Posted on

Tracey’s Will Hallam is going to Mercury and she’s starting a business to raise funds

starting a business selling childrens books - Will Hallam and Tracey DicksonInterview with successful business owners

Between October 2015 and January 2016 I’ve been doing something a little different and something that I haven’t really done in the past. You could say it’s part of the development of new ideas and concepts for EzyLearn and I don’t know how it will work out but am very interested in your opinion and feedback.

Business StartUp Course – EzyStartUp

Over the summer break we renamed our Small Business Course to the EzyStartUp Course and we’ve more clearly targeted that it is for people who are moving from being an employee to working as an independent contractor (with a bigger more comprehensive and detailed Business Plan Package coming later in the year for bigger businesses) and as part of these changes I’ve been interviewing successful business owners about all aspects of their business.

Setup, Legal, Vision, Ideas, Structure, Forecasts

I’ve been lucky to have met a lot of business owners of the last 20 years because many of them have been willing to share intimate details of their businesses in my interviews and the information covers all aspects of the business process from setup and planning to marketing and sales to exit strategies and succession planning. One of the people I interviewed is Tracey Dickson, who bought a promotional products business, built it up and made it valuable using technology and sold it when she was ready to exit. I’ve interviewed Tracey for a number of subjects for The Australian Small Business Centre Pty Ltd and in particular I’ve delved into what she’s gone through in writing a new children’s book based on a character she created called Will Hallam. You can watch the introductory video interview below.

Ideas turn into products that are packaged for markets who buy and use them

The process of creating these videos went a little like this.

  1. I looked at each of the topics in the ASBC Small Business Management Courses
  2. I compiled a list of questions that I thought are relevant for each topic (some as a result of further research)
  3. Looked around at people I know in various different business types (importer, retail, professional services, marketing, sales trainer)
  4. Studied these business owners websites and business to compile questions that cover the course contents but also relate to their business
  5. Interviewed the business owner with input from them before and in between videos

After going through all the technical and know-how aspects about the steps you need to take it dawned on me that all of these business owners had something more than just knowledge and experience, they had all those character traits that make business owners successful. They include:

  • being inquisitive
  • always asking questions
  • learning new things
  • studying their market
  • evaluating their business
  • making changes if needed
  • sticking at it
  • trying again and again
  • working to a plan
  • working out another way to do things

There are probably many other words or phrases that can be used to describe these traits and they all add up to what makes these people and these interviews so valuable. For many people starting out in business for the first time it’s weird just keeping a time sheet and invoicing for the work they do and then following up for payment so listening to experienced business people and understanding the right attitudes will make as big a difference as the technical know how itself.

Will Hallam is for kids between 7-11 and Tracey has a global opportunity

Tracey is a meticulous person who puts in the ground work and she’s passionate enough about her new project that she’s taken the time to understand how the publishing industry works and what her readers (and their parents) are looking for. I think you’ll find her insights and thought processes very useful and please make a comment on Facebook or Linkedin to let me know your thoughts.

If you like what you’re reading so far subscribe to this blog and check out the new EzyStartUp Course.

Here’s my Introduction video interview with Tracey

Posted on

Will The Ideas Boom be NBN-Paced?

We need fast NBN to deliver our innovation!

Thinkink about starting your own business and want to learn from small business mentors and other entreprenuersFollowing his $1 billion innovation announcement in December, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull received quite a grilling on the ABC program 7.30, hosted by Leigh Sales, who brought up one of the most widely criticised initiatives of the Abbott-Turnbull Coalition government: the NBN.

Although the government’s innovation statement was generally met with praise, especially for its $200 million commitment to funding the CSIRO (which, under the previous Abbott-led government, had its funding cut by $111 million), as well as a number of other measures that will make it easier for scientific research to be commercialised and encourage more children to learn coding and other computer sciences at school, there was criticism that no mention was made of the NBN. Continue reading Will The Ideas Boom be NBN-Paced?

Posted on 2 Comments

What are the Barriers that Stop Mums Returning to Work?

Mummy Needs to Work, But at What Cost?

daycare costs, travel time, parking and school hours are all reasons why mums love working from home - image from mychild_gov_auFewer families today can prosper on a single income, but even if they can, there are even fewer mums who want to completely disconnect from the working world. The benefits of being employed and contributing to the corporate world extend beyond the financial; working provides a person with a sense of accomplishment, by keeping them stimulated and engaged in something they enjoy. Unfortunately, there are many barriers, both financial and practical, that prevent many women returning to work after having children.

