A real no BS look into what it takes to grow a successful ecommerce store. The good, the bad and the ugly. The actions, attitude and beliefs - because they all matter.
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Anna: Welcome to episode five of The Elevatory Podcast. I'm very excited today because I'm joined by business owner Jo Hardie from the Spewy. And this lady has been in my life for a few years now. And I have to say, I feel like you've become like a bit of a bestie to me. I love that I get a little message that updates me with what's going on. I guess we've been on a journey together and I love seeing all that you've done. And I had to have you on the podcast because we worked together, I don't even know when it was now, but two years ago. Together for about a year or so. And well, that's what I want to talk about today.
The journey that you've been on to take your e-commerce store from what let's say, $500 months to, I think we just talked about hitting an $80,000 months, in really record time and the beauty, more importantly, that it's consistent. Now, Jo, give everyone a bit of a background about your amazing product, because I think that first of all, you do have an incredible product that you have thought up and we'll come into how it came about, but tell everyone about the spewy, what it does, how it can help them and how amazing it is.
Jo Hardie: Thanks, Anna. So the spewy is a waterproof absorbent mat for when kids are sick. So how it works is if your child's sick, you can pop it over them or lay it under their head. And when they spew it will absorb the vomit. And it has a waterproof backing. So that means that nothing will leak through so that there's no cleaning up the car seat, if they're in the car, there's no cleaning up spew from you or the lounge. So it just contains it all. So it just helps save parents time from cleaning up when their kids are sick, because obviously there's more important things to be focusing on than cleaning spew up when your child's sick.
Anna: Oh, and who wants spew on themselves? The memories, right? The memories of having kids in those wonderful moments, but you didn't just stop at that. I mean, the product's evolved from there as well. So now you've got, you haven't just got the spewy, which is obviously what you started with. You've now got bed mats and something else exciting.
Jo Hardie: Yeah. So the bed mats are for toilet training. So instead of having to change the whole bed of a night-time, when the child has an accident, you just take the spewy off and replace it with a clean one. So heaps quicker. I can do it when Charlotte, my youngest is asleep. She doesn't actually wake up so I can do it all one handed nearly. And coming up we're going to be launching training pants. Pull up training pants. So they're for when the child's toilet trained during the day, but not quite at night yet. So it just saves having to put a nappy on them. It just makes them feel a little bit more grown up that they're pulling up these, you know, training pants. They're more like undies and they just protect obviously the top sheet and the doona as well if they do have an accident.
Anna: Amazing. And can I just say that your product we've discussed this, your product is so versatile? I have used your product for my puppy, and I use it as a little pee mat, which is just brilliant because it just absorbs everything. There's no smell, you stick it in the wash. So whenever we go out, like if my dog doesn't want to go to the toilet before we go out, we leave it. And I feel like your product has got so much opportunity in so many different areas. We could talk about that forever. It's been amazing to watch you go from one product to developing the bed mats. And now you've got more products on the horizon, but not just that, we see how much growth you've had over a relatively short period of time and to become quite an iconic brand and something that parents are talking about and recommending, I mean, that must in itself just be something that warms your heart right, when you start getting referrals and 'got to get this product', it makes you realise like, oh my God, I'm making it, right!
Jo Hardie: Definitely. I remember the other week I put up a post in one of the Facebook groups. It wasn't a sales post or anything like that. I think I was just asking for advice on something. And all the comments were like, oh yeah, we've heard of a spewy or, yup. I've got a spewy and I'm like, oh my God, people actually know what it is now. It's amazing.
Anna: Oh, it is. That's it. It's all about being seen and heard, right. And I think that's what a lot of people struggle with at the beginning, especially when you have created your own concept, it's how do I get out there.
