tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:/feeds/all Flying Solo 2014-12-20T07:30:00+11:00 tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14864 2014-12-20T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-01T15:36:12+10:00 Clock on: Time management tips for biz owners <p>Good time management skills are essential for business owners. Learn how to manage your time effectively and you’ll feel more relaxed and in control.</p><p>Time management doesn’t mean doing more work – it means focusing on the most important tasks and allocating timeframes to complete these tasks.</p> <p>Below are my top time management tips for business owners.</p> <h2>Plan on Mondays </h2> <p>On Mondays, write down the tasks that need to be completed by the end of the week and then allocate each task to a particular day. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many more goals you can achieve on a weekly basis simply by taking 20 minutes to plan.</p> <h2>Develop a sense of urgency</h2> <p>Get straight into the task at hand. Too many people spend days writing something that could be written in <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/business-writing-tips-how-to-write-faster" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/business-writing-tips-how-to-write-faster">two hours</a>. Delaying projects by holding <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/sales-strategies/how-to-conduct-effective-meetings" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/sales-strategies/how-to-conduct-effective-meetings">meeting</a> after meeting does not get the job done either.</p> <h2>Focus in time blocks</h2> <p>Planning in blocks allows for better time management. Instead of allocating the whole afternoon for a task, try allocating a period of time, say 1.30pm – 3.30pm. Once the time is up, move on to the next task. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.</p> <h2>Incorporate buffer time </h2> <p>Remember to leave a 5 to 10 minute break between tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task before starting the next one.</p> <h2>Exude passion</h2> <p>There is nothing people respect more in life than someone who speaks passionately on a subject. Be <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/choosing-a-career/why-passion-is-a-dirty-word" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/choosing-a-career/why-passion-is-a-dirty-word">passionate</a> about your products and services. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, tasks could take longer to complete. If you’ve lost the passion maybe you need to revaluate your circumstances or take some time out.</p> <p>By applying a few of the tips listed above, you’ll increase your productive work hours and feel less overwhelmed and stressed in the process.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your time management tips?</em></strong></p> Michael Quinn tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14863 2014-12-19T07:30:00+11:00 2014-12-18T15:15:55+11:00 When to trust your instincts <p>Sometimes you need to take a deep breath, step back and trust your instincts. Here are some key times when you need to listen to your inner voice.</p><p>Have you done your research? What does the data say? Have you analysed your financials, customer metrics and marketing efficiency?&nbsp;</p> <p>There is so much data available about your business and your industry that sometimes you can hit a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/decision-making/making-difficult-decisions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/decision-making/making-difficult-decisions">decision-making</a> brick wall.&nbsp;</p> <p>Have you heard of analysis paralysis? It's when anxiety about getting one further level of information stops you from moving your business forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>Sometimes you need to take a deep breath, step back and trust your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/why-your-inner-voice-and-intuition-should-rule-your-head" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/why-your-inner-voice-and-intuition-should-rule-your-head">instincts.</a></p> <p>Here are some key times when you need to listen to your inner voice and allow it to be the final decision maker.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Starting a business&nbsp;</h2> <p>Starting a business is one of those times when every wannabe soloist has had to trust his or her instincts and just <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/my-business-story-from-scientist-to-soloist" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/my-business-story-from-scientist-to-soloist">jump.</a> It’s also one of the likeliest times to be struck with analysis paralysis.&nbsp;</p> <p>You’ve done your research, assessed your market, crunched your financials, but you’re still craving one last piece of information that’ll make your decision clear. Stop waiting. You will never have all the answers and will never be able to eliminate all risk – unless you have a crystal ball that is, in which case I’m buying whatever you’re selling!<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Engaging a new supplier&nbsp;</h2> <p>Listen to your inner voice.&nbsp;</p> <p>Risk can’t be totally eliminated contractually, and both sides need to feel comfortable that the business relationship will survive teething problems without always resorting to the letter of the contract. Of course, the price and acceptable terms and conditions need to be negotiated, but you are about to embark on a relationship, and one that will involve trust. So trust your instincts.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Choosing a business partner&nbsp;</h2> <p>Instincts are even more important when choosing a business partner. You need to be sure that, even if you have differing skills and experience, that your approach to business, your ethics and integrity are all similar.&nbsp;</p> <p>By the time you choose your business partner you should have had numerous conversations, but sometimes it’s the things that <em>aren’t</em> said that you really should be listening to.&nbsp;</p> <p>Psychologist Paul Ekman actually devised a ‘Facial Coding System’ to interpret all those involuntary facial expressions that you unconsciously analyse whilst speaking to someone. This is another reason why you often come away from face to face meetings far more enlightened than with phone meetings.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Trusting your instincts isn’t about throwing caution to the wind&nbsp;</h2> <p>Effective intuition is based on experience, so you still need to make sure you do your research and always keep learning from past situations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Malcolm Gladwell’s <em>Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking</em> argues that your intuition is actually your brain drawing on its wealth of experience and knowledge, and rapidly processing all the information to come to a ‘snap’ decision. So when you are finding it difficult to move forward, don’t let fear hold you back.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, don’t forget to give yourself a chance to hear your inner voice. Take a break, go for a walk and step away from the problem. The right decision just might become abundantly clear.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>What are your thoughts on trusting your instincts?</em></strong></p> Michelle Kvello tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14841 2014-12-18T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-16T14:12:32+10:00 Post-event marketing strategies for soloists <p>Successful events require time and planning. Although you might feel relieved when it’s over, the work doesn’t stop when the last guest has left.</p><p>A well-planned and executed <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/event-management-how-to-organise-and-stage-a-special-event" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/event-management-how-to-organise-and-stage-a-special-event">event</a> can be a big plus for your business, and helps you build a community of high profile followers. If you can connect your business with thought leaders in your industry, it will enhance your reputation and authority.</p> <p>Creating and implementing a post-event marketing plan leads to a number of benefits including increased website traffic, more followers on social media and a higher industry awareness of your business.</p> <p>You put a lot of effort into planning your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/public-relations-pr/pr-tips-make-an-event-of-it" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/public-relations-pr/pr-tips-make-an-event-of-it">event,</a> so take the time to leverage it in order to turn promising leads into customers.