Coming from the Royal Australian Navy, Kelly Walter was used to procedures, timelines and planning. After 12 years of service, the former navy seal found herself on maternity leave with her second child and a frustration with never knowing where her husbands job was sending him day to day.
She was having trouble tracking his flight movements and on top of caring for two young kids, she needed a solution.
“I needed a planner that I could look at, at a glance, while I was in the kitchen and be able to see everything that was going on for the week.”
After unsuccessfully finding a product that fit her needs, she was inspired to start a business of her own - and Daily Orders was born.
So how did Walter’s manage to build her own business from the ground up, with two young children, and make nearly $20,000 in monthly revenue? Let’s find out.
With a background and degree in commerce, Walter’s was not a complete stranger to business. In addition, she and her husband had started a few businesses before Daily Orders was even a thought.
But Walter’s was bound and determined to make Daily Orders unique, special and successful. It would be the first physical product she would have created (as she and her husband's previous businesses were largely service-based) and, most importantly, she would be doing it all on her own.
Of course, her business journey was not without its challenges.
“Coming from the Navy where everything is very procedural, starting your own business is like having a bowl of spaghetti tipped all over your table.”
She notes that getting started is hard when anyone and everyone has different advice - and that sometimes that advice is conflicting.
The first step for Walters to bring Daily Orders to life was finding affordable acrylic sheets nearby. She wanted to create something that could be written on easily, finding inspiration from “cafes using liquid chalk with blackboards to promote their menus.”
After finding a distributor, the next step was to find a business to “supply, fabricate, and print the product.”
In addition to finding a supplier, Walter’s also found herself doing hours of research on cost, pricing, where the product was going to be made - all in an attempt to make the product affordable for both her and her customers.
It was soon becoming clear that the time and energy Walter’s put into perfecting Daily Orders was beginning to pay off - and pay off substantially.
Walter’s contributes much of her business’s success to her low-risk profile. “We started with $10,000, and I have not once had to take out a loan to support the growth of the business.” She’s been extremely careful in setting budgets for her business and making the most out of what she was willing to spend.
In addition, Walter’s has been very particular about her business approach, saying “I never order more stock than I can move, always order a small number of a new line before fully committing.”
In spite of all this planning, Walter’s jokes that, much to her husband's dismay, she’s never actually made a business plan. “I have a relatively good understanding of my cash flow… and I plan accordingly,” she says.
The Power of Facebook
Facebook Ads have been fundamental for Walter’s in attracting customers to her business. “I have spent $38K on Facebook ads since I started, and made $210K from those ads alone.”
Utilizing ads on Facebook are clearly a great way to increase overall business profit. But Walter’s warns not to be too pushy with consumers. “Don’t just put a Facebook ad out there asking people to buy buy buy, because chances are they won’t,” she says.
Instead, she says it’s important to take the time to build relationships with potential buyers. Find out what they’re looking for, how your product can help and then provide them the means to make purchase.
Another way Walter’s utilizes Facebook for her business is by finding and following groups with people interested in her niche. But, again, she advises that subtlety is key.
“When people ask about how to menu plan or how to keep their busy family organized, I often pop up with a comment to say, perhaps one of my boards could be useful, and post the website.”
In addition to Facebook Ads, Walter’s has found and used local celebrities to help promote her products (but only those that are relevant to her niche!)
Websites are essential tools for any hopeful businessman or woman. Walter’s has used Shopify for the various versions of her website but notes that “when I upped my game to a paid theme, conversion rates were a lot higher.”
Walter’s also like to let her personality shine through her website, making it easier for customers to get to know her and the reason she started her business. “I think customers recognize themselves in my text - it helps builds a relationship.”
While Daily Orders was originally a daily planner, Walter’s has expanded into monthly planners and hopes to move onto annual ones in the next year.
“Right now, I’m consolidating my current niche and also looking to expand into corporate collaborations,” says Walter’s. In addition, she is looking at the possibility of shipping overseas and what the cost of that could look like.
But her biggest goal? “I'm also aiming to have $500k per year revenue.”
Walter’s says it’s always important to test the market with your particular niche. There’s nothing worse than putting time and energy into a business that doesn’t have an audience.
She also advises to be careful with your money and create a budget. “Don’t be afraid to give it a go, but know your financial boundaries. There is no point putting good money after bad.”
But the most impressive part of Walter’s story is definitely the environment in which Daily Orders was created.
“We've built Daily Orders with a newborn and a 3-year-old, only being able to work around 8 hours a week on it. It has been hard, but it is proof that it can be done, and done at a profit.”