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GOLD! I Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.

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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
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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flower_girl

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Jul 9, 2019
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Hi Carol,
Thanks so much for sharing your story, very inspirational! :)
 

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Amaravil

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Jul 16, 2019
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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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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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I deeply impressed by your resistance against "dark tunnel", and thank you to share your great experience with us.

G'day @Amaravil l from Oz,

Thank you! It's a privilege to share my experiences with you.

Dark tunnels are a part of being in business. Everyone travels down at least one. Probably more. During their business life.

The trick is this.

Accept that it's a given.

And.

Make sure you arm yourself with enough knowledge to know how to reach the light. And then take whatever steps are necessary to get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

The light does shine. So long as. You keep travelling through the tunnel. Instead of getting bogged down. And giving up.

This is when we're all at our most vulnerable. When we think we're making no progress.

During these dark times, I always made a promise to myself every day.

Do one thing today that will take me one step closer to where I want to be. No matter how small or insignificant that step might seem.

Also. Draw on your experience.

What have you accomplished that was so hard to do. You didn't think you'd ever reach your goal? But by always trying. You got to where you wanted to be.

My inspiration was always these two stories from my life.

In junior high school, when I was 12 years old. I flunked sewing. Not quite. I got a D. Instead of an F. I was an honour roll student. So my pride was at stake here.

But no matter how much I tried, my sewing class completely stumped me. I just couldn't figure it out.

Add to that, the knowledge that my mother was a couture dressmaker in New York City before she married my father.

I just assumed that I would inherit her skills. But I didn't.

Annoyed. I decided I would teach myself how to sew. And warned my mother that I needed to figure this out by myself. If I asked for help, it was appreciated. But please don't take over my journey by telling me what to do. Without my asking!

By the time I was 13 years old, I was making all my own clothes. And became the 'Go-To' gal at school for anything to do with sewing.

I went on to teach myself tailoring techniques. I made suits. Overcoats. Everything except my lingerie.

Once I set up my own apartment, I made slipcovers. Actually, just about everything for my new home. Including lamp shades. And Roman blinds.

My sewing machine was my best friend. And people admired my skills.

My mother was a champion crepe maker. We had crepes every Friday night. And she made hers in a battered old aluminium frying pan. That was older than she was.

When I left university. And set up my own apartment. I attempted to make crepes. At that time, I could barely boil water. So when I failed, I wasn't surprised.

But I kept failing. Every time I tried to make crepes.

I became so annoyed, I was determined to make at least one perfect crepe.

300 dozen eggs - 3,600 eggs! - later. I made my first perfect crepe.

I now make only perfect crepes.

That took me years to master.

If I'd given up on sewing and crepe making, the world wouldn't have come to an end. But. I would never know the exhilaration of triumphing over failure.

When in those dark tunnels at the beginning of our business, just simply knowing that I had jumped over obstacles impeding my progress before. And succeeded. Gave me the impetus I needed to forge ahead. And come out the other end stronger. And more confident.

You have done something in your life that gave you the confidence to go forward. Don't trivialise the accomplishment. Draw on it to get you through the tough times.

I hope this helps @Amaravil.

And welcome to The Fastlane Forum. I know you'll love it here. ~Carol❤
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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Your story is so inspiring, thanks for sharing it.
G'day @Mr.Tony from Oz,

Welcome to The Fastlane Forum!

Thank you for your very kind words.

There are many inspiring stories on the forum. And very inspiring people behind those stories. Who are here to help you. All you need to do is ask.

I hope you find the guidance you're looking for. No one gets to the top as a solo act. We've all been helped by other people. Just remember to ask!

Best wishes on your journey. ~Carol❤
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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Thanks for sharing.

G'day @Fyncorp from Oz,

Thank you so much. It's a privilege to have you read this thread.

