fear and tension in the cabin as the Germans and Americans eyed each other warily, but the warmth and smell of roast Hermann and potatoes began to take the edge off. The Germans produced a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread. While Elisabeth tended to the cooking, one of the German soldiers, an ex-medical student, examined the wounded American. In English, he explained that the cold had prevented infection but he’d lost a lot of blood. He needed food and rest.

By the time the meal was ready, the atmosphere was more relaxed. Two of the Germans were only sixteen; the corporal was 23. As Elisabeth said grace, Fritz noticed tears in the exhausted soldiers’ eyes– both German and American.

Parting Company

The truce lasted through the night and into the morning. Looking at the Americans’ map, the corporal told them the best way to get back to their lines and provided them with a compass. When asked whether they should instead go to Monschau, the corporal shook his head and said it was now in German hands. Elisabeth returned all their weapons and the enemies shook hands and left, in opposite directions. Soon they were all out of sight; the truce was over.

Your Mother Saved My Life

Fritz and his parents survived the war. His mother and father passed away in the Sixties and by then he had gotten married and moved to Hawaii, where he opened Fritz’s European Bakery in Kapalama, a neighborhood in Honolulu. For years he tried to locate any of the German or American soldiers without luck, hoping to corroborate the story and see how they had fared. President Reagan heard of his story and referenced it in a 1985 speech he gave in Germany as an example of peace and reconciliation. But it wasn’t until the television program Unsolved Mysteries broadcast the story in 1995, that it was discovered that a man living in a Frederick, Maryland nursing home had been telling the same story for years. Fritz flew to Frederick in January 1996 and met with Ralph Blank, one of the American soldiers who still had the German compass and map. Ralph told Fritz “Your mother saved my life”. Fritz said the reunion was the high point of his life.

Fritz Vincken also managed to later contact one of the other Americans, but none of the Germans. Sadly, he died in on December 8, 2002, almost 58 years to the day of the Christmas truce. He was forever grateful that his mother got the recognition she deserved.

References From The Episode:

Transcript of Ronald Reagan’s speech where he talks about the Christmas Eve Truce in the cabin: LINK 

David Hunt’s Article that I read during the episode: LINK

Wikipedia entry on the film, Silent Night: LINK

Unsolved Mysteries Video About The Christmas Truce In The Cabin

LISTEN TO US ON SATELLITE RADIO! WE ARE CONTRIBUTORS TO “FFA TODAY” ON RURAL RADIO SIRIUS XM CHANNEL 147! “FFA Today” airs on Rural Radio Sirius XM Channel 147 Saturdays at 7:30 AM Eastern and Sundays at 6:30 PM Eastern. Please let RURAL RADIO know that you like hearing us on their channel!  Here is how to contact them and leave feedback: Email: zacht@rfdtv.com Website:  RuralRadio147.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/RURALRADIO147


Why Utility Companies Need A Podcast

Lineman in cherry picker working on the telephone pole

Why Utility Companies Need A Podcast

If you were to create a riddle that said “everyone needs these, but everybody takes them for granted” the answer to the riddle would undoubtedly be utility companies.  With the exception of a small percentage of “off the gridders” every person in the United States relies on the electric, water and gas company to maintain their standard of living.  But almost nobody outside of those industries knows anything about what utility companies do.  People just expect them to be there, no matter what.

As a matter of fact, the only time that utility companies get much discussion in the public is when the Public Utilities Commission or Board receives an application for a rate increase.  The media is sure to cover this as it will be a compelling story that impacts everyone right in their wallet.

About the only other time you hear much about a utility company is when there is an accident or a temporary loss of a service.  When the big storms arrive and people find themselves without electricity.  When there is a flood and drinking water is threatened.  When somebody ruptures a gas line and technicians have to rush in to make the area safe.  These are the times when the public becomes interested and aware.

The times when the media covers utility companies are normally when something bad has happened.  Because of the excellent work that utilities do, these situations are rare.  So, public exposure is rare as well.  But what if you could control your public exposure, and tell all the stories about your company that the media is not interested in?

Utilities Company Stories Are Compelling

Look at all the following topics that utility companies should be bragging about that public rarely hears:

•Environmental protection effortsYoung technician

•Community outreach

•Programs for lower income families

•Heroic service

•How you get electricity, gas or water to customers through all sorts of terrain and conditions

•The interesting ways you do your work, i.e. helicopter work for electricity companies

•Efforts to work with farmers and ranchers

•Recruitment efforts for new employees

Take power companies for example.  Power lines get run through extremely remote areas.  Areas that have no roads; over mountains, canyons and bodies of water.  The public has no idea of the talent, bravery and equipment that is necessary to make this happen.