The high cost of daycare

For most families, childcare is the biggest hurdle to overcome. In this country, childcare is in relatively short supply and that makes it costly. Even in a major city like Sydney, it’s difficult to secure a space at a childcare centre at the location, cost, quality and with the hours most families require; it’s even more difficult in regional areas.

The issue reached such a crisis point that in 2013 the Productivity Commission launched an inquiry into Australia’s childcare problem, and its findings were stark. According to the Commission, there were 165,000 Australian parents who can’t work or can’t work enough because of access to childcare, while 26% of children under the age of 12 are cared for by grandparents. The Productivity Commission recommended that the Government invest $246 million (in addition to the $7 billion it already spends in funding to the early childhood sector) to fund a nanny subsidy pilot scheme, which will begin in January 2016.

The pilot, which will involve about 4,000 nannies and up to 10,000 children, will assist households with a combined income of below $250,000 to employ a registered nanny to care for their children, the cost of which will be eligible for a rebate similar to the childcare rebate. It’s a good start, but there are still a bundle of other issues working mothers face.

Flexible workplaces

Workplaces that aren’t flexible with their working hours or arrangements are the next biggest hurdle most working mums (and dads) face. Australia’s industrial relations laws require all Australian workplaces to allow new parents – whether they’re mums or dads – to request a more flexible working arrangement, however there’s no requirement for workplaces to agree to those requests. Employers that can’t or won’t offer some flexibility in the working arrangements of parents, often force new parents to extend their maternity leave until childcare becomes available, or to leave that job altogether.

Even if childcare is available when parents need it and for the hours they require, without a flexible working environment, it still doesn’t make it any easier for parents to keep working full time after they have children. Kids get sick, especially very young children, and even when they’re school-age, they have ten weeks of school holidays every year, when a full time employee is only entitled to a maximum of four.

Turning up to an office at 8.30am, Monday through Friday, and until late in the evening is virtually impossible when you have young children, as most parents already know. But the corporate world has been very slow to recognise and respond to this fact. There is hope yet, however. As technology and cloud computing has made it easier and more cost-efficient for businesses to allow their employees to work remotely from home – or at co-working spaces, like the NSW Government’s Smart Work Hubs – there is greater opportunity for parents to continue working, after they have children.

Transport, travel costs and parking

Here we come to one more stumbling block for working mums, and it’s possibly the most overlooked. Even if all the stars align in your family’s favour and you can secure childcare for the days and hours you need, and are fortunate enough to have an employer who can be flexible with your working arrangement, you still need to be able to drop off and pick up your kids from childcare, which is difficult for parents who work in the CBD and usually take public transport to work. Most mums and dads take it in turns, which means both parents need to have a reasonably flexible workplace; a lot of families, however, rely on outside help – friends and grandparents – to pick their kids up when they can’t.

The rise of the “mumpreneur”

It’s little wonder, then, that more and more mums are becoming entrepreneurial by starting their own home-based businesses. I see a lot of mums take our training courses, either to learn a new skill in an area where employment is more flexible – such as bookkeeping – or because they’re starting their own business and they’re brushing up on their already existing skill sets. In fact, if it weren’t for mums looking for the skills to facilitate a career change, there mightn’t be an EzyLearn.

How EzyLearn came to be…

It was two mums based in Sydney who, under the EasyLearn name, began offering training courses to mums wanting to re-enter the workforce. I was also in the training business, using the name EzyLearn. When those mums decided to sell EasyLearn, I bought their business and continued their tradition of helping mums up-skill for work.  

So if you’re a mum (or a dad!) and you’d like to start working from home, we’d gladly like to help you on your way. We have a number of training courses that can provide you with the skills you need to start a home-based bookkeeping business (our MYOB training courses) or content marketing (our blogging for business course). We’ve also partnered with WorkFace, which helps people to start their own home-based business and who have business opportunities available across a range of industries and professions. Or, for more tips, advice and news about starting your own business, subscribe to our blog.

Posted on

Break through the ceiling with a killer elevator pitch

Business Networking Strategies – the Elevator Pitch

marketing your small business in an elevator 2For a lot of people, when they start a new business, they take a training course. It might be in an area relevant to their industry or profession, it might be a general training course, like our small business StartUp course, or it might be training in particular software, like our MYOB or Xero training courses. The best way to practice an elevator pitch is to practice all the time.

