News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

$0 to $60K in only 4 weeks. The Zest story.

Starting a business is no easy feat but for 31 year old Liz Atkinson it turned her whole life around.

In September 2006 Liz Atkinson, a backpacker from a working class background in Rochdale England, decided it was time to mould her future. Less than five years later Atkinson owns three companies, two houses, her dream car and is living in the second most liveable city, Melbourne, in the world. However, comments Atkinson, the path from rags to riches was far from a smooth one. ‘I think my lowest point was sleeping on a friend’s floor. I needed all of the money I could get to start Zest so I rented out my apartment leaving me homeless. Thank goodness for good friends!’

Atkinson’s biggest achievement has been the success of Zest Marketing Concepts, which within four weeks of set up was turning over $60K a month. ‘The rapid success of Zest didn’t come without a lot of hard work. At that point I was doing a million jobs at once. I was the recruiter, the team builder, the sales trainer, the administrator, the manager and the sales person!’. But all of the hard work paid off and in true entrepreneurial style, the profits were reinvested into new exciting ventures, taking Zest international and Just Move It, a removals company.

But what next for this working class girl? A new company that’s what! Zest Promotions was set up in January 2011 as an events and promotions company that specialises in guerrilla / ambient marketing style promotions. Atkinson is confident that her new venture will be as successful as Zest Marketing Concepts. ‘There is definitely a gap in the Australian market and I intend to fill it. Companies that want to be savvier with their marketing budget are approaching us to come up with integrated campaigns for them. It’s not necessarily about changing their whole marketing mix, more complimenting it in a cost effective way.’

Despite her successes Atkinson still has not achieved her ultimate goal, ‘I want to teach young girls how to be successful. By setting goals and being focused everyone can succeed. I think it is important that girls are taught, no matter what their background, they can be successful. It is something I strongly believe and something I wish I was taught at school.’

Atkinson summarises her secret to being a successful entrepreneur, ‘Have clear goals and make sure that they are broken down into achievable bite sizes, stay accountable, learn every day, work hard and of course have fun! After all if you don’t enjoy what you are doing what is the point.’

Startup Daily