The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

GOLD! I Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.

OP
OP
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
So glad I came across this thread! @Carol Jones I absolutely love the way you treat your customers. I'm watching this thread so I don't miss any posts from you.
G'day @silentownage001 from Oz,

Thank you so much! I love your comment!!

I LOVE my customers. Always have. It's in my DNA. Which makes it easy for me to walk over broken glass to make them happy.

They reward me in kind.

We're all customers of someone else. And we remember to the nth degree every detail of a bad experience with a business. And we have more neutral to bad experiences than exceptional, memorable ones.

I also remember some very memorable experiences. That make my heart sing every time I think about them. That's the take away I want to imprint on the brain of every customer. I want to make their hearts sing. ~Carol❤
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

Anthony Gordon

New Contributor
Jun 4, 2016
24
9
17
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❤
wow love this story and being another Australian except from the West, its great to see familiar slang :)
 

JOEY KANG

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 8, 2018
5
9
16
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❤
 

Paul David

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Feb 17, 2015
353
713
304
38
England
If you had to start this business again today from scratch is there anything different you’d do regarding building your brand?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Varun

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 9, 2018
58
50
118
G'day @Varun from Oz,

Thank you! It's a pleasure to meet you.

What does your family business do? And what do you want to learn from The Fastlane Forum?

Just so you know. 'Productocracy in action' is never a straight line. It's as zigzag as it comes. But like walking on skies uphill. You do get to where you want to go.

I'll explain that better. My remote rural property is carved out of the side of a hill. We have no level land. Anywhere. It either slopes up. Or down. Depending on where I am.

Every morning I go for a walk at sunrise on my property. With my camera around my neck. I photograph what I see. And every morning, I post one photo to my social media pages.

I am always confronted with walking uphill. And some of my hills are very steep. The best way for me to walk uphill is exactly like a skier does. In zigzag fashion. 5 steps to the right. 5 steps straight up. 5 steps to the right. 5 steps straight up. And in no time. I've reached the top of the hill. With minimal effort.

Don't get frustrated by the zigzags in business. Everyone has them. Elon Musk is in the middle of his biggest zigzag ever. It's always a learning curve.

I wish you well. And hope that you keep me in your loop. ~Carol❤
My family business is retail, consumer electronics. TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners etc.

Thank you for the story about productocracy. It is both a timely reminder and an encouragement for me! Just learning about the business right now, currently like learning how to swim for the first time. But with this forum and with the advice of experienced people such as yourself, I believe I'll get it in time.
 

Everyman

Get To The Choppa!
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Dec 31, 2015
194
363
190
Ireland
What a story! I should refrain from trying to write anything smart... I just don't know how I missed your thread and found it only now.........

And many give up before they give themselves a chance. And don't have the courage when they're really struggling to stand up to the flak they get from family and friends because they haven't reached 'success' in the time frame determined by other people.

We've been there.

Victor's parents are a good example. "How come my son, the architect, is now a purveyor of ironing board covers"? They couldn't understand that the 'recession we had to have' decimated the building industry. There was no work for architects for 10 years in Australia. And. They were embarrassed at telling their friends that their son made ironing board covers. Instead of designing tall buildings.

They also couldn't resign themselves to the fact that before the recession we were a very wealthy business couple. With a high profile in the Sydney Australia business community. I was on 3 boards of directors. And Victor was the developers' dream architect.

And afterwards. We were flat broke. With no real prospects for earning an income. I'm sure it caused them a great deal of personal pain.

Friends. Perhaps mean well. But were insistent that we get a job. Rather than fiddle around with something so trivial as an ironing board cover. "Who irons anyway? Doesn't everyone hate it?"

Our accountant. "You're not making enough money. You can't start a business in the depths of the worst recession Australia's ever had. Why don't you both just knuckle under and get a real job?"

And then the strangers we meet. "You really make a living out of selling ironing board covers"? Well not yet. But we will!

Then there's the disapproval from people because the product isn't sexy. Glamourous. High tech. The fact that people who are serious about ironing think it's the best thing since sliced bread doesn't matter.

The banks. "We can't lend you money. Nobody irons. Who are you going to sell to"? How about the 400,000 men and women in 30 countries? Just as starters.

The disapproval. And flak. Comes from all directions. And entrepreneurs starting out need to know they have to have a spine of steel to withstand the assault. And once you get over the hump, and realise your dream is possible, life doesn't get easy. But your faith and confidence in yourself increases. You become more focused on where you want to be. And more determined to get there.

