THE TRUTH IS, writing a blog post takes time. If it were the case of just writing some sentences, it wouldn’t take that long at all.
But what’s the point of that? The last thing you want to do in a busy, information-saturated world is waste people’s time. It’s an insult and you’ll put them off.
After all, these people have given up time in their busy days to read what you have to say. Don’t ruin this special relationship forever by churning out rushed, poor quality content or waffle.
Always think: What’s in it for them? Continue reading How Long Does it Take to Write a Blog Post?
MANY YEARS AGO I spent $100,000 in advertising in one year. But I didn’t make truckloads of money and became utterly exhausted with the sales process. Yet I still see companies using this approach today: Selling short courses for over-inflated prices to recoup the money they spend on advertising.
When I spent that exorbitant chunk of money on advertising, I then had to hire more people to sell the courses. I had to train these people about what was in the courses, and train the trainers and, well to cut a long story short, spend so much more on resources and overheads that I didn’t make a huge sum of money out of the whole venture at all.
THERE IS A FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT gender imbalance for executive positions in the corporate world. Sure, there are notable exceptions, but men in managerial positions in the workplace still outnumber women two-to-one.
But when you look at some industries, like Bookkeeping, the numbers are massively swayed towards the female gender and one of the reasons is it can be the perfect business to run from home.
Don’t miss a golden opportunity to build brand awareness!
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.
Do you want help growing your online and social media presence?
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.
Record retail inventory quickly
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.
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.
Specials and Summer Training
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 $296 — a 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!
With 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:
- Choose Microsoft Excel course (12 month’s access, all 9 courses and Certificate).
- Scroll down to the discounted courses section to see the Xero Training Course available for $30 less.
- 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
- 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:
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
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).
Most of all, from all of us here at EzyLearn, HAVE a FANTASTIC and SAFE Christmas — doing things you love!
FINDING PROSPECTS AND converting them into clients involves selling and most of us hate doing it, but wait…
For those of us in small business, be it as a bookkeeper, real estate agent, sales rep or the like, most of us are selling every day of our lives.
This means we get pretty good at it. We develop techniques that we can replicate and that become part of our daily lives.
The process of selling is really no longer about selling per se; it becomes about a systemised process of:
- sourcing new leads (using content marketing, networking and advertising)
- educating those leads about their services (using websites, social media, white papers, property reports)
- understanding whether the lead would in fact be a good buyer or potential client (using face-to-face meetings, phone conversations and emails)
- closing the sale (via offer and acceptance, funds transfer, receipts and after sales support).
With the growing power of modern cloud-based technologies, more people are taking the plunge to start their own businesses, but people who do so must constantly:
- stand out from their competitors (say, other bookkeepers) to get discovered by people needing help with their books, either remotely or in their home/office
- do an efficient job in managing their schedule and dealing with clients, and
- market their services effectively.
Content Marketing takes the “salesy” out of selling
I’ve written a lot about content marketing lately because content marketing is simply imperative for anybody looking to sell their products and services and source new clients.
The beauty of content marketing is that, as a system to source new leads, you can cover all the steps of the selling process without it seeming like a chore and, best of all, without feeling “salesy”, cheesy or inauthentic. It’s focus is about the potential client — it’s about providing them with relevant information that will benefit them — not ramming a sales pitch down their throat.
Good sales people realise that sales and the very process of selling is not about just “closing” a sale. Rather, it’s about understanding what the customer needs, seeing if your product is a good fit and then offering a solution to a customer’s problem.
How much of sales is Content Marketing?
To this end, content marketing is about 80% of the selling process or 80% of the sales funnel (as corporate sales people like to call it).
This is because content marketing involves information gathering; it involves seeing if your product and YOU are a good fit for your client.
These are the content marketing stages:
- creating relevant and interest website content
- ‘call to action’ that results in email or mobile number capture
- email or SMS marketing
- social media profiles to engage with your prospects
- CRM’s to manage the final parts of the selling process.
When you implement these systems you can sit back and watch it work and then focus on your conversion rate or what industry experts call CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation.
Do you really want to be an online marketing professional? Let us manage it for you
Most of our students are looking for bookkeeping work, or want to start a bookkeeping service business — that’s why they use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training.
