The Biggest Boost to Business Morale

WHETHER YOU WORK as a bookkeeper in a small business, are self-employed with your own business, work as a freelancer or independent contractor (maybe even operating a side hustle), as a virtual assistant with a home office, or whether you work as an employee in a large organisation, morale is one of those things that tends to ebb and flow. Continue reading The Biggest Boost to Business Morale

Google Can Help You Make More Money – And It’s Not by Using Adwords!

Helping tradespeople, sole traders and contractors manage and keep clients

As a tradesperson or sole trader, don’t be one of the many who loses out on work opportunities because you’re not savvy online – for marketing and organisational purposes.

I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT how tradespeople can earn more money quickly and easily by using cloud accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks to quote, invoice and manage their clients. But this applies to anybody out there working for themselves; as a sole trader or contractor. 

In a recent home renovation I was involved with in Newcastle, NSW, I met many tradies with a lot of work on, and even more with plenty of work in the pipeline; but they had no system to manage it all. They frequently didn’t follow up on jobs they’d quoted for, didn’t get back to people enquiring about their services, and provided fairly terrible customer service in general. And they were losing money, as a result.

Increase your productivity with Google G Suite

There’s no reason for tradespeople, contractors or sole traders to lose business because they don’t have a system in place to ensure they remain productive. I work with lots of remote contractors, and I love it because we’re able collaborate on projects at all different times of the day, easily and efficiently.

When I owned a compliance management company called EzyAccess, I worked with lots of different contractors who were located all over Australia. There was Frankie in customer service, located in the Gold Coast, Queensland; Gary, our product specialist located in Goulburn, New South Wales; and our computer guys, Linus and Rodger, each from Sydney; along with three other women located in Sydney — Dulcie, Michelle and Angela — responsible for admin and marketing respectively. of course, then there was me: travelling between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Manage your time efficiently

To manage my team of remote contractors, I used Google G Suite (then called Google Apps for Work) — Google Calendar, in particular

We used Google Calendar to schedule time for particular tasks each person was working on so everyone knew what everyone else was up to, and could easily schedule time to collaborate on certain projects that required help from other team members — Linus and Rodger, for instance, frequently collaborated on projects. We also used Google Calendar to schedule meetings (internal and external ones) and sales calls. (More specifically, we’ve given a case study of a hairdressing salon doing this in a previous blog post.)

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Set up your own Google G-Suite with our Digital and Social Media Online Course


If you need help setting up your Google G Suite account, and would like to learn how your business can become more productive and earn more money, we cover Google G Suite in our Digital and Social Media training course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.


 

 

Use Facebook Ads to Stay Front of Mind With People Who Already Know You

Don’t miss a golden opportunity to build brand awareness!

woman recognising brand

I RECENTLY SPOKE WITH a few different Novocastrian real estate agents recently about a property I was renovating. One of them had a billboard near a train station, another paid for bus stop ads, and another created trailer signs that could be towed and parked in strategic places. None of them used Google or Facebook ads. This was a missed opportunity, and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Outdoor advertising, along with DL flyers and advertising in your local newspaper, are designed to keep your brand in front of mind with people who know you and live in your local area. Brand awareness is an incredibly important marketing strategy for any business. We took a look late last year at how bookkeepers can learn from real estate agents about marketing using Facebook.

Social and digital marketing is crucial

Although outdoor and print marketing are important brand building tactics, digital and social media marketing should form a part of your brand campaigns. The internet is where most people turn to get information quickly, even local information.

We used Facebook ads in our social and digital marketing strategy we used for McGrath real estate agent Derek Farmer. A client list of names based on mobile phone numbers was used to target people in the Northbridge area who already had some past experience with Derek — they’d met at an auction, open home, he’d sold a friend or neighbour’s home, or they’d previously bought one of his listings. We helped Derek achieve Page 1 rankings on Google without using any paid advertising.

Targeted Facebook ads keep you front of mind

This targeted advertising helped build brand awareness with those people in a relatively non-invasive way, so that when Derek did reach out to them by phone, email or in-person, they would already be very aware of who Derek was and the type of property sales he specialised in.

This ensured Derek didn’t lose a listing because someone couldn’t remember who he was, and ended up listing their property with an agent who did take the time to build brand awareness within their local community and with past clients.

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Do you want help growing your online and social media presence?

Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses. Alternatively, you can learn more about Facebook targeted advertising in our Facebook training courses.


 

Ray White’s Amber and LJ Hooker Compete with Purple & Jim’s Real Estate Play

Real estate agents are seeing purple!

Woodrising a sign for Toronto Ray White Amber AgentTHE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY IS undergoing substantial disruption. Only the real estate agents and agencies that decide to innovate will make it out the other side.

A big part of that means letting go of the traditional model and embracing a new, transparent real estate sales model, but many agents are still reluctant to change.

And that’s a mistake.

Disruption to the real estate industry coming from many sources

Although much of the disruption is coming from technology companies, such as REA Group and Domain Group in Australia, as well as the tech giants Facebook and Google, other established players, recognising that the timing is right, are entering the fray too.

Together, these businesses are changing the way real estate in this country and across the world is bought, sold and rented. If real estate agents aren’t proactive about this change, they’ll end up being reactive. And they’ll miss out.

One of the Case Studies in our Digital & Social Media Marketing Courses centres upon a McGrath agent based in Sydney’s Cammeray. This agent, Derek, comes to realise his own personal brand is as powerful with local residents as the McGrath brand because he is a hard-working agent and his vendors love him.