Training is incredibly important, but it’s no substitute for real-life interaction with other business owners, with whom you can gain valuable insights and perspectives on owning and operating a new business in the real world. This is what makes attending regular networking groups and events an important undertaking for any small business owner – old or new.

I recently wrote a blog post on what you should do at a networking event, but there was one point that we didn’t cover in great detail because I felt that it required a blog post of its own, as it’s crucial to your success as a networker: the elevator pitch.

Honing your elevator pitch

Perhaps you’ve heard of the term elevator pitch before. It’s most often used to describe a business or organisation’s mission statement; the name reflects the idea that you should be able to explain what your business does in the time it takes to ride an elevator. When you write a business plan, in it you need to include an executive summary, which explains what your business does or will do; it’s also your elevator pitch.

But your elevator pitch needs to do more than just explain what your business does. It also needs to encourage people to want to do business with you – or at least, continue listening to what you have to say. If you’ve completed our small business marketing course, then you’d have already practiced writing and honing an elevator pitch for your business when you wrote the executive summary of your business plan.

Be interesting, but above all, be compelling

Remember the goal of a business plan is to entice someone to invest in your business or idea, but the plan itself can run for many pages, detailing strategies and tactics for ensuring your business’s overall success. Most banks and financiers don’t have time to read every single business plan that lands on their desk, so they turn to the executive summary to see if the venture seems like a good fit for them.

It goes without saying, then, that your executive summary needs to be compelling, as does your elevator pitch. If you’ve written a business plan for your business, this is a good place to start when developing the elevator pitch you plan to use at a networking group or event. Be personable, though, and keep it conversational. Remember that the person on the receiving end of your elevator pitch is unlikely to be reading it; they’re listening to you deliver it instead, so you need to be comfortable giving your elevator pitch, while also seeming authentic.

Key elements of an elevator pitch

In crafting your elevator pitch, it’s crucial to include the following key elements:

  • Hook people with a good opening line that makes them want to hear more
  • Tell people what you do, not what you are
  • Repeat key information, such as your business name or main product or service
  • Be interesting and authentic
  • Use plain language when you’re describing a problem your product or service solves
  • Think about your end goal and ensure your elevator pitch services to achieve it
  • Finish your pitch by asking the other person what they do.

You should know have a good understanding of what to do at a networking event or group; now it’s just time to find a group to try out your new skills. Try meet-up.com or your local chamber of commerce to find groups near you. Make sure to RSVP if you are going to attend, and then stick to it. If something comes up, let the organiser know, so they don’t hold the meeting up waiting for you.

For more information on how to use networking groups to your advantage, including information on referral marketing, continue reading our blog.

Posted on

The High Cost of Selling Too Cheap

How to tell whether your prices are too cheap

cheap can be bad for business clients and your health small business startup training course will help with your breakevenDETERMINING YOUR PRICES, and whether you’re selling yourself too cheap, is a critical element in the success of your business, and in your own success as well.

The EzyStartUp Course covers setting prices in some detail as there are many factors you need to consider and include in your prices to ensure you’re not just competitive — but that you’re also drawing a living wage. Continue reading The High Cost of Selling Too Cheap

Posted on 1 Comment

Becoming a National Bookkeeping Bookkeeper

Starting a Business as a Bookkeeper is about Business Knowledge, Skills and Support

start a bookkeeping business
It can be daunting knowing where to get your first clients when you start your own business.

It’s not easy starting out as a bookkeeper running your own business. We think our partnership with National Bookkeeping is going to help you get underway.

If you’ve subscribed to our blog and followed our recent posts, then you probably know that EzyLearn has partnered with National Bookkeeping.

