Truffle farmers are hardcore (and it’s NOT just because pigs bite off their fingers on the regular – although that’s also true).
I promise to explain how this can help you boost your bottom line – but stick with me for a sec.
Did you know that white truffles cost $4,000 per pound?
That’s fairly reasonable considering the most expensive truffle ever sold went for just under half a MILLION buckaroos.
Not surprising though…
It seems like every mimosa-laden brunch, charcuterie board, or pre-set chef menu is trending truffles.
Truffle butter, truffle oil, eggs Benedict with truffles, truffle fried chicken jalapeño pancakes (That last one is not a joke. It upsets me.)
But what’s more interesting about truffles than the crazy demand…. Is how hard it is to find them.
I was at a truffle farm a few weeks ago (Well… it was actually a winery. I was drinking wine. But they also happen to have a truffle farm.)
And because I’m obnoxiously curious and have to know how these things work…
I cornered the wine-slash-truffle lady (who also happens to farm snails – very diverse) to pelt her with questions about how their farm produces so many truffles.
In fact, between this joint and their neighbors – the two farms produce more truffles than ALL OF FRANCE. (Don’t tell the French. They’re very sensitive about these things.)
I learned that in order to grow truffles, first you need to grow trees.
Most people use sandalwood or hazelnut trees.
These guys are smart, and went with hazelnuts since they can SELL the nuts while they’re waiting for their truffles to grow.
And waiting is a big part of the game…
Because to grow a truffle – basically you dust the tree roots with these spores…
Wait 10 years…
And then MAYBE a truffle will grow.
Did you get that?
You wait 10 FREAKING YEARS and MAYBE the thing you waited a decade for will happen so you get paid.
I ‘aint built like that.
I can’t even wait 2 minutes for my pizza to cool down before scalding off the roof of my mouth.
Now of course… after decades of figuring this stuff out, they did work out out a few tricks.
For example, these guys trained dogs to sniff out the truffles instead of the traditionally-used pigs (which sometimes eat your hard-earned truffles… and your fingers).
And considering how lucrative truffles are when they DO grow – I get it.
But talk about playing the long game.
I respect the hell out of these guys for their endurance and patience… but that ROI gamble isn’t for me.
Ask anyone who’s known me for a while, and they’ll tell you I have this magic power to pull money out of my butt when I need it.
Probably because I deal with stress and pressure by going into “massive action mode” where I move fast and break things until I get what I want.
It’s definitely NOT the best way to do things, but it’s just how I’m wired, and it’s worked well for me so far.
So I’m clearly not cut out for the truffle game.
But what I AM pretty decent at is learning from other businesses and industries, and helping people apply that to their own marketing.
Making those connections is one of the reasons I’m able to pump out advertorials and pre-sale pages so fast.
So here’s what I took away from learning about truffle farming that you can use for your own biz.
#1 – Sell your sawdust… or in this case… hazelnuts. Stack those businesses.
These guys sell truffles. In order to grow truffles you need trees. So they grow trees that produce something else of value.
I’m sure there’s a more official term for this, but I call this “business stacking.”
For example, if you have a laundromat, then put some vending machines in the laundromat that sell laundry supplies. Or put a cafe in the laundromat that sells snacks and drinks while people wait for their laundry.
Or better yet – buy the building that your laundromat is in, and rent out extra space to other businesses. Stack those multiple businesses on top of each other so they fuel and support each other to grow bigger and better.
#2 – No matter how long they’ve been running successfully, most businesses can be improved by technology or innovation.
With the truffle farm – they trained dogs instead of pigs to find the truffles. This works faster, they get to keep more of their truffles since the dogs don’t eat them, and they eliminated one of the biggest safety hazards of the industry (losing your fingies to the piggies).
Pigs have been used for CENTURIES. Doesn’t matter – there’s always room for improvement.
You have a unique perspective and skill set. Use what you learn from other industries (and life in general) and test out new ideas. Just because it’s always been done that way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it.
#3 – Focus on a business model that motivates and excites you.
Personally, I would go crazy if I had to wait 10 years to see if my investment paid off. I want to see the path, and at least get a glimpse of the pot of gold at the end. But for someone who’s happy playing the long-game, they’ll have lots of opportunities that I won’t.
Also, work in a way that motivates you best. For example, getting a steady paycheck is really great. I love having a steady paycheck because it reduces stress, and it allows me to do many things that I want to do since I can plan ahead. I do great work when I get paid a steady paycheck…
But it does not motivate me. It doesn’t trigger that slight panic that causes me to go into overdrive and make big things happen.
Set your business up in a way that motivates you. You don’t have to work like everyone else does. Again, see lesson #2.
#4 – Go out into the world, seek out people who live and work differently than you do, ask how things work.
This one is important.
Most people are excited to talk about what they’re doing. If they didn’t think it was interesting, then they probably wouldn’t be doing it. If you ask and show genuine interest, they’ll be glad to explain the ins and outs.
So be curious, ask good questions to learn how people do things differently than you do, then think about how you can apply those things to your own business – even if it looks totally unrelated on the surface.
BONUS – if you’re a copywriter or marketer, this is a great way to collect real-world stories and case studies.
Write about what you learn and experience. It’ll solidify the lessons in your own mind, and also help you connect with your audience since people can tell the difference between a real story, and something you tried to make up for marketing purposes.
Hope this helps – I’d love to hear from you about any lessons you’ve applied to your business from other (seemingly unrelated) industries.
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
#1 – Grab my All-Purpose Advertorial Template
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#3 – Rent my brain for your business
If you need help streamlining or scaling your business, then book a call to tap into my 10 years of “in the trenches” experience. We can jump on a live Zoom call and work through your toughest challenges together. Book in a consulting call here.