Via the virion Digital Agency we were able to help Derek create a website and social media campaign to further hone and build his brand as a property expert.

Jim’s to cut agents’ grass

Jim Penman's Jims Group getting into low cost low commission real estate agency model - tradies might pass on vendor sales leads - AFRTake Jim’s Group, the franchise group known for mowing lawns and fixing broken antennas. Last week, they announced their intention to enter the real estate fray with a new, low-cost service for both agents and homeowners.

The division, which is being headed up by a Jim’s Group veteran and the former sales director of low-cost real estate service Hello Real Estate, will charge agents a flat $1,800 a month franchise fee.

Homeowners will also be able to suggest how much commission they’d like to pay the agent to sell their home. (It’s understood there’ll be a threshold for how low commissions will actually go.)

Jim’s agents will work remotely from their home offices — or their cars — as most Jim’s franchisees currently do, and they’ll have substantially lower overheads so they can provide the same service to homeowners as a traditional real estate agent, only for less.

As an existing and trusted franchise group in Australia, they won’t have to overcome the same barriers like name recognition and trust that new entrants to the market — your Purplebricks, say — did. (Of course, the Purplebricks service is also quantifiably different to the proposed Jim’s service.)

Agents who don’t think Jim’s will make a serious dent in the industry may be right. But that misses the point; the franchise model is about giving business owners a cushion between them and flying solo. Plenty of people work in franchises — real estate is the most franchised industry in this country — but not all of them do. There’s plenty of room for independent agents to take this idea and operate their own agency the same way — and keep their $1,800 franchise fee while they’re at it!

Proptech sector friend or foe?

That brings us to the biggest source of disruption in the real estate industry: the proptech sector. In Australia, agents need to be cautious of

  • REA Group,
  • Domain Group,
  • Purplebricks,
  • BuyMyPlace,
  • Facebook and
  • Google.

But they also need to be wary of any new entrant that puts an “Uber” spin on the sector. (Domain recently opened up its developer APIs to encourage tech startups to use their data to create disruptive new services.)

At the moment REA Group and Domain are focussed on moving closer to the transaction, but they’re also heavily investing in tech to ward off any disruption from tech titans Facebook and Google, which they consider the biggest threat to the real estate industry in this country, and the world. (eBay-owned Gumtree also shouldn’t be excluded from this conversation.)

Would you advertise with a competitor?

Mortgages

Both real estate groups have acquired (or launched through partnerships) their own mortgage broking businesses — Domain’s Domain Loan Finder is a JV with online broker Lendi; REA Group acquired mortgage broker Smartline, and launched its own white label service in conjunction with NAB, called realestate.com.au Home Loans.

Trades & Everything Else!

They each also own stakes in tradie sites Oneflare (Domain) and hipages (REA), connection services Compare & Connect (Domain) and Beevo (Domain), property data and mapping firm PriceFinder (Domain), real estate CRM MyDesktop (Domain) [read more about the best real estate agent CRM’s], and property inspection app Homepass (Domain); Domain will also launch insurance comparison service Domain Insure and real estate agent training and education program Domain Academy.

And REA Group is busy building robots and virtual assistants, which can respond to customer enquiry — requests for Section 32 documents, schedule inspections, and so on.

Neither Domain nor REA are likely to bite the hands that feed them by introducing a real estate agency service or cutting agents out of the picture entirely — this year, REA Group posted revenue of $633.5 million from its Australian operations, of which $538.2 million was derived from agents advertising on its site.

Agents need to innovate NOW

But by owning the real estate “ecosystem”, they make the role of the real estate agent much less vital — and ripe for a new service to come in (like a Jim’s Real Estate) and say, “hey we can do it better.” Before long, that’ll become the “traditional” real estate model, just as the classified websites that usurped newspaper classifieds are now considered the “traditional” model of buying and selling stuff online.

To stay ahead of disruption, agents need to educate themselves. Continuing professional development (CPD) is a mandatory part of staying licensed in every state or territory. Provided agents undertake recognised training and keep their CPD points up, they can study anything relevant to the business of real estate.

Digital marketing is a fundamental part of real estate. Agents who understand how to market themselves online to get new business and demonstrate transparency about how the process works will stay ahead of the curve. Derek Farmer used educational videos and blog posts to explain the buying and selling process, and share market news and analysis.

This makes a sales agent an indispensable source of knowledge and a trusted advisor to buyers and sellers throughout the process, which can’t be replicated by a robot, virtual assistant or app. Virion also helps agents create a digital market strategy for their business, and to fill up their website or social media pages with content that provides information to buyers and sellers they’re currently getting from … Domain and realestate.com.au!

Agents should create their own property ecosystem

Domain and REA are doing their darndest to keep people on their sites for longer. They’re sewing up the entire property buying and selling process with complementary services (insurances, connections, mortgages) and they’re pushing more and more into content (videos, journalism, content marketing); Domain is particularly innovative in the content space, thanks to its Fairfax roots.

As a result, buyers and sellers are coming to agents forearmed, and again, the role of the agent is diminished. But agents can stay in home buyers and sellers minds by creating their own property ecosystem: start a website, fill it with good quality content, use a CRM to manage your lists of buyers, sellers, tradespeople — who have become one of the most important players in the sales process — and pump messages out your database regularly.

Finally, look at introducing a different fee or commissions structure for certain types of property or across the board. This is where the industry is heading and fighting it will only leave you in the same position the newspaper industry was in with the advent of online classifieds; cable TV providers with the rise of VOD services; music labels with streaming services, and so on.