</p> <h2>Follow up quickly</h2> <p>Send an email to everyone who attended your event while you are still fresh in their minds. This is a great opportunity to: ask for <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/communication-skills/selective-hearing-getting-feedback" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/communication-skills/selective-hearing-getting-feedback">feedback,</a> let them know about your blog, invite them to subscribe to your email list, and follow you on social media. Feedback is invaluable because not only does it give you an idea of what areas you can improve on, it also provides a source of testimonials.</p> <p>If you met any potential specific leads, make sure you follow up with them within three to four business days. Don’t put off picking up the phone and writing those emails. Make the most of your networking by taking a proactive approach to nurturing promising leads.</p> <h2>Get people talking</h2> <p>After the event it’s important to keep the discussion going, especially on social media. You can stimulate discussion by sending around photos, challenging the ideas that were presented and sharing popular tweets. Try to use the ideas and discussions from the event to spark conversations on your blog or social media pages.</p> <p>When posting photos, make sure you include captions rather than just naming people – try to be creative. What were they saying? What was the reaction? This can jog people’s memories and bring back the feelings and thoughts they had during the event. This is far more effective than just recapping who was there.</p> <p>For extra exposure, why not write a blog post about the event for your business blog or as a guest post for a relevant industry site? When blogging, don’t just give a playback, focus on the ideas which were presented and the discussions that were stimulated in order to ignite conversations.</p> <p>Implementing a post-event marketing plan gives you the chance to leverage everything you achieved at the actual event, while building your business and reputation over the long term.</p><p> <strong><em>Do you have any thoughts on post-event marketing strategies?</em></strong></p> Jo Macdermott tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14842 2014-12-17T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-16T14:09:26+10:00 Why you should hire an expert <p>Paying for an expert’s services is an investment. Trying to do things yourself, or more cheaply, can end up costing you more in the long run.</p><h2>What happened when I didn’t hire an expert</h2> <p>Last week when my car was towed away, I learned a valuable lesson. My mechanic is good at looking after my car, and I am good at looking after his superannuation and investments.</p> <p>If Craig stopped being a mechanic and traded his own shares, he may possibly lose money. When I stopped topping up investments and decided to top up my own oil, it resulted in engine seizure. Valuable lesson: stick with what you’re good at and leave the rest to the experts!</p> <h2>What happened when a client ignored my advice </h2> <p>Once, as a professional investment adviser, I suggested that a client sell 40,000 dollars’ worth of gold and buy silver instead. He decided that he knew better, and missed out on making over 30,000 dollars when silver went up by 83 percent in the same year.</p> <h2>Avoid experts and you could pay in more ways than one </h2> <p>There are many <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/public-relations-pr/so-you-think-youre-a-subject-matter-expert" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/public-relations-pr/so-you-think-youre-a-subject-matter-expert">experts</a> with whom you will come in contact, and some will charge more than others. This is because they are worth it, and the repercussions of <em>not </em>using them can be terrible. Imagine if you decided to save money and perform your own surgery?!</p> <p>Instead of thinking how you can possibly save 100 dollars fixing your own TV antenna, calculate the cost of falling off the roof and spending six weeks off work.</p> <p>Instead of trying to save a few dollars doing something for which you are not qualified, or not good at, try figuring out how you can MAKE a few extra dollars by doing the things you’re <em>great</em> at. As a micro business owner, this might mean <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/the-pros-and-cons-of-outsourcing" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/the-pros-and-cons-of-outsourcing">outsourcing</a> to a bookkeeper or web designer.</p> <p>Just as you may need to hire experts for various tasks, there are many people who will need to hire you. If there’s ever been a time to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory">hire an expert</a>, now is that time.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on hiring experts?</em></strong></p> Jeremy Britton tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14975 2014-12-16T07:30:00+11:00 2014-12-16T10:25:35+11:00 Flying Solo community: Why YOU rock! <p>As my Acting Editor position with Flying Solo comes to an end, I’d like to shower you with compliments. Get your umbrella out!</p><p>I’ve been involved with the Flying Solo community for many years as a member and contributor, but working as the Acting Editor gave me a deeper insight into who YOU are.</p> <p>Among other things, my role involved working with the wonderful <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/contributors/all-contributors" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/contributors/all-contributors">contributors,</a> managing their content, surveying the forums and having heaps of fun on the Flying Solo <a href="https://www.facebook.com/FlyingSoloAU" mce_href="https://www.facebook.com/FlyingSoloAU">Facebook</a> page! Here's what I’ve learned.</p> <h2>You are wise </h2> <p>Your wisdom sparkles in every corner of the Flying Solo community from article comments to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php">forum</a> posts.</p> <p>Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced solopreneur; your tips, advice and life experiences empower and motivate us all. Indeed, your wisdom is the very fuel that lifts the community higher and further every single day.</p> <h2>You are generous </h2> <p>Having wisdom is one thing, but making the time to share it is quite another. Generosity is clearly in your <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">sole trader</a> spirit.<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <h2>You are supportive</h2> <p>We regularly have new micro biz owners joining our community. They have bright eyes, big dreams and sometimes even bigger fears – but you put them at ease.</p> <p>When Niamh chastised herself for asking a ‘silly’ forum question, Simply Replica provided reassurance and context: “Don’t ever feel 'stupid' or like an 'idiot' because we’ve ALL STARTED somewhere and had to learn from someone.”</p> <p>See, supportive.</p> <h2>You are honest</h2> <p>It’s hard admitting to mistakes, weaknesses and insecurities, and yet you share your warts-and-all journey every day. To see what I mean, read the outpouring of empathy in response to Mary Gardam’s <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/confession-why-its-not-easy-being-me" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/confession-why-its-not-easy-being-me">raw confession</a> and Vanessa Emilio’s <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/hy-i-fired-my-client-and-what-i-learnt" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/hy-i-fired-my-client-and-what-i-learnt">difficult decision</a>.</p> <h2>You are light-hearted </h2> <p>Have you always been funny or did it unfurl when you became untethered? Whatever the reason, it’s a joy to behold and has literally kept me giggling all year!</p> <p>I can’t possibly share every thought and thread that’s made me chuckle, so here are a few answers to the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/FlyingSoloAU/posts/945856455442915" mce_href="https://www.facebook.com/FlyingSoloAU/posts/945856455442915">question</a>, “A friend pops in for a cuppa on a busy day, what do you say/do?”</p> <ul> <li>“Sit down and I'll bill you.”</li> <li>“I take white with one. And here is a bunch of accounts I want you to sort out for me.”</li> <li>“I have friends?!”<br /></li> </ul> <p>As you can imagine, my Flying Solo Facebook activity has been a bit of a productivity killer at times, but at least my productivity died laughing.</p> <h2>You are grateful supporters and vocal advocates</h2> <p>You often tell us what you love about Flying Solo, and the fact that you’re spreading the word.