tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:/feeds/all Flying Solo 2014-09-17T07:30:00+10:00 tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14783 2014-09-17T07:30:00+10:00 2014-08-12T14:39:23+10:00 Five tips for hiring a local marketer <p>Some people like to hire local online marketing providers, even though it’s not necessary. If you fall into this category, consider the following five tips.</p><p>There’s a tendency among people to want to hire local service providers, and for the most part, this makes complete sense because you don’t want to travel to the other side of town.</p> <p>But when it comes to a service like <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/how-to-outsmart-your-online-competitors" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/how-to-outsmart-your-online-competitors">online</a> marketing where everything’s done remotely and <em>online</em> – does it still make sense? Probably not, but if you’re set on hiring locally, consider these things.</p> <h2>Local results</h2> <p>If you’re looking for a Search Engine Optimisation business in a particular location (“SEO Surry Hills”), Google will provide a unique set of local results for this. The thing to keep in mind is that it’s a lot easier for a business to rank for these keywords. Therefore it’s very hard to determine the quality and trustworthiness of that business.</p> <h2>Local reviews</h2> <p>Check out the ratings and reviews of businesses listed with Google and other important Australian <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory">directories</a>. Go further and do a quick search in Google (type in the name of the business plus the word “scam”) to see if any negative feedback appears in forums.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Ask for local referrals </h2> <p>There’s a good chance that other nearby business owners have hired an online marketer to assist them. If you’re keen on hiring locally, it’s ideal to get a recommendation from a local client they’ve worked with.</p> <h2>Local meet ups</h2> <p>Go to a <a href="http://www.meetup.com/FlyingSoloAU" mce_href="http://www.meetup.com/FlyingSoloAU">meet up</a> or networking group in your area. This is a great place to ask questions, speak to qualified business owners, and also get recommendations.<strong><u></u></strong></p> <h2>Get a few proposals</h2> <p>Speak to a variety of consultants and visit many <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website">websites</a> to get a feel for what an online marketer can do. Ask lots of questions and always keep a healthy level of skepticism. <strong><u></u></strong></p> <p>If you can find a suitable online marketer in your area, go for it. But it probably doesn’t make sense to limit yourself to nearby consultants. A good online marketing business knows how to bridge the location gap. Their expertise and credibility will be obvious to you, and this in itself is a great indication of their expertise and commitment.</p><p> <strong><em>What’s your experience with hiring a local online marketer? Do you have any other tips for soloists looking to hire one – local or otherwise?</em></strong></p> Adam Binstock tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14829 2014-09-16T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-12T11:18:56+10:00 Do you love your logo? <p>We’ve been chatting a lot about logo design in the Flying Solo forum recently, and that got me thinking about the logos that represent my two businesses.</p><p>How much is it worth to you and your business to have a logo that you’re absolutely, head-over-heels in love with? If your answer is “Not much”, read on.</p> <h2>First impressions really do count</h2> <p>While discussing whether it’s worth <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/need-resource-got-good-referral/31186-good-place-host-logo-design-contest.html" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/need-resource-got-good-referral/31186-good-place-host-logo-design-contest.html">investing in logo design</a>, forum member Vertigo asked us to compare our reaction to someone we meet at a party who is well dressed, clean and confident to the way we feel when we encounter someone dressed carelessly and with poor body language, and pointed out, “Your logo is the same. It's the first impression of your business. Make it count.”</p> <p>That struck a chord with me, because ever since having the logo for my natural health marketing and copywriting business developed about eight years ago, I’ve absolutely loved handing my business card to people. Why? Because those who are in my primary target market almost always respond with, “Oh, that’s perfect!”</p> <p>In the very instant they see it, my logo demonstrates to people in my industry that I’m focused on it too. I can almost hear them thinking, “If she gets it that right for herself, I’m sure I can trust her to work on my brand too”.</p> <p>The fact that I’m not a graphic designer and didn’t actually design the logo myself has nothing to do with it, because as far as others are concerned, it symbolises my creativity, my focus on my niche, my professionalism and my personality.</p> <p>Best of all, my logo conveys all that and more in a microsecond, without me having to say a single word.</p> <h2>You are your own most important customer</h2> <p>When forum member <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/need-resource-got-good-referral/31117-silly-question-there-price-expectation-logo-designs.html" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/need-resource-got-good-referral/31117-silly-question-there-price-expectation-logo-designs.html">Martin Firth said</a>, “The people who place the most importance on a company's logo are the people paying for it,”<em> </em>I suddenly realised that my logo is all the more valuable to me and my business because of the meaning I’ve invested in it.</p> <p>It has come to symbolise my pride in my reputation in my industry and in the body of work that I’ve spent so many hours building. It also acts as a daily reminder of the way I choose to turn up for my clients: smiling cheerfully, with vibrant energy and focus.</p> <p>On days when I’m tired, stressed or overworked, that pride and positivity are worth way, way more money than I paid my logo designer!</p> <h2>The right logo will make you money</h2> <p>If you’re still wondering whether it’s worth investing in creating or reinventing your logo, rest assured that getting it right really can affect your bottom line.</p> <p>Over in <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/talking-technology/31457-logo-design-prices.html" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/talking-technology/31457-logo-design-prices.html">the forum</a>, Kindleman gave the example of a bakery whose logo differentiates them from a neighbouring competitor, clearly communicating that they bake traditional-style loaves rather than run-of-the-mill sliced white bread. If that logo attracts even just a few passersby each day who are prepared to pay more for that kind of bread, the difference to the business quickly adds up over time, and the logo pays for itself in just a matter of weeks. After that, each sale it attracts is pure profit.</p> <p>I’ve had the same experience in my flower essence business, where our logo is displayed prominently on our product packaging. We’ve lost count of the number of times prospective customers have opened a conversation with us by saying, “I love your logo”. However we’re delighted that every time they do, it gives us an opportunity to chat with them about who we are and what we do. More often than not, that conversation culminates in them deciding to give our products a try.</p><p> <strong><em>All in all, I’m completely in love with my logos and what they do for my businesses. Have you had the same experience? Head to the comments to share your stories.</em></strong></p> Jayne Tancred tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14049 2014-09-15T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-15T10:25:01+10:00 Need some expert help in your business? <p>If you’re looking for support, check out Flying Solo’s directory where you’ll find more specialists than you can poke a stick at. </p><h1><a href="/directory" mce_href="/directory" style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;">Visit the Flying Solo directory</a></h1> <p><br /></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14821 2014-09-14T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-09T12:06:43+10:00 Lessons from the big end of town <p>Paul Mitchell has been immersed in the area of corporate psychology and leadership for over 25 years. In this podcast he shares lessons learned from the people in the tall buildings.</p><p><span style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px;">To access all Flying Solo podcasts visit&nbsp;</span><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #3e8a9a; text-decoration: none; line-height: 17px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;" mce_style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #3e8a9a; text-decoration: none; line-height: 17px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;" 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/14785 2014-09-13T07:30:00+10:00 2014-08-12T14:44:17+10:00 Spiritual success and the microbiz owner <p>If you want to truly become successful, you have to drop the ‘BS’ and understand what success really is, as it relates to the truest you.</p><h2>The truth about me</h2> <p>At age 16, I was not successful with girls. A skinny kid, I joined the gym to create the perfect body. This physical success brought good health, moments of fleeting <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/how-happiness-can-attract-success" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/how-happiness-can-attract-success">happiness</a> and admiring glances from the opposite sex.