CAROL JONES profile image

CAROL JONES

Owner at Interface Pty Ltd

Member Since May 2016

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CAROL JONES answered this question

What have you learned from your mistakes?

Greetings Jeanette from rural Australia,Everybody makes mistakes in business. James Packer and One-Tel. Rupert Murdoch buying MySpace and turning it into a dinosaur. Steve Job's NeXT computer company. His Apple III. And MobileMe are amongst 7 of his failures.You can't succeed if you don't fail. That's a wisdom that shouldn't be ignored. Failure. Mistakes. Are merely opportunities to learn how to do things better.And what each one of us learns from them is relevant only to us. And might not be relevant to anyone else.And much of what we learn from our mistakes is based on our own personalities. And how we want to do things.One of the best things I've learned in running my business is not to listen to outsiders. I operate in a very small niche market. A declining market, actually. But I'm growing as other companies drop out.I listen to my customers. And try to engage in a dialogue with them as much as possible.They've taught me how to run my business better. Every time they have a criticism, I listen. And change the way I do things. And so far, since 1994, every criticism. And every change. Has been for the better.I've also learned not to be hoodwinked by hyperbole. I'm a trusting gal. And hope I always stay that way. But after discovering too many times that people exaggerate, I've learned to ask questions. And if possible, get them to justify their claims. At worst, to be cynical.After years of advertising in magazines that are perfect for my niche market, and never breaking even, I learned that people only buy my product when their current version wears out. When paying top dollars to get my message across, I realised I couldn't wait for that to happen. And from that financial mistake, I learned to conquer the internet. And get my website to attract customers when they're looking for my solution to their problem.Mistakes don't close doors. They open others. When something doesn't work, it's a matter of asking yourself what else can? And undertaking the research to come up with a different answer.When I was learning about the internet in 2001, when dialup came to my rural village where I live and work from my remote rural property, I was on SKYPE at 3AM, attending free online seminars held in the USA. The birth country of internet magic.I did that several times a week.And by putting in that effort, I moved from page 45 on Google. To page 1. And have never been off page 1 since for my best search terms. All without spending a penny.Mistakes are opportunities to find solutions that are so much better than you expected.Best wishes, Jeanette, for whatever you hope to achieve.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Mark Halstead
Mark Halstead, Managing Director at iCumulus

Social Media

Can social media work for B2C lead generation cost effectively?

Greetings Mark from rural Australia,Many people in small business agree that social media is a time waster. They're there because they're told they should be. And don't have a clue how to engage with their audience. Just recently I read a post on Facebook from an experienced user of Facebook to say that his ads were no longer working. And he's cancelled them.In a previous post on SavvySME, I read a response by a businessman who says he earns $10K per post every time he posts on Facebook. But he didn't answer my query to validate that.Amongst all my business friends, I personally only know of one success story. And only because this is a customer of mine.She's an at home ironing service.She's busy 7 days per week.She has a mix of corporate clients. And private clients.And it's all done on Facebook.Her customers post rave reviews about her service. Which attracts the attention of other potential customers.This is her link https://www.facebook.com/reasironingservice/?fref... There's nothing flash on this page. Just Maria talking to her customers about how she can help them.I hope this helps, Mark.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

A Customer Said They Only Pay By Credit But We Don't Accept Them

Good morning Peter from rural Australia,I agree with John and Jef. Never lose a customer because of a lack of payment options. I learned this very early on in my business.I now accept payment from Visa. Mastercard. Amex. Diners. PayPal. Direct Deposit. Cheque. And if someone asks me for a payment type that I don't have, I'd be looking into it the very next minute.You're in business to satisfy your clients/customers. Not your accounting procedures. You have to bend to satisfy them. Not them bend to satisfy you.As a customer I've walked away from many an online business because they won't accept PayPal.You prosper by accommodating your customers/clients. At the end of the day, they pay all your bills. So always find a way to make them happy.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Do you use Instagram to connect with customers?

Greetings Steve from rural Australia,I don't personally use Instagram to connect with customers. But I do know someone who does. And who does it very well.Coryanne Ettiene is an American food and kitchen lifestyle expert. Who has a following on Facebook. AOL. The Food Network. And on Instagram.She recently opened Ettiene Market. Her own kitchen lifestyle store in McKinney Texas. And uses Instagram daily to showcase her shop that has loads of quirky small batch and heritage kitchen products. She also intertwines photos of her children and husband into this scenario. As well as the family dog who becomes 'Spinny The Shop Dog'. To ensure the overall image is reminiscent of an old fashioned family store. She also tells heart warming stories about why she chose her products to be in her shop.Photos of customers. And babies patting 'Spinny The Shop Dog' are a nice touch. Especially the photos of customers who bring in baked goodies using items from her shop. For me, it's always an interesting destination in cyberspace.This is her personal Instagram page. https://www.instagram.com/coryanneettiene/And this is the Instagram page for Ettiene Market https://www.instagram.com/EttieneMarket/In May 2016, when she opened Ettiene Market, she had no followers on Instagram. Now she has 319. Many of them devoted to her shop.
Reading between the lines, she's also priming her visitors to be ready to act when she establishes an online store as well.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

I would love to know what stops you from using a maintenance service?