</p> <p>Hearing positive feedback makes our day because behind the scenes we work really hard to ensure everything runs smoothly and sensationally.</p> <h2>You are you</h2> <p>You’ve joined us on the journey of a lifetime. You’re unique and special in every way. Without you, Flying Solo would need to be renamed, ‘Grounded Solo’ or ‘We’ve run out of fuel solo’ or ‘The ailerons are stuffed solo’.</p> <h2>Thanks! </h2> <p>Thank you for allowing me to move seamlessly from contributor to Acting Editor, and ensuring my 2014 journey was rich, rewarding and exciting.</p> <p>Also, heartfelt thanks to the Flying Solo contributors who consistently dazzled me with their informative, interesting and insightful content. They were always open to my ideas and feedback, and were such a delight to work with.</p> <p>Finally, a gigantic thank you to my Flying Solo <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/about" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/about">family</a>. I’ve never worked with a finer, funnier, fantastic bunch of peeps in my life. While I’m looking forward to returning to Soloville full-time, I will miss them like craaaaaazy.</p> <p>Well, I’m all strapped in and looking forward to an exhilarating journey next year under the new editorship of <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/member/56805" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/member/56805">Kelly Exeter</a>. Bring on 2015!</p><p> <b><i>Why do you think fellow soloists or soloism rocks?</i></b></p> Lucinda Lions tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14982 2014-12-14T07:30:00+11:00 2014-12-09T14:34:43+11:00 The challenges of being a seasonal soloist <p>So what’s it like running a business that's crazy busy at this time of the year and then dead quiet? Podcast guest, Santa Claus has the answers.</p><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; 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></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14887 2014-12-13T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-28T17:00:50+11:00 Four simple steps to create your budget <p>Working to a budget maximises the chances that your business will not only survive but prosper. This step-by-step guide will get you started.</p><p>In my experience, when it comes to building a profitable and sustainable business, few things are more critical to success than developing and sticking to a budget. Think of it as a yardstick that helps you determine whether you’re:</p> <ul> <li>Achieving your overall <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/why-your-financial-reports-matter" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/why-your-financial-reports-matter">financial</a> goals</li> <li>Making the sales you hoped for </li> <li>Generating sufficient gross margin to not just cover your expenses but pay yourself a healthy wage</li> <li>Controlling your expenses</li> <li>Heading for any cash flow problems</li> </ul> <h2>Getting into the budgeting cycle</h2> <p>Budgeting is not something you can set and forget. It’s a set of tasks that you’ll almost always need to cycle through several times and revisit often. I’ve summarised the cycle, below.</p> <h2>1. Determine your sales forecast</h2> <p>Start by estimating what you’re going to generate in terms of sales. If your business is new, this can be very difficult to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/forecasting-cash-flow" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/forecasting-cash-flow">forecast,</a> but if you have some sort of trading history you’ll be better positioned to build a realistic estimate.</p> <p>Try to work from the ‘bottom up’ – in other words, rather than simply coming up with a dollar figure, estimate how many products or services you hope to sell, and at what price. I recommend using Excel and calculating a different figure for each month of the year rather than coming up with one lump sum.</p> <h2>2. Calculate your direct costs</h2> <p>Your direct costs are those that vary according to your sales. For example, for every widget you sell there’ll be a cost of having bought it. This is where the ‘bottom up’ approach helps, because if you know how many widgets you’ve forecast you’ll sell, and you know what it costs to buy them, you’ll be able to work out your direct costs (and the same is true if you‘re selling hours of labour).</p> <p>The difference between your sales and your direct costs will tell you your budgeted gross profit (GP).</p> <p>Armed with these figures you can start testing different assumptions, such as, “If I increase my sales volume by 10% (without changing my price) what happens to my gross margin?” Or, “What would happen if I increase my sales price by 10% and manage to maintain my sales volume?”</p> <h2>3. Factor in your expenses and outgoings</h2> <p>Your expenses are the things you spend money on that don’t vary with sales, such as your rent, marketing expenses and insurance. Some (such as rent and the wages of any staff) will be relatively fixed, while others (such as the amount you spend on advertising) can vary. You may also need to factor in outgoings such as the cost of your vehicle, tools or equipment.</p> <p>In addition, if you’re selling <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/promoting-your-product-turn-features-into-benefits" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/promoting-your-product-turn-features-into-benefits">products</a> or offering credit to your customers, you’ll probably need cash (working capital) in order to cover these.</p> <h2>4. Review all the numbers and make some decisions </h2> <p>Now things start to get interesting! Hopefully your gross profit figure is larger than your expenses, because the difference between these two is your budgeted net profit.</p> <p>Assuming your budget does indicate a profit, ask yourself whether it’s going to be enough for you to live on. If your budget is projecting a loss or not enough profit for your liking, cycle through the four steps of this process again, starting by reviewing all your assumptions. Can you increase your selling prices? Can you sell more in volume terms? Can you reduce the cost of buying your products (or labour) at a lower price? Can you reduce your expenses?</p> <p>And if the answer to all of the above is “No”, the next questions to ask are, “Can I sustain a loss for some period of time until the business is generating a profit? And if so, for how long?”</p> <p>If you work through your budget repeatedly and don’t arrive at a bottom line you can live with, don’t just keep going in the hope that things will miraculously work out okay. Instead, it’s time to revisit your business plan in its entirety and come up with a different approach. This is a critical point in your business planning – getting it right at this stage can save you many thousands of dollars.</p><p> <strong><em>Got any questions about creating a budget for your business? Please ask them in the comments.</em></strong></p> Rhys Roberts tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14862 2014-12-12T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-01T15:39:18+10:00 Your biz: Working on it rather than in it <p>Do you invest time to work on your business? As the year-end approaches, now is the time to reconnect with your visions, goals and strategic big picture. </p><p>It’s easy to get bogged down with working <em>in </em>your business on everyday tasks. However, investing time in a game plan for the year ahead saves you heartache down the road. It also builds the foundation for what all successful businesses thrive on. Vision and action.</p> <p>Whether it’s business planning, strategising, goal setting, designing blueprints or action plans, it’s all part of working on your business. There are plenty of planning formats to choose from, just be sure to pick one that suits your work style.</p> <h2>Five strategies for working <em>on </em>your business</h2> <p><em>Reconnect with your </em><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"><em>business plan</em></a><em></em></p> <p>Does it still reflect your business and where you want to go? If not it’s time to update it. It doesn’t have to be a novel – a few simple one pagers can be just as effective.</p> <p><em>Create or update your vision board</em></p> <p>Use your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/creating-a-vision-board" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/creating-a-vision-board">vision board</a> to inspire and guide you, to be your lighthouse. It will help haul you back from moments of overwhelm and doubt, and keep you focused.