Our recently updated bookkeeping directory is matching small business people to bookkeepers for a fair rate (for instance, if you want a level 3 bookkeeper, you pay for a level 3 bookkeeper). The National Bookkeeping directory is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers located close by, or who have the skills they require but who don’t necessarily need to come into the office and can assist them in the cloud.
To find out how you can be more than just a bookkeeper, and start your own bookkeeping business and promote your valuable bookkeeping services to a wider circle of potential clients via content marketing, read about listing yourself on National Bookkeeping or becoming a licensee.
The Value of Content Marketing
January, February and March of a new year, which is typically the quietest as people take a while to adjust to the work and school routine, is when a lot of businesses spend time setting goals for the year ahead.
Just as individuals set their own personal new year’s resolutions, many businesses use January and February to set some new year’s resolutions for their business’s marketing activities.
Business Blogs vs Paid Advertising
In 2016, there was an unprecedented uptick in the number of Australian businesses using content marketing to help drive their search engine rankings, increase customer engagement, and position themselves as opinion leaders in their industry. If the last 12 months is anything to go by, then, it’s fair to say 2017 will continue the content marketing trend.
Yes, I’ve been talking about content marketing a lot on this blog lately, as it’s a marketing strategy EzyLearn has been using, almost exclusively, for many years now, with much success — you are reading this blog post, after all!
EzyLearn and our partners continue to help many businesses establish their brand and build credibility online using content marketing — something we continue to do to great effect for real estate agents, to name but a few. Whether you are an agent, bookkeeper, small business owner, or just have dreams to start working for yourself, why not register your interest in our up and coming content marketing course.
Great Content is Like an Equilateral Triangle – All the Sides are Equal
As popular as content marketing has become in the last few years, many people still don’t quite understand that great content marketing requires you to pay equal emphasis on each component. This includes the word content itself in an ebook or enewsletter for instance, but also the layout and design, the SEO etc. It also needs to be free of typos!
I know, in the past, I’ve probably been guilty of rushing to publish content on our website because I’m so eager to share what we’ve created with you. But for content marketing to be successful in the long term, it needs to be approached holistically. In other words, the copy is equally as important as the design and the layout; the messages need to be consistent and you need to keep communicating with your customers — it can’t be hit and miss.
Just as every side in an equilateral triangle must be created equal, so too do you have to consider all components equally when content marketing.
Outsourcing is Okay
As a small business, you probably have at least one person in your team who is either a) design inclined; or b) a good, strong writer. If you’re really lucky, you may have both, but it’s not uncommon for a business to need to outsource part of this work to a professional, usually on a contract or freelance basis.
Take stock of the talent you have in-house already. If you have a competent designer, utilise them and outsource the writing to a professional. It’s unwise to try and do everything yourself. Producing high quality content is a time-consuming process, made even more so if there’s a particular aspect of it — the writing, say — that you’re not proficient at.
I would say that most business owners do most of what I would loosely term ‘designing’, themselves, which in the case of blogging is choosing an image that accurately reflects the message you’re trying to communicate in the main copy.
Think Outside the Stock Box When it Comes to Photos for Your Blogs
There is a certain art to selecting images for your blog. You want to avoid using ones that every other blogger is using, which means ditching your regular Google Images haunt and using a stock library instead. But this is where you need to do your research.
Many free stock libraries serve up the same images that you find in Google Images, which brings you back to square one. They’re also incredibly boring. At this point, next logical option probably seems like paying for a membership to a stock library.
Again, research is required here. Not all stock libraries, even paid ones, are created equally. Well known libraries — iStock Photo, for example — are expensive, while the other, lesser known ones are still boring. So what’s a content marketer to do? Get creative.
Take Your Own Digital Marketing Images With Your Smartphone
Remember, content marketing is about creating original, high quality content that’s relevant both to your customers and to your business. With this in mind, rather than paying for expensive stock photography and images, why don’t you take your own? There’s nothing more original and relevant to you and your customers than your own photography.
Publishing original content on your blog and website, whether it’s in the form of images, copy or videos (or all of the above), the harder it will work at driving your search engine rankings, while, at the same time, the personalised approach will have a longer lasting impression on your readers and customers.
