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INTRO Busy husband and father...

SethChild

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Hello! Great to be here. I was catapulted into this forum by the book Millionaire Fastlane. I am an extremely stretched, but grateful, husband and father of five (all under 12 years old). My wife and I own a sharpening business and a backyard chicken rental business (both businesses are five years old), and my wife earns a rather small hourly wage caring for her grandmother 40 hours per week.

I'm here because I feel passionate about the inadequacy of what we're currently doing. We are poor, lack time to cultivate good relationships with each other and with our children, and we're exhausted. I feel overwhelmed most of the time.

My biggest questions right now, are:
  • Is either, or could both, of our businesses be(come) fastlane businesses?
  • Which business should we sell/get rid of?
 

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Thoelt53

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Welcome to the forum.

What does one do with a backyard chicken rental?
 

MJ DeMarco

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AnMSo

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Hello Seth, Welcome to this forum.

First all congrats that you have the will power to continue with your businesses after five years. It’s easier said than done.

If find your questions a bit interesting because I think that only you and your wife have the answers. Nobody knows your businesses and how they are doing better than you. In theory both businesses can become fast lane. Of course you need to analyze in which one there’s market demand for it. After 5 years you can get some insights based on your sales and profit. Is there a business that is under performing? The fact that you are asking which one to sell might imply that both are not doing well.

¿Does the majority of your income come from your couple businesses?

If you are in a weak financial situation why not sell both pay some debt and try to get a job. IMO a more reliable source of income might good for you in terms of mental tranquility. You need to secure the financial part for your family. You can always start a new business latter.

I f you still want to continue in the entrepreneurial path you should analyze which of your small businesses is the one performing poorly. You might sell that one and invest what you got into the one that’s performing better. Per example you sell the backyard chicken rental and use that to expand your sharpening business. Perhaps trying to sell your own knifes, succors or other products via private labeling. Those are some ideas.

It might be more helpful to you and us to give us a bit more of information to try to help you the best we can. Remember at the end of the day this is only a forum. You are the one that’s going to make the decisions.
 

Dunkafelics

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@SethChild

Welcome to the FLF, you've arrived at a great place where there are many other parents moving towards the Fastlane as well.

There are a lot of great resources on this forum including the Gold and Notable Threads that are worth checking out.

Going back through the Millionaire Fastlane, I would really recommend absorbing as much of the CENTS philosophy as possible.

Are the current businesses that you are running violating any of those principles?


It seems to me that you two are putting in a lot of work and time into these two businesses and the payoff is not meeting your needs.

How can you turn this situation around to start becoming a WIN for you and your family?
 

amp0193

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Is either, or could both, of our businesses be(come) fastlane businesses?
  • Which business should we sell/get rid of?
The chicken business can be fastlane as shit brother. Beautiful site, you're doing a great job.

As someone who has "raised" and managed to kill 12 chickens over the past couple of years... I see the value in what you're providing. We wanted the chickens, but had no clue what we were doing. It's a tough thing to get into when you have no background in agriculture.

What's your market, is it all local?

Franchising could be a way to expand this into other locales.

If you're not shipping coops nationwide, you could start.

How much of your business is sales of equipment vs. rental of equipment?
 

MJ DeMarco

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Yes, as well as scissors, beauty shears, clipper blades, tools...
Ah, I asked because we have an INSIDER trying to "Fastlane" the sharpener business.
 

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SethChild

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Welcome to the forum.

What does one do with a backyard chicken rental?
I'm sorry, I didn't realize people were actually responding to my post. People get a turnkey backyard chicken flock from us with all supplies and consultation, for basically the same reasons they would get any other pet, plus they get eggs as well. Great question...it's not exactly a mainstream enterprise.
 
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SethChild

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Ah, I asked because we have an INSIDER trying to "Fastlane" the sharpener business.
Thanks for the reply. Do I have to be an insider in order to see this thread? I'm happy to invest the money if it would provide commensurate value. I have to watch my expenditures right now though.
 

