• Sticky beak: Infusionsoft offices in Phoenix, Arizona

    Last week, I trekked over to Arizona in the US for a conference for about 3000 small business owners, boldly coined #ICON14. Run by US-based software company Infusionsoft, the company invited the Aussie contingent to tour its offices in Phoenix. So I thought I’d give you a sneak peek as well.

    Infusionsoft is a classic startup success story. It was founded in 2001 by Scott and Eric Martineau and Clate Mask and now has over 500 employees in a Google-type building. While there are no slippery slides or sleep pods, there are lots of brights colours, quirky touches and countless proclamations like “We help small businesses succeed” plastered all over the walls.

    I first explored Infusionsoft back in 2008 and decided it definitely wasn’t for me. But it appears that a lot has changed in six years. I decided to give it another go earlier this year and have been happy with the results so far. So it was great to be able to go behind the scenes to check it out. So here is my visit in pictures …


    Placed prominently in the entrance of the building is a large sculpture of an animal balloon.… Read more ...

  • My life in a minute: My number 1 podcast! Clever kitty Rex; and my new fave gadget

    It’s been a whirlwind over here with lots of planning, travelling, systemising and recruiting for new team members at the Australian Writers’ Centre. So here is my life in a minute!

    Grateful for: The wonderful support from listeners of my podcast “So you want to be a writer” which I co-host with the wonderfully talented Allison Tait. I’m absolutely loving producing this podcast with Allison. I’m so grateful for all the positive feedback. You’ve helped us get to #1 in the Literature category. And we’ve reached #50 out of ALL podcasts in Australia so far!

    Thrilled to: Host our recent meetup in Sydney with the wonderfully talented Tristan Bancks. Tristan shared his wisdom about writing to our community. I’m still in a bit of shock that he can write 2000 words just using his thumbs on his iPhone while walking on the beach in the morning! Tristan’s latest books are Two Wolves and My Life and Other Stuff That Went Wrong.

    Speaking at: Business Blueprint conference at Australian Technology Park, organised by the talented Dale Beaumont and his team.Read more ...

  • It’s true. I yell at my friends.

    I have a tendency to yell at my friends. I know this is not ideal. But, I confess, it’s true. Typically, this happens when I can see how amazing and talented they are – but they won’t believe me. Worse, they simply don’t believe in themselves, in their own capacity to kick their own goals or follow their dreams. It drives me totally bonkers.

    I end up yelling: “But can’t you see how amazing you are?” “Can’t you understand that people will definitely buy from you/hire you/download your app? You just need to get out there and tell people you exist!”

    I know that I shouldn’t yell at them. But after months – sometimes even years – of gentle encouragement, they still can’t see how talented they are, or how truly viable their business really is.

    This is what I hear:
    “I feel like a fraud.”
    “I don’t think I’m good enough.”
    “Why would anyone hire me? I don’t have the credentials.”

    The reality is that they DO have the credentials, skills and talents to achieve their goals. And the only person they need to convince … is themselves.… Read more ...

Day 14 of #vidtember Day 14: Dumbing yourself down to make your spouse/partner feel better in business?

Day14

Today’s video comes to you from my hotel room in Melbourne. I talk about whether you should dumb yourself down to make your spouse/partner feel better in business? Are you guilty of this? Is it compassionate – or just stupid?

Read more ...

Day 13 of #vidtember: How to reach a bigger audience on OTHER people’s podcasts

Day13vidtember

Do you want to reach a wider audience? Have you thought of ways you can spread your message beyond your immediate community? Well, today’s video was filmed after I appeared on the Beers, Blokes & Business podcast with Sean Callanan, Scott Kilmartin and Steve Sammartino. I talk about how you can take advantage of the current renaissance in podcasting and reach a wide audience by appearing in other people’s podcasts!

Read more ...

Day 12 of #vidtember: So you want to write a business book?

Day12

I often meet entrepreneurs who want to write a business book. Here are my top tips if you’re thinking about showcasing your expertise in a book. Filmed in my hotel room in Melbourne.

Read more ...

Day 11 of #vidtember: Top 3 tips on your “About” page

Day11-crop

Winging its way to you from in my hotel room in Brisbane just after running a workshop on “How to raise your profile”, this video is on the top 3 tips for your “About” page.

Read more ...