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Visit the EzyLearn website to learn more about our continuing professional development (CPD) training courses. To create your own property ecosystem with a digital marketing strategy and content, visit Virion’s website for more information.


 

Finding Help with Your Bookkeeping

Why you should employ a bookkeeper to help manage the books

best way to find a bookkeeper myob xero quickbooks online
If you’re a small business owner, it shouldn’t be taking you an inordinate amount of time to keep your bookkeeping orderly and up to date. If it is, perhaps now is the time to get help.

PERHAPS YOU ARE a small business owner who is trying hard to keep up to speed with your regulatory bookkeeping requirements. But no sooner does one quarter end and another one seems to roll by with the commensurate paperwork due all over again. This is taking away from your regular work and you’re falling behind — and half the time you’re not even sure that it’s being done correctly. It sounds like you should be seriously considering finding a bookkeeper for your business.

Even if you have training in how to use Xero, MYOB or Quickbooks, or some other cloud accounting program, finding a great bookkeeper can make all the difference to your business. However, although there might seem to be plenty of “bookkeepers” around, finding the right one bookkeeper for your business is not an altogether easy thing to do. And if you’re financially challenged, you also need to find a bookkeeper who won’t break the bank.

Bookkeeper, accountant or tax professional?

These days, the term bookkeeper is almost an umbrella term for all the different types of accounting and tax professionals available to you, from basic data entry bookkeepers right through to specialised BAS and tax agents.

There are even some bookkeepers who are so knowledgeable in one particular accounting program that the software company has endorsed them as certified consultants or advisors, and some earn commission from accounting software companies, while there are others who aren’t beholden to any particular software company. We outline four steps you can take to narrow down the search.

Step One: What Kind of Bookkeeper Do You Need?

Think about your business and how it operates. Do you have lots of business purchases and transactions each week? Do you employ staff? Do you work in a specialised industry? Are you registered for GST? Do you require a bookkeeper to work onsite at your premises or can they work remotely?

Write down the needs of your business to help you determine the kind of financial help, and therefore, what kind of bookkeeper you need for your business.

Step Two: Research Local Bookkeepers in Your Area

Visit the websites of some local bookkeepers in your area, or search the National Bookkeeping Directory to find bookkeepers matching your requirements located near you. If you don’t require a bookkeeper to visit your premises, broaden your scope and research bookkeepers who can work remotely. Make a shortlist of potential bookkeepers.

Step Three: Check the TPB Register

BAS and tax agents are required, by law, to register with the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB), so if your business requires either a tax or BAS agent (or both), the TPB Register should be your first port of call to ensure the person who have in mind is currently registered to provide BAS or tax services.

Step Four: Interview Your Preferred Bookkeepers

During step two, you made a shortlist of potential bookkeepers, and, assuming your TPB search didn’t turn up anything to be wary of, you should now set about contacting each one to get to know more about the services they provide.

It’s a good idea to ask them how long they’ve been working as a bookkeeper for, the sorts of businesses they’ve worked with in the past, and any expectations they may have of you. You should also ask for a written quote for their services. This quote should form part of your professional services agreement.

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Many bookkeepers will provide an initial consultation, and if not, ask them to. We outline a number of things you can expect and ask them at this first consultation.

If you need help making your small business dream become a reality — with business planning and templates, identifying target markets, with any form of marketing and advertising, including social media, even just setting up a great looking website — then check out our EzyStartUp Course or contact us for more information. 


 

Who Do You Trust More: Real Estate Agents or Tradies?

Still unsure whether you can trust online ratings and reviews?

trusting online reviews and ratings for tradesperson real estate agent online ratings and reviews
After a tradesperson? Sometimes asking a business person from a related business, such as a real estate agent, can be a good source for a recommendation.

IT CAN BE HARD to know whether you can really trust online ratings and reviews, whether these reviews and ratings are objective and even relevant and how they compare to recommendations and testimonials. By recommendations we mean word of mouth referrals from your friends and family and so forth, and testimonials that have been written by real people — with real names and real locations!

In our recent post about recommendations we suggested that you ask a friend, relative or colleague if they’ve ever had experience with a business you’re thinking of using — chances are, if your friends live locally they may well have; or if the business is a chain or franchise operating over a wide area.

Also ask other businesses

When seeking a professional recommendation you can also ask other businesses. Find out what their experiences have been, if any. Often businesses will have a relationship with each other even if it is not, at first, apparent.

For instance, a symbiotic relationship tends to exist between real estate agents and tradespeople. Agents will regularly draw up a list of preferred tradespeople that they work with and recommend to their tenants, landlords and vendors.

And there are plenty of tradespeople who do the same for real estate agents that they’ve had professional dealings with. There are plenty of other examples of these sorts of professional recommendations.

Beware professional bias

Of course, just as you should be wary of overly positive or negative ratings and reviews online, you should be likewise when soliciting professional reviews. If one business regularly referred work by another, even if they don’t think they’re a great business to deal with, neither party will necessarily say anything bad about each other.

In the end, when looking for a tradesperson, real estate agent or some other professional service, be sure to do all your research. Ask around for personal referrals, check them up online, and get in touch with each business directly to see which one is the best fit for you.

Real people, real locations

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice. Visit our website for more information and to see our wide range of courses.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design). 