Prioritise Content Marketing in 2017
Bookkeepers especially — take note!
If you’re a bookkeeper looking to start your own bookkeeping business and find yourself clients, or grow you list of clients, and content marketing isn’t already on your agenda for 2017 — it should be.
In terms of having the experience and know-how to content market to people we know what our students need to be successful to this end, after all, most EzyLearn students use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training because they’re looking for bookkeeping work or want to start a bookkeeping business. Very early in the piece we started finding out why our students did our courses because it enables us to develop targeted products (and write content about) what they need.
Join our Bookkeeping Directory TODAY
We’ve launched a new bookkeeping directory which is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers who are close to them. We’re also taking registrations for our content marketing online course.
To find out more about how you can be more than just a bookkeeper, and start a bookkeeping business, including promoting your bookkeeping services to a much wider circle of people and engaging in content marketing, read more about listing yourself on National Bookkeeping.
If you’re interested in content marketing, either for your business or because you’d like to become an independent contractor offering content marketing services to other business, you can learn more by subscribing to our blog.
There is a co-working / shared / serviced office business with casual day care rates
If you’re a mum looking to return to work and you live in Sydney, childcare costs are probably one of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to overcome – that is, in addition to flexible workplaces, transport, and affordability, of course! But it’s not just mums returning to work for an employer that have trouble accessing childcare, it’s also mums who work from home.
Being self-employed comes with abundant distractions as it is – being in close proximity to the fridge, the TV, an overflowing laundry basket – but with small children around competing for your attention all the time, it becomes even harder to get any work done.
Then there’s the issue of trying to make a business call without the other person hearing your kids in the background, or of finding childminding for a couple of hours while you have a business meeting. As difficult as it is for mothers to return to a structured work environment, it’s also equally difficult to work in an unstructured one. As it happens, this is an experience shared by many other women, particularly now that there are more women starting their own businesses after having children.
WOTSO, the co-workspace with a wabbit
With the startup culture in Australia thriving, co-workspaces have grown in popularity. Once the favourite haunt of hip, young, creatives in urban city centres, like Sydney’s Ultimo, Chippendale or Darlinghurst, co-workspaces soon began to expand into the suburbs – there are several located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, while a few more have popped up in the western suburbs.
Among those workspaces, are WOTSO Workspaces, a group of flexible workspaces located throughout Sydney, Canberra and the Gold Coast.But it’s in their Neutral Bay workspace, located on Sydney’s North Shore, that WOTSO came up with a rather simple, yet ingenious, service to offer their tenants: a creche service they called WOTSO Wabbits.
The WOTSO Wabbits service came about after a couple of WOTSO employees became mums themselves and wanted to return to work, but couldn’t find any reliable childcare for the hours they needed it. And so the WOTSO Wabbits service was born, which began at the Neutral Bay site as a trial but was so popular that it’s now being rolled out to the group’s North Strathfield, Pyrmont and Gold Coast locations.
Childminding by the hour for working parents
For self-employed parents (or parents who telework), the biggest drawcard is that you only need to book and pay for the WOTSO Wabbits service as you need it. If you only need it for three hours, you don’t have to pay for a full day like you do at a childcare centre; you’re also not locked into childminding on any specific day or days each week. This detail shouldn’t be overlooked as being insignificant.
Most self-employed mums only work part time hours so they still have the time to be with their kids, and childcare can’t be claimed as a business expense. There seems little sense in paying for day-long childcare every week, when you only really need it for a few hours – or may only need it occasionally.
Besides, childcare is in short supply as it is. If there were more services available for parents who only need childminding for their children for a few hours, each week that would free up childcare for the parents who have full time jobs to go back to, but who are having difficulties accessing childcare when and where they need it.
Now’s the time to start a home-based business
I know I’ve said this before, but I’m yet to find any evidence to the contrary: there has never been a better time to start your own business. With the number of government incentives currently available, the greater opportunities to work from home, and a general culture that’s more nurturing and conducive to entrepreneurship, there really aren’t any good reasons why, if you’ve got the talent, drive, and desire to start your own business, you shouldn’t be doing it now – unless, of course, you’d like to continue duking it out for a job in the ever-decreasing pool of permanent employment.