National Bookkeeping can now administer training courses to their new licensees, along with a range of other perks and benefits to help you launch your own bookkeeping business. Continue reading Becoming a National Bookkeeping Bookkeeper

Posted on

More People Are Working From Home Than Ever Before

Local Government Councils Encourage Home Businesses and Working from Home

Australian Bureau of Statistics office door reveal the majority of micro businesses use the Internet to let their staff work from homeIF YOU’RE THINKING about whether to start your own home-based business, consider this fact I stumbled across recently: More than a third of all Australian micro businesses – that is, a business with four or fewer employees – use the Internet to allow their staff to work from home, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

[quote]That’s an 8% increase in 2 years[/quote]

Continue reading More People Are Working From Home Than Ever Before

Posted on 2 Comments

FREE Guide on Becoming an Independent Contractor & Working Remotely

The Contractor versus the Employee

Receive the free guide on starting a business from home as a remote contractorIn a recent post, I talked about the StartUp Academy, which helps people start their own home-based businesses as independent contractors. The StartUp Academy is something I’ve been working on for sometime after I noticed a compressing of regular salaried jobs – sometimes it was the consolidation of two jobs into one but most often, entire jobs were being outsourced to consultants and contractors.

Continue reading FREE Guide on Becoming an Independent Contractor & Working Remotely

Posted on 2 Comments

New You, New Business Startup?

Now is the time to explore new startup opportunities

Dreaming about setting up a new business startup
365_The_Daydreamer_(6517625965)

As the end any year approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and frivolity of summer, by enjoying the few weeks of the holidays in the sun with friends and family. But it’s also a really great time to think about your career plans for the new year.

If you follow this blog regularly, then you may already be aware that EzyLearn has launched a new service called the StartUp Academy.

The goal of the StartUp Academy is to help people launch and operate their own home-based businesses, supported by our network of successful business owners and entrepreneurs. Continue reading New You, New Business Startup?

Posted on

Seriously, Why Wouldn’t You Use WordPress for Your Website?

Finding Income Opportunities for EzyLearn Students

start a business and work from home bookkeeping, content marketing, admin and moreWe’ve had some exciting news in the last couple of weeks: EzyLearn students who are completing the MYOB Training Courses and WordPress Courses are starting to earn money because we’re helping them get customers AND improve their skills!

I’ve been working with the team at Workface and we’re assembling a training and mentoring program to help EzyLearn students start and operate a business from home. The best part of this, and something I am passionate about, is that we’re helping people from all over Australia become remote contractors (teleworkers, call it what you want) and work from anywhere via the Internet.

Yes, you can start a business & work from home

I recently wrote about how cloud-based software is enabling people who live in regional Australia perform work for businesses in the capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide etc) and also about the Teleworking hubs that are starting to appear around the country as part of the evolution of people living outside the cities and working at home or close to home.

You may also recall that we’ve also launched the Startup Academy this year to provide formalised and structured training and mentoring support. It’s for you so if you are interested in starting a business and working from home we’ve teamed up with some products/service providers to give you a flying start and projects to start on right away.

Explore running your own business from home now

Bright VIC to Melbourne Virtual Assistant is doing content marketing for infant massage business in Sydney
Imagine travelling this far to work for a client. Content Marketing can be done from anywhere

There are opportunities to provide office/admin support services, content marketing, business telephone systems and IT support and of course bookkeeping services and if you’d like to start a business in one of these areas then explore the business opportunities.

When you sign up and join our team you’ll gain exposure to many new online (cloud-based) software and services that enable us to:

  • collaborate,
  • share files,
  • work on project together,
  • set and manage goals and daily tasks,
  • turn to each other for support,
  • create and build your own online profile, and
  • many more skills that will enable you to work for yourself and generate your own income, no matter where you live.

Remember our goal is to help you start a business and work from home – NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE. Helen from Bright is our latest virtual assistant and she is doing some website design and content marketing for an infant massage business starting up in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs! I looked at a Google Map and discovered that she’d have at least 3 hours travel if she wanted to work in her nearest capital city!

Are you looking for someone to help you in your business?

We’re going to document our journey with these remote contractors and share with you some of the growth they go through as they grapple with the new frontier of internet working.

If you are a business looking for any of these services you can Find a Contractor through Workface and our team can get to work for you too.

[button link=”http://workface.com.au/services/find-contractor/”]Find a Contractor[/button]

Posted on 2 Comments

How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

What is a local bookkeeper worth?

I recently wrote a blog post about whether bookkeepers could also provide marketing services to their clients, which I also touched on in another recent post about starting a bookkeeping business and the need to be diverse in the services you offer as an independent contractor.

While brainstorming with Ray from the Startup Academy about the services bookkeeper charge and the rates they can earn we discovered that there is a huge variety of services that a bookkeeper can offer and as a result their rates differ. Continue reading How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

Posted on 3 Comments

An Aussie Dies In Accounting Wars

R.I.P. Reach Accounting

Reach Accounting Service Shut DownA member of our team was recently asked to recommend a few low-cost, cloud-based invoicing programs to a friend. He’d recently started his own business and for the last few months had been using Excel to create and send invoices to his clients.

