From: Engineering Analyst
To: Owning a specialty food company
Turning Point: Oil company she was working for transferred their offices to another city and she did not want to leave her farm
As an engineering analyst for an oil and gas company, Linda enjoyed creating charts and helping her team to determine how to get getter production. She had a beautiful office, a stimulating job and worked for one of the richest men in the United States of America, whom she was on a first- name basis with. One weekend she went for a road trip to War Eagle, Arkansas, to attend a huge craft show. She noticed a long line at one booth where women were spending money like crazy. She approached the booth to see they were buying pre-packaged food mixes. Linda said, “I am an experienced cook, growing up in a family where the women are great cooks, and I wondered, why these women were buying over-priced mixes when they most likely had everything already in their own kitchen cabinets?” Having a trained eye for things that seemed to have a high production rate, she asked the lady at the booth, “Why are your mixes selling so fast?” The woman explained to her that even though she understood most people had all the ingredients at their fingertips; 90% of them didn’t know how to put them together or did not want to take the time to do so.
Linda spent that night creating a business plan. Six weeks later she had created a few mixes, produced a few jars of pickles, and had a booth at a small craft show. She completely sold out of her products and she was hooked. Linda said, “I had this gut feeling that I knew I could do this.” After she would get off work each day, she would head to her kitchen to experiment with mixes. Her husband was gaining weight trying all her new creations, so she started giving her experimental food to her friends, co-workers and neighbors. The cost to them for the free food was their comments on the product.
Four months after that small craft show Linda attended; there was a meeting at her office. The company she worked for was going to move from her little home town of Enid, Oklahoma to the big city of Oklahoma City. If she wanted to stay employed, she was going to have to move. She had an impressive job and made a respectable amount of money. She went to OKC to tour and look around. After all, her little hobby of selling mixes provided nothing more than pocket change. As the day wore on, and she saw more of the city, she knew she was not transferring. She was 53 years old; she recognized her heart was that of a country girl. She decided to turn her mixes into a real business. Linda said, “It felt like everything was guiding me to this business, and I had no doubts about my choice.”
July 10th of 2012, “Over The Fence Farms,” became a business. Linda said the name came to her from an experience she had in 2008. She had just bought a new horse. While she was riding him, and they were getting used to each other, she received a phone call that her brother had been taken to the hospital and was in critical condition. Her husband was on the tractor, and she decided to go ahead and get one of their crippled old steers into the chute. That decision changed her life.
The old crippled steer turned on her. He had gone crazy, and she ran toward the fence. As she hit the bottom rung of the fence, the steer hit her and ‘Over the Fence,’ she went. When she landed, she knew something was terribly wrong. She had crushed her tibial plateau and was told she may never walk again. She ended up confined to a wheel chair for the next four months. Linda said, “During that time in a wheelchair her eyes were open to life in a new way. It was during that time she realized she wanted to do something she truly loved and the thought of a career in food was born.” It took her company leaving her little town of Enid, four years later, for her to have the courage to start her business. It was fear that kept her from doing it then, but now she fearlessly runs her dream, her business.
Linda has not gone into any debt to start or run her business. She used her skills of understanding how to get good production from what you already have and put her talent to the test as she planned each step. She has used her 401K and her savings. She is her own loan officer. She has lived by the skin of her teeth by doing it this way, but Linda said, “She is a pioneer, and she knows how sacrifice now for the rewards of later. It is like planting a crop. You toil and sweat and get by, but then the harvest comes.”
Linda said, “My company is now in the black. It pays for itself.” For anyone who has ever been or dreams of being an entrepreneur, when the company pays for itself, that is a cause for celebration. “By the end of the year, Over the Fence, is on target to make a tidy profit. “ I will be able to make a good living from my business that started out as only pocket change,” stated Linda. Another shining factor of Linda’s success is she is asked to speak at training classes for aspiring business owners. Linda, pushed pass the fear of leaving a secure paycheck for her dream. She is humble in saying, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Even though she loved her high-powered career in the oil business she is now one hundred times happier. She traded forty hours a week for eighty, wakes up in the middle of the night either worrying about something or a new-product idea has popped into her head, but as insane as it sounds, she is so happy she can’t begin to describe it.
Linda has a bread mix that all you do is add a can of left-over beer. That is, if there is such a thing as a left-over can of beer. You simply dump the mix into a bowl, add the beer, mix well, and bake. Who knows what is next for Linda, a possible partnership with a beer company for, ‘Over the Fence Beer Bread?’
Some of her other products include; cinnamon & raisin beer batter bread mix (say that three times over), garlic & herb beer batter bread mix, a variety of spice mixes, and her Holy Moly Mama pickles. She also has good girls and bad girl’s sauces, such as Jezebel Sauce. For a complete list of her products, go to over the fencefarms.com.
Linda’s products are carried in high-end retail stores throughout Oklahoma. Her trade show agenda is no longer limited to small local events. She is invited to trade shows that just allow vendors by invitation only. A lady who tasted her pickles in Stillwater, Ok., loved them so much; she invited Linda to an invitation only show in Texas. From a farm in western Oklahoma, Linda Beguin, creates mixes and goodies with only the best ingredients, and they are packed with lots of love and laughter. It is Linda’s vibrant personality which drives people to her booth, but it is her products that have them coming back for more.