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If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to make a living as a farmer, Mary Ann Fordyce is here to enlighten you. The 61-year-old entrepreneur launched Blue Star Ranch in 2008 and it has since become a source of six-figure income for her and her family.
This interview with Mary Ann shares her inspiring story and suggests how to become a great business owner yourself.
What inspired you to create Blue Star Ranch and share it with the world?
While I have been raising chicks for years, Blue Star Ranch emerged as a business mostly out of necessity. I needed to “hatch up” a plan, so to speak, after my job as an insurance agent ended due to management problems. I also became disabled at this time in my life, and found that working with my chickens was a source of therapy for me. I was inspired and realised that I could make a profit out of my passion – and I did! It wasn’t the easy road, but it was worth it.
I am no longer a “spring chicken”, but I have learned much about the poultry industry and so I decided to offer my “eggsperience” to people interested in raising chickens. Of course, people who want to succeed must be willing to do the work to achieve it. My book “Six Chickens to Six Figures” along with my training videos and mentorship provide many people with an easier path to success than I have had.
What are the best parts of your job?
I really like helping customers, making new friends, and of course watching my chicks blossom into pretty hens. Gathering eggs and hatching them also makes me feel an immense sense of satisfaction. Spending time outdoors in the wonderful sunlight and getting hay and soil in between my fingers is amazing, too. Getting dirty is great! And of course, falling into bed at the end of a long day knowing that I did my best and that tomorrow is another day to achieve more. I feel good about what I do and I focus on becoming a better person each and every day.
I also enjoy spending time with my family – my kids and grandchildren light up my life. I sometimes say that when you own a business, the business actually owns you! So I have to make sure to balance work with play.
How did you finance your business?
Well, I looked down one day and saw two “boot straps” on my shoes…so I reached down and pulled myself up by my boot straps (it’s an old Texas saying). I then took a look at my arms and put on a bit of “elbow grease”. And I started to work! No one financed my business except me. I started with my first order of baby chicks from a hatchery (I think 25 or 35 chicks) and grew them in my barn. I then spent the next few years making mistakes and learning from them. I then learned how to apply my business knowledge and sales skills to raising chickens. Eventually there was enough money to keep the business growing, and I can now borrow money from the bank if needed.
I kept in mind that chickens are money. During the Great Depression, people would barter with chickens. Today, in some countries, those with even a few chickens are considered to be highly wealthy!
How do you overcome obstacles in your work?
I look at a problem from all angles. I consider the logical and emotional aspects of an issue before taking the next right step. I also ensure to do tasks ahead of time – this prevents me from falling behind. I streamline my schedule and spend my time wisely, whilst acknowledging that there are things outside of my control like predators and bad weather (I don’t worry about these; there’s no benefit to worrying!). I believe that you can solve most problems by making informed choices and acting on them.
Do you believe anyone can become a successful entrepreneur?
Perhaps, though I believe that different people have different gifts to offer the world – whether you’re a basketball player or a scientist! Focus and determination are my gifts. That being said, there are some skills you can learn. Thinking outside of the box is one of them; I learned to do this in my own life. When I was younger, I was a broke single mother of three kids. I would often drive past country carnivals and wish I could take my kids. One day, I got my kids to check the fair grounds for tickets. They came back with a handful of them – torn up red ones. We could not use old tickets and I had no money at the time, So what did I do? I had a quick thought that there is a party store nearby. I drove to the party store down the road and purchased dozens of coloured paper tickets! We spent the rest of the summer having a glorious time. So I learned to think “outside of the box” and I wrote my own ticket so to speak.
So yes, try to learn how to think outside of the box by considering things from every angle. This will help you stand out from your competition and become successful. There is always a way around a problem!
The success of Mary Ann Fordyce is inspiring, and reveals what it takes to make it as a business owner. To find out more about how to start raising chickens, head over to the Blue Star Ranch website.
You can follow up with Mary Ann Fordyce at:
Get a Book from: https://www.amazon.com/Six-Chickens-Figures-Requires-Eggciting/dp/1678587419/