If you’d like to start your own home-based business, EzyLearn has recently started the StartUp Academy, which has a number of business opportunities, across an array of industries and professions, who can give you the training and coaching you need to make your business a success. Alternatively, to read more about starting a business, subscribe to our blog, or visit our website for a list of training courses that can help you with the various aspects of operating a small business.
Mummy Needs to Work, But at What Cost?
Fewer 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.
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.
Now that you are more Internet savvy will you change careers from bookkeeping?
A report by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary (thank you to whoever shortened it subsequently) in 2012 attempted to identify the links between education and jobs. The report created for the NATIONAL VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING RESEARCH PROGRAM (NCVER) had 4 key findings and this was the first one:
[quote]Some fields of education have tight links to the workplace (for example, nursing), while others have a much weaker relationship with specific jobs, such as in finance and agriculture.[/quote]
I was reviewing the courses we offer and the most popular are our:
- MYOB Courses (has been our biggest seller since 2008),
- Xero Courses (which have had a MASSIVE uptick in enrolments this year) and
- Microsoft Excel (doing very well now that we tell people about it).
As you can see our most popular courses are financially based ones and most of the students are aiming to either change careers or start their own bookkeeping business so they can work more flexible hours. If we look at the research paper and understand that our students (and most bookkeepers) are working in a variety of different business sectors it makes sense that they’ll be exposed to many different and new skills, particularly as businesses adopt the use of more software and in particular Internet based software – ie. the Cloud.
Is marketing a better career choice than bookkeeping?
If I look at what I spend most of my time doing it’s marketing, and I have to admit I prefer that work to bookkeeping, but you might also find that it’s not unusual for financial types to broaden the type of work they do.
Page 22 of this report, under the heading Trajectories and motivations, the report uncovered:
[quote]Students’ reasons for wanting to undertake further study are related to the reasons why they embarked on study in the first place. While getting a job was at the centre, this was interwoven with their priorities, values and circumstances more broadly. One nursing student reflected the views of other students saying, ‘This is my area. In five years time I will be a nurse. In ten years time a nurse. I will be a nurse until I retire’. Students undertaking accounting and finance programs saw their field in broad terms which included management and other aspects of the finance industry, but also included related areas such as marketing.[/quote]
I recently wrote about bookkeepers offering marketing advice to their clients and my discovery of this report re-confirmed that this is possible on a professional level!
Is Content Marketing the best type of marketing for small businesses like real estate agents?
I have to admit something at this point. My team and I are working on a project offering content marketing solutions for real estate agents and our showcase real estate agent sells homes in Sydney’s Lower North Shore. If you search for him you’ll get to the website that we’ve just assembled and you’ll experience the significant changes it will go through over the coming weeks as he finishes his round of educational videos for people who are looking to buy or sell a property. Go on, give it a quick search – his name is Derek Farmer.
With the importance of content marketing / online marketing / digital marketing it’s no wonder that this profession has great growth potential and just like bookkeeping it is work that can be completed on a contract basis and better still from your own home!
Here are some posts I recently wrote about WordPress and Content Marketing:
Want to try Content Marketing for your business?
I’ve teamed up with a some writers and editors and other marketing types to create our Content Marketing services (and course – which is currently in development) and if you are interested in being kept in the loop you can register at our content marketing course page for free – follow the links.
[quote]Work with me to put your content marketing strategy together[/quote]
Better still I’m one of the mentors for the Marketing training course at the Australian Small Business Centre (whose small business management courses are delivered via our LMS – Learning Management System) so if you enrol into that course (and choose the mentor option) you’ll be able to work with me to put your content marketing strategy together.