</p> <p><em>Make short-term and long-term goals</em></p> <p>Creating short-term goals allows opportunity for more wins. This keeps you motivated toward your bigger <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/four-tips-for-achieving-your-business-goals" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/four-tips-for-achieving-your-business-goals">goals</a>. It also makes your big, overall goal more achievable.</p> <p><em>Celebrate the wins</em></p> <p>Reward yourself when you achieve your goals, however big or small. Celebrate the wins on your journey and look at how far you’ve come! This keeps you energised and in high vibration on your path to success.</p> <p><em>Delegate where possible </em></p> <p>Stick to what you’re good at and get help with the rest. You can’t do it all on your own, so outsource where possible. Every successful <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/innovation/developing-an-entrepreneurial-mindset" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/innovation/developing-an-entrepreneurial-mindset">entrepreneur</a> has their own support team.</p> <p><em>Set deadlines and stick to them</em></p> <p>Highlight <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> on your yearly wall planner and stick to them. Announcing these dates to your audience or in your groups and forums is a great way to create accountability. Nobody wants to break a promise.</p> <p>And there you have it, some simple steps to kickstart your planning process and launch you into a successful year ahead.</p><p> <strong><em>What other strategies do you use to work on your business?&nbsp;</em></strong></p> Helen Roe tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14790 2014-12-11T07:30:00+11:00 2014-08-12T17:17:52+10:00 Should your blog be your main website? <p>Should you create a blog and add it to your business website, or make the blog your main business website? The answer is in this article. </p><p>The question of whether a blog should be added to your main website or <em>be</em> the main website is an important, if subtle question.&nbsp;</p> <p>Everyone has a website or knows they need one.&nbsp;</p> <p>You probably know that just a ‘brochure’ website, with a list of your products and services and a short description of your business is not good enough anymore.&nbsp;</p> <p>If a website is going to perform for you – and by perform I mean <em>attract traffic</em> and <em>convert customers</em> – you need a dynamic platform.&nbsp;</p> <h2>A blog is a ‘plug and play’ social solution&nbsp;</h2> <p>As a blogger myself I always advocate you forgo any boring brochure website and instead use the blog as your main business platform.&nbsp;</p> <p>You can and should include elements like a list of your products/services and an <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-content/website-copy-tips-for-writing-your-about-page" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-content/website-copy-tips-for-writing-your-about-page">about</a> section, but these can be incorporated into pages on your blog.&nbsp;</p> <p>You may not realise this, but blogs actually started the social media revolution. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and all the similar social sites came <em>after</em> blogging.&nbsp;</p> <p>Blogs introduced concepts like interactivity and two way conversations through comments. Although not quite as prevalent as in recent years, bloggers by nature look to interact with other bloggers and share each other's content.&nbsp;</p> <p>Blogs also made publishing online content as easy as writing an email. Using the WordPress blogging platform any person with basic web skills can post content and share videos, audio and pictures.&nbsp;</p> <p>WordPress is also supported by many plugins, which allow you to easily integrate your social&nbsp;profiles into your blog and vice versa.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Think of your blog as your hub&nbsp;</h2> <p>To succeed online today your website can't be an island. You have to publish your own content, but you should spend equal amounts of time participating in communities, connecting with other leaders, buying traffic and expanding your circle of influence.&nbsp;</p> <p>Look at your blog as your central hub, your home; where all your value is and where you cement relationships with potential customers. It's where you first publish and share content from, and where you bring people back <em>to.</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>You might use all kinds of marketing mechanisms, such as a Facebook page, YouTube channel, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast">podcast</a> on iTunes, Pinterest Board, Slides on Slideshare, guest blogging on other websites – with every one of these tools all pointing back to your blog.&nbsp;</p> <p>There is no better publishing platform built to integrate into everything else online, and easily share your ideas, than a blog.&nbsp;</p> <h2>The big picture&nbsp;</h2> <ol> <li>My blog is where I create and publish value for my target audience.<br /> <br /> </li> <li>Social channels, Google and paid advertising is how I distribute my value to reach new people.<br /> <br /> </li> <li>My email list is an invitation to receive more value from me.<br /> <br /> </li> <li>I use my blog and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/managing-email/internet-marketing-using-email-autoresponders" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/managing-email/internet-marketing-using-email-autoresponders">email</a> list to offer products and services that I charge money for, which provide even more value.<br /> <br /> </li> <li>I continuously improve each element above to grow my business (a process known as&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen" mce_href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen">Kaizen</a>).&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>I’ve provided a very basic template for a powerful blog-based business. As you can see, your blog is the only website you need, and should be your central hub. Here's to your blogging success.</p><p> <strong><em><br /> What are your thoughts on a blog being your main website?</em></strong></p> Yaro Starak tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14971 2014-12-09T07:30:00+11:00 2014-12-03T13:38:31+11:00 Soloist challenge: How to deal with advice <p>I’ve recently had to reassess my soloist future as well as deal with people’s well-meaning but uninvited advice. Here’s my story.</p><p>Life has thrown a few curveballs of late. Two major pieces of work ceased due to the client’s financial status, a program I had written just didn’t sell (to be reviewed), and my landlord requested their property back for personal reasons.</p> <p>And with that, I’ve had to stop.</p> <p>And with stopping, I’ve had people wondering what the heck I’m going to do now.</p> <p>My response, “Oh, well, I don’t know yet. I need some space. I need some time to think. I need the answers to come when I’m still.”</p> <p>But lots of people don’t like stillness. Lots of people feel uncomfortable about stillness. They fill it with their advice, which is laden with their own values and judgments.</p> <p>Advice I’ve received from trusted, respected loved ones recently:</p> <ul> <li>“There’s no shame in giving up, just for a while, just until you get yourself back on track.”</li> <li>“If I were you, I’d go back to working full time. Running a business is <em>hard</em>.”</li> <li>“I couldn’t live like you do. No way. <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/why-were-not-rich-yet" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/why-were-not-rich-yet">Money</a> is much more of a motivator.”</li> <li>“I think you should quit while you’re ahead.”</li> <li>(And my favourite) “You’ve given it a red hot go. Maybe it’s time to be realistic now.”</li> </ul> <p>With all due respect, take a hike.</p> <p>I know it’s challenging for others to watch me struggle, but have they thought about how hurtful it is to be flippantly told to give up on my passion, like it’s a type of junk food?</p> <p>Look, dealing with advice is a tricky business. People naturally want to impart their wisdom and ‘save’ you, ‘fix’ you or provide some much-needed ‘perspective’ (theirs!).</p> <p>It comes from a well-meaning place and they want the best for you – through their own lens, of course.</p> <h2>My suggestions for handling advice</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Turn it around</strong><br /> Be ecological about the advice, but ask them this: “Have you ever wanted something so badly that you were willing to do whatever it took to make it work? And when you hit a bad patch, did someone tell you not to pursue it anymore? How did that make you feel?”