M5 Experience Revealed

March 22, 2019

M5 Experience Revealed

March 22, 2019 By: Kerissa Jenkins


  This winter I had the opportunity of a lifetime to help continue the growth of our small business. I was accepted into the inaugural M5 Small Business course hosted by Mary Heffernan and her family at their ranch in Fort Jones, California.  The M5 Small Business workshop brought life to an abandon shelf of ideas, along with the confidence, determination, and motivation to push forward and not take no for an answer. Throughout the weekend Mary had a line she continued to use, “You can do it”. If you want something, then make it happen. This mentality change was huge for our emotional state and business development. We often talked a lot about what our new farm would look like, the events we wanted to have and the outdoor kitchen we wanted to build, but often more times than not we quickly became discouraged when every dream item we pictured quickly became unrealistic. Mary pointed out that the mentality of building something the right way is justifiable, but there are more ways to achieve a goal than the idea of cookie cutter perfection. She continued to say that you should do what you can and always keep moving forward. Once you stop, you lose the momentum.


            Another amazing piece Mary shared within the course, was various financial opportunities outside our basic farm to table avenues. She challenged us to market items we already had in different ways, get creative in our deliverables, and never pass up an opportunity to sell our products. As a result of all these different tools and inspirations, Charlie and I have decided to make major improvements to all avenues of our business. Later on I will share some of our exciting new customer options that we will soon be launching and little changes we have made since I left Fort Jones.


Five Mary’s as a Business

            Five Mary’s Farms is an incredibly successful business, but not because their products are any better than ours or someone else’s. Five Mary’s is successful because not only do they produce quality protein, they are quality people, who keep pushing forward and don’t let the fear of failure hold them from growing their business. I personally do not follow any “famous” or even public figures, but Mary was one person I had really grown to adore. Before I left for the trip Charlie and I both shared the same fear that Mary and her family’s business wouldn’t be what we had envisioned. I can happily say, that was not the case. Mary prides herself on the transparency of her business and her family. Meeting them in person only confirmed that she was an extremely talented marketing magician, a super humble person, an incredible wife, mom, and above all a hard-working farmer.

Planning for a trip to Fort Jones, California was incredibly out of my comfort zone.

Reasons why I questioned the trip:

1. I had just experienced some administrative changes in my day job, and my workload had not only changed, but it had become much heavier. (Taking off 4 days of work… seemed crazy)
2. This workshop was unexpected, and financially I couldn’t afford a $2,000 + trip with a 2-week notice.
3. I maybe a planner, and I may like structure and systems because they give me peace of mind. So when a huge opportunity came open, but also happened to be during the same time that we had our house inspection, I was beyond leery. (The work was more than Charlie could do alone, and I couldn’t imagine leaving him alone to execute the list)
4. I worried about what others would think of me, our relationship and of the farm. For some context, Charlie and I met about a year ago. We hit it off early on and never really looked back since.

           I currently live and breathe this business, but the thought of going to a workshop where I was only the owner’s girlfriend, and my name wasn’t on the deed yet, intimidated me a little. As I looked through the post, most of the women commenting on the event were married women, with kids, or appeared to be extremely successful women with financial flexibility.

Here is why I decided to take the trip:

1. I made a decision to work my tail off for my day job, but I wouldn’t let it control my life. I would for the first time establish boundaries and release things that were out of my control.
2. Charlie and I managed to come up with the cash and sacrifice some date nights to pay for the course.
3. Charlie promised that he would follow my to-do list and be ready for the inspection.
4. Charlie sat me down and said, “it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, or feels, if you want this as bad as I know you do, then stop doubting yourself, and just apply”.


I applied for the course, knowing that this was the exact step our business needed to take the plunge. What I didn’t know then was what we would take away from the course. Mary emailed each person upon acceptance and asked each business what they hoped to take away. For us, our top priority was shipping, following that was to increase our social media presence, and finally craft some quality marketing materials. What we took away from the workshop was not a step by step solution on how to be successful, but a playbook on various techniques. Stay tuned next week to learn how our playbook has morphed and what changes and improvements we are implementing!

Kerissa Payne
  • Farm website & online store provided by GrazeCart