Editor’s Note: This is one of my favourite stories. From being unaware that selling spirits without a license is illegal – we’ve all done that 🙂 – to the tactics she used to drum up business for her second startup.
They show her drive to succeed. Her ability to see connections where others see none. Definitely read this if you own a business!
I was brought up in a single mother family, where it was feast on pay day and hardly any food the rest of the fortnight. I remember stealing $4 one day when I was about 8 years old and then pretending that I found the money so my mum could buy me and my brother some food for dinner.
When I was 9, my mum married my step dad. I then went to a private school where everyone was rich and we were the poor kids in the rich school. This taught me one big lesson: It was up to me to get what I want.
I was out of home when I was 15, and with no income support from family or centrelink, I worked as a waitress just to get by. Someone showed me how to make alcoholic spirits, so I started my first business at 15 selling cheap spirits to anyone who would buy.
I was completely unaware how illegal that was.
I studied accounting so I could understand the financial foundation of business. I then set out, at 21 years old, with no start up capital (I didn’t even have enough money for business cards), and went business to business and started a lovely little bookkeeping business – all as a single mum.
My big hustle came years later when I was married and my husband wanted to start his own fence and balustrade company. We again had no capital and 2 children to support. I have since learnt that it is entirely possible.
The first thing I did was legally and officially start the company, get a bank account , business name etc, but the fun came from prospecting. I had a bookkeeping client that was a landscaping supply shop. I had already determined, that because we had no advertising money that my customer at that stage would be landscapers and pool companies.
I asked permission to use their customer list and prospect the landscape supplies customer list. This made it warm calling.
I carefully fostered lots of relationships with different landscapers, and tried with pool companies, but I found that they also tried to take advantage of you and the best jobs came from the landscapers. I made sure they always looked good to the customer.
With no startup capital, no advertising, and no existing contacts, we turned over $450 000 in our first year. With that income, I learned how to advertise on Google . I was always number one and it amused me when competitors would actually phone me to ask how I got our company always ranking number one.
We turned over $1 million in our second year.
I personally have always wanted to be involved in healthcare and a while ago, I saw opportunity in the health industry, especially in my local area. I am now studying podiatry, as my official ticket to open the doors needed to start a podiatry company servicing aged care and diabetics.
I look forward to seeing how this venture grows and the fruit that will be returned.