Now Jo I brought you on a) because I love you and I think that your product is amazing and we have been on this amazing journey, but I really, as you know, this podcast is really about like no BS and we like to let it all hang out and be really raw and real about what it's like to grow a small business so that people have a true understanding of the journey that you go on. And I really just wanted to talk the listeners through, or question you on, you know, the decisions you've made, how you started, you know, what the highs, the lows, the mistakes, so that people can have a view of kind of what it's taken for you to get to this point over the last couple of years. Because I think that it goes beyond just having a good product and I, and I'm sure that you'll agree that it's a lot has got to do with strategy, but also mindset when it comes to actually kind of taking your business to where you are right now. All right. So do you want to give me the start, tell me how it all started. Tell me how the Spewy came about, let's start there and then I'll dig in from there.
Jo Hardie: Okay. Well, I have three children they're currently nine, seven and five next month. So when they were a little bit younger, so back in 2018, each year, this is pre COVID, so each year we'd take a road trip up to Queensland to see my family. So at the time the girls were five, three, and one, and none of them were ever spewy babies. But on this trip, we were, I think we're about three hours up the road into a 10 hour trip. And Laura, my oldest told me she felt sick. And then she started spewing and didn't stop for the whole trip. Having done the trip though, I always pack, you know, spare towels, clothes, that sort of thing. So we ended up using all the spare towels that I had packed. And then we used about half of our clothes to try and catch the spew because we didn't want to clean out a spewy car seat. So when we got to Queensland, I had a look online to see if I could find something like the spewy for on the way back or for, you know, whenever we were in the car again, so that this didn't happen.
And I came up empty, I couldn't find anything. And I guess that's where the initial idea began. When we came home, it was a couple of months later, my youngest then brought home a gastro or vomiting bug from day care, that went through all the family. And that's when I'm like, well, maybe we could do with something like this.
So I then decided to, at the time I had like a little candle business that I was doing, just something from the side. And I decided to sell that. I'm so sorry Anna.
Anna: I know it's all the sales that’s happening. I know you love that sound really, Jo.
Jo Hardie: I know I do, but it's just, I know that it's distracting me. So I, yeah, I sold my candle business and, you know, I didn't get a lot of money for it, but it was enough to start the spewy and to get some samples.
Anna: How long did it take out of interest? Cause I think this is a big thing for people. Quite often, you have a concept and then you don't realise how long it's going to take to go from concept to actually getting the product in your hands and then having volume of product to sell. So how long has that, how was that?
Jo Hardie: It changed a little bit. So I made the first few myself, so it changed from the initial idea was to have something like the change mat foam to have something like the kids hold that somehow. I don't know what I was thinking at the time, but then I bought a bit of foam from Clark Rubber, and I got one of my kids to hold it in the car and they didn't want to hold it. Because it was too big and bulky and I'm like, that's not going to work. So lying in bed, talking to hubby about it, and he's like, well, why do you need the foam?
And I'm like, it was such a, I don't know, just a simple question that I hadn't even thought of. I'm like, well, I don't. So then that changed the product again. So then I tried sewing, I borrowed a friends sewing machine, cause I don't sew, and I didn't have one and I went to Spotlight, and I bought some material. I researched what sort of material would be the most absorbent went to Spotlight, bought that. Bought some plastic backing from Clark Rubber and sewed it all together. And tested it out with the kids. They loved it. They wanted to use it. So that was, that was a step in the right direction. And then I made a couple more and gave to friends and family and they all loved it.
And then yeah, people just started asking for them. So then the next six months, I spent trying to find a manufacturer, which in the end I nearly gave up because six months is a long time to spend searching for someone to make a product that's in your head. Everyone wanted to sell me products that they already had, or change mats, which the spewy is different to that.
Yeah. Anyway, about to give up and I think it was literally the last person that I spoke to said, yeah, they can do. It was quite expensive to get a sample though. And I'm like, I don't care. I've come this far. You know, let's just see how it goes. And the sample came and it was so much better than my sewing. So much better quality than what I produced. So yeah, and then we went from there.
Anna: Amazing. Oh my gosh. So how long do you reckon it took then from that first? Like maybe a year all up, do you reckon?
