Hints from the home front
Compiled by Libby-Jane Charleston
The Hip Infant
Entrepreneur: Mel Barrasi
Service: Online shop for kids
Success statistic: 2000 customers/orders a year, unique visitors to website daily average 650
Success tip: Be passionate, stay focused, work every spare moment and keep your business unique. And stop friends from inviting themselves over. “The worst thing about all these distractions is it means you end up working into the wee hours of the morning trying to finish all the work you couldn’t finish during the day.”
Entrepreneur: Imogen Lamport
Service: Image consultant
Success tip: Ask for help from others. It’s amazing how generous people can be with their time and expertise. Remember to return the favour and give help when asked. “You need to set up systems to help you work. The isolation is also challenging. You don’t have others to talk over your ideas with at the coffee machine and in the corridor.”
Lamport also says that it is a good idea to join a network with others in your industry. “Even if you’ve just had a bad day or difficult client, it’s great to know there’s someone you can contact who will understand what you’re talking about.”
Entrepreneurs: Jennie Moon and Melissa Robbins
Service: Children’s clothing
Achievement: Supplies 130 exclusive stores in Australia, NZ, US and Japan.
Success tip: Get dressed for work, do not stay in your tracksuit pants. A good way to focus on your home as your office is to leave the house first thing in the morning, go out for coffee or a newspaper, then return home to work.
Entrepreneur: Peter Axton
Service: Chocolate fountains
Achievement: Turnover $150,000
Success tip: Use all the free information and advice that is available to you. This includes books, magazines and websites. Home business owners also face quirky problems that other businesses would rarely have to worry about. One day Peter Axton was baffled why his internet access was so slow. “It was because one of my family members was on the computer (our computers are networked). I also spend a lot of time trying to explain to customers that we are a home-based business and not a shop; they can’t just drop in to see a chocolate fountain operating!”
Entrepreneur: Monique Alamadine
Service: Online retailer
Success statistic: 4000 visitors to site per month
Success tip: It’s also important to stay in contact with the outside world. It’s easy to get caught up in your work and neglect areas like networking and dealing with people who don’t work from home so you can understand market trends and get an influx of fresh ideas and energy.
Organise your Life
Entrepreneur: Claire McFee
Product: Household filing system
Success statistic: Over 5000 customers.
Success tip: Work on your own personal development as well as your professional development, as this will result in the increased success of your business at the same time. Work smart, not hard and leverage your time. If you stop enjoying what you are doing, find something else to spend you life doing, because life’s too short.
Wedding Boot Camp
Entrepreneur: Kylie Carlson
Service: Mobile wedding planners
Success statistic: 5–10 new customers every day
Success tip: Pretend there is more than one of you working for your company. There has been many a time when I have answered the phone as ‘Brenda from the accounts department.’ It never does any harm to give the illusion of being bigger than what you actually are. It also helps when people are chasing overdue accounts!
Entrepreneur: Michelle Dube
Service: Online retailer for kids’ jewellery
Success statistic: Over 1000 regular customers. More than 4000 visitors to site each month.
Success tip: Put business before housework. If you get bogged down with doing housework, you’ll never do your business. Housework is never-ending, so try to ignore everything in the house until you’ve got a big block of work out of the way.