March was a crazy awesome super fantastic month, but it is often difficult to fully capture all that happens each month in our weekly posts. Therefore to make sure you don’t miss out on any of our noble shenanigans we like to do a monthly update to keep you up to speed and also drop some hints about what’s coming too.

So with that said, lets jump right into it for the month of March.

Highlights

The Posts
March 4th: The Iced Coffee Brewing Experiment Part 1 [Gabe]
March 11th: Why Laos: Part 2 [Adam]
March 13th: Mission Arabica Update: February [Chris]
March 18th: New Baby: 1 Funny Lesson I Learned During Labor [Chris]
March 25th: 3 Incredible Life Lessons From A Killer Whale Attack [Gabe]

Jude Allen Cheney
Of all the things that happened in March to make it a crazy awesome super fantastic month, by far the most important event was the birth of my son Jude on March 9th. This was a big milestone in my life and I was happy to share it with you in my post: New Baby: 1 Funny Lesson I Learned During Labor. By the way, that post has been our most successful post to date and I loved hearing all your stories in the comments! So thanks for joining in the conversation and sharing that article!

Life Changing Coffee
The second thing that really made March crazy awesome was that tons of foundational work was done to make sure we could start selling our very first Mission Arabica branded coffee come April 23rd! To accomplish this launch though we needed to partner up with a couple other businesses to provide the coffee and roasting. We considered several different companies, but two really stuck out to us more than the rest and those companies are: Thrive Farmers and The Bearded Apple. In both cases it really is an honor to be working with them. For one, they both put out some great coffee. Secondly and perhaps even more important to us though is that their vision really lines up with what we are doing at Mission Arabica.

thrive-farmers

For example, Thrive is a company committed to the sustainability of coffee farmers and their communities. They prove this through their revenue sharing model that compensates farmers up to 5x better than what traditional purchasers are willing to pay for their product. Like their name suggests, this allows the farmers and communities to not just barely get by, but to thrive.

beardedapple

The Bearded Apple is the next link in our supply chain. They purchase the coffee from Thrive, but at this point it still needs to be roasted and that is exactly what The Bearded Apple does. They roast the coffee in such a way to bring out the very best qualities in the beans which results in the best possible cup of coffee for you. On top of that though, The Bearded Apple is actually formed as a co-op to bring economic development (AKA: Jobs) into the small mining town of Iron River, MI. In other words, the entire purpose for why The Bearded Apple exists is community development. Great coffee AND community focused, what more could we ask for from our roaster?

Mission Arabica Logo

When you bring this all together, every time you buy a bag of Mission Arabica coffee you are supporting Thrive farmers and their communities, The Bearded Apple and their vision to revitalize Iron River, as well as enabling us (Mission Arabica) to develop new coffee farms in Laos to bring villages out of poverty (Why Laos? Check it out here). That’s not just great tasting coffee, but as we like to say, it’s life changing coffee.

Giveaway
Our greatest marketing strength currently lays with our Facebook presence. Therefore, we really wanted to continue to focus heavily on this area to help fuel our growth. To accomplish this, we did a giveaway towards the end of March that focused exclusively on Facebook by requiring people to like us on Facebook and share our giveaway post in order to be entered to win one of our new Mission Arabica mugs. On top of that, the giveaway post also talked about the launch of our coffee on April 23rd.

Overall this was a great success. We had over 40 people share that post and gained about 20 new likes on our Facebook page.

Goals

To accomplish our mission, we have developed multiple goals that are broken into three phases.
Phase I is our audience growth phase. The purpose of this phase is to tell the story of our journey as three average guys who are stepping out to try and do something tremendous in the world. The goal of this story is two fold:

  1. To inspire others to follow our lead and take that step to do something great in the world. Don’t cut yourself short. Dream BIG and make it happen! You can do it!

  2. Through telling our story, we look to increase the demand for the third world coffee we will be selling. This isn’t as much of a profit thing as it is an impact thing. In other words:

    • The greater our audience – the greater demand there will be for Lao coffee

    • The greater the demand for Lao coffee – the more plantations we can set up

    • The more plantations we can set up – the more farmers pulled out of poverty

images

What you really need to know is that we CANNOT accomplish this mission without you. So thank you for joining this journey with us and together we will see lives forever changed!

Phase I Updates:

Facebook:
Likes at February 28: 210
Likes at March 31: 242
Increase of: 32 likes (15% increase)
Phase I Goal: 2,000 (1,758 more needed)

In regards to social media presence, Facebook has been by far where we have spent the majority of our time and efforts. This is also clearly reflected in the numbers as well. That being said, 2,000 likes is a pretty ambitious goal, but I still believe we can make it.