Once you reach that stage, you start to stand up to your dissenters. And put them in their place. Including family.

That's why I want to share my story. To let entrepreneurs know that anything is possible. You just have to find a way to make it happen. Against all odds.
Love this part. You have endured so much. The worst comes from family. It hurts the most. Would you agree?

Did you stop trying to explain it to your parents? Did you stop talking to each other? Would you share what your 'solution' was to this difficult situation?

They had a house in the country which they offered to us to live in. Free. But I instinctively knew this would be a bad decision.

We relocated to a totally different area. In the opposite direction. A four hour drive between them and us was enough of a barrier for them to not constantly be on our doorstep.
This one too.... it resonates well with ...

It starts with my 4th grade teacher, Violet Deitsch. Who gave me confidence. After my 2nd and 3rd grade teachers tried to demolish it. Because I wouldn't be steamrolled by authority. That character trait does not bode well for any child in the school system.
Your story sounds so familiar in some (many) areas.

I shouldn't probably write much, just contemplate on it.

Congratulations and all the best in the future!
 

Bekit

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Aug 13, 2018
299
1,312
404
G'day Limitless4Life,

What a lovely compliment. Thank you.

I can remember when I was 23 years old. And I would tell you. And everyone else that age. And older.

That there are two things we need to address.

The first is that there are no limits to what you can do. Or achieve.

We put limits on ourselves. And hold ourselves back.

No one else holds us back. Just ourselves. Lack of belief in what we're capable of doing. That's the big hurdle to jump over. Especially if other people are telling you it can't be done.

I always tell people that to change yourself, you have to change the story in your head that you tell yourself. It takes practice. But it does happen. Tony Robbins is an expert at that.

And.

The second thing is to simply take action.

Stop thinking. And start doing. Be prepared to make mistakes. Victor and I have made so many mistakes. But we learned from every one of them. And we have a better business because of them.

Failure is NOT making mistakes. Failure is NOT DOING!

Setbacks are part of the process. Victor and I just experienced one this week. While Victor was in a state of despair. I told him that every time we have a setback, we find a better way to do something. And we come out the other side so much better off.

And we did. The setback this week. Although crucial. Made us make a change. And that change has made our business better.

Have belief in yourself, Limitless4Life. Setbacks. Mistakes. They're part of the process that takes you further along the road to wealth.

Life is to be lived. And it's never perfect. I hope this helps. Never hesitate to ask me for help. I love giving back. ~Carol❤
Carol, WOW! I haven't read nearly this whole thread, but I just want to say THANK YOU for sharing your generous advice and for the enormous dose of inspiration and hope your story gave me. I'm a new member of the forum and I am right at the beginning of this journey... and I deeply appreciate your heartfelt, helpful advice. ♥
 

pkom79

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 24, 2012
520
585
278
39
South Florida
@Carol Jones,
You're probably the nicest person on the internet! Thank you for sharing your story.

The way you run your businesses is admirable. Many businesses even if they sell a high quality product, would be very reluctant to send an email to a customer just before their guarantee expires to make sure everything is ok with their purchase. You REALLY believe in your product!

Was this next level customer service implemented from the beginning? Or did your approach to customers evolve to this point after you realized that your product is the best on the market?
 
OP
OP
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,
You're probably the nicest person on the internet! Thank you for sharing your story.

The way you run your businesses is admirable. Many businesses even if they sell a high quality product, would be very reluctant to send an email to a customer just before their guarantee expires to make sure everything is ok with their purchase. You REALLY believe in your product!

Was this next level customer service implemented from the beginning? Or did your approach to customers evolve to this point after you realized that your product is the best on the market?
G'day @pkom79 from Oz,

Thank you for your very kind words! They're appreciated!

When we first started exhibiting at events, we realised there were too many scammers with inferior products on offer. So to set ourselves apart, we offered a 12-month wear and tear guarantee. And to prove we wanted to keep our word, we asked each customer for their mailing address. So we could notify them when their guarantee was about to expire.

This was 1994. The internet had not yet arrived in Australia. So everything was done by mail. It was also how we built up our mailing list.

We are very mindful that there are no repeat customers if a product doesn't live up to its promise. And being an ex-market researcher, I know the value of honest feedback.

Also. Victor and I are the only ones who answer the phone. And we want to engage in only pleasant conversations!