</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Stop them</strong><strong><br /></strong>Be strong. To stop people from raining on your parade, say something like, “Hey, I really love what I do and I’m going to keep going. I’d really value your continued support in the process, if you can offer it.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Reframe it<br /> </strong>To reframe the situation, propose this <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/the-value-of-asking-good-quality-questions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/the-value-of-asking-good-quality-questions">question</a>: “If that’s what you’d do in my situation, good for you, but I’m going to take a different approach.”<span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Smile and wave&nbsp;<br /> </strong>This is for the people who appear to be <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/how-to-deal-with-naysayers" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/how-to-deal-with-naysayers">naysayers</a>. Smile. Wave. THANK them and move forward, knowing in your heart that you’re doing the right thing for YOU.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Ask yourself this important question</strong></p> <p>If you: take people’s advice, stop fighting, give up, or accept less than what you’re hoping for <em>according to someone else’s expectations</em>, how will you feel in a year’s time? Two years’ time? Or 30 years?</p> <p>Regretful.</p> <p>Take people’s advice if you genuinely feel it’s the right advice for <em>you</em>, but if you don’t, use some of the above strategies to deal with the unsolicited guidance.</p> <p><strong><em>Now, over to you. How do you deal with advice?</em></strong></p> Lynda Bayada tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14861 2014-12-08T07:30:00+11:00 2014-12-11T16:36:48+11:00 Defamation laws: “But it’s my opinion!” <p>Sharing your written or verbal opinions can land you in hot water. Learn about defamation, or you could pay. </p><h2>What is defamation?&nbsp;</h2> <p>If someone publishes false information about another person, it may damage their reputation. This is considered defamation and it is illegal in Australia. Comments on someone's reputation that may be considered menacing, defamatory, damaging or misleading <em>are illegal</em>. This is true whether they are made verbally or written.&nbsp;</p> <p>If a person can show damage to their reputation, business or relationships as a result of the defamatory comments, they can sue the person who has defamed them and may be awarded damages by a court to compensate for the damage.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>When are words considered defamatory?&nbsp;</h2> <p>The intention of the person writing the words (publisher) is irrelevant. What is important is the impact or potential impact of the words. If the effect of the words may lower someone’s reputation in the eyes of other members of the community, or if it causes the community to ridicule, avoid or despise the person, this is considered defamation. Misleading statements about a person may also be defamatory.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Why can’t I say what I want on my own forum/social media account?&nbsp;</h2> <p>Defamation laws in Australia also apply to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/avoid-being-sued-social-media-and-the-law" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/avoid-being-sued-social-media-and-the-law">social media</a>. You cannot argue freedom of speech or that it’s your personal opinion or that it’s your private account.&nbsp;</p> <p>We have to think of ourselves as publishers on the internet. Anything you post is considered public, so you cannot even claim it is your opinion.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Mickle v Farley</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2013 a former student made defamatory and malicious comments about his former teacher on his Facebook and Twitter accounts (Mickle v Farley 2013 NSWDC 295). The student argued it was his personal social media account and his comments were <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/new-privacy-laws-understand-them-or-pay" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/new-privacy-laws-understand-them-or-pay">private</a> and only made to his personal friends. He also argued he had a right to freedom of speech. The court found he did defame his former teacher and fined the student $105,000.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Madden v Seafolly</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last year a woman who designed swimwear posted photos of Seafolly designs beside her own designs, on her Facebook page. She stated that they looked ‘very similar’ to her designs and she thought they had copied her designs.&nbsp;</p> <p>Seafolly sued her for misleading and deceptive conduct, using their images without their permission (copyright infringement) and trade libel (defamation), and won. The designer argued she was sharing her personal opinion on her own social media account, but the court decided she was trying to influence customers and was acting with malice. (Madden v Seafolly Pty Ltd 2014 FCAFC 30).&nbsp;</p> <h2>What if other people post things on my site? Who is liable?&nbsp;</h2> <p>The author of defamatory words is not the only person liable. Anyone involved in its publication or distribution may also be liable.&nbsp;</p> <p>This means you are responsible for everything on your website, whether you posted it or not.&nbsp;</p> <p>The same is true for your social media accounts. The law expects you to monitor your own website and accounts because you are the one who controls the material content. You are expected to immediately remove any content that may be flagged as misleading, defamatory or malicious.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>5 important points you need to know about defamation:&nbsp;</h2> <ol> <li>You cannot make defamatory comments on social media (or anywhere that may be considered public).</li> <li>You cannot let people post things on your website or social media that may be defamatory. You are required to take them down immediately. </li> <li>Damage in defamation cases is presumed and does not need to be proven.</li> <li>Do not tweet in anger. Unlike the US, Australia has more limited defences available for any ‘freedom of speech’. Do not count on this as a defence!</li> <li>You don’t even have to name the person for it to be considered defamation. It is sufficient if the person can show that any reasonable person reading the words could understand them as referring to the person.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>So think twice before you post any words about another person. Or just don’t post anything that is not positive – you may be sorry later!&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on this topic?&nbsp;</em></strong></p> Vanessa Emilio tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14979 2014-12-07T07:30:00+11:00 2014-12-05T12:44:44+11:00 Making a difference while making a living <p>Whether as a national commissioner for UNESCO, a Young Global leader with the World Economic Forum, or that cool, 'New Inventors' guy, James Moody clearly likes a challenge. Here he explains how he keeps it all together.</p><p>To access all Flying Solo podcasts visit&nbsp;<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/14859 2014-12-06T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-30T15:19:54+10:00 Four website tips for e-commerce success <p>With so much traffic, referrals and sales coming through websites rather than stores, it’s crucial for you to have your ecommerce site in order. Here’s how.</p><p>The negative implications of sending potential customers to a subpar website include:</p> <ul> <li>A short time spent on your site with no purchase made or no action taken</li> <li>No positive recommendations to friends and family</li> <li>Lower rates of repeat business&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>So, here are my top four tips for <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/how-to-personalise-your-ecommerce-website" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/how-to-personalise-your-ecommerce-website">eCommerce</a> success.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Be mobile&nbsp;</h2> <p>As a consumer it’s easy to stand in a store, pull out your phone and do a simple Google search to compare two products side by side, but not if a website isn’t <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/is-your-website-mobile-friendly" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/is-your-website-mobile-friendly">mobile-friendly.