[quote]Surprisingly, Microsoft Excel is still a very popular way to create and send invoices for many small business owners,[/quote]

but since Xero and other cloud-accounting programs appeared on the scene, I didn’t think many people still used Excel for invoicing.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Beginners training courses and certificateThis person was using Microsoft Excel because, while he found Xero impressive, the majority of its functions would go unused, so he couldn’t justify the price tag. He was just after something that would allow him to create invoices, estimates and input his expenses. We’ve mentioned three low-cost options in this blog: Quickbooks, Zoho, and Reach Accounting, the latter of which I championed due to it being Australian-owned. EzyLearn developed a course for Reach Accounting and we were the official training provider but sadly they recently shut down their services.

Reach Accounting was officially shut down at the end of April of this year as it’s parent company Net Registry pushes further into the online marketing space to position itself as a one-stop small business start-up shop.

Google reveals Reach Accounting is shutting down

Google Reveals Reach Accounting is shutting down

With Net Registry, you can register a domain name, build a website, and market your business; cloud-accounting seemed, like a logical extension of their offering, and they marketed it heavily to small business owners – sole traders, in particular.

Then, in March, Reach Accounting notified users by email that, effective April 30 of this year (2015), Reach Accounting was closing. And without any fanfare, it did just that and quietly disappeared. There’s no longer any trace of it at the Reach Accounting domain name, and no reason given for its departure from the online accounting space that it so actively pursued not so long ago, but there is still a hint of life on the NetRegistry website – at the time of writing they were still showing the service at their main website: http://www.netregistry.com.au/resources/reach-accounting/

Reach Accounting’s life was a short one. Net Registry acquired a 50 percent stake in the Aussie start-up in 2011, and immediately began offering the software to its existing customers for free. Anyone else looking for a cheap accounting package would pay $14.95 a month.

Can you be too cheap to survive or is there more to it?

In 2011 $14.95 per month was cheap for accounting software – it’s nearest serious competitor at the time was Xero at around $50 a month, and Zoho, which was, and still, is an American-based company with no local operations. Then came the Aussie offerings, Saasu and Reckon, as well as the re-entry of the US-based Quickbooks. The marketplace was suddenly very crowded.

In 2014 Melbourne IT acquired Net Registry for a cool $50M. The acquisition came off the back of some upheaval at Melbourne IT, whose long-time CEO had left the previous December while it struggled to compete in the cloud-computing space; in March the previous year, Melbourne IT had sold off it’s highly lucrative digital marketing unit to a US-based company for $152m, which was nearly equal to the company’s entire market capitalisation at the time.

Perhaps, then, when faced with stiff competition from other local and overseas cloud-accounting services, under the direction of Melbourne IT, the newly realigned Net Registry saw no commercial value in continue its accounting service. If we hear any news for Reach Accounting users we’ll pass it on.

Does this teach you a lesson in your own business?

The skills taught in the Small Business Startup and Admin course have a foundation in researching the:

  • Need for your services,
  • Product and service offering, and
  • Pricing structures

Once you master these skills you should be honing them all the time to understand what you need to do to remain relevant in the market place for your services.

[quote]If you operate a bookkeeping business for example it is a very good idea to learn how to use Xero Accounting software now because more and more small businesses are using it and want someone to do their books for them.[/quote]

We offer all of our Xero Training Courses for one low price (and 12 months access).

Is MYOB the future of cloud accounting?

Intuit Quickbooks is the elephant-in-the-room for MYOB and Xero Cloud AccountingI’ve written before about how MYOB could get SMASHED by it’s VERY large US Competitor, but MYOB could still be the future of cloud accounting. New players could spell the end of the long-established MYOB or possibly even Xero, but maybe the biggest thing MYOB has up its sleeve is its long, rich history. As far as market share goes, MYOB still occupies the majority of it and, while it may appear slow at adopting new features, you can at least count on it being around in the near future.

That’s why our MYOB training courses have always been, and remain to be, the most popular out of our entire suite of training courses because, despite the grumblings of many small business owners, MYOB is still a major player in the accounting software space. As for our friend, he ended up choosing Zoho for his invoicing needs. He was sold on its ease-of-use, powerful smartphone and tablet app, and its easy-to-decipher pricing plan.