Greetings Peter from rural Australia,We often don't know the value of security until the horses have bolted.I now use, and would never again not use, a website security service to keep my website secure and hacker free.On Christmas morning, 2015, I received a stomach crunching email from my host company to say my website had been severely hacked. And their server used to transmit illegal emails.Because of this threat, my host company shut my website down until I made my site more secure.Nothing we did worked. From Christmas morning until mid January, my site came under a full scale attack from all over the world.Again, my site was shut down by my host company until I could prove it was no longer vulnerable to attack.This site is our only source of revenue. So this was a major event for us.One of my problems is my website is based on the Wordpress platform. Which is the weakest as far as security is concerned. But for those of us who aren't technical wizards, it's the easiest platform to use.In desperation, we looked online and found an Australian company that would harden our site. Back it up. And monitor it 24/7/365 against any further threats.For this we pay a very reasonable monthly fee.We've used them since mid January 2016. And it really is P.A.L. Peace. At Last. There are no more stomach crunching emails about attacks. I no longer worry about malware on my site. About being hacked. Or about my site being taken off the web. I no longer even look at the logs. They're too scary. The number of brute force attempts - that they thwart - that are made daily on my site makes me blanch.As more and more people use the Wordpress platform. And as more and more articles are written about how it's hackers' paradise. Tens of thousands of sites are destroyed every year. It should become easier and easier to sell a website security service.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Why and IS social media marketing important for all businesses?

Greetings Kirsten from rural Australia,I agree with all of the above.Social media is not relevant for all businesses. And, at its best, can be a monumental time waster.People are on social media to be - social. Plus. When they're on social media, they are very self serving.They don't want irrelevant ads thrown at them every time they page through their newsfeed.And they're most likely to only respond to posts where there's enormous benefit to them.What's new in your shop - or on your website - is always a good start.Discounts come quickly to mind.Free. The most powerful word in advertising. We all want something for free.And tips on how to do things better. That are entertaining while imparting those tips. If you look at what's shared the most on social media, it's videos. On how to do things.The above is what has the greatest appeal to followers of social media. All of the above come at a financial cost. And a cost in time to do regular postings.If you have something new to post almost daily. Can easily give discounts. Or give something away for free on a regular basis. Or have the ability to make fabulous videos on how to do things. And that effort is worth it to you. Go for it.But if it's not. Give social media a miss. Sometimes it's not wise to follow the herd. Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Any advice from anyone who has used post planner. Did you find it useful? Was it worth the subscription?

Good morning Tracey from rural Australia.I'm not a digital native. More a Baby Boomer who's been dragged into the digital age by need. Rather than by era of birth.I live and work from my remote rural property. Where there's no mobile phone reception. With an unreliable rural mobile wireless internet connection. That drops in an out with the cadence of a wrecking ball.My main workhorse is my desktop computer. Which I turn on in the morning. And turn off in the evening. Because. I don't want to be connected to the world via my computer 24/7. For planning purposes I tend to be old fashioned and use paper. And a pencil!I write and post to my blog 5 days a week. Minimum. And find the Colplan One Month At A View Planner Diary perfect for me. It not only allows me to sketch in my blog posts. But also to sketch in the topics each day for my social media posts.Plus. By seeing the whole month at a time, I can - at a glance - determine if I've bitten off more than I can chew.I also like being able to think and plan in the peace and quiet of the non-digital world.This, I'm sure, Tracey, is not the answer you're looking for. But it does show that you can live a productive life away from your mobile apps.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

What are the common pitfalls that female entrepreneurs fall into?

Greetings Vikas from rural Australia,Before anyone can answer your question, other than in broad strokes, we have to narrow down our field of vision.What kind of an entrepreneur are you?Online?Bricks and mortar?A mixture of both?Just starting out?Or with some experience to fall back on?Are you a full time, no holds barred commitment?Or a commitment that allows you time for personal pursuits? Including looking after a family.All these factors should be known so we can provide you with the best advice suited to your circumstances.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Can someone please explain drop shipping to me? Is it safe and easier than having products on hand?

