Thursday 24 November 2016

4 Things I learnt today

This morning I attended my first Mother's Den networking brunch. Hands in the air for Uldouz Van Eenoo for creating the most welcoming and warm networking event I have ever been to. Those women are so positive and so excited to meet new people and at the same time, be down-to-earth and share themselves. I could go on, but really, the only way you are going to get where I am coming from is to attend one so sign up to the newsletter and maybe I'll see you next year.

I also attended a talk by Samantha Hornitzky this evening. (I know, get me, out the house without kids twice in one day). Her talk was on daily practices that can make us happier at work, or at least break unproductive thought patterns. It was exceptionally honest and I greatly admired her for that.

Of course, practicing gratitude was mentioned (turns out there are brilliant apps to help you journal that) and in the spirit of self-reflection, I'm recording here some lessons I've learned from today.

1. Iron your shirt the day before hand.*
2. A great way to enter a conversation is to broadcast that you are doing so. If, 'Hi, I thought I'd come over and introduce myself, so I'm crashing this conversation' is not taken well, then they probably aren't my people.
3. Start a positive relationship with yourself: get your phone out, open the voice memo app and give yourself feedback on the day. For example, 'Heather, I thought you were exceptionally organised today but let's work on ironing your shirt the night before.'
4. I am a herd animal and I get my energy from others.

I'm pleased with these lessons. Today was a great day.

*That way you can tell it's stained before you are 5 minutes from catching the train.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Done is better than perfect

I just watched an interview between Marie Foleo and Seth Godin. There's nothing like listening to Seth to make you take stock and be inspired to cull unimportant shit from your life and use your brain more often.

There were two comments Seth made that have prompted me to write this post after so long. The first was a straight-up call to stop worrying about what you write and just commit to it because it will change the way you see the world and make you question it when you know you have to produce a brief commentary on it every day. 

The other remark was regarding people who are productive are those who are 'ready to ship' - essentially, they get stuff out there rather than worrying about whether it's perfect. I've heard it referred to as 'done is better than perfect' before.

I get it in regard to work but for the past month I've been trying to apply it to my life more. I'm enjoying it. Here are some examples:
  • I had a bath today and if I'd listened to the voice inside my head saying that I should also boil the kettle to steam my face and put a facemask on, I wouldn't have done it. As if relaxing should be done perfectly or it's of no value. Madness.
  • This morning I retouched my toe nail colour for the third time. 
  • I've exercised probably twice as often as previous months because I've accepted that a 25min jog is better than the 45min one I was never going to do.
  • This blog post. 
For over a year now I have been saying that I want to write on here more often but I've also thought I 'should' have a format and structure and themes... ah fuck it, you're going to get what you get from now on. Just because I don't have the time to plan a blog doesn't mean my ideas don't have merit.

Friday 7 August 2015

Existing Customers 101: Part 1


When people think of growing their business, they often get excited about new products or reaching a new target market. In addition, there's often a flurry of new projects or spending. 

Looking after the customers you already have is often much more economic and rewarding though. It can pay off dividends in areas such as;

- increasing average spend
- decreasing amount of time between customers' visits
- increasing new clients through referrals
- increasing staff morale through strengthening relationships and getting a high from being appreciated,
- plus, of course, it builds up that bank of loyalty that allows you a buffer in the future if you have to move an appointment, are too busy to serve them in a respectable time, or they have a less than average experience.

Start by working out which of these benefits specifically fit your current business goal (I'm guessing it's a high chance that you choose referrals or increasing average spend). By being clear about what you want to achieve, you can start being a bit selective about which existing customers you want to reward.

For example, if you want referrals, my suggestion is that you list which customers are your talkers. You know the sort because they've told you about their pets, their hairdresser, their kid's teacher, etc, and only stopped because you managed to palm the conversation onto another customer. Clearly, if you can do something notable for these clients, they'll probably have told 50 people by lunchtime. Note: Extend this principle to online talkers: stalk which of your customers have the most followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. 

Similarly, if you want to increase average spend, do your homework and research which customers you believe are worthwhile targeting. If you've got a program that allows you to see average spend patterns, play with the data to spot trends. Are there examples of customers who suddenly started spending more? Was it after a particular event like learning about a new product or dealing with a different staff member? If you sell big ticket items, after how many visits do your customers commit? Also, it's worth spotting which customers spend a similar amount each visit whilst others vary enormously.

* This is how I feel when I reward existing customers. He's available here if you've got a mad urge to own a gold-plated Lego man by the by.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Sort of another rant. Pwow, pwow!