</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>By configuring your site to be compatible with mobile devices you’ll be expanding your market, and automatically increasing sales-converting opportunities because it’s more convenient to purchase your products.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Make your website visually appealing<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p>People won’t take the time to read everything on your website. You have to tell your story and make your mission clear through visuals as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>Keep in mind that images need to be high quality with a corresponding design that allows the eye to easily navigate the pages. A company like <em>Love that Pet</em> does this well, with the majority of content comprising of images that have short headings and lines of text.&nbsp;</p> <h2>List all your products&nbsp;</h2> <p>Provide your full range of products to allow for the same online experience that customers would receive offline. Customers get frustrated when they can’t find products quickly and easily online.&nbsp;</p> <p>It may seem overwhelming to think about listing every single product, but that’s why it’s important to organise and categorise your products in a visually appealing way.&nbsp;</p> <p>Another important detail is providing a full and accurate description for each product so people know exactly what they’re buying.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>A secure site&nbsp;</h2> <p>People know when a site looks less than secure. It’s enough to completely shut down a sale even when the customer is at the checkout.&nbsp;</p> <p>Make it clear on your product pages and checkout that you’re using a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-technology/computer-software-security-how-to-minimise-the-risks" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-technology/computer-software-security-how-to-minimise-the-risks">secure</a> and reputable service, and that your customers aren’t at risk of identity or credit card fraud. Online shoppers are savvy and know when a site is safe.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">If you ensure your website is visually appealing both on a computer and phone screen, and provide the full range of what your business offers, you’ll start to see your e-commerce really pay off.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><em>What are your ecommerce tips?</em></strong></p> Leah Rise tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14858 2014-12-05T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-28T11:51:27+11:00 Work in the Nude Day. The do’s and don’ts. <p>I’m a big advocate of Work in the Nude Day (WIND). In fact, to get into the spirit of things, I decided to write this article in my birthday suit.</p><h2>Things to DO&nbsp;</h2> <p>1. Do practice taking clever nude selfies – and I suggest viewing them in full screen mode, just in case there are any little surprises before sending them out to the masses.&nbsp;</p> <p>2. Do control the temperature. This is very important in our working environments on <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/work-in-the-nude-day" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/work-in-the-nude-day">WIND</a>. Let’s be honest, it is in everyone’s best interest to warm the room up (address this before point 1).&nbsp;</p> <p>3. Do practice laser-like eye contact before WIND. On the day it may prove too distracting to learn this skill, which could in turn lead to moments of awkwardness.&nbsp;</p> <p>4. Do be extra careful around sharp objects, staplers, drawers, animals and hot car seats (this of course adds a layer of complexity for those whose business entails being on the road – my advice is just have fun with it, and avoid the police).&nbsp;</p> <p>5. Do cover any tattoos you’ve had carved into your body when drunk and aged 17. Your photos will go far and wide and don’t forget, your parents use <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> more than your friends.&nbsp;</p> <p>6. Do modify your movements if you have other people in the office. This is particularly applicable to: sitting, reaching, asking questions while standing up while the other person is sitting down, doing your lunchtime downward dogs (regardless of whether anyone else is in the room, that is just wrong), and any other less flattering or “in your face” kind of maneuvers.&nbsp;</p> <p>7. Do remember that when Skyping on WIND you can be absolutely guaranteed that the Skype connection will be crystal clear – all day. And just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they can’t see you. Now, I am a big fan of Skyping in the nude, but I do suggest that if you are new to this, avoid standing up at any time during the call.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Things we must NOT DO&nbsp;</h2> <p>1. As much as you might like the idea of cooking bacon and eggs to celebrate your newfound <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/its-time-we-celebrated-the-freedoms-of-working-for-yourself-soloism" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/its-time-we-celebrated-the-freedoms-of-working-for-yourself-soloism">freedom</a>, splattering oil is not your friend.&nbsp;</p> <p>2. Remember that not everyone is as embracing of the <em>nude you</em> as the Flying Solo team – if there is a knock at the door, grab a robe (and do it up) before answering. Kids collecting for the school fete or the FedEx man don’t need the follow up counselling.</p> <p>3. Taking videos is fraught with danger. When wiggling and jiggling in the nude, things move that shouldn’t move. Say no more.&nbsp;</p> <p>4. Definitely don’t run with scissors, hot coffee or a video camera (see point 3).&nbsp;</p> <p>5. Don’t use words like “ewwwwww”, “OMG”, “WTF” or “wow look at them” in any reference to images posted around WIND (or any live encounters with others embracing WIND). <em>Think </em>these words, but don’t <em>say </em>them.&nbsp;</p> <p>6. There is a thin line between getting into the spirit of things and being creepy. Men, asking any woman to strip bare-arsed naked may not be the best approach – especially in the eyes of your partner.&nbsp;</p> <p>7. If you drop anything (and I mean anything) on WIND – leave it on the floor and move on.&nbsp;</p> <p>I hope these words of wisdom will help you enjoy WIND, I can certainly attest to the fact that I have learned them all the hard way!&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What are your do’s and don’ts for Work in the Nude Day?</em></strong></p> Andrew Griffiths tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14860 2014-12-04T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-30T15:26:47+10:00 Five priceless soloist freedoms <p>This year I came close to closing my business, which means I nearly lost my five priceless soloist freedoms. </p><p>I hadn’t applied for a job since 1996, but this year I drafted a CV. I had texted two clients and asked if they would be my referees.</p> <p>The day after I sent the texts, two people signed up to my brand new service. Was that enough of a buffer for me to pause?</p> <p>Yes it was.</p> <p>Having come close to losing my <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/promoting-your-product-turn-features-into-benefits" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/promoting-your-product-turn-features-into-benefits">freedom,</a> I now relish working for myself more than ever.</p> <p>Here’s what I mean by freedom in the context of running my own business.</p> <h2>Creative freedom</h2> <p>This is the freedom to be part of the market, yet be my own person and create my own services. My brain (and yours) has infinite capacity for <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/innovation/six-steps-to-creative-success" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/innovation/six-steps-to-creative-success">creativity</a>. My business is an expression of my creativity. The only thing in the way of executing my ideas is people’s willingness to buy from me. I can create a new service and be promoting it within a week.</p> <h2>Personal freedom</h2> <p>This is about independence and being my own boss. I don’t have to ask for a day off or time to see a doctor. I’ve been with my kids for all their school concerts and events. My commute time is now replaced with exercise such as walking and swimming.</p> <h2>Freedom of association</h2> <p>I get to work independently and personally with clients of my choosing, all of whom I admire. I choose the sub-contractors and suppliers who will become my valued team members.</p> <h2>Freedom to pursue my passion</h2> <p>My business exists in service to my clients and the market. I love working with business owners and I get to do this in a direct and unfettered way, free of red tape and bureaucracy. I am free to delegate tasks that take time away from the things I love doing.