Jo Hardie: Yeah. About a year. Yeah. From we're going to do this, sold the candle business to then we got stock. So yeah, it's a really long time.
Anna: Yeah. I mean it is. And I think that it's important that people understand that there's a journey and you kind of, you know, it's, it doesn't just happen overnight, and you do have to do the quality control and you got to do the testing and everything. So, okay. Then what happened? You had your product, what happened?
Jo Hardie: So I ordered, it was only 200 of them, like 200 units of spewys. I set up my website, I think like any person new to business, and once I set up my website, I thought, awesome. Right. Orders are going to come flooding in. And it was like crickets. I think it took me nearly oh eight months or something to sell 200 units. And that was, you know, a couple of family and friends bought a fair few of those.
Anna: I love it. Well, that's it right? You don't know how to get out there. You kind of like the website's up and quite often you're not getting the traffic or you're not getting the views on socials and everything else. So what point did you, like you say that was, like you said eight months, it took you to sell the 200 units. What point did you come to us? Like at what point in the journey did you come. And say help.
Jo Hardie: I think it was two years in, yeah. Two years in and I'd grown it a little bit by then. But not to where I wanted it to be. So I wanted to be able to do this around my three girls, but also contribute financially to, to the household as well. Like I've worked like before I had my kids, I worked, you know, a lot of hours a week in finance, so I've always been busy and contributing financially. And I just felt that, you know, for me, that's what I needed. And I couldn't get the business to the next level. And I didn't know how. And I've done all that, you know, the free little things that different businesses put out to scale, essentially. And yeah, and then I came across you guys, The Elevatory, and I just figured, you know, it was a bit of an investment for us. It took a little while for me to make the decision to do it. And in the end I'm like, you know, we'll, if I don't do this, I'm going to be stuck where I am now. Whereas if I do this, it's either going to get better, or it's still going to be where I am now. So for me, once I got my head around it, like it was a no brainer. Like I don't want to be stuck where I am now. I had to move forward and this was the way to move forward.
"So for me, once I got my head around it, like it was a no brainer. Like I don't want to be stuck where I am now. I had to move forward and this was the way to move forward." - Jo Hardie on joining The Elevatory
Anna: Yeah. It's always an interesting one when you get to that decision point, when you know that you can't keep going on your own, but there's always a big fear in investment because, you know, with the fear, like this is my family savings. I'm going to put this money in. What if it doesn't work? Which is a big thing. And I've, I mean, I know you've spoken to many people about this and so have I. And I think it's one of those things where if you can start to see that, if you can flip the thinking and look at what happens, if you don't do it, or if you do your due diligence at least to make sure that you are making the right decision, like, you know, that you know that you're working with a reputable company and then looking at the flip side of what happens if you don't get help or you don't move because stagnation is obviously incredibly frustrating. So get it completely get it. I've been there many times when I, you know, pooped my pants a little bit about some of the financial decisions we've made and then, but I think the attitude from, I think for you and knowing you, I would say, and for me has always been, once you make that decision, you go all in, right? So you made the decision and that was it. Like, as in you worked your bollocks off, like, you got in and you made it happen.
Jo Hardie: And with that decision too, most of my, if not all of my business decisions, I listened to my gut as well as everything else. And for this, my gut was saying yes, my husband at the time was saying, can't you just go to TAFE and do a course because it would be a lot cheaper. And I'm like, yeah but if I go to TAFE and do a course, it's not one-on-one and I that's what I need. I need that accountability. And I need that, you know, that direct, this is what you do. This is how you do it because I don't know that. So, you know, my gut was saying, yes, it was just about getting, you know, I guess my husband a little bit across the line to say, okay, let's do it. And I think I said to him, there was a bit of an ultimatum there that if I can't grow the business after this course, if I can't move that needle, then I'll give it up. You know, that's it, I'll let it go. And thankfully that didn't happen.
