How many times do you say to yourself and your friends, this could be a good business idea, but then never do anything about it? What if you did? I’m digging out another amazing story from my podcast archives about a group of college friends that took at chance on turning their favorite homemade beef jerky into a business.
Our guest today is David Koretz, the CEO/COO of SlantShack Jerky. They make and sell sustainable beef jerky.
Almost 8 years ago, nine Columbia University graduates assembled in the apartment of Josh Kace, the founder of SlantShack, to start making homemade beef jerky has a communal activity to stay in touch with each other.
What was once a hobby is now a business generating revenues over $1 million. Their beef jerky is sold specialty shops across the country and online. They’ve really made the leap and turned been jerky into business.
David decided to leave his job as a research associate to work full time on SlantShack about 7 years ago. He enjoyed his work, but wanted to make a lasting impact even more.
He was interested in pursuing opportunities in sustainable agriculture or green energy. SlantShack seemed the like the perfect opportunity.
Few lessons that pop out from our conversation include:
- How to keep your work in alignment with your passion, purpose and values, even when there might be an easier way to make money.
- Integrating his core strengths and skills he developed as an employee and applied them to the building of SlantShack.
- The key to effective partnerships is communication and the ability to clearly communicate your vision.
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Building a community.
- Practicing self-awareness.
- Aligning your habits with your purpose.
How David Works and Thinks
- Core work activities + habits: 1) Work with a network of small, family farms. 2) Spending time on the farm. 3) Reading industry publications from opposing viewpoints.
- Ideal work environment: Meeting with partners in person. Communicating in a casual format.
- Superpower: Selling potential partners with youthful enthusiasm.
- Definition of success: Building a model of food production that promotes sustainability. Represent a higher standard of food production.
- Self-reflection practice: Question what you’re doing, find critics of what you’re doing, avoid operating with blinders on.
- Regains focus by: Step away from the challenge and gain perspective by going for a bike ride, going for a run, or grabbing beers with friends.
“We weren’t looking to take any shortcuts, we were doing this out of passion for our product.”
“The more you can communicate what it is you are trying to do, the more people you can get behind you.”
“You have to understand your larger goal, but be able to enjoy the day to day at the same time.”
Crafting a concise version of your vision is a great way to stay focused on what you want to achieve when facing obstacles, but also helps with both long and short-term motivation.
1) Write down your vision statement. Why you are doing what you are doing and how you are going to do it.
2) Make a few copies of your mission statement. Post it in places you will regularly see it. Maybe your bathroom mirror, your office or even your car.
3) When you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, read your vision out loud to yourself.