tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:/feeds/all Flying Solo 2015-01-28T07:30:00+11:00 tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14896 2015-01-28T07:30:00+11:00 2014-11-04T15:15:15+11:00 How to effectively use Incoterms <p>To assist with buying and selling overseas, the International Chamber of Commerce created Incoterms®. Find out how to use them effectively. </p><h2>Incoterms serve to minimise confusion&nbsp;</h2> <p>With numerous global languages and cultural differences, communicating where the obligations, risks and costs transfer from seller to buyer when importing or exporting can be complicated.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/part-1-shipping-incoterm-codes-defined" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/part-1-shipping-incoterm-codes-defined">Incoterms</a>® assist in minimising the confusions, as they are internationally- recognised terms.&nbsp;</p> <p>Understanding and accurately using the correct <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/importing-know-incoterms-or-pay-the-price" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/importing-know-incoterms-or-pay-the-price">Incoterm</a>® is critical, as a simple misunderstanding can end up costing you.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Importing may seem easy, but be careful.&nbsp;</h2> <p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/sourcing-overseas-products-read-on" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/sourcing-overseas-products-read-on">Importers</a> who are inexperienced may find the C &amp; D terms (CFR, CIF, CPT, CIP, DAT, DAP &amp; DDP) convenient and helpful, as depending on the Incoterm® used, the seller pays for all the freight charges, insurance and delivery accordingly. You may be thinking “Great, this importing thing is easy, my supplier arranges everything!”&nbsp;</p> <p>But just hang on a minute.&nbsp;</p> <p>Shippers account for these additional charges in the rates they give you. They ensure they have covered the cost of the freight, insurance, currency fluctuations and delivery in their price. As a result, importers frequently pay higher prices when the seller selects the freight and insurance company. You are left unaware of the breakdown of charges, and the insurance cover your supplier pays for may not cover you for all eventualities. Also, consider this, it will be difficult to submit a claim when you have not taken out the policy!&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the most common groups of Incoterms® is the F Group (FCA, FAS &amp; FOB). With these Incoterms®, the importer is responsible for shipping and insurance. This gives importers more control to manage and track their shipment, providing them with better supply chain management and influence over the choice in: shipping lines, insurance options and transit times; which can all vary in cost.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is not to say always choose an F Incoterm®, but, always look at the different options and do not opt for what seems to be the easy choice. Investigating the most efficient and economical way for your business may just give you the competitive advantage in your industry.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Three fundamental details you should remember&nbsp;</h2> <ul> <li>Ensure you and your suppliers are clear on the agreed Incoterm®.</li> <li>Ensure you are aware of what costs you are responsible for with the chosen Incoterm®.</li> <li>Always compare Incoterm® options as each scenario can contribute to significant savings or revenue loss, by not investigating which is best for your situation.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>As you can see, if you understand Incoterms®, you can use them effectively, and to your advantage.<span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;</span></p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on the effective use of Incoterms®?</em></strong></p> Caterina Zaini tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14999 2015-01-27T07:30:00+11:00 2015-01-27T10:20:57+11:00 Systems 1, Goals 0 <p>Having previously proudly described myself as ‘goal-oriented’ I am now convinced goals are a crock. Here’s why.</p><p>Three separate lessons on the topic have come to my attention of late. How fortunate to recognise the synchronicity around article deadline time. (Writers, I know you’re hearing me right now.)</p> <p>Anyway the first two lessons came courtesy of this <a href="http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/an-nearly-foolproof-way-to-achieve-every-goal-you-set-wed.html" mce_href="http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/an-nearly-foolproof-way-to-achieve-every-goal-you-set-wed.html">INC article on goals</a>.</p> <p>Now you and I know as sure as eggs are eggs, whenever a New Year hits, publications everywhere spew forth a slurry of advice around goals and how-most-are-broken-in-a-month and how-to-make-them-stick by breaking-them-into-chunks. But INC approached it from a different angle. Their contribution to the conversation had me nodding as if my head were on a spring.</p> <h2>Lesson 1: Systems trump goals</h2> <p>INC suggest you totally disregard goals (e.g. ‘get more customers, lose weight’) and instead focus on systems (e.g. ‘make five cold calls a day, only eat whole foods’).</p> <p>Around that time, I got very convincing proof of this in action.</p> <p>In August last year I committed to practicing 45 minutes of yoga per day courtesy of the amazing online service <a href="http://www.yogapad.com.au/" mce_href="http://www.yogapad.com.au/">Yogapad</a>. (As it turns out, I’ve ended up doing it roughly six days a week. But the important thing is I started doing it and have kept the practise up to this day.)</p> <p>In the early days I remember being awestruck by teacher Jeanette’s ability to move from plank to upfaced dog (basically a slow push up). “How does she do it?” I wondered. I lacked the core strength and the upper body muscles to contemplate doing the hard version, so consistently did the easier, knees-on-ground variation offered.&nbsp;</p> <p>Then one day, I could do it. I was elated. I hadn’t once consciously said “I am going to nail that pose” but nail it I did, all thanks to my simple adherence to a system.</p> <h2>Lesson 2: No goals, no post goal-achievement letdown</h2> <p>Another of the INC article’s many insights was the fact that some goals are at odds with long term progress. For instance, you train each day to meet your goal of running a half marathon, but once you’ve run the marathon, what then?</p> <p>This is where I point you to the other ‘achievements’ that have come out of my regular yoga practise. At the outset I did not state “I want to revert to the weight I was 20 years ago” or “I want to be able to fast walk the Byron Bay lighthouse track with ease.” Yet I now can tick both these boxes. I suspect if I’d specifically set out to ‘achieve’ either of these things (or the aforementioned pose), there would have been a sense of “what now?” that followed.</p> <p>Instead, I find myself quite curious as to what will unfold in the coming months (but will try not ruin any surprises by speculating.)</p> <h2>Lesson 3: Systems help create a culture</h2> <p>The above two revelations brought to mind a line (credited to management guru Peter Drucker) that once heard, I could not get out of my brain. It said “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.</p> <p>It occurred to me that you could easily replace the words ‘culture’ and ‘strategy’ with ‘systems’ and ‘goals’.</p> <p>My experience is that systems, when adhered to willingly, create a culture that supports the system, and a virtuous circle ensues. For instance, in the old days I’d unwind with a beer or two once the kids were in bed. Now I unwind with yoga. I used to do endless research before reaching a decision, now I will sit with it while I meditate.</p> <p>I did not explicitly state “I will drink less beer” or “I will listen to my intuition”. But because both of those outcomes are supported by my yoga practice, (which is now an intrinsic part of my personal culture), they’re outcomes anyway.</p> <p>Yoga has changed my life after an <em>annus horriblis</em> involving cancer in 2013 (which you can read more about <a href="http://www.thelittlec.org/" mce_href="http://www.thelittlec.org/">here</a>, I am all fine now.) I am humbler, calmer, stronger physically and slightly more dull person than I was, but I’m happy in the true sense of the word.</p> <p><b><i>Do you agree that systems beat goals? Has synchronicity struck for you the week of a deadline? Share all <u>here</u>.</i></b></p> Sam Leader tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/15001 2015-01-25T07:30:00+11:00 2015-01-23T12:26:48+11:00 Are you ready to publish? <p>Valerie Khoo is all over the place (in the nicest possible way). She's a prolific publisher and reckons you should be too. </p><p>To access all Flying Solo podcasts visit <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast">http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast</a></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14899 2015-01-24T07:30:00+11:00 2014-11-05T14:05:32+11:00 Mobile devices: Send emails that rock <p>Email still rocks! Leverage mobile devices to deliver successful email marketing campaigns and your sales could soar. </p><p>In a survey of 760 people from five countries, 85 percent of smartphone users said they would “give up drinking water” rather than delete their mobile apps. And what did a majority of them use smartphones for? To <em>check email</em>.</p> <p>In 2013, marketers (that includes micro business owners just like you!) sent over 830 billion emails to 3.6 billion email accounts in the world. As much as 48 percent of these emails were opened on mobile devices.</p> <p>Can you see a theme emerging? When combined, mobile and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/email-newsletters/generate-sales-with-your-email-newsletter-tips" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/email-newsletters/generate-sales-with-your-email-newsletter-tips">email marketing</a> is powerful.</p> <h2>The key to being mobile friendly </h2> <p>A whopping 69 percent of mobile users delete email if it’s not optimised for their smaller screens. To leverage mobile to deliver successful email marketing campaigns, you can use one of the three approaches:</p> <p>1. Segment your list based on their preferred mode of past opens<br /> 2. Add a URL so they can open a mobile-friendly layout<br /> 3. Create a responsive email design</p> <p>Needless to say, the first two approaches are not sustainable in the long run. What if a user switches between mobile and desktop devices? Or, in the case of number two, what if they don’t notice the mobile-friendly URL or don’t want to click an extra link every time they receive an email from you? So make your campaigns responsive for all platforms, including smartphones and tablets.</p> <h2>What is a responsive email design?</h2> <p>A responsive email design is an approach that ensures your emails look nice on multiple mobile platforms and creates a much better user-experience for your subscribers. It will display your message on any device, horizontally or vertically, in different screen sizes, without the need to resize, scroll or pan.</p> <p>Since mobile email open rates continue to soar, if you ignore a less-than-optimal reading experience on iPhones, iPads, and Androids you will irritate the majority of your subscribers.</p> <h2>Seven tips to go responsive with your email campaign templates</h2> <p>Most email service providers let you choose a responsive email template at a click of a mouse. But at times, you want to design a template from scratch. Here are some handy tips.</p> <p><strong>1. Stick to one-column</strong></p> <p>Single columns (about 500 pixels wide) work well because mobile devices can display the content vertically, stacked one above the other.</p> <p><strong>2. Start with mobile</strong></p> <p>Reverse-engineer the design phase by starting with a mobile platform. Design how your campaigns will look on mobile before desktop versions.</p> <p><strong>3. Swap bulky images with smaller ones</strong></p> <p>Don’t make your mobile subscribers wait an eternity for a bulky image to load. For mobile platforms, use smaller-sized images that load faster than their desktop counterparts.</p> <p><strong>4. Trim your content</strong></p> <p>Keep skimmers in mind – don’t cram too much copy. Instead, save your readers the headache of endless scrolling. Keep your most important content in mind and edit out any unnecessary copy.</p> <p><strong>5. Keep your main offer at the top</strong></p> <p>Most readers are skimmers, especially when it comes to reading on mobile devices. Showcase your main offer at the top with something that entices them to scroll down and read further, such as a coupon or discount link.</p> <p><strong>6. Make your call-to-action stand out and clickable</strong></p> <p>Don’t make your readers try too hard to click on your call-to-action button (hint: they won’t). A good rule for mobile clickable areas is 44 x 44 pixels. And make your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-design/creating-compelling-call-to-action-buttons" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-design/creating-compelling-call-to-action-buttons">button</a> colour stand out so it’s attention-grabbing.</p> <p>Additionally, in a vertical hierarchy of mobile display, your call-to-actions should occupy a position near the top because if they are buried at the end, they may never be seen.</p> <p><strong>7. Optimise other pages on your website</strong></p> <p>Once you’ve optimised your emails, it’s time to do the same for your landing, sales or squeeze pages. What’s the point of sending a pretty email that leads to a yucky page?</p> <p>Besides, most of your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/conversion-rates-effective-landing-page" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/conversion-rates-effective-landing-page">conversion happens on your landing page</a>, so don’t ignore testing it on mobile devices.