A great Tony Robbins quote is, “Success is buried on the other side of frustration”. At the moment I’m finding there’s an inner battle I need to win in order for us to get this business off the ground. It is a battle with frustration.
When we decided to “hit the road” in 2010 and turn our backs on the rat race we knew we’d need to rely on our resources to make the financial side work.
Life on the road still requires money, and, depending on what you do, that can be quite a lot.
We had no superannuation to speak of and no pensions to rely on, so we’d need to work.
We’d been creating software applications for operations management for some years, and we wanted to continue this from the caravan. The trouble was all our applications were legacy programmes that required installation, upkeep, hands-on help and constant re-installs every time we made an update. And times were changing as well.
We could see that the old legacy programmes were losing their shine very rapidly. We believed cloud-based, subscription applications would grow rapidly and make old, crocky applications redundant. We were right. Cloud-based application usage exploded!
So, our challenge became to redesign and throw out. Throw out any doubtful applications and reprogram the good ones for the cloud. It would mean countless hours of intense work from the caravan with no immediate financial return.
We did have a little nest egg tucked away, so we decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and DO IT!
Then, as we were in the final stages of leaving our nest egg got stolen! STOLEN!
We had virtually nothing.
Kerrie had already given up work for the university, and we had spent what little ready cash we had converting our old ’71 Viscount caravan to incorporate a space where both of us could work and live. We could still cancel everything as we were sure Kerrie could get her job back, but we decided to go anyway and trust God for the finances.
On the day we left my wonderful brother gave us a gold coin. That gold coin became the difference between making it and breaking it.
We’ve changed any things from that original vision.
We’ve worked with some of the finest people we’ve ever met and formed incredible friendships but most of all, from a business perspective, we’ve learned to concentrate on one software application only – Simple WorkSafe.
We learned from the farms and earth moving companies we worked for and the countless business operators we met that health & safety was becoming harder to manage and yet the consequences of NOT having it were growing.
Many businesses we had contact with were undergoing actions of some sort relating to health & safety.
We realised that none of these businesses operated their accounting with paper and filing cabinets anymore. They all used software, and yet the management of their health and safety (which could potentially cost much more if it failed) was a mish-mash of paper templates and files.
So, this became our goal to not only design and create a simple, easy to use, cloud-based health and safety management system but to market it 100% via the internet. It required a massive learning curve, but the journey has been an exciting and eventful one.
We’ll continue to post about the progress of the business.
The great Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” I think you need to view failure like Thomas Edison who, when commenting on the invention of the electric light bulb said, “I had to succeed because I ran out of things that would fail.”
A Business Strategy Meeting The 3-day journey back to Brisbane from Lardner park became a mobile strategy meeting. We went through everything we were doing in the business. We looked at what was possible, what was impossible and every likely consequence.
Back To Queensland From South Australia The drive back to Queensland from South Australia involved yet more decisions. In all the heartbreak and disappointment, it was still enjoyable and inspiring to travel the endless hours talking non-stop with Kerrie. I can’t remember us having a single argument even when the pressure to give it all […]
Pittsworth in the Rear View Mirror Off we drove from Pittsworth feeling confident that we’d at least experienced our first show even if we didn’t think any sales would eventuate.
They say that to achieve any goal you need to stop staring up at the steps and start stepping up the stairs.
After getting back to Koramba and setting up again we began an all-out effort to meet a deadline we’d set for ourselves.
You see while were staying with David and Lacey’s over Christmas David asked when the Budget Application would be back on line.
He was waiting for it as he’d always used it to control his money.
Now just a bit of background here!
We once operated our business, Simplicity Programming, creating programmes for a varied range of uses.
These programmes were primarily built for installing on PC’s running the Widows operating system.
They needed to be installed, reinstalled when updated, reinstalled when a client’s PC was changed and they couldn’t run on Macs, Smart Phones, or Tablets.
This was very limiting and meant many hours of work that we were never able to fully charge out to customers.
We made a decision five years ago that the whole concept of the business would need to change if we were going to continue with it!
That’s why we hit the road.
We wanted to gradually convert our existing applications to web based systems that would not require installation, would run on any device on any operating system.
Our “Stop Money Worries” home budgeting application was one of these.
We’d been working for many months on a large Operations Management system that could be used for workshop management on farms and heavy machinery operations and although we were at a critical point in the development of this system we decided that if David was so keen to use the budget app we would shelve the Operations Management System for a couple of weeks and get the budget up and running.
As usual – “the best laid plans of mice and men” – this redevelopment turned into a three month task!
In the meantime the Gore Machinery job was delayed a further few weeks so we decided to make an all-out effort to get the Stop money Worries system completed before the Gore job started.
If we could we’d celebrate by taking another quick trip to Brisbane before starting work.
So for three weeks our workday started at between 3 and 4 am and finished at between 9 and 10pm with only a scant hour or so off for lunch and a few short breaks.
It became a marathon effort that was at times very taxing and yet it was also a rewarding time as we saw large success in some really difficult pieces of coding.
