Company in court for helping businesses write ‘customer’ reviews

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A company is in hot water after allegedly engaging in misleading customer reviews. 

The ACCC has started proceedings in the Federal Court against an online tasking platform, Service Seeking, for engaging in misleading conduct relating to customer reviews.

Service Seeking is an online tasking platform where tradespeople can quote and book jobs requested by consumers, such as gardening and cleaning services.

From July 2016, Service Seeking’s ‘Fast Feedback’ feature allowed businesses to use a template form to write their own reviews and choose a star rating after completing a job. The proposed review was then emailed to the customer.

If the customer did not respond to a business’ self-written review within three days, the review was automatically published under the business’s profile on ServiceSeeking.com.au.

“We allege that Service Seeking’s conduct gave businesses a chance to effectively rate and review themselves without any input from the customer,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The consumer watchdog also alleges Service Seeking’s ‘Fast Feedback’ feature breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by misleading consumers, as at least 80% of ‘Fast Feedback’ reviews were not written or approved by customers.

“We know that online reviews and testimonials are important for consumers when they choose which business to buy goods or services from,” Rickard said.

“Businesses are warned that online reviews need to accurately reflect the independent views and feedback of genuine customers or the business risks breaching the Australian Consumer Law”.

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Top10 Dynamic Entrepreneur: Sabri Suby, Founder, King Kong

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Sabri Suby is the Founder & Head of Growth at King Kong. King Kong is a digital marketing agency that in the last 4 years has grown from 2 to 50 team members, and are aiming to be Australia’s largest digital agency within five.

The agency’s core belief is that this isn’t some unreachable, dream-goal. They fully expect to hit this benchmark, as long as they keep recruiting top-talent and providing unrivalled results for clients!

Suby sees himself a serial entrepreneur and marketing specialist in the direct response space, his main focus has always been on digital and working with businesses to help them get the best out of sales. Suby has worked with hundreds of small-to-medium size business and  some billion dollars companies including; Metricon, Aussie Home Loans, The Good Guys, Real Insurance, HBF, Liberty Financial, Slater&Gordon and the Jim’s Group to name a few.

You could say Suby is really disrupting the digital marketing space in Australia. Suby’s expertise and success has been recognised as he was named as one of Dynamic Business’s Top10 Entrepreneurs. 

Dynamic Business had a chat with Suby about being named in the top10, his top tips and what he is working on lately.


How does being one of the Top10 Entrepreneurs feel?

Public acknowledgement is always the result of huge behind-the-scenes work. So when you work so intensely hard it is extremely humbling to get that peer recognition. I started King Kong in 2014 out of my bedroom, with no more than $50 and an old computer my girlfriend bought me, and now we have achieved 314% growth and a revenue of $14 million over four years. In launching King Kong, my goal has always been to build the biggest and best digital marketing agency in the country, so this win is further proof that we’re on track to achieve that. And I am grateful to have that success celebrated. Successful entrepreneurs and industry-changing empires come from Australia and it’s important to create opportunities for these achievements to be recognised. I want to show our younger generation that they can influence world-wide changes across an industry and that we can set the standard of excellence.

What are you currently up to in your business?

With a healthy influx of international clients, we have plans to expand the number of countries we provide our services to. We are a business on a steep upward trajectory and I believe this is largely due to our focus on generating real results for our clients. In an industry full of cowboys counting vanity metrics, we cut through the bull and actually provide businesses with real growth solutions. To continue this growth we are scaling everything that we’re doing – from the clients that we’re bringing on board, to operations, and the size of our team. But the biggest project that I’ve been working on intensely over the last 6-12 months is writing my first book, Sell Like Crazy, launching on January 30th. It is the quintessential tell-all business book which guarantees all the spoils of the digital marketing and sales war.

Top 3 lessons so far?

#1 ‘Work Ethic’ My work ethic is really the only thing that I can control. Combining clever strategy with being the hardest workers in the industry is what has seen my agency thrive. I believe there isn’t any problem that can’t be overcome by sound strategy and a sheer amount of work directed towards it.

#2 ‘Trust Your Intuition’ There’s been a lot of times where things have appeared to look very attractive, and I’ve ignored my intuition and thought, ‘I’ll just make the exception this time,’ or I just haven’t listened to my gut, and every time that I’ve done that it always comes back to bite me. Your intuition is there for a reason. People will tell you to look at all the facts and the data and you most certainly do need to do those things, but your intuition is an incredibly powerful thing, and you need to learn to hone it, think about it, and trust it.

#3 ‘The Power of Visualisation’ It’s one thing to just think ‘I want this’, and a totally different thing to actually visualise what you want. I have always used the power of visualisation by physically writing down my goals and thinking very vividly about what I want to achieve. Since starting King Kong I have used vision boards, and I have continuously needed to change and adapt my goals as I continue to surpass them. Having the ability to visualise why you’re getting up early every day and pushing in the marketplace makes it real. You can see the end goal and you go out there and work your butt off and make it happen.