</p> <p>Most emails you send are being read on mobile devices. It’s much better to be smart about responsive design and see your user experience skyrocket.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on responsive email design for mobile devices?</em></strong></p> Pooja Lohana tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14898 2015-01-23T07:30:00+11:00 2015-01-23T10:28:12+11:00 Seven free ways to improve your online presence <p>You can do many things to improve your online presence. Here are seven that can have the biggest impact, and they’re free!</p><p>I guess my first tip should be “Get a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/conversion-tips-six-mistakes-of-non-converting-websites" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/conversion-tips-six-mistakes-of-non-converting-websites">website</a>” but I’m going to assume you know how important that is. Don’t just rely on social media – you don’t own your Facebook account, Facebook does. But you <em>do </em>own your website and these tips will get your website found online.</p> <h2>1. Know who your ideal customer is.</h2> <p>Take the time to work out who your ideal customer is, and please don’t say, “Everyone is my ideal customer”. If you try to market to everyone you end up selling to no one.</p> <p>Create an avatar of your ideal customer. Note that I didn’t say your biggest customer – I said your <em>ideal</em> customer – there is a difference. &nbsp;Are they male or female? Are they young, old or in between? Are they in business? What are their biggest pains/problems?</p> <p>Once you have a detailed image of who your ideal customer is, make sure your website and social media talk to them and their pain. Note: don’t solve their problem – just make it known you can solve their problem.</p> <h2>2. Get a free Google Places listing</h2> <p>This is also known as Google My Business, Google Maps and Google+ pages (I know, it’s confusing).</p> <p>A Google Places listing is free if you have a shopfront or an office location. It will show up in Google whenever someone searches for your type of business and adds your suburb to the search term. It is usually the first thing people see on the first page of Google.</p> <h2>3. Local business directories </h2> <p>Search Google for “local business directory” and put your business on each of them – I suggest up to twenty directory listings. Make sure you use the exact address that’s on your website, and be sure to add a link to your website too. Mix up the description for each listing and don’t forget to include your keywords.</p> <h2>4. Blog, Blog, Blog.</h2> <p>I can’t stress how important this is, and it’s also free. When you <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/blogging-why-i-changed-how-i-blog-in-2014" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/blogging-why-i-changed-how-i-blog-in-2014">blog</a> you tell the world about you and your business. It’s important that your blogging provides relevant, unique information. Mix up the media too – video, podcast, infographics, PDF’s, slideshows and so on.</p> <h2>5. Optimise pages, posts and images.</h2> <p>Use keywords on pages, and use categories, tags and keywords in blog posts. Categories are like aisles in the supermarket, for example the cooking aisle; and tags are like <em>items </em>in the aisle such as spices and sauces. Keywords are the specific items in the aisle, such as “Uncle Bob’s sauce”.</p> <p>Make sure you use alternative tags for all your images, also known as “alt tags”. These are the words Google uses to read your images. Also, rename your images before you upload them – don’t upload images called IMG-3945.png, change them to a name that’s relevant and keyword rich.</p> <h2>6. Use social media &nbsp;</h2> <p>Every time you write a new post or page, share it on all your social media platforms, and if it’s a popular one, don’t be afraid to share it again a few months later. Pick <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/which-social-media-platform-is-best-for-your-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/which-social-media-platform-is-best-for-your-business">social media</a> platforms that your ideal customers use. There’s no point madly posting pics to Instagram or Pinterest if your customers are never there! Find out where they hang out and be sure to hang out there too – consistently.</p> <h2>7. Spread the word.</h2> <p>Get involved with <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php">forums like Flying Solo</a>. Help people by giving honest, informative answers to their questions. Find other forums in your industry or niche and get active. Become the go-to person who gives great tips and useful ideas.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/be-someone-on-the-internet-of-everything" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/be-someone-on-the-internet-of-everything">Internet</a> has changed the world, we all know that. Don’t be an ostrich or a shrinking violet. The online world is about giving and helping, and if you bury your head in the sand and ignore it – you will regret it. Your competition will outshine you, outrank you and outsell you. So start with these seven free strategies and get found online.</p><p> <strong><em>Can you add any other free ways to improve your online presence?</em></strong></p> Trish Fehon tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14895 2015-01-22T07:30:00+11:00 2015-01-23T10:35:22+11:00 Are you brave enough to do this? <p>I recently had to fly interstate, and the airline CEO was on board. During the flight he did something quite brave. Could you do the same thing?</p><h2>So I’m on the flight, and…&nbsp;</h2> <p>Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, a man came to the front of the plane, had a brief chat with the flight crew, and then proceeded to take the microphone and make an announcement.&nbsp;</p> <p>The man introduced himself as the CEO of the airline. He went on to say something along the lines of, “In a highly competitive market like Australia, I want to thank you for choosing to fly with us. We know you have plenty of choice, and for whatever reason, you chose us. We don’t always get it right but we are committed to getting it right more often. So to help this process, I am sitting in seat 12A and I welcome you to come over and share a good or bad experience, or to offer some advice.”&nbsp;</p> <p>I have to say I was very impressed by this. Personally, I haven’t been a big fan of the airline, but I found myself rethinking my relationship based on a one minute talk from the CEO. Now when I ask myself if I would fly the airline again, I’m surprised to hear my internal answer is ‘yes’.&nbsp;</p> <h2>How does this brave act translate to micro business?&nbsp;</h2> <p>I’ve thought about this a lot over the past month or so. After hearing such an honest and heartfelt message from the airline boss, my opinion regarding the company has changed enormously. If it can be effective for a big company, surely it stands to reason that it can be effective for <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/solo-business-owner-we-are-the-soul-traders" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/solo-business-owner-we-are-the-soul-traders">soloists.</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>Perhaps we should all be reaching out to current and past <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/small-business-clients-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/small-business-clients-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly">clients</a> to ask about their experience working with us.</p> <p>I am not talking about some boring, clinical, predictable SurveyMonkey-type thing, but more of an <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/why-business-integrity-is-so-important" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/why-business-integrity-is-so-important">honest</a>, heartfelt, authentic conversation to find out what we do well and what we do poorly.&nbsp;</p> <p>It takes a brave person to ask these questions because there is a good chance our feelings will be a little hurt in the process. But all <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/client-feedback-do-you-shy-away-from-it" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/client-feedback-do-you-shy-away-from-it">feedback</a> and even complaints are a gift, if we take our ego out of the equation and listen to what is actually being said.&nbsp;</p> <p>If we want to build stronger bonds with our clients, to show them that we really are committed to doing better, now could be the time to have some real conversations.&nbsp;</p> <p>I’ve done this myself, and I guarantee you will find out interesting things about yourself, and the information you glean will help you build a stronger business in every way.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts? Are you, or have you ever been brave enough to ask this question?</em></strong></p> Andrew Griffiths tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14880 2015-01-21T07:30:00+11:00 2014-11-04T15:10:52+11:00 How ‘design thinking’ leads to biz success <p>Design thinking refers to the element of design fundamentally underpinning the way you run your business. And it’s good for business. Here’s why. </p><p>What do brands like IKEA, Apple, Volkswagen, Dyson, Lego, Virgin, Google and Herman Miller all have in common?&nbsp;</p> <p>The answer is simple – design thinking.&nbsp;</p> <p>This doesn’t necessarily mean all their products and services are aesthetically beautiful, although in many cases they are. It means that the element of design fundamentally underpins the way they run every aspect of their business, including: operational, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/mobile/medias/startup/business-start-up/up-and-away-marc-wittenberg-perfume-bottle-designer" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/mobile/medias/startup/business-start-up/up-and-away-marc-wittenberg-perfume-bottle-designer">physical</a>, philosophical and even emotional.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Money down the gurgler&nbsp;</h2> <p>Businesses often treat design as somewhat of an afterthought, a ‘nice to have’ but not essential. I often receive enquiries from prospective clients wanting a ‘cheap and cheerful’ logo, business card, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/part-1-common-web-design-industry-terms" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/part-1-common-web-design-industry-terms">website</a> and piece of signage. While I am completely sympathetic to the financial constraints faced by start-ups, this is, unquestionably, money poured down the gurgler.&nbsp;</p> <p>Spending a few more dollars upfront to develop a considered, researched <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-branding/your-personal-branding-checklist" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-branding/your-personal-branding-checklist">brand</a> for your business, one that evolves out of a process of closely assessing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, along with identifying the visual messages your target audience(s) are most likely to respond to; will result in an exponentially higher return on investment over time.<span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>It also cultivates your purpose and values. A poorly conceived brand or an ill-structured website does nothing to compel your customers to engage, let alone purchase your product or service.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Design thinking leads to business success&nbsp;</h2> <p>Several years ago, consulting company Motiv Strategies was engaged by the Design Management Institute (DMI) to complete a study into the ways which consistent use of design and the adoption of a ‘design-thinking-centric’ culture impacts on business success. This is now referred to by the organisation as the <a href="http://www.dmi.org/?DesignValue" mce_href="http://www.dmi.org/?DesignValue">Design Value Index</a>. Results from the ten year study showed that ‘design-led’ companies maintained significant stock market advantage.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a more practical context, it’s often a good exercise to think about the ways in which you are most captivated by the use of design. It could be the way your morning coffee is made and delivered by your favourite café barista. It could be the office you go to when you visit your accountant. It could be the way a cleverly designed toy doesn’t create any injuries.</p><p> Design thinking can be applied to sales, marketing, product/service differentiation, financials, operations, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/my-thoughts-on-customer-service" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/my-thoughts-on-customer-service">customer service</a> and more. By embracing design thinking you’ll undoubtedly find yourself on a rapid success trajectory that otherwise would not have been possible. <br /> <br /> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on design thinking?</em></strong></p> Jen Clark tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14996 2015-01-20T07:30:00+11:00 2015-01-20T11:14:22+11:00 How much should I spend on SEO (or anything)? <p>How much should you pay for any business related service? Well it depends on what that service is worth … to you.</p><p>What’s a reasonable <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-branding/designing-a-logo-on-a-shoestring-budget" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-branding/designing-a-logo-on-a-shoestring-budget">cost for a logo</a>? Is this a fair rate for a narrator? Is that a good deal for a promo video? Am I paying too much for SEO?</p> <p>We tend to think there are fixed answers to these questions. Yet we instinctively know it’s silly to ask a question like “What’s a reasonable price for a watch?” without further information about the buyer’s circumstances and needs.