Inspiring Mums: Charlie Caruso, PuggleFM

So you come up with a great idea for a new radio station, only to be refused a radio license…for no good reason. It’s at that point that most people would give up. Luckily Charlie Caruso is not “most people”. Charlie has continued to fight for her radio station, PuggleFM by taking her concept online and creating the successful PuggleFM podcast. This is her journey so far…

1. Tell us your story:
I am the Founder and CEO of PuggleFM:
which is Australia’s first family friendly radio station. In April, one of our podcasts reached No.1 on iTunes under our category, after only opening our iTunes podcast channel in February!

What is PuggleFM?
Parents choose PuggleFM. PuggleFM is the trusted podcast hub and online radio station for parents around the world! PuggleFM caters to a new class of parent – and we’re bringing the best of the best news and information directly to you!

Parents can subscribe to their favourite podcast channels via iTunes and listen to our
collection of great content while driving the kids to school, sitting on subways or trains, waiting in line at the bank, while cooking, cleaning, ironing or doing any other of the million jobs we busy parents do each day!

Struggle with the commitment of reading the never ending stream of blogs, tweets, posts and email updates, but value the information? Well PuggleFM can help as our podcasts enable you to multitask and get more out of your day!
PuggleFM is for busy parents who are sick of sensationalism and scandal seen throughout mainstream media, who crave useful, engaging information without the advertising! We pride ourselves on our commitment to credibility and our dedication to providing the very best for parents around the world!

2. How did you identify the goals you wanted to achieve?
It is hard to establish achievable, valuable goals without first thinking about the bigger picture and your business strategy, and I have always found it extremely beneficial to think about long term and understand your long term goals before you focus on the shorter term. If you aren’t always working towards the “bigger picture” it’s easy to be disheartened when you don’t reach the shorter goals. It’s important that success isn’t about smashing every short term goal out of the water, and never failing to achieve on a day to day basis. In business, success involves a daily grind, and sometimes just keeping your head above water is a goal reached in itself!

With PuggleFM, I knew I wanted to provide an alternative media source for parents where they could share important knowledge together as well as have reliable credible access to content with integrity, that wasn’t a discreetly positioned advertisement. When I had my children, I knew I had to at least TRY to make the world a better place, and having well-informed, well-connected parents is a powerful weapon to achieve such change. That has always been my goal. Everything else is steps/pathways in getting there. I haven’t gone down the paths I had originally envisaged; I’ve had to skips steps in some places, and retrace steps in other areas. So long as the general direction is towards the “bigger picture” then I know I’m on the right track.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?
I don’t do plans and deadlines well! That’s not saying I don’t feel they’re important, they’re essential if you’re expecting success, I’m just not very good at achieving them. That’s just the kind of person I am, and it is my blessing as well as my curse.

Expanding on what I said previously, I have an end goal and I think about that every day. That is the fuel for my drive and kindles the passion and ensures I battle through the daily grind. Without that end goal, nothing would be worth the effort.

However, I know the value of identifying the steps in how you plan to achieve the end goal, and it’s important that you do have a plan on how to achieve the end goal. Just try not to be too strict about it, allowing yourself to bend, adapt and evolve is crucial, and this wisdom has been born from experience.

I think it’s important to identify the methods of reaching the end result, and put a rough time schedule against it. Bearing in mind, things take as long as they need to take, there are no shortcuts, and stretching yourself to reach a goal by your original deadline is not always useful.

The key is understanding your options, that many pathways that are available to attain the “bigger picture”, continually researching for new ones that might not exist, where they hadn’t before, and always keep an open mind to opportunities, as opportunities present themselves to everyone. Those who find success are the ones open and waiting for these opportunities.

It is also important to write yourself weekly and daily goals, to keep your day to day operations on track. At the end of each week analysis them what tasks were achieved and which weren’t and work out why some tasks have been ignored now for weeks. If those “tasks” keep popping up and growing, work out the repercussions of simply not doing them, and if they are bad – use that as your motivation and do them now! If not so bad, then loose them!

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
How much time have you got? I guess the biggest challenge for me, and it literally felt I was being winded by an unknown bully that was beating my hopes and dreams out of me (a tad dramatic, but it’s how I felt and still feel) was the fact that the Australian Government and ACMA refused to grant PuggleFM a radio station license (I applied for FM/AM and digital and LPON) for no real reason. I thought the concept of PuggleFM, which was to improve the continually dropping standards of radio media and to allow parents to come together under one title of being “parents” (instead of minority groups, religions, age, etc) might be a valuable alternative for Australians. I fought that battle for a year and a half, and even took my case to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. (Charlie explains her story here for Today Tonight).

I invested heavily into the concept on the hope and passion that this could be valuable for families across Australia, only to be told “no sorry, were keeping these licenses for those who can bid over $2mil – and no more community licenses are available.” That was a sickening blow, and still angers me. However, being extremely stubborn, and still focusing on the “bigger picture” I started the radio station online and have formed an incredible following internationally, and have found great success via iTunes podcasts (thank you Steve Jobs).

Without having that focus and drive towards the “bigger picture” or the end goal, it would have been easy for me to throw in the towel when I couldn’t attain a FM transmission license. It’s because I saw that process as a step towards my goal, and not my end goal, was I able to side step and find an alternate pathway.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
As I have previously stated, my focus on the end goal – what I want to achieve with PuggleFM – is what gives me the drive, passion and energy to get back up after each unsuccessful step up. You just need to look at children when they are learning to walk to get it. They attempt to walk for months before they can. They don’t stop trying just because they didn’t get it the first time. Instead, they’re pulled by this force and know that this is something they will get, and that in their own way, using whatever aids that might assist them, they get there in the end (and usually when the camera has a flat battery and is in the other room). If kids can be that persistent, and believe in their hearts they will achieve, I think, why on earth can’t we?

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
Think very carefully about why you want to achieve your goal, what is the REAL driver behind your motives? What is your REAL motivation? Unlock that knowledge and you have all the passion, desire, energy and stamina you need to achieve the end result. Also define the end result and continually research alterative pathways in achieving the “bigger picture”. Had I not done this, then I might not have come across online radios, or podcasting, or any of the other avenues I have taken in order to reach my end result.

Also – if you give up, you didn’t want it bad enough. Those who want things bad enough always reach their end goal, they might have had to take many different paths, bend and break even on the way, but they refocused, regrouped and in the end found their own success. It takes the right motivation and the ability to ride the highs and bounce back from the lows.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?

The end result or bigger picture for me is still unattained but well within my reach. I’m looking at opening up a merchandise wing for PuggleFM that will generate income to supplement our operations of PuggleFM, whilst not compromising our content nor allowing advertising to infiltrate our information. Every day is exciting, presents new challenges, but comes with new rewards. Chasing my dream has been the most rewarding adventures of my life and I encourage all reading to find their dream and chase it for their rest of their days as there is nothing more fulfilling then being free of regret.

Find out more about PuggleFM here, and take a listen to their podcast here

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