Would you like to work with me?

The view from the Australian Writers' Centre

The view from the Australian Writers’ Centre

Administration coordinator at the Australian Writers’ Centre

·           Part-time, leading to a full-time position
·           Milsons Point (North Sydney) close to train station
·           Winner in the Telstra Business Awards

Hi, my name is Valerie Khoo and I’m looking for a very special administration coordinator to help us with our constantly expanding writers’ centre.

Before you go further, please visit our current website: www.WritersCentre.com.au

There is a lot going on here. We’ve recently expanded to Melbourne and other states will follow. We are Australia’s fastest growing writers’ centre.

What does the role involve?
This is a part-time role in Sydney at the equivalent of around 3 days per week, with room to grow to 4 to 5 days.

You’ll be part of a team that has been a winner in the Telstra Business Awards and that has become the “go to” centre for writing courses – both in the classroom and online.

This role is for someone who is super organised, totally anal, and has the utmost attention to detail.… Read more ...

Working with bloggers to promote your business

Enterprise 23 May Sarah Hamilton HERO

Sarah Hamilton, bellabox

I’m a big believer in the power of bloggers. I know that, in some cases, I will trust the advice of a credible blogger and rely on their recommendations. And smart business owners are understanding that they can tap into this influential medium in order to reach new customers. This inspired this week’s Enterprise post.

When it comes to promoting your business, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are reaching out to bloggers to write about their products and services. In the past, there were few options available to business owners. You could pay for advertising, or hope that you would be given coverage in mainstream media. These opportunities were limited, often confined by the number of pages in a publication. However, the world of blogging has opened up new channels for business owners to reach their target audience.

Tram Tran started her online shopping site Koogal in February 2013. She focuses on selling fashion to 16 to 26 year old women. “When I was at university I started selling my old clothes on eBay,” says Tran. “It was a hobby but then I noticed that there was demand for certain types of tops and dresses, so I began sourcing them and selling on eBay.”

Tran says she realised that she could make a bigger margin if she opened an online store.

Read more ...

Going global: how one Melbourne start-up did it

Patrick Llewellyn

Patrick Llewellyn, 99Designs

Packing up your life, selling your house and moving your whole family to another hemisphere is a bold move. But that’s exactly what Patrick Llewellyn did when he was given the task of turning 99designs into a global business. He inspired this week’s Enterprise post.

Patrick Llewellyn was on a plane back to Australia from the US when a fellow passenger had a heart attack mid-flight. The plane was forced to turn back and stop in Hawaii so the passenger could get medical attention and Llewellyn found himself in a hotel room on an unexpected and extended stopover. “I was sitting there answering emails when I realised that I’d never been to Hawaii before,” says Llewellyn, who is the CEO of 99designs, a crowd-sourced marketplace for graphic design.

Llewellyn, 40, decided to make the most of it, venturing on to Waikiki Beach where he took his very first surfing lesson. “As soon as I stood up, I was hooked,” says Llewellyn. It’s was a rare moment of relaxation for the CEO of a fast growing company that now experiences $1.8 million in transactions each month and has over 200,000 registered designers.

Read more ...

My life in a minute: Shucking oysters, quad-biking and 3D printing

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

Loving: This week I was in Tasmania. I’ve had a soft spot for Tassie ever since I went there for my version of Schoolies at the end of Year 12 … decades ago! This trip, I visited Freycinet and it was stunning. Apart from sampling some amazing Tasmanian produce, here’s what else happened:

I did my best Stig impression when I went quad-biking.

David the activities coordinator showed us how to shuck oysters straight from the marine farm, then brought out some bubbles to go with them.

My favourite bridge in the world, Spiky Bridge, on the way to Freycinet. I go there every time I'm in Tassie because it's just so weird looking.

I'm wearing fly-fishing gear but I can't focus because I'm annoyed at the missing apostrophe (there should be one after the n).

Meeting: Wonderful writers in the Australian Writers’ Centre community in Brisbane and Perth. My travels have enabled me to connect with our students and they never cease to inspire me with what they achieve!

With Cassy Small in Brisbane

Marvelling at: 3D printing
I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these.… Read more ...

Masterminding a winning startup strategy

Masterminding a winning startup strategy HERO

 

I’m always interested when I hear stories of entrepreneurs who want to take over the world. This is often because I’m in awe of their sheer audacity and boldness to dream big. But I’m even more interested in the steps they plan to take to get there. When I heard serial entrepreneur Nick Cloete’s plan for his start-up Kounta, it inspired this week’s Enterprise post.

Building a successful business is like mastering a game of chess. As an entrepreneur, you not only need a strategy to win, your moves need to be timed perfectly to make the most of opportunities. Like chess, you need vision, persistence and the skill to coordinate all the players in your team to work together towards your goal.

That’s what serial entrepreneur Nick Cloete has done all his life. Apart from a one-year stint training to be a chef when he was 18, Cloete has always run his own businesses.

Masterminding a winning strategy
Cloete, now 30, is currently founder and CEO of Kounta, a point-of-sale software platform for the retail industry. The cloud-based platform is aimed at small to medium sized businesses and costs $50 per month per “cash register”.

