• What’s wrong with down-playing your success?

    Yesterday, I was sitting at Sydney Airport, about to catch a plane to Brisbane. A well dressed man and woman sat down opposite me. Dressed in business attire, they looked like colleagues. It was 6pm, at the tail end of the day.

    The woman said: “Well it’s been a successful few days Harry.”
    The man replied: “Thank you for your involvement. I appreciate it.”
    The woman (brushing aside his comment) said: “Oh I felt like a dead weight most of the time.”

    I heard this and thought: “WTF?”

    Admittedly, I have no idea about the back story on this. I don’t know how much the woman contributed to the “successful few days”. But I did know that the man thanked her for her involvement. And rather than say “You’re welcome” or take it as a compliment, she downplayed her contribution.

    I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her.

    But it’s a reaction that I see among many people …

    “Oh what a delicious cake.”
    “Oh no, it’s way too dry.”

    “That blog post you published last week was great.”
    “Really?… Read more …

  • As an entrepreneur, how much should you reveal on your blog?

    I’m fascinated by the world of blogging. Whether you blog about parenting, life, toy trains or business, the blogosphere is a wonderful way to connect with people in your community and beyond.

    Many entrepreneurial bloggers use it as a marketing tool – a way to connect with customers through smart and helpful content marketing. Their posts position them as experts in their field; their articles become must-read content. As a result, they gain a loyal following.

    But how much is too much?
    Some other entrepreneurs use their blog more as a way to track their entrepreneurial journey. They chronicle the highs, lows and lessons along the way. But how much is too much?

    The world of blogging is all about authenticity. And some business bloggers are comfortable about talking about their failures. There is nothing wrong with this at all. However, I have been following a particular founder’s blog for the past year. And, I have to admit, it’s compelling reading. But for all the wrong reasons.

    She is always tired, always stressed and rarely writes about any good news in her business.… Read more …

  • Why (some) smart and ambitious people will fail

    Smart people know that they are smart. They know that they did better (academically) than most of their peers at school. They know they grasp concepts much quicker than others, simply because they’ve been in countless group situations where they “get it” while there are other blank faces in the room. And they know they are more well read than the Average Joe.

    Chances are that they cruised through school without having to study their guts out. And they end up wowing their bosses early in their careers because they seem to be able to pick up (often digital) tools far quicker than their older colleagues.

    Then they hit their late 20s. And that’s where the crisis of confidence hits.

    I’m seeing this more and more in the world of work. Some people call it a quarter-life crisis. But it’s not an affliction experienced by everyone. It only impacts smart people.

    Specifically, smart people who don’t recognise their limitations.

    Just go with me here. You have to understand that I’m the biggest champion of believing that anything is possible. And I encourage people all the time to bust their self-limiting beliefs.… Read more …

It’s true. I yell at my friends.

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 …

My new podcast is “New & Notable” on iTunes!

NewandNoteworthy

This week I was thrilled to discover that my new podcast “So you want to be a writer” is featured in the “New & Notable” section on iTunes. I co-host this podcast with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait – and we’re having a ball!

Allison and I first met when we were desk buddies back when we worked together at CLEO magazine. Those were the days when we interviewed everyone from Australia’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors, celebrities, supermodels and everyone in between. Part of the job was to go to industry functions, film screenings, fashion shoots and the like.

However, you can only sustain that kind of lifestyle for so long. Yes, it gets boring. And, these days, we’re more excited about staying at home than we are about going out. Well, I am anyway! One thing we both love is to talk about the world of writing, blogging and publishing. And that’s what our podcast is about.

So if you’re interested in an inside look at how to become a writer – with news and a bit of gossip thrown in – including our regular “Writer in Residence” interview with an author or industry insider, I hope you’ll tune in!… Read more …

What I’ve learnt from San Diego

USS Midway

I’m currently in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World and have been able to sample this lovely city for the past few days. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

1. San Diego is Man Diego
Apparently, it is a truth universally acknowledged that the ratio of men to women is very healthy in San Diego. I have absolutely no scientific evidence to back up this claim but that’s what my friend from LA tells me. A cursory look around the bars and restaurants in the evenings prove her correct