Kak

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Provide all-inclusive backyard chicken kits (coop, chickens, supplies, feed, plus consultation) for rent or owning. theeasychicken.com
Dude. This is so cool! Where are you located? Does it matter? I’m going to talk to my wife about renting some chickens.

Welcome to the forum. My complements on your innovative businesses!
 
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SethChild

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 27, 2018
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The chicken business can be fastlane as sh*t brother. Beautiful site, you're doing a great job.

As someone who has "raised" and managed to kill 12 chickens over the past couple of years... I see the value in what you're providing. We wanted the chickens, but had no clue what we were doing. It's a tough thing to get into when you have no background in agriculture.

What's your market, is it all local?

Franchising could be a way to expand this into other locales.

If you're not shipping coops nationwide, you could start.

How much of your business is sales of equipment vs. rental of equipment?
A lot of great questions and comments here. Thank you for taking the time. I let so much time pass because I thought I would get an email anytime someone posted to this thread to let me know, but I just saw that people were engaging with me on this forum and I just didn't know it.

Yes, we confidently and successfully help people all the time to not have the experience that you had when starting out their own flock. We definitely abide by the commandment of "need".

Our market is all local right now. The Easy Chicken, as it is currently, is definitely violating the commandment of scale (as well as control and time). From the numbers I've seen there's only about 5-10% of the population that have backyard flocks, and increasing about a percent per year.

We have an agreement with a counterpart/competitor of ours in the Pittsburgh area rentthechicken.com that they won't open in our local market if we refer interested franchisees to them, since, up to this point we have not been interested in franchising. So they started their business a couple years ahead of us, and actually gave us some helpful advice when we were starting out. They have chosen to franchise, and it has turned out for them to be very labor intensive, without the return they had hoped for. They actually taped for an episode of Shark Tank, but their segment ended up not making the cut, because there wasn't enough drama/excitement. Some of their affiliates sell $15,000 per year, while others barely break $1000, but they invest a significant amount of time into each affiliate. They receive 10% of sales from their affiliates. When I spoke with the rentthechicken.com owner recently he said that his numbers (including a package that he can ship anywhere in the USA) are not what he hoped they would be, and that he never foresees a time when he and his wife could just leave and vacation for a month. In other words, his business violates the commandment of time.

We have two coop designs, although we do not own patents on either. They are locally built and delivered assembled. It would be a significant engineering challenge to turn these into flat-packed, shipable, assemble-able coops. Personally I don't have the skills to do this. We could ship coops that are manufactured and shipped from another company.

Any further reflections/ideas?
 
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Arun Siva

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SethChild

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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A lot of great questions and comments here. Thank you for taking the time. I let so much time pass because I thought I would get an email anytime someone posted to this thread to let me know, but I just saw that people were engaging with me on this forum and I just didn't know it.

Yes, we confidently and successfully help people all the time to not have the experience that you had when starting out their own flock. We definitely abide by the commandment of "need".

Our market is all local right now. The Easy Chicken, as it is currently, is definitely violating the commandment of scale (as well as control and time). From the numbers I've seen there's only about 5-10% of the population that have backyard flocks, and increasing about a percent per year.

We have an agreement with a counterpart/competitor of ours in the Pittsburgh area rentthechicken.com that they won't open in our local market if we refer interested franchisees to them, since, up to this point we have not been interested in franchising. So they started their business a couple years ahead of us, and actually gave us some helpful advice when we were starting out. They have chosen to franchise, and it has turned out for them to be very labor intensive, without the return they had hoped for. They actually taped for an episode of Shark Tank, but their segment ended up not making the cut, because there wasn't enough drama/excitement. Some of their affiliates sell $15,000 per year, while others barely break $1000, but they invest a significant amount of time into each affiliate. They receive 10% of sales from their affiliates. When I spoke with the rentthechicken.com owner recently he said that his numbers (including a package that he can ship anywhere in the USA) are not what he hoped they would be, and that he never foresees a time when he and his wife could just leave and vacation for a month. In other words, his business violates the commandment of time.