And welcome to The Fastlane Forum! I hope you find what you're looking for in the way of help. And inspiration. ~Carol❤
 

Ernman

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Carol - I've been following your thread on and off for a while now. What a great story and inspiration, thank you for sharing. You also have a wonderful gift in how you respond to folks. I can easily see why you are so successful. All the best...
 

Soder

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Jan 3, 2019
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Extraordinary story exceptionally told.

I don't doubt that a book could be made about it and it would be a success.

By the way, I see that it is not strange that the success comes after breaking. In a certain sense I understand that falling to the bottom renews you mentally and makes you much stronger, seeing life from a new point of view, perhaps with less fear. Harder and less afraid, what prepares you better to be successful.

Thank you.
 

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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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Carol - I've been following your thread on and off for a while now. What a great story and inspiration, thank you for sharing. You also have a wonderful gift in how you respond to folks. I can easily see why you are so successful. All the best...

G'day @Ernman from Oz,

Thank you for all your kind words.

My response to you. And everyone else. Is based on respect.

For you. For your time. For your thoughts.

If you take the time to tell me your thoughts. It would be churlish of me not to respond in kind.

This is also how we learn from each other. By taking the time to exchange ideas.

To read the posts of others. Listen to ideas that may differ from our own. And form new opinions. And different ways of doing things.

That's why the Fastlane Forum is so wonderful. And welcome! I hope it's giving you everything you want. ~Carol❤
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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Extraordinary story exceptionally told.

I don't doubt that a book could be made about it and it would be a success.

By the way, I see that it is not strange that the success comes after breaking. In a certain sense I understand that falling to the bottom renews you mentally and makes you much stronger, seeing life from a new point of view, perhaps with less fear. Harder and less afraid, what prepares you better to be successful.

Thank you.
G'day @Soder from Oz,

Thank you so much for reading this thread!

And you're right.

Losing everything and being at rock bottom is a gift. Although we don't see it at the time.

It does give you the freedom to try new things. Without worrying about losing what you have. Because. You've already lost it!

There's still fear. It's not fear of loss. But. Fear of history repeating itself.

And.

The fear of how you're going to pay the rent. Feed the dogs. The cats. Where will the money come from to develop new products?

The mentally tough forge ahead. Because there is a goal in mind. If not in sight. How successful you become depends on how much mental pain. And sacrifice. You can endure. Because mental pain. And sacrifice. Is part of the journey.

Looking back, it's been a wonderful journey. We have almost 500,000 customers in 30 countries. Who we love. And respect. Some have become more friends than customers.

We've made our way through dark tunnels to see the light at the end of them. Asking ourselves along the way - do we really know what we're doing? The answer was often - no!

Today. We are stronger. More confident. More knowledgeable. And are able to help others who are still stuck in the darkness.

Losing everything was the making of us!

Thank you again @Soder for your thoughts. It made me reflect on how we got to where we are today. ~Carol❤
 

MarkHenry

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Jul 13, 2019
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G'day @MarkHenry from Oz,

Thank you for taking the time to read this thread.

And welcome to The Fastlane Forum. I hope you find what you're looking for here.

Best wishes on your journey to wherever you want to go! ~Carol❤
Dear Carol,
It's really inspiring for me. Loved your reply.

I always try to read your thread topic.

Thank you so much. Have a good day too!

Regards
Mark
 

flower_girl

Contributor
Jul 9, 2019
25
42
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G'day @flower_girl from Oz,

Thank you so much!

And welcome to The Fastlane Forum!

What are your dreams? Where do you want to be? I'd love to know. ~Carol❤
Thank you Carol, I love reading what you write and appreciate you sharing your words of wisdom and inspiration.

I am across the ditch from you, Kiwiland! South Island.

I have some pretty significant health problems I am working on but I'm not going to let that stop me. In fact two years ago I was hours away from death in the hospital and they were close to "reading me the last rites" in effect. I told them my plans didn't include dying! I knew within me that so much is about mind over matter - and that there is enormous power in our resolute decisions and determination.