Favourite thing to do in order to de-stress?

Hands down, having an intense sauna session with eucalyptus oil for 30 minutes.

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How to Gain Control of Your Free Time as a Small Business Owner

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Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Laura Vanderkam @lvanderkam. Laura is the author of several time management books including Off the Clock and 168 Hours. Her TED talk, “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time,” has been viewed more than 7 million times. She is the co-host of the podcast Best of Both Worlds.
She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and four children. For more information check out her blog at https://lauravanderkam.com/.

SmallBizLady: If people want to use their time better, what’s the first place to start?

Laura Vanderkam: If you want to spend your time better, you need to figure out where the time is going now! Smart entrepreneurs know that good business data leads to better decisions. It’s the same thing with time. Try keeping track of your time for a week. Figure out the major categories. Then ask yourself what you like and don’t like.

SmallBizLady: You’ve seen thousands of time logs. What themes have you discovered?

Laura Vanderkam: Many people — even entrepreneurs — work fewer hours than they think. We have a tendency to remember our longest days and weeks as typical. I do this too! When I started tracking my time, I realized that I consistently overestimated my workweeks by about 10 hours. Whoops. It’s funny, but the truth sets us free: when I know how many hours I truly work, I can make good choices with those hours.

SmallBizLady: What else have you learned from tracking your time for over 3 years?

Laura Vanderkam: My sleep set-point is 7.4 hours per day. Over any long period of time (like a month) that’s what I’ll average out to. Also, I spend a lot of time in the car. When I realized I was spending so much time in the car, I started listening to podcasts (and then started a podcast!).

SmallBizLady: In your new book, Off the Clock, you write that memories expand time. How so?

Laura Vanderkam: Often, when we say “where did the time go?” what we mean is that we don’t remember where the time went. When nothing new or interesting happens, the brain goes on autopilot. Too much of this and whole years can disappear into memory sinkholes! So try planning little adventures into daily life. What will make today different from other days? If you can answer that question, you’re more likely to form a memory of the day and feel like you have more time.

SmallBizLady: What productivity tip do you think entrepreneurs find most difficult?

Laura Vanderkam: Many of us equate “busy” with “important.” So we’re always tempted to pack our schedules. But many of the most successful people I’ve studied have a surprising amount of white space on their calendars. Open space invites opportunity in a way a cluttered calendar can’t. It’s nice to be able to stay with a really good conversation, and not need to race off to the next thing. It can lead to breakthrough ideas.

SmallBizLady: So how do we create open space?

Laura Vanderkam: Be very careful with the word yes. When you’re asked to do something in the future, ask yourself if you’d do it tomorrow. If so, great! You’ll be just as excited three months from now. If you wouldn’t take it on tomorrow, though, that should probably be your answer for the future as well. If you say yes, the odds are good that you’ll be kicking yourself later, wondering why you agreed to this commitment.

SmallBizLady: Any other ideas for freeing up space?

Laura Vanderkam: You can free up space by doing what I call a “calendar triage.” Look at your calendar on Friday afternoon. See what you’re scheduled to do over the next week then think of these three questions: (1) What do you think shouldn’t happen? (2) What can take less time? (3) What could someone else do? With a few minutes of strategizing, you can buy yourself hours.

SmallBizLady: When you’re running a business, it’s so easy to run out of time for meaningful — but not urgent — work. Where can we find the time?

Laura Vanderkam: If something is important to you, do it first. And by first, I mean Monday morning. Your inbox and its various emergencies will still be there at 10 a.m. Monday. But if you spend 8-10 a.m. on your most important projects, you will make progress. And progress is highly motivational!

SmallBizLady: What are “time dividends”?

Laura Vanderkam: In the financial world, dividends are regular payments that you get for owning a stock. Time dividends are the free time that you get back because you’ve made a particular investment in the past. Just like monetary dividends can make you feel rich, time dividends can make you feel like you have all the time in the world. Anytime you do something, ask yourself if you will do it again. If you will, is there some way you can make this task easier or more efficient in the future? Filming a video showing new employees how to do a task takes time. But every time someone watches it — and doesn’t need a 2-hour tutorial from you — that’s a time dividend.

SmallBizLady: How can busy entrepreneurs make time to network? 

Laura Vanderkam: I like to think of networking as just “nurturing relationships” — same as you’d do with friends or family. One easy way is to set “relationship priorities” just like you’d set professional priorities for each week. On Friday afternoon, take some time to think about the week ahead. What two relationships could use some attention? What could you do to nurture these relationships? When could you do these things? Just like that, you’re strengthening your network.

SmallBizLady: Any tips on finding time to exercise?

Laura Vanderkam: You can find time to exercise by thinking 168 hours (a week), rather than 24 hours (a day). Exercise doesn’t have to happen daily, or at the same time every day, in order to count in your life. Look at the whole week, and see where you can fit it in. Maybe one day you get up early and do something. Another day you go to the gym after work. Exercise on each of the weekend days, and wow — you just exercised four times per week! It didn’t happen at the same time daily, but it didn’t have to.

