Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your business of Rabbitry.
Hey, friends. I am Leah Lynch, rabbitry owner, blogger, and online educator at leah-lynch.com. The business is a personal brand not because I am narcissistic but because I hate naming things. The rabbitry came first so let me share that with you first.
In case you don’t know what a rabbitry it is to rabbits what a kennel is to dogs. I was extremely young when my parents got me my first rabbit and I have had one or a herd (which is a group of rabbits like a flock of birds) ever since.
My goal with the rabbitry is to provide my buyers whether they are looking for: a 4-H project, a show quality rabbit or a pet, with a sweet and easy going animal with the best body type which conforms to the ARBA(American Rabbit Breeders Association) standard of perfection.
On the blog and social channels, my goal is to help stay-at-home wives and mothers find purpose beyond the “day-to-day” and help them feel valued and/or a sense of accomplishment.
That may mean starting a side hustle so they can contribute something extra to the household income or taking it to something greater.
I want to encourage and assist them to step into the role they feel they were created for, while at the same time run their homes well. By helping them see that they did not break the mold by wanting to stay at home and being driven to do more, they just merged the two.
A rabbitry is a very seasonal business and currently brings in an average monthly income of about $500. The largest portion is made in about 6 months of the year. The blog brings in income through ads and affiliate sales.
What’s your background?
I want to be careful how I say this because I don’t want someone to think that because they don’t think they are natural at business they can’t build something of their own.
Business in short is making smart decisions, thinking things through, and not spending more than you make. This is the difference between a hobby and a business.
With that said, yes, I would say the instinct of seeing the value and need for something came natural.
I still have to pull back the rains when my mind starts rolling with a new idea. Did I know everything? Of course not. There have been many hours over the past 10 years spent learning the tech side of things and the online business world.
What went into designing the initial product? Can you take us through the actual process?
I can’t tell you how I found out about the breed because I honestly don’t remember but I found the breeder that got me started on Craig’s list.
After meeting with her and seeing the breed, I was in love.
They were big, beautiful, and sweet animals.
I bought my first two French lop rabbits at that age of 17 – Willie and Andy. A few months later I brought home my first doe Anya.
Ten years later I am still loving the breed. There is nothing like them.
There is a little bit more of a story behind the blog. It was what you could call my “bathroom floor moment” that helped me narrow the focus to what it is today.
The blog was already up and running. I was what could have been described as a homesteading blogger at the time but I knew that was not quite the niche for me.
I believe you learn by doing and the quickest way you are going to figure out what you were created to do is to get out there and try it.
I was at the end of my journey in school, with a degree in my hands, with no debt attached, and a wide-open field in front of me.
I could go in any direction I wanted.
For someone like me, who loves to have a plan, that is terrifying. I loved learning and going to school which gave me direction and purpose for each day.
I was on my porch feeling like everything I loved to do in life and been taken out from under me BECAUSE COLLEGE WAS DONE, NOW WHAT?
To keep a long story short I realized I didn’t have to stop learning, it just would be learning in a different way and I had to figure out what that was. After school ended so did my work-study job which left me with far more free hours then I had in years.
I loved running a home and being a wife but being as driven as I am I needed something more. Something to give me purpose beyond laundry and dishes. I didn’t hate them but I knew I was meant for more.
I knew at that moment that I could not be the only one who felt this way. The blog slowly took a shift as my direction became clearer. Helping women find the answers I so desperately needed.
Talk us through the process of the launch of your business
Both the blog and rabbitry were started by just taking one step at a time.
That is the beauty of the online world, you just do it. It doesn’t need to be the big grandiose announcement.
Start slow and build a strong business that has the trust of your audience. Screaming to the masses causes people to cover their ears. Whispering a quiet invitation builds curiosity and trust.
The rabbitry started with a free website and a Facebook page. Now we are on a paid site and about 60% of sales are from people finding us and getting on the waiting list.
The blog again started just one step at a time. Producing content and shard on social media. Here are the social platforms by order of priority.
- Pinterest – #1 traffic source with organic search close behind
- Instagram – is a community-building tool. It is not a traffic builder.
- Facebook page – Again not a huge traffic builder. The slightly older demagogic still used Facebook and my audience age group is almost even between each platform.
How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you
attract and retain customers?
Whether they are looking for a french lop because their first one passed on or are looking for another I would say repeats are about 30-40%
The best thing that has brought repeat customers is being open to any questions they have about the rabbits. Telling them information and tips that you learn from experience that is just not out there in the books and about 70% of the time when they pick-up their rabbit they stay at least 30-60 minutes because we end up in a pretty long conversion. By being willing to spend this time with them demonstrates a true interest in them as people and not just a “sale”.
Who doesn’t want to talk all day long about there animals… that’s normal right?