</p> <h2>Freedom to trust in life</h2> <p>Running a micro business is an opportunity to experience life as a flow. I’m close to my market, able to sense and adapt. I’m close to clients and close to my product. I have an opportunity to be closer to family, and be more available for them. You might work from home or even be partnered in business with your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/two-solopreneurs-in-one-family-good-or-bad" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/two-solopreneurs-in-one-family-good-or-bad">spouse</a>.</p> <p>There’s an opportunity here to create a weave of people, thoughts and actions which is deeply human.</p> <h2>I’m free to make that happen</h2> <p>I shelved my CV and didn’t send any job applications. I’m in flow with new and pre-existing clients and new services. Instead of telling my kids I might need to close the business, they now overhear me taking calls, signing people on and helping clients.</p> <p>And after seventeen years in my own business, would I encourage my kids to work for themselves?</p> <p>You bet.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your favourite soloist freedoms? &nbsp;</em></strong></p> Katie McMurray tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14857 2014-12-03T07:30:00+11:00 2014-12-08T11:25:28+11:00 The emperor has no clothes. What about you? <p>Since we celebrated Work In The Nude Day last Friday, it's the perfect time to stop and reflect about why we've chosen the soloism path.</p><h2>First, a timely and relevant fairytale</h2> <p>Most of us have heard the old fairytale about two swindlers who tell their emperor they can make him an outfit that’s only invisible to those who are stupid or not worthy of the emperor's position.</p> <p>Doubtful himself, the emperor sent two of his trusted men to see the new outfit. Both men of course couldn't see the mystical cloth, but being too embarrassed to admit it to the emperor, instead praised it.</p> <p>The emperor then proceeded to wear the outfit in a parade through town. The masses, who were also embarrassed by the fact they couldn't see the "clothing", applauded the emperor. Until, a child yells, "But he isn't wearing any clothes!"</p> <h2>The naked truths </h2> <p>I love that story. When we hear it as youngsters it's often the first time we're exposed to groupthink, and it usually doesn't make any sense.</p> <p>As soloists, we tend to empathise with the child in the story. Why on earth would a group of people (especially adults who we believe should know better) value conformity and consensus over the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/honesty-in-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/honesty-in-business">truth?</a></p> <p>Today is the perfect day to reflect on this fairytale. When you ask yourself why you ventured into soloism, do the following reasons come to mind?</p> <ul> <li>To fearlessly say things with your own voice, rather than what others tell you to say.<br /> </li> <li>To carry out work that is <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/honesty-in-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/honesty-in-business">authentic</a> rather than work that’s been watered down by committees and superiors.<br /> </li> <li>To prove to others that just because everyone thinks one way that there are in fact better alternatives!</li> </ul> <p>As soloists, we're often up against groupthink and societal norms all the time. From friends and family who question our choices to banks and insurance companies who consider us high risk.</p> <p>We must continue to do what we do. To soldier on and remain true to the belief that truth and authenticity trump unwritten rules and blind conformity any day.</p> <p>Here's to our continued pursuit to always be that child who calls things as they see it. Here's to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/its-time-we-celebrated-the-freedoms-of-working-for-yourself-soloism" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/its-time-we-celebrated-the-freedoms-of-working-for-yourself-soloism">soloism!</a></p><p> <strong><em>Feel free to share your reasons for venturing into soloism.</em></strong></p> Paul J. Morris tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14856 2014-12-02T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-28T11:50:54+11:00 The naked truth about working at home <p>Going solo can make you feel a little exposed. But that exposure can be enjoyable. Discover the secret many soloists are too scared to share.</p><p>When you ask work-at-home soloists what they love most about their lifestyle, they’ll wax lyrical about the crazily short commute, or celebrate the extra time they get to spend with their <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/running-small-business-with-a-baby" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/running-small-business-with-a-baby">family.</a></p> <h2>But it’s all a BIG FAT LIE.&nbsp;</h2> <p>See, the true pleasure of working at home is the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/running-small-business-with-a-baby" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/running-small-business-with-a-baby">freedom</a> to be nude. <br /> <br /> Yes, you heard me right.<br /> <br /> The secret pleasure of many a work-at-home solopreneur is that when they’re answering your call they’re doing it buck naked.&nbsp;</p> <p>We thumb our noses at dress-down Fridays or casual Tuesdays. And we don’t give two hoots about required meeting attire. Because for us, every day can be a stark naked day!</p> <p>Don’t believe me? I ran an in-depth survey* and discovered that many a soloist likes to pump up the heating and pop out their wiggly bits.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>“I turn the heating up and let it all hang out.”</em></p> <p><em>“Working naked is the unspoken benefit of working at home.”</em></p> <p><em>“I work braless in my pjs </em><em>#</em><em>livinthedream</em><em>.</em><em>”</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>See? There’s something liberating about bookkeeping in the buff, writing in the raw and doing your admin <em>au naturel</em>.</p> <p>If you’re yet to experience the true exposure of flying solo, here are my top tips.</p> <p><strong>Start slowly.</strong> On Monday go sockless. On Tuesday try removing your vest at midday. And on Wednesday why not try just one leg in your trousers? Before you know it you’ll be fully disrobed.</p> <p><strong>Choose your seating carefully: </strong>I can’t think of a more exquisite pleasure than peeling a naked backside from a leatherette office chair on a hot, sweaty day. A fabric chair is the nudey soloist’s friend.<br /> <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Pick your moment: </strong>You know how people tell you to imagine your audience naked when presentation nerves get the better of you? Well the same is true in reverse! If you have a difficult client call to make, do it in the nude and you’ll find the stress slips away.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Say ‘Yes’ to half measures: </strong>If you have a Skype meeting scheduled you can either pretend your webcam is broken or simply dress from the waist up. Just remember not to grab that document off the printer halfway through.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Feel the chill: </strong>If you’re attempting to start your unclad career in the winter months, I highly recommend a beanie, fingerless gloves and leg warmers to keep those extremities nice and toasty.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Know your limits: </strong>Nakedness is obviously a more viable choice for the younger soloists. Us slightly saggier, female types may find the odd word being accidentally typed on the keyboard by our once-perky assets. (Masking tape helps.)&nbsp;</p> <p>But if all this nakedness feels a step too far, there are other options. <br /> <br /> For example, my <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/two-solopreneurs-in-one-family-good-or-bad" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-and-family/two-solopreneurs-in-one-family-good-or-bad">husband</a> works every day in a furry monkey onesie (complete with tail). And I know others who run highly successful enterprises in their PJs.</p> <p>In all seriousness, working for yourself is a truly liberating experience, no matter how many garments you choose to wear. Because even if you can’t bring yourself to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/work-in-the-nude-day" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/work-in-the-nude-day">work naked</a>, you can at least enjoy the fact that the choice is yours.