[button link=”http://ezylearnonline.com.au/courses/sales-and-marketing-courses/content-marketing-training-courses/landing-pages/”]Content Marketing free Registration[/button]
The NBN isn’t smoke and mirrors for home workers
In September, the Australian Government launched a 780-tonne rocket, called the Sky Muster, into space. The Sky Muster was not intended to determine whether there was life on Mars nor any alternative solar systems; it’s purpose was to beam wireless broadband back to 200,000 homes and businesses in some of Australia’s most remote outposts. It was the next phase of the National Broadband Network’s rollout strategy to have more Australian premises connected to its fibre optic network.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the NBN rollout because, when it’s finally complete, it will mean that almost every household and business in Australia will have access to high-speed internet, providing greater opportunities for regional businesses to work with metropolitan and international-based ones, for kids to have access to high-quality education, and to give a greater number of people in regional Australia the opportunity to work from home.
Although the NBN has been through many incarnations – first under the former Labor Government as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), then under the Abbott Liberal Government the priority was fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), and now under the Turnbull-led Liberal Government as a mixture of FTTN and FTTP, where the the latter is available – the NBN is still a hugely important investment in Australia’s future.
The high cost of living makes NBN a necessity
The high cost of living, particularly the cost of housing in places like Sydney and Melbourne, has seen many Aussies, including singles and younger couples, moving to regional parts of Australia, where housing is more affordable; a practice that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago, or even as recently as five years ago.
That’s because jobs, excluding those in the retail and hospitality sector, are limited in regional Australia. Moving out of the city for a sea or tree change was something retirees could afford to do, but not younger working people because the jobs simply weren’t there. But technology, coupled with cloud computing and, of course, high speed internet, has changed that.
Now, more people can continue to work for their employer in Sydney, even though they live, say, on the Central Coast, by teleworking at one of the NSW Smart Work Hubs in Gosford or Wyong (more people, still, can live in Newcastle and only commute as far as Gosford or Wyong to telework at a Smart Work Hub for their Sydney-based employer). But what’s becoming far more commonplace is the number of people starting their own businesses, which they operate from their homes in regional Australia.
These are the next communities to receive the NBN
If you live in regional Australia, then you’re probably very familiar with the challenges people have accessing broadband internet. In most regional communities, demand for broadband internet outweighs the supply ports, so you have to wait until someone else disconnects their broadband service – which, today, means they’ve either moved out of the area or…. died – before you can connect your service (or progress in the queue). And believe it or not, that’s not even the worst of it.
Other areas throughout Australia don’t have the infrastructure available to even connect to the exchange, never mind the port. That’s because Telstra’s ageing copper wire network is in desperate need of an upgrade, but the company had been so slow to prioritise any upgrades that it threatened to derail the Government’s NBN initiative. In December last year, the government-owned NBN Co signed an $11 billion buyback deal with Telstra, so that the copper wire network can be gradually replaced with FTTP but that could still take many years.
The good news is that there are currently more than 870,000 Australians who can already access the NBN, while an additional 550,000 premises, throughout Australia, have been added to the rollout plan, with construction to commence by September 2016. These additional communities include:
|Queensland||New South Wales|
|Greater Brisbane (21,300 premises)
North Queensland (24,400 premises)
Sunshine Coast (36,200 premises)
Southern Queensland (8,100 premises)
Gold Coast (19,500 premises)
Far-North Queensland (780 premises)
Wide Bay Burnett (1040 premises)
|Greater Sydney (26,600 premises)
Central Coast (6,400 premises)
Central West (16,900 premises)
Hunter (25,000 premises)
Murray (9,700 premises)
North Coast (26,100 premises)
North West-North West Slopes (2,400 premises)
Riverina (35,100 premises)
Snowy Mountains (5,200 premises)
Southern Tablelands (800 premises)
Southern Highlands (1,600 premises)
|Metro Melbourne (56,200 premises)
Barwon (5,300 premises)
Gippsland (23, 400 premises)
Loddon Mallee (46,900 premises)
North East (15,370 premises)
|Adelaide Hills (900 premises)
Greater Adelaide (19,00 premises)
Eyre Peninsula (10,400 premises)
Far North (2,800 premises)
Limestone Coast (23,300 premises)
Yorke and Mid North Coast (9,900 premises)
|Greater Perth (56,100 premises)
Goldfields-Esperance (6,000 premises)
Great Southern (3,700 premises)
Kimberly (6,400 premises)
South West (2,000 premises)
Wheatbelt (3,700 premises)
Mid-West (500 premises)
South West (670 premises)
Is the NBN coming to you?