</p> <p>Having a great physical appearance was not permanent or completely fulfilling, so I next chose to create financial success by making more and more money. Money brought toys, moments of fleeting happiness, and admiring glances from the opposite sex.</p> <p>Having more <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/money-and-happiness-are-you-earning-too-much-money" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/money-and-happiness-are-you-earning-too-much-money">money</a> was not completely fulfilling either, so I chose to sow into relationships. This love addiction was also unfulfilling, as I sometimes found that I was so “into” the other person that the real me disappeared.</p> <p>As I navigated past physical success (muscles that grew, withered), material success (money that rose, fell) and relationship success (more rise and fall), I discovered that there were many versions of success, truths and truer truths. Beyond that, I ultimately discovered the <em>truest truth of all.</em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>The truest truth</h2> <p>Going somewhere over the rainbow, beyond the various truths, whether you see seven colours or seven million, you will eventually discover that you can only see a rainbow if there is a single source of light. This is the truest truth.</p> <p>Beyond the physical, material and relational lies the spiritual; without it, the others are nothing. To inject some eternal spiritual success into your physicality, bring <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/health-and-wellbeing/managing-anxiety-with-mindfulness" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/health-and-wellbeing/managing-anxiety-with-mindfulness">mindfulness</a> or <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/health-and-wellbeing/why-meditation-is-not-just-sitting" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/health-and-wellbeing/why-meditation-is-not-just-sitting">meditation</a> into your daily activities. Meditation does not mean always sitting still. You can meditate whilst eating, dancing, walking, running or doing yoga.</p> <h2>Successful relationships</h2> <p>Business aside, you can enjoy a more successful relationship by bringing a spiritual goal to your union. Instead of each partner merely focusing on making the other partner happy, aim to have a combined goal that brings happiness to others as well.</p> <p>Bring spiritual success into your material world by having a greater purpose for your wealth. Giving back to the community or the world is a fundamental financial principle in many sacred traditions, and has been taught for thousands of years because it works on financial and spiritual levels.</p> <p>Just as turning up the light source makes for richer colours in the rainbow, more spiritual enlightenment in your life will make all of your success goals clearer, bolder, richer and stronger.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on spiritual success?</em></strong></p> Jeremy Britton tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14776 2014-09-12T07:30:00+10:00 2014-08-08T13:54:17+10:00 Why and how to create your perfect business <p>For the past 17 years I’ve been staying in business, now, after creating a powerful vision, I’m working toward flourishing in my perfect business.</p><h2>Seventeen years in business </h2> <p>Even with seventeen years in business, I rarely sit back and reflect. More importantly, I rarely look forward beyond the current year.</p> <p>It’s time to look forward&nbsp;and keep looking there.</p> <h2> Creating a picture of my perfect business</h2> <p>I recently took part in a business course where the facilitator asked me to create a bigger picture of my perfect business. Once I’d described my perfect business, she kept telling me to look at it.</p> <p>I looked at it.</p> <p>And then I’d forget about it.</p> <p>I wasn’t really paying attention to my perfect business, simply seeing it and then letting it get buried under my mental to-do list.</p> <h2> My ‘A-HA!’ moment</h2> <p>I realised she was actually asking me to look at my perfect business with a view to working toward it.</p> <p><em>Oh, you mean as if it might really happen one day?</em></p> <p>That was an AHA! moment.</p> <h2>The bigger picture versus the to-do list</h2> <p>I’ve always felt victorious when ticking off today’s to-do list. If I’m honest though, that list is full of stuff with no real consequence for the business.</p> <p>As a result of thinking about what my <em>perfect</em> business will look like, I plan the week with one eye on the bigger picture. I’m not just ticking off today’s boxes, but boxes that are anchoring my business for the long term.</p> <h2> Long range business goals</h2> <p>I’m not sure I’ve ever strategically worked toward a long range business goal before. I’ve mostly been focused on <em>staying</em> in business. But now that I have a description of my perfect business, I feel like I’m already building it.</p> <p>Instead of a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/the-to-do-list-that-worked" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/the-to-do-list-that-worked">to-do list</a> that behaves like an unguided missile, my weekly and monthly program now points to my perfect scenario.</p> <h2> These questions helped me create my perfect business</h2> <ul> <li>What is my perfect business renowned for?</li> <li>What does it feel like to own this perfect business?</li> <li>What kind of perfect people will work in and around my perfect business?</li> <li>What kind of perfect clients would I like?</li> <li>What would the perfect financial situation be?</li> </ul> <p>Now ask, what is one thing I can do this week toward each of these five <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/vision-statements-how-to-create-a-vision-statement" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/vision-statements-how-to-create-a-vision-statement">vision</a>s?</p> <h2> A big picture to-do list</h2> <p>I’ve found it powerful to start implementing a grounded long range vision for the business. I’m enjoying ticking long term as well as short term boxes off my to-do list.</p> <p>Of course, not everything will go perfectly to plan, but at least I know what I’m <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">aiming</a> for.</p> <p>Just imagine if I’d been this strategic seventeen years ago!</p> <p><strong><em>What are your thoughts on creating your perfect business?</em></strong></p> Katie McMurray tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14787 2014-09-11T07:30:00+10:00 2014-08-12T14:46:04+10:00 How exactly do bloggers make money? <p>Today everyone is familiar with blogs, but I’m still frequently asked: &quot;How do blogs make money?&quot; Read on and you’ll find out.</p><p>In 2007 I launched the very first professional blogging course, Blog Mastermind, to teach people how to make a living from a blog. Blogging for money was still relatively new back then.&nbsp;</p> <p>The internet has changed in so many ways since blogs first burst onto the scene, yet no other method of making money online has remained as stable and consistent as blogging (I've been earning my living thanks to my blog since 2006!).&nbsp;</p> <p>Let's take a look at how bloggers are making the big bucks today.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Yes, it's still advertising&nbsp;</h2> <p>Everyone assumes this is how blogs make money, and the majority of blogs that do make money do so using ads. In particular,&nbsp;Google's AdSense&nbsp;program is still by far the leading advertising system for bloggers.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Affiliate income is great for hands-off income&nbsp;</h2> <p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/six-benefits-of-affiliate-marketing" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/six-benefits-of-affiliate-marketing">Affiliate</a> products and services are very popular as a way to earn commissions from products and services that you sell, but that you do not have to create or support.&nbsp;</p> <p>You can choose to sell a whole range of physical and digital products from websites like Amazon.com, Clickbank.com, CommissionJunction.com and ShareASale.com. If you like writing reviews and don't want the hassle of creating products yourself, affiliate programs are a good option.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. If you're an expert, sell services&nbsp;</h2> <p>Many bloggers are freelancers or experts who sell their services as consultants, e.g. web designers, copywriters, programmers or social media experts. Offline experts also use blogs to sell services. These experts include personal trainers, real estate agents, sports coaches and counsellors.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Creators sell their own products&nbsp;</h2> <p>Selling self-created products is usually the most profitable path for solo-bloggers, but also the most challenging. You have to create your own products and set up the technical systems to deliver them. However, because you get to keep one hundred percent of the profits, generally speaking, your margins will always be best with your own products.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Connect your people with live events&nbsp;</h2> <p>Many blogs, big and small, are running live events either in person or hosting them online. Small workshops, retreats, seminars and large conferences can be big profit makers. Or if you don't want the challenges of coordinating a physical conference, a live webinar or series of webinars is another way to earn money.&nbsp;</p> <h2>What do I recommend?&nbsp;</h2> <p>Over the years I have used nearly every method listed to <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/business-blogs-how-to-make-money-blogging" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/business-blogs-how-to-make-money-blogging">make money with my blog.