2. Uber.com works much better in San Diego that it does in Sydney
In the past 36 hours I’ve used Uber.com (the hire car app) more frequently that I’ve had hot dinners. The app works like a charm, a driver magically appears in front of me within minutes of booking and takes me to my destination at a very reasonable cost. Unfortunately, I’m unable to say the same thing about Uber in Sydney because it is a far more frustrating experience. If the Uber service in Sydney ever comes close to the quality in San Diego, I will be hooked.… Read more …

Honoured to be named as one of “Australia’s 20 Best Business Blogs” by SmartCompany

blog button

 

This week, I was honoured and humbled to be included in SmartCompany’s annual list of Australia’s 20 Best Business Blogs. This is along with heavyweights like Digital Pulse from pwc, Deloitte Digital’s blog, and Salesforce’s blog.

And also insightful bloggers like Tristan White’s excellent blog on Culture, Suzi Dafnis’s wonderful blog for the Australian Businesswomen’s Network, Darren Rowse’s pioneering Problogger, and Paul Wallbank’s tech blog Decoding the New Economy.

Check out the full list yourself here.Read more …

Are you measuring value the right way?

rambo

When it comes to putting a value on products, services – or even pets – are you measuring this the wrong way? Traditional methods of measuring value often do not take into account important factors that can have a huge impact on the utility and worth of a transaction, experience or product. Read my post on Money Circle here.… Read more …

What’s wrong with down-playing your success?

Tall poppy

Yesterday, I was sitting at Sydney Airport, about to catch a plane to Brisbane. A well dressed man and woman sat down opposite me. Dressed in business attire, they looked like colleagues. It was 6pm, at the tail end of the day.

The woman said: “Well it’s been a successful few days Harry.”
The man replied: “Thank you for your involvement. I appreciate it.”
The woman (brushing aside his comment) said: “Oh I felt like a dead weight most of the time.”

I heard this and thought: “WTF?”

Admittedly, I have no idea about the back story on this. I don’t know how much the woman contributed to the “successful few days”. But I did know that the man thanked her for her involvement. And rather than say “You’re welcome” or take it as a compliment, she downplayed her contribution.

I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her.

But it’s a reaction that I see among many people …

“Oh what a delicious cake.”
“Oh no, it’s way too dry.”

“That blog post you published last week was great.”
“Really?… Read more …

Do you want to be a Key Person of Influence?

Key Person of Influence

When I was young, I use to go into the local bank and I’d notice that some of the tellers would decorate their work spaces with funny cartoons. Invariably, they were tongue-in-cheek jibes about the nature of work. The characters in the cartoons would complain about their bosses, the hours, and the mere fact that they had to be there.

Even as a child, I was puzzled as to why people would stay in a job where they found more to complain about than to enjoy. I assumed, that these cartoons were a reflection of what these bank tellers thought about their work.

Then, when I entered the workforce for myself, I worked with people who would say things like: “I hope your day is well despite the fact that it’s a Monday” or “It’s Wednesday! More than half the week is gone. Hooray!”

These same people always left work 15 minutes early, never went the extra mile and always gave the impression that they found work to be a chore.

I guess I’m really lucky because I love what I do but I found it confounding that people would stay in a job that they don’t enjoy.… Read more …

Don’t you deserve everyday luxury?

post-everyday luxury Rex on chair

My friend Luisa believes in “everyday luxury” – and it makes a lot of sense. Why stash the items that you love the most into the back of the cupboard? Why save the “good stuff” only for special occasions? Instead, treat yourself to these things every day. Why? Because you’re sending a message to yourself about what you’re worth. My post about this is on Money Circle here.Read more …

As an entrepreneur, how much should you reveal on your blog?

post fingers on laptop

I’m fascinated by the world of blogging. Whether you blog about parenting, life, toy trains or business, the blogosphere is a wonderful way to connect with people in your community and beyond.

Many entrepreneurial bloggers use it as a marketing tool – a way to connect with customers through smart and helpful content marketing. Their posts position them as experts in their field; their articles become must-read content. As a result, they gain a loyal following.

But how much is too much?
Some other entrepreneurs use their blog more as a way to track their entrepreneurial journey. They chronicle the highs, lows and lessons along the way. But how much is too much?