Long live Reach, the Aussie accounting software that could(‘nt)!

Posted on

5 x MYOB Training Courses and 12 Months Access

MYOB Training Courses delivered in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and HobartMYOB Courses

Because it’s the beginning of the year we are receiving a lot of calls from students who are looking to do an MYOB Course so we are thrilled to confirm that we offer access to ALL of our MYOB Courses for one low price and 12 months course access.

When we say ALL, we mean

Why All MYOB Courses for One Price?

You can follow our journey from operating training centres in Sydney’s Dee Why, to the decision to go 100% online at the About EzyLearn page on our website, but I’ll sum it up in 1 paragraph here:

We can guarantee consistent course content to every student, with MYOB Course content developed over 15 years in teaching people how to use MYOB and from some of the best MYOB Trainers in Australia. By creating our own MYOB courses and updating them we are able to focus on the content of our courses as well as the systems to support it online rather than paying for office rent, computers and software licences, trainers and advertising.

MYOB Course Options

The only decision you need to make is whether you want an MYOB certificate and 12 months or lifetime course access. Remember that unlike some MYOB course providers our students can move freely from one course to the next as they please and use the course as a resource while at their new job or operating their own bookkeeping business.

MYOB Videos, Training Workbooks and Knowledge Reviews

With a 100% focus on MYOB Course content we create every form of training material for MYOB accounting software: Videos, Workbooks (with step-by-step exercises) and Knowledge Reviews that test your skills. You can watch a video and try to replicate it with the free MYOB software or follow the exercises in the MYOB Trainingg Workbooks to perform tasks that bookkeepers perform every day in their working environment.

Money-back Guarantee

When we were the first training company to offer MYOB courses online in 2008 we offered the money-back guarantee because not everybody had great broadband Internet speeds, not everyone knew how to navigate around websites and online learning management systems and people where generally scared to use their credit card online. Now-a-days we find that the biggest reason some students find it a comfort is because many students are Mac users and are not sure that they would learn by using MYOB Course content created for the Windows versions of the MYOB software.

Why Thousands of Students Choose EzyLearn for MYOB EVERY Year

We use the Content Marketing approach to building our brand and product awareness and it takes a lot of effort to put the amount of detail we put on our website and in our blog posts. We do it because it shows an ongoing commitment to openness but also to leave no doubt as to exactly what we offer and how we support it. If you want to get to know more about us read some of our blog posts or watch some sample videos. If you are ready to enrol into an online MYOB course then enrol now online and start by 5pm next business day!

Posted on

69% of MYOB Skills Test Students Failed – Would You?

MYOB Skills Test and online training coursesMYOB Skills Test

It’s that time of the year again when people are acting on their new years resolutions and embarking on training to improve their knowledge and skills. In 2011 we introduce a free MYOB online skills test that anyone can do to test their knowledge of MYOB software and it interesting to see that the average score has increased from 40% to 55% over the last 4 years!

What more interesting is that most attempts resulted in a fail score – 69% of students failed to pass. You can do the test several times if you want and if you get an answer wrong the skills test can show you the correct answer – it helps you learn.

We have a test like this at the end of each section of each course (ie. there are lots of them) and we focus on using them to help students consolidate what they’ve learnt as well as show them what the correct answer is. We see our knowledge reviews as a teaching aid rather than something to be scared of.

If you are interested in learning how to use MYOB to find bookkeeping work or start your own bookkeeping business look at what is included in our MYOB Courses (5 courses for the price of one) and start your journey on a new career or the flexibility of having your own bookkeeping business.

 

Posted on

Who really cares about Sensis? Yellow Pages? Content Marketing shows you care

content marketing versus yellow pages and sensisYellow Pages vs Content Marketing?

A client of ours showed me an email that came from Sensis and it looked a little sad. It showed how many times an ad appeared and how many people clicked for more information. The saddest part is that this Billion dollar company is now just another online directory. It’s another example of how a traditional business, that hires professional and persistent sales people to sell high cost packages is dying an accelerating death. The other large one I recall was Encyclopaedia Britannica – remember those door to door salesmen who made a good income selling these for your children’s benefit? OK, now I’m assuming you’re over 45 😐

Why Content Marketing

We decided many years ago to go down the blogging route because it makes sense. These days the correct term for blogging for business is “Content Marketing” and it’s great because it’s a way of:

  1. Constantly informing readers,
  2. Demonstrating an active business and website
  3. Informing website visitors about changes in the business,
  4. sharing stories about how people use our services and
  5. Making general announcements.

