John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist know the difference between Corporate America and a homemade business. Although they started their careers in marketing, today, they run an eco-farm in rural Wisconsin, where you can buy a jar of their Pucker Ups dill pickles. But local food isn’t just a hobby for these two: now it’s a way of life. They used to live from 9 to 5, but now they’ve decided that there is a better way, and they want to share that way with you!
A year ago, John called me to ask if they could use Forrager’s map in their upcoming book, Homemade for Sale. I was glad to hear about a book dedicated to the cottage food industry, but honestly, I wasn’t expecting too much. Little did I know that this couple has been publishing books for almost 20 years! Imagine my surprise when the first version came through my inbox — I was immediately impressed.
There are other excellent books about starting a small food business, but Homemade for Sale is unique in that it is tailor-made for someone who wants to start from home. Every page comes from the perspective of a cottage food operation, and it is well-written, inspiring, and very comprehensive.
I really like the balance of facts, advice, and real life stories in this book, but what I most like is the focus on marketing, which stems from John and Lisa’s former business experience. From my perspective, marketing is one of the missing ingredients for many CFOs. When I first thought about starting my own chocolate chip cookie business, I thought the first step was to perfect my recipe, right? Wrong.
Homemade for Sale covers a lot of ground, but it does a good job of staying focused on important questions as it guides you through the process of creating a successful business. It is uplifting, but also realistic. It is not merely written for your enjoyment — it is an action book. When you read it, you’ll want to apply the concepts to your business idea in real time. I fully believe that following the advice in this book will help you avoid many of the pitfalls that plague some CFOs.
If you are a first-time entrepreneur looking to start or grow a cottage food business, I think you should buy the book. Also, John and Lisa have offered to post some guest blogs on Forrager with excerpts from Homemade for Sale, so keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.
Clearly, John and Lisa have invested a ton of time into this book, and yet, they understand that this is still a micro industry and that they probably won’t make much money from it. However, money wasn’t the primary motivation for writing their book; instead, they want to share their passion and hopefully change people’s lives in the process. That being said, I personally hope this book is lucrative for them — I think they have done an exceptional job, and they deserve it.