Good morning Kirsten from rural Australia,Drop shipping. I've engaged in it in the past. And found it a very successful way to offer new products. Without having to stock them.This is when you offer a product that you don't stock.And arrange to have the supplier ship it to your customer.Amazon does this all the time.This is how it worked for me.We had an offer on our website for current customers called The Private Offer Vault.We searched the internet for high quality products that would suit our customer profile. That we wouldn't have to buy in and stock.We made arrangements with the supplier to ship the product from their premises when they received an order from us. With payment of the product.We took the order. Received payment. Banked the revenue. And created the appropriate paperwork for the supplier to include in the product when shipping.Which we emailed to them. Along with a direct deposit into their account of the funds agreed upon to ship the article.Because we're fussy about how our customers are treated, we entered into a formal agreement with our suppliers as to how quickly they will ship once receiving payment and papers.How the parcel will be packed. And how the paperwork inside the parcel will be presented. No shoddiness allowed. We want our customers to know we care about them.They had to provide us with proof of despatch. Complete with date and tracking information.And enter into a further agreement as to what happens if the parcel doesn't arrive. Or arrives damaged.Whose responsibility is this? And how will the problem be rectified in favour of the customer? This IS crucial. Not all suppliers will agree to any. Or part of. The above.Most suppliers who drop ship are simply warehouses which employ people who actually don't care how the parcel looks when it goes out.And take no responsibility for missing parcels. Or damaged goods. We stayed away from them.And approached only boutique businesses who appreciated the value we could add to their business.It's not hard to arrange.And it broadens your product range. Without having to outlay extra capital to buy in stock that may. Or may not. Sell.You do have to make sure that you, and the supplier who is drop shipping for you, are on the same wavelength as far as customer service is concerned.We had such success with this in the past, we're contemplating doing it again in the near future.I hope this helps, Kirsten.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

How can a PR campaign help my company grow?

Good morning Susan from rural Australia,Steve Osborne's response is absolutely correct. Every detail of his reply is valuable information for you.It's the third party endorsement that's the icing on the cake.If you say your product or service is wonderful, who cares? You're biased.If, on the other hand, a journalist. Or even better, a customer who has no strings attached. Has the opportunity to speak in favour of you. We all sit up and take notice.Most of what we know about companies is what we read in the media. And search for in reviews on Google. Or discover on social media platforms where customers are talking about them. Either favourably. Or worse. Trashing them.This is how we discover who we should be doing business with.Once we know who we want to spend our money with, we then visit websites.Compare.And then make a decision.This is my personal experience with publicity.I'm the purveyor of the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies.A very low interest topic. Bottom. Of. The. Range.Getting publicity for an ironing board cover is like asking a journalist to write something interesting about steaming an envelope open.But we have a story. 'How We Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.' From a remote property in rural Australia. On the back of a humble ironing board cover.This is the link. http://www.interfaceaustralia.com/wordpress/our-s...This story makes us very interesting.And this story has generated publicity for us in every major publication in Australia since 1994.We've been featured on A Current Affair.Suggested as a story for Australian Story.Been featured on ABC Radio National's Life Matters program.Been interviewed on so many radio programs I've lost count.And had a huge article written about us in 2002 in Domain Magazine that generated $25K in sales from December 2002 to March 2003.That's the power of publicity. And other people talking about you.Never stop seeking it. It's magic when it happens. How did we get all this publicity?We knocked on doors. Had them slammed shut in our face more often than opened.And others told people of influence about us. Who asked if they could feature us. Or write about us.NEVER say NO!Always say YES! And always be on the lookout for opportunities to pull the brass ring with publicity written on it.I hope this helps, Susan. It's never easy to get. Unless you're in a trendy business that's super hot.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Lina Barfoot
Lina Barfoot, Editor at SavvySME

Social Media

Does social media contribute to your bottom line?

Greetings Lina and Brad from rural Australia,I'm gobsmacked by your response, Brad Lyons.And green with envy.1,000 customers a month from social media.That is amazing.I've looked at your profile, Brad. You're a consultant. And strategist. These are one-on-one businesses.How do you manage 1,000 new customers a month?What exactly do you offer on social media that allows you to be flooded with customers for these businesses within an hour of putting up a post?And why would a good offer be subject to complaints, as you discuss in this post?What portals/social media platforms do you use?Have you packaged your success into a step by step course yet? So many people just don't cut it with social media. I'm sure there's a ready and willing audience prepared to pay for what you know.I'm impressed by your success, Brad. Not many people would be in your league.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

How Does Your Brand Go Viral?

Good morning Paula from rural Australia,Steve Osborne is absolutely right.No one can control what goes viral. It's just something that happens. There's an intangible component that the public finds appealing. And it's time sensitive. What appeals today. May not appeal tomorrow.Why do you want something to go viral?If something you put out there does go viral, can you cope with the demand you might create? There's nothing worse for your business than not being able to fulfil! Those customers will never come back to you. And may spread negative word of mouth. In business, you can't be all things to all people. It's much smarter to focus on your niche. And the customers in it. And by not trying to be clever. But by trying to give value to them. You have a much better chance of attracting the customers who want to do business with you. Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Has anyone built their own website?

