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Marketing Lambs for $225-$480 each:
A question I often receive is: “Where do you sell your sheep for the premium pricing you talk about?” So today I am going to (1) tell you exactly where and how I sell my sheep for between $400-500 per head, regardless of what the sale barn prices are, (2) how long it has taken me to build this sales stream, and (3) The TOTALLY UNIQUE and different from me way my Instagram friend Darlene used to sell her first grass fed lambs for a whopping $510 each, profiting $400 per head!
About Harmony Farms:
For those new here, I run a small-scale sheep operation on 30 acres in Northeast Texas.
I started three years ago with no experience in agriculture, but I did have a pretty extensive background in marketing and using the internet to build various types of income streams.
From the beginning there was one concept I was dead-set on: I was not going to rely on sale barns (or really any middle man or 3rd party sales platform) for profitability. I was going to market my product, my sheep, direct to consumer.
I knew I needed to do this in order to garner a consistent level of profitability from my farm.
BECAUSE, If you are familiar with sale barns and conventional cattle cycles, you will know that you have maybe 2-3 really good years where you are making bank at the sale barns, 2-3 years where you are covering costs and doing ok, and 2-3 years where you are bleeding to death because the prices at the sale barn won’t even pay for inputs necessary to overwinter your breeding stock. The length of these cycles varies based on various factors, but generally that’s what you can expect when using sale barns.
So from the start I knew I could not build a business that was at the mercy of this crazy cycle.
3 years after starting out, by God’s grace, my efforts in this direct to consumer sales stream has paid off way better than I ever expected. Not only do I have a low-maintenance sales platform that I can sell my sheep through at a premium, I have a relationship with a customer base that has allowed me to diversify my income and quit my regular job in 3 years instead of 7.
Now a quick sidenote about quitting my regular job: I haven’t really quit. I have just moved it to the back burner and turned the heat down to a slow simmer. And I can do this because ALL of the income streams I am working (and have ever worked in my 18 years of earning an income) are 100% home based. Diversity is important and no smart business person will ever completely ditch a viable income stream when they have the option to simply dial it down for a season. This is what I’ve done.
Where do I sell my sheep for $400-$500 per head?:
So let’s get to the first point: Where do I sell my sheep for $400-500 per head?
Where do I sell my sheep for between $400-500 each? I sell them through my email newsletter. I began building my email newsletter list 3 years ago and for 3 consecutive years I have marketed all of my sheep through that newsletter list.
I use that newsletter list to point to my website where all of my sheep are listed once per year at a set price. People can use their credit card to check out on that website and pay for their sheep, just as they are accustomed to doing multiple times per week for other products. I pre-announce the date and time that my sheep will become available and they are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
In my first year, I only had enough newsletter subscribers to sell 1/2 of my sheep through my website, so I advertised and sold the other half through Craigslist. It took about a month total to sell all of my sheep in my first year.
In my second year, I had built my newsletter list enough to where I sold out of all of my sheep within 15 minutes of opening the sale, and in my 3rd year I sold out of all my sheep within 4 minutes of opening the sale.
Each year I was also offering significantly more sheep than the previous year, which was encouraging to see the demand keep up with flock growth.
Whether people are buying for meat or for breeding stock, I direct them all to the same newsletter “waitlist’ throughout the year. The price for meat and breeding stock works out to be about the same: $400-500 per head.
Second point: How long has it taken me to build out my newsletter?
The short answer is about 3 years in total. On a daily basis I’d say I’m spending between 1-2 hours per day actively building up my newsletter, using the strategies I outline in that free PDF guide that is linked below.
This time quote of only 1-2 hours is a result of having streamlined a lot of processes to gain subscribers: kicking out the strategies that don’t work and zeroing in on the ones that do.
To keep those subscribers warm from one year to the next (because as it stands I have only one lamb crop and only one time per year that I sell my lambs), I send out a monthly farm update full of behind the scenes photos of the flock and the work I am doing at the farm.
The reason this is important is because if you just send out one email per year saying “hey! The sheep are ready to buy!” People are going to be like “who is this stranger in my inbox??” Because they probably will not remember the fact that 8 months prior they joined your email list to buy lamb.
But if once per month you stay in touch with truly beautiful photos, stories, and sometimes struggles from the farm, you have kept the minds and hearts of your subscribers warm throughout the year.
For me, it also provides an easy way to value-add. If the buyer can see beautiful photos of how my sheep are raised and loved, it becomes an easy, non-salesy way to elevate the value of my sheep above other people’s sheep.
EVEN BETTER: In those monthly farm updates, I regularly offer my subscriber something else to buy, items that cost $50 or less. And that diversification is what has allowed me to quit my regular job and focus on my farm business 4 years ahead of my business plan.
If you guys have any further questions they re probably answered on that FREE Newsletter strategy PDF down below, so grab that before you leave!
Finally, I am just going to read how my friend Dianne at Good Shepherd Homestead sold her first grass fed lambs for $510 each, profiting $400! (@goodshepherdhomestead1 on instagram if you want to follow her)
“I wanted to share my success in
raising my first lamb harvest. We
raised grass fed lamb, butchered 4
and sold 2 lambs in profits already.
Each lamb will bring in $510 with a
profit of $400. It could be more but
I’m selling at a price l’d pay. I hosted
a “Lamb Feast” and invited 35
people. They ate lamb for free and
brought side dishes. At the end
several purchased lamb meat and
now they are sharing with their
friends where to get lamb. I accepted
payment via cash and cash app.
God is so good.
The event went so well. we are
considering hosting it once a
quarter due to many request.