How I've learned to cherish the daily struggles of a startup
Each day, I envision where I see Central Coast Meats being in 3, 5, 10 years and so on. And, while the dreams and the visions help me take the next step forward each and every day– I intentionally have to remind myself, regardless of how challenging and frustrating, to cherish the present.
A close friend and successful business owner once ended an email to me with words that, ever since, have had profound impact on my view of daily challenges.
For those of you who don't know, we've built this dream from scratch– and it's been freaking tough. I'll be honest, we didn't know what we were doing.. and, quite frankly at times, we still get lost. But, one thing is certain, we know our vision and we'll work tirelessly to get there. When we first started (actually as SLO Meat Co #FunFact) we were fortunate enough to have support from close family and friends which allowed us to get our feet off the ground. Everything from startup capital, to utilizing a close friends parents pasture, building fence, help hauling animals, a smiling face to hand you a cold beer during late nights, bright eyes and a bushy tail to wake you up before the sun, or sometimes to just give us a hug and let us know to keep pushing forward.
Our first year (2016), we raised 200 chickens and 12 pigs. We sold most our chickens to family and friends and some to Sally Loo's. We sold some pigs to Tolosa Winery and the rest we sold to friends and family– we even sold a ham to someone I had never met, that was awesome. We built a website that kind of worked, but not really. We had animals die. We had irrigation systems break. We transitioned with business partners. We had animals get out of fencing. We guessed. We made mistakes. We got lost.. it was brutal.
Since the start of our second year and everyday moving forward, we've approached things differently. We've learned from the, rather shitty, first year and implemented many changes. We pivoted our business model, from trying to offer everything to simply providing monthly meat boxes shipped directly to your doorstep. We moved properties. We have built our supply chain to allow all our production to come from one property. We have a website that, in my biased opinion, kicks ass. We have a small but mighty team. We are present at Farmers Markets. And, the most important piece, we have customers – like you – that make this all possible.
We closed off January having fulfilled more orders than the entire year of 2017. February has hung on strong and we are excited for the Spring time, as it rapidly approaches. We continue to pack, ship and fulfill orders from my house. We continue to work both part-time and full-time jobs. We continue to drive a copious amount of miles. We continue to adapt, fail, and learn.
While I dream of the day that we'll have office space, big walk-in freezers, a kick-ass barn, beautiful pastures to host tours and so on. I am, temporarily, in love with absolutely destroying my kitchen each week to pack orders, working from local coffee shops, and driving all over the county to build a business.
I want to thank you – yes you – for continuing to be there for us. Seeing that there are people that take time out of their day, allow space in their inbox and read about our journey, motivates us. Hearing from our existing customers and fans about how stoked they are on the flavor and quality of our product excites the heck out of me. Seeing new orders come in each and every day brings a feeling that is indescribable. It's slowly, but surely, happening and I am thankful that you are along for the ride.
I am forever grateful for you.
P.S. Shoutout to all you who continue to rock CCM apparel & share our vision with your friends and family– y'all rock!