Anna: No, it didn't. That would be impetus enough, wouldn't it to make stuff happen. That's it. There's that tipping point and where you went all in. And as I said, I've kind of heard this expression, I think by James Wedmore, when he says the transformation is in the transaction. And sometimes it's when you kind of like upfronting and investing yourself at that next level, that it really is like, oh my God, I am really all in and this is it. And I can't let anyone down. You know, I've got to make this work and it's that, that then helps you get to the next level.
Jo Hardie: Yeah, just to put this in perspective though, when I signed up to your course, and I don't know if you remember this, but it was in March, 2020, because that's when we started lockdown for the first time. And we learned what locked down even was. So I have the three girls, so two were at school. One was at preschool. And I signed up to your course literally a week before we started lockdown, like a full on lockdown, like the worst one we've had. So I, I feel like I managed to get it done. Like, yes, it was long nights. It was late nights. It was probably during lockdown, you know, like every one we had, we had a bit too much to drink a bit too much to eat because that's how we got through it. That's how I got through it. But at the end of the day, I got it done whilst home schooling two kids and a third, trying to keep her entertained. So when we're not in lockdown now, so I think that, you know, if I can do it during that time, then bloody hell, anyone can do it.
Anna: Anyone can do it. That's it? I mean, yeah, we were, it was a very crazy time, but it was interesting. There's a lot of people during COVID at that point, I think that either had some people got government help at points. And I think that they, they made the decision that it was now or never to make the investment. And I felt like a lot of people invested in themselves during that period because it was, you know, it was a crazy time. And, oh, well, yeah, like I said, you, you went all in and I just remember, when clients come into our program, generally, sometimes you have to push some of them along, you know, it's like, come on, you should be here now, we're doing this next. We're waiting for you. You know, next coach is waiting for you. Whereas I think with you, it was like, whoa, okay, hang on a second. You know, like we had to keep up with you, which is great because that means that like, oh, they're obviously my favourite clients when everyone's moving at double speed because the enthusiasm is there. I think one of my favourite moments for you is just, I don't know, all the market research we did with all the survey feedback. And just getting that volume of insights that then helped, I guess, get your get your messaging right. Yeah, but walk me through, I guess, coming on through the program, what it was for you that you feel made the biggest difference to getting your business to that next stage.
Jo Hardie: Just the information that you provide. Like, I, I say it a lot, but you don't know what you don't know. So I didn't know anything about a lead magnet. I think one of the questions when I was initially talking to you was, you know, do you have a lead magnet? Do you have this? Have you done this? And I'm like, I don't even know what that is. So just learning, you know what that is. Like you said, the survey. I'd never done a survey. I didn't know to do a survey. And yeah, the information that came back helped me change my whole website so that I was actually answering the questions that my customers would have and before they even asked them, so just learning how to do, to do that thing. And then the backend of things like the technical things, like how to run Facebook ads. When I joined you, I boosted a post, I think, and it went really, really well. This one post I'm like, cool. I can just do that forever. And then the next time I went to do it, it was like crickets. And I'm like, hmmm. But yeah. So learning how to, just like the course was just a wealth of information. It was like information overload, which I thrive on. So I found it really, really awesome.
Anna: What was your biggest, like after you left us, what was your biggest milestone? And then we'll talk about what you've done since then.
Jo Hardie: Biggest milestone after I left. You guys probably would've like outsourcing, like I outsource my ads to, to you guys that would have been the next biggest milestone I think.
Anna: Yeah, yeah, you learn it first. I mean, this big thing that we preach, I guess, within the Elevatory is to learn it first, before you outsource something so that you can understand, you can understand, and you can run it yourself. Cause obviously if the shit hits the fan and like, you know, you don't have the budget to pay for someone to manage things. And also just to know your stats and your metrics. So you know what's working and what's not. But certainly yes, I completely think there's a point when once you've mastered your marketing yourself and you're getting really good results and you know what the benchmarks are and what expectations are, then there's a time for you to start outsourcing so that you can start to focus on other things. And I think in your journey from there is that when you started with influencer marketing, cause I feel like we got everything up and running. We got the ads running. You started to see a big increase in sales. And then I think it was influencer marketing that was the next big step for you?