Greetings Paul from rural Australia,My partner and I have developed several websites on our own. With no technical skills others than those learned during the development of each site.The first site we built was in 2006 using Microsoft Front Page.But now we use Wordpress. And our current site uses a Genesis Framework Theme called Metro Pro.We opted out of using a third party to develop the site because of two factors.The high cost.And the lack of control you have for changing what they call 'trivia' when someone else is building your site.Our online business is our sole source of income. And we're very fussy about how it looks. And what it says. About us. To our customers. Hence we're control freaks!There are so many tutorials online about how to develop a site. Especially if you're using the Genesis Framework. And we were able to do it ourselves because of the forums. And tutorials about every subject we wanted to know something about.As someone who's been through this more than once, I've learned to be more disciplined about how I approach a new site.The first thing I do is buy a 96 Page Exercise Book from the newsagent. And write down the steps to every change I make. Tedious? Absolutely. But in a week you won't remember what you've done. And if you want to change it again, the notes are better than starting from scratch all over again.I filled half a 96 page book with instructions on how to do things for our new site. And it's dog eared from use.Second.Wordpress is easy to use. But. It's NOT a secure platform. And is easily hacked.But there are steps you can take to make sure it's safer.When choosing your username, never use admin. Every hacker can enter your site with the word admin. And never use a combination of your url or site name. Hackers can figure that out, too. Make sure your username is totally unrelated to your site. And complicated.Ditto for your password. I have a 15 digit password with letters, numbers and symbols. I don't remember it. But it's in a safe place and if I ever need to use it, I can copy and paste it in.This is the link to our site. http://www.interfaceaustralia.com/wordpress/I hope this helps you.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

How do I deal with competition in a small market?

Greetings Melissa from rural Australia,What Ananda says is so true.I live and work from my remote rural property in the Central Tablelands of NSW. My nearest regional centre is Bathurst. An hour's drive away.As an online business, all trips into Bathurst are triggered by parcels to post.And after standing in line at the post office, our first stop is at our favourite cafe/takeaway. Al Dente.A cafe. And deli combined.This little hole in the wall just jumps with people at any tick of the clock.Not only do they have fabulous coffee. But they make everything fresh every day. The owner and her husband are chefs. And know exactly what the public wants. Being gluten free, it's also the only cafe that caters for me. My only other option is fish and chips.They make the best smoked ham sandwiches. And. They sell to anyone who asks, as a deli item, whatever quantity of that ham you want to buy.But the real icing on the cake is the staff. All crowded behind the counter. Smiling. Eager to help. Answering questions about what's on offer. And nothing is ever too much trouble for them.There are three takeaways directly across the street. One right around the corner. Two dine in restaurants open for lunch further down the street. And the famous Legall Patisserie Cafe is half a block away.It doesn't matter how much competition they have, they just rock.Good food. Fabulous, friendly staff. And that intangible called charisma. All combine to make for one very successful hole in the wall ringed by competition. Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Is e-commerce a dying industry?

Good morning Joslyn from rural Australia,Don't be depressed about online shopping. It's going to be here for a very long time.As others before have said, the failure rate is very high because of the low entry level to start.So that in itself attracts men and women who are not suitable for running a business. And many online stores are only part time businesses. To derive extra income. But it's not their main income.We run our international business from our remote rural property in the beautiful Central Tablelands of NSW. We started this business in 1994. When the tyranny of distance ruled all rural businesses.We were a mail order business with established customers before the internet. Email. And call waiting came to our rural village in 2001.We already had a website developed and ready to launch on Feb 01 2001. The day dialup opened up a whole new world to us.We became international within the blink of an eye. With many customers dropping into our website from the USA. The UK. And Europe.This business pays our bills. The mortgage. And feeds our dogs.We treat it as a real business. And work on it every day. All day.We not only make a profit. But we grow every year. Some years are more spectacular than others. But we have steady growth. All thanks to the internet and online shopping.To succeed as an online business you need different skills. You need to understand the impact digital marketing has on everyone. And you need to stay in touch with your customers via digital marketing. Without harassing them.This is an evolving technology and staying on top of what matters to your business is a full time job. But worth it. I'm forever taking online courses to keep me sharp and at the pointy end of not only technology. But also about how to keep in touch with those people who pay my bills. The people who fail, do so because they not only lack the stamina to run an online business. But also because they don't take their business very seriously.eCommerce is exciting. But not for the faint hearted.So cheer up. There's a lot to love about being an online business.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

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CAROL JONES answered this question

What have you learned from your mistakes?

