Always focus on producing the best product — Taking shortcuts leave you in a dead end. We once ordered a lesser quality packaging and it was not up to par. We knew we needed to spend more to deliver a quality product.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laurent Baud.
Laurent Baud comes from years of working at the best restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. Always looking for a healthy alternative to grab a quick snack to boost his energy, and his love / passion for food, he started making his own jerky to help him through long days of work. He loves the outdoors and would leave work late at night to escape to the Catskills mountain outside of NYC on his days off and would buy jerky to give him an energy boost on the drive up. He hated the basic gas station brands and decided he should make his own. That is how JERKYOURMEAT was born.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
Growing up in NYC, I always loved escaping the city to get to the outdoors and fresh air. Growing up with immigrant parents, and being exposed to multiple cultures of NYC, I fell in love with diverse and tasty foods of the world. After college I ended up working in the food industry in NYC which help me expand my love for food and understand the industry. I always wanted to be a chef growing up. Who knew it would be a Jerky Chef!
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
I always loved Jerky, and was never happy with the hickory, teriyaki, or pepper flavors sold everywhere. So I figured I could make my own. I started making it and to preserve the quality I need to package it in air tight bags, once I did that I said, well I need a name for this side hustle / hobby. For some reason JERKYOURMEAT.com was available, the Instagram, twitter, tiktok, youtube, and everything was waiting for me to make this. So I did, made a front facing site just to get the name out there and give away free stickers to fans. One day, randomly the emails starting flowing in. Then people found the website www.JERKYOURMEAT.com and wanted to know more about the brand. People kept signing up to get more info. I realized then this was something bigger, it was more than just a jerky brand, it was a lifestyle brand.
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
It is a constant challenge. We have 1000’s of jerky brands out there all wanting to sell their jerky, we want to be more than a brand that just sells jerky, we are a lifestyle brand. Staying ahead of the curve and staying in tune with your clientele is our number one priority. We want to keep our JERKYOURMEAT clientele happy and engaged.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
I always remember Steve Jobs words. “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? ‘ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
If you do not love what you are doing, you need to rethink what you are doing. If you love it enough you will figure out a way to make it work.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
If you really love it, you will always enjoy it, and it will keep pushing you forward. Knowing that the future has so many possibilities, it keeps me excited, motivated, and eager to do more in the field of JERKY.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
Oh wow…. This list can go on and on in every way. The reaction from our JERKYOURMEAT customers is so motivating. Delivering a quality and tasty product that people love, motivates you to want to create more. The downside is just a bump in the road, it excites me to figure out how to overcome any challenges. Keeping up with inventory demands is always a challenge, but a great problem to have.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
I never knew how hard it is to start your own business from the ground up with zero financing. It’s all about getting creative to find ways to get your product out there is fun and challenging. It is so amazing what hard work and research can do. I spent hours trying to figure things out, reach out to people, and create an amazing product in JERKYOURMEAT at the same time. Challenges always pop up, staying focused and keeping your head up is so important to keep moving forward.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so, how did you overcome it?
Everyday! Luckily, the pandemic reminded me that this is the time to shine. Rewards do not come over night, it takes hard work, and the time is now. I listen to motivational videos whenever I get doubtful in believing that JERKYOURMEAT would work out. I am glad it has worked out and continues to grow.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One day we flooded the kitchen by mistake. The only thing we could do was laugh and clean up, then get back to work. Things are always going to happen that is not expected, getting angry will only hurt yourself.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
Ben Francis from Gym Shark, Seeing footage from him printing gymshark shirts on a home printer reminds me that anything is possible. He followed his passion to complete with popular brands and keeps growing everyday because he listens to his audience and gives them what they want.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
We started to grow our business during the pandemic and we felt it was important to send JERKYOURMEAT Jerky to the front line workers. We were happy to bring a smile to their faces while facing one of the biggest challenges of our time.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
– Always focus on producing the best product — Taking shortcuts leave you in a dead end. We once ordered a lesser quality packaging and it was not up to par. We knew we needed to spend more to deliver a quality product.
– Always keep your head up — looking down, you will not see where you are going.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
A community surrounded by inclusion with the goal adventure, nature, and loving life. We are more than a beef jerky company, we are a lifestyle, we want to bring everyone together to follow their passion.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
We must always push forward. Life will keep knocking you down however but it is always about getting back up to the challenge.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
The late Jack Burton Carpenter was a true inspiration for following his passion. Creating a business around what he loved, and following his dreams even though he could have failed time and time over, he never gave up. I was lucky enough to meet him and hang out with him, and he was such a happy positive person.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.