Jo Hardie: Yes. Yeah. So I think when I joined you guys, I had about 400 followers on Instagram. And then we did a social media audit with Vikki. And totally changed my Insta. Like I saw all these pretty Instagram accounts. I'm like, oh, how do they make it look like that? Like I had no idea. Literally no idea. Mine just looked like a frigging dog's breakfast and then from Vikki, I learned how to, you know, to match your branding colours and branding is another thing I didn't know to do. You know, having your brand guidelines, which is what I learned from you guys as well. And then I started reaching out to different influencers. Didn't know how to do that. So I found, you know, a couple of Facebook groups, and kind of read their posts and kind of learnt myself, the influencer marketing today is yeah, definitely top of the list from my marketing.
Anna: Yeah. Awesome. So how much out of interest, like when you think about your marketing budget, where do you put, what kind of, what goes where? Like how much is going to influencers, how much it's going to Facebook Ads, I assume you're using Google ads as well. So what percentages are you splitting across things.
Jo Hardie: So influencers. I have a really good influencer so that I use, I try not to use her too much because I don't want to wear her audience out. She just does amazing ROAS for me. Yeah, so every couple of months I use her. So that influencer marketing budget, isn't that big, um, it's maybe 10, 15% of the total marketing budget. I could probably increase that, but it's just it's like any marketing, right. It's just really hard because sometimes you find, you know, with this one that I found you find some really good ones and then you try some other ones that don't quite work, which is exactly what marketing is. But it's also trying to get, you know, getting to the inboxes of the ones that you do want to work with. Because not all your emails are always answered or you DMs.
Anna: Yes. I was talking to someone about that the other day. They were saying that they're already struggling to get in touch with somebody like they're trying to get in front of people. And I can understand that that's difficult, but I just want to pick up on what you said, that things that work, sometimes things work and sometimes things don't work, but that's all part of the process or part of marketing. Because again, this is something that I guess we're, we're constantly talking to about with clients. It's like, there's so much trial and error with marketing, like yes, you know, there's Facebook ads there's Google ads there's influencer marketing. There's all these different things. As you know, there's organic marketing strategies. There's things that you can try and there's best practice, but that doesn't mean it's going to work for you. Like as in you have to keep changing things up and also campaigns can be working brilliantly. And then all of sudden they just flop and you've got no idea why, and then you've got to suddenly figure out what you can do next. And it's, I kind of feel like marketing is a constant dance of what can I do next or how can I rework what I'm doing and make it better. And having contingency plans and then constantly trying new things. And I definitely think that it's important to have a multi-channel approach. So definitely you've been through that with Facebook ads, I know where, you know, things can be working brilliantly and all of a sudden, like your return on ad spend just totally bombs. And it's just like, oh my God, what am I going to do? And if you're only relying on that one channel, then you're like, you're completely in a pickle, But you were saying the other day that we were just talking earlier on the, uh, it's when you have all the pieces of marketing working in sync that everything works, right? When your influencer campaigns are going, the ads are working. Your email campaigns are going out. The magic happens.
Jo Hardie: Definitely. Yep. And it all just works awesome together and it just works. It feels like magic, if that's not too corny.
Anna: Be corny. But then on the flip side that, as you were saying that you can go from a really good month to then something just bombing like the next month.
Jo Hardie: Yup. Yup. And then you're like, holy crap. I allowed to say that? Yeah, so last month, just dived. I guess with Easter and the holidays or just the world in general, just really dropped. And you know, at times like that, I do, I'm allowed to swear, shit my pants sometimes, cause I'm like, oh my God, what am I doing wrong? But it's not me. It's just, it's just the ebbs and flows of business. And you've just got to, you know, just ride it really don't you, you do need to get used to being uncomfortable.