For a power company, explaining these obstacles and efforts to bring power to individuals would go a long way in building rapport with customers and other stakeholders.  At the same time, these stories are excellent recruitment tools to bring in a greater number of applicants and allowing your company to hire the absolute best employees.

This is true no matter what type of utility work you do.  For a certain segment of the population these are very compelling stories.  The question is, how do we share these stories and how do we find the people who are interested in hearing them?

Podcasting As A Delivery Medium

Podcasting is the answer to the above question.  Why?  Here are the reasons:

Podcasts are searchable – you do not have to define a market segment and then advertise your information in the areas where that market segment is most likely to hear the ad.  The market segment you are looking for will be searching for the information that interests them on search engines like Google and iTunes.  Your podcast will be presented to them in that search.

Podcasts are “evergreen” – Once you publish a podcast episode it is on the internet forever.  So, if you produce a podcast today and the topic of that episode becomes relevant a year from now, your episode is still going to come up when people search for that topic.  It does not disappear once your ad budget has run out.

There are no rules – Unlike traditional mediums to get information out to the public like radio advertising or newspaper articles, there are no restrictions on length or time of availability.  Talk about whatever you want, for however long you want.  Have as many guests as you like.  Your podcast can be 5 minutes or 2 hours.  It is up to you, and there are no timelines to restrict you.

Podcasts are not expensive to produce – Release as many episodes as you want.  Aside from a small fee for hosting, there is no “per episode” or “per download” charge.  If you have so much to talk about that you want to publish seven episodes per week, go ahead.  It all costs the same.  Some podcasters do publish seven episodes per week.  It is all up to you.

Production is not that important – Actually a highly produced and polished podcast can be a detriment to the success of the show.  This is probably counter-intuitive if you have used radio, television or newspaper to reach the public in the past.  The strength of podcasting comes from the ability of the host to make a connection with the listeners and develop trust and rapport.  The more “real” the show sounds and the more genuine the host sounds, the more trust and rapport that is developed.

Podcasts are highly consumable – Podcasts will deliver the stories about your organization, the way that you want them told, in a more effective manner than any other medium.  This is because the listener can consume the information whenever they want and while they are doing something else.  Podcasts can be listened to while driving, exercising, driving a tractor or cooking dinner.  They can be paused and restarted later if something interrupts the listening experience.  And, they can be listened to over and over again if that is what the listener desires.

Utility companies providing electricity, natural gas, water and other necessities have great stories to tell.  Too often all the public hears about are mistakes or price increases.  A podcast gives you the chance, in your own words to talk about the heroes of your organization; the people who brave winter storms to restore power or the technicians who are making sure that something as essential as water is always safe.

Do you have any methods of telling your companies story as effective as a podcast?

Matt Brechwald is an agricultural broadcaster who creates custom podcasts for companies that have a story to tell. Matt is the host of “Off-Farm Income”, a 3X weekly podcast that focuses on agriculture and entrepreneurship; the host of the D&B Show, a weekly podcast and radio show airing in Eastern Oregon and Southwest Idaho; and a contributor to “FFA Today”, a weekly national radio program that aires on Rural Radio, SiriusXM Channel 147. 


OFI 207: “Be Careful, That’s How You Get Into Ranching” | Chasing Your Farm Dreams

OFI 207: “Be Careful, That’s How You Get Into Ranching” | Chasing Your Farm DreamsRural landscape with wheat field on sunset

SHOW NOTES

Last weekend, in the midst of a hurried project to build a pig pen in time for a litter of pigs that was getting ready to be weaned, I found myself at our local farm and ranch supplier needing a few items.  I was hot, in a hurry and a little frustrated with myself that I had not purchased everything I needed on my first trip to town.

As I walked in I saw a young man, probably about 20 years old, gazing at the equipment and other farm related items for sale.  I saw him again when I left the store, still doing the same thing.  There was something about his body language and the look in his eye.  It was obvious that he had big farm dreams, but his time had not yet come.

This took me back over twenty years, to my first year in community college, taking my first animal science class.  I had no money.  I had no cattle.  And, I had no farm.  But, I had a certainty that someday I would.