So the Twelve-Month Check Up has been in effect since day 1.

What have we discovered?

That when people fill their steam iron with water. And the water spills onto the cover. The natural reaction is to iron the cover dry. Which results in a scorched. And often burnt cover. So we now include instructions NOT to do that.


Twice, we discovered that suppliers were sending us a component inferior to what we ordered. On the surface, they looked the same. But they weren't passing the test of time. The Twelve-Month Check Up flushed that out. And we were able to solve those problems. And keep customers.

We were also given so many reasons why people like their product. Which helps us in our marketing. And adds to our burgeoning list of testimonials. Which now runs to 60 A4 pages.

Every month, without fail, I send out my Twelve-Month Check Up. I haven't been asked to replace a product this year. But I know I've generated massive amounts of trust. Which money can't buy.

We look at everything we do from a customer's point of view. We willingly walk over broken glass to make sure they are happy with their purchase. And their buying experience.

How simple is that?

Thank you for dropping in, @pkom79. It's a pleasure to meet you. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
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, WOW! I haven't read nearly this whole thread, but I just want to say THANK YOU for sharing your generous advice and for the enormous dose of inspiration and hope your story gave me. I'm a new member of the forum and I am right at the beginning of this journey... and I deeply appreciate your heartfelt, helpful advice. ♥
G'day @Rebekah from Oz,

Thank you so much.

Welcome to the Fastlane Forum! You will love it here. You'll also meet so many people who can help you.

Best wishes on your journey. It's always an exciting ride. ~Carol❤
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

pkom79

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 24, 2012
520
585
278
39
South Florida
@Carol Jones
Most of the e-commerce business owners I know (myself included) wouldn't have the guts to ask a question like this in fear that customers would start massively returning their orders just to take advantage of the opportunity. You just have a different mindset.

Have you ever tried any online advertising? Or all sales are organic?
 
OP
OP
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
What a story! I should refrain from trying to write anything smart... I just don't know how I missed your thread and found it only now.........
G'day @Everyman from Oz,

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Love this part. You have endured so much. The worst comes from family. It hurts the most. Would you agree?

Victor's family weren't mean. They felt the pain we were experiencing. And wanted to wrap us in bubble wrap. But it was wrong for us. We didn't want to be protected. We wanted to explore our options. To them, getting a job was 'safe'. They couldn't understand our desire to walk a tightrope. To test our skills. We still have that attitude today.

Did you stop trying to explain it to your parents? Did you stop talking to each other? Would you share what your 'solution' was to this difficult situation?
My family was living 10,000 miles away in the USA. And I'm not sure they really understood our situation. Because I told them very little. So there was no interference from them.

With Victor's father and mother. We made an agreement with each other that we would never be rude to them. Or insult them. Or be short. Or discourteous. Because they meant well. So we solved the problem by just standing firm and explaining to them that this was our life. And it was our choice to live it as we saw fit. And answered most of their questions with a NO. That doesn't suit us.

They were disappointed. But we were such a formidable, united front. Never wavering. Although they never gave up. I know they had a grudging admiration for what we were trying to achieve.

Their greatest disappointment was that their son, the architect, was now a purveyor of ironing board covers. What a comedown! And how embarrassing was that to tell their friends!!

They didn't truly understand the ramifications of the crash of the building industry in Australia's 'recession we had to have'. It didn't affect them. And it took 2-3 years for the rest of Australia to come crashing down for them to fully appreciate the enormity of the job losses in the building industry. And the rest of the country.


Congratulations and all the best in the future!
Thank you @Everyman. Your best wishes are very much appreciated. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
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
If you had to start this business again today from scratch is there anything different you’d do regarding building your brand?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
G'day @Paul David from Oz,

We would have to do everything different today, Paul. In 1994, there was no internet. Everything was done via direct mail.

Markets. Home shows. Large agricultural shows were also thriving. It was easy to set up a display and spruik the virtues of your product. Crowds were thick. And hungry to buy. We did so well. That at some events, I didn't have a box big enough for all the money. At one event, an exhibitor came to help me pick up the money that fell on the floor!

Those live events have fallen out of favour. People don't make time for them on a weekend any more.

People were also more responsive to direct mail. We posted a brochure to our customers every November. We would receive orders within 24 hours of posting. By telephone. Within 3 days of posting. Our post office box was jam packed full of orders. This would continue for weeks.

Printing costs and postage rates make direct mail no longer viable.

