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Discussion in 'Forum Introductions (Who are you!?)' started by Carol Jones, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @JokerCrazyBeatz from rural Australia,

    Thank you for such a lovely welcome! Members, like you, are so warm and friendly. I've only been a member for two weeks. But have met the finest people ever online. I look forward to staying connected with you. ~Carol❤
     
  2. Simmo Üprus
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    Simmo Üprus PARKED

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    You and Victor are ABSOLUTE legends! Keep up the amazing work and I wish all the best for you two!

    And also - greetings from Estonia! :smile2:
     
  3. racyred09
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    racyred09 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    You're so inspirational, Carol! I loved reading your story!
     
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    Great to read this story, and congratulations on the business!

    Fellow Aussie from Perth. ;)
     
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  5. Arun Siva
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    Arun Siva வளவன் Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    thank you for your inspirational story @Carol Jones and thank you for giving us aspiring fastlaners hope through continued grit and determination + execution.
     
  6. SazzleB
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    SazzleB New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hi Carol

    This post really struck a chord with me and honestly made me well up. I love your advice, your caring nature and how you run your business alongside a social aim. I am a helper and want to give to the world by making an impact/leaving a legacy and you are doing exactly that. So thank you for being my muse and bringing value into your posts and into the world :)
     
  7. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @racyred09 from Oz,

    Thank you so much. I'm so sorry I missed your reply in November!

    What's your dream? What do you hope to achieve with your time in The Fastlane? Whatever it is, best wishes on your journey. If ever I can help you, please let me know. That's how we get from A to Z. With the help of other people.

    It's a pleasure to meet you! ~Carol❤
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  8. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @Arun Siva from Oz,

    I'm sorry I missed your post in December!

    Thank you so much, Arun. In these days of instant gratification, we're advised to give up too quickly. By accountants. Our family. The banks.

    We're also not prepared to make financial sacrifices until . . . we no longer have to make them.

    And last but not least. Too many people dream about doing things. But never actually do something. For fear of failure. Lack of approval. Or just plain fear.

    To get the brass ring, we actually have to reach out to grab it.

    If ever I can help you on your journey, please let me know. ~Carol❤
     
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  9. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @VectorAU!

    How fabulous to meet you!

    Thank you for your good wishes. Truly appreciated.

    What do you do? Or perhaps. What do you hope to do? Would love to know more. ~Carol❤
     
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  10. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @SazzleB from Oz,

    Thank you! That's a lovely response.

    The business world today is very edgy. And self-focussed. So many entrepreneurs don't want to get to know their customers. They're told customers waste their time.

    Actually. Customers pay the bills. And they want to know about the people who run the business. And they want to know how they run their business.

    Victor and I are caring people. And when we chose to run our business as a kind, caring company with a heart, we were told by 'experts' we wouldn't last 6 months. Here we are 24 years later. Still in business. With customers who purchased our first Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Covers. And their extended families.

    If you care about others, you're already in the top 5% of men and women who run a business. Build on that. And find a path that lets this attribute shine through. And don't ever let anyone tell you to be anything other than your true self. The business world needs people like you. And customers crave people like you.

    It's a privilege to meet you. If I can ever help you on your journey, please let me know. ~Carol❤
     
  11. MTF
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    MTF Never give up Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    @Carol Jones, you said that you bought a 54-hectare rural property and that you turned it into a wildlife sanctuary. I absolutely love the idea and actually have something similar on my list of goals.

    I'm curious about one thing, though: how did you manage to buy 54 hectares of land? I mean, 54 hectares is almost like a small town. It must have been either incredibly expensive or it's located very far away from the civilization.

    I understand if you don't want to answer - just shocked that you have such a huge property and am a bit puzzled about it (perhaps it's normal in Australia that such big plots of land exist and I'm just not aware of it).
     
  12. Nigel B
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    Nigel B Life Long Learner Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Australia is about 770 million hectares - US is 940 million.
    320 million people in the US, only 24 million in Australia.

    Safe to say that with more than ten times as much land per capita, the land prices are going to be very much more affordable, especially in rural areas.

    That's only about 135 acres, which sounds large but would be a really small holding by any ag. standards in the US or Australia ...
     
  13. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @MTF from Oz,

    Turning land over to the wildlife to live and roam free from human predators is always worthwhile.

    54 hectares is 135 acres. Not really the size of a small town. I'm the smallest rural property in my little village. The sheep farms here can be as large as 4,000 hectares, or 10,000 acres.