The world of blogging is all about authenticity. And some business bloggers are comfortable about talking about their failures. There is nothing wrong with this at all. However, I have been following a particular founder’s blog for the past year. And, I have to admit, it’s compelling reading. But for all the wrong reasons.

She is always tired, always stressed and rarely writes about any good news in her business.… Read more …

The one where I emerge from a bubble – and writer’s block

Celebrating the end of writer's block on the back deck.

For the last month, I’ve been in a (self-imposed) bubble. No, I didn’t decide to do a digital detox. I didn’t go to New Jersey to marry Jon Bon Jovi. And no one bought my business for a billion dollars so that I could laze on a beach in Bali, sipping cocktails for the rest of my life.

The bubble has been the result of the fact that I’m been immersed in two major projects which have consumed my life. Hence, the infrequent blog posts, the paltry number of Tweets, the intermittent appearances on Facebook and – shame of all shames – the failure to experience Christmas properly (and all the things that go with it – like writing Christmas cards, putting thought into gifts, and so on).

Forgive me, I was on another planet.

While I wish I could have been Superwoman – able to combine overseeing these projects with everything else in life in a single bound – this was simply not going to happen.

And I’m ok with that. Because I’ve realised that trying to be Superwoman is completely unrealistic.… Read more …

My new fave tool: Penzu.com

Penzu

Many readers will already know that I’m in love with Evernote. It’s a tool that I use every single to day to take notes, write articles and store information that I need to keep for future reference. However, I now have another love: Penzu.com

It’s ok. I’m not cheating on Evernote. They both now have a firm place in my heart.

Evernote helps me collate and create.
Penzu helps me think and process.

If you’re not familiar with Penzu, it’s an online journal. Its website describes it thus: “Penzu is an online diary and personal journal that is focused on privacy. With a unique and compelling user experience, it makes writing online as easy and intuitive as writing on a pad of paper.”

For fellow Latin geeks, it’s derived from “pensare” which means to ponder, examine or be full of thought.

When do I use Penzu?
You know those days when you have so many things to do, or so many ideas to pursue, that you just don’t know where to start. It’s when you feel so overwhelmed that you just don’t know what to do next.… Read more …

Would you spend $12,000 on a handbag?

Would you spend $12,000 on a handbag?

I used to work in a major publishing house where some of my colleagues thought it was perfectly normal to own a $12,000 handbag.

Now, $12,000 is nothing to sneeze at. But you’re obviously not just buying a throwaway item. Some would argue that you’re actually buying a piece of art. And I don’t doubt that the bag has probably been extremely well made, lovingly hand-stitched and is priced to include the very expensive celebrity who was paid to endorse it.

Read the rest of the post over on Money Circle here.… Read more …

Why (some) smart and ambitious people will fail

Smart fail

Smart people know that they are smart. They know that they did better (academically) than most of their peers at school. They know they grasp concepts much quicker than others, simply because they’ve been in countless group situations where they “get it” while there are other blank faces in the room. And they know they are more well read than the Average Joe.

Chances are that they cruised through school without having to study their guts out. And they end up wowing their bosses early in their careers because they seem to be able to pick up (often digital) tools far quicker than their older colleagues.

Then they hit their late 20s. And that’s where the crisis of confidence hits.

I’m seeing this more and more in the world of work. Some people call it a quarter-life crisis. But it’s not an affliction experienced by everyone. It only impacts smart people.

Specifically, smart people who don’t recognise their limitations.

Just go with me here. You have to understand that I’m the biggest champion of believing that anything is possible. And I encourage people all the time to bust their self-limiting beliefs.… Read more …

3 podcasts I’m loving right now

3 podcasts 1

 

I love podcasts. And as I often commute from the Yarra Valley into Melbourne, I love the time I have in the car where I can listen to inspiring business owners or experts talk about what they’re passionate about. It’s dedicated “me time” and I almost always learn something useful that I can apply to my business or life.

When I discover a new podcast, I typically go back and listen to a selection of previous episodes to see if they appeal to me. If they do, I will listen to most of the “back catalog”. And chances are that I’ll subscribe and become a dedicated fan.

Then there are other podcasts that I’ll dip into and “cherry pick” certain episodes based on their description.

