A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Friday, December 21, 2007

A cute little card!

A Christmas card that caught my attention in the bunch this year.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Book Review - The Outsider's Edge by Brent D Taylor

The Secret To Success – Outsiders Who Trade?

Don’t read this book if you’re looking for a fast-track recipe to becoming a billionaire. Number 1 – of course it doesn’t exist. Number 2 – it would seem, according to this book that much of what set up these 17 profiled self-made billionaires was set in place during their childhood years. And unfortunately this book won’t serve as a parenting manual either as any good parent should be reticent in providing an upbringing that bares a resemblance to those which our 17 billionaires received.

Do read this book if you’d like to get a bit more an insight into 17 billionaires including the bits we rarely hear in the media – their childhood and family backgrounds. My favourite profiles were those of Australian Frank Lowy, IKEAs Ingvar Kamprad and Ralph Lifshitz… er Lauren.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Goal Collages

When thinking about what you want to achieve in life, how do your goals manifest themselves in your thinking?

Do you see pictures? Hear sounds? Feel the wave of exhilaration?

For me, I tend to visualise pictures of the event happening. I see myself exploring ancient ruins in Egypt or slipping into that divine pair of heels. I picture myself reading the 52 books I want to read in a year or seeing my husband on our 50th wedding anniversary.

If you’re a pretty visual person like I obviously am enjoy the following “Goal Collages” superbly created by a coaching client of mine Brett Withington (personal trainer and business owner extraordinaire: www.jumpfitandpt.com.au).

Some of his goals quite clearly include family holidays, teaching, a new kitchen, cars and getting media coverage for his business.

I love the way he’s got this page laid out with a time frame to achieve his goals (July, 2009). He’s added a bit of humour by cutting his own head out and imposing over a teacher’s and he’s made sure it’s got a great balance with family, relaxation, business and personal goals.

I even took a leaf out of Brett’s album and had this photo taken of something I’d one day like to do – get interviewed by Oprah.

While I’m aware that this photo is NOT of my most flattering angle, it’s a great visual reminder of a goal.

While you may not have access to a wax model of a superstar to meet and you may not be as graphically talented as Brett – any one of us can grab a travel magazine, a photo of us and some scissors and get started on a goal collage right now.

And if playing with scissors, glue and paper feels little childish, why not plan one with your kids this weekend and get a feel for it that way!

Happy collaging

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

I work in real estate and my boss won't train me - what do I do? Paul

Response -

Here's what I would do in this situation:

Check with the real estate institute in my state - most of them have free or low cost training libraries that you can borrow materials from.

Encourage the rest of the agents in your office to, as a group, go to your boss with a plan for establishing a training library in your office that all agents can borrow books, CDs and DVDs.

Go to my boss with a plan for my training development. I'd include things like, what amount of commitment I intended to put in to the training - ie: number of hours a week, what books I'd read, what financial commitment I was prepared to make etc, and what I would like to request of my boss - ie: courses I wanted to attend in the future if I lived up to my commitment, what benefits my boss would receive etc etc.

Make it a negotiation - show that you're prepared to put in the time / effort and show your boss what benefit they will receive.

Training comes in all forms - ask for a coffee with the most successful agent in your office to pick their brain - it's a great way to train yourself.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Book Review - The Highly Effective Marketing Plan by Peter Knight

Visually appealing, mentally stimulating
I really enjoyed Peter Knight’s “HEMP”. After meeting the author recently I was pleasantly surprised to see that the personality that so amply oozes from him in person is readily apparent in the book as well. It’s quirky, straight to the point and is dotted with fabulous visual examples of all of the concepts Peter discusses. The Redcup examples tie everything together nicely. Perfect for anyone wanting to create a no-nonsense, no-jargon, easy to follow marketing plan.

