Today I am here with Claire Trost and I am very excited to introduce her to you. She is a Corporate Rescue Plan member and she has gone through quite the journey over the last two years going from inspired to start a business to growing two businesses successfully. Thanks for joining us, Claire!
Claire Trost is a blogger of a local food blog at theblogbloom.com and her and her husband run a small, sustainable farm called Bent Arrow Acres in Indiana.
Moving From Inspiration To Action With Claire Trost of Bent Arrow Acres Farm (Case Study)
1. Where are you in your business journey?
Today I have two businesses. One is a personal blog that is focused on local food and a little lifestyle mixed in. I also have a business that is a small farm. We grow and sell garlic and raise pastured meats and turkeys. We hope to grow into cows as the business expands.
2. What fears did you have when you were starting?
The bigger fears came with the farm because there was so much invested in it. It came down to getting over the money hurdle. I realized that at the end of the day, it’s like buying a car. There are worse decisions I could make with a car than a business with bigger paybacks down the road. So it was getting over the hurdle of investing money into something.
With the blog, there were some fears. I started 3 years ago and I was relatively young with the fear of feeling I wasn’t legitimate with my friends and family. I was also worried about the typos out there for everyone to judge. But, I am so glad I took that leap and dove right in because it has made my life so much more full.
3. What challenges or problems did you face when starting?
It’s such a learning curve in this world of technology. I have learned a lot and there are so many resources to get over the hurdles about WordPress.
Some days it was overwhelming. Other days when you figured it out, it was the best feeling that you can conquer anything if you figured it out yourself. So there’s a lot of benefit to learning things. There are days that were frustrating that you just need to reach out to people who know what they are doing.
There are so many other very skilled people out there so I have learned to invest in those people who can do things for me or teach me how to do it. The toughest thing for me was the learning but it has also been the most rewarding.
Hive and Honey Photography
4. You came to CRP with a blog already. What was holding your blog back at that time?
At that point, I didn’t know how to move forward myself. I didn’t want to lose authenticity by adding affiliate links and ads on my website. I wanted it to be true to me and I have seen so many people sell out for cash. I needed to learn what the next step was. How can I still make this something that isn’t just a hobby I remember telling you. I love my job but this is something that could be something very cool for now and in the future. I was sick and tired of pinning all kinds of inspiration and pinning all these motivational quotes and I needed to actually do something about it.
I loved that learning about mission statements and business plans because it has now evolved into an actual business for my husband and I.
5. When did you make the decision to join us in Corporate Rescue Plan?
In the spring of 2015. We had a phone call to learn more about what CRP was all about. I had hit that point where I was surrounded by inspiration and had done a lot of reading online and books. It was just time to put some action into what I was learning so much about. It was one of those things that the timing just felt right and I was inspired.
6. What did you think when you first joined CRP?
I was inspired and excited to dive right in. My initial thoughts were excitement. I remember getting the first module and sitting down one morning before work and writing all the different ideas I had and the places I could take the business for the future. I remember stepping back from that morning and thinking my brain is at capacity and it’s only 10 am. How did that even happen? It was a good first taste of really getting my ideas out on paper and thinking about all the possibilities I could have.
The purpose and mission are where I dove into right away. That’s the first step I took. I dove into how can I make this more legitimate and not just a blog with little updates about my family.
I went through all the blog modules and it’s not perfect but I learned a lot more that helped me set the groundwork for when we started the farm. It became such a larger undertaking than just a lifestyle blog because we are actually offering products to people and selling things. Being able to work the tools in the CRP system twice and pick and choose what really fit what project I was working on was helpful. Selling a productis exciting and fun but it is a different mindset than selling a service.
7. When did you make the decision to commit to growing the farm business?
A year ago we committed to the farm. We had been talking about it for a long time. We love growing food for families and neighbors. Could we potentially do it as a business? Practicing imperfect action has carried us through every decision. If we had sat around and waited until we had enough money or waited until we knew everything we could possibly know about running a small farm, we would have never gotten started. Just jumping right in and learning as we go has made this all possible. So that’s how we made our decision, let’s just do it.
8. What would life have been like if you had not followed that plan?
I would be in the same place. I was in one networking group of bloggers and I enjoy working with them but being with CRP I have looked more intently at my local female entrepreneur groups. I have met with other individuals doing CRP in Indianapolis. CRP has broadened my network and made me have more confident moving forward with business ideas and new business opportunities.
9. What are some results you have seen in CRP?
We have Facebook pages and Instagram pages for each business with engaged followings. I have connected with brands that are more geared towards my beliefs. There were times when restaurants reached out for reviews but they didn’t fit me. Now understanding really where I wanted to be and what I stood for authentically has helped me understand who I should be working with moving forward and gives me the power to say no. Even though I am saying no, it’s opening up doors to more genuine partnerships.
Note: Corporate Rescue Plan is currently closed. Add your name to the waitlist to be notified when it opens here.
10. Tell us about the family business.
My husband and I have had a lot of fun doing this alongside each other. Good couples should have indoor and outdoor hobbies. Being out on the farm and then coming back and working together on business plan ideas has made us stronger as a couple. Every decision we make is for our son. We hope will continue for a decade or longer so my son will be very involved. Looking forward to if he is bitten by the entrepreneur bug I would support that 100%.
11. What are you most proud of since you started?
There are little wins every day. The biggest thing that I feel excited about is when I am inspiring someone else. A big piece is that I grew up in the city of Chicago. This is not the lifestyle I was intended to have. My parents are still coming around to the whole concept of me living on a farm. To know that I am inspiring people to grow their own food or do something totally off track from what they are expected to do makes me really excited and gives me the fuel to move forward.
Last words of wisdom from Claire Trost to stay inspired:
People will think you’re crazy. It will be hard. It’s not the ordinary route that people take. But, it’s definitely really worth it to do something different and you’ll be so much happier. I believe that happiness is truly founded in growth and that’s what we do every day as entrepreneurs. We grow.
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