Greetings Jeanette from rural Australia,Everybody makes mistakes in business. James Packer and One-Tel. Rupert Murdoch buying MySpace and turning it into a dinosaur. Steve Job's NeXT computer company. His Apple III. And MobileMe are amongst 7 of his failures.You can't succeed if you don't fail. That's a wisdom that shouldn't be ignored. Failure. Mistakes. Are merely opportunities to learn how to do things better.And what each one of us learns from them is relevant only to us. And might not be relevant to anyone else.And much of what we learn from our mistakes is based on our own personalities. And how we want to do things.One of the best things I've learned in running my business is not to listen to outsiders. I operate in a very small niche market. A declining market, actually. But I'm growing as other companies drop out.I listen to my customers. And try to engage in a dialogue with them as much as possible.They've taught me how to run my business better. Every time they have a criticism, I listen. And change the way I do things. And so far, since 1994, every criticism. And every change. Has been for the better.I've also learned not to be hoodwinked by hyperbole. I'm a trusting gal. And hope I always stay that way. But after discovering too many times that people exaggerate, I've learned to ask questions. And if possible, get them to justify their claims. At worst, to be cynical.After years of advertising in magazines that are perfect for my niche market, and never breaking even, I learned that people only buy my product when their current version wears out. When paying top dollars to get my message across, I realised I couldn't wait for that to happen. And from that financial mistake, I learned to conquer the internet. And get my website to attract customers when they're looking for my solution to their problem.Mistakes don't close doors. They open others. When something doesn't work, it's a matter of asking yourself what else can? And undertaking the research to come up with a different answer.When I was learning about the internet in 2001, when dialup came to my rural village where I live and work from my remote rural property, I was on SKYPE at 3AM, attending free online seminars held in the USA. The birth country of internet magic.I did that several times a week.And by putting in that effort, I moved from page 45 on Google. To page 1. And have never been off page 1 since for my best search terms. All without spending a penny.Mistakes are opportunities to find solutions that are so much better than you expected.Best wishes, Jeanette, for whatever you hope to achieve.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Mark Halstead
Mark Halstead, Managing Director at iCumulus

Social Media

Can social media work for B2C lead generation cost effectively?

Greetings Mark from rural Australia,Many people in small business agree that social media is a time waster. They're there because they're told they should be. And don't have a clue how to engage with their audience. Just recently I read a post on Facebook from an experienced user of Facebook to say that his ads were no longer working. And he's cancelled them.In a previous post on SavvySME, I read a response by a businessman who says he earns $10K per post every time he posts on Facebook. But he didn't answer my query to validate that.Amongst all my business friends, I personally only know of one success story. And only because this is a customer of mine.She's an at home ironing service.She's busy 7 days per week.She has a mix of corporate clients. And private clients.And it's all done on Facebook.Her customers post rave reviews about her service. Which attracts the attention of other potential customers.This is her link https://www.facebook.com/reasironingservice/?fref... There's nothing flash on this page. Just Maria talking to her customers about how she can help them.I hope this helps, Mark.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

A Customer Said They Only Pay By Credit But We Don't Accept Them

Good morning Peter from rural Australia,I agree with John and Jef. Never lose a customer because of a lack of payment options. I learned this very early on in my business.I now accept payment from Visa. Mastercard. Amex. Diners. PayPal. Direct Deposit. Cheque. And if someone asks me for a payment type that I don't have, I'd be looking into it the very next minute.You're in business to satisfy your clients/customers. Not your accounting procedures. You have to bend to satisfy them. Not them bend to satisfy you.As a customer I've walked away from many an online business because they won't accept PayPal.You prosper by accommodating your customers/clients. At the end of the day, they pay all your bills. So always find a way to make them happy.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Do you use Instagram to connect with customers?

Greetings Steve from rural Australia,I don't personally use Instagram to connect with customers. But I do know someone who does. And who does it very well.Coryanne Ettiene is an American food and kitchen lifestyle expert. Who has a following on Facebook. AOL. The Food Network. And on Instagram.She recently opened Ettiene Market. Her own kitchen lifestyle store in McKinney Texas. And uses Instagram daily to showcase her shop that has loads of quirky small batch and heritage kitchen products. She also intertwines photos of her children and husband into this scenario. As well as the family dog who becomes 'Spinny The Shop Dog'. To ensure the overall image is reminiscent of an old fashioned family store. She also tells heart warming stories about why she chose her products to be in her shop.Photos of customers. And babies patting 'Spinny The Shop Dog' are a nice touch. Especially the photos of customers who bring in baked goodies using items from her shop. For me, it's always an interesting destination in cyberspace.This is her personal Instagram page. https://www.instagram.com/coryanneettiene/And this is the Instagram page for Ettiene Market https://www.instagram.com/EttieneMarket/In May 2016, when she opened Ettiene Market, she had no followers on Instagram. Now she has 319. Many of them devoted to her shop.
Reading between the lines, she's also priming her visitors to be ready to act when she establishes an online store as well.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

I would love to know what stops you from using a maintenance service?