</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>Based on my experiences and personal preference, today I focus on digital products and services as my income methods.&nbsp;</p> <p>I like the personal gratification that comes from helping others with digital products I personally create, like e-guides, audios, videos, group coaching programs and courses.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the same sort of satisfaction that any creative person like an artist, author or musician experiences when they are paid well for doing what they love.&nbsp;</p> <p>The profit margins are amazing, since the cost of producing digital products is next to nothing – beyond your time of course. This means you get to keep nearly one hundred percent of every dollar you bring in, minus a few technical costs like web <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/websites-101-understanding-web-hosting" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/websites-101-understanding-web-hosting">hosting</a> and email newsletter services.&nbsp;</p> <p>What you choose to do with your blog depends on your industry. What I know for sure is that a blog is one of the most lucrative, stable and flexible online businesses available today.<strong style="font-size: 12px;"><em>&nbsp;</em></strong></p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on how bloggers make money?</em></strong></p> Yaro Starak tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14775 2014-09-10T07:30:00+10:00 2014-08-08T13:58:00+10:00 Saying NO: How to turn away difficult clients <p>Saying ‘no’ is not easy, but it is a skill we need to master. In this article you’ll learn how to politely and professionally turn away difficult clients. </p><p>A few years back I was going through the “new client” dance with a chap who ran a telecommunications business. The topic turned to expectations, and he stated that he likes his marketing people to be on call all the time, especially on Friday and Saturday nights after a few bottles of wine.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, there was no way I was going to spend my Friday and Saturday nights sitting by the phone, waiting to get a drunken call to discuss a range of crazy marketing ideas. But as ridiculous as his <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/customer-expectations-you-promised-now-deliver" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/customer-service/customer-expectations-you-promised-now-deliver">expectations</a> were, I still found it very hard to turn him away.&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of us have allowed a client to bully us into taking them on at some stage. Sometimes a poverty mentality steps in and a little voice says, “You need the money, take the job”.&nbsp;</p> <p>Every single time I have ignored my intuition, it has ended badly.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, here are my hard-learned tips for politely and professionally <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/12-signs-you-should-say-no-to-clients" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/12-signs-you-should-say-no-to-clients">saying ‘no’</a> to potentially difficult clients.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Nip it in the bud early&nbsp;</h2> <p>One of the biggest mistakes I have made is to let discussions go on too long. I have learnt to say, “Thank you but this project is not for us” at the <em>first</em> meeting. I don’t waste their time and I certainly don’t waste mine.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>2. Have a good system for referring clients on&nbsp;</h2> <p>I have a really good <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/attracting-new-business/generating-word-of-mouth-referrals" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/attracting-new-business/generating-word-of-mouth-referrals">referral</a> network, and I use it. Just because a client may be potentially difficult for me, doesn’t mean they’ll be difficult for someone else. I know the personalities of my valued referral partners, and will only refer if I think the relationship will work, and thankfully, in nearly all cases it has.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Rehearse your ‘no’ speech&nbsp;</h2> <p>Rather than getting caught out, I have a few “It’s not you, it’s me” speeches in my head, ready to pull out on demand.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some of my favourites are, “Thank you for the opportunity, but we are so heavily committed that we can’t give your project the time and attention it needs.” Or another one, “Thank you for the opportunity to work on this project, but it doesn’t align with the direction we want to take.”&nbsp;</p> <p>These formal, structured responses leave little room for argument. But, if the client does argue persuasively, keep going back to your rehearsed statement. Be a broken record!&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Quote high&nbsp;</h2> <p>Quote high. I mean, really high, so <em>they</em> make the decision to move on. Now, this can backfire – they might still say yes. Just make sure you are paid upfront, and if the client turns out to be a nightmare, at least you can afford appropriate medication or a holiday to recover!&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. If you crack under pressure, buy some time&nbsp;</h2> <p>It is easy to crack, don’t worry, we all do. When faced with this, buy yourself some time. I say, “I’ll get back to you with my thoughts by Friday”. This gives me time to really think about the pros and cons of the project, and to prepare an appropriate response.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hopefully you’ve now learnt some strategies to help you say ‘no’ to difficult clients, allowing you to say ‘yes’ to the wonderful ones!&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What are your tips for turning down difficult clients?</em></strong></p> Andrew Griffiths tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14769 2014-09-09T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-09T10:28:21+10:00 Why and how to develop the No Excuses Mindset <p>The No Excuses Mindset has contributed the most to my success and resilience. In this article I’ll explain why it’s important and how to develop it.</p><p>The stage was set.</p> <p>Last week I was standing in front of the management team from a government organisation, about to deliver a seminar. But, I was worried about a key section that I’d only added the day before.</p> <p>To my delight, that last minute addition ended up being the topic they were most excited about.</p> <p>The topic revolved around two simple words.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>No. Excuses.</h2> <p>The premise for the <em>No Excuses Mindset </em>is simple. Every time you start to complain about something, stop. Think about how you can take control of the situation and be accountable for it. Here are three reasons why having the <em>No Excuses Mindset</em> can make you more successful and resilient.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>1. You will get what you want – faster</h2> <p>Let’s look at a practical example of how you’ll get what you want faster.</p> <p>Have you ever said these words or heard someone else say them? "They haven't returned my email".</p> <p>In this situation, these are the things I’d think about:</p> <ul> <li>Do people sign a contract that says they will return my emails and calls? No, so therefore it’s my responsibility to email or call, not wait.</li> <li>Is it possible the email didn't even get to them? Instead of waiting to find out, I will call and check, instead of delaying. This saves weeks of lost time, only to find out it didn’t arrive.</li> <li>Did I set expectations that would have given me more control over the situation? For example, did I ask, "Could you please let me know by Tuesday?" or "I’ll follow up my email on Tuesday."&nbsp;</li> <li>Is it urgent? If it is urgent, I probably should never have emailed, I should have called.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h2>2. It makes your success repeatable</h2> <p>When you start to make <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/five-excuses-for-a-lack-of-business-vision" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/business-plans/five-excuses-for-a-lack-of-business-vision">excuses</a> about what other people do to you, there is one big problem. What happens to you, good or bad, is not repeatable.</p> <p>Conversely, if you adopt full accountability, you can analyse root causes for any situation that is within your control to ensure that your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/measuring-success/online-performance-monitoring-tools-to-track-small-business-success" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/measuring-success/online-performance-monitoring-tools-to-track-small-business-success">success</a> is repeatable, and your mistakes aren’t.</p> <p><em>Not accountable </em></p> <p>"He didn't call me back, but finally did after two weeks. Why are people so slow?!"</p> <p><em>Accountable </em></p> <p>"When I follow up my emails with a call within two days, I always get a response within a week."<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>3. Fear will subside</h2> <p>The best part about being fully <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/being-accountable-how-accountability-equals-credibility" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/being-accountable-how-accountability-equals-credibility">accountable</a> is that you remove the fear of not knowing. Not knowing how your customer will react, not knowing if they'll call you back, not knowing if xyz will happen.