Kerrie was as usual totally amazing in her support and help.
She built the first website that would be the landing page for the application and then produced a series of what I think are wonderful video tutorials.
In the midst of this she was always cherry and happy every day as she cooked all the meals, cleaned up and cooked a loaf of her incredible bread which was our lunch each day.
All this as well as building the website and producing the videos and keeping me encouraged when I got down.
Man there’s just no way I’d achieve anything without her!
It finally came to the point I never thought would arrive.
We’d planned to scoot off to Brissy on the Monday and the application was finished at 12 noon on that day. Since we’d been up since 3:15am we toyed with the idea of having a sleep before undertaking the journey but to be honest the excitement of completing a major milestone was just too exciting.
We were on the road by 12:30pm.
The conversation during the journey was so good as we discussed plans for possible changes, updates to the website and new videos.
Here’s a link to the Stop Money Worries website.
To see the application in action click the “Login” link and use the Username Guest and Password Guest to have a look.
Also here’s one of Kerrie’s videos which introduces the Stop money Worries system.
We now had confirmation of the Gore Earthmoving job!
It was to be at South Callandoon a large farm of about 33,000 acres just 20 minutes from Goondiwindi.
The job would start on the Tuesday following Easter and we were to be there on site on Easter Monday.
We met with the Boss, Martyn, and the Gore Management team on the farm just before Easter and took a look at the accommodation and the facilities.
Our first impressions of the farm were good.
It was tidy and equipped with huge silos and the fencing was in good repair. The cattle that we saw looked healthy and the whole place looked, to the untrained eye, to be well managed and clean.
Gore Earthmoving will rebuild another dam on this farm fairly similar to the one just built at our last job at Belah Park.
The accommodation unit and kitchen are bigger and better set up than Belah Park and are spotlessly clean, the credit for which goes to the young station hand, Andrew, who lives there by himself at present.
We’d set up the Aussie Wide next to the kitchen where there was plenty of power and water.
After visiting the farm we went in to Gundy with Martyn for lunch just because it was so close. It was so exciting to be so close to town. It seemed like the Nissan had just got wound up when we were costing in to town.
With the move to South Calandoon scheduled for Monday and the Stop Money Worries application finished we decided on a day trip up to Emmaville again on the Easter Saturday.
Shannon had made a deal for a donger to use as a house and his Dad, Mum and Sister were going to be there for the weekend.
We also knew that Stretch and Kim from Koramba were going up for the weekend.
So off we went at 5:00am in pouring rain like we’d only seen once or twice in our three years at Koramba.
It poured all the way and we thought this to be good as it would give us a chance to see Emmaville at its worst so to speak.
As we ascended the road to Shannon’s the surrounding hills had huge layers of misty rain winding through and around the trees and the grey rainy sky just seemed to highlight the trees and the grass.
On arrival at the Shack we walked into a cosy communion of Shannon’s family, Stretch and Kim sitting around a monster log which was burning under the overhanging roof with Shannon’s mum cooking fresh scones on a camp oven.
It was such a wonderful time with people that are down to earth, humorous and generous.
Shannon’s Dad took Kerrie and I up the hill in the 4wd, via the new road Shannon had made with the excavator, to the new house site.
There was no donger.
It turns out that the people giving it to Shannon weren’t “allowed” to move it from Tamworth due to council regulations. Will we EVER escape government intervention?
Shannon and his Dad decided instead to go ahead and build a permanent house and amazingly within one week they had the peers in, floor down, walls up, veranda on and roof almost ready to go up.
The deck which will open out from glass doors off the living areas takes in awesome views of the ranges and the fact that it was grey and wet didn’t diminish the panorama one bit.
This is the sort of attitude that we’ve become used to – decide on a course of action and just get on with it!
After an enjoyable few hours of chatter and laughter we headed home but not before checking out a block of land that took our fancy.
Tramping over it in the wet just further flamed our desire to settle up here sometime.
We drove the fours hours back to Koramba arriving about 9:30pm.
We’d driven over 700km but we felt it was well worth it!
The 2nd and 3rd of May bought the show to town again and this time we were prepared.
Last year we didn’t know we could park the car inside the show grounds and therefore we didn’t take chairs or the camera but this year everything was packed.
The only difference this year was the weather…it was freezing.
We’d been in shorts the day before the show and a week later we were back into shorts again – but on that day it didn’t get over 16 deg and if we’d been in Melbourne they would have quoted a wind chill factor on top of that!
I had on my jeans, a long sleeve T shirt, a vest and a jumper. If we sat watching the events I had Chris sitting on the wind side. Even with my usual “Hot flushes” I didn’t get my jumper off all day.
None of that spoiled the day, however.
We watched the sheep dog trials, which we love. Every dog had his or her own personality.
One dog saw it’s owner’s little daughter outside the fence and didn’t know whether to round her up or the sheep. The father quickly picked up the little girl and moved her back from the sight of the dog so it could concentrate.
The fruit and flower display was just as creative this year. There was no second guessing what this creature was and this is from the under 13s.
