From: "lynda Gorman" <huggers@es.co.nz>


From Rags to Riches. ….Really

I find it difficult to talk about my success without sounding boastful. But this
is a competition for success stories, and hopefully mine can gain a place
amongst some of the other great stories I have read!

I have always had an entrepreneurial nature, and without ever having seen the
Internet, I had known deep inside for many years, that one day I would have an
online business. I just 'knew' that somehow I would relate to it and (I hoped!)
somehow earn my living

A few months prior to March 1998 I developed a health problem called Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder - a condition that left me with chronic anxiety, a
very confused mental state, panic attacks and unable to cope with even mundane
household tasks like cooking and shopping. Pretty much housebound due to this
condition I had lost a very good job and was in a desperate financial situation
due to loss of income. My home was under threat, and professional advisors had
suggested that declaring myself bankrupt might be the only option available to
me.

One of the ways I managed my health and isolation was to have the Internet
connected in October 1997. A whole New World opened up to me and hours of
surfing that did not require concentration absorbed me and helped stabilize my
health.

My web site went online four months later in March of 1998, as somewhat of an
experiment. Several years previously I developed an incredible natural blend for
treating Cold Sores, which had been the plague of my life. After completely
stopping my own outbreaks, as well as those of friends, family and neighbors I
had always known that there was enormous potential for my product "Simply
Essential" and that one day I would find a way to bring it to the world and help
others.

I had no Internet marketing experience and no money - my financial status was
precarious. It was an act of faith to take the plunge and put all the expenses,
including a domain name which a very dear webmaster friend organized on my
behalf on my Credit Card, knowing full well if I did not succeed, I would face
Bankruptcy, and lose my home.

It was so exciting to see the web site completed! I started promoting like fury,
working sixteen hours a day submitting to every free site I could find, (there
was no money for anything else) and learning as I went.

The first order arrived just three days after my site went up. It was a faxed
order that I had to collect from a friend's house, as I could not afford one
myself. I was ecstatic to receive this one order so soon. There was enormous
excitement as I looked at this first order, with shaking hands thinking "It's
REAL!!!" Sadly, at the time I could not afford the Champagne I felt this
momentous occasion deserved.

And that first order was the beginning. A couple of days later another order
arrived, then another. Within just a few weeks at least one order a day was the
norm. Greatly encouraged and excited by this trickle of sales I continued with
free submissions.

At times I had a great deal of difficulty dealing with business matters due to
my confused state of mind, and the drugs I was on. I often messed up the
Banking, and generally got tasks wrong if it required sequential thinking. There
were periods of days were I was unable to work at all. Looking back now, I
cannot imagine how I got through those very dark days.

I started to get feedback from ecstatic customers about how the Product helped
them, often the emails would reduce me to tears as people told of the ways in
which their lives had been changed due to improved health. I was so surprised
when several Customers, total strangers sent me gifts and cards from various
parts of the world, just to say "Thank You' for the help I had given.

It was incredibly gratifying - it still happens now, and I still feel the same
way. As these Testimonials were posted on the site, along with users spontaneous
comments in the Guestbook, business steadily grew.

Within 3 months of going online I had my first large wholesale order shipped and
this cash injection started to slowly turn things around.

For the next few months I worked continued to work seven days a week. I had no
money to invest in advertising; it was just submission after submission..
Eventually I got the number one spot on Hotbot, which helped enormously and
relieved the pressure just a little. I still worked hard but for a while, I was
able to ease up.

Sales doubled every month as word of mouth advertising took over. My financial
situation improved and more slowly, my health. I developed a second product and
added "SkinFix" to the site. It started slowly, purchased mainly by existing
customers, but once again, as word of it's healing powers spread, it too, took
off

I had several things happen along the way that felt like a disaster - the
discovery that my webmaster friend had misappropriated my Domain name when he
registered it, (and paid for it with my Credit Card!) really crushed me. I
believed I owed my bit of cyberspace and was secure, to realize someone else had
control over my Internet presence and livelihood was a feeling of vulnerability
I was not willing to live with!