<strong><em>&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Have you ever worked naked? Did you enjoy it? Do you have any embarrassing stories to share? We’d love to hear them!</strong></p> Kate Toon tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/13940 2014-12-01T06:00:00+11:00 2014-12-01T08:34:09+11:00 Work in the Nude Day! This Friday 5 December <p>Where can you wear your birthday suit to work? The home office! Help us celebrate the exhilarating freedoms of working alone. Hundreds of brave souls got into the spirit last year. Join in the fun, post a selfie or check out the action.</p><p><br /></p><div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 0px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;">Celebrating the freedoms of working from home. What is the only work environment where you can wear your birthday suit to work? The home office!&nbsp;</div> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 0px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;">On Friday 7 December, 2012 Flying Solo is celebrating the nation’s inaugural Work in the Nude Day – a day devoted to rejoicing in the freedoms of working by yourself, from your home.</div><p>What is the only work environment where you can wear your birthday suit to work? The home office!&nbsp;</p><p>Flying Solo is celebrating the nation’s Work in the Nude Day – a day devoted to rejoicing in the freedoms of working for yourself, by yourself, from home. </p><p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/530124430407567/" mce_href="https://www.facebook.com/events/530124430407567/" target="_blank">Join in the fun</a>.</p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/12747 2014-11-30T10:00:00+11:00 2014-11-28T15:57:15+11:00 Past fave: Do you have a comfortable work environment? <p>Our surroundings have a real effect on our motivation and productivity. Does your work environment make you smile? Here are some ideas to help keep you whistling while you work. </p><h2>Park yourself in a nice chair</h2> <p>Office chairs are surely the most underrated bits of furniture most of us own. We spend a third of our days in it, so why not invest in something decent?</p> <p>“Every time I look at it” says Robert of his schmicko office chair “It makes me happy.” I’m amazed, and somewhat inspired, that he doesn’t even have to sit in his chair to enjoy it.</p> <p>Robert’s a man who knows his Eames from his elbow, but even non designer junkies like me can appreciate the benefit of a comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing, office chair.</p> <p>So I’m going to get me a new one. For inspiration, I’m thinking eBay rather than Officeworks.</p> <h2>Expend some ergonomic effort</h2> <p>I am an ergonomic evangelist, having recently bought a separate monitor and keyboard for my laptop, a wrist pad for the keyboard and a shield to reduce monitor glare. I can say bye bye wrist and head/neck aches, hello to boring people at parties.</p> <p style="text-align: center;" mce_style="text-align: center;"><em>Want more articles like this? Check out the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/office-organisation" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/office-organisation">office organisation</a> section.</em></p> <h2>Pretty it up some</h2> <p>A small bunch of flowers, a well tended plant or photos of loved ones in a beautiful frame can give you a boost every time you walk into your work environment. My desk is adorned with all three and it definitely helps keep me positive in the work environment.</p> <p>If you want to take it a step further, splash out on a can of paint. If you do so, why not go green? “Greens can be both energising and relaxing, and they spark our creativity” according to one colour consultant’s website. Must be true, then.</p> <h2>Go all out ra ra</h2> <p>Lots of people love their <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/creating-a-vision-board" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/creating-a-vision-board">vision boards</a>, as touted by Robert at the start of the year.</p> <p><br />So there you have it, an idea for every budget. Talking of money, most expenditure of this nature is deductable as a business expense.</p> <p>Caveat: Taking financial pointers from me is a bit like asking Zsa Zsa Gabor for relationship advice. Best speak to your accountant or post <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/money-matters/" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/money-matters/">in the forums</a> and you’ll hear from more money maestros than you can poke a pot plant at.</p> <p>What helps keeps you smiling during your workday?</p> <p><br /></p> Sam Leader tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14855 2014-11-29T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-28T11:50:30+11:00 How to create virtual freedom <p>Many of us leave the corporate jungle for soloist flexibility and freedom, but end up chained to our work/desk for long hours. Here’s six ways to finally be free.</p><h2>1. Set boundaries&nbsp;</h2> <p>Often when starting out and cash flow is tight, many soloists quickly fall into the trap of becoming people pleasers. All of a sudden your day is dictated by other people’s priorities and not your own.<br /> <br /> Regain control by setting boundaries, so you work on your terms and not your clients’ terms.&nbsp;</p> <p>Start by prioritising your most important tasks first thing each day before you check email. Learn to only check your email 2-3 times per day and only when you can action each message. This simple tip will improve your productivity allowing you to get more done in less time.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Get on the cloud&nbsp;</h2> <p>A key component of having more freedom is the ability to easily access all your important business information from anywhere at anytime. <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/cloud-technology/cloud-accounting-apps" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/cloud-technology/cloud-accounting-apps">Cloud technology</a> has made this possible with easy-to-use and cost effective <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-technology/top-apps-for-soloists-working-on-the-road" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-technology/top-apps-for-soloists-working-on-the-road">software solutions</a>. As long as you have an internet connection, your office can become truly mobile.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Delegate to virtual staff&nbsp;</h2> <p>To have true <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/cloud-technology/cloud-accounting-apps" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/cloud-technology/cloud-accounting-apps">freedom</a> in your business means not doing everything. Stop trying to be a superhuman for the sake of saving a few dollars. It is now easier than ever to tap into the limitless pool of talented and affordable freelancers from anywhere in the world, giving you a flexible and on-demand staffing solution that will suit any budget. So stop deliberating and start delegating.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Set business processes&nbsp;</h2> <p>Systems and procedures will be your best friend when working with a virtual team.&nbsp;</p> <p>Any business procedure that you do more than once needs to be documented either by text, photos, video or audio. Using screen capture software such as Jing, Camtasia or ScreenFlow will help make the process as painless as possible.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Go paperless</h2> <p>As well as helping to saving trees, removing the need for paper will save you time and money. Look at a virtual fax number, move to online bills and use digital signature software (such as Echosign and Right Signature).&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. Accountability groups&nbsp;</h2> <p>Is it just me who misses chicken lunches and office sweeps at Melbourne Cup time? Combat isolation by attending <a href="http://www.meetup.com/FlyingSoloAU/" mce_href="http://www.meetup.com/FlyingSoloAU/">meetups</a> or joining a mastermind or accountability group. Not only will you enjoy the company and learn from fellow soloists, but you’ll also stay on track with your goals.</p> <p>It is now easier than ever to create virtual freedom in your business, making it possible to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/work-in-the-nude-day" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/work-in-the-nude-day">work in the nude every day</a>, if you choose!<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><em>How have you attained virtual freedom as a soloist?</em></strong></p> Michaela Clark