Gundy is never short of talented gardeners and we often just drive around town and admire people’s gardens. As you can see the roses are out. This town definitely has a much higher percentage of people who look after their homes than most other towns or cities.
It was off to the “Camp Draft” next to see cattle being round up in great a display of skill and horsemanship . This year I asked a lady what the rules were.
First the rider had to break two steers out from a herd of 8-10, then separate one of those two out.
This in itself requires a high degree of horsemanship.
The gates would then be opened and the selected animal, horse and rider would be let out the gates where the job is to maneuver the cattle around posts placed in the arena.
This was a left hand course I was told, that meant they had to maneuver the animal left around the first pole, right around the second and then left around the third.
If at any time the animal went off course it was over and the judge would crack his whip to signal this.
It was wonderful to see these amazing horses being put through their paces.
Most of the time the animals obviously forgot to read the rule book and didn’t want to help out.
Then a group of riders would round up the offender and send them back to the rest of the herd. They are obviously of a group mentality, if they proved hard to round up a few more cattle would be released from the yard making it easier to round them all up instead of one rebel.
We then watched the wool handlers comp. This job would keep you on your toes. Sorting the wool into baskets, keeping the shearers area clean and then rolling the fleece after picking and the skirt of the fleece so as not to take too much off or leave dirty bits on. This all while being watched closely by by judges.
By late afternoon we had decided not to stay for the evening events as the temperature was dropping further. It’s also a precarious game of dodgems with the kangaroos driving back to the farm after dark and the heater in the car was a welcome comfort the way home.
All in all it was a great day out as we love the Goondiwindi show.
The Goondiwindi Show was on Fri and Sat and Martyn gave us the afternoon off. Chris cooked the evening meal after breakfast and we plated it and refrigerated it for the residents. Then is was off to the show.
I’ve always loved the Brisbane exhibition but haven’t been since hitting the road so this trip was particularly exciting for me.
The Gundy locals had been talking about the show and it was described by one young lady in Target like this. “Have you ever been to a big show…like Toowoomba? Well it’s like that…only smaller”.
Well it didn’t disappoint.
You get to park inside the show grounds free, cost of entry $15 adults. I wish I had known this before as we would have brought along fold up chairs.
There were tractor displays from both John Deere and Case as well as the local Toyota dealers all with their “show discounts”. Local shops and businesses displayed their wares and there were many other great displays and stalls such as leather crafts, hats, interior decorators, agricultural displays on weeds and all aspects of the rural industries around the region. Even the local vet had a display.
Sideshow alley is always a favourite as I always look forward to checking out the new rides. Being zipped into a large ball and put into a pool of water looked interesting. Wonder if it could be a new fitness craze as it seemed to take a lot of effort to roll the ball around the pool. Of course I had to have a go on the “Clowns” as I have done every time I’ve been to the Ekka since I was a little girl. You’re never too old to “be young again”.
There are great cooks in the surrounding districts shown by the large variety of cooking sections. From the kids sections to the adults, everyone is represented. I believe, from the last time I went to the Brisbane show, a lot more contestants too. You seem to find the same names competing in the Brisbane show but here every body had a go, and from what I saw no failures. But even if you did have a failure they had a section for that to. If your cake has sunk in the middle (Lake Eyre), risen in the centre, (Ayres Rock) or has “the biggest crack” in it (Katherine Gorge) isn’t that cool, even I could have entered after all my failures over the years.
The flowers, vegetable’s and fruit were a credit to the growers. They also had a section for kids with great imagination with fruit and vegetables made into great scenes, animals or bride and grooms.
But the biggest enjoyment we had was watching the events. They held the National Sheep Dog trials. All contestants had a different way of communicating with their dog’s. There were hand signals, whistles and spoken commands. The dogs eagerly did what their masters wanted moving the sheep through pens and obstacles.
Then it was off to the Sheep Shearing and fleece handlers competitions. It was here where we caught up with Martyn and Sarah and could get the details on what they were being tested on. The judges move every 30 sec to the next contestant so there is no bias judging.
The Camp Draft was exciting and fast. The rider had to separate out a young steer from a small herd then move it around posts in the oval at break neck speeds. If the animal went on the wrong side of the post it was over and no score was given. I think what impressed us the most was that fact that most of the competitors were 30yr – 50yr+. These people did this for a living.
We ended up staying for the night time events but to get a good seat (because we had none) we improvised by getting behind a gate, right on the front fence, in front of where the Rodeo was going to be. We laid down shopping bags on the ground and used our lambs wool seat covers. It was very comfortable. In fact when Chris went back to the car for something one of our neighbouring spectators asked to join me to test out our seating.
After the fireworks came the Rodeo bull riding. I had never been to one live. It’s quite violent when you see the bulls throw off their riders. One even pawed the ground at the crowd after he had quickly dislodged his rider. I’m sorry for the quality of the shots as they were only taken with my phone (again if I had known about the car the camera would have come along).
Wandering Australia is about our journey from the rat race to a lifestyle that many can only dream about..
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