</p> <p>For the first time, none of these questions will matter because you will be in complete control. You will have formulated repeatable strategies to create any outcome of your choosing.</p> <p>So why wait? Start taking control over your outcomes today, and let me know if the <em>No Excuses Mindset</em> helps you achieve more.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on the No Excuses Mindset?</em></strong></p> Leigh Fletcher tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14589 2014-09-08T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-05T13:01:44+10:00 Got questions? Get answers. Hit the forums. <p>If you've yet to dive into Flying Solo’s forums, now may be the time. Forumites are friendly, helpful and generous. Join the conversation.</p><p><br /></p><h4>Visit the forums and get chatting:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums" target="_self">www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums</a></h4> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14795 2014-09-07T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-03T15:45:06+10:00 Member must reads, part 2 <p>Frederike Ramm, Ally Minatsis and Andrew Caska share the books that have had the most influence on the way they run their business.</p><h2>Frederike Ramm</h2> <p>Quite a few years ago I read <em><a href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-stephen-r-covey/prod9781471129391.html" mce_href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-stephen-r-covey/prod9781471129391.html" target="_blank">The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People</a></em> by Stephen R Covey. While not a pure business book as such, the book had a strong influence on the way I try to live my life and run my business.</p> <p>The book talks about rules and habits that help achieve a change in mindset, with increased responsibility for our own choices, as well as guidance on how to achieve synergy with others.</p> <p>In the first section of the book, Stephen talks about being proactive and acting in alignment with your values and goals – definitely something I try to do in managing my business.</p> <p>Much of his advice in the following chapters focuses on how to work interdependently with others. These ideas influence the way I treat clients and co-workers, particularly the 'think win-win' chapter, and the section about 'seeking first to understand, then to be understood'.</p> <p>The author also speaks about an 'abundance mentality', a mindset that assumes there are enough resources available to share with others. No need for dirty tricks to "steal" business from others, there's enough to go around for all of us!</p> <p><em>Read more about <a href="http://ondetto.flyingsolo.com.au" mce_href="http://ondetto.flyingsolo.com.au">Ondetto</a>'s Frederike Ramm in her <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/frederike-ramm-ondetto" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/frederike-ramm-ondetto">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <h2>Ally Minatsis</h2> <p>Occasionally you find a book that shapes the way you approach your work. It not only inspires you, but it makes you actively change the way you do things. For me that book was Steve Krug's <em><a href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/don-t-make-me-think-steve-krug/prod9780321344755.html" mce_href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/don-t-make-me-think-steve-krug/prod9780321344755.html" target="_blank">Don't Make Me Think</a>, </em>which I<em> </em>discovered when I was just beginning to hone my skills as a web designer.</p> <p>My job is to not only create websites for my clients, but to build a connection between them and their customers. However, it’s difficult to put yourself in your customers' shoes. This is where Krug’s book helps.</p> <p><em>Don’t Make Me Think</em> is about usability. It explains how customers behave and why they choose certain paths. Most of it is common sense but even simple ideas can be tricky to implement. Krug’s book makes sense of it all.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is essential reading for web designers, but it’s a great read for all business owners. Whether you have a website or not, <em>Don’t Make Me Think</em> gives you insight into how customers behave online AND offline.</p> <p>Steve Krug explains things in such an easy and entertaining way, that you won’t even realise how much you’ve absorbed until long after you put the book down. Highly recommended.</p> <p><em>Read more about&nbsp;<a href="http://berrywebdesign.flyingsolo.com.au/" mce_href="http://berrywebdesign.flyingsolo.com.au/">Berry Web Design</a></em><em>'s Ally Minatsis in her&nbsp;<a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/ally-minatsis-berry-web-design" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/ally-minatsis-berry-web-design">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <h2>Andrew Caska&nbsp;</h2> <p><em><a href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-personal-mba-josh-kaufman/prod9781591843528.html" mce_href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-personal-mba-josh-kaufman/prod9781591843528.html" target="_blank">The Personal MBA</a></em> by Josh Kaufman<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;"> provides a useful snapshot of: creating value, marketing, sales and other topics. Whilst it is thin on&nbsp;content in parts, it is one of those books you can leave on the bedside table and have a quick flick through from time to time. &nbsp;</span></p> <p>Personally,&nbsp;I really liked the first chapter on "value creation" because this is where&nbsp;I see the primary&nbsp;issue in my business, and understanding how to make new customers see that we offer&nbsp;“better value” than our&nbsp;competitors, as opposed to simply&nbsp;“lower costs”.&nbsp;I also&nbsp;like how the later chapters refer back to the&nbsp;previous chapters, which link the topics together.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In summary, this book is a good read for a time-poor business owner to gain an overview of the business issues you need to consider, and has some good practical tips along the way to assist you with&nbsp;decision making.</p> <p><em>Read more about <a href="http://caska-ip-patent-attorneys.flyingsolo.com.au/" mce_href="http://caska-ip-patent-attorneys.flyingsolo.com.au/">Caska IP'</a>s Andrew Caska in his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/andrew-caska-caska-ip" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/andrew-caska-caska-ip">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <h2>Want to share your must read?</h2> <p>To participate in in the <em>Member must reads</em> series you must be a member of Flying Solo Business Class.</p> <p><strong>Already a Business Class member?</strong> Simply send your 200 word or less summary to lisa(at)flyingsolo.com.au.</p> <p><strong>Not yet a Business Class member?</strong> <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/14751 2014-09-06T07:30:00+10:00 2014-07-18T13:43:24+10:00 Part 2: How to interview for an employee <p>You know how to conduct the first part of an interview, now let’s take a look at the second part, which includes some no go areas! </p><p>Maybe you’ve had an opportunity to use some of the interview techniques discussed in my <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/part-1-how-to-interview-for-an-employee" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/part-1-how-to-interview-for-an-employee">first article</a>? In this article, let’s take everything one step further.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Behavioural questions&nbsp;</h2> <p>Very few people use behavioural questions effectively. The theory behind them is that past behaviour<em> </em>indicates <em>future performance</em>. That is, if you have worked on a busy reception desk, and I put you in that situation again, you will most likely react/work the same way as you did before.&nbsp;</p> <p>Example questions might be “Tell me about a time when you had more work than you could possibly handle? What happened and what did you do?” Once the candidate has given you an overview of the situation, delve deeper into a specific part of the story, asking one question at a time.</p> <ul> <li>“So when you were in that meeting, what were you thinking?”</li> <li>“What did you do?”</li> <li>“What did you say?”</li> <li>“What was your role?”</li> <li>“What was the outcome?”</li> <li>“Can you give me an example?”<em>&nbsp;</em></li> </ul> <p>By probing with open-ended <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">questions</a>, you’ll get a clear picture of what actually happened, and how the individual handled themselves. If the situation isn’t real or accurate, their story will quickly fall apart.<strong></strong></p> <h2>5. Cultural questions&nbsp;</h2> <p>If I asked you to describe the culture of your micro business, what would you say? How do other workers feel when they walk into your work space? What would they see? Would they hear <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-styles/humour-at-work" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-styles/humour-at-work">laughter</a> or silence? These things help determine your culture. Many people fail in jobs – not because they can’t do the role but because they are not a cultural fit.&nbsp;</p> <p>In interviews, ask questions such as:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>“What type of <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/individuality-celebrating-the-i-in-team" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/individuality-celebrating-the-i-in-team">team</a> relationship do you work best in?”</li> <li>“How do you like to be managed?”</li> <li>“Do you like to socialise with work colleagues?” </li> <li>“Can you give me an example?”