Seven learnings from scaling Daily Orders to a multi-million-dollar brand

- July 29, 2022 5 MIN READ
Kelly Walter Daily Orders

Kelly Walter, founder of Daily Orders, shares seven important insights she’s learned throughout the journey of scaling her business from maternity leave side hustle to multi-million-dollar brand.

When I was on maternity leave with our second child, one question kept running through my mind: how would I ever get anything done again? Why can’t I handle this?

Pre-baby I was a Naval Logistics Officer who was capable of short-notice international deployments, directing helicopters to land on ships, and conducting urgent briefings at Parliament House. Post-baby Kelly was overwhelmed just trying to get out the door with a baby, a nappy bag, and her sanity intact.

So, I turned to a planning hack used in the Navy called ‘Daily Orders’ to help me take back control of my life. Not familiar with it? In the Navy, the primary method of communicating is through a schedule of events called ‘Daily Orders’. Published daily, it tells everyone exactly what is happening and when. Maybe it could help make life that little bit easier at home with a baby?

I took this concept and created Daily Orders family wall planners for parents just like me. We manufacture and sell a range of family wall planners that help families get organised, display all the things that need to be done and when, and make it fun too!

Kelly Walter Daily Orders

Kelly Walter, Daily Orders founder

Seven lessons I’ve learned from success

Since starting Daily Orders, we have bootstrapped the business to a multi-million-dollar turnover and I’m pretty proud to say you’ll now find our planners in over 45,000 homes around the world.

It’s fair to say I’ve learned a lot about starting, scaling and running a brand – lessons that I’m sharing with you today in the hopes that they might help you on your own journey.

1. There is no perfect time to start a business (or have a baby!)

I often hear people say they’ll start their business ‘when the time is right’. The ‘right time’ doesn’t exist. There will always be something else going on in your life – like, you know, a baby!

I created Daily Orders for myself when I was on maternity leave, not because it was the ‘right time’ to start a business. And I’m so glad I did. Just start.

2. Marketing works but it’s not set and forget

Facebook advertising was initially our main source of customer acquisition and it worked really well for us, particularly at the start of the pandemic when families were juggling work, homeschooling and everything else, and needed help to get organised.

But as our business has grown, so have our marketing channels. The biggest lesson for me throughout and since the pandemic is to avoid having all your advertising budget in one basket. Since the iOS14 privacy upgrade and significant changes in privacy settings, advertising through Facebook has, for us, become unreliable and expensive. Diminished reporting capabilities mean it’s hard to attribute which ad made a sale.

This has made the job of making informed data-driven decisions very difficult in our experience. We’re now exploring other advertising channels such as Pinterest and public relations to help us reach untapped markets.

Using phone and laptop to track data graphs

3. Use data as much as possible

I use Google Analytics almost as much as my Daily Orders planner. Every day we’re looking at where our website traffic is coming from, what’s working and what’s not, and then letting that data inform our decision-making.

4. Listen to your customers and let them guide product development

One of our best-selling products was created based on customer feedback. One of our mums told us what she wanted and we were happy to oblige.

When customers tell you what they need and want, you just have to listen – and we’re constantly innovating and evolving our products to make sure they’re meeting the needs of families. Your paying customers are your best business advisers. Listen to them.

5. Go the extra mile when it comes to customer service

It sounds simple, but going the extra mile in customer service can be a lonely place. Most consumers are used to and have even come to expect poor customer service and slow response times.

As busy parents ourselves, we know that when we have an issue, we just want it resolved as soon as possible without unnecessary back and forth. With this in mind, we always try to do whatever we can to help our customers. Even if it costs us in the short term, we’re playing the long game and hope that happy customers will pay us back ten-fold in positive word of mouth.

happy woman leaving positive customer online reviews

6. Think beyond your obvious target audience

Who else could benefit from your products? We initially created Daily Orders for busy mums and parents but soon realised that our products could be useful for anyone who struggles with organisation and time management. So we started marketing to a wider audience, including businesses, professionals and NDIS participants who would like to increase their independence and communication skills.

This has been really successful for us and has helped to grow our business. Our sales to NDIS clients have grown 75 per cent since the 2020/2021 financial year, so it’s worth considering if there’s an untapped market for your products.

7. Influencer marketing is trial and error

We’ve had some excellent success with influencer marketing and I certainly believe the power of word of mouth online has been essential to the growth of our business, but not all influencers are created equal.

When it comes to influencers, start small and partner with influencers who have engaged audiences. Sometimes a mum with 5,000 followers can have just as much influence as a big deal influencer who is nationally recognised. You won’t know what works for your brand  until you try it, so be prepared to trial and error a bit with your influencer strategy.

A bit like parenting, no matter how much you plan in business, things can – and will – go wrong. And that’s okay. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and use them as an opportunity to keep growing.

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