SmallBizLady: What does being “off the clock” mean to you?

Laura Vanderkam: Being “off the clock” means feeling relaxed about time. You’re in control of how you spend it. This is a wonderful way to feel. The good news is that even busy people can make space to relax. One idea? Sign off social media and stay off your phone for the next 30 minutes at least. You’ll probably feel more off the clock.

If you enjoyed this interview, please join us live on Twitter every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET. Just follow the hashtag #Smallbizchat, and don’t forget to follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

For more tips on how to start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com

The post How to Gain Control of Your Free Time as a Small Business Owner appeared first on best algorithmic trading strategies.

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Report: Australia punches above its weight with Blockchain Innovation

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A new Blockchain report has been released, giving insight into how the technology is used in Australia. ACS, the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector, announced the publication of Blockchain Innovation: A Patent Analytics Report at Barangaroo, Sydney.

Through providing insight into innovators in blockchain technology – based on patents filed – the report aims to assist both businesses and governments in understanding the technology and the degree to which it is a critical enabler for continued economic growth.

“Blockchain has been hyped as one of the most transformative and disruptive technologies on the immediate horizon. With the global market forecast to grow to US$60 billion by 2024, Australian businesses and governments alike have ample opportunity to leverage the technology as it matures,”  said ACS President Yohan Ramasundara.

The report found Australia performs strongly amongst its global counterparts in blockchain technology, with local applicants ranking sixth globally, with 49 patent families registered. Over the past five years, the number of patent filings globally has grown by between 140 and 230% each year.

It is noted that Chinese applicants are the “clear leader in blockchain patents”, making up 50% of the total families captured within the report.

“It’s pleasing to see that despite strong competition in this space, Australia is punching above its weight when it comes to blockchain innovation. We’ve already seen Australia’s financial services sector investing heavily in proofs of concept, along with the Australian Stock Exchange and government departments including the Digital Transformation Agency,” said Ramasundara.

“Moneycatcha is a great example of a recent Australian success story. It has filed a standard patent application through the international patent cooperation treaty (PCT) in the last two years. This filing strategy means that it is in a position to seek protection overseas.”

According to the report, applicants are using blockchain technology to solve problems in document handling and management, and predominantly applying the technology into payment and transaction systems.

IP Australia Chief Economist Benjamin Mitra-Kahn said, “Blockchain patenting is more than doubling every year, and we can see real opportunities for Australia in blockchain technologies.”

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Project announced to help small businesses leverage digital opportunities

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Small businesses are sometimes unaware of the digital options available to them. The Small Business Digital Champions project has been launched to encourage small businesses across Australia to understand and make the most of the digital technology options available to them.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell welcomed this announcement.

“If small businesses are to remain nationally and internationally competitive, they must embrace digitalisation,” Carnell said.

“We’ve found the most common impediments to digital adoption are not knowing where to start, fear of technology, finding the time and understanding the benefits.

“However, research shows digitally enabled businesses save an average of around 10 hours a week and subsequently increase annual revenue by almost a third.”

Carnell said she supports the Digital Champion concept- a virtual train-the-trainer initiative where small businesses will be able to follow the digital progress of other businesses and see what can be realistically achieved in their own business.

“We also support the Trusted Digital Adviser positions in industry associations, as many small businesses look to their industry association for advice and support on a range of issues,” she said.

“Competence in digital technology is vital to a small business’ growth and their ability to employ.

“The statistics are clearly telling small businesses to embrace the digital world: get online, develop a website, get a social media presence, adopt e-invoicing and identify and use the apps that will make your business work better for you.”

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New $30m venture to help startups who put customers first

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A new venture has launched to help startups who put their customers first. HubSpot has launched HubSpot Ventures, a $30 million fund that aims to bolster and expand the impact of startups focused not just on growing bigger, but on growing better.

Through the venture fund, the business will seek out companies that take the long-view on success by putting their customers first, investing in an inclusive company culture, and delivering highly differentiated products.

“We’re not looking for quick wins with this fund,” said Andrew Lindsay, VP of Corporate and Business Development at HubSpot.

“Yes, we’re investing in companies that we believe will lead to a positive return on investment, but more than just that, we’re investing in companies that are committed to our philosophy of growing better.”

The fund will support companies that are dedicated to building long-term customer relationships instead of optimising for quarterly numbers or other short-term goals.

“The best businesses today focus not just on growing bigger, but growing better –  by putting customers first. Growth that sacrifices the customer experience isn’t really growth – it’s debt,” said Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot.

“With HubSpot Ventures, we’re seeking out startups that are aligned with our mission to help millions of organisations grow better and add value to the ecosystem of companies benefiting from the HubSpot platform.”