Greetings Peter from rural Australia,We often don't know the value of security until the horses have bolted.I now use, and would never again not use, a website security service to keep my website secure and hacker free.On Christmas morning, 2015, I received a stomach crunching email from my host company to say my website had been severely hacked. And their server used to transmit illegal emails.Because of this threat, my host company shut my website down until I made my site more secure.Nothing we did worked. From Christmas morning until mid January, my site came under a full scale attack from all over the world.Again, my site was shut down by my host company until I could prove it was no longer vulnerable to attack.This site is our only source of revenue. So this was a major event for us.One of my problems is my website is based on the Wordpress platform. Which is the weakest as far as security is concerned. But for those of us who aren't technical wizards, it's the easiest platform to use.In desperation, we looked online and found an Australian company that would harden our site. Back it up. And monitor it 24/7/365 against any further threats.For this we pay a very reasonable monthly fee.We've used them since mid January 2016. And it really is P.A.L. Peace. At Last. There are no more stomach crunching emails about attacks. I no longer worry about malware on my site. About being hacked. Or about my site being taken off the web. I no longer even look at the logs. They're too scary. The number of brute force attempts - that they thwart - that are made daily on my site makes me blanch.As more and more people use the Wordpress platform. And as more and more articles are written about how it's hackers' paradise. Tens of thousands of sites are destroyed every year. It should become easier and easier to sell a website security service.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Why and IS social media marketing important for all businesses?

Greetings Kirsten from rural Australia,I agree with all of the above.Social media is not relevant for all businesses. And, at its best, can be a monumental time waster.People are on social media to be - social. Plus. When they're on social media, they are very self serving.They don't want irrelevant ads thrown at them every time they page through their newsfeed.And they're most likely to only respond to posts where there's enormous benefit to them.What's new in your shop - or on your website - is always a good start.Discounts come quickly to mind.Free. The most powerful word in advertising. We all want something for free.And tips on how to do things better. That are entertaining while imparting those tips. If you look at what's shared the most on social media, it's videos. On how to do things.The above is what has the greatest appeal to followers of social media. All of the above come at a financial cost. And a cost in time to do regular postings.If you have something new to post almost daily. Can easily give discounts. Or give something away for free on a regular basis. Or have the ability to make fabulous videos on how to do things. And that effort is worth it to you. Go for it.But if it's not. Give social media a miss. Sometimes it's not wise to follow the herd. Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Any advice from anyone who has used post planner. Did you find it useful? Was it worth the subscription?

Good morning Tracey from rural Australia.I'm not a digital native. More a Baby Boomer who's been dragged into the digital age by need. Rather than by era of birth.I live and work from my remote rural property. Where there's no mobile phone reception. With an unreliable rural mobile wireless internet connection. That drops in an out with the cadence of a wrecking ball.My main workhorse is my desktop computer. Which I turn on in the morning. And turn off in the evening. Because. I don't want to be connected to the world via my computer 24/7. For planning purposes I tend to be old fashioned and use paper. And a pencil!I write and post to my blog 5 days a week. Minimum. And find the Colplan One Month At A View Planner Diary perfect for me. It not only allows me to sketch in my blog posts. But also to sketch in the topics each day for my social media posts.Plus. By seeing the whole month at a time, I can - at a glance - determine if I've bitten off more than I can chew.I also like being able to think and plan in the peace and quiet of the non-digital world.This, I'm sure, Tracey, is not the answer you're looking for. But it does show that you can live a productive life away from your mobile apps.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❦ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

What are the common pitfalls that female entrepreneurs fall into?

Greetings Vikas from rural Australia,Before anyone can answer your question, other than in broad strokes, we have to narrow down our field of vision.What kind of an entrepreneur are you?Online?Bricks and mortar?A mixture of both?Just starting out?Or with some experience to fall back on?Are you a full time, no holds barred commitment?Or a commitment that allows you time for personal pursuits? Including looking after a family.All these factors should be known so we can provide you with the best advice suited to your circumstances.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Can someone please explain drop shipping to me? Is it safe and easier than having products on hand?