I was working full-time and taking a full load of college classes.  When I found free time I did whatever I could to be around my dream.  On my way home from class I would keep my animal science text book next to me and stop at different farms.  I would sit there, look at the different crossbred cattle and try to identify what breed they were, or at least what breed they mostly were, from the photos in that book.

I would volunteer to work on ranches or farms, just to be around the lifestyle for a moment.  In my idle time, I would put pen to paper and draw up how it would all work.  At night I would dream about the farm I would have one day.

That is why I knew the look in that young man’s eyes right away.  He was a future farmer.  For those of us who have the passion but no land, it takes time and creativity to figure out how you will one day be a farmer.  We are not “big hat, no cattle people”.  We are “no hat, big dreams, no cattle people.”

Every farmer or rancher who came up this way can instantly recognize it.  One Thanksgiving break during college I found myself in Wolf Point, Montana enjoying the holiday on a friend’s ranch.  His father had come up this same way, wanting to ranch cattle.  In that part of the state he leased land from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  That gave him more ability to be able to ranch.

After supper we were sitting in the living room, and I was scratching out numbers on a piece of paper.  I was asking him about cattle prices, feed prices, how many cattle he could run on a piece of land and what it cost to lease the land way up there by Canada.  He recognized in me, what I saw in the young man’s face at the ranch supply store.  All he said was, “be careful, that’s how you get into ranching.”

Those of us with big dreams and big passion have to pay our dues.  Those dues are the years that you have to wait, the time it takes to build up your income build up your credit and to deeply think about your future.  Then it seems to all come together at the right time.  Earlier for some, later for others.

Eventually the future farmer figures out a pathway to their dream.  People start to believe in them because they have had the dream long enough and they have proven their ability to follow through.

The waiting is the hard part.  Walking through the yard at the tractor dealership after business hours are over.  Reading magazines, newspapers and websites.  Working for other farmers and ranchers and not being able to try any of your own ideas.  These are the dues we must pay before we get our chance to farm.

So, the next time you walk into the feed store and wonder why that young man or woman seems to be aimlessly staring at automatic waterers or bags of seed, how will you see them?

Will you say anything to encourage them to follow their dream?

Links To Articles:

11 Things You Need To Do Wile Your’e Waiting For Your Farm

Cash Cow Farmer Podcast

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“FFA Today” airs on Rural Radio Sirius XM Channel 147 Saturdays at 7:30 AM Eastern and Sundays at 6:30 PM Eastern. Please let RURAL RADIO know that you like hearing us on their channel!  Here is how to contact them and leave feedback: Email: zacht@rfdtv.com Website:  RuralRadio147.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/RURALRADIO147


OFI 204: Dealing With Slow And “No” Paying Customers

OFI 204: Dealing With Slow And “No” Paying CustomersBusiness Acronym TOP as Terms Of Payment

SHOW NOTES

KEY POINTS: 

80% of small businesses receive late payments – paysimple

64% of small businesses have clients who don’t pay for 60 days – Wall Street Journal

In agriculture, just like everywhere else, some customers have a tendency to pay slowly.  They’re our customer right?  They deserve some grace.  That is true, but slow payment for services or products can create a host of problems for the small business owner, namely a cash flow problem.

The term cash flow gets spread around so much that everyone assumes that it is widely know what is meant by this term.  But for simplicities sake, let’s explain it.  Imagine that you worked two weeks last month on a big project for one customer.  This cost you $2200 in labor, and the pay period just ended.  Your big customer has yet to pay you for the job, but you just cut the payroll check to pay your employees on time.  That wiped out all of the money in your business checking account, and there are more bills coming.  You are out of cash – this is a cash flow problem.

This can be a tricky issue in agriculture.  We understand that a lot of our customers who are farming and ranching only get paid once per year.  So, they understand cash flow problems really well.  However, what do we do when we need payment to keep our businesses running.  We need to walk a fine line of understanding and respecting the business model our farmer and rancher customers use and not drowning ourselves in debt to keep up and running.

As a small business owner that services the agricultural community you have a couple of choices.  You can use the “stick or carrot” approach to encourage faster payment.  Or, you choose between living with slow payment or taking action to remedy the situation.