<strong>&nbsp;</strong></li> </ul> <h2>6. Close&nbsp;</h2> <p>Tell the candidate about the role and what you are looking for. Remember to sell the opportunity. Ask if they have any questions for you. You want the candidate to ask questions – lots of them.&nbsp;</p> <p>Let the candidate know that you are interviewing a couple of people, and advise them of the next steps. Finally, thank them for their time and their interest in the role.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Questioning techniques&nbsp;</h2> <p>Don’t be afraid to probe for information until you have a detailed picture of the situation. Use silence for people who are not forthcoming with information, because they’ll look to fill the gaps.&nbsp;</p> <p>Conversely, if they are too chatty, interrupt them and use closed questions to control their chatter. I always preface my interviews with the fact that I will interrupt to ensure we stay on track.&nbsp;</p> <p>Avoid asking two questions in quick succession, as the individual will only answer the second question.&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, if the candidate is talking about what the team did, don’t be afraid to ask, <em>“</em>What was <em>your </em>role?”<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>‘No go’ question areas&nbsp;</h2> <p>To avoid potentially discriminating against a candidate, there are some questions you should avoid asking.&nbsp;</p> <p>Rather than asking what childcare arrangements the interviewee has, pose this: “It is sometimes necessary to stay late at short notice. Would you be able to do that?”&nbsp;</p> <p>Don’t ask, “Does your religion prevent you from working on certain days of the week?” Rather, say, “Ideally we are looking for someone to work Monday to Friday, 9-5pm. Are you able work these hours?”&nbsp;</p> <p>Following the techniques above will improve your ability to find the best person for your role, so that your micro business can continue to flourish.</p> <p><strong><em>&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>What are your experiences interviewing people for your micro business?</em></strong></p> Natasha Hawker tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14768 2014-09-05T07:30:00+10:00 2014-07-29T16:32:25+10:00 Website branding versus website sales <p>What should you prioritise on your website – branding and presentation, or generating leads and sales? Well, here’s my two cents, and you might not like it. </p><p>Many small business owners have been given bad advice. Many have been told to focus their time, money and efforts on branding their website rather than building a website that generates leads and sales.&nbsp;</p> <p>I disagree with this.&nbsp;</p> <p>Prioritising sales generation over branding is about focussing your efforts wisely to get the most out of your business website, and not wasting time on things that are not initially profitable. It’s about promoting a clear call to action that will increase your sales and ultimately your profits.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Richard Branson and Coca Cola&nbsp;</h2> <p>Many in favour of branding will use the argument that people like Richard Branson put most of his time and budget into <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">branding,</a> or that Coca-Cola focuses entirely on branding. Well, of course that’s how it looks now, but let’s look back to their beginning.&nbsp;</p> <p>Richard Branson started his first record shop in London in 1971 and worked hard building and publicising his businesses to increase sales and turnover. He put massive amounts of time and money into each and every business. What we see today is the result of his PR machine at work. Yes, he focuses on branding now, but that’s because his sales were taken care of in the early days.&nbsp;</p> <p>John Pemberton who started Coca-Cola put his first advertisement in the Atlanta Journal in May 1886 and regularly advertised his product after that. His initial focus was <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/sales-strategies/marketing-strategy-versus-engagement-strategy" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/sales-strategies/marketing-strategy-versus-engagement-strategy">marketing</a> and sales.&nbsp;</p> <p>Can you begin to imagine the billions of dollars these two well-known brands have spent on promotions and advertising over the past decades?&nbsp;</p> <h2>So what does this mean for you and your solo business?&nbsp;</h2> <p>Well, branding is nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Focusing on sales does! It’s as simple as that. When your business grows to a decent size and you actually have a marketing budget, then you <em>might</em> focus on branding over sales.&nbsp;</p> <p>Initially you must focus on building your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/generating-leads-through-your-website-visitors" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/generating-leads-through-your-website-visitors">leads</a> and sales. In this way you will naturally build your brand, for no effort or money. Your brand will grow as a by-product of good sales and referrals.&nbsp;</p> <p>I regularly see business owners falling into the trap of prioritising branding over sales on their websites, but there is no competition. Sales consistently produce results.&nbsp;</p> <p>Prioritising sales over branding is about focussing your efforts wisely to get the most out of your business website, and not wasting time on things that are not initially profitable. It’s about defining what you want your business website to do for you, and promoting a clear call to action that will increase your sales and ultimately your profits.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, take a look at your Google Analytics and ask yourself the following questions:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Are you getting reasonable traffic but no conversions? </li> <li>What’s your bounce rate like? The lower the better. </li> <li>How many people fill in your contact form?&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>If you don’t know the answers to these questions, make it a priority to find out. Knowing these things is the first step toward working out how to get more leads and sales from your website.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>What’s your priority? Website branding or website sales?&nbsp;</em></strong></p> Trish Fehon tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14760 2014-09-04T07:30:00+10:00 2014-07-28T16:27:46+10:00 How to deal with business bottlenecks <p>Bottlenecks are bad for business. Find out what they are and how to deal with them before it’s too late.</p><h2>What is a bottleneck?&nbsp;</h2> <p>A bottleneck<strong> </strong>is something that <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/performance/removing-barriers-to-success" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/performance/removing-barriers-to-success">restricts you</a>, your business, or a system <em>within </em>your business from achieving its potential.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Uncovering the bottlenecks&nbsp;</h2> <p>Bottlenecks can be hard to find, but a good place to start is you! Is there a situation that regularly causes you <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/stress-management/four-tips-for-soloist-stress-management" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/stress-management/four-tips-for-soloist-stress-management">stress</a>? If so, this suggests that a bottleneck exists somewhere.</p> <p>Ask yourself:</p> <ul> <li>Do I always have too much on my plate?</li> <li>Am I unable to get the really important things done?</li> <li>Are details and small tasks dominating my time?</li> <li>Are people always waiting for me to get back to them?&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h2>Share the load&nbsp;</h2> <p>If you answered ‘yes’ to many of the above questions, then it’s time to start delegating – for most soloists, this means <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.&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>Outsourcing allows you to build a team of skilled professionals without the expense of hiring full-time employees. It also stops you from getting bogged down with tasks that can be completed by others.&nbsp;</p> <p>Commonly outsourced tasks include <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/importance-of-proofreading" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/importance-of-proofreading">proof reading</a>, data entry, market research, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/do-you-need-a-bookkeeper-or-accountant" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/do-you-need-a-bookkeeper-or-accountant">bookkeeping</a>, website administration and so on.&nbsp;</p> <p>Regardless of the nature of your business, it is critical to follow one simple rule: you can outsource almost anything except responsibility! Your core business should not be outsourced – nor should you outsource something just because you don’t want to do it.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Other signs of bottlenecks</h2> <ul> <li>Long wait times. This means your work is delayed while you wait for a product, more information or other people.</li> <li>Backlog. This is when there’s too much work piled up at one end and not enough at the other end.<br /> </li> <li>High stress levels. This is a symptom I see all too often amongst small and micro business owners!&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>In these instances, it can be helpful to create a flowchart detailing every step in the process, to identify where bottlenecks are occurring.