 

Ratings, Reviews, Testimonials, Recommendations

Why you can’t beat old-fashioned word of mouth

social media ratings reviews online word of mouth referrals
Online ratings and reviews have a role to play in buying decisions, but sometimes you just can’t go past traditional word of mouth to find good workers.

ONLINE RATINGS AND REVIEWS ARE a great way to determine whether a business is trustworthy or whether they products and services they provide will suit your needs. TripAdvisor and Yelp have transformed the hospitality and accommodation industry, for example. And Airbnb is doing similar with short-term rentals.

But as we’ve previously discussed, online ratings and reviews can be easily faked and sometimes biased or devoid of useful information

Looking for a local? Ask around!

While recently working on a home renovation in Newcastle, I came across a carpenter who had seven employees working for him. Jimmy the Chippy in Belmont has been in business nine years, has no website or online presence — but his business is booming.

How does he do it?

The old fashioned way! He does exceptional work for his customers and clients, who hire him again and again and refer him to friends, relatives, colleagues and so on. He also made a point of networking with local builders and plumbers in the area, who contact him when they have work to do, and refer him to other builders and plumbers as well.

Use word of mouth

If you’re looking locally, and the online ratings and reviews of the businesses you’re trying to decide between aren’t helping, asking a friend, relative or work colleague if they know any of the businesses.

If no one in your social network knows the business, you can also google an online forum like Whirlpool, where members frequently provide fair and balanced opinions of businesses they’ve dealt with — and if they don’t, they’re usually called out for it.

Testimonials are helpful, too

Real estate agents, accountants and many other businesses — EzyLearn included — use testimonials rather than ratings or reviews (except on Facebook), so you shouldn’t discount these just because they’ve been vetted before going online.

And don’t be put off if a business has received the odd bad review. Look at why they’ve received the review and what the business has done or said to address the bad review. Some businesses with a less than perfect record may be more trustworthy than those with reviews and ratings moderated by the businesses themselves.

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We ask each student whether it is ok to publish these beforehand. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice.

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At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our online training courses, be it in in Xero, MYOB, Excelsocial media or other courses, gain employment as bookkeepers, generally better their businesses, or even start their own bookkeeping business. To this end, we provide you with a Lifetime Access option to our cloud accounting training courses.


cashflow reports in xero and excel

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

What are Online Ratings Based On?

Reviews tell a whole lot more

online reviews and online ratings social media
Many people make buying decisions based on online reviews and ratings but how “real” are these? And how can you tell?

IT CAN BE DIFFICULT to tell whether online ratings and reviews are real or not. One easy way to get a pretty good idea of what’s real and what’s not is checking for a balance of positive and negative ratings and reviews that have been left by real people who’ve used their Gmail or Facebook account.

Reviews are better than ratings

If you’re a person who relies on ratings and reviews to make purchasing decisions, you’ll know you can’t really tell the trustworthiness of a businesses if it only asks customers to leave a rating (usually out of 4 or 5). Similarly it’s hard to tell what people really think of a business if they’ve only left ratings rather than reviews. 

Businesses with a good mixture of ratings and reviews, where a customer has been able to leave a comment justifying the rating they gave the business, make it much easier to make a decision.

Check the content of reviews

You don’t need to read thousands of reviews for a business, but it helps to read a few of them to see what customers are saying. This also helps determine whether these reviews are truly independent or not.

What are reviewers actually commenting on, and if they’re negative, is there a pattern? Is a local restaurant consistently understaffed or does a plumber often fail to turn up on time? Are the complaints about things that would concern you or are they petty — a long queue at a cafe that still serves good food and coffee, for example.

Positive reviews provide useful information

If the reviews of a business are mostly positive, do they provide any useful information? Hundreds and hundreds of reviews that simply say “great” or “fantastic” don’t tell you enough about what customers thought were great or fantastic about that business.

People might have really liked something that doesn’t suit your needs. It is also a good indicator that they’re not entirely true or real reviews either.

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice.

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Want to brush up your skills in cloud accounting software? Ready to progress to intermediate or advanced levels in MYOBMicrosoft ExcelXero or another accounting package? Need help with social media? Take a look at our wide range of online course options or visit our website for more information.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

Expensify, Xero and Your Retail Shop

Record retail inventory quickly

using-expensify-and-xero-for-a-retail-shop-outlet
Keeping track of expenses just got a whole lot easier.

IN A PREVIOUS POST we discussed how Expensify, an app which you can link to your Xero accounting software, can help businesses like yours’ keep track of expenses easily, accurately, and securely.

And while it’s a great expense app for professional services businesses or tradespeople, Expensify is also great for retail and online shops or hospitality businesses.

Input data and send to Xero

Shops and hospitality businesses require inventory or stock — and lots of it. But it results in an accounting and bookkeeping nightmare at the end of the month when it needs to be entered into Xero and then recorded against sales. Of course, we suggest business’ try to reconcile their transactions more regularly than just at the end of every month.

Take a photo of bills and invoices from suppliers and upload them to Expensify, which will input all of the data and then send it through to Xero.

Create expense reports

Online and offline retailers don’t have to worry about this too much unless they also produce their own products, but for cafes and restaurants that host functions or cater for events, separating the expenses directly related to those functions and events is an important way to track their profitability.

Automatic approvals cut bookkeeping time

By turning on the automatic approvals feature and setting expense rules, you can cut your bookkeeping time by having recurring or trivial expenses automatically approved and sent to Xero, so you can spend more time on the complicated ones that require closer inspection.

By keeping an eagle eye on your expenses using Xero and Expensify you’ll be able to see precisely where your business is most profitable and where it’s not so you can modify it accordingly.