Anna: It is, it's constantly uncomfortable, but like as you said when we were talking before you went and had looked at your numbers year on year, which is what they're there for, right? to have a look at. Jo did not like her numbers can I just say, when we first met, I want to look at this. I don't want to, and I think you actually, you remember you sharing a spreadsheet with me that said you changed the title of it to must open every day or something. Anna says you must open.
Jo Hardie: It's still called that.
Anna: It helps you see what's happening. And looking back, you said that you could see a pattern. Actually year on year that March, April, May traditionally where a certain way. And I mean, obviously it's quite difficult because we have to a degree, it feels like there's no consistency in the market right. As in there's so much that's changed with COVID and the different waves of COVID and the lockdown. It's not like we've ever got a stable market. It feels like it's forever changing. But if you can look back and see that traditionally there seems to be a drop or a peak at certain points, and you've got to learn to ride the good times and prepare for the bad times and store that fat so that you can cope on the other side.
Jo Hardie: I think that's a lot where your mindset comes into it too. Like just knowing to, you know, to look at your numbers and knowing that, you know, it's not, you, that's doing something wrong and that, you know, you've always got tomorrow, you've got next month, if this month, you know, if you can't bring that up. So just, yeah. Having, I guess, a positive mindset and having a, you know, it's not the end of the world, even though some days it might feel like it. Like, I remember when I was going through your course Anna, I was doing a launch or something for the bed mats maybe. And I remember I was ringing you and I was, I was a mess. Literally. I was like, oh my God, because my web or something about my website had gone down. And we're about to launch or something like that. And I'm like, I can't, I don't know what to do. I can't fix it. So I literally, after I spoke to you I put the phone down, I closed the computer. I went for a drive to get a coffee, to get out of that holy crap mindset, just to reset, grabbed a coffee and on the way I'm doing this little mantra to myself that I do. So, you know, it's going to be okay, it's not the end of the world. Just grab a coffee, it'll be fine. Come back from the coffee, open the computer back up, and then got on and found some tech guy to come in and fix it and all was well in the world. So it was just, yeah, it's all definitely about mindset. And you know, it's not the end of the world. Everything is fixable.
Anna: Yeah, I think that that's it though. It's knowing that you have to control your mindset and focusing on the outcomes and not get caught up in the doubt and the fear. And I think that's where most people that if they let doubt and fear creep in, then all of a sudden you're second guessing yourself and it's worries me and you become so focused on the world happening to you and you feel out of control. Whereas when you come back to that point of no, I'm going to make this happen. Like as in, oh my God. Yes. The shit's hit the fan, but I'm going to make this launch successful. Therefore I have to do X, Y, Z. I'm going to make it happen. I'm going to make it work. Then you suddenly looking for solutions. And then that's where your mindset changes. So you kind of getting stuff done.
Jo Hardie: Yeah. It's ok to flip out and like, holy crap. But as long as you can reign that back, as long as you're aware of that. And then do what you need to, for me, it was going for a drive, getting away from everything, getting a coffee and coming back and then like, like a little reset.
Anna: Or cry, do whatever you need to do. Let it out, let it out and then come back to centre and then think of a way forward. So I have a question for you, Jo, what do you think has made you successful?
Jo Hardie: My drive. I just can't stop. I don't want to stop. I'm just so. Oh, I was not, maybe it results like I'm just so results obsessed, not obsessed, not results driven either. It just, I guess the thrill of the chase a little bit. I really like that mental stimulation of, of trying to hit these targets and, you know, trying to think of maybe a new product to bring out or trying to better the business somehow, or, you know, make it better for my customers. Just the thrill of that chase, the drive to that. I'm always aiming for something. That's how my brain works.
