Excluding and Refining: In Business and Life 

If you can’t find what motivates you, start with removing everything that demotivates you.

Example: I woke up at 6:30 today, motivated to go and feed my ducklings, but I skipped changing their bedding (saved for later) because I feel strongly against the door to the chicken house, where I get new bedding. Because of reasons of impracticality (The Law of Impracticality?!), it takes all of my force, and more, to open it, and almost as much to close it. It’s annoying and extremely demotivating. My temporary solution is waiting until later, when someone else has already done the hard part, but ideally the problem is eliminated altogether.

Do you have things like this? Or worse, is your day littered with “minor” annoyances like this? If yes, then do all in your power to change it… it’ll improve moods, motivation, productivity, and more!

Right now I’m listening to The 1-Page Marketing Plan, by Allan Dib. It highlights exclusion as an important part of small businesses. Not trying to please everyone and anyone, but have a clear and defined market. In my case, the market consists of people who want local, organic food. Specifically vegetables and eggs.

At some point, I will need to come up with ways to stand out from competitors. At the moment there aren’t too many, but I predict there will be, as more and more people get into small farming, due to the market garden and pastured layers/broilers trend.

There is probably no need to try to narrow it down even further, as the market mentioned above is pretty small to begin with. Will probably do so later on, but not to start with.

My plan is to sell in reko-rings, which is similar to a CSA, but a bit different. The point is, you sell directly to consumers. In addition to that, I will probably sell to restaurants and cafès. At least my duck eggs, as they aren’t very hot in the general consumer market. I’ll try to change that though.

Duck eggs are supposedly good for baking, so I can use that to try to sell to bakeries and cafès, but people usually like to stick with what they’re used to. However, some people will inevitably say yes. As they do, and use my eggs for a while, others might follow suit. Another place is Asian markets. Duck eggs are more popular in Asia. 

At the moment I have 10 ducklings, half of which will start laying eggs in 6 months. The other half are drakes and will never lay eggs 😂 However, I will have a place for them as well, which is NOT slaughter. I could never slaughter my babies… I hatched them! I’m raising them.

Slaughter is one aspect of farming I can’t come to terms with. It’s just cruel. Raising an animal to kill it. A precious, beloved one. 

Perhaps my unique edge could lie in my solution to avoid slaughter. A number of people will appreciate it and choose me, if given a choice between me and a competitor. It will come with an extra cost for me, but I’d rather pay a monetary cost than with the flesh and blood of my precious, beloved ducks. Money is endless, but my ducks are individuals – there’s only one of each! Priceless and irreplaceable!

Simply adorable.

This mindset may be seen as uneconomical and naive, but I will make it work. In fact, I created a few social media accounts dedicated to my ducks, in order to eventually fund the life of my drakes and retired ducks. Usually, poultry are culled as they stop laying eggs predictably, but I will let mine live their full lives. I could potentially sell the eggs at a premium price because of this, but I am unsure, as duck eggs are already more expensive than chicken eggs, which drive the pricings. Also, want to keep prices reasonable and affordable.

Then again, maybe there is a small number of people who would pay. That’s all I need.

According to the 80 20 rule, 80% of a company’s income comes from 20% of its customers. So, I need to put most of my focus on the 20%. By doing so, I believe the 80% will come naturally, like a snowball effect. I guess that’s another way of excluding and narrowing it down. Although I won’t technically exclude the 80%, I won’t give them as much thought and attention. 

Focusing on the core will strengthen my business, its bones, so to speak. There is no need to focus on the hair or nails or fingers. Organs are important, as is skin (a less obvious organ). Proper protection needs to be put in place. Protection of the company and yourself. 

The heart of it all is probably the customers. They are what pumps and keeps the blood (cashflow) in motion. Or maybe the customer relationships. Need to give this more thought.

In life, you can exclude people who don’t serve you. Not telling you to cut ties right and left, but if there is someone who always seems to put you down or halt your progress, or in any other way stand in the way of your success, it’s perfectly fine to exclude them from your life. If you can’t do that, exclude them from having access to the control room of your emotions. Be your own weather.

Another area where I will exclude is social media. For a few days, I’ve uploaded videos of other animals than just ducks, but noticed it doesn’t lift me up. It merely steals from time and energy I could put on my ducks. Even if it’s only 15-30 minutes, it adds up.

So, from now on, I will only put out duck videos. Other animals will join if they happen to be there, or potentially on other, rare occasions, if they happen to do something so fun I just can’t miss out on showing people. 

…….

Excluding customers who aren’t interested in my products saves time and money. Not only for myself and my business, but for the precious customers who love my products. Giving them more time, I can enhance their experience and improve my service to them. Someone said it’s easier to find 100 people willing to pay you 1000 dollars, than it is to find 1000 people willing to pay you 100 dollars. Think about that.

Instead of trying to reach as many customers as possible, a small business like mine is better off hyperfocusing on a small group of people.

But.

It doesn’t mean relying on one customer group entirely, or one product. That 80%, they’re important too. Without them, you miss out on 20%, after all. Relying on one thing in any situation is bound to leave you worried about losing it, and if you do lose it, you lose everything. Don’t forget that.

Nurture your precious customer relationships and you will gain a lot more than if you try to reach out to and impress many. This is one of the perks of small businesses.

Think of it like gardening: When you grow plants, you do your best (hopefully) to help them grow, while sorting out the weeds. If you have weeds and don’t deal with it, you end up watering and feeding the weeds as well. With weeds vs vegetables/flowers, it’s easy to see why it’s bad, but in situations with people, it may be more difficult. After all, you want to reach out to as many as possible, don’t you?

But by watering the weeds, you harm the growth of the vegetables and flowers. And remember, those are the ones who give you fruit and blossom.

Thank you for reading.

(I didn’t write about what I said I would today, as I was inspired to write about something else. That’s how life is sometimes, and it’s easy to get disappointed in yourself when you don’t follow through. In this case, it was just a blog post topic, but even in more important situations, disappointment is not the right way.)

(There’s always a reason for things happening. Even if you don’t follow through, you’re not at fault, no matter what society wants you to believe. According to my experience, doing the wrong thing often leads to the right thing. And think about it like this: it might lead to an unexpected positive change to the other party as well. Believe me when I say it, because someone burned down my house, and it led to one of the best thing that has ever happened to me. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be living on a farm right now, and I wouldn’t have my precious ducks.)

Speaking of my ducks, don’t forget your daily dose of cuteness! I was in a bad mood before, but after a while of just sitting and watching them, my peace of mind returned. As will yours! I dare you.

Here they are:

Jocelin Dawn

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