</p> <h2>The question you need to ask instead</h2> <p>“What’s it worth to MY business?”</p> <p>In other words: “what’s this logo/promo video/SEO etc. worth to <strong>me</strong>?”</p> <p>Spending $500k to produce a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/podcasting-and-video-tips/using-business-video-to-get-noticed" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/podcasting-and-video-tips/using-business-video-to-get-noticed">60 second video</a> might be a good investment for Nike, but it’s a different equation for Bob the local plumber. There’s nothing unfair about the $500k price-tag, it’s just not a good investment for Bob.</p> <p>Both Nike and Bob want the same thing (and it’s the same thing you want), a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/marketing-activities-marketing-strategy-you-should-stop-doing" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/marketing-activities-marketing-strategy-you-should-stop-doing">return on their investment</a>. You’re looking to spend $X on something that will earn you $X+ in return.</p> <h2>Know your numbers</h2> <p>So how do you make a good investment decision? Well, you need to be across your numbers.</p> <p>For instance, want to know if you’re <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/is-paying-for-seo-search-engine-optimistation-dead" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/is-paying-for-seo-search-engine-optimistation-dead">paying too much for SEO</a>? Well forget about page 1 of Google and keyword rankings – the service either makes you money or it doesn’t. To make you money, SEO has to bring you enough traffic to earn your fees back. So if you’re paying $500 per month you need to know exactly how much traffic earns you $500.</p> <p>At a minimum, you need to know two numbers:</p> <ol> <li>Your monthly traffic; and </li> <li>The monthly profit earned by your website. </li> </ol> <p>Once you know the average dollar value of a visitor, then you can measure the traffic (and therefore dollars) your SEO company is delivering.</p> <h2>Become an investor</h2> <p>Once you’ve done this calculation a couple of times you’ll start to see everything differently. When you figure out that each visitor to your site is worth $1 (or 20c or $5) you’ll be able to start acting like an investor – you can assess the profitability of your SEO service, and you’ll know how much to pay for each click on Adwords, or for a 1000 click Facebook campaign.</p> <h2>What about that logo?</h2> <p>Services that aren’t aimed at getting you traffic should be aimed at increasing your conversions – in other words, getting more sales.</p> <p>So if you know your website brings in $500 per month, you need to estimate the increase in sales the logo (or sales video, or web redesign, or copywriting, or better photographs) will bring. If you guess 10% then that’s a $50/month, or a $600 return over the next 12 months.</p> <p>So now you have some basis for deciding how much to spend, and also a way of assessing where you should spend your next dollar.</p><p> <strong>Have you ever looked at business expenses like the above as investments? Or simply necessary costs of flying solo?</strong></p> Dave Gillen tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/13463 2015-01-19T06:30:00+11:00 2015-01-14T17:24:01+11:00 Judge a book by its lover(s) <p>Flying Solo: How to go it alone in business is a book that gives you the tools you need to start your own venture, or totally rejuvenate one that’s been ticking along for years. See reviews and order now.</p><p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(77, 77, 76); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; " mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;">Combining tons of motivational and practical advice, it explores the habits and behaviours of successful soloists; explodes some of the myths of marketing, time management, online success and networking; and helps you thrive as a solo or micro business owner.</span></p><p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(77, 77, 76); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; " mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;">Written in our familiar, upbeat style, this <em>revisited </em>version includes advice on mastering the online world, optimising your money-making potential and crafting a business that runs itself. </span></p><p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(77, 77, 76); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; " mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;">Plus we've added even more case histories and real-life examples from our wonderful solo and micro business community.</span></p><p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(77, 77, 76); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; " mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;"></span>It can be all yours for&nbsp;<strong>$24.95 + postage, packing &amp; handling</strong>.&nbsp;Total price for Australian buyers, &nbsp;$29.70, lovingly delivered to your door.</p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" class="mceItemTable"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p class="nomargin"><strong>Delivery to</strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="nomargin"><strong>Quantity</strong></p> </td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td><form><select name="country"> <option selected="selected" value="24.95|4.75">Australia</option> <option value="22.86|6.6">New Zealand</option> <option value="0|0">---</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Afghanistan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Albania</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Algeria</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Andorra</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Angola</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Antigua and Barbuda</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Argentina</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Armenia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Austria</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Azerbaijan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">The Bahamas</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Bahrain</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Bangladesh</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Barbados</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Belarus</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Belgium</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Belize</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Benin</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Bhutan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Bolivia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Bosnia and Herzegovina</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Botswana</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Brazil</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Brunei</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Bulgaria</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Burkina Faso</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Burundi</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Cambodia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Cameroon</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Canada</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Cape Verde</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Central African Republic</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Chad</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Chile</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">China</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Colombia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Comoros</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Congo, Republic of the</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Congo, Democratic Republic of the</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Costa Rica</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Cote d'Ivoire</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Croatia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Cuba</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Cyprus</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Czech Republic</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Denmark</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Djibouti</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Dominica</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Dominican Republic</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">East Timor</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Ecuador</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Egypt</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">El Salvador</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Equatorial Guinea</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Eritrea</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Estonia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Ethiopia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Fiji</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Finland</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">France</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Gabon</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">The Gambia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Georgia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Germany</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Ghana</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Greece</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Grenada</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Guatemala</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Guinea</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Guinea-Bissau</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Guyana</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Haiti</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Honduras</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Hungary</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Iceland</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">India</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Indonesia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Iran</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Iraq</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Ireland</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Israel</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Italy</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Jamaica</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Japan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Jordan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Kazakhstan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Kenya</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Kiribati</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Korea, North</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Korea, South</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Kuwait</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Kyrgyzstan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Laos</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Latvia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Lebanon</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Lesotho</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Liberia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Libya</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Liechtenstein</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Lithuania</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Luxembourg</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Macedonia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Madagascar</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Malawi</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Malaysia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Maldives</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Mali</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Malta</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Marshall Islands</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Mauritania</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Mauritius</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Mexico</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Federated States of Micronesia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Moldova</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Monaco</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Mongolia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Morocco</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Mozambique</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Myanmar (Burma)</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Namibia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Nauru</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Nepal</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Netherlands</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Nicaragua</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Niger</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Nigeria</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Norway</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Oman</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Pakistan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Palau</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Panama</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Papua New Guinea</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Paraguay</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Peru</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Philippines</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Poland</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Portugal</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Qatar</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Romania</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Russia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Rwanda</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Saint