We have two coop designs, although we do not own patents on either. They are locally built and delivered assembled. It would be a significant engineering challenge to turn these into flat-packed, shipable, assemble-able coops. Personally I don't have the skills to do this. We could ship coops that are manufactured and shipped from another company.

Any further reflections/ideas?
Dude. This is so cool! Where are you located? Does it matter? I’m going to talk to my wife about renting some chickens.

Welcome to the forum. My complements on your innovative businesses!
The chicken business can be fastlane as sh*t brother. Beautiful site, you're doing a great job.

As someone who has "raised" and managed to kill 12 chickens over the past couple of years... I see the value in what you're providing. We wanted the chickens, but had no clue what we were doing. It's a tough thing to get into when you have no background in agriculture.

What's your market, is it all local?

Franchising could be a way to expand this into other locales.

If you're not shipping coops nationwide, you could start.

How much of your business is sales of equipment vs. rental of equipment?
Last year our net profits were $13,000. This year, it will be $19,000. Rentals represent about 50%, profits from coops and chickens (packages include one year of consultation) will represent about 35%, and hourly and annual consultation subscriptions represented about 15%.
 
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SethChild

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Sep 27, 2018
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Dude. This is so cool! Where are you located? Does it matter? I’m going to talk to my wife about renting some chickens.

Welcome to the forum. My complements on your innovative businesses!
Thanks! We are located in St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Maybe you could pilot our first package delivered outside of the Greater St. Louis Area. :)
 
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Kak

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Any further reflections/ideas?
Considering your numbers, here are my thoughts...

If you had say a quarter million dollars to blow the business up as fast and as big as possible... What would you do?

What about a half million?

It’s really only a question someone as close to the issue as you can tackle though.

Ponder it for a while, and see what you come up with. I think it’s a very popular market, and way less commital than buying chickens which is attractive to me, a suburban homeowner that might get bitched at about “livestock.” Even though your numbers are small, it does prove concept on a micro level.

When you have your answer, post it up. We may be able to help organize your thoughts on a round of funding.
 
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Kak

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We have an agreement with a counterpart/competitor of ours in the Pittsburgh area rentthechicken.com that they won't open in our local market if we refer interested franchisees to them, since, up to this point we have not been interested in franchising. So they started their business a couple years ahead of us, and actually gave us some helpful advice when we were starting out. They have chosen to franchise, and it has turned out for them to be very labor intensive, without the return they had hoped for. They actually taped for an episode of Shark Tank, but their segment ended up not making the cut, because there wasn't enough drama/excitement. Some of their affiliates sell $15,000 per year, while others barely break $1000, but they invest a significant amount of time into each affiliate. They receive 10% of sales from their affiliates. When I spoke with the rentthechicken.com owner recently he said that his numbers (including a package that he can ship anywhere in the USA) are not what he hoped they would be, and that he never foresees a time when he and his wife could just leave and vacation for a month. In other words, his business violates the commandment of time.
I don’t buy it. He’s a competitor, you should treat his word like that of a comptetitor. Would he tell you if he was killing it?
 

NateKruse

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Is @NateKruse the person who is trying to fastlane a sharpening business?
Yeah that’s me. I like your site. It gave me some ideas. Your wife’s sharpening business is much more well established than mine at the moment.

I have a progress thread on the Insider’s section. It’s been slow lately.

I work full time as an aeronautical engineer and haven’t been devoting as much time to my business as it deserves. Hurricane Florence slowed me down a bit but the biggest reason is that I’m actually enjoying my day job most of the time since I’ve rotated back to my old team.

Your post reminded me that I need to take more action to dominate the competition. You should focus on the chicken thing.:p

Best of luck. I’ll keep an eye out for posts on your thread.
 