In evaluating companies for investment, HubSpot Ventures said it will prioritise early stage companies raising funding for a seed, Series A, or Series B round. Investments in later stage rounds, such as Series C and later, will be limited. After the organisation receives an initial investment, HubSpot Ventures will also act as a mentor.

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Transcript of Finding Success and Happiness as a Company of One

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Transcript of Finding Success and Happiness as a Company of One written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: Everybody wants to scale up these days. Big topic, right? Well, in this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Paul Jarvis and we talked about, he has a nice book; Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business. Check it out.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, my guest today is Paul Jarvis. He teaches online courses, runs several software businesses and hosts a handful of podcasts from his home. He’s also the author of Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business. So Paul, welcome to the show.

Paul Jarvis: Hey, thank you very much John, I appreciate it.

John Jantsch: So your intro, I think is almost intentionally sort of small-sounding, isn’t it?

Paul Jarvis: I think a little bit, but I also think, it was funny because one of the first things my agent and book publisher asked was, “Well, what awards do you have?” Or that sort of thing. And I was like, “I don’t actually have any.” I’ve never actually tried to win an award, I don’t know what I would get an award for. So, I think some of it’s intentional, some of it’s that’s just the way that my work works.

John Jantsch: Well I guess what the point of that comment really is that, those who know you know that you’re quite accomplished in what you’ve done and I think that in some ways you’re maybe giving people hope that, “Hey, it’s okay to record a podcast from your home, you can still have success on those terms” right?

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, exactly. I’m also Canadian, so there’s a bit of a lack of hubris sometimes I think.

John Jantsch: You haven’t apologized yet, though. So, you know the big term, of course the big concept right now, is scaling. So, in some ways, people could make a case for saying you’re sort of anti-scaling.

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, that’s kind of the point, so I guess the point of the book and the point of kind of where my thinking around this idea has been is not that scaling is bad, it’s just that scaling should be thought about first. I think this actually applies to a lot of things, that we should probably think about things before we do things. For the most part, it kind of makes sense to do that. So it’s not really a book about anti-scaling, it’s more a book about considering whether it makes sense or not, because it doesn’t always make sense to scale.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and that’s a great point, because I think a lot of people just get caught up in the, “well if I start a business, that’s the goal”, right? And not necessarily “what do I want?” Is it?

Paul Jarvis: Yeah. I think a lot of times, people kind of, they start the business, and then work backwards, trying to make it work for the life that they want. And to go the opposite way, we can think about the life that we want, and then build a business that, obviously that’s profitable because that’s the point of business, but that also supports the life that we want. Like for myself, I don’t want to have to manage a team or have to work 16 hours a day to make enough money to survive. So I don’t want to build a business like that, because that doesn’t support the life that I want. And I think lifestyle business gets a bum rap, but I kinda think that every single business is a lifestyle business. Like the friends that I have that have venture-backed, Silicon Valley tech companies, they have a very specific lifestyle that their business makes them have, right? So I think every business has the possibility of being a lifestyle business, in so much that you can kind of pick what you want–

John Jantsch: You know, I sometimes think there’s a lot of confusion around the terms growth and scale, that people kind of see them as the same thing. One of the things that I’ve seen at least, is that I think scale can imply doing more with less. I think it can also imply that you’re more profitable, because you’ve developed systems of things. I think sometimes scale gets a bad rep.

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, you’re speaking my language here. I think that there’s things that are really good for scale that don’t necessarily mean growth, and I think a really good example of that is a newsletter. It takes me as much time to write an email to one person as it does to write an email to 30 thousand people. So that to me is a great example of scaling my reach for example that doesn’t require, I don’t need 30 thousand people writing one email to 30 thousand recipients. So I think scale a lot of times, if we do it properly, doesn’t have to require the growth or the expenses required for that growth.

John Jantsch: Freelancing is, I don’t know what the numbers are, but I’m sure it’s in the multi-hundreds of times percentage growth, that pretty much everybody that has a job is freelancing today, it seems like. One of the points I know that you make in the book and I know that you do this in your courses and a lot of the work you’ve done is that, you know, a lot of freelancers just think of themselves as just gig-workers or you know, “I’ve got some spare time to do this…” you know, it’s not really a company. So, how is freelancing different than a company of one?

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I think they can be the same, but where they’re different is, and I know this just from experience of teaching thousands of freelancers, mostly in creative industries, is that they tend to work in their business so much that they don’t think about working on their business. And what I mean by that is we can get caught up in client work, and I mean if our business is doing well as a freelancer, we have a lot of client work. But if we don’t stop to think about filling the funnel a bit further down the road, then they’ll be this feast or famine thing.

If we don’t think about things like taxes or accounting, we could get into trouble at the end of the year with our governments. So, I think that there’s, and we also need to think about things like how word of mouth is working fr a business. A lot of freelancers, that’s their main source of finding new clients; it’s keeping in touch with people and keeping that network really strong. So I think that a lot of freelancers don’t treat their business like a business, and either way, it’s still a business. So, I think thinking about how to make freelancing into a business, and keep thinking about it like a business is always really, really important, because like I said, it is a business, whether you think it is or not.