Day 10 of #vidtember: Afternoon tea with Arianna Huffington

day10

Filmed while driving after afternoon tea with Arianna Huffington. I chat about Arianna’s key message. Yes I know, in the video I say “Day 9″ but I mean “Day 10″ (I’m losing track!)

Read more ...

Day 9 of #vidtember: Lunch with the inspiring Seth Godin

Day9

This video was filmed after a wonderful lunch with Seth Godin (at an event organised by Business Chicks) – and includes my tips of what to do when you host a table of like-minded guests in order to facilitate some awesome connections.

Read more ...

Day 8 of #vidtember: My fave new toy

Day8

I’ve been slightly obsessed with my favourite new toy. $49 – and hours of fun. It travels with me wherever I go.

Read more ...

Day 7 of #vidtember: Building a personal connection with your customers and community

Day7

This “no make-up” video was filmed over breakfast from some accommodation I found on a service that’s like airbnb for boutique accommodation (Luxico.com.au). The extra touches they provided inspired this video on how to build connection with your customers and community.

Read more ...

Day 6 of #vidtember: My dirty big shed, an FX Holden and what to declutter from your business

Day 6

Today’s video comes to you from my big old dirty shed, it has a cameo from a 1951 FX Holden you might want and I talk about what to declutter from your business.

Read more ...

Day 5 of #vidtember: How to unplug from work on the weekend (well, not really)

Day5

This is filmed in the Yarra Valley (wine country) in Victoria. It’s my (some might say failed) attempt at sharing my tips on how to unplug from work on the weekend. (And I talk about the awesome book I’m devouring right now).

Read more ...

Day 4 of #vidtember: My top 3 speaking tips (and what NOT to do with a really hot iron)

Day4

Today’s video is coming at you from Brisbane where I’m about to speak to about 600 entrepreneurs at the Brisbane Convention Centre. I share my top 3 speaking tips including what you should definitely not do with a really hot iron.

And if you’re wondering what #vidtember is:
http://www.chrisducker.com/vidtember-challenge/Read more ...

Day 3 of #vidtember: From Melbourne Airport and my top 3 (slightly unusual) business travel tips

Day 3 Vidtember

So this video has been filmed in the carpark at Melbourne Airport, uploaded in the Qantas Club lounge and will probably be winging its way to you as I get on my flight to BrizVegas. It’s my top 3 business travel tips.

Read more ...

Day 2 of #vidtember: The one where I drive 800kms in one day with three dogs and two cats

Vidtember2

This comes to you from windy Gundagai filmed in front of the famous “Dog on the Tuckerbox” as I drive from Sydney to Melbourne with my five pets in tow.

Read more ...

Day 1 of #vidtember: High heels and storytelling masterclasses on the Gold Coast

Vidtember

I’ve decided to take the plunge and take part in Chris Ducker’s #vidtember challenge. That’s 30 videos in 30 days. And believe it or not that’s really pushing me out of my comfort zone. Goodness knows if I will last but there is only one way to find out So here is Day 1 broadcast to you from the Gold Coast.

Read more ...

If you love Offspring, creativity and entrepreneurship…

clarebowditch15f

I’m aware that I’m possibly the only woman in Australia who doesn’t watch Offspring. When I browse my social media stream while the show is on, I can confirm this to be true. Everyone in the world seems to be getting their Nina Proudman fix.

But that’s ok. There is still time. I can get the DVD. I’m on to it.

So why am I talking about Offspring? Well, one of the show’s characters has been played by muso Clare Bowditch, who is not only a singer and actress. She has also parlayed her talents into speaking about creativity in business. And Clare is just one of the many wonderful speakers at Small Business Festival Victoria.

I wanted to highlight this awesome festival because:
(a) I think it’s fantastic that the State Government in Victoria is behind this event
(b) I want to highlight that the short-sighted New South Wales government has canned its equivalent event, which used to be called Small Business September. The NSW state government scrapped several significant small business programs in 2012 including Small Business September, MicroBiz Week, the Young Entrepreneurs program and the Women in Business mentoring program.… Read more ...

How to find a consultant who will help transform your business

vk feature

You’ve been there. Your business is growing and you just can’t do everything. It’s time to call in the experts – consultants who can help take you to the next stage of your business.