We also were engaged with customers and prospects by telephone. We had so many opportunities to explain what we did. Voice to voice. I rarely lost a prospect on the telephone.

The anonymity of the internet is problematic to someone like me who likes to engage personally with people. People come to your site. And you can't talk to them. Yes. There are chatbots. But the visitor has to make the first move. And can disengage at any point. People rarely cut you off on the telephone.

Because of the internet, consumers today are more savvy. Better educated. And approach you knowing far more about competitors in your market. And are less likely to want to engage on a more personal basis.

And. Because we went online in 2001. When the internet reached our rural village. I was able to establish myself on Google with very little competition. It didn't take long for me to be on page one for my best search term. And that remains so today. Without spending a penny on advertising. But I doubt that if I was starting out now, that would ever be a possibility.

So yes, Paul. We would have to do everything different today. New circumstances. New rules. I'm saved by the fact that I have very loyal customers on my database. Some who have been buying from me since 1994. I engage often with them. They send me referrals. And also reorder when appropriate.

But the playing field is totally different. And it's a much tougher playing field. Loads of competition. And much noise!

I hope this answers your question. Thank you for asking. And it's a pleasure to meet you. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
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
Most of the e-commerce business owners I know (myself included) wouldn't have the guts to ask a question like this in fear that customers would start massively returning their orders just to take advantage of the opportunity. You just have a different mindset.

Have you ever tried any online advertising? Or all sales are organic?
G'day @pkom79,

That's not true. You underestimate the integrity of your customer. If they like your product. And you've treated them with respect. They don't take advantage of you.

If. On the other hand, you do nothing more than bombard them with 'buy more' emails! They'll treat you with the disdain you deserve.

Every month I send an email to customers who have purchased the month before. To say thank you. We love you. And we hope you're happy with your purchase. And your buying experience. There's never a request to buy. But I do remind them that with their order, they received a Gift Certificate for a saving on any product they choose. And it expires with their Twelve Month Wear And Tear Guarantee.

Three months into their Twelve Month Wear and Tear Guarantee, I send them an email to say they have 9 months left. And I hope all is well. There is no request to make another purchase. Just a reminder that their Gift Certificate expires with their guarantee.

Six months into their Twelve Month Wear and Tear Guarantee, I send them an email to say they have 6 months left. If there are any problems, please let me know. There is no request to make another purchase. Just a reminder that their Gift Certificate expires with their guarantee.

Nine months into their Twelve Month Wear and Tear Guarantee, I send them an email to say they have 3 months left. I hope they are still problem free. But in case they're not, please let me know. There is no request to make another purchase. I also tell them I'll be contacting them again in 2 months to let them know their Twelve Month Wear and Tear Guarantee will expire in 4 weeks. And their Gift Certificate for a saving on any product expires with that guarantee.

At the bottom of each email is a film strip of all my products. With a link to my website. With no direct request to make a purchase.

Do they buy a different product? Of course they do. They see what I have to offer every quarter. And it motivates them to buy. Especially as I remind them that the Gift Certificate that came with their product 12 months ago. Expires with their guarantee. We get a good conversion rate on that last email.

And. With every new purchase. They get another Gift Certificate for a saving that's good for another twelve months.

Never underestimate the integrity of a customer who is told they're appreciated. Loved. And respected. 5 times in twelve months. It's a callous person who will take advantage of that merchant. And believe me, they don't buy my ironing board covers!

Regarding your questions.

I've never spent a penny on online advertising. I'm on page one of Google for my best search term. And have been there since 2001. I spend a great deal of time making sure my position is never challenged.

The bulk of my orders are referrals. Re-orders. Gifts. Joint ventures. Google represents the smallest piece of the pie.

Thank you for being interested @pkom79. Treat your customers well. And they'll shower you with their love in return. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
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
My family business is retail, consumer electronics. TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners etc.

Thank you for the story about productocracy. It is both a timely reminder and an encouragement for me! Just learning about the business right now, currently like learning how to swim for the first time. But with this forum and with the advice of experienced people such as yourself, I believe I'll get it in time.
G'day again @Varun,

It's only in hindsight that you realise how much you've learned over time. When you're at the coalface, struggling with what to do next, you don't get many opportunities to reflect.

Celebrate small victories. You build on those to get to the bigger picture.

Very few bank accounts start with $1Million. Most start with a few dollars. But with self-discipline, more is put in. Until one day you realise how much money you have. That's how businesses are built. And it's how our expertise develops. One increment at a time.