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Book Review - How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The message still rings true.
I found this book somewhat hard going at times, mostly due to the fact that the way books are written certainly has changed a little from when HTWF was first published in 1936! That aside, even though this wasn’t a quick page turner for me I always found myself compelled to go back and devour just one more chapter. The information in the book is simple (so simple most people don’t do it!) and it is just as relevant and insightful today as it would have been back in the 30’s.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Thank you Alex P. Keaton

Thank you Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox’s fictional Family Ties character) for showing me that it’s ok to carry a briefcase before you’re even old enough to get a proper job!

Thank you Alex P. Keaton for showing me that wanting to rule the world before I could rule a straight line wasn’t completely bizzare.

Thank you to the writers of the character Alex P. Keaton for giving a young aspiring business person (me!) a multi-dimensional, completely flawed and yet totally fascinating character to watch on family television. He was my pin up boy – but not in the traditional sense!

Things you may not know about Alex P. Keaton:
• Producers originally wanted Mathew Broderick (aka Ferris Beuller) for the role!
• Michael J. Fox adlibbed the “P” in Alex P. Keaton in his audition
• According to a Spin City episode, Alex P. Keaton eventually went on to become a republican senator for Ohio
• Michael J. Fox almost didn’t get the role because one of the TV execs found it hard to believe that his tall onscreen parents would have just a short son

Great Alex. P. Keaton moments

Alex P. Keaton: [Referring to a current infatuation] Of all the Basic Applied Economic Principles of Capitalism in the Post-Industrial Era Seminars in the world, you had to walk into mine.

Alex P. Keaton: Mallory, someone stupid called... sometime today... about something trivial.
Mallory Keaton: Alex you know that could be any one of my friends.

Alex P. Keaton: Remember when we were kids and I run you over with my bicycle?
Erwin 'Skippy' Handleman: Yes.
Alex P. Keaton: I have a car now.

Mallory Keaton: Dad, Alex, this is Jamie Carter.
Alex P. Keaton: Aaaaah!
[jumps into his father's arms]
Steven Keaton: It's okay, Alex. She said Jamie, not Jimmy.

For more check out: http://imdb.com/title/tt0083413/quotes

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

See Mum, You can Learn Stuff from Television!

Its Christmas time and Homer Simpson realises all too late that he’s (yet again) forgotten to get his loving wife Marge a present. Despite frantic and fervent attempts at the last minute, Homer is still empty handed at the all important present giving moment.

Feeling guilty and dejected, Homer opens his present from Marge only to find that below the wrapping paper is another round of wrapping paper, addressed with a card that says “To Marge”.

You guessed it, Marge knew that Homer would forget her present and so she got him the best present she could possibly have given at that time, a present for him to give to her. Smiles all round… and fade out.

As the Christmas buying frenzy approaches, I like to take the lesson from The Simpsons into my business. How can I anticipate my customer’s needs in a similar way to the way Marge anticipated Homer’s so brilliantly?

Whether you’re the hairdresser who calls a client a week after selling them a hair straightener (just to see how they’re going with it), the real estate agent who forwards their clients a list of local services (when they move to a new area) or the doctor who calls a long term patient a week after placing them on a new medication (just to check on them), we all have the ability to anticipate needs and in doing so provide moments in our own businesses where there are smiles all round and… fade out.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Do Uni Dropouts Rule the World?

As I’ve written about a number of times in both of my books – I’m a university dropout. I consider myself a life long learner and yet at age 28, despite attending uni on and off since I was 17 I’m still yet to get that all important piece of paper.

As an entrepreneur, I don’t desperately need a degree to enhance my career prospects, however I find it strangely fascinating that a small but persistent part of me still wants a degree. I don’t know whether it’s to fulfil some distant childhood ambition or if I just want to wear the long black gown and fancy hat!

