Have you thought about food dehydrating for fun and profit?
Turn your passion or side hobby into a revenue stream that replaces your work income.
Guest Post by Gregg Owens
Have you ever considered using your domestic food dehydrator to produce a side income for you and your family?
On a recent trip to Australia, I met a family who is doing just that. After years of their friends and relatives telling Julie and Rob that they had the “best fruit leather ever” they produced a small batch and went to try it out on the public at a local Farmer's Market.
That first market was so successful for them that they sold out within 2 hours (the market was meant to go for 6 hours). The next weekend they doubled their batch but sold out again in just 2 hours, and the word of their delicious treats was spreading.
I met them six months into their ‘side business journey’, and they had since expanded their operation so that they no longer run out.
They are having so much success that their weekend farmers' market income is fast matching their employment earnings (Julie works in Administration and Rob is a high school teacher).
It has been an incredible journey for their family, and I was lucky enough to have a chat with them and they gave me their best tips for success for others who would like to also turn their hobby into a paid income.
Before you produce a single treat, ask a few friends and people in the community what they would like to buy. Julie and Rob were lucky; their first run was Banana Chips, Dried Apricots, and Dried Mango Strips. They thought the initial sell-out was a fluke.
In the subsequent weeks, they ‘experimented’ with Dried Spices that just did not sell. They assumed others would want to buy these, but the demand was not there.
The lesson: Make sure there is a high demand for your product before you choose to produce on scale in order for food dehydrating for fun and profit to be—well—profitable!
For Julie and Rob, they credit a big part of their success to giving out free samples so that people can try them first. They estimate that about 40% of people buy product straight away, and another 20% in the next weeks after these 'testers'.
This is an incredible return on investment!
The lesson: Not everyone is going to be familiar with food that has been dehydrated, so this is an amazing way of turning them into paying customers.
Julie and Rob quickly realized that people liked their treats because it is a healthy alternative for snacks. They reached out to local businesses and offices where people worked and offered their snacks as a subscription service for their workers.
Now, they have a reliable income per month they can use to grow their business.
Don’t Invest in Things that Don’t Matter. So many people make the mistake of spending money on things that don’t matter at the start. You don’t need business cards, flashy packaging, or a big banner with your name on it.
If your product is good, it will sell itself—those things can come later.
You won’t know if you don’t try. Rob and Julie told me that since they didn’t have thousands of dollars on the line, they could easily commit to giving it a go. You should too.
The worst that could happen is you don’t sell your produce (you can eat it over the coming months), OR the other alternative is you suddenly have an alternate income stream that can put you ahead in life.
When food dehydrating for fun and profit, you need a good dehydrator. If you need some tips or advice on which dehydrator is the best on the market, Gregg has put together a handy resource for The Best Food Dehydrator for 2017. Also read my post about the 5 Best Dehydrators for Drying Herbs here.
If you would like to eat a more healthy diet full of plant-based alternatives, check out his website called Your Vegan Kitchen here.
Thanks, Gregg, for such an informative post!
The "giving out of samples" is a very good idea, and it works. How many times have you been in the grocery store and they offer bites of food? You take the bait, and you buy a box of it.
Or how about when you've been in the shopping malls and the restaurants hand out samples? (Bourbon Chicken comes to mind in our local mall!) again - mission accomplished and the Bourbon Chicken devoured.
Also, having fewer products at the start of a new venture to choose from is a sane idea. Why? Very often, when we have too much to choose from, we get analysis paralysis and end up choosing nothing. That's not the desired outcome, right?
Also if you've ever watched Shark Tank, you know the sharks cringe when a young company/startup has 1001 SKUs. Too much inventory to have on hand when you're first starting out.
It also reminds me of Restaurant Impossible when Chef Robert Irvine has to tackle a problem menu that's six pages long... again, too much inventory to maintain.
KEEP IT SIMPLE.
This from Google: The main difference between SKUs and UPCs is that SKUs (stock-keeping units) are for internal use and UPCs (universal product codes) are for external use. Both are useful for tracking and managing inventory, monitoring supply chains, and analyzing sales trends. However, SKUs and UPCs can have different characteristics.