Best wishes. Tap on shoulders here in the forum. Most people are very, very helpful. And vicariously celebrate your successes with you. ~Carol❤
 

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
Thanks @Carol Jones for the advice on 12 month guarantees and regular follow ups with customers.

This is something I need to implement. I've done some, but it's been inconsistent. What I have done has been very helpful in uncovering product issues, and has built good will with customers.

at some events, I didn't have a box big enough for all the money. At one event, an exhibitor came to help me pick up the money that fell on the floor!
I had a good laugh imagining these scenarios. What a good problem to have!
 
OP
OP
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
Thanks @Carol Jones for the advice on 12 month guarantees and regular follow ups with customers.

This is something I need to implement. I've done some, but it's been inconsistent. What I have done has been very helpful in uncovering product issues, and has built good will with customers.



I had a good laugh imagining these scenarios. What a good problem to have!
G'day @amp0193,

Thank you for your story.

Consistency in business is everything. As is self-discipline. Sometimes what we have to do is so monotonous as to be boring. But it means everything to a customer. And a follower of your blog. Or Instagram or Facebook account. To post on a regular basis.

I have an A4 (Australian size) monthly planner that sits on my desk. In addition to my daily diary. It's 30/31 days in squares. To two A4 pages. And every day it tells me the repetitive communications I need to make regarding emails to be sent. Social media posts to be made.

A few years ago I befriended a business coach. Not to help me. Just someone I met on LinkedIn. One of her posts was about the nitty-gritty that we have to do every day to keep customers and prospects engaged. And how much of what we do is repetitive. And not glamourous.

I'm a fan of Amy Porterfield. I love her podcasts. And she is always talking about the importance of being consistent.

As I am of Dan Kennedy. Who is one of the greatest direct marketers of all time. I've studied all of his books. And I've immortalised on my desk one of his sayings. "Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you unstoppable".

I have a small teddy bear. Sent to me by my sister 20 years ago. It sits on the top of a bookshelf in my office. Just above my computer. Its black button eyes peering down at me. Whenever I don't feel like doing something, I look up at that teddy bear's eyes rivetting into me. And look at Dan Kennedy's words about self-discipline. And I do what I know I have to do. To take that one step today. That gets me further along the Yellow Brick Road to the bigger picture.

Like you. I've never had a bad experience asking customers if they're happy with their product. Constructive criticism is so helpful. If you listen to it, it makes your business not only so much better. But much more successful than your competitors.

Get a monthly planner. And diarise every month the day you want to get in contact with your customers. And what questions you want to ask them. You know you will never regret it.

Thank you @amp0193 for sharing your story with me. I love knowing how other people do things. Keep me in the loop. ~Carol❤
 

pkom79

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 24, 2012
520
585
278
39
South Florida
I've never spent a penny on online advertising.
Have you ever considered running ads? I'm curious if it's a matter of principal or some other reason.
Rolls Royce runs FB ads in some markets :rofl:
 
OP
OP
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
Have you ever considered running ads? I'm curious if it's a matter of principal or some other reason.
Rolls Royce runs FB ads in some markets :rofl:
G'day again @pkom79

No. I've never considered advertising online.

We started our business 7 years before the internet came to our rural village in Australia in 2001. And it was another 7 years before the rest of Australia embraced online shopping. So we've had 14 years of developing our business offline. Before online shopping became an accepted form of shopping.

During that time we nurtured our database. With a yearly mailout of brochures. Monthly emails as described previously. And a monthly newsletter.

These are more productive to us than advertising online. Your best customers are your current customers. Who also become ambassadors. Singing your praises to their friends and family.

Regarding social media. The operative word is social.

Brands doing well on social media are selling hope. Cosmetics. Weight loss. Get rich quick schemes. Real estate. Luxury cars.

Rolls Royce may do well on Facebook. But given they are a luxury product. They are in a different class to us.

Our product is 'work'. It's a chore. People can't decide what they hate most. Ironing their clothes. Or cleaning their toilets. They can buy clothes they don't need to iron. But it's hard to not clean your toilet.

We discovered early on when exhibiting that it was the death knell for us to be placed near fun items like jewellery. Travel. Wine. Food.

More than once, visitors to our exhibit were about to buy ironing board covers. But were distracted by the bright shiny objects on sale right next door. We were suddenly told they couldn't afford us. Only to go next door and make a more expensive purchase.