Good morning Kirsten from rural Australia,Drop shipping. I've engaged in it in the past. And found it a very successful way to offer new products. Without having to stock them.This is when you offer a product that you don't stock.And arrange to have the supplier ship it to your customer.Amazon does this all the time.This is how it worked for me.We had an offer on our website for current customers called The Private Offer Vault.We searched the internet for high quality products that would suit our customer profile. That we wouldn't have to buy in and stock.We made arrangements with the supplier to ship the product from their premises when they received an order from us. With payment of the product.We took the order. Received payment. Banked the revenue. And created the appropriate paperwork for the supplier to include in the product when shipping.Which we emailed to them. Along with a direct deposit into their account of the funds agreed upon to ship the article.Because we're fussy about how our customers are treated, we entered into a formal agreement with our suppliers as to how quickly they will ship once receiving payment and papers.How the parcel will be packed. And how the paperwork inside the parcel will be presented. No shoddiness allowed. We want our customers to know we care about them.They had to provide us with proof of despatch. Complete with date and tracking information.And enter into a further agreement as to what happens if the parcel doesn't arrive. Or arrives damaged.Whose responsibility is this? And how will the problem be rectified in favour of the customer? This IS crucial. Not all suppliers will agree to any. Or part of. The above.Most suppliers who drop ship are simply warehouses which employ people who actually don't care how the parcel looks when it goes out.And take no responsibility for missing parcels. Or damaged goods. We stayed away from them.And approached only boutique businesses who appreciated the value we could add to their business.It's not hard to arrange.And it broadens your product range. Without having to outlay extra capital to buy in stock that may. Or may not. Sell.You do have to make sure that you, and the supplier who is drop shipping for you, are on the same wavelength as far as customer service is concerned.We had such success with this in the past, we're contemplating doing it again in the near future.I hope this helps, Kirsten.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers.In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

How can a PR campaign help my company grow?

Good morning Susan from rural Australia,Steve Osborne's response is absolutely correct. Every detail of his reply is valuable information for you.It's the third party endorsement that's the icing on the cake.If you say your product or service is wonderful, who cares? You're biased.If, on the other hand, a journalist. Or even better, a customer who has no strings attached. Has the opportunity to speak in favour of you. We all sit up and take notice.Most of what we know about companies is what we read in the media. And search for in reviews on Google. Or discover on social media platforms where customers are talking about them. Either favourably. Or worse. Trashing them.This is how we discover who we should be doing business with.Once we know who we want to spend our money with, we then visit websites.Compare.And then make a decision.This is my personal experience with publicity.I'm the purveyor of the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies.A very low interest topic. Bottom. Of. The. Range.Getting publicity for an ironing board cover is like asking a journalist to write something interesting about steaming an envelope open.But we have a story. 'How We Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.' From a remote property in rural Australia. On the back of a humble ironing board cover.This is the link. http://www.interfaceaustralia.com/wordpress/our-s...This story makes us very interesting.And this story has generated publicity for us in every major publication in Australia since 1994.We've been featured on A Current Affair.Suggested as a story for Australian Story.Been featured on ABC Radio National's Life Matters program.Been interviewed on so many radio programs I've lost count.And had a huge article written about us in 2002 in Domain Magazine that generated $25K in sales from December 2002 to March 2003.That's the power of publicity. And other people talking about you.Never stop seeking it. It's magic when it happens. How did we get all this publicity?We knocked on doors. Had them slammed shut in our face more often than opened.And others told people of influence about us. Who asked if they could feature us. Or write about us.NEVER say NO!Always say YES! And always be on the lookout for opportunities to pull the brass ring with publicity written on it.I hope this helps, Susan. It's never easy to get. Unless you're in a trendy business that's super hot.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies 350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Lina Barfoot
Lina Barfoot, Editor at SavvySME

Social Media

Does social media contribute to your bottom line?

Greetings Lina and Brad from rural Australia,I'm gobsmacked by your response, Brad Lyons.And green with envy.1,000 customers a month from social media.That is amazing.I've looked at your profile, Brad. You're a consultant. And strategist. These are one-on-one businesses.How do you manage 1,000 new customers a month?What exactly do you offer on social media that allows you to be flooded with customers for these businesses within an hour of putting up a post?And why would a good offer be subject to complaints, as you discuss in this post?What portals/social media platforms do you use?Have you packaged your success into a step by step course yet? So many people just don't cut it with social media. I'm sure there's a ready and willing audience prepared to pay for what you know.I'm impressed by your success, Brad. Not many people would be in your league.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

How Does Your Brand Go Viral?

Good morning Paula from rural Australia,Steve Osborne is absolutely right.No one can control what goes viral. It's just something that happens. There's an intangible component that the public finds appealing. And it's time sensitive. What appeals today. May not appeal tomorrow.Why do you want something to go viral?If something you put out there does go viral, can you cope with the demand you might create? There's nothing worse for your business than not being able to fulfil! Those customers will never come back to you. And may spread negative word of mouth. In business, you can't be all things to all people. It's much smarter to focus on your niche. And the customers in it. And by not trying to be clever. But by trying to give value to them. You have a much better chance of attracting the customers who want to do business with you. Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Has anyone built their own website?