The blog is just now in the monetization phase. The focus up to now has just been to build an audience.
What is the current situation? How do you see yourself in the next 12 months?
For the rabbitry, I am happy with the size of the herd which is at 12-15 production animals (that is breeding rabbits not ones for sale), we may increase the number a bit but not by TOO many.
I am excited about the next steps because we are going to be working on some digital products to help with the education of running an efficient and productive rabbitry along with information on rabbit care and showing.
For the blog and business education, I want to continue to build readership and find more affordable products, tools, and education.
Behind the scenes, I see having at least 1 team member to help with outreach so I can focus more on nurturing the current readers and creating the content they want to see.
As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Or
otherwise too? If yes, then how?
Does it feel good to see money come in?
Yes, I would be lying if I told you the money didn’t matter.
But when tears come to the surface while you read those encouraging comments and emails you know your heart is in the right place. It is ok to start a business because your family needs the money to survive, there are certainly those stories out there.
At the same time you have to love what you do because, in the beginning, you are going to be working a long time without ever seeing a dime.
There is something powerful when you get a blog comment saying you gave someone the courage to tackle the tech side.
Or to have someone say to keep posting because they love seeing your social media posts. These type of comments help you to know you are where you are to be.
I can’t explain my love for those animals in my backyard with floppy ears and big feet. Or what makes me spend hours writing for people I may never meet. Other than the fact that this is what I was created to do.
What tools or services did you use?
There were not as many online tools ten years ago as there are now. Not all of these were used in the beginning.
- My first free website was built on webs.com (use wordpress.com).
- We had a Facebook page for the rabbitry (which has since been closed down and a fresh new one created)
- For the blog, we have a Facebook creator page. You’ll need to Google it since you won’t find it directly from your personal profile.
- Typeform is THE BEST for creating a waiting list. The free version is plenty.
- I currently use Trello to manage everything but there are so many similar tools out there and I hesitate to say you will find the perfect one. Most have free options so play around with them first and see which one you will naturally use best. Don’t stay with a tool that you find frustrating to use.
- I did not have an email list in the beginning but after I started the blog I have used several different email service providers and right now I am happy with Active Campaign.
- For social scheduling, I used the plan which is an online website only with no app for a while. But most social platforms have their own schedulers so I think using the in house schedulers work best.
What are your key challenges today? How are you planning to tackle those?
Being careful not to get burned out is definitely a struggle. When I go after something the fighter in me kicks in.
I push hard and don’t quit. Which is good because you have to be ready to work hard to make something a success. But it can do more harm than good sometimes.
It is so easy to come up with ideas or see something that someone else is doing and think “oh, that looks cool” and try to stack that on my already full plate.
But you can’t do all of them at once. If there is an idea I just can’t shake I write it down and even plot out the main points and ideas. Then I let it sit for a while before I jump in and start setting the dates.
Also when I feel myself getting tired or realizing there is something I am dragging my feet about. I stop and ask myself why and if I can change the way I do something to make it work better.
Or better yet,
take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes. One thing I have learned is your followers, readers and true fans won’t leave you because you take a few days off.
Which are some resources, books, articles or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers
Oh, so may things!
Before I give you my recommendations, know that some people will teach the same thing but one you will resonate with and the other one you won’t.
And that’s ok.
Find the teachers you love to hear from.
Podcasts are by far my favorite way to learn because you can be soaking up information while going about your daily life.
Grit – by Jessica Stansberry is a wonderful new podcast that gives you tough love and is not just focused on the “how to’s” but tells the hard truth about business and gives you a push just when you need it.
The Goal Digger – by Jenna Kutcher is a great listen when you need advice on how to build a brand not just a business.
Online Marketing Made Easy – by Amy Porterfield is a VERY “How To” type podcast that teaches you all the things around the marketing podcast.
Many a times, women feel that businesses are for only for men. What’s your take?
Being an analytical thinker I like to think about how things used to be. I think it plays a big role in how we see things today. Whether you are a Christian or not you can look at this as a history lesson.
I think women, as a part of society, have stepped out of that role over the years. Men were created to be the protectors and women kept things running while the men were gone.
When we say “a Proverbs 31 woman,” we think of a sweet meek woman who doesn’t have an opinion on much of anything.
But if you read all of the chapters of the Bible you would find that she is far from that. The chapter is a mom teaching her son (a king) what to look for in a wife.
She is a driven and intelligent woman who runs her home well. She is a businesswoman, a creative, and an investor.
She looks ahead to the future and is not afraid of what is to come because she is prepared. I would go on but I think you see my point.
The business has become a “mans world” because we as women have stepped away from what we were created to do. Men are not going to ask you to step up into the financial world.
You have to be the one to respectfully step up and do it yourself.
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