About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is co-founder of SocialCallout.com and is an investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.

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Here are my most recent posts

DOs and DON’Ts of going on the telly

DOs and DONTs of going on the telly Valerie Khoo

Last week, I was on Sky Business to talk about personal branding alongside Trevor Young, author of microDOMINATION: How to leverage social media and content marketing to build a mini-business empire around your personal brand.

We were interviewed by Nigel Freitas on the “Technology Behind Business” show. I’ve already written a lot about personal branding so I won’t repeat that here.

In case you get the opportunity to be interviewed on the telly, here are my DOs and DON’Ts.

DON’T assume they will do your hair and makeup. Some shows, like Sunrise, will give you the whole works so that you look like a Glamazon. Not all shows have the budget to do this so make sure you’ve done your makeup before you get there.

My tips for television: Mascara is your best friend. It gives your eyes definition and helps them to stand out. Concealer is your second best friend, don’t leave home without it. And powder is also vital because you can get pretty shiny under those studio lights.

On air with host Nigel Freitas and Trevor Young

DO turn up early.… Read more ...

The pros and cons of entering business awards

The pros and cons of entering business awards HERO

Last week, I was interviewed by the wonderful Robert Gerrish on The Coaching Couch radio show. Robert is the brains behind the dynamic Flying Solo community of small business owners.

We chatted about the pros and cons of entering business awards. My businesses have been fortunate enough to win multiple awards. There are many benefits (some of them very unexpected) but, for some awards, you do have to invest a great deal of time in the submissions process. Is it worth it? We find out. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Robert Gerrish

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Promoting yourself in the digital age

Enterprise post 19 April 2013 Trevor Young

 

I’m a big believer in the power of building your personal brand. And Trevor Young’s new book microDOMINATION is all about just that. His book inspired this week’s Enterprise post.

The owner of one of my favourite cafes recently started using Twitter and Facebook. However, when you interact with her business online, you get very little sense of the woman behind it. Her online footprint is polite but, frankly, it lacks personality. In reality, she is a larger than life character who epitomises her brand. She lives and breathes her cafe — and is well known (in real life) for her food, unique decor and events.

She told me: “I just don’t want to be in the spotlight. I want people to interact with my business, not with me. I don’t want to be the centre of attention.”

Fair enough. However, in a world where consumers are bombarded with marketing and advertising messages, some experts believe we are living in an age where personal branding is vital for success. And that means NOT shying away from the spotlight.

That doesn’t mean you need to sign up for a reality show or bare all the skeletons in your closet.

Read more ...

3 business books that changed my life: Eddie Machaalani, co-founder and co-CEO Bigcommerce

Eddie Machaalani 3 Business Books

 

Eddie Machaalani is the co-founder and co-CEO of Bigcommerce, the leading e-commerce platform for small businesses looking to grow their revenues faster. Starting with $20,000 in credit card debt from a rented office above a friend’s shop in Sydney, Australia, the company has grown over 100% year-over-year, has raised $35M in capital and processed over $1 billion in transactions.

Eddie holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Technology, Sydney and is an active angel investor and speaker.

A prodigious reader, he has found business books to be an invaluable resource as he’s built his business along with partner Mitch Harper, and we’re delighted to have him share his choices in this latest instalment of the continuing series, “3 business books that changed my life” …

Extreme Revenue Growth: Startup Secrets to Growing Your Sales from $1 Million to $25 Million in Any Industry by Victor Cheng
An incredible, “best kept secret” book for startups that touches on every part of the business and really drives home the strategies of all great businesses and how to fuel revenue growth.… Read more ...

Sh*t Social Media Chicks say

Sht Social Media Chicks say

 

And now for something completely different …
This is what happens when my social media buddies Allison Tait, Kerri Sackville and I get together.

Both Allison and Kerri are presenters at the Australian Writers’ Centre. And we’re all slightly obsessed with social media. To celebrate our podcast SMaC Talk (Social Media Chicks), we filmed a video. And may well live to regret it.

 

Read more ...

Revheads, V8 Supercars … and me

Revheads V8 Supercars … and me POST

 

“Valerie Khoo” and “V8 Supercars” are rarely found in the same sentence. So it would probably surprise most people that I attended the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 V8 Supercars event last weekend near Launceston.

Let me put this in context. My partner is a V8 Supercar NUT. He owns two V8s, is constantly admiring the sounds of their engines and, when he’s not watching AFL or golf, the television is regularly emanating the dulcet tones of those blessed cars.