So here are the podcasts I’m loving right now:

1. Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy podcast
Amy packs her podcasts with information, regardless of whether she is interviewing a guest or simply riffing on her own.

I have to admit, I had previously subscribed to Amy’s blog/newsletter and found that her messages did not resonate with me through these channels.… Read more …

Forget about Prince Charming – and buy your own home

Why you should forget about Prince Charming

 

Some years ago, I had to make a huge decision that changed my life. I ended up ditching a relationship and discovered that I was capable of a lot more than I realised. I tell the tale of why I forgot about Prince Charming and bought my own home in my post on Money Circle.… Read more …

Why your role model might not be right for you

Role Model

When it comes to choosing the right role model, I see too many people choosing … the wrong one. It’s a trend that’s been exacerbated by the online world.

That’s because if someone is smart about building an online profile, they get exposure and visibility. However, it’s so important not to confuse “profile” with “success”.

Here’s an example. I was talking to my friend, Alice (not her real name). She talked about how inspired she was about the journey of a famous blogger/startup entrepreneur who has managed to carve out an enviable lifestyle travelling the world and running his business from his laptop. We’ll call him John.

As a result, Alice modelled her blog and her business on John’s. She wrote headlines, just like John’s. She talked about creating products, just like John’s. And I began to notice certain graphics and phrases creep into her blog that looked eerily like those I’d seen on John’s blog.

Alice aspires to have a healthy income well in excess of six figures. (You know, closer to seven figures.) She wants to make enough money to invest in long-term assets, and she has plans to create a mini-empire.… Read more …

One of the smartest (and dumbest) laws in Australia

Smartest

The one thing that government should change about superannuation.

I’m generally a calm person. But if there is one thing that gets me fired up, it’s insane tax laws and dumb regulations.

One of the dumbest relates to the way we have to treat our superannuation. Don’t get me wrong. I think the concept of super is awesome. But the regulations on how we can invest these funds border on moronic. Superannuation laws are among the smartest and dumbest in Australia…Read more …

The weekend ritual that will change your life

Weekend Ritual

We all have our rituals. Some people swear by yoga. Others can’t get through the day without meditation. Yet others consult the tarot while sacrificing a chicken under a full moon before they make any major decisions. I, too, have a ritual that I swear by. And I do it (almost) every weekend.

My ritual does not involve any chickens or full moons. But I know that if I don’t do it, I’ll have hell to pay. It keeps me sane.

If you feel overwhelmed, like there’s just too much “stuff” in your life – and your brain – then I highly recommend it. So what is it?

It’s simple. It’s all about “Returning to Zen”. I’ll be honest here: I don’t always achieve Zen-like Nirvana. But I don’t beat myself up about it if that’s the case. Remember, near enough is better than not at all!

“Returning to Zen” is all about purging. That is, getting rid of physical, digital and mental clutter so that you can make space in your life to be productive, give yourself room to be creative – and the headspace to make the best decisions.… Read more …

You can be an artist or a writer AND make money

Creative

I know I bang on about this a lot but that’s because I’m so passionate about it. I’ve never subscribed to the idea that you have to suffer for your art and live a frugal life. Creativity and wealth are NOT mutually exclusive. But you do have to take responsibility for your finances; don’t put your head in the sand.

I guess the people at Money Circle heard me because they asked me to write about the topic. You can view that story “You don’t have to starve to be an artist” here.

 … Read more …

How to be productive

Productive

I’m on a bit of the productivity roll at the moment. Admittedly, I’m always looking for ways to streamline my workflow  and become more efficient in the way work.

So I really resonated with this productivity chart from Funders and Founders.

You can print out a bigger version here.

It features the 80/20 Rule, of which I’m a big fan. The other strategies I’m particularly fond of include:

* No meetings unless they are decisive
There is nothing more frustrating than talking for hours without achieving a definite outcome. To avoid suffering from “death by meeting”, start each meeting by determining how long it’s going to take and what decisions you want to make by the end of it.

* Start an “Idea Dump” book for genius ideas you can’t work on right now
I love this – and it’s a must. I used to write down all of my ideas, but they were never collated in one spot. So I would have ideas on post-it notes, notebooks, Evernote, on the notes function in my phone – all over the place!… Read more …