    Big cattle stations up north and west are larger than most small towns. The largest working cattle station in the world is in South Australia. It's Anna Creek Station. Is 1,977,000 acres. 8,000 square kilometres. Larger than Israel. And is more than twice the size of King Ranch in Texas. Which is the biggest ranch in America. Which is 825,000 acres. Or 3,340 square kilometres.

    This is the story about the property.

    When we lost everything. And I mean everything. We had no money. Our only source of income was the remnants or two architectural jobs that Victor needed to finish. We had to leave Sydney Australia because we couldn't afford to live there. And try to find someplace affordable in the bush.

    A friend told us about this area. Not because it was beautiful. Which it is. Jaw dropping beautiful. But because it was devastated by a 9-year drought. No one wants to live on barren land. We found a farmer who was trying to sell his property, but couldn't. He agreed to rent it to us at a rock bottom price. Low enough that even we could afford it.

    The property was still for sale while we were renting it. And he never had any takers.

    After renting it for 3 years, he was more desperate to sell. He offered to sell it to us at again, a rock bottom price. We told him no bank would give us a loan. He said that wasn't a problem. He would finance us. And that's how we got to afford to buy this property.

    We removed the sheep. Let the native vegetation regrow. Trees self-seeded. And grew like topsy. Today, we have more than 120 species of birds that fly in. And fly out. Of our property. There are many more birds that I can hear. But can't identify because they never leave the safety of the leafy tree canopy.

    Kangaroos roam free from the threat of human predators. Wild goats pay us visits. We see the occasional wombat. Lizards. Snakes. Frogs. And we now have our neighbour agist his sheep at intervals to keep the paddock grass low to avoid bushfires.

    We created a hectare (2.5 acres) of garden in the paddock that encloses the farmhouse. 110 trees surround our house. 200+ fragrant climbing roses ramble along the fence line. Kilometres of fragrant honeysuckle is trained to grow along the roof line of our house. And we planted thousands of fragrant shrubs as understory and habitat for small wildlife.

    Today, it's worth 7 times what we paid for it. And is a rural showpiece.

    Serendipity is an important part of life. Some of the best things happen when we don't plan them.

    Thank you for asking @MTF . If ever I can help you, please let me know. ~Carol❤
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018 at 4:49 PM
  14. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    G'day @Nigel B from Oz,

    You're absolutely right. The cost of rural land depends on the location. In lush dairy country, it's very expensive. But in my region, where we live on the side of a mountain. And our land is literally a rock shelf, so is hard to till. It's much cheaper. And affordable. Superfine sheep thrive here. But cattle don't. It's hard for them to put on weight. Because there just isn't enough nutrients in the paddock grass. And no one in my village grows crops. As the Department of Primary Industry told me when I enquired in 1995 about planting a garden, "you do know that no one at Ilford has a garden". They do now!

    Up north. And west. Where the land is very dry and arid. One cow needs at least 100 acres to thrive. The land there is cheap. And this is where the large cattle stations are. Our largest cattle station is Anna Creek Station. Which is 1,977,000 acres. Which is also the largest cattle station in the world. In drought conditions, it only carries 1,500 head of cattle. In lush times, it carries 10,000 head of cattle.

    I'm impressed at your knowledge of Australia. Most people know very little. ~Carol❤
     
  15. Nigel B
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    Nigel B Life Long Learner Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I don't think you mentioned where you lived before - Ilford (UK) is about 6 miles from where I lived before I moved to the US in 1999.

    I have family in Australia - Brisbane. We have a subsidiary business in Sydney. And I was there more than 40 years ago on Woomera - just a ;'short' trip along the A32 it seems. I've not visited Australia since I was a kid, but my wife is very keen to visit. So if I ever get an excuse to visit our Sydney office I'll drive out to Ilford to see the beautiful valley view you have!
     
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  16. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    G'day @Nigel B.

    Isn't it a small world!

    You lived not far from the English town that my little village is named after.

    We're a 4-hour trip away from Sydney. But we do have a guest house on our property called Meadow House Getaway. It's a lovely place to stay. I'm sure you'd love it. A true getaway. No mobile phone access. But definitely electricity! This is the link: Meadow House Getaway | Relax. Renew. Recover.

