NOTE: This article is somewhat of a follow up to my previous Business or Hobby and Small Producers articles. It was originally shared in September of 2016. However, I have made several revisions.

I am fortunate enough to know several very successful cattlemen who started out with nothing more than a cowboy hat and a dream. They did what everyone in the status quo herd said could not be done. I have always been greatly impressed and inspired by such people. Some of these people did not even have an agricultural background. In my opinion, that was more of a blessing than a curse. They were not handicapped or hindered by status quo traditions and ways of thinking.

Getting started in the cattle business does not require that you own land. If you do not already own land, do not purchase any until you can do so with your profits. I did not own any land for the first ten years I was in the cattle business. Getting started in the cattle business doesn’t require that you own cattle either. The only thing required is knowing how to be profitable. Be very careful who you listen to, though, when you seek information. Most of the status quo information that is floating around free of charge will take you in the wrong direction.

The money you have should be invested in things that will provide a relatively quick return on investment. Do your best to avoid buying anything that will depreciate in value. You don’t need a big fancy 4-wheel-drive pickup to be a cattleman. I started out with a very used Chevy Luv mini pickup, a very used 16-foot stock trailer and a couple of horses. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses. Look for no-cost and low-cost solutions to your problems.

You should also consider turnover. The more times you can turn over the money you have, the more opportunities you will have to create a profit. With that in mind, you might consider taking a course in Bud Williams’ Sell-Buy Marketing. Some have used this to amass a small fortune in a short period of time. I hate debt, but it can be a great tool when properly used. Long story short, use your money (or someone else’s money) to make more money – NOT to fill your shop or garage.

As I look around… I see many options and opportunities. There is always a need for custom graziers who know how to get the most out of every ray of sunshine and drop of rain that falls on the land they control. There are niche markets popping up everywhere you look. For example, consumer demand for grass-finished beef has been growing by leaps and bounds. There are not enough producers to meet the demand. Keep in mind, though, you cannot produce acceptable grass-finished beef with high-maintenance, status quo genetics.

Each and every one of us have some unique unfair advantages based on our location, our personality, our experiences, our acquaintances, etc., etc. Take time to identify your unfair advantages – and put them to use! Status quo producers seldom take the time to identify their unfair advantages because they fail to realize they must be different to truly excel. The first step to becoming extraordinary is to stop being ordinary.

Most of today’s cow-calf producers started out with much more than just a cowboy hat and a dream. What is preventing many of them from being as successful as those who started out with much less? For the most part, they are unable to make their hopes and dreams come true because they are afraid to break away from the so-called “comfort” of the status quo herd. In many cases, they are allowing a job to hold them captive.

What about you? Are you as happy and as successful as you would like to be? Do you have a business that is working for you – or are you working for a hobby? Are you creating a good business future for the next generation? Are you doing what needs to be done to avoid having regrets when you come to the end of this life? Don’t be afraid to dream. Dream BIG while you are at it! Then… take action and do what it takes to make your dreams come true.

Share on Social