</p> <h2> Use resources wisely</h2> <p>Given your limited manpower, use your resources&nbsp;wisely. In the case of outsourcing, identify the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/measuring-success/measuring-performance-of-your-solo-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/measuring-success/measuring-performance-of-your-solo-business">performance metrics</a> that are most important to each outsourced task.&nbsp;</p> <p>Identifying performance metrics is a challenging task if you are too close to the subject! So be mindful to consult a third party if necessary to ensure objectivity.&nbsp;</p> <p>Once you are able to step back and allow your extended ‘team’ to do the job you’ve hired them to do, you will free up valuable time and energy to focus on growing your business. No more bottlenecks, just business growth.</p> <p><br /></p><p> <strong><em>What are your business bottlenecks?</em></strong></p> Craig Jackson tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14770 2014-09-03T07:30:00+10:00 2014-07-30T14:22:06+10:00 Five systems your clients will love <p>In business, it’s important not to just think about yourself and your own systems. Here are five systems your clients will love.</p><h2>Welcome Pack&nbsp;</h2> <p>Do you have a standard way of informing new clients about your business and the service they can expect? Setting client <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/managing-client-expectations" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/managing-client-expectations">expectations</a> from the beginning can help to avoid misunderstandings later on.&nbsp;</p> <p>Having a Welcome Pack helps to set the tone for your business relationship.</p> <p>To create your welcome pack, make up a folder that includes:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Information about your business and who your clients will predominantly be dealing with.</li> <li>Standard work arrangements, for example, how long it takes to return a missed call or respond to emails.</li> <li>Your terms and conditions, even though you probably included them with your proposal or quote.</li> <li>A tasteful amount of ‘non-salesy’ information, overviewing the full range of your services.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h2>Information gathering&nbsp;</h2> <p>Take the opportunity when your client first comes on board to find out about their business, their plans and goals, their communication preferences and their background level of knowledge.&nbsp;</p> <p>To gather this information, design a form to capture it in a standardised manner. If you normally have an initial conversation, I'm not suggesting that your conversation becomes a survey; rather, the form is simply to remind you of the points you need to discuss.&nbsp;</p> <p>This early information will help you tailor your work style to your client's experience. For example, if the client isn’t tech savvy, you’ll either need to invest time teaching them how to use DropBox or meet their requirements in a different way.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Checklists and information sheets&nbsp;</h2> <p>Design a checklist to remind clients of what they need to send to you, and when. A checklist would be ideal for, say, a bookkeeper who has taken on a beginner business owner who doesn’t know exactly what they need to do/send.&nbsp;</p> <p>In this situation the bookkeeper could go one step further and provide suggestions about how their client can manage their records or file receipts so that they don't get lost.</p> <p>Even if your clients aren't absolute beginners, information sheets can still be useful. Remember, just because you've included information on your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website">website</a>, don't assume your clients have actually read it.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Reminders&nbsp;</h2> <p>Do you have important dates throughout the year that your clients need reminding about? Things such as <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/a-guide-to-business-activity-statements-BAS" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/a-guide-to-business-activity-statements-BAS">BAS</a> deadlines, application closing dates and renewals can be easily forgotten. Send reminders via the most appropriate channel so you don't have a mad rush closer to the deadline. Your clients may not thank you for it, but they will be grateful. They don't appreciate the last minute rush either!&nbsp;</p> <h2>Surprises&nbsp;</h2> <p>Whether it is a card for your client’s birthday or a gift for the anniversary of their association with your business, these surprises can make a big impact. Put these dates onto a spreadsheet or in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. You'll be on top of those important dates and your clients will feel the love.&nbsp;</p> <p>By making the lives of your clients easier you'll also be making your job easier. Isn't that what we all want?&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What sort of systems have you implemented that benefit your clients?</em></strong></p> Mary Gardam tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14794 2014-09-02T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-12T16:38:45+10:00 Challenge: Design YOUR ideal working week! <p>Each year or so I embark on a lifestyle or productivity challenge. This time I’ll attempt to combine several life hacks into one golden week. I invite you to join me.</p><p>In the past, I’ve attempted to go from <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-styles/benefits-early-riser-night-owl-to-early-bird" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-styles/benefits-early-riser-night-owl-to-early-bird">night owl to early bird in seven days</a>, battled <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/managing-email/confessions-from-an-email-addict" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/managing-email/confessions-from-an-email-addict">email addiction</a>, road-tested <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/smart-goal-setting-making-new-week-resolutions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/smart-goal-setting-making-new-week-resolutions">new week</a> and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/new-year-s-resolutions-for-micro-business-owners" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/new-year-s-resolutions-for-micro-business-owners">new year’s resolutions</a>, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/being-accountable-setting-deadlines" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/being-accountable-setting-deadlines">whipped up deadlines</a> and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/how-to-stop-procrastination" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/how-to-stop-procrastination">eaten frogs</a> – all with varying degrees of success and longevity.</p> <p>So, regardless of past setbacks, it’s time to up the ante and combine some of the best lifestyle and productivity tips into one perfect storm of a week, starting <strong>next Sunday 7 September</strong>!</p> <p>For me, I’m setting seven goals around my priorities of health, family, friends and work.</p> <h2>My daily steps for an ideal week:</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Exercise</strong> – 45-minutes intensive exercise per day</li> <li><strong>Nutrition</strong> – no alcohol, no junk food and a maximum of two coffees a day</li> <li><strong>Sleep</strong> – tucked in by 11pm, feet on the floor by 6am</li> <li><strong>Organisation</strong> – write my to-do list and plan my work day the night before</li> <li><strong>Productivity</strong> – turn off email for at least three hours per day to ‘<a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/how-to-stop-procrastination" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/how-to-stop-procrastination">eat that frog</a>’</li> <li><strong>Focus</strong> – stop multitasking and work in blocks using the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/search?page=1&amp;q=pomodoro+technique&amp;s=site" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/search?page=1&amp;q=pomodoro+technique&amp;s=site">pomodoro technique</a></li> <li><strong>Family/friends</strong> – shut down the computer from 6pm to socialise, schedule three lunch/coffee dates with Fel </li> </ol> <p>I’m going to report back on these goals each day (in the article comments and in the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/what-ill-do/31743-challenge-design-your-ideal-working-week.html" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/what-ill-do/31743-challenge-design-your-ideal-working-week.html" target="_blank">forums</a>) with a tick or a cross for each.</p> <h2>Can I tempt you to join in?</h2> <p>If so, based on your own priorities, work and lifestyle, the first step is to map out YOUR ideal week as best you can. That might simply be a list of one or two daily goals, or a fully-fledged timetable. Everyone’s ideal week will look different.</p> <h2>Here’s how it works:</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Add a comment below now to let us know you’re up for the challenge! </strong></li> <li><strong>Report back on your progress next week in the comments or <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/what-ill-do/31743-challenge-design-your-ideal-working-week.html" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/what-ill-do/31743-challenge-design-your-ideal-working-week.html">forums</a></strong></li> </ol> <p>If you commit to reporting back online, I guarantee you’ll find there’s nothing like public accountability to get you moving at 6am! Of course, you don’t need to share your specific goals if you prefer not to.</p> <p>Whether this exercise leads to seven days of zen-like calm, brutal discipline and unbridled productivity, or a week of failure, fatigue and humiliation, time will tell.</p> <p>I hope to ‘see’ some brave souls back here next week!</p> <p>Until then, there’s still time to shovel down final chips and beer!