    Australia is beautiful. I post many photos on my Instagram account. (@caroljones.ironingdiva) • Instagram photos and videos

    It's always a pleasure to hear from you, Nigel. And now I know why you know so much about The Land Of Oz! ~Carol❤
     
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  17. Kerin
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    Kerin Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Dear @Carol Jones

    Thank you for sharing your story - I can feel the warmth of your personality in every one of your posts. What a delight it is to have you here! My husband and I live in Australia too, on Sydney's northern beaches. We will be moving to QLD soon, to distance ourselves from the rat race here in Sydney. Also, housing prices have gone through the roof! All we can really afford right now, without compromising our business, is a shoebox. We welcomed a baby girl last year and we want her to grow up with a nice big backyard to run around. I can't wait to experience more of what our beautiful country has to offer.

    My husband and I left our office jobs 3 years ago to work full time on our business. In those 3 years we've gone through a lot of ups and downs but at the end of the day we are still here. Like yourself and Victor, our journey started with one small step at a time. Anyway, just wanted to say hi. Looking forward to following your journey.
     
  18. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @Kerin,

    I do LOVE hearing from you. A fellow Aussie!!

    And thank you for your lovely words about my story. And me.

    Where are you moving to in Queensland? In a metropolitan area? A regional area? Is your business an online business? Can you run it from anywhere? Or bricks and mortar? What do you do?

    Lots of questions.

    I hope you take the time to answer them. Because I'd love to hear from you again. ~Carol❤
     
  19. Kerin
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    Kerin Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hope the morning is treating you well @Carol Jones.

    We are eyeing an area situated in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, still close to the beautiful beaches (our daughter loves the beach so much), and amenities such as shopping centres, hospitals, airport. We will most likely need to travel often back to Sydney for business/family so need to remain close.

    Lucky for us our business allows us to work from anywhere. We started an Amazon business back in 2013 - (I have a progress thread that you can read here). We wanted to build a business that would allow us to have the freedom to choose our hours; a business that, if built correctly, would eventually require less of our time to run; and a business that would accommodate us spending as much time together as well as with our future children. We are still in the midst of our journey but I am confident we will get to where we want to be. It just takes a lot of perserverence, dedication and learning from the mistakes we've made along the way (and pivoting accordingly).

    I admire you and Victor for remaining such a strong team after all these years. Having both a personal and professional relationship between two people can often break them. Congratulations on making it this far and good luck on the rest of your journey.
     
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  20. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    G'day @Kerin,

    It's a beautiful morning in my rural patch. Which is the hill country between Bathurst and Mudgee. In the picturesque Central Tablelands of NSW. But it will get much warmer as the day progresses.

    We've been here 25 years. Although being a city gal. Born and bred in New York City. Living and working in Washington DC. Then an escape to Sydney Australia. I lived in the inner city suburb of Balmain in Sydney. I can't imagine myself ever going back to city life. I just love the isolation from neighbours. And conflict. And the wildlife. And the amazing sunrises. And sunsets.

    Victor and I have been together for 41 years. We're figuratively joined at the hip. We disagree about many things. We also disagree about how to do things. We spit. And spat. But in a crisis, we're inseparable. We know that whatever happens, we have each other's back. Both personally. And professionally.

    This is because we share common values about family. And business. And we also share the knowledge that we're better as a team act. Rather than a solo act.

    Because. We respect and admire each other's talents. Neither one of us is good at something that the other is brilliant at. So we never compete with each other. Which is one reason professional couples break up. Jealousy. And stepping on each other's toes.

    Living and working together 24/7/365 for 35 of our 41 years, means we've also shared more ups and downs together than most couples. Those are also the ties that bind.

    I admire anyone who has the wherewithal to tangle with the 'me too' products on eBay and Amazon. And the 'sell at the cheapest price mentality'. I'm not cut from that cloth. I was pleased to read on your thread that you price your products higher. And get sales. That's truly amazing. It shows what tremendous skills you have in marketing your products.

    Are you on target to retire in your 30's. As planned?

    It's been a delight to get to know you better. And I hope we keep in touch. Best wishes for finding just the right location to live in Queensland. ~Carol❤
     
  21. Kerin
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    Where we currently stand, it's looking like I'll be pushing that number out to 40s. But, I do still have a few years to go so time will tell. We have a few new projects that we're working on that may bring retirement closer.. but I have to admit I've lost a lot of focus since having a baby. I hope to get back on track soon.