Anna: I'm the same as you I think in that respect, I think that's where you and I just connect in that we're both quite like excited, driven. Everything's exciting and new, even when it's a problem, it's kind of like, how can we fix this? Okay. Yeah, this sucks, but lots of high energy. And so I agree. I think you've definitely got a view on what you want and are excited by it. And I think that that's it right. If you're excited and you're into it, it really helps.
Jo Hardie: No is just not an option. So even when I contact wholesale stockists potential stockist, and they're like, no, I'm like, well, it doesn't ever go in my no pile. I don't have a no pile. I have a well, let's look at this in a couple of months pile. Like nothing's never a no, it's a how can we get around this?
"No is just not an option. So even when I contact wholesale stockists potential stockist, and they're like, no, I'm like, well, it doesn't ever go in my no pile. I don't have a no pile. I have a well, let's look at this in a couple of months pile. Like nothing's never a no, it's a how can we get around this?" - Jo Hardie
Anna: I love it. It's never, no, as in, I'm going to make you change your mind because I'm good at what I do and you're going to want me eventually, that's it. But that's it again, positive mindset. I love it. Okay. Couple more questions. And then I'm going to let you go. Cause I know you've had a crazy crazy week. God and it's only Thursday, but you know, nearly there, nearly there at the end of the week. So give me a couple of your worst moments.
Jo Hardie: Worse moments, during COVID when stock got delayed for, I think it was like two months. I had pre-orders up and there were only supposed to be like three weeks, turned out to be two months. And just way it was worth one of the worst moments for me, because I felt like I was like letting my customers down. Not that this was in, I couldn't control any of this. I kept in contact with my customers, but just, yeah, just the delay in getting things was just, yeah, really hard. Really hard. Which I think a lot of businesses face during those that time as well. So it wasn't, it wasn't just me.
Anna: I think we've had a lot of people dealing with issues with stock and delivery and increasing stock costs and all of those things at the moment anyway, haven't we, it's definitely been an interesting time. So hopefully people are more patient now. I think that we're kind of, there's, there's a kind of an expectation now that it's not all just going to happen because we're relying on a bigger chain of things. Okay. So worst moment and best moment.
Jo Hardie: Probably getting my warehouse two warehouses now, like we moved in November, we sold our house and we moved into the sticks. So now we live in the bush, which is so much fun. And I've got two sheds that I work from now. And I've just signed a lease for a new 24 by 12 warehouse, which had just actually got a message about before. It should be ready July, August to move into. So it's probably the best moment, but also the most Holy crap, what the fuck am I doing moments. Because again, it's putting myself out of my comfort zone. It's more, I guess, you know, not pressure, but it's more for me to make this work, which I definitely will anyway. But again, just getting that little bit, bit more ahead in the business, I guess, but it's going to give me more room. Like I don't have enough room now. Like I can only fit three staff in one of my sheds and then the other one next to it is just for stock. So I do need the space. It's probably a bit bigger than what I need at the moment, but I will definitely grow into that.
Anna: How many people have you go on now with you?
Jo Hardie: I've got three girls who come in and pack orders.
Anna: I just remember when, like, in the earlier days, when you had your little, your husband had made something downstairs for you, he'd made on the whole like unit for you to store stuff and you've just outgrown and outgrown and outgrown. And it's so exciting. And I get it. I understand that investing in something quite often, I think we all do it. You get to a growth period and then you either invest in staff or you're investing in a place to work from, and it's another overhead and all of a sudden it kind of maybe takes away from what you can give to yourself. And it's quite scary because all of a sudden you've got like, you know, your breakeven point goes up and there's more fear around what you've got to bring in every month, but without it, you can't grow. So it's kind of like you're at that tipping point when you got to go in and take the risk. But knowing, as you so blazingly say. I'm going to make it work though and I'm going to grow into it. And it's that attitude that will make sure that you absolutely do. So how many years, so from literally the start of your journey, how many years in are you? Can we just get some context there?
Jo Hardie: Four years in.