If you’re already able to access the NBN or are shortly going to be able to, don’t just sign up to Netflix! Make the most of the NBN by starting your own home-based business and provide valuable services to businesses located all over Australia. Whether you’re a writer, a web developer, bookkeeper, or administrative assistant (better known online as ‘virtual assistants’), there’s a huge marketplace for your skills all over Australia and throughout the world.
Content marketing, for example, has become a hugely popular marketing activity for many businesses, now that other traditional marketing opportunities have started to dry up. A key component of content marketing is written content – blog posts, ebooks, e-newsletters, web copy. If you’re a writer, with a flare for business writing, you can start your own home-based content marketing or freelance writing business from your home in regional Australia, and all you need is a computer and access to the internet!
EzyLearn can help you to start your own business today
EzyLearn has being using content marketing almost exclusively ever since we transitioned from a bricks-and-mortar business to an online one in 2008. In that time, we’ve seen a plethora of other businesses begin to utilise content marketing too, so we decided to create a content marketing training course, born of our 7-plus years content marketing experience.
If you’d like to learn more about creating marketing content for businesses, you can register your interest in our content marketing course or enrol in our blogging for business training course. If you’re looking for work now, and you have experience as a virtual assistant, a bookkeeper, content marketing, health and safety, or in IT, EzyLearn has partnered with WorkFace to help you start your own home-based business. Visit the WorkFace website for information on the opportunities currently available.
CPD for Bookkeepers is Becoming More Important
Education is obviously something we think is very important, whether you’re changing careers, starting a new business, or looking to upskill for a promotion. But what about education to keep your current job? The Australian Government thinks that’s equally important, especially for BAS and tax agents.
In March this year, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) changed their renewal process to now include continuing professional education (CPE) as a mandatory for all registrations after July 1, 2016. Between now and June 30, 2016, it’s sufficient for BAS and tax agents to merely show they have read and understood the new CPE policy to renew their registration, but this arrangement can only be used once; moving forward those BAS and tax agents will still need to complete further education to register again as a BAS or tax agent the in the future.
Are You a Currently a BAS or Tax agent?
Over the last few years, the Government has introduced a lot of new measures that BAS and tax agents have had to comply with in order to continue to offer their services to clients, namely the changes in 2010 that made it mandatory for all BAS and tax agents to hold a minimum qualification of a Cert IV in bookkeeping.
The new CPE requirement could seem like just another measure that BAS and tax agents need to comply with just to be able to keep their jobs. It’s not. CPE has been introduced to ensure that BAS and tax agents continue to understand, not just their own industry – that of tax and finance – but also how other industries are changing too.
There are more people leaving their jobs as employees and starting to work for themselves as consultants and freelancers and contract workers, across a wide array of industries. Marketing professionals, for example, no longer simply come up with marketing hooks for companies; they also have to understand how to create websites and how SEO works and social media. In some cases, they even become unofficial spokespeople and sales reps for the companies they’re consulting with, leveraging their contacts on their clients’ behalf.
CPE makes BAS and tax agents more valuable, not less
This vastly complicates a marketing professional’s tax if that marketing professional’s job now encompasses the roles of several other professions within it. Similar changes have been observed in bookkeeping, with registered BAS and tax agents now providing more operational and administrative-type services, in addition to just bookkeeping.
The point, then, of CPE is not to make it more difficult for tax and BAS agents to renew their registration with the TPB, but to help tax and BAS agents to remain as highly skilled as they’ve ever been, in an ever-changing labour market. And the better skilled you are as a BAS and tax agent, particularly those self-employed BAS and tax agents, the more value you’ll be able to provide your clients, and the more work you’ll get from them in return.
To learn more about continuing professional education for bookkeepers, visit the TPB website. Otherwise, to read more about bookkeeping, particularly starting your own bookkeeping business, continue reading our blog.
Are you a Writer and Want to Work from Home Blogging for Businesses?
I write about marketing professionals because they are increasingly important in small businesses as businesses grapple with getting discovered online. I recently wrote about Blogging for Business and our new training course to help businesses with their content marketing strategy and tasks because it’s something that my team are spending more and more time on. It’s also an area that is evolving every month and requires writers to learn about and adapt to new technology.