Once we learned this, we always opted for our own exhibition pagodas away from the more alluring items that people prefer to focus on. This transformed our financial results in a positive way when exhibiting. Customers could focus only on us. And our products. And not all the bright shiny objects around us.

So many customers tell me they tell all their friends on Facebook how great our products are. I can't remember ever being told someone found us as a result of a comment on Facebook. And I ask. Every time.

The daughter-in-law of my oldest friend in Australia uses our ironing board covers. She's 42. And has a substantial number of loyal friends who follow her on Facebook. Many of them iron because their children go to schools where they wear uniforms and have a dress code. She loves her cover. And asked if she could be an affiliate. Of course she could. She also was an affiliate marketer for very expensive scented candles.

Her friends preferred to spend $75 on a scented candle that would last a few weeks at most. Than $44.95 on an ironing board cover that solved all the problems they hate about ironing. And that would last for several years. She never did sell a cover to any of her friends.

Friends ask each other on Facebook for the names of local plumbers. Electricians. House painters. But people don't look for solutions to their own daily chores on social media.

They look for them on Google.

And I'm so established offline with my communications with my customers, that I don't want to advertise with Google. Personally, I hate being stalked by ads. 3 years ago we were looking for dining room chairs online. Every site we visited after that, we were bombarded with ads from the sites we visited. That's when I put Adblocker on all my computers. And I refused to buy from any company that stalked me. We found the chairs we wanted offline.

My customers are of a mature age. They're not millennials. They have a different worldview of how they want to be treated online. And they don't want to be pestered. Or stalked.

Does this answer your questions, @pkom79? ~Carol❤
 

pkom79

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 24, 2012
520
585
278
39
South Florida
Your best customers are your current customers
100%

But were distracted by the bright shiny objects on sale right next door. We were suddenly told they couldn't afford us. Only to go next door and make a more expensive purchase.
The good thing about online advertising is, that you can remind your visitors about your offer if they left your website.

My customers are of a mature age. They're not millennials. They have a different worldview of how they want to be treated online. And they don't want to be pestered. Or stalked.
I understand where you're coming from however it's not only millenials that buy online.
I run a lot of Facebook ads for my clients and we frequently see 65+ age group as the most active one.

Brands doing well on social media are selling hope. Cosmetics. Weight loss. Get rich quick schemes. Real estate. Luxury cars.
You can sell ANYTHING on Facebook. You just have to know to do it right. Different products need different approach.
I am currently running a campaign for a big pest control company. It's not glamorous, nobody is looking for a pest control solution on Facebook, yet we get leads.

That's when I put Adblocker on all my computers
Adblocker will block certain popups on websites but won't disable tracking. If you are logged in to any of Google services (search, Gmail, YouTube etc) or Facebook you are tracked. That's the reality.
I actually watched a video today about how to be untrackable online. It's very complicated and inconvenient.

If you ever want to chat about online ads let me know. I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. Even if you don't want to use this form of advertising, it's good to know what's out there.

I'm not trying to sell my services, just offering free info :)
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

OP
OP
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
G'day again @pkom79

I really appreciate all your information about online advertising. You've gone to a great deal of trouble to put together facts to support your belief in its value.

But you and I will have to agree to disagree on its value for my products.

I don't make that decision lightly. I am very erudite regarding digital marketing. I've been immersed in it for many years. And spend my hard earned $$$$ to keep learning about it. More than 99.99% of other people.

I also frequently attend webinars about the virtues of online advertising. Including Facebook advertising. Wanting to be convinced. I've not yet had one convince me it was worth spending my money on.

Perhaps it's because I strongly believe that personal communication is more powerful than online anonymity. I'm a big user of the telephone. All my joint ventures have been put together over the phone. I ring customers regularly just to say G'day. And learn about them. Which helps my marketing.

The biggest waste of time is to constantly seek new customers. The best use of time is to cultivate my existing customers. So I can discover how I can create new customers. From my existing customers.

I look for opportunities to move from online. To offline. That's where I excel. And I knock the socks off people who only depend on online conversions.

I'm sure there are many people on this forum who would leap at the opportunity to get help from you. And I appreciate your offer to me. If I change my mind, I'll let you know. ~Carol❤
 

Shinebabe

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 23, 2017
19
28
29
Thanks for sharing your story, amazing vibes, love for your customers and loads of business advice one can't find in business books these days.
You are a beautiful soul
Lots of love to Victor too, you both are a blessing.
 