The Stick Or Carrot Approach

With this approach you can encourage expedient payment of invoices by either threatening or incentivizing your customer.  Let’s look at some options:

Carrot: Offer an incentive to your customers for early payment.  Perhaps a percentage discount or free hour of service on your next visit.  This is a way to motivate your customer to pay early, but does this bother you?  Do you want to give some of your revenue back to get your customer to do what they should be doing already?

Stick: Have a late payment fee built into your invoice.  Make it clear to your customer that if they do not submit payment within 30 days that they face a 2% late payment fee.  If you do this, and a customer fails to pay on time do you actually try to collect the 2%?  Or, do you chalk this up as a bluff intended to speed up payment for most of your customers, and just accept the late payment from the others.  Trying to collect this penalty from a customer who was going to pay, just slowly, could lead to hard feelings and a distressed or non-existent business relationship

Carrot: Use a service like PayPal to allow alternative methods of payment.  Perhaps it is not that your customer does not have the funds.  Maybe the thought of sitting down at a desk, filling out a check and mailing it to you is unappealing to your slow paying customer.  If they could just navigate a couple links on their smartphone and pay you, you could possibly have your money within moments of them opening the mail and finding your invoice.

Stick: Refuse further service to a customer until you are paid.  This makes sense right?  But how do you approach this?  I have found this to be an effective method when combined with humble approach.  Something like, “I’d be happy to come service your property again, but you know I haven’t been paid for the first time I was out yet.  I’ll need to get settled up first.”  Don’t pin your customer in a corner.  For most people a gentle reminder is all that they will need.

Live With It Or Take Action

I tend to try and live with slow payment and make the business function in spite of that.  I live with it until at least 35 days have passed.  Why 35?  Well, many time management and efficiency experts today advise “batching” of different tasks.  Batching means saving it up and doing it all at once.

I assume that my customer who has not paid for 30 days does this and pays their bills only once per month.  So, if it has been 30 days since they received their invoice, they might have just paid the bill.  The check might literally be “in the mail.”  The last thing I want to do is call them to collect money when they have already paid and the money is in transit.  So, 35 days is a nice cutoff to determine whether or not this customer is “batching” their bill payments.

At 45-60 days, I am definitely taking action.  “Taking Action” makes this sound a lot cooler and more dramatic than it really is.  This is always a telephone call.  It is never a letter, text message, email or personal visit.  A personal visit can feel like debt collection and the wrong tone can be read into anything written down.  But a short telephone call asking to make sure that they had received the invoice is normally all the reminder a customer needs to kick their bill paying instincts into action.  Most customers are embarrassed when this happens, and the last thing you want to do it pile on and change the embarrassment to anger.

Sometimes the customer actually did not receive the invoice.  Or, they received it and the check has not arrived for some reason.  Occasionally mail gets stolen or lost.  These all sound like convenient excuses, but every now and then they really happen.  To maintain a great relationship with your customer, assume the best about them until you have no other options.

Another way of taking action is call and confirm that the invoice has been received about week after you sent it.  This is not a call that embarrasses the customer because they forgot to pay.  This is a call to check their satisfaction with the job and make sure that they received all final correspondence from you, including the invoice.  This is just a gentle reminder to keep you “top of mind.”  This might speed up payment from notoriously slow paying customers.

Sometimes slow payment is your fault.  Do you get the invoices out right away?  You can only start holding customers accountable for how long it takes them to pay based on when they receive the invoice.  So, if you wait ten days to get a customer invoice, you are probably not going to take your first action step to collect payment until 55 days have passed.

This happens a lot in agriculture.  So many of our businesses have very busy periods based on seasons, planting schedules or weather.  During these periods we just don’t have the available time to sit in the office and fill out invoices.  On my farm I hire my hay cutting and baling in addition to my spraying done by custom businesses.  I have gone many months waiting for invoices from these gentlemen in the past if they work for me during a busy part of the season.

Payment Disputes

If a customer wants to dispute the amount owed to them, I fall back on the adage that “the customer is always right.”  Now, the customer is not always right – that is why we need the saying.  But you want to give them the benefit of the doubt until circumstances dictate you do otherwise.  After all, they are the customer, and as long as they are not dishonest you want to continue to do business with them.

A lot of times when a customer wants to pay less it is because we have not done a good enough job communicating.  Perhaps they did not have realistic expectations of what would be accomplished after your first trip to their property.  Or, maybe they do not understand the price of your service in the marketplace.