    We actually started selling products that are unique to our brands (we have a number of different brands, each with products from different niches) - we differentiate through design and use premium quality materials in our products. I, too, don't like to cut corners when it comes to quality. I also don't like the idea of 'racing to the bottom' when it comes to price and competing with our competitors. The only way we can differentiate ourselves (and charge a premium) is through quality and design. We have a lot of loyal customers who have happily written great reviews for us which helps a lot too.

    I think you could potentially also benefit from opening your sales channel up to Amazon (USA, Europe, Canada). You would simply leverage their fulfillment and distribution network whilst maintaining the integrity of your brand (via managing the seller account yourself, or appointing just one authorized distributor). You'd have to crunch the numbers re the logistics of it all (being in a rural town will impact transport costs to the Amazon warehouse) etc. Anyway, if you are interested in going down this route, just shoot me a message and I'd be happy to help out however I can.
     
  22. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thank you @Kerin.

    I would never deal with Amazon. I don't share their values. I care about how people who work for a company are treated. And Amazon has the same reputation as Apple under Steve Jobs. They burn people up. And treat them poorly. And there is nothing about Jeff Bezos personally that I admire.

    This is also why I don't have my products in retail outlets. Retailers are more interested in their bottom line. Than they are in the people who help them earn that bottom line.

    It's harder to do what I'm doing. But the warm relationship I have with my customers is so rewarding. I just love the feedback. My Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover is going to travel the world as the ironing board cover of choice on an $8 million yacht that hosts 8 guests at a time as it cruises Australia and New Zealand. The owner placed the order yesterday. And told me how excited the crew is knowing it will be ironing on the best cover in the world.

    Butlers and housekeepers in BIG houses in Australia buy my cover. And we've formed very warm friendships. Butlers are amongst my biggest referrals.

    I also count celebrities. And members of the BRW Rich List amongst my customers. They're not looking for me on Amazon.

    Earlier this year we covered all the boards at the new prestige MacQ01 hotel in Hobart, Tasmania. The hotel group which manages the hotel chose us, even though we were the most expensive cover. Because of our quality. And they love that it's made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. After they received their order, they asked me to thank the men and women who make the cover. And to tell them how much their dedication to quality is appreciated.

    We all have reasons as to who we choose to do business with. And why. I choose not to travel the route of businesses who have no vested interest in me personally.

    I'm alone in this viewpoint, Kerin. My friends think I've got a screw missing. I don't. I instinctively know not to build a business on rented land. Where the rules change at the whim of the landlord. Which is why I don't cultivate Facebook. Amazon. Or any other platform like them.

    I'm interested in long-term loyal customers. Who aren't distracted by what else they see when looking at my product range. Which is why I spend my time cultivating them on my land. But. Again. It's a harder road to travel.

    I don't have children. But have many friends who do. It's natural to be distracted by your child. They need to be nurtured. And focussed on. That's what makes them. And you. Happy. And confident. You'll know when it's time to reignite your fire for your business.

    Please keep me in the loop. ~Carol❤
     
  23. garyfritz
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    What a story! Thanks for sharing, Carol.

    I hugely admire and respect your business practices: insisting on top quality. Treating customers with utmost respect and personal attention. Hiring disabled workers. Always practicing scrupulous honesty. Those practices may not produce a quick buck, but you're living proof they can produce a strong, thriving, and long-lived business.

    I'm very impressed that so much of your business comes from referrals from your ardent admirers. It's clear that your customers adore you and your products. (And it's clear you adore your customers, too!)

    I'm just astonished that so many people feel the need to invest in a premium ironing board cover! I've been ironing my own shirts for almost 40 years. Not every day, but often enough, at home and at many dozens of hotels while on business trips. And I don't really recall ever running into an ironing board cover that worked so badly that I wanted to invest $150 or more in a Rolls Royce cover. Some of them weren't ideal, but it wasn't enough of an issue to be a problem. And I've been using my cover at home for 27 years -- no sign of wearing out yet. Obviously not everyone is like me, but even though I'm a prime member of your target audience, I never would have guessed that a market existed for your product!! I guess the immediate response you got -- immediate referrals from Victor's mother & from her friends -- showed you otherwise.

    You are so fortunate to have such a perfect life partner to share your journey. I thought I did too, but after some friction (especially over my choice of entrepreneurial pursuits, even though we had both left our jobs to start our own business), my wife left me after 20 years. That was over 6 years ago, and I still miss my best buddy and partner-in-crime. Blessings to you and Victor.
     
