4 This Little, Short-term Mowing Business

Jim continued mowing lawns and selling mowing rounds. ‘Balwyn Gardening' became too narrow for the suburbs he was now advertising in, so he experimented with ads in the local paper for ‘Jim's Mowing', and the phones rang hot. To give the impression of being nearby he employed local women to answer the phones, and put on subcontractors to service the clients until he had enough customers to sell as a mowing round.

Still, Jim wasn't going to become a millionaire selling mowing rounds. He had to find something else. He and Felicity moved out of the red-brick house in Balwyn and rented a shop in Surrey Hills with an apartment above it, with the idea of selling computers and offering lessons in how to use them. The shop failed, partly because Jim knew almost nothing about computers, and a later attempt to start a mower shop at a different location also failed, for much the same reason. ‘I tried to get something else going besides this little, short-term mowing business,' Jim said.

They didn't enjoy living above the shop, and with the computer shop failing there was no reason to stay. They moved into a small house in Blackburn that was ‘very primitive, with uneven floors. But it had a nice garden,' Jim remembered fondly.

A year later they bought their first house, in Wolseley Crescent, Blackburn. The small bungalow in the backyard served as an office, and Jim's Mowing continued to progress. While still mowing lawns himself, Jim hired people ...

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