Matt Marsh operates American Heartland Acres, an aquaponic basil farm that serves the Raleigh-Durham market in the heart of North Carolina.
Starting the farm was a big life transition for Matt and his family - before moving to the country and building a tiny house, Matt, his wife, and their daughter lived in an apartment in the city.
Despite the rapid change, however, American Heartland Acres has had a fairly smooth ride. Matt is known to his community and markets as "the basil guy"; he grows the best basil in the area.
Matt attributes this success to clear goals and a whole lot of hustle.
The best thing that new farmers can do for their farms, says Matt, is having a clear goal and sticking to it.
"You have to figure out what your farm is going to accomplish. Not it's brand - but what is it going to accomplish. That's the most important thing."
When farmers hone in on a solid goal that's close to their passion, they can do almost anything. Not only does their focus create fuel for the hustle required on any farm, but it makes every decision you make clearer.
When you're working towards a goal, every strategy and decision comes down to a simple question: "does this help my goal or hurt it?"
It also means that when something goes wrong in the farm - a radiator goes out, you forget to turn on the A/C, etc. - you've got a strong reason to move forward anyway.
"When it gets tough, when it gets hard, I [remember] that there's a reason for it, there's a higher goal for it."
Although goals and action plans need to be outlined in the business plan, most farmers have a goal before that. Ask a farmer why they started farming, and they'll describe a passion for something bigger than themselves.
Quantify that passion, and you've got a strong farm goal on which to build a business.