I’m Petra Foster, the client enrollment strategist, and I started my business to save my husband’s life.
Back in 2013, I was managing a hostel for teenage parents. I’d worked hard to get my degree in Criminal Justice, and I was eager to pursue a career in social care. My husband worked as a long distance lorry driver, which meant getting up at the crack of dawn and going to bed too early for an adult. Little did I know what was to come!
We were getting by okay. We were making ends meet, paying the bills, and seeing each other when we could.
Everything was fine, until the day when I realised that it really wasn’t.
One night, my husband walked through the door and he was shaking like a leaf.
I asked him “what’s wrong?”
At first, he hesitated.
Then he told me he had fallen asleep at the wheel and was only a few feet from death as he jammed his feet as hard as he could on the brakes to avoid running into the back of another truck.
I KNEW IN THAT MOMENT THAT I HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
It was the reality check that I needed.
I wanted to actually see and spend time with my husband, knowing he was not risking his life every day to put food on the table. And I realised I was unfulfilled. I wanted to express my creativity and live life on my own terms!
It was 3am on a Wednesday morning, I jumped out of bed and whilst my husband was getting dressed for work I said ‘babe lets start a business’ and he said ‘ok’ and came up with a plan of how to start
I became a full time entrepreneur a few weeks later.
We started a garment printing business and I went door-to-door, selling printed and embroidered uniforms. I sold to manufacturing companies, restaurants, hair salons, in fact… to anyone that needed what we were selling.
And you know what?
IT WAS REALLY TOUGH!
I walked the streets every single day selling, but we did pretty well without having a website or flashy business cards.
We were making over $6,500 per month, which was more than what my husband and I were previously earning combined in our full-time jobs.
I was doing traditional advertising, like cold calling, and going to networking events 3 times a week.
The hard work was worth it, because we quickly made a name for ourselves, and didn’t have to compete with larger garment printing companies.
We were exactly the same as them in terms of what we offered, but my customers chose me because they’d liked my humour and I was always a little bit cheeky.
Can you imagine a short, curly haired girl, wearing, jeans, hoodie and trainers and with zero reputation at the time, walking into big manufacturing companies, charging premium prices, and closing the sale over and over and over again?
It makes me laugh now just thinking about it!
And that was a big and important lesson right there. You think that you have to look and dress and act in a certain way to enroll premium clients?
You absolutely don’t.
HOWEVER… The endless cold calls and door-to-door sales started to take their toll, and I knew that there had to be a better way.
MY FIRST BIG MISTAKE
We found an online digital marketing company and spent over $600 per month for a website and search engine optimisation services.
I was pretty excited… I was going to tap into the power of the online world, and things were going to be so much easier from this point onwards.
No leads, no traffic and no online sales.
Even worse – I was embarrassed to show our new website to anyone (even friends and family), because, in a word, it sucked! I realised I had made a mistake, and I had to fix it!
STANDING OUT IN A CROWED MARKETPLACE
Out of desperation, I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning for weeks on end, learning how to create a website.
I invested in a mentor and several mastermind groups and online resources, and eventually mastered the art of personal branding, online marketing and SEO.
Within a month, we were on the first page of Google for our chosen keywords, and we began to make real sales directly from Google, Facebook and Twitter.
And the business owners I was meeting suddenly weren’t just asking me about embroidered workwear.
They were asking me how I managed to sell online…