Greetings Paul from rural Australia,My partner and I have developed several websites on our own. With no technical skills others than those learned during the development of each site.The first site we built was in 2006 using Microsoft Front Page.But now we use Wordpress. And our current site uses a Genesis Framework Theme called Metro Pro.We opted out of using a third party to develop the site because of two factors.The high cost.And the lack of control you have for changing what they call 'trivia' when someone else is building your site.Our online business is our sole source of income. And we're very fussy about how it looks. And what it says. About us. To our customers. Hence we're control freaks!There are so many tutorials online about how to develop a site. Especially if you're using the Genesis Framework. And we were able to do it ourselves because of the forums. And tutorials about every subject we wanted to know something about.As someone who's been through this more than once, I've learned to be more disciplined about how I approach a new site.The first thing I do is buy a 96 Page Exercise Book from the newsagent. And write down the steps to every change I make. Tedious? Absolutely. But in a week you won't remember what you've done. And if you want to change it again, the notes are better than starting from scratch all over again.I filled half a 96 page book with instructions on how to do things for our new site. And it's dog eared from use.Second.Wordpress is easy to use. But. It's NOT a secure platform. And is easily hacked.But there are steps you can take to make sure it's safer.When choosing your username, never use admin. Every hacker can enter your site with the word admin. And never use a combination of your url or site name. Hackers can figure that out, too. Make sure your username is totally unrelated to your site. And complicated.Ditto for your password. I have a 15 digit password with letters, numbers and symbols. I don't remember it. But it's in a safe place and if I ever need to use it, I can copy and paste it in.This is the link to our site. http://www.interfaceaustralia.com/wordpress/I hope this helps you.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

How do I deal with competition in a small market?

Greetings Melissa from rural Australia,What Ananda says is so true.I live and work from my remote rural property in the Central Tablelands of NSW. My nearest regional centre is Bathurst. An hour's drive away.As an online business, all trips into Bathurst are triggered by parcels to post.And after standing in line at the post office, our first stop is at our favourite cafe/takeaway. Al Dente.A cafe. And deli combined.This little hole in the wall just jumps with people at any tick of the clock.Not only do they have fabulous coffee. But they make everything fresh every day. The owner and her husband are chefs. And know exactly what the public wants. Being gluten free, it's also the only cafe that caters for me. My only other option is fish and chips.They make the best smoked ham sandwiches. And. They sell to anyone who asks, as a deli item, whatever quantity of that ham you want to buy.But the real icing on the cake is the staff. All crowded behind the counter. Smiling. Eager to help. Answering questions about what's on offer. And nothing is ever too much trouble for them.There are three takeaways directly across the street. One right around the corner. Two dine in restaurants open for lunch further down the street. And the famous Legall Patisserie Cafe is half a block away.It doesn't matter how much competition they have, they just rock.Good food. Fabulous, friendly staff. And that intangible called charisma. All combine to make for one very successful hole in the wall ringed by competition. Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

CAROL JONES answered this question

Is e-commerce a dying industry?

Good morning Joslyn from rural Australia,Don't be depressed about online shopping. It's going to be here for a very long time.As others before have said, the failure rate is very high because of the low entry level to start.So that in itself attracts men and women who are not suitable for running a business. And many online stores are only part time businesses. To derive extra income. But it's not their main income.We run our international business from our remote rural property in the beautiful Central Tablelands of NSW. We started this business in 1994. When the tyranny of distance ruled all rural businesses.We were a mail order business with established customers before the internet. Email. And call waiting came to our rural village in 2001.We already had a website developed and ready to launch on Feb 01 2001. The day dialup opened up a whole new world to us.We became international within the blink of an eye. With many customers dropping into our website from the USA. The UK. And Europe.This business pays our bills. The mortgage. And feeds our dogs.We treat it as a real business. And work on it every day. All day.We not only make a profit. But we grow every year. Some years are more spectacular than others. But we have steady growth. All thanks to the internet and online shopping.To succeed as an online business you need different skills. You need to understand the impact digital marketing has on everyone. And you need to stay in touch with your customers via digital marketing. Without harassing them.This is an evolving technology and staying on top of what matters to your business is a full time job. But worth it. I'm forever taking online courses to keep me sharp and at the pointy end of not only technology. But also about how to keep in touch with those people who pay my bills. The people who fail, do so because they not only lack the stamina to run an online business. But also because they don't take their business very seriously.eCommerce is exciting. But not for the faint hearted.So cheer up. There's a lot to love about being an online business.Best wishes,~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤ Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.

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