So when I received that invitation to attend the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 V8 Supercars last weekend as a guest of Microsoft … put it this way … I did it for love.

Having said that, I’ll admit … it was a fascinating experience. I now know more about V8 Supercars than I ever thought possible. I even discovered a business angle and wrote about that in my Enterprise column here.

The experience also enabled me to test out my new favourite app, Vine. These are six-second videos which I’ve embedded here, which hopefully give you a sneak peek into the event.… Read more ...

My life in a minute: In your seat pocket, billion dollar announcement, and where to find me

My Life in a Minute plane

Flying: In your seat pocket
This month, if you’re flying Virgin, reach into your seat pocket and you’ll find a huge report written by yours truly in the Virgin inflight magazine. It’s a comprehensive guide to setting up a small business. The guide starts on page 105. You can view the online version of the April issue here.

I'll pop into your life in the most unexpected places, even your airline seat pocket. (Photo: via @jbarouch)

Cuddling: Gus the Boxer at the Haul wrap party. Years ago, a dog called @GusTheBoxer started following me on Twitter. At first, I didn’t follow him back. I thought: “A dog. On Twitter. I mean really.” Plus, I was in Sydney. Gus was in Melbourne. It would never have worked.

But Gus was so funny and engaging that I ended up not only meeting Gus in real life, but also his human @scottkilmartin. Turns out that Scott was the brains behind sustainable streetwear brand Haul.

I’ve loved Haul products for years now so it was sad to see it close its doors recently. I was honoured to go to the wrap party, cuddle @GusTheBoxer, bid the Fitzroy store good-bye and wave owner Scott Kilmartin off on his next big adventure!… Read more ...

Adapt your business to the fast lane

Enterprise 11 April 2013 Valerie Khoo

My recent visit to V8 Supercars event in Tasmania was an eye-opening experience. It inspired this week’s Enterprise post on “4 ways to adapt your business to the fast lane”.

The last time I went to a motor racing event I was 19, it was Mount Panorama at Bathurst, and I swore I’d never go to another one ever again. I spent most of the day trying to avoid drunken louts perched on sofas which they brought to the track on the back of utes. They were surrounded by endless slabs of beer and some smoked dubious smelling substances. At the end of the day, these sofas were unceremoniously torched after the final race and the aforesaid louts left the track with a sea of carnage in their wake.

So when I went to the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 V8 Supercar event last weekend, I wasn’t prepared to find cappuccinos, a Disney amusement park for kids, and a crowd so well behaved you would be forgiven for thinking you were at a church picnic. (Just a very noisy one.)

The business of motor sport is, after all, a business.

Read more ...

Killing your darlings: getting rid of products to improve profits

Enterprise Kill Your Darlings

Off with her head! That’s been the theme for this week. I’ve been watching The Tudors on DVD – and Henry VIII sure loved a good beheading when it came to getting rid of the traitors (or wives) that got in his way. I channelled Henry when I did the gardening earlier this week and got immense satisfaction from dead-heading 93 roses in the backyard (yes, I counted). Then I heard that publishing house Bauer Media axed another two magazines (Madison and UFC) after already putting Grazia on the chopping block. This inspires this week’s Enterprise post.

Earlier this week, publishing house Bauer Media announced the axing of two magazines: monthly fashion magazine Madison and martial arts magazine UFC. This comes hot on the heels of its decision to shut down weekly fashion rag Grazia.

These kinds of decisions are never easy – for management, owners, staff or readers – but sometimes, the best strategy is to clean house as swiftly as you can so you are not bogged down by under-performing products.

The same can be said for the products and services offered by small business owners.

Read more ...

I like cats. I like blogging. So I can build a $37 million company right?

Ben Huh

There used to be a time (yes this is true) that I used to wake up each morning, reach for my phone and – before even checking emails or messages – I’d look up Icanhascheezburger. If you’re not familiar with this internet phenomenon, it’s simply a website full of cat photos accompanied by funny captions. These days, other animals of the non-feline variety also feature on the site.

I used to look up this site because I was guaranteed to have a giggle. And it was a great way to start the day. Such a simple idea, so effective. Since then the site has grown from one person blogging funny pictures of cats into a media empire which has garnered more then $37 million worth of investment.

Rexy in a Meme

Behind this empire is entrepreneur Ben Huh. And when I had the opportunity to interview the Seattle-based business owner when he was in Sydney earlier this week, I couldn’t pass it up. His story is this week’s Enterprise post.

I have cats. I like taking photos of them. I love sharing these pictures with my friends.

Read more ...