John Jantsch: So is there a critical mindset shift that occurs when somebody decides, “Yeah, I’m a company.”

Paul Jarvis: Well, I think that definitely when they start to consider profit, that’s always important. I think there’s a lot of things that can be hobbies, and hobbies are great and you don’t need to worry about profit if it’s hobby. The best thing about a hobby is you don’t have to worry about the money side. But when you want something to support you, you have to start to, especially in freelancing or when you work for yourself and build solo products, I think we have to consider what enough is.

So, what would be enough to sustain this as business longterm, or even in the beginning, what would be enough to sustain this month to month. Like, “how much income do I need?” Because if we figure those things out, then we can work backwards. Say we need $5000 a month ad we wanna charge $1000. Well, can we find five clients per month to cover just those bases? And then six or more to be profitable, right? So I think we need to start to think about what enough is, like, “How many clients is enough?”, “How much profit is enough?”, “How big our audience should be is enough.”, “How much time spent on the business is enough?”.

I think a lot of times, the ‘enough’ question is probably one of the most important things, it’s probably the main reason why I wrote the book. Because we all start from zero, right? We all start a business without a backlog of clients, it’s really hard to start like that. But we all start at zero and build up. So, we all need that growth mindset to get to enough. But where a lot of us don’t think about it is, if we don’t consider what enough is and then change based on if we’ve reached enough or not. So if we have enough revenue, then maybe we don’t need to keep growing and growing and growing, we can start to optimize for that revenue instead. And so I think that’s probably one of the most important things.

John Jantsch: What are the challenges that a lot of people getting started, even if they have that plan like, “here’s where I think I wanna get”, it’s the– and I hate the term shiny object, but no question opportunities pop up, “Gosh, should I chase that? Should I chase that?” Do you or did you have a filter that allowed you to decide? Because sometimes opportunities sound great, and sometimes they’re dead ends, sometimes they just are distractions, maybe they just replace the money you were making over there. So do you have a process that you go through to say, pros, cons, how do I consider this?

Paul Jarvis: Yeah. For me the first thing mindset-wise, is I consider what the maintenance costs, because every opportunity has an associated cost, right? So I consider; if I say yes to this thing, what does that mean for a whole bunch of things, so, what does that mean for my profit? What does that mean for my existing customers? What does that mean for my happiness? And what does that mean in terms of maintaining this longterm? Like say I wanted to add another course to my roster, or add another client, or add another feature to a product. I’m going to have to then be able to sell that new feature. I’m going to have to support that new feature.

I’m gonna probably build other things around that feature to make it work better. So everything has a cost and I think if we start to think about, “What’s a reason we started this thing in the first place? This business, this freelancing, whatever we want to call it. What’s the reason we started this and what do we want to get out of it?” And I think if we have, it sounds a little hippy-dippy, but I think the more that we have and consider what our purpose was for starting, and it can change granted, it can definitely change, but if we have a purpose, I feel like that’s the best lens for decision making we can have when we work for ourselves. So if we have a purpose in mind for what we want to get out of it, or why we’re doing it in the first place, then we can say, “This opportunity doesn’t line up with this purpose, therefore it’s okay if I turn this thing down. It’s okay if I maybe lose a bit short term, but gain a bit in the long term. Because I’ve been doing this for 20 odd years, I kinda think longterm with a lot of the decisions that I make.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And obviously, experience ends up teaching you that. Because I think there’s this like, “I’ll never get this chance again.” Kind of mentality. I think experience teaches you “yes you will”. And so I think once you get confident in that it makes it a little easier to trust your gut I think. My favorite chapter in the book; a chapter called The One Customer, and I think that a lot of freelancers kind of tend to think, you know, you think of an Upwork project or something, you know, it’s done, I never really met the customer, I delivered the product, I don’t really even think of it a customer, its more of a project. But I think that the one big mindset shift that you identify is that I think when somebody decides they have a company of one, all of a sudden this customer is something to grow, isn’t it?

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I think that in all I’ve done all sorts of types of business and I’ve worked with all sorts of customers, from Fortune 100 startups to entrepreneurs. It’s, business is always, and I hate business sayings for the most part, but there’s one that I actually like, and I think it’s, “Business is all bout who you know.” So I think building relationships and fostering relationships in the longterm just makes a lot of sense. I think, whether it’s startups or freelancers, I think we tend to focus more on acquisition than retention, and its cheaper to retain customers if you’re a freelancer if you’ve already worked with somebody; the sales cycle can be shortened. Because you don’t need to convince them to work with you anymore, they did, they hopefully liked it, they just have to say yes or no to a new project. If it’s a tech company or a SAS product, then retaining the customer just means that they don’t cancel and turn out. So I think focusing on making, and these are the people who are already paying attention, these are the people who probably already like our work if we’re doing good work. Then, it makes sense to pay attention to them, it makes sense to listen to them, it makes sense to not let those relationships die.