I flew to New Zealand a few weeks ago and in a fit of stupidity, read the inflight magazine. There was an article in the 'Business' section about rising stars on YouTube.

(I tore the article out but I can't find it and it's driving me nuts. I would have written about this two weeks ago if I hadn't been spending all that time going through the clothes I wore on that flight.)

Essentially, the first half summarised how Australians such as Troye SivanLauren Curtis and Elise Strachan have risen to fame through their videos (in order) on being a teenager and coming out in WA, makeup tutorials, and cupcake addictions. Then it guesstimated at how much they were earning and how many avenues of income there were on YouTube. And amongst all of it, there was this severely, eye-twitchingly irritating sentence linking the two halves of the article along the lines of, 'In essence though, these Australians have done the same thing all successful business models achieve: identifying a gap in the market and targeting that market.'

Excuse me!? You really think that's what attracted people to these YouTube channels? That they went, 'Oh great, I've been looking for a video on coming out as a teenage boy in Perth, why wasn't this need catered to earlier?' 

No. NO! These YouTube stars had something they cared about, it was all they thought about in their free time, and they wanted to share it with others. They filmed and shared their passion for the sake of it, not to 'find a gap in the market', and then their honesty and human-ness found an audience. Simple. 

Simple unless all you think about is making money. 

I wonder if the person who wrote this article really believed Troye Sivan had a business model or whether they just had a deadline to fill. Nonetheless, I'd much rather have read an article about how to live more authentically every day rather than how to try and copy the authenticity of others who in order to make money.*

*Less angry posts will follow soon, I promise.

Monday 15 June 2015

Wardrobe Daydreams/Nightmares

I'm preggers again. I'm already missing my regular clothes. And all the maternity stuff I can find is either grotesque (horrendous photographic props* or t-shirts with 'humorous' captions), or I like it but the model is too self-satisfied or wearing too much foundation… see above and below. 

And then I found Andreea Lofgon on Etsy. Ah haaaaaaaaaaaa. 

I could wear these as pyjamas too right? 

And these are all the colours it comes in! ARGH! 

*I'm not going to post a photo, I won't lower the standards of my blog that far: if you feel you must, here. But I flipping warned you.

Monday 8 June 2015

Recruitment, Part 4: Other important stuff

There are a few notes I want to squeeze in here between your recruitment mission and the hiring and training part.

One is that you don’t have to hire. If you get through everything we just talked about and you still don’t feel 110% positive that you’ve found the right person, don’t hire. Yes, you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on the process but do not make the mistake of committing to a doomed project. Once we’ve invested time or money into something we find it psychologically very hard to withdraw, even when continuing will cost us more time and money. So just take a step back, breathe deeply, and try again a week or two later. Chances are that you’ll get new candidates apply who weren’t looking last month, or who missed your Facebook ad, or who felt OK with work but this week have had it up to their back teeth with their boss. And for those candidates you were close to hiring, just tell them you’re casting the net again and if they really feel they are the right person then they are very welcome to apply again and prove it.*

Another is that trail days, weeks, or even months are a very good idea. Again, you might think because of the time and money you have already invested that you need to just make a commitment and ride it out but that maths simply doesn’t work out. A great employee will grow your business, help your colleagues grow, and eventually attract new candidates and train them. A shit one will take the same amount of training and wages and then undermine your businesses culture and potential. It’s disrespectful to your other employees and to your own dreams to hire someone unworthy. So invest in trail days or weeks and in a year’s time when you aren’t cursing that new employee for losing a sale/customer/company phone you will look on that few hundred dollars as a wise, wise choice.

Last but not least: the recruitment process and especially the interview should give the future employee a very thorough idea of who you are and what your business culture is. If they join your team and are disillusioned or misunderstood what the job was about, that is your fault. No question about it. 

*A small company did this to me once and it absolutely worked on me; the fact that they had such strong vision not to settle for someone 90% right just made me ache to work there the more. 

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Wardrobe Daydreams


I saw these earrings about 8 months ago in a vintage store in Katoomba, possibly this one, and have been mulling them over since. I've put them on a pedestal as the benchmark for 'magical everyday studs that would make me look elegant even when all I've managed is jeans and non-toddler stained t-shirt.' Since I haven't come across any viable contenders, I decided last week to get them. BUT when I went online just now, I saw this pair below. So now I am in complete decision-paralysis. Dammit Ms. Murrell, now it's going to take another 8 months to commit. 

* Availble from here in case for some reason the website beautifully incorporated into the packaging has completely missed you.