Anna: Okay. I think that that's interesting or important for people to know, because from concept to kind of getting out there and hustling on your own, through to then actually coming and doing a program and learning and implementing, and then getting to a point when, you know, you can then outsource, it's certainly been a journey and it's not one that's happened overnight. And I think it's good for people to see that. I mean, that said though, once you did start to implement and put things in place, your growth was pretty quick. I remember once we got the ads up on, we kind of had those things in place that the sales happened quite quickly, once you had that stuff going once people could see your stuff.
Jo Hardie: Definitely, yeah. And the months jumped so high, like really quickly. Like I remember one of the months was like, was it a $15,000 jump from one month to the next month? And I'm like, oh my God, how do I even handle this? So like, the growth is good but if it happens too quickly, it's just the same as like a holy shit moment when your sales like dropped by half, like it's the same, like how do you manage that? How do you get on top of that? How do you ensure things keep rolling? Like it's yeah.
Anna: Well, that's why, I guess you get to a point when your problem becomes the volume of sales coming in becomes a logistics of management and obviously how you, you know, customer service and kind of making sure that things get out and you've got the stock and all those wonderful things that you've been through on the journey.
Let's have a parting thought. What would you share with people that are early in their ecomm journey right now?
Jo Hardie: Trust your gut. Like any decision that you make, obviously look at your numbers and everything else, but at the end of the day, trust your gut because if it's saying to go ahead and do it, then that's probably what you should be doing. That's what, what I've trusted all along this journey. And also if you have a partner or a husband, listen to them, they can give some sound advice. And, I guess, they're not in it as much as you are as well. Like I said at the beginning, like when hubby said, do you need the foam? Like, it was just such a no brainer that I didn't even think of. Cause I was so in it. So trust your gut and just, yeah, work on your mindset. Definitely. And always try and see, I guess, a way out or a way around things.
Anna: Yeah. That's exactly right yet. You're never stuck. It's always just about how you look at things, right?
Jo Hardie: And keep growing, like keep growing and learning. Because I think that like, even now I'm going through and doing another course, like a PR course, like it, I don't think you should ever stop learning because you don't always, you're never going to know everything, but I think knowledge is power. So the more you have, the more you can continue to grow.
Anna: Oh, I completely agree. When it comes to marketing, I was actually just looking at a visual the other day was like an article about, I don't know if you've heard it, it's a kind of marketing bell curve. It's a trend. It's like a trend thing where you look at, so Facebook ads, for example, two or three years ago, like when people were jumping on Facebook ads, then they were ahead of the curve. They were early adopters and it worked really well. Like Facebook ads now don't work as effectively. I mean, you can still get really good results, but obviously your cost per acquisition and everything else has gone up over time. And it needs to be part of a bigger strategy, but there's so much that, we talked about that multi-channel approach. There's so many things you want to start adding in as layers because the market keeps changing and what was effective, won't always be effective. So like at the beginning, you obviously don't want to be doing PR, Google ads, Facebook ads, a million things all at once. Cause it would be overwhelming, but you master a channel, you then bring in a new one and that's, I think that's what you've done so well is you've got all the paid traffic up and running. And then you just kind of went down the influencer marketing. Now you're doing PR and you're just adding layers and layers to your bow. Obviously you've outsourced quite a lot with the PR I assume you're taking on yourself.
Jo Hardie: No, I'm doing it all myself. Yeah. So I signed up to a course which has just finished. So it was 20 media outlets that we were pitching to. So I basically went through like how to pitch properly. And I think I've got five or six media outlets left to go. So yeah, a big one is, we're pitching to like Sunrise and The Today Show.
Anna: I have no doubt. You'll be on those shows. No doubt. I'll be sitting there going, oh my God. There she is. There's my girl. Look at what she's achieved.
Jo Hardie: Fingers crossed. That's the, that's the goal. I think when I get on, like, if, if that happens, I think that will be one of those Oh my God I've made up moments.
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