Even looking back to when I did freelance work, I had some customers that were probably 13, 14 years of work, and sometimes we would go a year without working together, but because I would keep in touch with them, and because I would reach out to them often, even if there was a bit of a slow time, all I had to do was email my existing customers and say, “Hey, just checking in, see how your business is going, see if there’s anything I can help with.” Just in doing that, I could fill my client roster for a month or two. So I think keeping in touch with people is such an under-utilized skill.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And that one tip really works for any business. If you’ve got a list of past–

Paul Jarvis: It’s a magic email.

John Jantsch: Yeah, it really is. If you’ve got a list of past happy customers, and it’s a slow Friday, just send out an email. So, one of the things that’s made this company of one idea so viable really is all of the tools and technology and automation that we have available. What’s some of your, let’s make this a two-part question. What’s some of your favorite tools for automation, and then what are some of your famous no-nos for abusing automation?

Paul Jarvis: So, I really like email. I think email, so one, email marketing newsletters accounts for most of my revenue, so I would be silly if I didn’t really like that. So I think, and for me, the way that I use it, and it’s funny because everybody’s like, “Oh emails, Dad emails, Dad…”, and I feel like I’m the guy in the back raising my hand, like, “I don’t think so.” So I’ve had a newsletter, a weekly newsletter, which is good because it’s called the Sunday dispatches, so it makes sense that I send it once a week. I’ve had a newsletter since November 2012, so it’s about six years old, and every week I send an article to my list and that just keeps in touch with people, it keeps reminding people that I exist.

And it also, I sometimes have things to sell; not all the time, but sometimes there’s something to sell. And by keeping this cadence as really regular cadence, of showing up for people saying like, “Hey, I still exist, here’s some thoughts that I have.” It shows people that like, “Oh, okay, I really resonate with these things that Paul is saying.” Some people, not all people but some people. And then when I do have something to sell, it’s not like I’m just hounding them to get something for myself, it’s I’ve been providing value for them, sometimes for years; sometimes people are on my list for years before they buy something, so then it feels like there’s some reciprocity there. So then, the sales cycle just becomes, “Hey I made this thing, maybe you wanna check it out.”

John Jantsch: Yeah, you know, I laugh because I get those notes all the time, “I’ve been following you for 10 years, and finally decided to buy–” it’s like I gotta figure out how to shorten the sale cycle so—

Paul Jarvis: Yeah I think that can be good. And then as far as things that I don’t really like using; I don’t like any tool that is realtime or that shows my status. So I really dislike products like Slack because it feels like there’s—so things like that, I don’t even need to single out slack, but just any service that shows my status; even Skype, I only sign in to Skype to use it. And I think that a lot of times we have this FOMO about, “Oh, I’m gonna miss something so I need to stay logged in to everything, or I need to get notifications for all of the things.” I don’t know how I could work, I don’t know how I could accomplish the tasks I need to do on any given day if I was interrupted when I’m doing my work.

So if I’m working on something I can’t leave Slack open, I can’t leave Skype open, I can’t even leave social media open. So, if I’m writing the only thing I have open on my computer is my writing software. If I’m on Twitter, the only thing I have open on my computer is Twitter, and I don’t get notified of things that I’m not focused on or things that I’m working on. So I think that there’s a lot of technology now that allows us, like we were talking about, that allows us to scale without growth, which is awesome, but I also think that we can fall into the trap of just being interrupted by all of these great technologies, so I try not to let that happen as much as possible, because I like to get my work done, and then be done work for the day.

John Jantsch: So, I’m curious, and this is just on a personal note, what is your writing software?

Paul Jarvis: I use, so I like IA writer for just me writing, it’s just a markdown minimal software app. I use for collaboration I use Google Docs, because it’s just the easiest thing when I’m working with copy editor and editor, or collaborator. But then, my publisher, and I think all publishers are old school, so I also use Word, but I begrudgingly use Word. I actually had to buy a license to word for the first time in ten years just to–

John Jantsch:  That’s so funny. We’re getting ready to bore our listeners to tears here, but my current book, I’m working on another book right now, and I’m writing the entire thing in Google Docs and I convinced my traditional mainstream publisher to take the manuscript in Google Docs, can you believe it?

Paul Jarvis: Awesome.

John Jantsch: So excited about that.

Paul Jarvis: Your power of persuasion is greater than mine. I tried to do the same thing; it didn’t work.

John Jantsch: One of the things that, I was really happy to read this line because I’ve believed this forever, but you said this really well. That education is a serious marketing channel. And I don’t think people appreciate that. We’ve all bought into, you know, “Yes, educate, educate, useful content.” But I think you took it a step further really, and talk about it as the tool to actually grow your existing customer base and that you should teach everything, you should look at that as a product opportunity. And I think a lot of people who do, say design or really any kind of work, really underestimate the power of that.