Kitts and Nevis</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Saint Lucia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Saint Vincent and the Grenadines</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Samoa</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">San Marino</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Sao Tome and Principe</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Saudi Arabia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Senegal</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Serbia and Montenegro (Yugoslavia)</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Seychelles</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Sierra Leone</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Singapore</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Slovakia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Slovenia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Solomon Islands</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Somalia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">South Africa</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Spain</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Sri Lanka</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Sudan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Suriname</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Swaziland</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Sweden</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Switzerland</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Syria</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Taiwan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Tajikistan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Tanzania</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Thailand</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Togo</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Tonga</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Trinidad and Tobago</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Tunisia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Turkey</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Turkmenistan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Tuvalu</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Uganda</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Ukraine</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">United Arab Emirates</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">United Kingdom</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">United States</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Uruguay</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Uzbekistan</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Vanuatu</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Vatican City (Holy See)</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Venezuela</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Vietnam</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Yemen</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Zambia</option> <option value="22.86|8.4">Zimbabwe</option></select> </form></td> <td><input name="quantity" size="2" value="1"></td> <td><form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post"><input name="cmd" type="hidden" value="_xclick"> <input name="business" type="hidden" value="robert@flyingsolo.com.au"> <input name="item_name" type="hidden" value="Flying Solo (1 copy)"> <input name="amount" type="hidden" value="24.95"> <input name="shipping" type="hidden" value="4.75"> <input name="no_shipping" type="hidden" value="2"> <input name="cn" type="hidden" value="Comments"> <input name="currency_code" type="hidden" value="AUD"> <input name="bn" type="hidden" value="PP-BuyNowBF"> <input alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!" name="submit" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif" mce_src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif" type="image"> <img src="https://www.paypal.com/en_AU/i/scr/pixel.thumbnail.1x1.gif" mce_src="https://www.paypal.com/en_AU/i/scr/pixel.thumbnail.1x1.gif" border="0" alt="" width="1" height="1"> </form></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><br />'Buy Now' takes you into <strong>PayPal's payment gateway</strong> where you can pay via PayPal, Visa or Mastercard.</p> <h4><span style="outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; border: 0px initial initial;" mce_style="outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; border: 0px initial initial;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: medium;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: 16px;" mce_style="font-size: 16px;">PSST...want to score a free copy?</span></span></span></h4> <p><span style="outline: 0px; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;" mce_style="outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; border: 0px initial initial;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif;">Check out our <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/membership/become-a-member/all" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/membership/become-a-member/all">premium memberships</a> - annual options include a free copy</span></span><em style="outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; border: 0px initial initial;" mce_style="outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; border: 0px initial initial;">.&nbsp;</em></p> <h2>What readers say</h2> <p>It's all about the social proof! So here are a selection of comments - including official reviews and spontaneous feedback - from readers of the original <em>Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>If you're on your own, and not sure what's up next, read this book and wake up to the possibilities it presents.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Michael Gerber,&nbsp;author of&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0887307280/qid=1136247827/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2319535-2953751?n=507846%26s=books%26v=glance" mce_href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0887307280/qid=1136247827/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2319535-2953751?n=507846%26s=books%26v=glance" target="_blank"><strong>The E-Myth</strong></a></em></p> <p><em>A stirring and sane manifesto for working - and living! - better in the 21st century.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Carl Honoré,&nbsp;author of&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0752864416/sr=1-2/qid=1156202091/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-9575562-9901407?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books" mce_href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0752864416/sr=1-2/qid=1156202091/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-9575562-9901407?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books"><strong>In Praise of Slow</strong></a></em></p> <p><em>A remarkable book...sure to fill its readers with inspiration...&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Joanna Tovia</strong>, The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia</em></p> <p><em>Flying Solo is an outstanding guide to venturing out on your own. Prepare to take notes!&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Dan Pink,&nbsp;author of&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0446678791/sr=1-1/qid=1137633273/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2319535-2953751?%5Fencoding=UTF8" mce_href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0446678791/sr=1-1/qid=1137633273/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2319535-2953751?%5Fencoding=UTF8"><strong>Free Agent Nation</strong></a><strong>&nbsp;and&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1573223085/sr=1-2/qid=1137633273/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-2319535-2953751?%5Fencoding=UTF8" mce_href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1573223085/sr=1-2/qid=1137633273/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-2319535-2953751?%5Fencoding=UTF8"><strong>A Whole New Mind</strong></a></em></p> <p><em>Opening up Flying Solo is like having coffee with a good friend...I would recommend it to anyone contemplating a shift to starting their own business.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Angela James&nbsp;for&nbsp;www.homebizbuzz.co.nz</strong></em></p> <p><em>Flying Solo ... is a really handy, readable guide written by experienced soloists...The book shows what's required of&nbsp;you practically and psychologically to work successfully for yourself...This is a great book for anyone struggling to find purpose in traditional jobs.<br /> <strong>Melinda Finch&nbsp;from Human Resources Magazine, Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>This book is a delight! Cheerful and upbeat while staying rooted in the practicalities of running a solo business, it is also inspiring and motivational as it tackles such issues as the importance of attitude, how to embrace uncertainty and the criticality of staying aligned with your passions in designing your work... Flying Solo is my recommended read for aspiring and new solo entrepreneurs, or those who&nbsp; may have lost sight of the reason they went solo in the first place.<br /> <strong>Terri Zwierzynski</strong>&nbsp;from&nbsp;<strong>Solo-e.com</strong></em></p> <p><em>This is an excellent book for the solo professional or business owner or for anyone thinking about going solo. It is written in a friendly, almost chatty style and given the seriousness of the content has an amazing lightness of touch. The advice here is highly professional and appropriate - all sound and much of it brilliant. An excellent contribution.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Des Walsh&nbsp;from&nbsp;www.thinkinghomebusiness.com</strong></em></p> <p><em>With practical advice and inside knowledge into how successful&nbsp;soloists have achieved, there is plenty in Flying Solo to guide&nbsp;you...anyone who needs a change in their lifestyle...should definitely have a thorough read.<br /> <strong>eBalmain &amp; eParramatta Magazines&nbsp; Sydney, NSW</strong></em></p> <p><em>Wow, what a great book! The more I work through it the more is revealed to me to assist me on my evolving solo journey. Thanks for such a helpful contribution.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Doug O' Hara from Sydney, New South Wales</strong></em></p> <p><em>The book is fantastic. I have learnt so much from it.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Liz May&nbsp;from Byron Bay, New South Wales</strong></em></p> <p><em>Most business books for soloists concentrate on the logistics of how to set up the business. Booring! Flying Solo is an inside-out approach to business thinking rather than outside in. Very powerful.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Paul J. Morris from Sydney, New South Wales</strong></em></p> <p><em>I'd like to say how fantastic your book is - it really speaks to me at this point in my business and personal revolution.&nbsp;I recommended it strongly to a friend who was starting out on his solo journey and he bought a copy last week!&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Dr. Chris Kang&nbsp;from Kelvin Grove, Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>Flying Solo hits the nail right on the head. You have written this book with people like me in mind and I have enjoyed reading it from cover to cover twice now. Thanks for your insight and inspiration.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Gordon Whiteside from Melbourne, Victoria</strong></em></p> <p><em>I must say your book is exactly the sort of advice, guidance and&nbsp;inspiration I have been searching for. In my opinion it taps the true essence of what really matters in business. I have followed the exercises in the book which have helped crystalise what it is I'm going to do. It has provided a tangible map and timeframe for my business, which in turn really translates into more confidence. It will be kept close by for an ongoing reference.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Adam Leach from&nbsp;Gold Coast, Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>Thank you for your book.&nbsp;I love it and it has helped me through moments of stress and desperation!&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Ciel Fuller from Brisbane, Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>I've recently read your new book and loved it. I am&nbsp;right in the process of starting up my own company and the advice in the book is making a big contribution to the way I think about things and set things up.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Mathew Patterson from Sutherland, New South Wales</strong></em></p> <p><em>What a great book, congratulations! It's so practical and accessible and devoid of "new corp speak". I'm not&nbsp;yet a soloist but I'm planning for down the track and feel like I'm in good hands! Thank you for writing something so incredibly useful!&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Lyndel Donaldson from Sydney, New South Wales</strong></em></p> <p><em>I just wanted to let you know that&nbsp;Flying Solo has helped this soloist jump all the mind/logistics hurdles and tackle my solo venture head on. I bought the book..while still working full time and read it straight through - very inspiring! Now that I've actually made the leap...I'm using it as my&nbsp; main 'business bible' going back over each section and doing the hard work involved in getting the basics right.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Chris Black from Melbourne, Victoria</strong></em></p> <p><em>Flying Solo...is a gem... The business advice is simple, practical and full of heart and humour yet addresses beautifully the real and often less obvious stuff, about the challenges of small business.