This is be hard for control freaks. But if you want your business to grow it’s important to accept that there are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t actually be an expert in SEO, sales, operations, admin, customer service, accounting, strategy and human resources. Well, you can try – but you’ll go crazy!

Handing over the reins to consultants can be both liberating and filled with danger. Some consultants can truly transform your business. Yet some consultants can charge you a tonne of money but you end up with little to show for it.

So how do you determine of a consultant is right for you?

Well, if I had a magic formula that could give us all the answer for this, I would already be retired and sipping pina coladas on a tropical island.

Nevertheless, over the years, I’ve learnt a few things – often, the hard way.… Read more ...

Behind the scenes at Zappos

Zappos Feature

Ever since I read Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (CEO of online store Zappos) in one sitting, I’ve wanted to visit their offices in Las Vegas. So on my recent trip, I did just that. Here’s a quick tour.

Apparently, it’s a tie-free zone at Zappos. Anyone who wears a tie has it promptly cut off and this practice is proudly displayed at the front desk.

Tours of Zappos are free. Just book in – they even send a shuttle bus to pick you up from you hotel and can also drive you to the airport.

They’re really big on creating T-shirts to celebrate milestones.

In fact, slightly obsessed with T-shirts for any reason.

There are kitchenettes everywhere featuring snacks, coffee and fruit.

And if you want to have a nap, this is what they did to an unused internal walkway. Zappos is housed in the former city council building. They didn’t know what to do with this dead space so they held a competition among staff and the best idea was implemented.

It’s not exactly Vogue Living decor. But each team is encouraged to decorate their own area.… Read more ...

Do you want to grow your business and raise your profile?

KPI_Brand_Accelerator_Poster Feature

If you want to grow your business and become a leader in your industry, then it goes without saying that you need to raise your profile. I’m passionate about helping people do just that. There’s nothing I love more than seeing a business owner thrive because they are being recognised as leaders in their fields.

The reality is that you’re probably already an expert in what you do. You just need to ensure that people – specifically your potential customers – know about it so that you become their number one choice when they finally decide to buy.

That doesn’t happen from taking out billboards or bursting onto the entrepreneurial scene screaming “Look at moi! Look at moi!” (Well, not if you want to do it with your dignity intact anyway).

If you want to raise your profile, you need a strategy that will build your credibility and showcase your expertise directly to your target market. And that’s what I mentor people on in the Key Person of Influence program.

If you haven’t heard of Key Person of Influence (KPI), you can find out more here.… Read more ...

Now tell me what you REALLY want.

What you really want Feature

I have a tendency to make people cry. I don’t set out to do it – and it’s not because I’m being mean to people. The tears are unusually ones of relief – and, sometimes, a little bit of joy.

For reasons I can’t explain, when I talk to people – even total strangers – I have a way of getting to the truth. It’s never from asking private questions. I just seem to have a way of asking the right questions; the ones that make people really think about what they want out of their life. I don’t set out to do it; it’s just second nature to me.

I’ll admit that I don’t have a particular strategy or methodology when it comes to helping people figure out their true desires (and most of the time, they’ve already figured it out, they just haven’t articulated it to anyone, even themselves). I can only guess that I make people feel comfortable or confident enough to express these thoughts for the first time. Or I can see when they are lying to themselves – and I call them out on it.… Read more ...

The tables are turned: What happens when a former Olympian interviews me

Toby Jenkins

As a journalist, I’m always the ones asking the questions. So it’s quite a change when the tables are turned. Recently, Toby Jenkins from Bluewire Media interviewed me for the podcast he co-hosts with Adam Franklin, “Web Marketing That Works”.

Toby competed in water polo in the 2004 Olympics. While he used to dominate in the pool (that’s him in the picture at the Olympics against Spain), he is now (along with Adam) rocking the world of business with Bluewire Media.

You can find the Bluewire Media podcast here:
http://www.bluewiremedia.com.au/blog/2014/06/wmtw-26-valerie-khoo
Adam and Toby are also former students of the Australian Writers’ Centre. I’ve been thrilled to watch them co-write and release their awesome book “Web Marketing That Works” (published through Wiley).

This book is packed with practical advice. As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of using the web to connect with my community. If you’re interested in the world of web marketing for your business, this is a wonderful guide on what you need to know.

It’s an honest account of what it takes to succeed in web marketing.… Read more ...