</p> <p><strong><em>Are you up for the challenge? Let me know in the comments!</em></strong></p><p><br /></p><h3>Update Day 1: So far so good (almost)&nbsp;</h3><p>Was up at 6 sharp and went for an hour bike ride. My to-do list is now written and ready for the start of a productive and focused work week. I confess I did have a moment of weakness and had light beer with Alan, my 80+ year old neighbour across the road, but it really did seem rude to refuse the kind offer :) Strictly zero tolerance from here on though on that front.&nbsp;Lucinda, Matt, Shan, Brian, Grace~Shanti, Denise, Burgo and others taking the challenge, I look forward to hearing how you go during the week.&nbsp;For others, It’s not too late to jump in!&nbsp;</p><h3>Update Day 2: Holding strong&nbsp;</h3> <div></div><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">Managed to obey the 6am alarm clock again and head to the gym this morning and all clear on the food/alcohol/coffee front. Had the pomodoro timer out this afternoon for a few hours of offline work too. About to clock off as it's 6pm-ish. Not sure if a co-incidence, but it was a very productive day today.</span></p><p>Scarlett, I hope you got your 10 minutes strategy in. And Burgo I hope you did no work at all. Surprised to see Lucinda is still standing! Hope everyone else hit their goals and had a good start to the week.</p><h3>Update Day 3: Feeling good!&nbsp;</h3> <div></div><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;"><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;">Hi Virginia,Lucinda, Matt, Shan, Brian, Grace~Shanti, Natasha, Denise, Burgo and others taking the ideal week challenge! It's been a mixed week overall for some, but overall pretty successful I reckon.&nbsp;</span><br style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px;"><br style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 17px;">Pleased to report almost full marks for day 3. I actually found that I woke up before my alarm this morning which is most unusual. Food, sleep and exercise all ticked off, along with a coffee date with my wife this morning. A looming project deadline had me stuck in the inbox a bit more than I'd like and I didn't quite make the 6pm knock off... but, overall a really productive day and feeling energetic with all the exercise. Hump day tomorrow so stick to your guns and report back on progress if you dare!&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 18px; line-height: 20px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 18px; line-height: 20px;">Update Day 4: Productive but a little tired&nbsp;</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 12px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background: transparent;" mce_style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 12px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background: transparent;"></div><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">Scored about five out of seven today – including the big ones of sleep, exercise nutrition and organisation. Got somewhat distracted during the day with a lot going on and had to jump back online later in the evening to catch up on some work (including this update!). I'm finding the early morning starts + exercise really do make me feel energised and ahead for most of the day - that's probably the biggest benefit of all the goals. Will have to find a way to maintain this beyond the week! Although as I’ve been getting to bed a little later than I wanted I do fade in the evenings a little. Good luck for the rest of the week.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 18px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 20px;" mce_style="font-size: 18px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 20px;">Update Day 5: Full swing&nbsp;</span></p> <div><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;">Short and sweet update today. Happy to say I hit 6 out of 7 goals, only failing on one by reaching for the third coffee during the mid arvo fade. One day of the working week to go and it's been one of the more productive ones in recent times - no co-incidence I don't think. If you're still at it, keep going, just two days to go. Thx, Pete</span><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;">r</span></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;"><br /></span></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;"><p><span mce_style="font-size: 18px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 20px;" style="font-size: 18px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; line-height: 20px;">Update Day 6: Almost there...&nbsp;</span></p><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">I will stop hounding you with updates soon I promise :) Strong finish to the working week today pretty much on track with all goals - getting up was tough this morning. To be honest I think the early mornings and exercise make the biggest difference to having a productive day and week, so I'm going to continue those next week (will see if I can do it without the motivation of public accountability!). Got my Dad's 70th party tomorrow night to break the drought. Have a great weekend all!</span></div><div><br /></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><br /></span></div></span></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;"><div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 0px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;">Day 6: Almost there!</div> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 0px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;">I will stop hounding you with updates soon I promise :) Strong finish to the working week today pretty much on track with all goals - getting up was tough this morning. To be honest I think the early mornings and exercise make the biggest difference to having a productive day and week, so I'm going to continue those next week (will see if I can do it without the motivation of public accountability!). Got my Dad's 70th party tomorrow night to break the drought. Have a great weekend all!</div><br /></span></div><p><br /></p> Peter Crocker tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14796 2014-08-31T07:30:00+10:00 2014-08-27T11:34:18+10:00 Using stories to attract business <p>Storytelling is a great technique to use in presentations and training, but how does it help grow your business? Podcast guest, Andrew Griffiths gives us the low down.</p><p>To access all Flying Solo podcasts visit&nbsp;<a 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/14745 2014-08-30T07:30:00+10:00 2014-07-15T13:23:55+10:00 Nine tips to reduce your fear of hiring <p>If you want to grow your business it’s important to build a team. But if you’re afraid of hiring, here are nine tips to help dampen the dread. </p><h2>Peter got burnt. So did Heather. Are you worried too?</h2> <p>When I first met Peter, a gentle, educated and easy going man, he had just acquired another local business that came with a warehouse and several employees. The excitement of the new business went south very quickly though. In the first month, two of the employees took him to the Industrial Relations Commission, and he’s been afraid to have employees ever since.</p> <p>Another client, Heather, explained how her retail florist business has been a revolving door for employees.&nbsp; Just when her staff are fully trained, they move on. One of them even resigned by text message!</p> <p>A straw poll of my clients revealed that (rightly or wrongly) many are afraid of hiring employees. In many cases, this fear is holding back their business <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/business-growth-solo-to-micro-without-headaches" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/business-growth-solo-to-micro-without-headaches">growth.</a></p> <h2>Learning from big business</h2> <p>Bigger businesses build big teams, sometimes in the thousands, so there must be lessons that small businesses can learn from them.</p> <p>Hiring an employee is one of the biggest risk factors to your business, so you need to enter 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">recruitment</a> phase with your eyes wide open. If you are afraid of hiring staff, it’s time to think like a big business. Here are nine tips that might help.</p> <h2>Treat hiring as just another system</h2><p><strong></strong></p> <p>Treat Human Resource processes as a collection of systems, all designed to find, retain, train and get the most from employees. Make sure your systems keep evolving and developing to ensure they are delivering the results you want. There is no mystery involved, just <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">systems.</a></p> <h2>Don’t rush </h2> <p>Take your time: Do your due diligence, interview extensively, complete reference checks, provide tests and scenarios, and do anything else that will ensure you hire the best person.</p> <p>Equip yourself with knowledge</p> <p>Protect yourself by knowing about industrial relations and awards. Have excellent contracts drafted, and put adequate protections in place. There are excellent, low cost resources available, but get advice from professionals as well.</p> <h2>Accept the risk</h2> <p>Accept that there is a risk when hiring employees, and realise that sometimes things won’t work out. It’s all just a part of owning a business. It’s no different to accepting the risk of a marketing campaign or taking on a lease.</p> <h2>Keep your eyes peeled for great talent</h2><p><strong></strong></p> <p>Never stop looking for potential team members, treat it like marketing, where you are always looking for new clients, only in this case you’re looking for new employees.</p> <h2>Don’t blur the lines </h2> <p>Keep a safe distance between you and your colleagues, they’re not friends.