Read more ...

A Very Famous Hollywood Actor – and me! (sort of)

One of the funky bars at The Abbotsford Convent where I might see the Very Famous Hollywood Actor

One of the funky bars at The Abbotsford Convent where I might see the Very Famous Hollywood Actor

This week, a Very Famous Hollywood Actor is filming for 10 days around the Australian Writers’ Centre in Melbourne. I’m pretty excited because I used to have a huge crush on this man. I’ve seen the production schedule – complete with details of all the buildings, steps and facades where he’ll be acting – and I’ll admit that I’ve been tempted to bring a foldable chair and set up camp next to the film crew just to watch.

I’ll call it research. Who knows? I might even blend in. Perhaps I can offer some suggestions on how they can improve the script!

Fortunately, I’ve managed to quell this kind of stalker fan-girl behaviour when I’ve interviewed celebrities as a journalist. Many people ask me who has been my most enjoyable person to interview.

To be honest, I actually find many entrepreneurs far more interesting to chat to than celebs. This is largely because when you interview a celebrity, they are usually on a gruelling schedule, have just finished a major project and have done nothing else but live and breathe that film, album or world tour for the past six months.… Read more ...

The E-Myth’s Michael Gerber, Lululemon’s Chip Wilson and me

Michael Gerber

Michael Gerber

What do Michael Gerber (The E Myth), Michael Port (Book Yourself Solid), Chip Wilson (founder of Lululemon) and I have in common? We’re all speaking at the Wellness Business Owners World Summit this year.

I’m thrilled to be speaking alongside some thought leaders that have had a big impact on my life.

When I first read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber years ago, it transformed the way I thought about business. Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid was one of the first books I turned to when I first started my business eight years ago. And as for Chip Wilson … well take a look at my wardrobe – ALL my workout gear is Lululemon.

Chip Wilson

Now, we’re all speaking at the Wellness Business Owners World Summit in June.

Not only am I thrilled to be speaking alongside people I respect and admire, I love the wellness industry. A few years ago, I found that most of the people who came to me for business mentoring were personal trainers, nutritionists, and health practitioners. I’ll admit that, at first, I couldn’t understand why I was attracting people from this industry since I’m not a wellness practitioner myself.… Read more ...

Facebook can build your business

Enterprise 2 May 2013 Dean Ramler

 

It honestly still surprises me when business owners pooh pooh social media as a valid tool for marketing. Granted, not every business is going to thrive on social media. However, I believe that if you’re not even open to the possibilities it can bring, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. And you’ll be left behind if your competitors embrace it before you do. This attitude inspired this week’s enterprise post.

Last week I met a business owner who insists Facebook is a waste of time. Let’s call him Greg. He was chatting to a group of people at a party, some of whom tried to convince him to give it a go. Greg was adamant and insisted any time spent on Facebook – or on any other social media platform – should be spent having a conversation with a prospect or customer in person or on the phone.

While face-to-face interaction is vital in the world of business, the reality is Facebook – and other social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter – allows you to reach a much bigger audience much more efficiently.

Read more ...

The Changing Face of PR: The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations

The Changing Face of PR The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations HERO

L–R: Networx Brisbane MC Cat Matson; and my fellow panellists Natalie Birt, yours truly and my co-founder in SocialCallout.com Michelle Palmer (© James Sybille, Square-I.co Photography http://square-i.co/

Last week, I was on a panel at a Networx Brisbane on “The Changing Face of PR: The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations”. I’ve been heavily immersed in the blogosphere for years now and it’s been fascinating seeing this industry evolve, particularly over the past couple of years.

The reality is that it’s evolving very quickly and some bloggers are becoming powerful media channels in their own right. Some are only at the start of this journey, while others have created businesses for themselves out of their blog. So it wasn’t surprising that the organiser of the event, Iceberg Events, had to turn people away as the function booked out!

I could talk about blogging all day!

We also filmed this video on the tips you should consider when working with bloggers:

 

The video was prepared by Ride Free Media

 … Read more ...

The business of bespoke design

Enterprise 25 April The business of bespoke design

Andrew Ganesan, lambada.com.au

I love the idea of bespoke accessories and fashion. And now there is an increasing number of businesses that let you design your own bag/shoes/clothes online. I’ve often wondered how in the world these businesses are able to create effective systems to ensure that customers get the product they are expecting. With this interest piqued, I interviewed two entrepreneurs who have created online stores supplying custom-made bags and suits in this week’s Enterprise post.

In the past, it would cost a small fortune to design your very own unique handbag, or get suits tailor-made to your measurements. Even you if managed to find a cheap tailor while on holidays in Thailand, you could only buy your custom-made goodies on your annual beach vacation.

However, smart entrepreneurs are cashing in on the fact that some people are keen to sport bespoke garments and accessories. Andrew Ganesan, 27, is banking on this trend and is taking bespoke design to the masses.

His family has run a leather bag manufacturing company for 25 years and his mother used to save leather offcuts and turn them into her own handbag creations.

Read more ...

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 ...