The NBN Means Do-or-Die for Remote Workers

The NBN isn’t smoke and mirrors for home workers

NBN launches 2 billion dollar satellite so that rural and regional workers can start a business and work from homeIn 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)

Victoria South Australia
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)

Western Australia
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.

Get Your Business Noticed for FREE: The Difference Between PR and Marketing

PR is about getting word of your business out there for free, often by providing people with obligation-free information.
PR is about getting word of your business out there for free, often by providing people with obligation-free information.

At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our MYOB courses gain employment as an MYOB bookkeeper or even start their own bookkeeping business; it’s why we provide you with lifetime access to our MYOB training courses as part of our commitment to continuing professional development. We also offer students a small business management course, which can be extremely relevant for bookkeepers who want to branch out and operate an existing small business or start one from scratch. One of the topics we cover in our small business management course is marketing for small business and we thought it was worth devoting a blog post to pointing out the difference between the two.

The Difference between Public Relations and Marketing

For some reason, marketing and PR are two activities that are often confused with one another. Perhaps that’s because many companies combine their marketing and PR departments, or maybe it’s because people don’t really understand what PR is.

At its most basic PR is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and it’s public. Marketing, on the other hand, is the business of promoting and selling products or services, which includes market research and advertising.

It’s important to keep these two definitions in mind when undertaking either activity, because if there’s one thing PR is not, it’s selling, which is the ultimate goal of marketing.

That doesn’t mean that PR won’t result in eventual sales, but it shouldn’t be the primary objective of a PR campaign, (although it’s not uncommon for many established PRs to forget this subtle nuance between the two).

If it’s done right, PR is a great way to generate buzz about a new business or product, particularly for small businesses that may not have a huge marketing budget.

Simple Ways You Can Create a Buzz for Your Small Business

For a home-based bookkeeper or virtual assistant just starting out, PR activities to generate interest in your business could include holding an event with other home-based bookkeepers or virtual assistants and inviting local business owners along so you can educate them in the benefits of employing a remote worker.

The goal for an event like this would be to build relationships with your “publics” — people that may come to employ or use your services—but not necessarily to win new business on that particular day.

Alternatively, you could contribute to a few online business publications on what it’s like being a remote worker, or seek opportunities to be quoted in those publications.

Ultimately, that’s the goal of any PR campaign: to gain exposure for yourself or your business by educating and informing first. The selling part comes second, which is where PR differs substantially from marketing, of which the ultimate goal is to promote and sell.

***

If you’re a remote worker, why not give your business a PR boost in addition to your regular marketing activities — contact us and tell us your success story. In fact, this very blog is always looking to hear how our students are doing since completing one of our courses, so if you’re now working remotely as a bookkeeper or a virtual assistant, get in touch! It’s great exposure for your business.

 

Virtual Offices: The Reality of Closing Your Office Doors

You can save on overheads by making your office virtual, but not every business can make it work.
You can save on overheads by making your office virtual, but not every business can make it work.

In the past we’ve talked about the benefits of operating a virtual bookkeeping business by using cloud accounting software like MYOB Account Right Live and storage software like Dropbox. But before you transform your traditional bricks-and-mortar bookkeeping business into a virtual one, it’s important to consider whether virtual is right for you.

A recent article in the Journal of Accountancy discussed the many benefits of making a bricks-and-mortar business a virtual one. Of course saving money on the monthly rent cheque factored quite high on the ‘pros’ list — but when is the right time to go virtual?

Steps to Becoming Virtual

As human beings we’re creatures of habit, so the decision to turn your business into an entirely virtual one shouldn’t be taken lightly, particularly if you have clients who visit your premises regularly. But even once you get your clients onboard, you’ve still got a way to go before you can close your doors for good.

  1. The first step is determining whether your team can work remotely. Self-starters and highly motivated individuals thrive in the virtual environment, whereas, those who need a lot of supervision, direction and even daily interaction with colleagues, generally aren’t suited to working remotely.
  2. Virtual offices do not have the space to store paper and hardcopy files. While your own business may use online storage software like Dropbox, you also need to consider your clients. If they’re not using cloud accounting software and you’re still required to store their client files, a virtual office may not be the way to go yet.
  3. In order to function effectively and efficiently as a virtual business, you must ensure you have the systems in place first. This means making sure your employees have the devices they need to do their job from home and, in turn, that your business has the necessary infrastructure and software to facilitate that as well.

***

So before you pack up your goods and chattels and close your office doors for good, make sure you’re business is truly ready to take the plunge. Be sure to read our next post; we discuss what steps you should take in readying your business to go virtual.