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Wendy Buckingham, author Ready Set Goal!</strong></em></p> <p><em>I like the myth busting and accessible style of the writing. So many of these books come across as preachy and self-laudatory, whereas Flying Solo is constructive, positive and friendly.<strong>&nbsp;<br /> </strong><strong>Emma Maconick from Auckland, New Zealand</strong></em></p> <p><em>I found it brilliant and, my favourite word empowering! All of this brilliance for less than twenty bucks!<br /> <strong>Karen Morath&nbsp;from Melbourne, Victoria</strong></em></p> <p><em>Thanks for writing such a useful tool for the modern day 'soloist'. I've been running my own independent sales firm for a year now, and&nbsp;had hit a wall where the business was running me, instead of me running the business. Adjustments have been made, thanks to your input, and we plan to start 'flying' again from hereon in. Once again, much appreciated.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Dave Dwyer from&nbsp;Glenbrook, Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>I bought your book yesterday and am mighty impressed...The thing that impresses me the most and is truly useful to me is the amount of examples you use.&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;<br /> </strong><strong>Darryl Butler from Acton, ACT</strong></em></p> <p><em>To get your business soaring, read Flying Solo...&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;<br /> </strong><strong>Editorial from Madison Magazine, Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>Thank you for putting me back in touch with the reasons I chose to work in my own company! I started reading Flying Solo the other night and really enjoyed it - an incredibly readable book full of positive self-feedback.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Maureen Norman from South Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>I am giving Flying Solo to my three uni student daughters as compulsory reading alongside Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I don't want them to choose any "institutional" or "corporate" career path before they have properly investigated flying solo in some enterprise of their own.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Marianne van Dijk from Broken Hill, New South Wales</strong></em></p> <p><em>I am giving my friend a copy of Flying Solo. I am positive it will lift his spirits, but more importantly it will confirm in his own mind that he is making the right decision. No-one should attempt to run a solo business without first heeding the advice in this wonderful book.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Tony Stevenson from Hobart, Tasmania</strong></em></p> <p><em>Congratulations to you and Sam on your book, Flying Solo.&nbsp; It is wonderful.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Jill Cooter from Adelaide, South Australia</strong></em></p> <p><em>It is a great book, easy to read and lots of practical information and ideas.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Kate Marsh from Sydney, New South Wales</strong></em></p> <p><em>It was my pleasure reading Flying Solo. It was thoroughly inspiring, exciting, informative, stimulating and enjoyable read. I love your energy, motivation, passion and style, and also the great tips, so a huge thank you for sharing your fascinating insights, knowledge and experience.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Karen Low from Queensland</strong></em></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14920 2015-01-18T14:11:00+11:00 2015-01-19T10:10:47+11:00 Member must reads, part 5 <p>Edwin Lynch, Thomas Fisher and Kathie Stove share the books that have had the most influence on the way they run their business.</p><h2>Edwin Lynch</h2> <p>I usually read hard science or business books, but this one really struck me. I didn't have much work, so I nervously read a book called <a href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/a-life-at-work-thomas-moore/prod9780767922531.html" mce_href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/a-life-at-work-thomas-moore/prod9780767922531.html" target="_blank"><i>A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born To Do</i></a>&nbsp;by Thomas Moore.</p> <p>In it, Thomas successfully suggests that good work is a kind of spiritual calling. Without being too religious or overtly new-agey, he talks about ways that we can bring real soul to what we do in our work-day lives. By working outward, from the soul, we attract what it is we want into our lives.</p> <p>I put the book down and thought, "Fat chance, bud". Nice volition, but I couldn't really reconcile making a profit with any kind of quasi-religious 'spiritual' journey.</p> <p>Moments later my phone rang and I got the usual non-brief from a guy who wanted a site for a second hand boat yard. "Hey Ed, Can you do me a website by Friday?" (That's how most of my briefs go). So much for spiritual satisfaction. I quoted him $2,000 for a simple website and spent the next day and night putting it together.</p> <p>I really poured my soul into that website. There was no content. I had to make it up. Without a brief I was free to do exactly what I wanted, borrowing and then modifying from other sources. I assumed he'd want to change everything.</p> <p>In two days it was done. I wrote the invoice. I was about to send it when I felt an overwhelming feeling of guilt. I waited a day. I had a shower. Went for a ride on my bike. Called a friend to offload my feelings of guilt. Finally, I sent the guy a link to his done-in-two-days brand new website.</p> <p>I have to admit, even though it only took me two days, it was a great looking site. It worked on all browsers, the forms worked - everything looked pretty schmick.</p> <p>I got the call back. Uh oh. . . <br /></p> <p>He loved it more than his own family. This was the best site he had ever seen. Period. He was almost crying on the phone, telling me I was the best guy in the world etc. He wired the money into my account while I was there on the phone.</p> <p>I could taste relief. My guilt boomeranged away (I knew it would be back). And then I thought about Thomas Moore's book which was just sitting there quietly on a shelf. Winking at me. He was right. I had poured my soul into this simple website for two days. This is my calling. I thoroughly enjoyed the rush of it.</p> <p>When I went to my bank, the guy had deposited $2,500 into my account - a $500 bonus! That book taught me never to panic – especially if I have few clients. More will come. But weirdly, only when I need a new client, one pops into my inbox. Tom's book taught me why.</p> <p><i>Read more about <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/18257/Geoffrey-Websites" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/18257/Geoffrey-Websites">Geoffrey Websites</a>' Edwin Lynch in his <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/edwin-james-lynch-geoffrey" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/edwin-james-lynch-geoffrey" target="_blank">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</i></p> <h2>Thomas Fisher</h2> <p>I recently read <i><a href="http://tractionbook.com/" mce_href="http://tractionbook.com/" target="_blank">Traction</a> </i>by Gabriel Weinberg and it had a profound impact on the way I think about lead generation.</p> <p>Traction explores over a half a dozen different marketing channels –&nbsp;from old school PR to the latest techniques in Search Engine Marketing, and everything in between. There's a real emphasis on practical applications and it's a super easy read. I've been recommending it to anyone who will listen!&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Read more about <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/38978/LifeInsuranceComparison-com-au" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/38978/LifeInsuranceComparison-com-au">LifeInsuranceComparison.com.au</a>'s Thomas Fisher in his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/thomas-fisher-life-insurance-comparison" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/thomas-fisher-life-insurance-comparison" target="_blank">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</i></p> <h2>Kathie Stove</h2> <p><i>The complete plain words</i> by Sir Ernest Gowers has been in print since 1954 and has been my bible since I began editing 25 years ago. (And <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complete_Plain_Words" mce_href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complete_Plain_Words" target="_blank">Wikipedia</a> tells me a 2014 edition has been released – I’m off to the bookstore.)&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">This masterpiece shows how to reduce officialese to plain English, with wit, charm and clarity. </span></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">The front cover of my 1986 edition has examples of poor English, the first being: “If the baby does not thrive on raw milk, boil it”. I still laugh. </span></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">The sections on correctness, and choosing and handling words, are full of good advice but the section I find most useful is ‘A checklist: words and phrases to be used with care’. It never goes out of date. </span></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">Unfortunately, there are still far too many people in the business and government worlds who haven’t read it or don’t follow its suggestions. Fortunately, that’s what keeps me in work.</span></p> <p><i style="font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-size: 12px;">Read more about <a href="http://inwriting.flyingsolo.com.au/" mce_href="http://inwriting.flyingsolo.com.au/">in writing</a>'s Kathie Stove in her&nbsp;<a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/kathie-stove-in-writing" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/kathie-stove-in-writing">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</i></p> <h2>Want to share your must read?</h2> <p>To participate in in the <i>Member must reads</i> series you must be a member of Flying Solo Business Class.</p> <p><b>Already a Business Class member?</b> Simply send your 200 word or less summary to lisa(at)flyingsolo.com.au.</p> <p><b>Not yet a Business Class member?</b> <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/membership/my-account/business-class" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/membership/my-account/business-class" target="_self">Find out more</a> about the best value offering in town.</p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14879 2015-01-17T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-17T16:43:45+11:00 How to leverage advertising with promotions <p>If you’re thinking of advertising in a local or national publication, your ad needs one important ingredient – a promotion. It could double your sales. </p><p>Advertising is often the first step when you want to increase your sales. You have to spend money to make money, right?&nbsp;</p> <p>So you research and select the first place to advertise – perhaps putting all your eggs in one basket. Let’s say you’re a jewellery maker and you advertise in your local magazine or newspaper. You book an ad, pay for the space through a sales person, and it’s expensive, ouch! You then pay a designer to create the ad – more money! Once the ad is published you wait anxiously for the phone to ring and orders to come in.&nbsp;</p> <h2>The old way of thinking is not enough anymore&nbsp;</h2> <p>As soloists and micro business owners you need to be more creative, and engage your customers more effectively. You need to capture people’s attention immediately, and hold it long enough to get your message across.&nbsp;</p> <p>While we all understand that <em>content is king</em> and expand our businesses with blogs, videos, white papers and other marketing tools, we haven’t applied this to advertising.</p> <h2>The new way to advertise?&nbsp;</h2> <p>Creatively engage your new customers with an exciting opportunity, minus the overt sales tactics. Support your advertising with promotions.&nbsp;</p> <p>When in discussions with your preferred publication for advertising, ask if you can offer your product or service as a giveaway to support your advertising. It’s a simple question, which could yield some big results.&nbsp;</p> <p>They may be able to giveaway your product or service to their audience in their e-newsletter, on <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/which-social-media-platform-is-best-for-your-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/which-social-media-platform-is-best-for-your-business">social media</a> or as a reader reward. As a result you stretch your dollar further and create an opportunity to capture people’s attention with something a little more seductive than just an ad or pop up banner.</p> <h2>Promotions lead to engagement&nbsp;</h2> <p>There’s no doubt that promotions are more engaging than advertising, so ensure you give yourself the best chance to engage your new customers. A promotion encourages consumers to imagine they’ve won the prize. When they see a promotion, they immediately imagine themselves with the product. It’s a competition, so there is a slight chance they could have that product – and the emotional engagement with your brand begins.</p> <p>Plus, you’ve just created some more <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/content-marketing/content-marketing-in-an-hour-a-week" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/content-marketing/content-marketing-in-an-hour-a-week">content.</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>Content you say? Yes! It’s not very appealing to post on your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/five-tips-for-business-engagement-on-facebook-business-page" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/five-tips-for-business-engagement-on-facebook-business-page">Facebook</a> feed that you’re running an ad in a local newspaper, but it <em>is</em> exciting to inform your followers that you’re running a promotion and that they should enter.