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Our Xero training courses will show you have to track expenses in Xero and how to connect third party apps to your Xero account. We offer ALL SKILLS LEVELS for ONE LOW PRICE. Find out more.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

Google Calendar Lets Hairdressing Clients Schedule Appointments

Are you making the most of Google?

google calendar to set up appointments
Is your business suited to clients making online bookings? We have an online course that will teach you how to make the most of Google G-Suite and Google Calendar.

JUST AS YOU CAN USE Google Calendar to create a staff roster, you can also set up and create Google Calendar appointment slots. This is a fabulous way for businesses like hair and beauty salons to let their clients make appointments online.

To enable your clients to schedule appointments using Google Calendar, you’ll need to have a G Suite account for work (or school). G Suite accounts can be a little tricky to set up, but we have courses to show you how, and the beauty is, they come with a boatload of useful tools for small businesses — such as Google Sheets, Docs and Forms.

Create appointment types as staff

Before clients can book appointment times, you’ll need to set up the appointment types. For hair and beauty salons, you may consider setting your staff as the appointment types or the types of appointments you offer — cut and blow dry, foils, etc — so clients can pick the staff member or the appointment type they’d like to make an appointment with.

Create booking button

Use the link Google provides for your appointment page to create an ‘online booking’ button in Facebook or in WordPress, so client can easily access your online booking system from your Facebook page and website.

Move all bookings online

Online bookings won’t eradicate the need to take phone bookings, so it’s really important that you move your entire booking system online.

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Our Google training courses show you how to setup your G Suite account, share calendars and more. Once you’ve setup your G Suite account, you’ll be able to create Appointment Slots and share your appointments page with clients. Visit our website for more information.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses. Find out more about the secrets behind LinkedIn and how you can find more work and more clients.


 

You Can Use PowerPoint to Create Online Induction Training

Create an Online Induction with PowerPoint

learn powerpoint online training course
When you have to train contractors or new staff about your policies and procedures, an online induction is the most efficient – and effective – way to go.

At EzyLearn we have a bit of a soft spot for PowerPoint. It’s the oft-overlooked program in Microsoft Office that is typically associated with slideshows and presentations, and often boring ones at that. But it can do so much more.

You can generate animations, videos, movies, advertising, web design embellishments and graphics using PowerPoint. It’s a great ally to the social media or design person in your organisation. This creative design program can also be used to conjure up the most eye-catching and modern pictorial slides to enhance any presentation and keep people absorbed.

But did you know PowerPoint can also be used to create an online training induction course? Induction training is imperative for any business that hires contractors to perform work for them, either onsite or elsewhere. Induction training is necessary that any contractor or employee understands your company’s policies and procedures, whether they’re going to be working at your premises or not.

Our PowerPoint Training Course takes you through how to create your own induction training course using PowerPoint, which you can then deliver to your staff and contractors using a learning management system, or we can deliver your induction training for you.

Simple inductions that work

The end goal of an induction course should be to have all your contractors complete it, and learn something from it. You need to strike a balance between an induction that includes every last bit of information about your business, how it functions, its policies and procedures, and one that only covers the bare essentials.

Use images to illustrate risks and scenarios, as opposed to describing them. This is easy when you’re using PowerPoint to create your induction training. And remember the PowerPoint golden rule: One idea per slide.

Authenticating students

After you’ve created your induction training course in PowerPoint, it’s vital that your contractors actually complete it. This is why it’s important to authenticate each contractor or student who takes your induction training course — it also helps if you include a short quiz at the end, so you can see whether they paid attention.

There are a couple of different ways you can authenticate students to ensure the correct person is taking the induction course (and not their mum or friend or partner, for example). We talk about the different authentication methods you can use on our website, but keep in mind that only inductions delivered to students via a learning management system can authenticate students.

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learn PowerPoint online training course

PowerPoint is, quite simply, fabulous.

Brush up on your PowerPoint skills, or learn how you can use PowerPoint to create your own Online Induction training courses, with our PowerPoint training courses. Read more about PowerPoint and how it can help you with your social media and design work.


 

Hiring Someone New? Why You Need to Personally Check their References

Why It Pays to Call the Switchboard When Doing a Reference Check

reference checking
How do you really know the mobile numbers provided for references truly belong to who they say they are?

I recently had a conversation with a colleague who said she’d never once been asked to produce a copy of her university degree or her transcripts, despite stating on her resume that she’d graduated with a high distinction average.

Gee, I thought, not once? Not a single recruiter or employer had ever requested a copy of her degree? I found this fact astonishing, particularly since more professions require, by law, certain qualifications — as BAS agents are, for example. So how people know my friend wasn’t fibbing in her credentials? Fact is, they didn’t.

Check, even if you use a recruiter

I wrote a blog some time ago about recruiting on LinkedIn and why it’s so important to check references for yourself. People often underestimate the importance of checking a person’s credentials, so long as they get a reference from their last employer. Often, though, most people only provide a mobile number for their references, so whether you’re speaking to the candidate’s former employer, a co-worker, or their mum is sometimes anyone’s guess.

I was reminded of how important reference-checking is again, when I was reading a couple of articles on Longreads, and I found myself utterly fascinated by two of the biggest cases of journalistic fraud ever committed (though I admit to having never heard of them before the weekend, despite one occurring more than 30 years ago).