Enrol into the Blogging for Business Course now and take advantage of it’s current cheap price. We’ll soon be adding real life exercises where blogging students will be asked to create content and have it edited and published so they can participate in a real world business blogging project!
Create a Business Blog to Start Your Content Marketing Strategy
I started Business Blogging when we took our training courses online because there is a lot of information to share about MYOB, Xero, Microsoft Excel and the other software programs that help small business owners streamline their business, manage their accounts and finances and perform sales and marketing to bring in new sales.
Another reason was my realisation that keywords are king in the age of discovery where getting discovered by Google results in over 70% of the traffic to many websites!
Keywords Are King
A lot of small business owners throw thousands of dollars at Pay Per Click advertising in the hope of getting more visitors to their website. The most common service to help people spend these advertising dollars is Google’s own Google Adwords. Here’s a blog post about Google Adwords from 2010.
[quote]Have you heard the promise “I can guarantee your website appears on page 1 on Google”? It’s often by using Google Adwords and targeting selected keywords that companies can deliver on this claim, but at what cost?[/quote]
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Google Adwords is the perfect capitalist advertising tool because every advertiser competes for the keywords they want. The more competitors there are for a keyword or keyphrase the higher the cost per click – How scary is that!?
I understand that “Insurance” is one of the highest cost keywords you can “bid for” and there would be some pretty big players in that business. They keywords in this paragraph is “bid for” because that is exactly what happens, you place a bid for the maximum you are willing to pay for that keyword or keyphrase for EVERY time someone CLICKS on your ad.
There are ways of making sure a competitor doesn’t send you broke by clicking on your ad over and over, but essentially this strategy involves choosing keywords and bidding in the marketplace with all of your competitors.
Would You Rather Have People Come to You?
Bidding for keywords using Google Adwords is a great way to quickly test an idea or a strategy because you can guarantee website visitors, albeit at a high price, but people come across our website from all sorts of different keyword searches and that is where this blog has come in very handy.
I admit when I first started blogging for business the concept seems very NERDY! It’s like keeping an online diary for all to read and share. Then I justified it by affirming that keeping a blog is really just like having a “News” section to your website, demonstrating that your business is active and there’s a lot going on. Now I realise that it’s even more than that! Blogging for Business helps you
- build an online reputation,
- explain how some customers use your products
- encourage readers to become customers
- encourage readers to be part of your community
- enable customers to be advocates and recommend your business
Having a business blog with useful content, good use of relevant keywords and landing pages that give internet users answers to their questions will help you begin the journey into Inbound Marketing, where potential customers discover YOU and what you have to offer. Do it right and you’ll just need to guide your website visitors to the conclusion you want – usually a sale.
Your Blog Becomes More Valuable Every Week
The other great thing about Blogging for Business is that your blogging site and the landing pages you refer to become more and more valuable over time as they remain in Google’s cache. They also become tools that can be used by your staff as they refer the blogs to customers who have specific questions that are answered in your blog posts.
Google is the current flavour for search engines and they seem to be doing a great job to stay in front, but Bing (owned by Microsoft) and others in China and Russia are always looking for ways to do better and get more people using them and having an active and useful blog will ensure success no matter how the search engine market changes.
Choose EzyLearn for Your Blogging for Business Training Course
We’ve been blogging about our online training courses since 2008 and we are a training company that designs courses in a logical fashion from basic to more advanced skills to ensure you experience the epiphanies most students are looking for when they do a course.
We include all of our content for one low price and we add updates that we create during the year to our existing courses, creating more content and better value for money every month.
Best of all our Blogging For Business Training Courses includes real life blog site membership, exercises where you get to create your own blog posts and link to landing pages, participate in social media and in a community of like minded beginner bloggers.
Learn more about the Blogging for Business Training Course.
How Teleworking Began in Australia
In 2011, the then-Gillard Government introduced a teleworking initiative, established to encourage private sector employers to allow their employees to regularly work from home. The teleworking initiative was soon followed by Gillard’s own commitment in 2012 to have 12 percent of all Australian public servants teleworking by 2020. But the initiative also served another purpose: to promote the use of the national broadband network (NBN).