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, remember to consider running a promotion before handing over your money for advertising space. It could double your sales.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on leveraging advertising by running a promotion?</em></strong></p> Amanda Westphal tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14912 2015-01-16T07:30:00+11:00 2015-01-16T10:46:06+11:00 Want to fly solo? Start here <p>If you’re at the cusp of flying solo, it’s an exhilarating and empowering experience. But at times, utterly confusing! Just starting out? Then start here.</p><p>Want to start a business? Let’s get started!&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Choose your business name</h2> <p>Choosing your business name can be easy or difficult. You want something memorable, easy to spell, and most of all, something that is not already taken. Before you decide on a name, check the following:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Google</strong><br /> <br /> Type your desired name into Google and see what comes up. You don’t want to be associated with anything unsavoury.&nbsp;<br /><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />Also, you may find the name is already taken and being used in another country. If it is, you can still use it, but consider the potential limitation of marketing your business overseas, and the fact that customers could click on the wrong website when they search for your business online.</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Domain name search<br /> </strong><br /> Make sure the domain name is available and has not yet been registered. You can check domain registrars like NetRegistry.&nbsp;<br /><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />When searching for </span><strong style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;">.com.au </strong><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;">names, consider registering the .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info and so on, as this ensures no one else can use your domain name under another extension. For example, if your domain name is </span>www.redhats.com.au<span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"> someone else can register </span>www.redhats.com<span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;">.&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Intellectual Property (IP) Australia</strong> <br /> <br /> Conduct a Trademark search for the name on the <a href="http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/" mce_href="http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/">IP Australia</a> website. This is often one of the biggest pitfalls of many startups. If someone has registered the Trademark, and is doing a similar type of business with that name, just because you may have registered the business or company name with ASIC does not mean you can use it to provide similar goods and services. You may be breaching someone else’s trademark rights.&nbsp;<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Registry Search</strong>&nbsp;<br /><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />Check both company and business names on </span><a style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;" href="https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch/faces/landing/SearchRegisters.jspx?_adf.ctrl-state=10jc5f8hk7_4" mce_href="https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch/faces/landing/SearchRegisters.jspx?_adf.ctrl-state=10jc5f8hk7_4">ASIC</a><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"> to see if they are already registered.&nbsp;<br /></span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />Tip: If the name is registered with IP Australia, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it, it just means you can’t use it to sell similar goods and services.&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <h2>2. Know the Difference between Pty Ltd vs Sole Trader</h2> <p>By having a website business your personal assets such as your house and car are at risk. You have little protection for your personal assets when running your business as a sole trader, business name and website name (whether you register a business name or not). So here’s what should you do to protect yourself and your business in the absence of a Pty Ltd company.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Good Terms and Conditions</strong>.&nbsp;<br /><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />Your website needs to have good </span><a style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;" href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/a-guide-to-website-terms-and-conditions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/a-guide-to-website-terms-and-conditions">Terms and Conditions</a><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"> that are specific to your services, which include a strong limitation of liability clause. These terms should be kept up-to-date at all times.<br /></span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />If you aren’t going to spend the money on setting up a company until your business starts flying, then at least spend the money to protect your house! And </span><a style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;" href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/a-guide-to-website-terms-and-conditions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/a-guide-to-website-terms-and-conditions">don’t copy</a><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"> the Terms and Conditions from another site, because: you risk copyright infringement, the terms may be irrelevant for your industry or out of date, and if it can be shown that they’ve been copied, you won’t be protected anyway.&nbsp;<br /></span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />There are some great website legal packages available online for very little money.&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Incorporate a Pty Ltd company as soon as possible</strong>&nbsp;<br /><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />There are annual costs, but incorporating at Pty Ltd company will provide invaluable protection because a claim is limited to assets in your business rather than your personal assets. For more information, head to this ASIC page: </span><a style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;" href="http://www.asic.gov.au/for-business/starting-a-company/how-to-start-a-company/" mce_href="http://www.asic.gov.au/for-business/starting-a-company/how-to-start-a-company/">How to start a company.</a></li> </ul> <p>*Important Note: when obtaining a Pty Ltd company, ensure you transfer ownership of the domain name to the Pty Ltd company – don’t leave it under your personal name.</p> <h2>3. Write a Business Plan</h2> <p>Whether you’re seeking funding or not, a business plan will help you track and forecast your spending. Revising it each year is a great way to review and refocus your business. Find out <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/writing-a-business-plan" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/writing-a-business-plan">how to write a business plan</a>.</p><h2>4. Website – where to start?!</h2> <p>You have a variety of ways to sell your goods and services. Here are some of your options:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Sell your goods through a general ecommerce website<br /> <br /> </strong>If you are going to use ecommerce websites like Etsy and Big Commerce, check their terms because they protect themselves, not you. You should ideally have a website with your own <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/a-guide-to-website-terms-and-conditions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/a-guide-to-website-terms-and-conditions">terms and conditions</a> of sale.<br /><br /></li> <li><strong>Hiring a website designer/developer</strong> <br /> <br /> Do A LOT of research on this. I have seen many unhappy clients due to various problems with their web designer, such as lack of communication and other issues. There are sadly some rogue developers who charge exorbitant fees for a standard ‘theme’ site that cost very little.<br /><br /> The most important thing is that you have a site you can manage yourself and add content to; one where you own both the code and final product (in case you want to sell it/get investors).&nbsp;<br /><span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br />Get recommendations and ensure you have a good contract that allows you to terminate if you are not happy, and also, one that allows you to own any work that has been completed. The contract should also clarify payment timing and phases.</span></li> </ul> <h2>5. Hire contractors and freelancers for a whole range of tasks</h2> <p>It’s not a good use of your time to do everything, so get help. You can outsource everything from logo design to web design. Happily, there are lots of options available both <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory">locally</a> and overseas (many people achieve success using Odesk and Elance).&nbsp;</p> <p>Just make sure you have good agreements in place with your contractors. Every small business should have a good resource agreement toolkit including: <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/writing-a-business-plan" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/writing-a-business-plan">confidentiality agreements</a>, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/hiring-contractors-four-questions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/hiring-contractors-four-questions">contractor agreements</a>, website development agreements, letters of demand and so on.&nbsp;</p> <p>These are my top steps when starting a business. You are a rock star for flying solo and I wish you every success!&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Do you have any tips or questions in regard to getting started?</em></strong></p> Vanessa Emilio tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14878 2015-01-15T07:30:00+11:00 2014-11-20T14:10:45+11:00 Working from home: The hidden dangers exposed <p>Contrary to popular belief, working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In this article, Mary Gardam takes a light-hearted look at the hidden dangers.</p><p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/working-from-home" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/working-from-home" target="_self">Working from home</a> sounds great, everything's at your fingertips, mere metres from the comfort of your bed and a fully stocked kitchen. There's the convenience of being able to spend time with your family and pop out to the shops when everyone else is busy at work. However these benefits also come with some hidden dangers. For the safety of soloists everywhere, I think it's time they were exposed.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Commuter hell&nbsp;</h2> <p>Okay, so your desk might be metres from your bed, not much of a commute right? While spending 45 minutes in traffic isn't everyone's idea of a good time, at least on the roads there are some rules everyone follows, you know, keep to the left, stop at the red lights. In my house my commute is only about 10 metres but it's an absolute minefield of discarded school bags, children asking for snacks/videos/help, and if I'm really lucky, I'll stand on a forgotten piece of Lego – ouch!&nbsp;</p> <h2>Office politics&nbsp;</h2> <p>While there might not be the power struggles and backstabbing associated with working in an office, there is a different kind of power struggle: Convincing your family, friends and well meaning neighbours (who drop in unannounced) that you are AT WORK. I've been guilty of this myself prior to having my own business. Sorry Cynthia.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Distractions&nbsp;</h2> <p>In the past it might have been a chatty co-worker causing the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/how-to-deal-with-distractions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/how-to-deal-with-distractions">distractions</a>, but now I have the luxury of choosing my distraction: the TV, washing, reading <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/professional-development/book-recommendations-1" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/professional-development/book-recommendations-1">books</a>, calling Mum, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/twitter-for-small-business-why-it-rocks" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/twitter-for-small-business-why-it-rocks">social media</a> … did I mention social media? And the list goes on.&nbsp;</p> <p>At least at a workplace there is some peer pressure to get your work done. If I'm having an unmotivated, unproductive day at home it can quickly descend into a <em>Homeland</em> marathon. Bad Mary! Thank goodness for <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/managing-deadlines-avoid-deadline-dangers" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/managing-deadlines-avoid-deadline-dangers">deadlines.</a>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Lunch room issues<em>&nbsp;</em></h2> <p>Instead of being the place that keeps your lunch at the right temperature, your home kitchen can exude an almost hypnotic attraction. Suddenly my husband's Mint Slice biscuits begin to call me. Suddenly I'm contemplating what I might be able to eat or cook that will magically make me much more productive.<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <h2>First in, last to leave<em>&nbsp;</em></h2> <p>We've all had those days when you are completely in the zone and dare not stop because you're afraid that you won't be able to recapture the magic.