Most people don’t equate chickens with wealth, which is what allowed Mary Ann Fordyce to build an empire off them. The 61-year-old CEO of Blue Star Ranch spoke with us to share what it took to grow a six-figure income using her backyard chickens.
Why did you choose to work with chickens?
I actually had started raising chickens as a hobby; they are lovely animals which are so fun to be around. After my work as an insurance agent ended due to corporate management issues, I decided to pursue my passion as a career. As it turned out, my chickens were a real money maker! The timing was actually great, in a way – as my job ended, I became disabled following a series of medical issues. Spending time with the chickens was a form of therapy for me.
They are also an amazing source of revenue. Think about this. If you put two $1 bills in a jar tonight, and look inside it the next morning, will there be more money there? Nope. But put 10 hens and a rooster together, incubate some eggs and in a few weeks or months you will have plenty of chickens to sell at $20 each. 10 hens and one rooster can generate about $2000 or more in income per month if people follow my steps in my book “Six Chickens to Six Figures”.
You can get this book from Amazon here
How important is marketing in business?
Marketing is so important in running a business. I find that word of mouth and social media reviews are most useful in establishing new customers. However, a minority of unhappy customers (who usually failed to follow my advice on raising chicks) can be really tough to deal with due to how fast people communicate and over-dramatise things.
This made me realise that a lot of people don’t know much about raising chickens, and don’t realise that genetics play a large role in the health of a chicken. There is a lot of bad advice circulating online, so I decided I would help out by publishing the truth about raising chickens. I wrote a book and offer online videos to help inform people. I like to think that I am “eggsposing” corporations for selling inferior chicken breeds to the unaware public. Many people are quick to purchase anything cute and fuzzy, and don’t think about the quality of the egg layer.
Were your family also passionate about business?
Both of my parents were successful in sales and creative entrepreneurs. They never did not achieve their dreams of financial independence but were successful in many times in their lives, although never achieved their dreams of success. I had always wanted to be a farmer, and was always driven as a child – in part thanks to being able to work with them. However, my family support me in all that I do, and appreciate Blue Star Ranch as a wonderful business and excellent source of income. Some of my kids and grandkids also enjoy the chickens, but not as much as I do!
What are your secrets to running a successful business?
Hard work, constant concern for raising the best breeds, and a willingness to make fast decisions regarding company direction are essential. And if you’re raising chickens, it’s important to look at the overall poultry market and realise that chickens are a replaceable commodity that replicates. People will always want to buy pet or egg laying chickens – dogs and other predators unfortunately cause chicks to be lost on occasion, meaning the demand for new chicks is always there.
In reality, we sell way more chickens than we can raise! I have 7 other affiliate farms that assist me with growing chickens for sale during the busy seasons. There is such a high demand for chickens; it can make it really hard to keep up.
One thing I realised when starting the business is that so many other backyard chicken sellers simply gave up or went out of business. I was determined to make my business work, which is why partnering with other farmers worked so well for me. Other factors in my success include being honest, selling quality chickens (no GMO feed and the best breeds), and educating customers. I also really want my customers to enjoy the process of raising chicks, so I make sure to support them as best as I can.
What is the best business advice you’ve been given?
To really value customer needs. This helps your business stay at its best, because a happy client will always come back. I’ve made many friends from customers over the years. It helps loving what you do, too. The passion shows and it’s easier to make meaningful connections with people. I love each and every day with my chickens.
This advice has helped me so much. My customers are often amazed at how I over-deliver, providing excellent quality chicks and service, along with my enthusiasm. Customers will purchase more if they trust you, too, which is why it’s so important to develop your relationships. Sales experience from my childhood has helped as well – I learned to “always be selling” and “sell the sizzle not the steak”. So I do not just “sell chickens”, but I sell a family hobby that brings people happiness.
Raising chickens can be an effective way to build an income if done properly. Visit Mary Ann’s website to find out more about the process of starting your own business.
You can follow up with Mary Ann Fordyce at:
Get a Book from: https://www.amazon.com/Six-Chickens-Figures-Requires-Eggciting/dp/1678587419/