</p> <h2>Think outside the box </h2> <p>Look at other ways to engage staff. The following could all be suitable options: part-time, contracting, casual, outsourcing and franchising.</p> <h2>Assess your competence as a boss</h2> <p>Look at yourself, and get feedback from your staff on how you perform as a boss. If your staff aren’t performing well or leaving prematurely, maybe you need to improve in certain areas.</p> <h2>Pay fairly</h2> <p>I’ve seen so many business owners who pay commission only or minimal rates. It’s a false economy. A minimum wage doesn’t inspire maximum motivation or loyalty.</p> <p>Building a productive team with a cohesive culture is the foundation of a successful business, but getting the first team member can be daunting. Swallow your fear, do your homework and be brave. In the end, your attitude toward hiring can take your business to a whole new level.</p> <p><strong><em>What are your tips to minimise fear when hiring?</em></strong></p> Warren Harmer tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14761 2014-08-29T07:30:00+10:00 2014-07-28T16:28:50+10:00 20 quick tips to make marketing easier <p>I’ve condensed my own marketing advice into 20 one line tips. If you’re a busy soloist looking for a quick and easy marketing guide, this is for you.</p><p>Type the phrase “marketing advice” into any search engine and the volume of information you get back is overwhelming. To avoid spending hours on research, read these useful tips.</p> <h2>Search Engine Optimisation</h2> <p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/are-you-suffering-from-search-engine-optimisation-seo-overwhelm" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/are-you-suffering-from-search-engine-optimisation-seo-overwhelm">Search engine optimisation</a> (SEO) is essential for anyone who doesn’t want their website to be forever consigned to Google obscurity. Although SEO does involve a certain amount of technical expertise, there are a few tips that even the most tech-phobic soloists can put into action. Here are my five favourites:</p><p>1. Write personalised <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/meta-tags-and-seo-a-beginners-guide" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/meta-tags-and-seo-a-beginners-guide">meta-descriptions</a> for every page and blog post.</p> <p>2. Include keywords in <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/meta-tags-and-seo-a-beginners-guide" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/seo-techniques/meta-tags-and-seo-a-beginners-guide">title tags</a>.</p> <p>3.Sign up for Google Authorship.</p> <p>4. Guest post regularly on high quality, relevant blogs (like Flying Solo!).</p><p>5. Always create content that is high quality, engaging and authoritative.</p> <h2>Appearance</h2> <p>When it comes to online marketing, people really do judge a book by its cover. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and visually appealing with these suggestions:</p> <p>6. Keep the layout uncluttered and clean for easy navigation.</p> <p>7. Avoid using ads or popups as they can make your site look spammy.</p> <p>8. Stick with a standard single sidebar on the right for a business website.</p> <p>9. Use a black font on white background to keep things easily readable.</p> <p>10. Place <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/top-email-marketing-tips" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/top-email-marketing-tips">email</a> subscription boxes and RSS feeds near the top of the sidebar.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Promoting your business</h2> <p>Promoting your business online requires time and hard work, but the results can be worth it. Creating and distributing <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> through blogs, eBooks, video and images is a highly effective way to engage your readers and prove your authority. Follow these guidelines for effective content promotion through social media and other channels.</p> <p>11. Share other people’s content as well as your own on social media.</p> <p>12. Spend time engaging with communities on social media.</p> <p>13. Respond to comments on your blog and engage with your readers.</p> <p>14. Promote your website on your email signature and business cards.</p> <p>15. To build your community, try guest blogging on reputable blogs.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Random tips</h2> <p>Here are five more random pieces of advice that I’ve learned over the years that don’t fit into any particular category.</p> <p>16. When writing, use short sentences and small paragraphs.</p> <p>17. If technology isn’t your thing, hire someone else to handle it.</p> <p>18. Be original. Try to think of a new angle for every idea.</p> <p>19. Read about your niche and follow blogs that interest you.</p> <p>20. Brainstorm ideas regularly at a time when you feel creative.</p> <p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/marketing-your-service-seven-ps-of-marketing" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/marketing-your-service-seven-ps-of-marketing">Marketing</a> your business doesn’t have to be a headache. With a few simple tips you can improve your online marketing today and hopefully see immediate results.</p> <p><strong><em>These are my top 20 marketing tips – what have I missed? Share your must-do, one line marketing tips in the comments below.</em></strong></p> Jo Macdermott tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14765 2014-08-28T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-09T10:33:22+10:00 Part 1: Three hacks for a killer presentation <p>No one is born a natural public speaker. It takes a lot of learning, unlearning, tweaking and trialling. So let’s look at five hacks to a killer presentation.</p><p>According to a recent survey, 23 per cent of people rated public speaking as their greatest fear. Yep, they did not fear death as much as they <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/presentation-skills/10-ways-to-manage-public-speaking-nerves" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/presentation-skills/10-ways-to-manage-public-speaking-nerves">fear speaking</a> in public, which is known as glossophobia.&nbsp;</p> <p>What glossophobic people are <em>really</em> afraid of is making a mistake or looking foolish in front of others.&nbsp;</p> <p>No one is born a natural public speaker. It takes a lot of learning, unlearning, tweaking and trialling. Let’s start with some unlearning first.&nbsp;</p> <h2>What’s wrong with your presentation&nbsp;</h2> <p>Most people create <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/presentation-skills/presentation-skills-for-beginners" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/presentation-skills/presentation-skills-for-beginners">presentation</a>s with many slides that are packed with facts and content. The problem is that the audience gets bored within minutes. The stock photos are hardly persuasive and the slides contain too much tightly-squeezed information.<span style="line-height: 1.5em;" mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>With this approach, you’re giving too much importance to things that don’t matter. The slides are hardly your presentation – it’s <em>you</em> who makes your presentation unique and useful.&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, if you have to read the slides word for word, you’re not presenting, you’re reading. Your audience will soon stop paying attention. Don’t make the mistake of blurring the lines between you (the presenter owning the space) and the slides.&nbsp;</p> <p>With that out of our way, let’s look at three presentation hacks you can use immediately.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Make a connection&nbsp;</h2> <p>Always start with an <em>intention</em> to engage with your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/communication-skills/know-your-audience-whos-in-the-room" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/communication-skills/know-your-audience-whos-in-the-room">audience. </a>&nbsp;Setting a simple intention of how you want the presentation to go, works wonders. It gets your subconscious mind on your side. With that intention, build a rapport as soon as you start. You’re in deep rapport with someone when your words become their thoughts.&nbsp;</p> <p>A great way to start your presentation is by using humour. Jokes (yes, even bad ones) are great for building rapport from the start.&nbsp;</p> <p>Throughout the presentation, keep asking questions and involve your audience to keep them fully engaged.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Choose a cool design&nbsp;</h2> <p>You found a cool, free theme on the internet with a crisp blue background. The only problem? Your audience cannot read a thing because your text is black.&nbsp;</p> <p>When choosing a theme, keep it simple and conservative. Make sure the colours are in good contrast with each other. At the same time, avoid white backgrounds because it may be too bright for some people. Tone it down with a soothing grey or beige. Free web-based app, Visme, is a good tool for creating online presentations.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Break states&nbsp;</h2> <p>Breaking states is an important concept of Neuro Linguistic Programming. When you find your audience drowsy or disinterested, try this technique to break an unwanted state and bring them back. Crack a joke, weave a story or say something that’s completely out of context. If you prefer to go the old-fashioned way, just say “Let’s take a coffee break here”.&nbsp;</p> <p>In this article I’ve offered three hacks for a killer presentation. In my next article I’ll offer seven more.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Do you have tons of presentation ideas swimming in your head now? Go on, share them in the comments below!</em></strong><em></em></p> Pooja Lohana