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the office the cleaning staff start turning off the lights, which is a good sign that you need to call it a day. At home you just keep at it. And even if you do stop, your work is only a few metres away. Switching off is an important skill. If you need some ideas I believe the distractions section may help.&nbsp;</p> <p>I love working from home but it requires much more self discipline, commitment and patience than working in an office.&nbsp;</p> <p>However there are some unique benefits. There aren't too many workplaces that would let me bring my three year old along. She's been playing happily a few metres away while I write this. I just took a break to check on her and guess what, on the way back to my desk I stood on some Lego. Ahh the comforts of working from home!&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>What hidden dangers</em></strong><strong><em> have you discovered <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/working-from-home" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/working-from-home">working from home</a>?</em></strong></p> Mary Gardam tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14886 2015-01-14T07:30:00+11:00 2014-11-10T11:22:22+11:00 Unlock the secrets in your financial reports <p>Armed with your profit and loss statement, balance sheet and some simple tricks accountants use, you can unlock valuable information about your business.</p><p>Learning how to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-your-profit-and-loss-statement" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-your-profit-and-loss-statement">read your P&amp;L</a> and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-your-balance-sheet" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-your-balance-sheet">balance sheet</a> are the first steps in getting a handle on your business financials. But to take things to the next level, you also need to be able to analyse the information those financial reports contain.</p> <p>Read on to discover some easy ways to analyse your data using the same tricks accountants use every day.</p> <p>You can analyse your P&amp;L and balance sheet much more effectively by using a few ratios, yardsticks and benchmarks. There are many to choose from, but selecting just a few and looking at them regularly can provide great insights, and might just give you an advantage of competitors who fail to do so.</p> <h2>Gross profit margin as a percentage of sales</h2> <p>Each of the products and services you offer will probably yield a different GP. Measuring the average month by month will give you an idea of how your business is performing. Consider an item you buy for $1.00 and sell for $1.50, giving you a mark-up of 50% on the buying price of $1.00, and a gross margin of 50 cents.</p> <p>The GP margin percentage on that item is expressed as the gross margin divided by the sales price, (50 cents divided by $1.50 or 33.3%). The same is true if you are selling services where you can compare the revenue generated from those services with the cost (usually wages) of providing them.</p> <p>When measuring your GP margin percentage each month, consider why it might have varied from what you expected (for example due to the mix of products sold or discounts offered) and consider ways you can improve it in the future.</p> <h2>Debtor days</h2> <p>In Australia, the average debtor days for SMEs currently sits at around 58 days – that is, it takes an average of 54 days from the date you invoice your client until the date you get paid.</p> <p>If your business is turning over $200,000 a year, 54 debtor days equate to almost $30,000 of your cash that is still sitting in your customers’ bank accounts. Getting paid 30 days after you issue an invoice rather than 54 would add almost $14,000 to your bank balance.</p> <p>For many small businesses the situation is even worse, with customers taking 60 days, 90 days or even longer to pay their invoices. So if your accounting software doesn’t include tools to help you manage this, it’s well worth considering switching to a system that does – this feature alone could have a dramatic impact on your cash flow.<strong></strong></p> <h2>Working capital</h2> <p>Looking at your working capital tells you if you’re going to have cashflow problems in the near future – which is much more important than looking at your bank account to see how much cash you’ve got now.</p> <p>To calculate this, run a balance sheet, and compare your current assets (things you own like bank balance and debtors) to your current liabilities (things you owe like supplier invoices, superannuation payments and payments to the ATO). If your current liabilities figure is bigger than your current assets, this is a forewarning of problems to come.</p> <h2>Yardsticks and benchmarks</h2> <p>The easiest way to analyse the results you’re seeing in the measures above is to use your past performance on them as a yardstick by which you measure your current results. As you track your performance over a period of time (e.g. month by month) you’ll be able to see whether the trend is up or down.</p> <p>If you have a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/four-simple-steps-to-create-your-budget" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/four-simple-steps-to-create-your-budget">budget</a> for your business, you’ll also be able to see whether your actual results measure up to your expectations.</p> <p>Finally, it can be very revealing to compare your own results to that of similar businesses, using <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Small-business-benchmarks/In-detail/" mce_href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Small-business-benchmarks/In-detail/">benchmarking data</a> available from the ATO.</p> <p>Previous articles in this series have included a brief overview of the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/an-introduction-to-financial-reports" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/an-introduction-to-financial-reports">financial reports</a> available from your accounting software, how to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-your-profit-and-loss-statement" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-your-profit-and-loss-statement">read your P&amp;L</a> and balance sheet, and how to prepare a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-cash-flow-forecasting" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/understanding-cash-flow-forecasting">cashflow forecast</a>. The next and final article will wrap things up by explaining how to act on all this information to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/use-financial-reports-to-improve-your-biz" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/use-financial-reports-to-improve-your-biz">improve the results of your business</a>.</p><p> <strong><em>In the meantime, if you have any questions about accounting ratios, yardsticks or benchmarks, please ask them in the comments.&nbsp;</em></strong></p> Rhys Roberts tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14882 2015-01-13T06:30:00+11:00 2015-01-13T10:16:19+11:00 Switching off: Is anyone else awake at 3am? <p>If you have trouble switching off at night, then we have something in common. Here’s my story, as well as a few strategies I use to calm my nocturnal thoughts.</p><p>It keeps happening. I go to bed and quickly fall asleep (a couple of glasses of wine probably help!) and then I’m awake again.</p> <p>It starts. Whizzing thoughts around my head. Forgotten tasks. Regrets. Planning.</p> <p>I’m prepared for this and start imagining a peaceful stream with water trickling over stones. (Is anyone else doing this at 3:00 am?)</p> <p><em>Damn, that never works.</em></p> <p>So I begin breathing exercises. (I learned these in a power yoga session. You see the theme here? I jam pack everything in!)</p> <p>After that I start flipping from one sleep position to another.</p> <p>Mark, my husband and business partner, used to say he ‘dreamt in spreadsheets’, and I never got it, <em>but</em><em> now I do. </em></p> <p>Isn’t it enough to work a 14 hour day without also putting in hours while I’m asleep, or trying to sleep?</p> <h2>So why am I awake? What am I worrying about?</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/money-saving-tips-to-boost-cash-flow" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/money-saving-tips-to-boost-cash-flow">Cash flow</a> (always there in the back of my mind)</li> <li>Clients not paying on time</li> <li>House not being maintained and cleaned as I would like (if only there were another four hours in the day)</li> <li>Getting enough work for the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/hiring-recruitment-tips-mistakes" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/hiring-recruitment-tips-mistakes">team</a></li> <li>Will my kids forgive the hours I’m working when they are older?</li> <li>Current deals being negotiated</li> <li>Will I make our monthly revenue forecast?</li> <li>Will my friends forgive me for falling off the face of the earth?</li> <li>Can we pay our bills?</li> <li>Can I squeeze in squash in the morning at 6:00 am?</li> <li><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/saying-no-how-to-turn-away-difficult-clients" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/saying-no-how-to-turn-away-difficult-clients">Saying ‘no’ to a client</a> when I need to</li> <li>Not selling enough online – what happened to making money while I I’m sleeping? (If I did this then I might sleep!)</li> <li>When are we going to be able to take a holiday?</li> <li>Will Mark and I ever be able to spend a whole weekend and not talk about the business?</li> <li>How do we compare to our competitors?</li> <li>Is it normal to work these hours and not yet realise the benefits?</li> </ul> <p>The list goes on.</p> <p>Between one or two hours later I have mentally exhausted myself enough to fall asleep.</p> <p>Then the alarm wakes me at 5:45am for squash, and the day begins again!</p> <h2>So, what am I doing about it?</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Write. </strong>I have a pad and pen next to the bed where I write down ideas and thoughts. To a certain extent this does ‘outsource’ the thinking until tomorrow.</li> <li><strong>Breath.</strong> Some nights the breathing exercises really do help.</li> <li><strong>Stay fit.</strong> I find that squash in the mornings really gets the blood pumping, so rather than desperately needing a caffeine fix, I am firing on all cylinders when I start at 7:30am. The flip side is by 9:30pm I am falling asleep on Mark (yet again). But as you know, I don’t <em>stay</em> asleep.</li> <li><strong>Give myself a break.</strong> As micro business owners we have one of the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/25-signs-youre-a-horrible-boss" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/25-signs-youre-a-horrible-boss">toughest bosses</a> in the world – ourselves! It is okay to pat yourself on the back, take an early mark or even <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/fear-of-failure-why-you-need-to-fail-more" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/fear-of-failure-why-you-need-to-fail-more">fail!</a></li> </ol> <p>The reality is I love what I do, I love growing Employee Matters, and for now this is my life and I would not change it for the world. AND when I am hugely successful, I will, no doubt – sleep!</p><p> <strong><em>What are your experiences with switching off?</em></strong></p> Natasha Hawker tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14992 2015-01-11T07:30:00+11:00 2015-01-08T13:13:24+11:00 Make this your best year yet <p>No stranger to success, podcast guest Matthew Michalewicz has some valuable strategies to get the year off to a flying start (and a v cool offer).</p><p><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;" mce_style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;">To access all Flying Solo podcasts visit&nbsp;</span><a style="outline-color: #000000; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;" mce_style="outline-color: #000000; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;" href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast" target="_blank">http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast</a><br /></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14840 2015-01-10T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-16T14:15:41+10:00 Global product sourcing: due diligence <p>After deciding to source products from overseas, one of the biggest challenges is to identify a suitable supplier. Complete your due diligence.</p><p>There are many places where you can seek suppliers so it’s not my intention to go down that path. What I would like to provide is some basics in establishing whether the intended supplier is going to be the right one.&nbsp;</p> <p>We often hear the advice of making sure to complete due diligence. But rarely is there any explanation of what “due diligence” actually means or how to do it effectively. Well, my definition of <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/chinese-suppliers-do-your-due-diligence" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/chinese-suppliers-do-your-due-diligence">due diligence</a> is:&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Make damn sure you are confident the supplier is not going to rip you off!&nbsp;</b></p> <p>In other words, there is a need to complete the necessary checks to ensure the intended supplier is a legitimate business and not a supplier set up for the purpose of separating you from your money.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Two areas where due diligence is required&nbsp;</h2> <p>As far as I’m concerned there are two areas where due diligence is required.&nbsp;</p> <p>1. Verifying the company you intend to deal with is legitimate</p> <p>2. Actively monitoring the progress of any order to make sure it proceeds as arranged, including that the quality meets the agreed standard. (Perhaps not strictly the definition of due diligence, but equally important).