Reflecting on Gaining Experience.
I think we have officially completed all the main tasks of the autumn. There was a lot of trial and success, and a lot more of trial and error.
I have learned that marketing is not my strong point. Personally, I am not a fan of social media. I do not participate in Facebook or Twitter. I did bite the bullet and start an Instagram account; however, I feel as though I am completely flapping around drowning in a sea of others who are doing the same. I did learn that there are so many amazing creators in this world! Overall, though, I really don't want to be another voice shouting at everyone and anyone. I need to find a better way to target my specific customer. This is my goal for the upcoming winter.
I have one season of Farmers Market under my belt now. It was an amazing experience. I've also been diligently keeping the books this past year. I was told that the first three years of business on average are years of loss. I can confirm that the first-year falls into that category. The folks who participate at the market are amazing. It really is a special community like no other. I'm very grateful to have become a part of that community.
The August litter of bunnies are doing great. I had a few folks reach out who were interested in adopting but so far, they all have fallen through. I don't know if it's due to the economy, or if I'm just that bad at marketing.... Regardless, I now have ten English Angora Rabbits in my herd, and I love each and every one of them. I am looking forward to the wool they will produce.
The vegetable sales did very poorly. I'm very surprised by this. Most people who visited my booth showed no interest at all. There were one or two people who were interested in the lemon balm. As a result, I now have a large stash of dried herbs, dehydrated and canned veggies, and some frozen produce as well. Each week was different. It is a challenge to figure out what one should display, which makes preparing a bit of a nightmare.
The most curious puzzle I've encountered so far... The hand-made yarn brought in a ton of attention but no sales. Perhaps there are just too many options to buy yarn! Interestingly, the cookies I prepared weekly did OK. This I find amazing as there are also a million options for buying baked goods and sweet treats.
The most difficult thing by far is the fact that there just isn't enough time. I am a mother and I also work full time. There is a constant battle of shifting to what is the highest priority. My business email is just terrifying right now - ha! I think the most disheartening thing was that there are simply some mean and nasty people in the world. Unfortunately, I've experienced a few of those this past year too.
I am proud that I've kept going. There were a lot of road bumps this past year. We had some family affairs that were tough to get through. Some days were absolute stress nightmares. My husband, children, co-workers, neighbors, and friends have been so supportive. I really am blessed to have a great network.
I hope that everyone is treading water in these crazy times. There are so many things to be afraid of right now. I suppose we just have to keep our heads up and keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when it hurts or seems impossible.
Best wishes to everyone.
Hoppy Mountain Farm