Sometimes people don’t just lie on their resume

In the first instance, a journalist named Janet Cooke fabricated a story for The Washington Post about an 8-year-old heroin addict. She won a Pulitzer Prize for it in 1981, and then had to give it back when it came out that there was no such 8-year-old. In the second case, Jayson Blair, a journalist for The New York Times, was found to have fabricated or plagiarised 36 out of 73 stories written over a 6-month period, in what turned out to be the biggest scandal in the newspaper’s hundred-plus year history.

What I found most intriguing, though, was that neither Cooke nor Blair had been properly vetted before their employers hired them. In fact, it was Cooke’s falsified resume that was ultimately her undoing when, after receiving the highest honour in the field of writing, a former employer noticed something was amiss with her Pulitzer biography — her education and professional achievements had been grossly overstated. (Rather ironically it was Bob Woodward, of Woodward and Bernstein — the journalists who uncovered the Watergate Scandal — who signed off on hiring Cooke.)

The same would prove true for Blair, who, it turned out, never graduated from university, and had a murky work history with the Times’ sister publication, The Boston Globe, where his superiors had been less than impressed with his less-than-high standard of work.

(Of course, the equally interesting case of Australian author, Helen Demidenko, who won the Miles Franklin Award in the early 1990s, only to later be dubbed by the Sydney Morning Herald as a ‘literary hoax’ also springs to mind.)

Benders-of-truth almost always get caught

Plenty of people lie or embellish on their resumes, and while a good majority of them go unnoticed, others are caught out — sometimes very publicly, and often only after the organisation has been very publicly embarrassed, as in the case of Cooke and Blair.

My advice, then, is to always check the references of new hires meticulously. Rather than calling the mobile numbers or direct lines of the candidate’s references, call the main switchboard and ask to speak to that person’s manager or superior.

And always ensure to ask for a copy of any credentials, like university degrees. If you’re employing someone where, by law, they’re required to hold a certain qualification — as is the case for BAS agents, for instance — it’s imperative you can verify the person’s credentials.

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Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) or social media and WordPress web design). 


 

What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Facebook Advertising

Facebook – Great for Local Marketing

using facebook for bookkeeping marketing
Facebook can be extremely useful for marketing to a local audience.

In its decade of existence, Facebook has built up a wealth of data about its users, data that it likes to sell back to those who need it, in the form of targeted advertising. Facebook advertising, though similar in its approach, is very different to Google Adwords in what it delivers. Real estate agents discovered the value of Facebook advertising early, and have used a combination of images and videos to successfully deliver their marketing messages and sale pitches directly to their target market and in order to set their prices.

Be Local, Not Global

Real estate agents specialise in knowing their local area. It’s how they get listings and it’s how they find buyers for those listings. In a former post, when we talked about setting your prices, we suggested getting to know your market and who your customer are. As a contract bookkeeper, you can, in theory, work for any business, based anywhere in the world, but you should still specialise in your local area, the reasons for which are twofold:

  1. Fewer to compete with: This isn’t about being the biggest fish in the smallest pond. It’s about getting clients, and that’s what you want. If you’re based in Sydney, specialise in Sydney. Don’t try and compete with everyone in Australia, if you can just complete with Sydneysiders.
  2. Convenience: The truth is, lots of businesses still like to meet their contractors in person. If you’re happy to fly all over the country to earn your regular bookkeeping rate, then by all means. If you’d rather not, then look for clients that are nearby — in the same state, at least.

When you’re setting up your Facebook advertising campaign, instead of trying to target everyone interested in bookkeeping services in Australia, stick to your state or local area, depending on the size of the market for your services in your local area. Sure, this reduces the pool of potential people seeing your advertisement, but it also reduces the pool of potential competitors.

When Local is Appealing to Global Clients Too

And just a note on getting international clients: Try to land international clients who are looking for an Australian, because you have skills they need — you’re in the same country as their Australian clients, you understand Australian tax, and so forth. Remember also that Australian wages are higher than anywhere else in the world, so international businesses need to be willing to pay that because you provide a service or possess skills they can’t get elsewhere.

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Our EzyStartUp Course covers researching the market, setting prices, and an introduction to marketing and business planning, plus much more. If you’re starting a bookkeeping business or you already have started on, enrol in our EzyStartUp course to ensure you’re not selling yourself short.

Facebook and social media online training courseAlternatively, learn all about marketing your business online with our Marketing, Advertising and Sales courses.

Our Facebook Marketing Course which not only teaches you how to set up a Facebook Page, but how to use Facebook for business, how to advertise on Facebook; it also features our own real life case study.

 

Announcement: Social Media Marketing Course

Social Media Marketing Course for 2017

EzyLearn Social Media & Digital Marketing Training Course logo image onlyDigital marketing is one of those fine arts that sometimes takes many attempts to get right and I’m guilty of that myself. I wrote a couple blogs recently about content marketing because I spend a lot of my time creating and modifying strategies, optimising and planning the content that my team creates for EzyLearn and other websites. However, I think many people are unfamiliar with what the term “content marketing” means — my mistake! I should have used the words that most small businesses associate with online and digital marketing: “SOCIAL MEDIA”!

Social Media Course — We Include EVERYTHING

So, now that I know social media is the keyword, I’m going to explain how every course we offer ties into your Facebook advertising and Facebook Page and why all of these aspects are important to you if you are going to spend more time and money building a strong online brand.