Thoelt53

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I'm sorry, I didn't realize people were actually responding to my post. People get a turnkey backyard chicken flock from us with all supplies and consultation, for basically the same reasons they would get any other pet, plus they get eggs as well. Great question...it's not exactly a mainstream enterprise.
Super cool. I'm excited to be a customer when you nail down the logistics and I get my a$$ out of the city. I'd love nothing more than to share the learning experience of caring for chickens with my son.
 

Thoelt53

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From the numbers I've seen there's only about 5-10% of the population that have backyard flocks, and increasing about a percent per year.
Only 5-10% of the population? That is a BIG market.

If we conservatively assume the number is closer to 5%, and just 1% of those people are interested in a backyard chicken rental, that is still a potential market of ~165,000 people.
 
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SethChild

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 27, 2018
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Considering your numbers, here are my thoughts...

If you had say a quarter million dollars to blow the business up as fast and as big as possible... What would you do?

What about a half million?

It’s really only a question someone as close to the issue as you can tackle though.

Ponder it for a while, and see what you come up with. I think it’s a very popular market, and way less commital than buying chickens which is attractive to me, a suburban homeowner that might get bitched at about “livestock.” Even though your numbers are small, it does prove concept on a micro level.

When you have your answer, post it up. We may be able to help organize your thoughts on a round of funding.
Thanks again for reflecting on this with me. To start, I'd like to mention a few challenges that the business currently has.
- We drive ten minutes each way to get to property where we raise the chickens (we live on 1/3 acre in a blue-collar suburb)
- The property is offered to us free of charge, but the landowner highly values his privacy so we can't have customers or employers come to the property
- Here's the time and money involved in a $450 (plus mileage) rental package
- A coop is/was built for $350 materials, $350 labor = $700
- Two chickens cost me $60 total (not counting the time and feed and equipment that I put into them, plus the time of finding a reliable person from whom to buy chickens [this has been one of our greatest challenges])
- I invest two hours in prepping for a delivery (gathering materials, packing, cleaning and repairing coop)
- I drive 45 minutes to residence
- I give a one-hour startup session, which includes unloading and setting up
- I drive 45 minutes home
- Talk with customer on average fifteen minutes over the phone over the course of the rental
- For about 15% of customers, I arrange with a customer to get to them a replacement chicken due to predator-loss or sickness or not laying well enough
- Six months later, I drive 45 minutes to residence
- Load up coop and visit briefly with customer - 20 minutes
- Drive 45 minutes back to residence, or to the farm, where I unload coop and chickens
 
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SethChild

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 27, 2018
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Thanks again for reflecting on this with me. To start, I'd like to mention a few challenges that the business currently has.
- We drive ten minutes each way to get to property where we raise the chickens (we live on 1/3 acre in a blue-collar suburb)
- The property is offered to us free of charge, but the landowner highly values his privacy so we can't have customers or employers come to the property
- Here's the time and money involved in a $450 (plus mileage) rental package
- A coop is/was built for $350 materials, $350 labor = $700
- Two chickens cost me $60 total (not counting the time and feed and equipment that I put into them, plus the time of finding a reliable person from whom to buy chickens [this has been one of our greatest challenges])
- I invest two hours in prepping for a delivery (gathering materials, packing, cleaning and repairing coop)
- I drive 45 minutes to residence
- I give a one-hour startup session, which includes unloading and setting up
- I drive 45 minutes home
- Talk with customer on average fifteen minutes over the phone over the course of the rental
- For about 15% of customers, I arrange with a customer to get to them a replacement chicken due to predator-loss or sickness or not laying well enough
- Six months later, I drive 45 minutes to residence
- Load up coop and visit briefly with customer - 20 minutes
- Drive 45 minutes back to residence, or to the farm, where I unload coop and chickens
So you can see how time intensive this is. Also doing rentals remotely (without a local franchisee) would be difficult because of the cost of shipping the chicken and coop back vs. the total cost of the coop and chicken. So we were to scale nationally without franchising, it would seem to leave out the rental option, and we would help people get started with chickens by shipping them the coop and all-supplies, feed etc. and then shipping chickens from one of the local hatcheries that sells chickens that are about to start laying. If we invested $300K or so in a residential/commercial property we could raise some of the chickens ourselves and have a little more control over our supply.
 