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I mean, it was funny when I was doing web design, I noticed that the only thing that web designers wrote and shared on the internet were things for other web designers. And I always found that weird because, no web designer would ever hire me because I was a web designer too, we had the same skill set. So when I started to think about content, I thought about, “Okay, well what can I do to create content for people that hire web designers?” So I started to write articles on the subject, I wrote a book on the subject.

And then I noticed that my schedule was so full I didn’t know what to do with it because people were reading the things that I was writing, that were looking to hire web designers, and because they had read that from me, they thought, “Okay, this Paul guy is the expert on this subject, so why wouldn’t I want to hire the expert on educating clients on successful design projects? Because he’s the one who’s sharing this knowledge.” And it became a really easy sell at that point, it was just, people had already heard of me, it was more just a matter of seeing if it was a good fit to work together than having to pitch or sell anything. So I’ve kind of taken that and run with it for the rest of my business life.

John Jantsch: And I think a lot of people, people are getting off of this a little bit, but imagine 10, 15 years ago, nobody was really educating, you know, you were selling. And so, when I was out there telling people that, “No, tell them everything, reveal all the candy, don’t hold anything back.” Because they don’t wanna actually do it themselves, they just wanna know that you know how to do it. And that’s the best way to demonstrate it, and I’m glad we’ve come around.

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, people feel like they’re backed into a corner if they feel like they’re being sold to, but people listen a lot more if they feel like they’re learning something; they pay attention, and that attention is gold when you are trying to sell something. If you don’t pay attention to the selling, you pay attention to the teaching, and then you’re right, they’re just gonna be like, “This person knows what they’re doing, I’m just gonna pay them.”

John Jantsch: Well, or they go out there and try it and they go, “Gosh dang this is hard, I am gonna hire somebody.” So, you mentioned hippy-dippy, so let’s finish on a concept that I love and I’d love for you to expand on how you apply this to a company of one. And that’s this idea of finding your true north.

Paul Jarvis: Yeah. It’s funny because I think that, and even, I think I kinda felt that way too. I mean, I live in the woods on an island that’s very hippy-dippy on the West Coast of Canada, so I feel like I’m surrounded by this, and I feel like I push against it. And so, I think that in the beginning I though that having a purpose or a north star for my business was too in the realm of like, “Well businesses are supposed to be profitable, so why would I worry about applying my values and what I want?” And I think that that was to my own detriment.

I think a lot of times, we get tired from having to make decisions all the time in our business. And if you run a business, you have to make decisions all the time and that tires you out. It’s funny, I was reading an article in the Atlantic about how tiring making decisions is, and I was like, “This article is speaking my life.” So I think to come around to the part about having a purpose, I think like I said earlier, I think that having a purpose alleviates some of the decision making. Because if we know why we started the business and why we want to run the business and kind of where we want to take it, and if I think about success, I see what success looks like in the media, and then I think about, if I applied myself to that version of success, one of two things would happen.

I would either get it, which means I would win at what I was challenged by, but I would be left with somebody else’s version of success which wouldn’t be mine, so I kind of wouldn’t win. And if I didn’t win at achieving that person’s version of success, I would be left feeling like I failed. But I failed at something I didn’t actually want in the first place. So I think if we define what success looks like to us, and it’s different for every single person. I did so many interviews for the book, and what success means to you isn’t what it means to me. There could be similarities, sure, but it’s always different. So I think if we have a purpose then it becomes a wholly pragmatic exercise, which is the opposite of hippy-dippy, at least in my mind.

John Jantsch: I’m getting ready to print t-shirts; “fail at something you wanted to fail at”, I love that.

Paul Jarvis: Exactly. It just makes more sense from a pragmatic standpoint to be able to do that. So I think having a purpose just makes it easier to make decisions and it makes it easier for us to align with where we want to go. Because we’re the ones steering the ship, so if we end up somewhere we don’t like, it’s our fault.

John Jantsch: I seriously am stealing that, you’re gonna see it in my next book. So, speaking with Paul Jarvis, author of Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business, depending upon when you’re listening to this show, it’s out on the shelves January of 2019. So Paul, tell people where they can find more about you and your work.

Paul Jarvis: Yeah. So my newsletter, The Sunday Dispatches is at pjrvs.com, or if you search in Google for Paul Jarvis, I’m the first page. And then the book, Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business, is on all digital shelves and should be in most bookstores as well, and the website for that is ofone.co.

John Jantsch: Excellent. Paul, it was great visiting with you, hopefully we’ll catch up with you out there fishing or something in the West Coast of Canada.

Paul Jarvis: Sounds good John, cheers.

 

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Finding Success and Happiness as a Company of One

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Finding Success and Happiness as a Company of One written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Paul Jarvis
Podcast Transcript

Paul JarvisThis week, my guest on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is Paul Jarvis. A writer and designer, Jarvis has worked with companies like Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft, sports giants like Shaquille O’Neal, and entrepreneurs like Marie Forleo.