I tend to re-do the work rather than refund the money if there is a payment dispute.  Sometimes I will re-do the work, and it becomes apparent that the customer was looking to get the work done for less money and the job was done just fine in the first place.  If this is the case, it might be time to walk away and fire this particular customer.

This is why it is important to price your products and services appropriately.  You need to have enough margin in your pricing that you can absorb these moments.  Whether you are refunding all or some of the initial fee, or you are doing the job again for free, this will cost you money.  If you have charged appropriately you can probably still profit on the job, no matter how you resolve the dispute.

If you do not charge appropriately and your margins are too small, your decision making will be impacted.  This will make it more difficult for you be gracious to the customer.  A partial refund or retreat might make or break you for the month if you did not charge enough the first time.  And you might begin a very negative cycle that leads to hard feelings between you and the customer.  This can lead to the loss of a customer and damage to your reputation in the marketplace.

So, you have permission to say “I’m protecting my reputation” the next time a customer asks why you charge what you do!

If you are new to business you need to anticipate that some customers are going to pay slowly.  This is going to happen to you, just like every other business owner.  The seasonality of farming and ranching creates even more dynamics that can lead to slow payment by customers.

How will you build your business so you can deal with slow paying customers?

Links To Articles:

Slow Paying Clients? 7 Tips To Help You Get Paid Faster

Results Released for Small Business Pulse Survey

Small Firms’ Big Customers Are Slow to Pay

10 Tactics for Dealing with Slow-Paying Accounts

Dealing with Slow-Paying Customers

How to Handle a Slow-Paying Client and Improve Cash Flow

Household Finance Corporation, Department Of Research On Slow Paying Customers:

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OFI 070: Mums As A Cash Crop | FFA SAE Edition | Carlie Bergman | Fort Loramie High School FFA

OFI 070: Mums As A Cash Crop | FFA SAE Edition | Carlie Bergman | Fort Loramie High School FFA

Carlie Bergman Post Image

SHOW NOTES

If you are interested in this business you will have to plant a seed!


INTRODUCING CARLIE BERGMAN!

Carlie Bergman is raising and selling mums for her SAE project.  I found out about her project on the internet through this Sidney Daily News Article.  Carlie is just starting her junior year.  She already has plans about how to grow her business and double her profits.  She is also vertically integrated already!  She produces her own product, makes her own advertising materials, markets her business and sells the products herself.

She is off to a great start!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Production And Sales Of Mums

HIGH SCHOOL: Fort Loramie High School, Fort Loramie, Ohio

MASCOT: Redskins

FFA ADVISOR: Matt Pleiman

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR CARLIE BERGMAN:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Fort Loramie High School Ag. Department’s website:

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 11.38.52 AM

Carlie’s FFA Advisor’s Email Address: matt.pleiman@loramie.k12.oh.us

Fort Loramie High School Telephone Number: (937) 295-3931

Nebraska Farm Bureau Mini-Grant: LINK

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE’s)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA – One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start – pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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OFI 044: Matt Brechwald | 10,000 Download Review Show

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OFI 044: Matt Brechwald | 10,000 Download Review Show

Autumm, Hattie and I in a corn maze at the Farmstead in Kuna, Idaho.

Autumm, Hattie and I in a corn maze at the Farmstead in Kuna, Idaho.

SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS:

Today’s episode is a little bit different than normal.  We are right the pinnacle of reaching 10,000 downloads, so I wanted to catch everyone up on where we stand on the development of our business, farm, podcast, etc.

FARM:

Exciting things are happening at the farm.  Our irrigation system is completely functional, and we have planted pasture.  We now have green grass coming up where we once only had dry weeds.

Hay production is going well.  Our first cutting was enough to feed our animals for the entire winter.  That is always a nice feeling to know that the winter feed has been put up already and you don’t have to worry about that any longer.

Our cattle herd continues to grow.  We had three bull calves and one heifer calf again this year (identical order to last year as well).  We will sell the three steers direct to customers and retain the heifer to build our herd.  So that is two years in a row of retaining 1 heifer.  This is probably the right pace for our herd to grow.

There is surprising demand for the goats.  Last year we sold every goat to one customer who drove 140 miles to purchase them.  I still have not figured out this market, but it is exciting because we have some marginal areas on our place that are perfect for goats, and we are able to pay our entire irrigation bill with these little ruminants.

We will be having a litter of pigs in the week or so.  I am anxious see how many I can keep alive.  I really enjoy raising pigs.  So, I am hoping to get several of them weaned.