How Bad is the Yellow Pages Directory Going?

Telstra recently offloaded their majority ownership in the Yellow Pages business they branded as Sensis and in the fine print on page 15 (2013 year) and page 18 (2014 year) you can see that the revenue for this business declined by 11.7% and 22% respectively.

I remember when most local tradies (plumbers, electricians, chippies, builders etc) would spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to keep their position in the large display ads. I even remember the days of the golden phone that Yellow Pages use to make available to business to PROVE just how many phone calls would be coming in the door as a result of advertising with them. If anyone remembers the golden phone offer I’d love hear from you on our Facebook page..

Where do you spend your marketing money?

The idea for this blog post came as a result of being forwarded an email, but it ties in nicely with our Small Business and Startup Course which is now available at a hugely discounted price! Read on to see how we changed our pricing structure.

Marketing and Communication course for small businessIn this course we have two subjects which cover marketing for small business and we have some great interviews with Michael Locke who shares information about the 4P’s. Sensis would represent an excellent case study of where the marketing function may not have been submersed in the strategy business decision making to stem this significant change in their business model.

Small Business Management and StartUp Course

The recent change we made to this course was to separate the business coaching and assessment options and make them available separately. In this way the Small Business and StartUp course is much like our MYOB course where you can work through everything at your own pace and request support if you need it.

If you are interested in doing a number of different courses as well as the Small Business Management course you might want to enrol at the Australian Small Business website where you can choose our software courses at a discounted price (when combined with the small business management course). This way you’ll be able to use WordPress for your content marketing, MYOB or Xero for your accounts and Excel for any spreadsheet work.

References:

Telstra Annual Reports 2013, and 2014

PS. By the way, you can still get Britannica and online it’s just under $70 pa. You can also still buy the printed edition for under $700 and you can pay $2500 for a whopping collection of short stories, plays and poems..

Posted on

Prevent Russian Attacks on Your WordPress Website with Google Analytics

Traffic from Russia, Eastern Europe, Philipines and India?

We’ve been busy these last couple months in upgrading and optimising our websites, fine tuning our online marketing and studying our Google Analytics and came across a Russian based website that was sending a lot of traffic to several of our sites. After closely monitoring our website traffic, landing pages, bounce rates, time on site etc, we found a lot of in bound traffic from a Russian site called Darodar. It made me wonder why we’re all so scared of web traffic from the USSR. In fact it’s a reminder of the fact that labour is very cheap in some of these countries and some companies or individuals can go to great lengths to

The best thing to come from all this really is that by looking at our statistics regularly, updating all scripts and plugins and server side applications not only do we have an up-to-date website with security and protection against online risks, but we understand our website traffic in detail. This is helping us fine tune our website content constantly to provide our website visitors with what they are looking for.

I don’t normally write like this

Google Analytics - Channels, Sessions, Conversions, Sources, Aquisition, BehaviourI don’t normally like to write about all the technical details we have to go through as an online training course provider, but we’ve been assembling some marketing information about our new online business opportunities and realised this is exactly the type of information that we’ll be sharing with students who come along on our online marketing business opportunity.

As it turns out the type of traffic we were getting is called HTTP Referrer Spam or just Referrer Spam and hundreds of people are talking about it online already. Here’s a snipped of some of the sites we discovered. There is a lengthy conversation on an official WordPress Support Forum, and an article on a popular article site called Reddit.

The Best Answer

The best answer we found was this link that confirmed that this type of attack is not malicious to your website, is not a server side issue and won’t affect the ranking and traffic to your site. The biggest issue is that we spent all this time and even ended up going to the site in question (that’s one of their goals!!) and that it distorts our Google Analytics information.

We disable the Darodar Spambot and any traffic from this location. It’s not the best solution because we can’t do this for every website that performs this type of activity, but again, it gives us more clarity about what is happening with our website traffic.

Who cares?

If you want to get to know more about our online marketing contractor business opportunity go visit the StartUp Academy website for more information. I’ll be sending more information out shortly so stay tuned – including the services we are launching to help people start their own bookkeeping business..