&nbsp;</p> <p>With regard to verifying a supplier, it is virtually impossible to ever be 100 percent sure you will not run into problems, but there are certainly ways to minimise the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/risky-business-protecting-against-financial-risk" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/risky-business-protecting-against-financial-risk">risks.</a>&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to minimise the risk of running into problems</h2> <p>1. If you are looking to buy well known international branded goods, forget China. You simply cannot buy that iPhone on the cheap from China. Period. End of story.&nbsp;</p> <p>2. Check their company registration details and make sure their company information, contact details all match up when compared to any online sources like company portals, Google maps and so on.&nbsp;</p> <p>3. <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/three-tips-for-improving-your-business-communication" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/three-tips-for-improving-your-business-communication">Communicate</a> with the company in writing as well as by phone if necessary.&nbsp;</p> <p>4. If the company is listed on a Business to Business (B2B) portal such as Alibaba or Global Sources, and they are a verified member, then the B2B website would have done some work to verify the company is real. But never rely on this alone to make your decision.&nbsp;</p> <p>5. Visit the factory or employ an agent or verification company to verify the supplier. But in this instance you also need to be comfortable that the agent is trustworthy.&nbsp;</p> <p>6. Scammers seem to concentrate a lot more around certain products than they do others. For example, small quantity items being purchased for resale on sites like eBay (electronics, tablets) seem to attract a higher number of scammers than those of other products. This is where you see a lot of people getting ripped off when they think they are getting a good deal.&nbsp;</p> <p>I would certainly never rely on just one method to confirm the legitimacy of a company. Please also bear in mind that the above methods are examples only and are by no means the only ways to verify a company is real.&nbsp;</p> <p>Having said all that, for me personally, a far bigger issue has always been what happens after the order has commenced. i.e. actively following the progress of the order.&nbsp;</p> <p>It can be difficult to know whether your new supplier is reliable until after having several dealings with them. Anyone who has sourced products from places like China for any period of time will have had a problem at some point.&nbsp;</p> <p>Part of reducing the potential problems is to be constantly monitoring progress. If for example an order may not be completed on time, it is far better to know a few weeks before the due date, than the day the goods are due to be finished. At least with forewarning you may be able to do something, or at least make contingency plans.&nbsp;</p> <p>Investing time at the outset to identify the best and most appropriate supplier through a process of due diligence will pay for itself later when you have avoided possible problems.&nbsp;</p><p> <em><b>What are your thoughts on global product sourcing and the due diligence required?</b></em></p> Brian Mallyon tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14865 2015-01-09T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-01T14:49:31+10:00 Golden rules for partnerships <p>Partners are those you have a mutually beneficial business relationship with. By working well together the results are far greater than going it alone.</p><p>So we’re in the world of ‘I’. Or, as soloists, so we think we are.</p> <p>I’d been working on my own for so long, creating and carving a name for myself that when I needed to launch a new program, I was lost.</p> <p>How would I market this? How would the world receive this new fancy thing I’d created? Why would people care? How could I expect a relationship and interaction from a new group of people?</p> <p>In asking all these questions, the answer became blindingly obvious. If I was going to launch something to people who weren’t already following me, they needed to trust me. If I was really going to connect with them, I would need to be introduced to them.</p> <p>Cue <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/the-key-to-successful-business-partnerships" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/the-key-to-successful-business-partnerships">partnerships.</a></p> <p>One of the reasons partners create such mutually beneficial business relationship is because they have a client base of people who are valuable to you too.</p> <h2>Golden rules for partnering</h2> <p><strong><em>Ensure relevance </em></strong></p> <p>To avoid a scattergun approach, ensure your preferred <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/how-business-partnerships-can-work-for-soloists" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/how-business-partnerships-can-work-for-soloists">partners</a> actually have a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/email-newsletters/how-to-grow-your-prospects-list" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/email-newsletters/how-to-grow-your-prospects-list">customer base (list)</a> of people you really want to sell to. Are these customers your target market? And vice versa, do these partners also see value in your list or customer base? (Although there is an exception to this. See next point.)</p><p><strong> <em>You don’t need to exchange list for list </em></strong></p> <p>If you don’t have a relevant list, maybe there’s something else you can offer in return? Maybe a free service or product, or introducing them to someone of value? There are a myriad of possibilities. Just think outside the square because you <em>are</em> valuable.</p> <p><strong><em>Approach with honesty, integrity and the desire to reciprocate.</em></strong></p> <p>If you’re asking your new-found partner for help, be willing to offer the same in return, and always behave with <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/why-business-integrity-is-so-important" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/why-business-integrity-is-so-important">integrity</a>. If you’re open and trustworthy, your potential partner may let you market to their list simply because they like you, and want to form a valued relationship. In some instances they may not want anything in return.</p> <h2>Ask</h2> <p>Here’s the kicker. You are going to have to approach people about your partnership ideas. For some people this can be a real pain point. A lot of us just hope that people will naturally offer to share our events/products/services on our behalf. But it doesn’t work that way.</p> <p>When you do finally get the courage, use collaborative language like, “I was hoping we could work together and help each other out”. And offer insight into how the partnership will benefit them by using the old “What’s in it for me” (WIIFM) principle.</p> <p>When all’s said and done, partnerships can provide an enriching experience, boost your sales and increase the pool of very cool people you associate with.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on forming partnerships? What do you perceive to be the benefits of partnerships?&nbsp;</em></strong></p> Lynda Bayada tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14876 2015-01-08T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-14T11:44:08+11:00 Five tips to avoid burnout <p>As a micro business owner, if you’re suffering burnout, your business will suffer too. Here are five tips to help you avoid burnout. </p><h2>Use tools and outsource</h2> <p>One thing that many micro business owners have in common is the realisation that running a business is harder and more involved than first thought.</p> <p>To make life easier, it’s important to use all the available tools at your disposal, as well as <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/outsourcing-to-virtual-assistants" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/outsourcing-to-virtual-assistants">outsource</a> wherever you can. Perhaps this means using Xero to automate debtor chasing, pre-scheduling social media posts or using experts so you can focus on your own expertise.</p> <p>Outsourcing also has the added benefit of getting an outsider’s viewpoint on your business. New ideas can be invaluable. If you think you can’t afford to outsource, consider that outsourcing can help to grow your business.</p> <h2>Vacations</h2> <p>Too many business owners are afraid of taking leave in case their businesses fall apart. But that situation is extreme. Getting away from your business, clearing your head and coming back with a fresh perspective can reinvigorate your passion and inspire new ideas. Not only that, spending time with family, aside from the obvious benefits, can also have real tangible health benefits.</p> <h2>Systemise</h2> <p>Creating <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/the-best-of-small-business-systems-processes" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/the-best-of-small-business-systems-processes">documented processes</a> for as much of your business as possible gets your business out of your head.</p> <p>A great tip for the newbie business owner is to start this process from the very outset, even if you think you don’t need it yet. Keep the unnecessary out of your head and in documented procedures.</p> <p>Creating documented processes also makes it easier for you to take holidays, because you know that your process will be followed when you’re away.</p> <h2>Partner/sounding board</h2> <p>For the soloist, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/marketing-plan-tips-avoiding-business-burnout" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/marketing-plan-tips-avoiding-business-burnout">burnout</a> can come earlier than for small business owners who have partners and staff to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/getting-feedback-why-every-soloist-needs-a-bouncer" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/getting-feedback-why-every-soloist-needs-a-bouncer">bounce</a> ideas off and share the load. Every solo business owner must have a sounding board, such as a business coach, mentor, accountant and business support group.</p> <p>Tip: It’s preferable to find someone who doesn’t have a financial interest in your business, as this may cloud their judgement in terms of making changes that only affect themselves.<strong><u></u></strong></p> <h2>Stick to what you know</h2> <p>Our final point is to not forget the primary reason you started your business. Don’t let yourself be bogged down in the administrative and non-core aspects, it’s a guaranteed path to burnout.</p> <p>Leave the burnouts to the young guys in loud cars, and focus on working smarter in order to enjoy a healthier business and life.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your tips for avoiding burnout?</em></strong></p> John Corias tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14835 2015-01-07T06:30:00+11:00 2015-01-07T10:43:01+11:00 The key to getting things done <p>Although you’ve given up the daily 9-5 grind, chances are you are still conditioned to work a set number of hours each day. You don’t have to.</p><p>As a soloist you have the freedom to choose your own working style, and putting in the maximum number of hours per day, every day, isn’t always the best way to get things done. Here are some tips to help.</p> <h2>Thinking hourly doesn’t work</h2> <p>Most people can’t concentrate for more than one or two hours intensively. On top of this, the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/how-to-deal-with-distractions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/how-to-deal-with-distractions">distractions</a> we all face (especially if we work from home) make it unlikely to have an eight hour block of uninterrupted time to focus on anything.</p> <p>Generally speaking, the number of hours you spend working on a task doesn’t necessarily correlate with the value of the finished result, or whether it achieves its desired outcome.</p> <h2>Make time for intense periods of focus</h2> <p>Working at full capacity for a few hours is more productive than working for eight hours at 20 percent capacity.</p> <p>But how do you put aside the time and space to really <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-motivation/finding-your-focus" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-motivation/finding-your-focus">focus</a> on something when you are surrounded by distractions?</p> <p>Block out a few hours a day where you are completely alone and undistracted, especially when powering through complex or intensive tasks. This may mean working for a few hours late at night or getting up early in the morning.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Keep your energy levels high</h2> <p>If you are feeling sluggish and tired you won’t be working at full <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-motivation/finding-your-focus" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-motivation/finding-your-focus">productivity.</a> It’s important to make time for exercise, eat well and get plenty of sleep.</p> <p>There’s no one-size-fits-all way to keep your energy levels high, you may have to experiment with a few different methods to find the solution that works best for you. It will pay off in the long term though, not just in terms of your working life!</p> <h2>Focus on a few goals every day </h2> <p>Instead of sitting down with the intention of working for eight hours, try to focus on a few things, and work until you finish them. If you finish early you can reward yourself with a coffee break or a walk. This simple mindset shift can give you an incentive to work faster and more efficiently, and you might get more done.</p> <p>As soloists we have the freedom and flexibility to create our own working style. Don’t be confined to the 9-5 or fall into the trap of working 10 hours a day, getting very little done.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your tips for getting things done?</em></strong></p> Jo Macdermott