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SethChild

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 27, 2018
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So you can see how time intensive this is. Also doing rentals remotely (without a local franchisee) would be difficult because of the cost of shipping the chicken and coop back vs. the total cost of the coop and chicken. So we were to scale nationally without franchising, it would seem to leave out the rental option, and we would help people get started with chickens by shipping them the coop and all-supplies, feed etc. and then shipping chickens from one of the local hatcheries that sells chickens that are about to start laying. If we invested $300K or so in a residential/commercial property we could raise some of the chickens ourselves and have a little more control over our supply.
Or we could assist people to find chickens locally on their own, by telling them where to look, and give them tips on do's and don'ts.

The challenge is when people don't want their chickens any more. Locally, we're always on the lookout for animal-friendly farms that will receive non-producing layers and give them a nice home to live out their years. But what it comes down to is people have the following options when they don't want their chicken any more.
- list on craigslist or on a local chicken community facebook group
- take to an animal shelter
- Take to a vet to euthanize
- Euthanize chicken on their own
These aren't exactly feel-good options.

I hope this isn't overwhelming, and not trying to be Debbie-downer here.

With a half million, off the top of my head, I'd use $300,000 to invest in a residential/agricultural/commercial -type property with plenty of storage, but as close as possible to the suburbs and urban areas where our customers are. The rest I'd use to:
- Hire a web developer to add completely automated web ordering and fulfillment, if possible
- Hire an engineer to help us convert our coop design into one that could be flatpacked and fairly-easily assembled. I think I would outsource the building of these, to avoid the low passivity of a human resource system. (or I'd use a coop or coops from another manufacturer(s)).
- Legal to patent our coop designs, Trademark our business name "The Easy Chicken" and slogan/USP "Backyard eggs made easy."
- Contract for administrative and management support, to help us make good, timely decisions, and focus our efforts as business is growing
- Contract or hire for additional marketing support to make sure this aspect of our business is consistent and robust.
- Hire for delivery
- Video production so that people can learn how to use us, and our setup without me being there in person at every delivery
- Phone system that would allow for efficient handling of incoming calls for consultation/support
 
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SethChild

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 27, 2018
36
37
112
Or we could assist people to find chickens locally on their own, by telling them where to look, and give them tips on do's and don'ts.

The challenge is when people don't want their chickens any more. Locally, we're always on the lookout for animal-friendly farms that will receive non-producing layers and give them a nice home to live out their years. But what it comes down to is people have the following options when they don't want their chicken any more.
- list on craigslist or on a local chicken community facebook group
- take to an animal shelter
- Take to a vet to euthanize
- Euthanize chicken on their own
These aren't exactly feel-good options.

I hope this isn't overwhelming, and not trying to be Debbie-downer here.

With a half million, off the top of my head, I'd use $300,000 to invest in a residential/agricultural/commercial -type property with plenty of storage, but as close as possible to the suburbs and urban areas where our customers are. The rest I'd use to:
- Hire a web developer to add completely automated web ordering and fulfillment, if possible
- Hire an engineer to help us convert our coop design into one that could be flatpacked and fairly-easily assembled. I think I would outsource the building of these, to avoid the low passivity of a human resource system. (or I'd use a coop or coops from another manufacturer(s)).
- Legal to patent our coop designs, Trademark our business name "The Easy Chicken" and slogan/USP "Backyard eggs made easy."
- Contract for administrative and management support, to help us make good, timely decisions, and focus our efforts as business is growing
- Contract or hire for additional marketing support to make sure this aspect of our business is consistent and robust.
- Hire for delivery
- Video production so that people can learn how to use us, and our setup without me being there in person at every delivery
- Phone system that would allow for efficient handling of incoming calls for consultation/support
This is one aspect of our business, but the most labor intensive.
We also have sales of our packages and hourly consultation visits.
 

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