Content Marketing

virion and 123ezy social media course and content marketing catalogue No matter who you are or what you do you will need content and you will use that content to promote you and the services you provide. I have been using all of these tools to help convert EzyLearn into an “online only” training company in 2006 but I was able to explore how to provide these services to real estate agents when I managed the social media strategy for Derek Farmer, a real estate agent in Cammeray at the time. Here are the content options we had to play with:

Photographs and Images

Images are used in Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and on your blog (if you have one). They are used to make a blog easier to read and in industries like real estate where good photography is important to get a high price and make a successful sale they are used to showcase the product being sold. I recently spoke to an asbestos removal company and photographs of what they do and how they do it are also an important part of their “content”.

We show you how to include images in blogs and even include fundamental image editing skills using GIMP (it’s very powerful and it’s free!)

Video Marketing

property marketing, video marketing, Facebook Page, Facebook Ads, Youtube and video marketingEzyLearn has several hundred videos as part of our online training courses and sometimes we use them to give prospective students examples of our training, explanations about how our special offers work or even videos of me explaining the EzyLearn journey since the late 1990’s! Real estate agents like Derek Farmer use video to help educate property sellers about the various aspects of the property selling process and what to look out for.

We show you how to get your video up to YouTube, or more professional services like Wistia and show you the analytics you can get about your video viewers and how to make a better video next time — it’s all about drop off rates. We also show you how to get a Call-To-Action within the video itself.

Blog Marketing

Blog marketing is my personal favourite because I love writing; you can really play with the keywords that Google loves so much and you can fill a website up with content that shows you are active.

We teach you how to create a website, create web pages AND blog posts, how to optimise them for the keywords you want to be discovered for and how to measure and understand the visitor analytics.

Facebook Pages, Timeline Posts, Advertising and Remarketing

This is the one that EVERYONE is interested in and for good reason; the demographic targeting is fantastic. Facebook is becoming increasingly important for real estate agents to promote themselves — indeed, Social Estate and BuddyBid are just two companies getting in early to earn a couple of hundred dollars a month for each real estate agent they take on board.

Note: This is something that any work at home mum (or dad) can do! You just need to understand how to generate new content or “republish” other interesting content on a Facebook Timeline and how to create a Facebook Ad. We cover all of this in our Social Media Marketing Course.

Facebook Pages

Our written guide and training course videos show you how to set up a Facebook Page for a local business (ideal for tradies, service providers like accountants or bookkeeper and of course real estate agents). By using a Facebook page you can assign the administration of that page to someone who simply schedules posts — that someone can be YOU.

Most people with a Facebook Page then need to make sure their Timeline is filled with content so that they pop up regularly in local news feeds.

Feeding Your Facebook Timeline

Real Estate Agent Facebook Page, timeline posts and ads help property and brand marketingMost people think it’s important to create a Facebook post every day but that’s hard to do if you need to generate original content. Instead most people re-post other content that is relevant to the audience — this is often referred to as curated content (for instance, where you make a comment or affirm your belief in an article).

Real estate agents often simply refer to the plethora of real estate blogs available and here are some examples used by David Howe, an honest and diligent McGrath agent in Northbridge, Sydney, who asked our designer team to create a website for him:

  • http://www.smartpropertyinvestment.com.au/how-to-maximise-profit-without-it-costing-you-a-cent
  • http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/food/sydney-taste/sydney-eat-street-10-things-to-try-in-crows-nest/news-story/
  • http://www.apimagazine.com.au/2016/11/debt-retirement-worries-high/
  • https://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/too-real-estate
  • http://www.homestolove.com.au/how-to-design-the-perfect-laundry-4236
  • http://blog.templeandwebster.com.au/work-the-trend-the-new-natural/
  • http://www.afr.com/real-estate/residential/dont-want-to-move-want-a-reno-architecture-awards-show-how-to-do-it-20161104-gshwue
  • http://davidhowe.com.au/david-howe-real-estate-agent-northbridge/

This method of posting other people’s content is good enough to show that your Facebook Page is active. However, from an internet marketing perspective it tends to send people away from your Page and onto other websites where your competitors might advertise — especially if you report material by ratemyagent, openagent, realestate.com.au or domain!

In our social media marketing course we show you how to make a post like this and schedule them all in advance but also how to get your own unique content and how to link to content where none of your competitors are listed.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ad Views for individual property advertisement - Clarence TownFacebook ads are relatively simple to create so there is NO reason to get someone else to do them (particularly if they’re going to charge you the equivalent of 4 hours’ labour!). The key elements of a Facebook Ad are their structure: Campaigns, Adsets, then individual ads and once you get that right and understand how it works, creating a Facebook Ad can be done by someone in your office or who you trust (again, a work at home mum).

We show you the type of posts and ads that Derek Farmer paid to promote in his local area, why he chose to do it, how much he paid and what his viewer and reader statistics were. We’ll also show you how to advertise to your own client base in their Facebook Feeds and how to remarket to people who’ve been to your website or Facebook Page.

WordPress, Hosting, User Management etc

I believe that your own website is the best “landing page” for any marketing money spent because YOU OWN IT. The more traffic you direct to your own website and the more content you put there that is valuable to your customers and future potential customers the more valuable YOU and YOUR WEBSITE will become.

WordPress online training course and social mediaIn our Social Media Marketing Course we include every aspect of how to manage your own website using the very popular WordPress Content Management System. This includes having multiple users be able to publish content. We also teach you how to optimise your blogs and pages for important keywords using tags and categories, how to use meta tags on your pages and even on images so everything gets indexed by Google and how to make your website look fantastic with professional themes (templates).