  24. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good morning @garyfritz from Oz,

    Thank you! I'm delighted you've read my story on The Fastlane Forum. It's almost getting to be the size of a small paperback novel!

    I've been working since I was 13 years old. Have never been without a job since then. I worked in a department store on Saturdays until I went to university. Did babysitting gigs. Worked my way through university. And have been working continuously ever since. For large companies. George Washington University in America. Small companies. My own businesses since 1983. And have acquired two more degrees since then.

    I'm a master voyeur. And an intrepid eavesdropper. And it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn how to live life just from observing. And listening.

    I am fully aware of how people talk about other people behind their backs. And I know exactly what I want people to say about me behind my back. Whatever that is. I have to walk the talk.

    My first. And biggest takeaway. Is that your reputation is your baggage. And it travels with you everywhere.

    My first job after uni was working at George Washington University. Although I now live in Australia. I was born in New York City. So I'm an expat American.

    Stan was an MBA student. And sleazy. He couldn't be trusted.

    A very important document went missing from the Dean's office in the School Of Business Administration. Which is where I worked. Just the three of us. The Dean. His trusted PA of 25 years. And me.

    We had all seen Stan looking at the document. And it was assumed that Stan had taken it.

    He hadn't. Another professor had taken it. And not let the Dean know he had it.

    The Dean and his PA were full of remorse for accusing Stan. I wasn't. My logic was then. And still remains today. That if Stan was trustworthy. He would never have been considered as the villain.

    I apply that logic to everything I do. My reputation is my baggage. And that baggage must always be a perfect package. And in pristine condition. Because it travels with me everywhere.

    There is absolutely nothing that could tempt me to tarnish that reputation.

    I've turned down under the table offers that would benefit me financially. Refused to betray people to further my career. Or ingratiate me with someone more powerful. I've refused to sell my products to customers who I don't think will gain any benefit from using them.

    I'm a firm believer that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. And if I expect people in business to act honourably, then I must be an example of one who does.

    It's a simple philosophy. But it works for me. Whatever others think I may have sacrificed to maintain my reputation wasn't worth having in the first place.

    We're all different. And have different needs. I have over 400,000 customers in 30 countries. So there are enough people in the marketplace who will pay for superior quality to keep me in business.

    That makes me laugh, Gary. Victor and I aren't married. But have been together for 41 years. And have lived and worked together 24/7/365 for the last 35 of those years.

    We disagree about many things. And disagree about how to do things. We spit. And we spat. I'm very fiery. Victor's very calm.

    But we share the same values regarding family. Relationships. And how to run a business. Those are the ties that bind. We are joined at the hip. And in a time of crisis, we are a formidable duo. We always have each others back. And support. We also recognise that we are stronger as a team. Rather than as a solo act.

    Those qualities do make for a perfect partner. They're hard to find.

    I'm so sad that you no longer have your 'best buddy and partner in crime' to share your life with. As we get older, sharing the journey becomes more important.

    When I left America. On a lark. To dabble in the Australian lifestyle. The first thing that hit me hard was that I had no past that I could share with my new friends. We couldn't reminisce about things we had done together. The best I could do was create a new past that I would eventually be able to share with them.

    Which I have done. My two oldest friends in Australia are the first two gals I met. And we are still firm friends. I also keep in touch with their children. Who I knew before they were born. And watched them grow up. I was their Auntie Mame. Taking them to places their parents disapproved of. So I have a lively past with those boys. That we reminisce about. Who now have wives and children of their own.

    I keep in touch via Skype with a high school friend in America. And although he and I can reminisce about our high school days. We can't reminisce any further ahead than that.

    And I have no one to share my wicked childhood in New York City with. I was the child from hell. Ask any one of my mother's friends. Independent. Can't be told anything. Couldn't stay out of mischief. My father was forever asking my mother if she was sure she brought the right baby home from the hospital.

    But I did reform. Somewhat. Maturity caught up with me. And rounded out the sharp edges. While leaving the basic core intact.

    I hope you find a gal who will travel with you along your Yellow Brick Road. It makes the journey much more interesting. Meaningful. And exciting.

    It's a pleasure to meet you, Gary. Thank you for dropping in. And I hope we stay in touch. ~Carol❤
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018 at 12:51 AM
  25. Carol Jones
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    Carol Jones Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    G'day @GoodluckChuck from Oz,

    Thank you for your generosity. Unexpected. And truly appreciated! ~Carol❤