That was then. By 2013, the Gillard Government had been ousted, and the NBN has been through many different incarnations since it was first announced – it’s still moving forward, albeit as a significantly scaled back offering to what was originally proposed. Also ousted in 2013 was the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), which oversaw the Government’s Teleworking initiative.
In place of the DBCDE, the Government formed the Department of Communications. It’s primary functions are the same as the DBCDE’s, with one exception: there’s no teleworking initiative, which has ostensibly gone the way of the clog (remember those?). For whatever reason, it now appears that the Federal Government isn’t very interested in encouraging Australian businesses to have their staff telework or to utilise teleworkers, who may be scattered across Australia.
Employed Teleworkers not Independent Contractors?
Could it be that the telework initiative stepped on the toes of various of state and territory level telework initiatives that involved funding, what the NSW Government has dubbed, Smart Work Hubs? Smart Work Hubs, like the one at Wyong on the NSW Central Coast, are essentially co-working spaces established to encourage employers to allow their staff to telework – from one of the government-funded smart hubs, of course.
This is an interesting move, but it relies on people who are already employed and already commuting to a major city centre or business district to utilise the smart hubs, which come at a cost to either the employee or their employer. The locations of the existing five pilot smart hubs in NSW are already located in major areas – Western City and the Central Coast; all areas with easy access to high speed internet services.
For more smarts to be rolled out in other regional areas – Newcastle is rumoured to be next – the existing ones need to prove they’re worth the investment, and that relies on numbers. A significant number of teleworkers, the emphasis here being on teleworkers and not the self-employed, need to be using the smart work hubs regularly enough for the NSW Government to rollout the next phase of smart work hubs.
But as I hinted before, this relies on people who already have access to high-speed internet services at their home and who are still within commuting distance to their place of work, to be willing to pay to telework regularly. Maybe the reason the Federal Government really scrapped its teleworking initiative had nothing to do with the NSW Government’s smart work hubs at all. Maybe it had more to do with it’s new-look NBN.
What the scaled back NBN really looks like
When the NBN was originally proposed, the original plan was to deploy high-speed-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband for most Australians, but that was soon ditched by the Abbott Government for being too expensive. The new-look NBN now consists of a mixed network that prioritises fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology, which means that fibre optic cables are run to each internet node and the rest of the connection is completed through Telstra’s ageing copper wire network.
Under this NBN, the speed of your internet will vary on how far you live from the node. The further away you live, the slower it will be. But it’s okay, the Government has promised that the slowest NBN speeds could ever get to is 25 Megabits per second (Mbps), the same speed the US Federal Communications Commission defined as the absolute bare minimum to be able to call an internet connection broadband.
The other issue, of course, remains the copper wire network, which the Government now has to buy back off Telstra for $11bn (after the Howard Government sold it to Telstra a decade ago) when it discovered there was a lack of infrastructure in most regional areas of Australia that prevented many households from even connecting to the exchange, never mind the port – as well as some households in major cities.
So what now for teleworkers?
If you’re a teleworker and you live near a NSW Government smart work hub, use it. Certain hubs offer discounts to the NSW Government’s definition of a teleworker – someone who usually commutes to their workplace – while the self-employed can still reap the benefit of working from a smart hub, which are located near or offer child minding facilities, cafes, parking, and gyms.
If you were counting on the NBN to make it easier to work remotely or start your own business, don’t give up on it yet. The Government knows that the key to remaining competitive in the global marketplace is to have access to high-speed telecommunications networks, so the NBN is still, and will continue to be, a major priority.
If you’d like to start your own home-based business, but don’t know where to go for advice and support now that the Government has, seemingly, abandoned it’s teleworking initiative, visit the WorkFace website. WorkFace is an EzyLearn business partner made up of a network of teleworking professionals who have helped many EzyLearn graduates start their own home-based virtual assistant businesses.
Blogging is a Teleworking Task
The article you’re reading is part of the EzyLearn blog and this work can be done from anywhere in the world so it’s a popular outsourced task. If you want to explore blogging for your business or want to learn how it works so you can offer it as a service then discover our Blogging for Business Online Training Course.