When I look through the list of my business role models however, I’m comforted to see so many who are also in the dropout category: Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founders), Ray Kroc (The man who took McDonalds to the world), Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Richard Branson, Larry Eillison (Oracle founder), Michael Dell, David Geffen (Dreamworks co-founder), Ted Turner (media giant), Blake Ross (Firefox co-creator) and Sean Parker (Napster co-founder). Not a lot of women on that list – but for the time being I’m happy to have my name in the same category – so long as I stick to my goal of being a life long learner.

Steve Jobs (Apple & Pixar co-founder) is a name glaringly missing from the above list. Having just finished reading iCon – a book all about Steve, I found his dropout story one of the most fascinating I’ve read. He dropped out after his first semester, managed to get a refund on the fees his parents had paid and still somehow managed to keep living on campus – only now he was attending the classes he was actually interested in (and not paying!). To learn more, check out the following:

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, December 7, 2007

Book Review - McDonald's - Behind The Arches

An Oldie But A Goodie

Most of us have heard the name of Ray Kroc, but to get an in depth look at the other key players (like June Martino) in McDonalds history is fabulously entertaining. I found myself quoting McDonalds trivia tit bits obsessively after reading this book. Did you know Ronald is actually Donald McDonald in Japan? Do you know why McDonalds in Germany serve beer? Do you know how much Kroc paid the McDonalds brothers for the operation? If you're a fan of this systems driven organisation and want an in depth year by year breakdown of it's history - grab a copy.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Cards – A waste of your time? Probably! Unless…

As I write this I’ve just received my first Christmas card of the season. It’s from a fabulous lady called Namita I met maybe 3 years ago in Darwin, Australia and she’s a prime example of how to ensure your Christmas cards aren’t a waste of time.

What can we learn from Namita:

1. Leader of the pack

Namita’s card arrived first. I remember the first card. I do not always remember the 200th card arriving on the 19th of December. When do you send your cards out? Are you first, or are you mixed in with the blur.

Tiny tip: set a diary note for the 14th of November, 2008 (recurring each year) to remind you to prepare and send out your cards so that you can be first next year.

2. The thought and care was obvious

Namita’s message inside the card was personalised and thoughtful. As a speaker and as someone who loves to give out a lot of business cards over the year I tend to get a lot of Christmas cards. This is lovely, but it also is a huge opportunity for me to see the absolute worst trends in sending out Christmas cards.

My least favourite Christmas card mistakes include:
• The card with a stock standard, small un-personalised message (c’mon - why bother?)
• The card with only a scrawled signature or even worse, just a stapled business card (puh-leese!)
• The message obviously written by an assistant or someone other than the person sending it

3. She’s a savvy business woman

Namita has just launched a new business: http://kidimpressions.com/ and she took the opportunity to send a letter about it, a brochure and to offer me a holiday gift of my own book! She doesn’t know it, but I usually get a personalised book for newborns – and I had been using one of her competitors up until now. Not anymore!

Tiny tip: A little gift that promotes your business is ideal – but also consider small items that will give a big bang for a buck. One of my favourites is a scratchy lotto ticket, sure most people won’t win up big time – but imagine if someone were win $10,000 – how much favourable word of mouth would you get then! (In fact – I’d give you great word of mouth if I won $10!)

4. Rocking the database

Namita also took the opportunity to congratulate me on my second wedding anniversary (this girl obviously knows how to database like a rockstar).

Tiny tip: Whenever anyone mentions a birthday, anniversary or significant event, jot it down, put it in your phone and database it. It’s a small effort but one most people won’t make.

Challenge for the week: See how many extra special dates (birthdays etc) you can gather for your database this week. My favourite tips include sneaking peeks at people’s licences when checking onto planes, showing ID etc (thanks to my mentor Glen for this one!) and asking what star sign people are and working from there. You can be a bit cheeky with it or alternatively – you can just ask people!

So Namita get’s an A+ on my Christmas card experience with her. To follow are some of the other tips I’ve learnt over the years.

5. Remember not everyone celebrates Christmas

I like a “Seasons Greetings” card myself purely for this reason.

6. