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Flying Solo Directory

What say you?

Are you in love with your business?
30% - Yep! Sparks are flying
30% - Yeah, most of the time
34% - Hmm… ups and downs
4% - No. Thinking of leaving
Are you in love with your business?
 

Profile | Sam Leader

Sam Leader

Name:
Sam Leader
Forum profile:
sam_leader
Sam Leader

Sam Leader

Director - Finance & Operations, Flying Solo

Northern NSW |

After Sam left Bristol Uni in 1996, she got a Proper Job and was very unimpressed with it. In 1998, she upped sticks and moved to Sydney. Shortly after, Sam began her career as a soloist. For the next few years she ran a copywriting and editing business, My Word, which she adored as it not only financed her Tim Tam habit, it also enabled her to work in her pyjamas.

In 2001 she met Robert Gerrish, who invited her to contribute to his Flying Solo newsletter. Next they collaborated on a book, Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business. Sam has now fulfilled her lifelong ambition of becoming a published author and has high hopes of retiring on the royalties. 

Sam is a director of Flying Solo and is responsible for finance and operations. She lives in northern New South Wales with her partner John-Paul and their kids, Amy, Eleanor and Theo.

Sam Leader

Articles by Sam

How to lose like a winner

11 Mar 14 | Sam Leader

One morning in 2004 my favourite client took me to a café for what I thought would be a briefing. Turns out I was being told my services were no longer required. Read more

Why ‘idle’ Gen Y have the right idea

17 Dec 13 | Sam Leader

Gen Y (those born in the 1980s) are in the firing line from older generations who see them as idle and entitled. But this Gen Xer thinks they are going to change the world for the better. Read more

Lessons from the laid up

08 Oct 13 | Sam Leader

Recently, my good health was compromised which saw me transition – painfully I admit – from being helpful to helpless, a teacher to a learner and a giver to a receiver. Read more

From success to significance

13 Aug 13 | Sam Leader

Once you’ve proved to yourself that you’ve got what it takes to get a solo business going, perhaps it’s time to reach for higher ground. Read more

Can you spot a scammer?

09 Jul 13 | Sam Leader

I’ve heard a couple of scam stories recently that I wanted to share, as exposure is the enemy of the exploitative. Read more

Cheer squad practice

04 Jun 13 | Sam Leader

Everyone needs encouragement, but there’s not enough of it around. Here are some ideas for how to be more of an inspiration to others. Read more

Time to show technology who’s boss

30 Apr 13 | Sam Leader

I’ve had enough of being tethered to technology. So I’ve come up with a range of strategies to cut the cord. Read more

Tools for micro business teams

26 Mar 13 | Sam Leader

With six of us working remotely much of the time, it can be tricky to maintain a sense of unity within the Flying Solo team. As the ‘mum’ of the FS family, I’m in charge of making the team feel connected and I have a few tricks to make this happen. Read more

"Toughen up, buttercup!" Hard truths you need to hear

19 Feb 13 | Sam Leader

“Life is difficult,” read the opener of the first self-help book I picked up. Of course, I hastily put it down again. Read more

Sending the elevator back down

08 Jan 13 | Sam Leader

I love the saying “first world problems”. I use it to describe my supposed woes, which currently include dodgy internet, overwhelm from busy-ness and running out of PG Tips tea. Read more

The gain from pain – lessons learnt after illness

20 Nov 12 | Sam Leader

When faced with ill health or unhappy circumstances, are you quick to catastrophise or do you have faith that things will get better? Read more

Why your gripes are good for business

16 Oct 12 | Sam Leader

What irritates you as a customer? Can you be sure that it isn’t happening in your own backyard office? Read more

Eighteen things I’ve learnt since turning 18

11 Sep 12 | Sam Leader

What better way to help my niece and nephew celebrate turning 18 than with some sharing of knowledge? Better that than some e-rubbish, where even if I tried I’d buy the wrong thing. Read more

Don’t call me names!

07 Aug 12 | Sam Leader

There’s nothing like job titles to generate some debate. Recently mothers in our community got bent out of shape about the word ‘mumpreneur’. While some were proud to wear the moniker, most found it patronising. Read more

More grubby marketing strategies

03 Jul 12 | Sam Leader

My last post struck a chord with plenty of you, with commenters chiming in with their own observations of lowbrow marketing tactics. And in a ‘look and you see it everywhere’ way, I’ve found yet more cause for complaint. Read more

Grubby marketing strategies

29 May 12 | Sam Leader

Marketing strategies come in all forms, from the sophisticated and subtle to the aggressive and downright nasty. Read more

Taking the proverbial

24 Apr 12 | Sam Leader

I’ve always been a prolific reader but as the mother to two preschoolers, most of the books I’m exposed to these days are somewhat beneath me. Or so I thought. Read more

My worst week at work

27 Mar 12 | Sam Leader

This month, I experienced the toughest week I’ve had in seven years at Flying Solo. Here’s why. Read more

Which of these are you?

28 Feb 12 | Sam Leader

I love a bit of self-analysis, but Thomas Harris’ work describing four life positions made for scary, if insightful reading. Here’s what he has to say. Read more

"Time for a change around here."

31 Jan 12 | Sam Leader

If you feel hungry for a change within your current solo venture, it could be time for a radical reassessment of your strengths. Here’s how it’s worked for me. Read more

The resolution solution

03 Jan 12 | Sam Leader

80% of resolutions are broken within a month, or so we’re told. How do you go about making sticky resolutions? Here’s my solution. Read more

How (and how not) to dump your clients

29 Nov 11 | Sam Leader

There’s plenty of help for you if you need to get clients. But what about when you need to fire your clients? Here’s what I think. Read more

How filling my beanbag can help your business

01 Nov 11 | Sam Leader

When I grow up, I’m getting a proper sofa. In the meantime, I like to lounge on beanbags. Sit back and relax as I draw a surprising business analogy. Read more

Celebrity as testimonial

04 Oct 11 | Sam Leader

I’ve been pondering how these days, many people equate media exposure with credibility. So if you’ve been on telly, you must be good, is that right? Read more

Why your heart should rule your head

06 Sep 11 | Sam Leader

What if I were to tell you that you had, at your disposal, an amazing decision making tool that can help private and professional relationships flourish? Well, you do. It’s your intuition or inner voice. Read more

Help! I need somebody.

09 Aug 11 | Sam Leader

Smart businesses understand that helping others can be the key to ensuring prosperity and happiness. So what help do you need and are you good at asking for help? Read more

Why perfection sucks

11 Jul 11 | Sam Leader

The following negative ways of thinking are frequently observed in unhappy people, according to cognitive psychologists. Do any of these sound familiar? Read more

Soloism: was it contrary for you, too?

14 Jun 11 | Sam Leader

I’d always known I wanted to work for myself, but it took me over a decade of dithering before I finally took the plunge. Even then, I felt like I was challenging convention. Read more

When sweetness is a weakness

17 May 11 | Sam Leader

As a soloist, it’s not enough to be good at what you do, you also have to be a competent business person. But what if you have acres of talent but few business smarts? Read more

The lost art of conversation

19 Apr 11 | Sam Leader

Meeting people should be a pleasure, but there’s surely no denying, it can become a chore. So how do we make it fun again? Read more

Job titles: Who do you think YOU are?

22 Mar 11 | Sam Leader

A recent experience made me appreciate how important our job titles are to the outside world. This makes me cranky as. Read more

Expert credentials: What makes you the expert?

22 Feb 11 | Sam Leader

We live in a world full of people purporting to have expert credentials. So how can you tell the difference between fly by nights and the real deal? Read more

Resolutions: A slacker’s guide to giving up

25 Jan 11 | Sam Leader

Am I the only one who gets bored of talk of resolutions by about 3 January? If, like me, talk of ‘should’ brings out the rebel in you, read on. Read more

Annus horribilis or a total stormer? It’s time for a business review.

21 Dec 10 | Sam Leader

Before we know it, 2011 will be upon as and we’ll be in full-on planning mode. But what about the year that was? It's time for a business review. Read more

Keeping healthy: Under the covers boss

16 Nov 10 | Sam Leader

I’m all for positive thinking, but a nasty brush with a mystery bug got me wondering: how can I fake it til I make it if I can’t make it out of bed? Here’s my solution to keeping healthy. Read more

The most creative people I know

19 Oct 10 | Sam Leader

Writers, designers, actors, artists… they are all deemed ‘creative’. But creativity isn’t the preserve of talented individuals. For soloists, it’s a way of life. Read more

The Good Life Crisis

21 Sep 10 | Sam Leader

Was a serious event the catalyst for your solo journey? Mine was. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. Read more

The art of writing articles

24 Aug 10 | Sam Leader

Writing articles and getting published is a powerful way to promote your expertise, and your business. Here’s some advice on making your read a good one. Read more

Listening before you leap

27 Jul 10 | Sam Leader

“Not like that! I’ll show you how to do it” is one of my daughter’s favourite sayings. She’s two and a half years old. Problem is, I think Amy’s desire to be in the right is inherited. Read more

In pursuit of precious boredom

06 Jul 10 | Sam Leader

When I heard myself say “I’ve deleted that newspaper” I got worried. Should I pull the plug for a bit? Read more

Small is the new big

15 Jun 10 | Sam Leader

Whenever I’ve seen soloists tout their business in an overly corporate style, it’s made me want to weep. But never more so than now. Here’s why. Read more

Work life harmony: I want to get off!

25 May 10 | Sam Leader

I used to be so good at work life harmony. I committed myself to tasks with a relaxed yet dedicated fashion and was productive and happy. Then that all changed. Read more

Is honesty the best policy?

04 May 10 | Sam Leader

Recently, I lost a bet and as a result had to be absolutely honest with everyone for a week. It’s been a no bull, no lies and, arguably, no tact time. So how did I go? Is honesty the best policy? Read more

Do you have a comfortable work environment?

12 Apr 10 | Sam Leader

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. Read more

A formula for happiness?

22 Mar 10 | Sam Leader

Many of you will know I love a good survey, and the ones that make me happiest are the ones about happiness. Check out my discoveries about the formula for happiness. Read more

The energy equation

02 Mar 10 | Sam Leader

The big end of town have long claimed that you have to spend money to make money. I’ve come to realise the same is true with energy. Here’s what I’ve learned about the energy equation. Read more

Happiness is hard work

08 Feb 10 | Sam Leader

We know from our 2008 survey Understanding Micro Business that soloists are a sunny bunch with average happiness levels rated as 8 out of 10. Read more

Six degrees of connection

18 Jan 10 | Sam Leader

Occasionally you’ll be exposed to some thinking that you then can’t shake from your mind. This happened to me whilst listening to a program on good old ABC radio recently discussing degrees of connection. See what you make of it. Read more

The best small business articles of 2009

21 Dec 09 | Sam Leader

It’s the time of year for me to cast my eye over 2009’s small business articles and select a handful for the best. We’ve seen some crackers in 2009 … here are a few of my favourites. Read more

Taking time out: Give yourself a break

30 Nov 09 | Sam Leader

I strongly believe every soloist should have a plan for taking time out from their business. Now is the ideal time to work out how you’ll get time out this year. Here are some tips that may help. Read more

Poor customer service: Being treated like a criminal

09 Nov 09 | Sam Leader

Hands up who likes getting told off? I’ve had a number of interactions with businesses that have made me feel like a naughty child, and this is very poor customer service. Read more

Coping with chaos: A moving story

19 Oct 09 | Sam Leader

Before embarking on the journey, I wondered why moving is said to be one of the most stressful things you can do. Shove a few things in boxes, put them on a truck - how hard can it be? Read more

Increasing self awareness by sharing faults

28 Sep 09 | Sam Leader

Increasing self awareness is one of my key themes and this week I explore it further by asking you to share the dark side of your personality. Read more

Giving feedback: Being specific with praise

07 Sep 09 | Sam Leader

I’m at a time of life where I’m reading a lot about ensuring you have a healthy relationship with your kids. And guess what? I’ve found a useful lesson for business when giving feedback. Read more

The twouble with using Twitter

17 Aug 09 | Sam Leader

As a Gen Xer I get stuck in the middle a lot. Too old for acne, too young for wrinkles; too old for MySpace, too young for games of bridge– you get the picture. Then along came Twitter. Read more

Big Picture Thinking – friend or foe?

27 Jul 09 | Sam Leader

Many experts tell you that the best way to achieve a goal is by using big picture thinking - to imagine how life looks and feels once you’ve reached it. Read more

Taking work home

07 Jul 09 | Sam Leader

I can, indeed sometimes do, share all sorts of intimate details in these articles safe in the knowledge that my partner of 15 years would never, ever read them. I’m hoping you do, though. Read more

The Proper Job – do you miss it?

15 Jun 09 | Sam Leader

Recently, I met up with two friends, both of whom have secured excellent jobs. Their eyes shone excitedly as they told me about their new roles and I succumbed to an unfamiliar emotion… jealousy. Read more

Bad business ethics or just business?

25 May 09 | Sam Leader

Regular readers will know I’m something of a customer service freak. My most recent experience has got me thinking about business ethics. Read more

Procrastination tips: A little less conversation

05 May 09 | Sam Leader

Procrastination, like time management, is an old chestnut, isn’t it? But I’ve had a revelation in the procrastination tips department recently so please excuse me while I revisit this clichéd subject. Read more

Starting your own business: Jumped or pushed?

14 Apr 09 | Sam Leader

Starting your own business doesn’t always begin with a well planned jump. Mine began with a firm push, courtesy of my last boss, who was in fact the last boss I had, or will ever have with any luck. Read more

Run your own business: There are no downsides

23 Mar 09 | Sam Leader

I realised how lucky soloists are when having a conversation with a friend who couldn’t decide whether or not to leave her job to run her own business. Read more

Achieving your goals: The energy paradox

02 Mar 09 | Sam Leader

Conventional wisdom states single mindedness, focus and determination will help you with achieving your goals and fixing problems. But what if trying too hard proves counterproductive? Read more

Domestic chores: The beauty in the duty

09 Feb 09 | Sam Leader

As soloists, we spend our lives juggling balls and wearing lots of hats. Then there’s the minutiae of everyday life that won’t go away - domestic chores. Read more

Breakthrough thoughts: Listen to yourself

19 Jan 09 | Sam Leader

While a majority of our inner dialogue is relatively trivial, we all have breakthrough thoughts that cut through the minutiae, snap us to attention and get us to act. Now is the ideal time to take note and take action. Read more

Small business articles: Best of 2008

22 Dec 08 | Sam Leader

People often ask me “What are your favourite small business articles on Flying Solo?” Okay, people never ask me that, but if they did, here’s what I’d say. Read more

Examples of bad customer service

01 Dec 08 | Sam Leader

In the course of planning a tree change, I’ve been reminded of some classic no-no’s in the area of customer service. I can’t believe bad customer service still goes on. See what you think. Read more

Decluttering: Take it away!

10 Nov 08 | Sam Leader

The FS gang attended a conference which attracted the finest minds working in the online industry. Naturally we were way out of our depth. Joking aside, one thing I took away has had a profound impact on how I work - the importance of decluttering. Read more

Interview with Don Angel, World Wide Business Group

06 Nov 08 | Sam Leader

The ABC has been following small businessman Don Angel's exploits via the hit TV show Very Small Business. We sat down with Don to gather his unique insights on running a small business. Read more

Think smart: What does it really mean?

20 Oct 08 | Sam Leader

You lot are full of wisdom and insights. Just last week, Jenny from Melbourne raised some excellent points about the term ‘think smart’. Read more

Business wisdom from Flying Solo LIVE!

29 Sep 08 | Sam Leader

Before our recent live event, I spent my time fretting about mechanics. Will everyone show? Will the audience be able to hear? What flavour are the mini gelato cones? After all we’re forever told it’s the small stuff that matters. Read more

Why word of mouth advertising matters

08 Sep 08 | Sam Leader

It’s easy to think of word-of-mouth advertising as being feel-good marketing, but thanks to my contrasting experiences at two international airports, I can report that feel-bad also has its place. Read more

Being aware of your weaknesses

18 Aug 08 | Sam Leader

Marketing 101 states you need to emphasise your strengths to your clients. At one stage or another, you’ll have asked yourself “What am I really good at? What’s my USP? How do I stand out from the competition?” Read more

Flexible working arrangements

28 Jul 08 | Sam Leader

One of the things I love about being a soloist is the flexibility. I’m not alone in this, obviously, but I was reminded recently about how important flexible working arrangements are to me. Read more

Being misunderstood

07 Jul 08 | Sam Leader

If there’s one breed of person I have little time for, it’s so called shock jocks. These talk radio DJs earn fabulous sums by making provocative and often offensive comments… all in the name of entertainment. Read more

Flexible working hours: The end of weekends?

16 Jun 08 | Sam Leader

In a slew of Friday emails to our lovely contributors, I signed off with ‘Have a great weekend.’ I have since realised it’s a bit of a silly thing to say to a soloist with our flexible working hours. Read more

Work satisfaction: You can keep your money

26 May 08 | Sam Leader

In our Understanding Micro Business survey, we found average happiness levels ranked at 8/10, while satisfaction with income languished at 5/10. Read more

Business communication styles: mobile vs email

05 May 08 | Sam Leader

There’s nothing like an article on mobile phone manners to get people stirred up. In this article I look at the mobile vs email debate. Which business communication style do you prefer? Read more

Self awareness: Do you know what you’re doing?

14 Apr 08 | Sam Leader

However self-aware you consider yourself to be, it’s surprisingly common to underestimate your effect on others. Here I discuss the importance of self awareness. Read more

Saying sorry: Knowing when to say sorry

24 Mar 08 | Sam Leader

Last year I wrote about the importance of apologising when you know you’re in the wrong. By saying sorry, you encourage feelings of goodwill and show you’re responsible for your actions. Read more

Making love and making money

03 Mar 08 | Sam Leader

Us writers delight in the use of analogies and what better subject to choose than love making and making money? Read more

Task management: Why I ditched the to do list

18 Feb 08 | Sam Leader

Before becoming a mum, I was a prolific list writer and multi tasker. But now spare time is at a premium, these methods aren’t cutting the mustard. Here’s how I deal with task management now. Read more

Managing customer expectations

28 Jan 08 | Sam Leader

Good customer service is about managing customer expectations. My recent experience with a multinational cosmetics firm provides a textbook lesson on how not to treat your customers. Read more

Holding grudges: Time to give up the grudge

07 Jan 08 | Sam Leader

Are you holding grudges? With resolutions in place and a strong sense of optimism, now is the ideal time to make a conscious decision to give up a grudge. Read more

Gift giving: a selfless elf or last minute Dasher?

03 Dec 07 | Sam Leader

Soloists have lots to look forward to in December, with a well-deserved break on the cards for most of us. But it also has its stresses, many of them to do with gift giving. Read more

Why you need a business procedures manual

12 Nov 07 | Sam Leader

If you’re ever intending to take extended leave from your work, step sideways into a different role or simply escape one set of tasks to concentrate on another, then read on to find out why you need a business procedures manual. Read more

Have confidence to start a new small business

22 Oct 07 | Sam Leader

My newsletter addressing those who are thinking of starting a new small business generated some lively conversation. This time I thought I'd discuss the role confidence plays when you start a new small business. Read more

Thinking of starting a new small business?

01 Oct 07 | Sam Leader

We know this newsletter’s readership includes a number of individuals who would love to fly solo, but aren’t. If you’re thinking of starting a new small business, then this one’s for you. Read more

Writing style guidelines

10 Sep 07 | Sam Leader

I’ve been working on some writing style guidelines designed to help our new contributors write their articles. I thought I’d share some highlights in the hope they’ll assist your own writing. Read more

What it means to be a good communicator

20 Aug 07 | Sam Leader

Judging by our recent poll results, we reckon we're very good communicators. 70% of respondents describe their ability to communicate as 'higher than average'. Read more

How to overcome boredom when working alone

30 Jul 07 | Sam Leader

Working alone, means soloists need to know how to overcome boredom if their business is to prosper. Not being able to cope with being alone is one of the key reasons solo businesses fail, plus it puts people off going it alone in the first place. Read more

Typos and other errors: Dealing with mistakes

09 Jul 07 | Sam Leader

With delightful regularity, we receive feedback from the solo community offering some form of praise for the work we do here at Flying Solo. Occasionally, though, we'll receive a comment dealing with mistakes where the karma isn't so good. Read more

Contentment: Being content with less

18 Jun 07 | Sam Leader

What are your views on contentment? Is it ok to aspire for me or should you be content with less? Read more

How to achieve goals

28 May 07 | Sam Leader

This time last year I took a trip to Borneo, where I climbed south east Asia's largest mountain, Mount Kinabalu. I learned a great deal about how to achieve goals from the experience. Read more

Good customer service tips that work

07 May 07 | Sam Leader

It's a marketing no brainer, but I was recently reminded of the remarkable effectiveness of good customer service. Read more

The importance of apologising

16 Apr 07 | Sam Leader

John-Paul and I got carried away at an auction recently and it reminded me about the importance of apologising. Luckily we weren't buying a house. Instead we were purchasing orchids. Read more

Dealing with your strengths and weaknesses

26 Mar 07 | Sam Leader

There's nothing like running a solo business to ruthlessly expose our strengths and weaknesses. We try to juggle all the balls and wear all the hats, but inevitably we're good at some things, not at others. Read more

Putting your subconscious mind to work

06 Mar 07 | Sam Leader

Recently I became aware of the incredible impact of…well, being aware, and the role of the subconscious mind. Read more

Building confidence through positive feedback

22 Jan 07 | Sam Leader

A friend described to me recently how his 23 year old son turned a corner through receiving positive feedback when working in a computer shop. Read more

Writing websites: Do your words work?

25 Jul 06 | Sam Leader

How many of your customers come to you as a result of your website? If the answer’s not many, perhaps it’s time to put the spotlight on your site’s content and look at the best way of writing websites. Read more

Small business credibility: You cannot be serious!

28 May 06 | Sam Leader

A majority of soloists admit they are concerned about their small business credibility. But before changing our ways to suit others, we should recognise the legitimacy of our chosen workstyle. Read more

Setting priorities: Looking after our ecosystems

09 Feb 06 | Sam Leader

It's our duty as soloists to turn our back on today's work-obsessed culture. When setting priorities, we must ensure our work takes its rightful place alongside other priorities. When we suffer due to lack of balance, so of course does our business. Read more

Internet telephony: Does Skype live up to the hype?

02 Aug 05 | Sam Leader

With 143 million downloads, Skype is the free Internet telephony service that has got everyone talking. Once you have it installed, Skype enables you to make free 'calls' from your computer. As you'll read it's well suited to us soloists. Read more

Internet browsers: Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox?

07 Jul 05 | Sam Leader

In the battle of the internet browsers, will heavy hitter Internet Explorer win out or can open source Mozilla Firefox come up trumps? Read more

Six steps to creating a successful email newsletter

06 Jul 05 | Sam Leader

Good newsletters (or ezines) build reputations, plus they inform and attract customers. Best of all, they cost next to nothing. Read on for six steps to creating a successful email newsletter. Read more

Client communication skills: The Power of saying 'No'

05 Jul 05 | Sam Leader

One of the most important client communication skills soloists need to master is the ability of saying ‘no’ to certain requests. Read more

Managing small business growth: Success is in the bag

05 Jul 05 | Sam Leader

Do you want to know more about managing small business growth? Ethan Nyholm, co-founder of digital luggage specialist STM (Standard Technical Merchandise), describes what it's like going from solo to small business. Read more

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