Robert Hull

Contributor
Nov 21, 2018
13
32
19
Hi Carol

You've started an enlightening thread here, I'm learning so much.

The biggest waste of time is to constantly seek new customers. The best use of time is to cultivate my existing customers. So I can discover how I can create new customers. From my existing customers.
I need to do more of this. The more I focus on my current customers, the more I will improve my products, and the more new customers I will attract.

I look for opportunities to move from online. To offline. That's where I excel. And I knock the socks off people who only depend on online conversions.
I'm currently only dependent on online conversions, but I'm understanding more and more, the power of telephone and face-to-face communication to create raving fans who purchase from you over and over again and refer you to others.

One part of your message that really resonates with me is your struggle with family.

I too left a prestigious job to become an entrepreneur. My family still don't get why I would want to work from home on my computer, when I could be doing what seems to them, this glamorous job, which in my eyes, is disgusting.

I feel the only way they'll ever understand is when I am making MILLIONS as an entrepreneur, and earning boatloads more than anyone in my previous prestigious profession.
 
OP
OP
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
That’s a great story! Thanks for sharing1
G'day @Romans Ivanovs from Oz,

It's a pleasure to share this story with you. There are so many fabulous stories to learn from on this forum. I wish you well on your journey to wherever you want to go. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
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
Hi Carol

You've started an enlightening thread here, I'm learning so much.

I need to do more of this. The more I focus on my current customers, the more I will improve my products, and the more new customers I will attract.

I'm currently only dependent on online conversions, but I'm understanding more and more, the power of telephone and face-to-face communication to create raving fans who purchase from you over and over again and refer you to others.
G'day @Robert Hull from Oz,

Welcome to The Fastlane Forum!

And thank you so much. Yours are very kind words.

Nothing beats face to face or voice to voice in consolidating relationships. It's becoming harder to accomplish. But I make sure I ring customers every day. Just to say thank you. Some are suspicious. Thinking I want to sell them more. And when they find out I'm genuine in simply wanting to establish a long-term relationship, they're beside themselves with joy. And astonishment!

Those conversations also lead to marketplace knowledge. Who is doing what. Their experiences with other companies. Things you won't find out otherwise.

One part of your message that really resonates with me is your struggle with family.

I too left a prestigious job to become an entrepreneur. My family still don't get why I would want to work from home on my computer, when I could be doing what seems to them, this glamorous job, which in my eyes, is disgusting.

I feel the only way they'll ever understand is when I am making MILLIONS as an entrepreneur, and earning boatloads more than anyone in my previous prestigious profession.
The truth is this, Robert. They WILL NEVER understand why you threw away a good job to follow your dream. No matter how much money you make.

Proving them wrong is a hollow victory. Based on negative vibes. You actually achieve this based on someone else's expectations of what you should be doing.

Proving yourself right is the greatest reward. And is full of joy. Because its foundation is based on what you want to do. What path you want to follow. Regardless of whether or not it meets the expectations of your family.

I hope you understand the difference between those two paths. And how different the outcomes are.

Don't be tied to your family's expectations.

Follow your true blue goals. Satisfy yourself. And no one else.

I hope this helps you, Robert. It's a pleasure to meet you. And I hope we stay in touch. You will learn a great deal by actively participating in as many threads as possible on the forum. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
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
Thanks for sharing your story, amazing vibes, love for your customers and loads of business advice one can't find in business books these days.
You are a beautiful soul
Lots of love to Victor too, you both are a blessing.
G'day @Shinebabe from Oz,

Thank you so much for those lovely words!

And welcome to The Fastlane Forum. You will learn so much here that is never found in business books.

I'll pass your love on to Victor. He'll be delighted!

I hope we stay in touch. If I can ever help you, please let me know. And best wishes on your journey to wherever you want to be. ~Carol❤
 

Shinebabe

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 23, 2017
19
28
29
G'day @Shinebabe from Oz,

Thank you so much for those lovely words!

And welcome to The Fastlane Forum. You will learn so much here that is never found in business books.

I'll pass your love on to Victor. He'll be delighted!

I hope we stay in touch. If I can ever help you, please let me know. And best wishes on your journey to wherever you want to be. ~Carol❤
Thanks
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Post New Topic

Please SEARCH before posting.
Please select the BEST category.

Post new topic

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom