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GOLD! I Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.

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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
283
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Rural Australia
www.interfaceaustralia.com
Your story is truly inspiring. It is really appreciating that you answer each and every post and that too genuinely and with a pure heart and real words. Thanks again.
G'day @VIVEKSINGHJADONS from Oz,

Thank you. I LOVE reading this.

Your time is valuable. And if you take time out of your day to write to me. It's remiss of me to not reply.

I also love meeting you. And hope to get to know you better.

Best wishes on your road to entrepreneurship. It's a bumpy ride. But an exhilarating one. ~Carol❤
 

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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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Oct 5, 2017
283
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Rural Australia
www.interfaceaustralia.com
Hi Carol, I'm a newbie to this forum reading articles for inspiration which cause me to stumble on your story. The way your mind works is truly quite intriguing "Tissues in boxes that DON'T pull out one at a time". I don't have an exact business idea yet, I've been selling used computers on eBay for small sustenance as well as practice with ad copy. what were your thoughts at the moment you knew that iron board covers were the niche to take an educated leap in?
G'day @Vangoue from Oz,

I should have been an engineer! But it wasn't a career choice for a gal like me when I was starting out in my adult life.

My thoughts when we knew ironing board covers could be a business?

I thought: "How bizarre that people could care about something as mundane as an ironing board cover fitting on their board properly."

We were as amazed as everyone who constantly asks us in disbelief. How can we make a living out of ironing board covers?

This wasn't the market niche we had envisaged when we reinvented ourselves. We were aiming for something more glamourous. More trendy. Sexier. Something off the wall we could write home about. All the things we all hope our business will be. Because that's what attracts publicity. Word of mouth. Et al.

But. When we listened to the people who were clamouring for our ironing board cover. We realised it would be a BIG mistake to ditch this product in favour of something very pie in the sky.

We were dirt poor after losing everything in Australia's 1992 'recession we had to have'. Bills needed to be paid. And here were people throwing money at us for something they valued.

It would have been irresponsible of us not to pursue this need in the marketplace. And fill it.

This product was a true light bulb moment for us. I don't know how often it happens to other people. But the recognition that we had designed and developed something that was truly wanted by other people is truly electrifying.

Every week I have people who purchased a cover years ago ring and tell me how happy they are that we're still in business. That in itself makes what we do very rewarding.

Because of our story. And how we developed our product. And how we chose to have it made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. We have been able to attract the publicity every business craves.

Decisions made early in our business life centred around us being a caring company. It's how we want to be known. And all decisions made since then are influenced by that desire.

From the feedback we receive from customers. And what's written about us. We know that we're faithful to our ideology.

I hope I've answered your question @Vangoue.

Finding your niche is sometimes not easy. But perhaps you'll be lucky like us. It will just jump out in front of you.

Welcome to The Fastlane Forum. It's a privilege to meet you. And I hope you find your path sooner. Rather than later! ~Carol❤
 

fishgodeep

Bronze Contributor
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Oct 11, 2015
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Edmonton
Wow absolutely loved reading this. Thanks for writing this and for all of your in depth response @Carol Jones. Reading a story like yours and seeing your level of positive engagement with people reminds me I need to be nicer to people.

There should be a picture of yourself and husband in the dictionary next to word 'Integrity' :)
 

Gtas

New Contributor
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Jun 19, 2019
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This is how you just don't allow anything to become an obstacle in mind! Congratulations.
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
283
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540
Rural Australia
www.interfaceaustralia.com
Wow absolutely loved reading this. Thanks for writing this and for all of your in depth response @Carol Jones. Reading a story like yours and seeing your level of positive engagement with people reminds me I need to be nicer to people.

There should be a picture of yourself and husband in the dictionary next to word 'Integrity' :)
G'day @fishgodeep from Oz,

Thank you so much for reading this thread. And for leaving such a lovely thought. I read it out to Victor. He was speechless.

You've certainly made a fabulous first impression!

Business is all about engaging with people.

Even in the anonymity of online. People seek to engage with the owners of the business. When they can't. They don't develop the loyalty that business owners crave.

Humans are social beings. Just like dogs. They like to see. Touch. Feel. Smell. And engage. When those senses are in play. And activated. Most people are happy.

Some people do prefer to be aloof. And that's to be respected. But most like to feel a part of the community that the business serves.

Which is why you're here!

It always pays to be polite. And charming. It makes you memorable.

Thank you for dropping in. And I hope we engage again. ~Carol❤
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Oct 5, 2017
283
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Rural Australia
www.interfaceaustralia.com
great read! when you first started how did you find some customers? locally or international. thanks :D
G'day @trafalgar_law from Oz,

Thank you so much for reading this thread.

Our first customers came from word of mouth. From the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover we made for Victor's mother.

After that. When we realised this was going to be a business. We hit the road. We drove 60,000kms. Every year. For 14 years. Exhibiting at any event where we could spruik our wares.

It's hard work. But it's how most people start. At markets. Face to face events.

It's how you learn to talk to your potential customers. Ask them why they're interested in your products. What they currently use. Why they want to change.

You then learn how to sell to them!

This is also how we created a mailing list. Starting with 250 names. It grew into the tens of thousands.

We just asked people at events. Whether they made a purchase or not. If they would like to go onto our mailing list. So many said yes.

By the time we started our online business, we had such a good feel for what customers wanted to hear. Today. We have close to 500,000 customers. In 30 countries. Gained ~ One. Customer. At. A. Time.

I don't depend on Google. Or social media. I just nurture my customers. Who tell their friends.

