Mel’s journey so far, and the passion behind starting up Little Biz.
Well, I’m not even sure on where to begin for my Little Biz Journey as really it all began at the beginning of my working career… so, here is a brief overview.
The Corporate World
I started my working career in data entry in insurance and worked my way up to managing Workers Compensation claims. Here I did a career switch and became a private investigator because I loved the people side, the investigation side. Side fact: I actually wanted to be a detective in the police force when I grew up! I loved investigating, but my time management sucked at that time of my life, so back to a ‘real’ full time job. Funny enough it seems time management issues are often a common factor in an entrepreneurs life!!
I did some temping through an employment agency and gained myself a job in the Marketing department of a construction and engineering company. I had absolutely no marketing experience! I spent 2 years learning marketing, helping to develop a CMS website (aka WordPress) and graphic design. This became the end of my corporate career as I was made redundant as the industry went through some difficult times.
Small / Medium Business
My next job was my introduction to small/ medium business. I worked at a small telecommunications company where my hubby worked as a technician, helping the 2 directors in the office. I saw the struggle of running a small business first hand. The stress of needing to be organized and needing to win jobs. The importance of keeping the invoicing up to date and managing the stock out the back. Time management, and billable times were a big part of the business. On the flip-side, I also discovered how amazing the team culture of working in a small business could be. I enjoyed a great friendship with a few of the others who worked there. I was also the social director – that was so much fun!
Family Business / Small Business
Just a year later, hubby and I were needed to go and work in the family business, which is in the vehicle hire industry. We learnt very quickly many aspects of running a small home-based business. The family business was expanding into other state locations and it was a steep growth and learning curve for all of us. We learnt to be across all aspects of the business and I was taught the book-keeping as well as running training sessions for our hire agents. I got to travel across Australia to train up new hire agents and do refresher training – this to date is still my favourite part of my job.
Our Own Businesses
The next 7 years saw an incredible growth in business, and also the birth of a new business when a new player in the big box retail space was introduced. Hubby and I went on to run the new business, where we were able to set the culture of our own business. This new business was very successful as it was based on the family business model that had proved successful. During this time in business we engaged business coaching services to help us run the business the very best way that we could.
Unfortunately this big box retailer closed it’s doors, just 6 months after we started new contract negotiations, giving us only 3 months notice that they were closing their doors. At this time we experienced the loss of our large income producing business and the stress in rushing to get our vehicles out of the stores before they closed, and down to the auction houses across the country.
In this time I started up my own online Business, Outdoor Beanbags, importing beanbags and selling them in Australia. There is a big back story and passion reflected in this business with Missions work in our local community and overseas. You can read all about it over at Outdoor Beanbags.
Hubby and I have also been property investors since my hubby bought his first investment property in 2000 at the ripe old age of 18 years old. DIY and home improvement is a great love of ours! A few years ago we did Renovating For Profit with Cherie Barber and we have renovated 7 houses over a 3 year period. Property development is a big dream of mine, we did start the steps, but at this stage all our property investing is on hold due to the downturn in the Perth market. Discussing renovation plans and designs and sharing ideas is a true passion of mine, and you will find me crewing for Cherie Barber each time she comes to Perth.
And Now, Little Biz!
I am so passionate about sharing knowledge and uplifting other people. I see many businesses who struggle because they don’t know who they are or how they fit in the community. I see fellow Little Biz owners that are always comparing themselves to other companies instead of owning their own journey, who they are and running with that.
Many people are living closer together (thanks cottage blocks) yet are living lives that are much more isolated than ever before. Here lies my passion, in one of the ways I know best, to develop community and draw people together to learn together, grow together, support each other, work with each other and refer each other.
Now is the time to stop living our lives as little islands and it is time to work together!
Little Biz was created to educate, encourage and empower small business owners. To help little biz owners to document and develop their own business foundations, to find their uniqueness and communicate what they do and who they are to their customers in a way their customers can understand. Teaching basic marketing skills and how to create, update and keep their websites up to date.Â
Little Biz Websites has also grown into it’s own niche recently, from some ad-hoc website help, right through to creating brand new WordPress websites with hosting and management.Â