If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet, help us reach our goal by clicking on the Like button in the sidebar to the right —>

Also, I wanted to point out the importance of sharing our content. When you like us on Facebook it helps you stay in the loop about what is going on with Mission Arabica. However, when you SHARE our content, it goes out to all your friends, many of which are not Mission Arabica fans (but would be if they only knew about us right 😉 ). So sharing our content and encouraging your friends to check it out is huge for us and we really appreciate it!

Twitter:
Followers at February 28: 38
Followers at March 31: 40
Increase of: 2 (5% increase)
Phase I Goal: 2,000 (1,960 more needed)

Twitter is a social media platform that neither Gabe, Adam, nor I have used prior to Mission Arabica. As such, we have not really spent as much effort utilizing it. However, in the coming months we plan on spending increasing amounts of time here in order to further our cause.
If you haven’t followed us on Twitter yet, click here to join:

Email Subscribers:
Subscribers at February 28: 21
Subscribers at March 31: 21
Increase of: 0 (0% increase)
Phase I Goal: 1,000 (979 more needed)

As mentioned above, this month we really focused on our Facebook growth and as such, not as much focus was placed on our growing our email subscriber list. However we do plan on increasing our efforts in this area in April to help accomplish our phase 1 goal.

That being said, we are honored by everyone that takes the time to visit our site and like/follow us on social media, but I would have to say that our email subscribers hold a really special place in our hearts because they have really gone above and beyond to say, “Yes, I like what you are doing and I want you to keep me informed by email.” I don’t know about you, but in this age of spam emails, I am not one to just go around and sign up for a bunch of mailing lists unless I really believe the content of those emails will be worth while.

We recognize that and therefore we do our very best to respect your inbox by typically only sending out one email per week with updates from the site. However, there really are more perks than that. Email subscribers are sort of on the Mission Arabica VIP list so for example, once our coffee sales go live, our email subscribers will definitely get some special bonuses.

The best part is that becoming an email subscriber is absolutely free. So if you are already an email subscriber: Thank You. But if you are not, it is super easy to sign up, just do so in the box below this paragraph.

Join the VIP List!


Affiliate Income

amazon-1The other aspect of Phase I is developing affiliate income to help us cover some Mission Arabica expenses. If you are not familiar, affiliate income is basically a commission for sending someone to a sales page of a website. If that person then goes on to buy something, we will receive an affiliate commission. We currently do this with Amazon. Whenever we recommend a product on our site and link to Amazon for that product, we will receive a commission if you go ahead and purchase the product.

The great thing is that this does not increase the cost of the product you are purchasing and this commission is not limited to just the product we linked to. For example, if we link to a coffee pot and you click on the link, but then end up purchasing a TV, we will still receive the commission on the TV as well.

Therefore, a super easy way to help out is when you are going to buy something on Amazon, just go through our affiliate link first. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and Mission Arabica will end up receiving about 5% of the sale.

In the month of March we earned an affiliate commission of $50.97 ($48.61 in Feb)

To make this even easier for you, just go ahead and bookmark/favorite this link and whenever you want to go purchase something from Amazon, just use this saved link for your convenience and we will still get credit for the sale.
http://amzn.to/1gh9Tyc
If you are not sure how to bookmark a link, Adam made a video to show you how. Just click here.

Total Site Visits
The final Phase I metric I wanted to point out is our total site visits this month so we can track it going forward. Hopefully we will see this number continue to increase each month!

Total Site Visits in March: 447 (472 in Feb)

Although we did have a slight downturn in site visits in March we still believe that 447 is a strong showing and we expect even greater results in April with the launch of our coffee!

Phase II:

This phase will mainly focus around starting to buy and sell coffee from existing farmers as well as taking a trip to Laos.

By starting to sell coffee later this month (from Central America) it will be a great first step to eventually selling Lao coffee because we will already have our sales and distribution network setup. We have also been making some preliminary plans to start purchasing green coffee (unroasted) from some existing farms in Laos that we know of and to even take a trip to Laos in early 2015.

Phase III:

This phase is primarily focused on actually setting up a coffee plantation. This is really the primary goal of what we are trying to accomplish, but more details of this will become available once we have made a trip to Laos. In the mean time we are continuing to learn about coffee and coffee agriculture to help turn this vision into a reality.

Going Forward

So as you can see, it has been a busy month and we have lots of great things we are working on. I’m definitely looking forward to having a great April and excited to see where this journey takes us.

Remember, we cannot do this without you! So sign up for our email list and share our posts with your friends on Facebook. We appreciate you more than you know and would also love the chance to interact with you, so drop us a line in the comments or on social media as we would love to get to know you better.

Thanks for joining this journey with us!

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