He also teaches a number of online courses; writes his weekly newsletter, The Sunday Dispatches; hosts several podcasts; and just wrote the book Company of One, hitting shelves on January 15, 2019.

On today’s episode, Jarvis and I talk about what it’s like to run your own business, and how to make decisions that will not only make you happier but help you build a sustainable business.

Questions I ask Paul Jarvis:

  • Are you anti-scaling?
  • What’s the difference between growth and scale?
  • How is freelancing different from a company of one?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to use the question, “How much is enough?” as a guidepost for growing your business.
  • Why aligning opportunities with your purpose can help you stay focused on the most promising avenues to pursue.
  • How to transform education into a marketing tool.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Paul Jarvis:

  • Learn more about Company of One (and preorder here)
  • Check out the Company of One podcast
  • Sign up for the Sunday Dispatches newsletter
  • Learn more about his online courses
  • Follow him on Twitter

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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How SMEs can make workplace wellbeing a priority without a big budget

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While on the surface investing in employee wellbeing may seem extravagant in terms of the priorities many SME owners face, the reality is, a focus on workplace wellbeing can dramatically improve productivity and staff churn.

However, you don’t need the resources of Google to foster a culture of wellbeing in the office. Here are some clever ways to promote wellness in the workplace that won’t necessarily require a big budget.

  1. Swap sugary snacks to healthier options

If your office provides some level of snacks or pantry options (i.e. biscuits, lollies) consider swapping these for healthier options like fruit and nuts.

Healthy snacking is a big part of wellbeing in the office. Providing healthy snack options to employees can go a long way not just in improving wellbeing but also productivity. For instance, it can help to improve overall health, curb cravings, fight weight gain, regulate moods, boost brain power and give you the energy to keep going all day.

  1. Help facilitate good hygiene

This is particularly important in the winter months. Promote good workplace hygiene by providing hand sanitisers and tissues and possibly even a free flu shots to employees.
Good personal hygiene is an effective way to protect against illness. So it is important to minimise and prevent the spread of germs in the office. This includes all parts of the office, including the kitchen. Did you know there are 100,000 times more germs in the kitchen sink than on a public toilet?

The work desk is a commonly ignored space in terms of cleaning. Great products to keep desks clean include disinfecting wipes, non-flammable spray duster and hand sanitiser.

  1. Group exercise programs

Whether it’s yoga at lunch, initiating a running group or an after-hours sporting group, providing and encouraging employees to participate in exercise is highly beneficial.

With 65 per cent of Australians spending more than 40 hours in the workplace, it’s important for employers to provide ‘down time’ and way for their staff to relieve stress and ensure health and wellbeing. Not only are group exercise programs great for health but they also promote a healthy culture of team work.

  1. Review the physical environment

Office furniture, like desk chairs, should be reviewed regularly as they do have a life span. Likewise, things like lighting, air flow, accessibility and office clutter should be taken into consideration.

Providing a safe environment doesn’t just make good sense, it is also part of Workplace, Health and Safety requirements. When was the last time you updated your office furniture and equipment?

Maybe it’s time for a review. Are you providing adequate ergonomic workplace furniture and tools? Is the office space being optimised? The design of your workplace can greatly impact employee productivity and wellbeing.

  1. Educate employees of safe working

A bit of helpful information goes a long way. Provide guidance to employees of safe working practices. For instance, for employees who sit for long hours at a desk consider providing details on how to sit properly so as to cause the least amount of stress on the body, how often to get up and stretch and eye strain exercises.

Workplace health and safety isn’t a topic to be taken lightly, all employees should feel safe in their work environment. Employers are legally obligated to provide information and training to staff about safe working practices. But don’t just stop at your compliance obligations. Providing guidance to employees on safe working practices will help to improve wellbeing as well as overall performance, so it makes good business sense.


About the author

By Belinda Lyone, General Manager of COS

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Major banks still ‘feeding’ off small businesses

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Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has expressed concern that despite promises made, the major banks have not implemented the least-cost routing of their tap-and-go payments for debit cards.

Carnell said, “The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics recommended banks introduce this by 1 April this year and we are still waiting for any action.”

“The National Australia Bank and ANZ promised to roll out the changes this year, and here we are with just 20 days left of 2018 and no action,” said the Ombudsman.

“The Commonwealth Bank of Australia committed to the changes but didn’t give a timeline.

“At least Westpac confirmed it will offer least-cost routing to its business customers in 2019, but it did not confirm if it will happen in the first or second half of the year.”

The average total merchant fee for a debit transaction is 0.26% with EFTPOS and 0.58% for Visa or Mastercard, and it’s higher for small businesses.

“So there’s a nice bit of revenue for the banks over the last nine months and another example of their pursuit of profit,” said Carnell.

“We need to see some action by the banks, who still need to rebuild trust and confidence with Australian small businesses.”

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