GOPHER BUSINESS: 

We have really grown this year so far.  We continue to be busy and to be booked weeks in advance.  I have hired two employees , so I am doing almost no extermination myself.  I am managing, marketing and bidding jobs almost exclusively.  There was a mild winter which has led to big populations of gophers, ground squirrels and voles.  The large populations has led to an outbreak of plague, if you can believe that, in the squirrels and voles.  So, all of this has created increasing demand for our service.

I had a company approach me to purchase my business.  But it turned out that they wanted to purchase a percentage and then have me grown the business throughout the Pacific Northwest.  I turned them down.  It was obvious that this was going to take a lot of nights away from home, and it would place the podcast in a much diminished role.  I’m in this for the lifestyle, not for riches at any cost!

You are welcome to check out what I have been doing with the business on the business website: www.idahogophercontrol.com.

FAMILY:

Autumm and Hattie are both on summer break right now.  4H is taking plenty of time.  Hattie is feeding and working with her sheep morning and evening.  We have meetings on Monday per month plus sheep showing practice every Thursday evening.  This is really a great time as we get to hang out with a bunch of agriculturally minded parents and watch our kids work with the animals.

We got away for one trip to my cousin’s wedding a couple of weeks ago.  We got to see a lot of family that I have not seen in quite some time.  Also, I was in the same room with all of my “first cousins” on my mom’s side for the first time in 20 or so years, and who knows when this will happen again:

IMG_2812

 

PODCAST:

The podcast is going great.  I have been making unbelievable connections with agricultural people, both on and off the air, from around the country.  I have submitted demo cd’s to a couple of agricultural broadcasting networks.  As I was saying in the show, I have no idea if that will ever go anywhere, but I now have a mindset that causes me to try, not just sit back and wish.

I have been very excited with listener feedback.  And, with our sponsor, Heritage!  Andy Dyar is a great guy, with a great clothing line.  I am extremely flattered that he is rewarding the students we interview on our FFA SAE segment with hats and shirts.

COACHING:

I have coached five clients, all with different needs recently.  That has been an exciting development in the business, and something that I want to pursue further.  I have had one client who wanted advice on how to transition to a 100% agricultural life after retiring from his full-time career.  He was very interested in starting a business that would support his efforts.

Another client was looking to promote in his current job, and wanted coaching on some of the marketing techniques that I use with the podcast as well as the gopher business.  We shot a bunch of video and put it together as a professional, but outside the box introduction to his perspective new employer.

I have coached three different clients recently on how to create, edit, publish and use a podcast to further them in their businesses.  One of them is an author, the other a coach and the third a public relations director for a non-profit organization.  That has been a lot of fun.

I wanted to do this update just to let you know where we stand with the lifestyle we have chosen.  I think you deserve to know whether or not we are having success, since I get on the microphone twice per week and try to motivate you to chase your dream of farming and entrepreneurship.

If I can be any type of mentor, I would like to be one for you.  And, showing you that we are having success, having fun, staying out of debt and not about to lose the farm is how I can establish my credibility.

I am investing in myself, which I have been doing in one way or another since 2009.  I suggest that you do the same.  We have finally hit a level in our business that I can go a bit bigger in my personal investment.  Dan Miller suggests that you invest 3-5% of your gross annual income into yourself every year.  I am doing that this year.  I am going to his course – Coaching With Excellence in September, and I am going to sign up for Kent Julian’s Speaking Course as well.

I am psyched to improve my skills in these areas of my business, and I hope you will join me for the journey!


Being a Podcast Guest is a LOT Different Than Being a Podcast Host

Whoa Podcast
This week I was fortunate enough to be featured on the Whoa Podcast:

John Harrer interviewed me about my journey, my business and my podcast.  As I listened to the episode I realized just how different and comfortable I sounded talking about myself on his episode.  It made me wonder why I cannot sound that loose and free when talking about myself on my own podcast.

A flash hit me.  Somebody else was requesting to hear about me.  It was not just me talking about myself and hoping somebody was interested.  What a difference!  I guess one way seems narcissistic, and the other way seems natural and comfortable.

I hope you will take a listen to John’s podcast.  It is very well done and well thought out.  Plus, he got me to articulate a lot of things I had been wanting to discuss regarding passion, transitioning from a full-time career, etc.

Enjoy!