Fueled by anger at the deception I purchased a new Domain, found someone who
could help me move the site, and within a few days was relocated - and of course
lost my well established presence as a result. I again started with the free
submissions working like one possessed and within a few weeks I was back to
normal, averaging several sales per day.



In March 1999 a wonderful offer came to me from a gentleman who had heard my
story and wanted to help by making over my site. He said he would not only fix
up some of the technical aspects, he also wrote advertising copy and he would
like to reword it. He scared me with his suggestion that the product guarantee
be increased to one year, along with full refund of the original purchase and
shipping price PLUS the cost of sending the product back for their refund. I
should not have worried; thousands of orders later my rate of returns is still
less that 1.5%!

I have to say I was skeptical of his claim that he expected to increase sales by
four hundred percent - but that that is exactly what he did!!

I am so incredibly grateful to this gentleman, a total stranger, who did a
superb job, and changed my life through an act of generosity. Sales didn't just
soar - they went through the roof!

As if that was not enough, In April I needed a Press Release, and knowing this
mans skill with words I emailed him for some suggestions as to a good approach
for my topic - Herpes. A very short time later, in my email was a finished
release! As long as I live I will never forget the results of that Press
Release. Orders came in so fast; I could not print one off the secure server
before the next arrived. It was chaotic, exciting, frightening (what if it
didn't stop?) and it really launched both my site and Products. The spin-off
lasted for weeks, and months. Never again will I doubt the power of a
well-written Press Release!

In May 1999 I started to think about consumer nervousness with the use of Credit
Cards on the Internet. I started to wonder about the viability of investing in
an

1-800 number for my biggest Customer group, the USA. I set it up to test the
response. The calls are taken by an answering Service who then fax the orders
directly to me for processing. It was an immediate success. After six months
this service accounts for 40 % of my Credit Card orders!

Now, just eighteen months after entering the exciting world of e-commerce I
seldom have to advertise my site. With a listing near, or on the top of several
of the big engines, plus word of mouth advertising and repeat orders that is
pretty much all that is required. With the phenomenal ratio of one visitor in
six buying, I need very few visitors each day.

The majority of orders are placed online, but I also have Customers who send
Checks, Bank Drafts, Faxes, and of course those who use the 1-800 number. I
provide as many ordering options as possible. My products have been shipped to
many, many countries as far afield as Iceland and Malaysia.

There are regular inquiries for Wholesale orders and distributor rights.
Interest has been expressed in Licensing agreements from several Companies,
while others want to secure exclusive rights to various Countries or areas.

So, now I earn a six figure income and the Bank finally wants to know me! I had
my first overseas holiday this year - the first Holiday of any kind in several
years. I need to employ staff. Most important of all, my health is fully
restored, and every day I express my profound gratitude for a journey, which
even to me still feels like a Fairy Tale.

I look back on my early days of stumbling and bumbling, learning as I went,
desperately trying to keep everything going, when at times, I was too sick to
look after myself. I am SO glad my Customers did not know how sick I was!
(Perhaps some of them did?) My amateurish attempts at writing advertising copy
for my first site embarrasses me now - like all involved in Internet marketing I
have undergone a gargantuan learning curve.

When I think about what kept me going through some very rough times, I can
identify several things. Some stubbornness, (My Mum would testify to that!)
Focus belief, passion, tenacity, and hard work along with a willingness to trust
my instincts and take risks.

Perhaps the most significant thing for me is doing work that I love, combined
with the knowledge that what I do helps so many others enjoy a better quality of
life.

I apologize for the length of this - I hope someone out there may glean some
inspiration, hope and maybe encouragement from this true story.


Lynda Gorman

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Simply Essential
http://www.essential-nz.com
130 Cavell Street
Tainui, Dunedin
New Zealand
PH    064 3 4558 776
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