Over the years I've seen many people give up on life, on themselves - and it has made me so sad. Despite having been through some very hard times myself I realized one day what Albert Camus said was true about me too as it is many others. "In the midst of winter I realized that within me there lay an invincible summer".

I hear myself saying sometimes, "We don't quit!". Now and again my fiancee has said to me "you don't know when to quit do you?" which usually makes me burst out laughing.

Sometimes it is hard to keep the fire going in your soul but if you DECIDE that you're going to keep that fire going - then you will find a way.

I'm already blessed to live on a small farm in the country. Seven years ago, very unexpectedly the man of my dreams showed up. Talk about a bolt from the blue. Where the heck was he all this time!

I'm a writer, a photographer, a small farmer, a jewellery designer and maker......and in the last few years I have started a small company selling seeds which has been a lot of hard work but also enjoyable in many ways. I'm hoping to scale this up and develop it.

Thanks for asking about me. I hope I wasn't too boring.

Have a wonderful week in Oz!
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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Thank you Carol, I love reading what you write and appreciate you sharing your words of wisdom and inspiration.

I am across the ditch from you, Kiwiland! South Island.

I have some pretty significant health problems I am working on but I'm not going to let that stop me. In fact two years ago I was hours away from death in the hospital and they were close to "reading me the last rites" in effect. I told them my plans didn't include dying! I knew within me that so much is about mind over matter - and that there is enormous power in our resolute decisions and determination.

Over the years I've seen many people give up on life, on themselves - and it has made me so sad. Despite having been through some very hard times myself I realized one day what Albert Camus said was true about me too as it is many others. "In the midst of winter I realized that within me there lay an invincible summer".

I hear myself saying sometimes, "We don't quit!". Now and again my fiancee has said to me "you don't know when to quit do you?" which usually makes me burst out laughing.

Sometimes it is hard to keep the fire going in your soul but if you DECIDE that you're going to keep that fire going - then you will find a way.

I'm already blessed to live on a small farm in the country. Seven years ago, very unexpectedly the man of my dreams showed up. Talk about a bolt from the blue. Where the heck was he all this time!

I'm a writer, a photographer, a small farmer, a jewellery designer and maker......and in the last few years I have started a small company selling seeds which has been a lot of hard work but also enjoyable in many ways. I'm hoping to scale this up and develop it.

Thanks for asking about me. I hope I wasn't too boring.

Have a wonderful week in Oz!

My goodness @flower_girl, you are anything but boring!

Thank you for telling me about yourself.

What a fabulous story you have. I hope you get. And take. Many opportunities to tell it. Because a story like yours inspires so many people. Never trivialise where you've been. And how far you've come.

You're a classic story of mind over matter. Making decisions about where you want to be. Rather than where you are. Despite the odds.

These decisions are so hard to make for so many people. It takes mental toughness to wade through the darkness of winter. To arrive at the invincible summer!

As you can see, I absolutely LOVE your story!! And I think you should share it as often as possible.

You. Are. An. Inspiration.

And as a Kiwi gal, you have so many talents to fall back on.

As a non-farmer who has traded in a beautiful 54-hectare rural property in NSW for a 40-hectare mountain with spectacular views in the HIgh Country of Victoria. In the foothills of the Victorian Alps. I know that anyone who farms does it with a passion.

I can see why you call yourself Flower Girl.

What kind of seeds do you save and sell?

And please tell me the story about your farm. And your seeds. And your plans. ~Carol❤
 
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Carol Jones

Carol Jones

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Dear Carol,
It's really inspiring for me. Loved your reply.

I always try to read your thread topic.

Thank you so much. Have a good day too!

Regards
Mark
G'day again Mark @MarkHenry.

You don't say much about yourself.

Tell me. What's your biggest dream? And where do you want to be?

Then. We can have a real conversation.

I look forward to your reply. ~Carol❤
 

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