Lead Capture and Email Marketing

Having a call to action on your website or Facebook Page is critical to truly analyse it’s effectiveness and understand it’s success — what’s working and what needs to change. A very important part of that is to capture the email address of people who visit your site and most websites do that using a giveaway, free reports, white papers etc. Once you have a potential clients email address you effectively have permission from them to send them email messages.

We use a number of different email marketing solutions including Campaign Monitor and Aweber, and these are very similar to MailChimp, GetResponse, Constant Contact and a plethora of other email marketing solutions. We’ll show you how to use these systems to capture website visitor details and send them messages automatically. 

Capturing, Analysing and Understanding visitor traffic

Video visitor Analytics - property marketing video for real estate agentsGoogle Analytics is the most popular website traffic analysing system and you can use it to measure the effectiveness of your website day-by-day, week-by-week and for specific date ranges.

We show you how to implement the code on your website, how to access the visitor traffic information on your PC and even your mobile phone and what elements to look for to understand what your website is doing. 

Conclusion about Social Media Marketing Course

We do all of this using our own website examples as well as Derek Farmers website so you can see what real businesses do to succeed online. Whether you want to do all of this yourself, hire an experienced internet marketer or find a suitably qualified work at home mum (or dad) this course will give you an abundance of knowledge and strategies to manage what you do.

See what’s included in our Social Media Marketing Course and enrol today at a huge launch discount!

[button link=”http://ezylearnonline.com.au/courses/marketing-training-courses/digital-marketing-social-media-courses/” color=”orange”] Social Media Marketing Course Contents[/button]

 

Video: Receive an Automatically Discounted Price for Online Course Enrolments!

Specials and Summer Training

2016-12-20 How to use the EzyLearn website to get discounts and special pricingIt’s Christmas time and we’ll be open every day (except the public holidays) which means you can make contact with questions or support during your course.

But best of all, we’re offering a fabulous special offer with a saving of over $300. Check out the quick video below which shows you how to get $663 dollars worth of training for just $296a saving of $337!

All you have to do is choose your courses at our Online Course Enrolment page and the discounts will be applied automatically.

Get New Skills for A New Year!

discounted Myob QuickBooks online courseWith the New Year coming fast we find most of our students are looking to change careers and/or up-skill so as to feel confident with their computer skills in job interviews and the like, so our current special offers will train you up to be your best, cheaply. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Choose Microsoft Excel course (12 month’s access, all 9 courses and Certificate).
  2. Scroll down to the discounted courses section to see the Xero Training Course available for $30 less.
  3. Scroll down further to see the Microsoft Word Course (12 month’s access, all 9 courses and Certificate), which is normally $267 is now FREE
  4. Tick the box next to “Yes, I have a discount voucher code” and enter 8881818 to receive a further $70 discount off the Microsoft Excel course!

If you don’t have the time right now, don’t worry, you’ve got 12 months to complete all these courses at your own pace — so just enrol now to get the current special offers.

Watch this video to see how to get the discounts

New Online Courses for the New Year

It’s been a very busy year for new course creation and we’ve just launched two new courses that are all based on new online cloud-based services in bookkeeping and marketing/advertising. Read about them here:

QuickBooks Online

Provide quotes on your tablet computer, convert them to invoices when you get the order and take photographs of your receipts for expenses — works on your smartphone too. These are the features of America’s most popular accounting software program that is now aggressively promoting itself to Australian small businesses.

And what do we think? We believe QuickBooks is good software — find out more about our Intuit QuickBooks Daily Transactions Course.

Our New Digital & Social Media Marketing Course

Facebook and social media online training course
Tired of struggling to post consistently on Facebook and other social media sites? We’ve had a WordPress course for several years to teach you how to create your own website and blog, edit images, and optimise it for search engines (like Google). But if you’ve ever struggled with fleshing out a Facebook Page, or want to start promoting yourself or your business in social media, try our Digital Business and Social Media Marketing Courses.

We show you what you should include on a modern day website as well as including Facebook Page, Content Marketing and Facebook Advertising training (which we used to help Derek Farmer show up on Page 1 in Google for the competitive Cammeray Real Estate Agent search query).

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Most of all, from all of us here at EzyLearn, HAVE a FANTASTIC and SAFE Christmas — doing things you love!

Online computer training Christmas specials_comp

 

Breaking Bad Content Marketing: The Correct Way to Use PowerPoint

Breaking Bad Content Marketing for small business presentation for real estate agents and bookkeepers AND writersI’d like your opinion!

I was reviewing some of the content we’ve created this year and I was actually astounded at the number of blogs we’d written that mention content marketing. Even so, when I mention content marketing to many business people, they’re still not really sure what I’m talking about. So I asked Angela in our office to put something together — just for fun. Better still, I recorded an audio commentary to go with it; I hope you find it of use.

All the content marketing talk

Want a recap of all the times I’ve written about content marketing? I did a whole lot of posts about real estate agents and how important content marketing is for them. Here are some of the blog headlines in our content marketing category:

Maybe I’m a bit more passionate about content marketing than I even realised (which is saying something!) Watch the video below and let me know your thoughts.

Video presentation with annotations and a call to action

 

Want to know more?

If you’re interest in learning about the contents of our Content Marketing, Facebook and Social Media course which is currently being uploaded to our LMS read about it here and follow the links to pre register for alerts. When we release it we’d have a great offer for early students. 🙂

Thought you may like to know that we are going to reveal everything we did for Derek Farmer’s real estate site for property sales in Cammeray – even Facebook advertising and re-targeting to stay front of mind with his client database.