Although. I am still on page one of Google. For my best search term. And have been there for 18 years. Without paying a cent. This is because I post something to my website almost every day. That's helpful. And interesting. For my potential customers

I hope this helps you. If I can give you more information, please let me know. ~Carol❤
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
283
2,306
540
Rural Australia
www.interfaceaustralia.com
This is how you just don't allow anything to become an obstacle in mind! Congratulations.
G'day @Gtas from Oz,

Welcome to The Fastlane Forum!

Thank you for your kind words.

We all face obstacles. Sometimes many times in one day. But it's how we respond to them that makes a difference in our lives.

We're all different. And we all have different thresholds for pain and suffering.

Success in anything. Whether it be sport. Business. Learning a craft. Or a trade. Is about how much pain and suffering we're prepared to endure. To get to where we want to go.

What? And how much? Are we prepared to give up? To earn the right to live our dream.

Every road that leads to living our dream is littered with the debris of sharp nails. Broken glass. Boulders. That need to be circumnavigated in order to reach the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow.

Not everyone has the tenacity. Or the will. Or the desire. To grab that brass ring. And run with it.

Some of us settle for less than we deserve. And for some that's OK. They know their limitations. And don't complain about the decisions they've made to be where they are.

Others just want to be there at the top. And will endure anything to get there.

We can't all be Queen Bees. Some of us have to be worker bees. Who keep the hive healthy.

The ones who complain about their lot in life. That they've 'been robbed'. Have no one to blame but themselves.

Opportunities are everywhere. For everyone.

We either step up to the plate and make things happen. Or we drift through life. Hoping something happens to us.

Those are two simple choices. One makes us. The other breaks us.

It's a pleasure to meet you @Gtas. I hope you love every minute of your time here. And that you learn what you need to go forward and conquer your part of the world. ~Carol❤
 

trafalgar_law

New Contributor
Jun 22, 2019
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@Carol Jones

thank u for that inspiring reply. That was very helpful, indeed. I am still starting my business, baby steps here and there, and you are correct that we should nurture our customers.
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
283
2,306
540
Rural Australia
www.interfaceaustralia.com
@Carol Jones

thank u for that inspiring reply. That was very helpful, indeed. I am still starting my business, baby steps here and there, and you are correct that we should nurture our customers.
G'day again @trafalgar_law,

There are many relationships in business that need to be nurtured.

Your customers.

People who are more experienced than you. Who can be your mentors. And help you get to the next level.

Your suppliers. Any person you buy from. They're often treated with disdain. And treated as dispensable.

But.

If treated with respect and dignity, suppliers will move mountains for you when it's important. They also know other people who might be of help to you.

Your family. Often neglected when a business is in the startup stage.

Anyone you meet. Anywhere.

In my business, I treat everyone as a potential customer. I talk to people on street corners. Waiting for the lights to change. Waiting in line at the supermarket checkout. I also talk to the checkout guys and gals. I smile at people when walking down the street.

Because running a business is always about dealing with other people. And you need to meet and greet a vast cross-section of people to get a deep understanding of who is visiting your website. Or walking into your shop.

The best way to learn this is by talking to strangers.

Now. About you. What is your business? And what baby steps are you taking?

By the way. Baby steps are good at the beginning. They stop you from charging ahead and making too many foolish mistakes.

I hope to hear from you again. ~Carol❤
 
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Amaravil

New Contributor
Jul 16, 2019
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Iran
Good morning from rural Australia,

In a nutshell, my partner and I design and make textile products that are simple solutions for difficult problems. We have 400,000 customers in 30 countries around the world who think our products are the best thing since sliced bread. The icing on the cake is that all our products are made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. We are renown for our simple solutions that work. When others don't.

That's the event.

The process is this.

In 1992, my partner and I lost everything in Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating's 'recession we had to have'. We closed down two businesses. My partner's 12 year old architectural practice. My market research consultancy. We farewelled 16 loyal and supportive staff. We sold our home of 22 years. Two cars. And our personal possessions. To pay off what debt we could. And made a scheme of arrangement with our creditors to pay off the remaining debt.

Poor as church mice. We left the city lights of Sydney Australia. For a rural life in a remote village with no internet access. No email. Not even call waiting. But it met our most important criteria. We could live in a farmhouse whose rent we could afford to pay. The village was heavily affected by a severe drought. And the house was not a desirable place to live. But it was our safety net.

We made a decision to find our way back by utilising simple solutions. Our skills were in design. And research. So we reinvented ourselves as designers and makers of textile products. Our first product didn't capture the hearts of the marketplace. But our second product did. We redesigned the humble ironing board cover utilising a low tech solution to make sure it was firmly anchored to an ironing board. So it never moved. Which is what makes people hate ironing.

If you make one good product. Customers want more. So we designed 6 more textile products. And today we have more than 400,000 customers in 30 countries. Without any retail distribution. And all done online today. But in the beginning, it was all mail order.

We've been down dark alleys. Wondered if we were certifiably mad to keep doing what we were doing when ironing board covers are not top of mind with most people.

But we discovered they are very top of mind with men and women who must iron.

Even though the subject is not sexy, our products, and our story, have been written about in every major publication in Australia.

We've been featured on mainstream TV. Interviewed on radio. Included in two books. The latest being 'Hunch' by international best selling author Bernadette Jiwa. I'm the 'Ironing Whisperer' on page 73.

The process of working every day is what got us to where we are today.

We did what everyone said we couldn't do. We built a worldwide business from broke. On a remote rural property. Before the internet and email came to our rural village.

I'm here to mix with like minded men and women. I have 35 years of business experience to share. I've done the hard yards. And would love to be of help to those of you who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And. I want to travel further along the road to wealth.

It will be a pleasure to meet you. ~Carol❤
I deeply impressed by your resistance against "dark tunnel", and thank you to share your great experience with us.
 

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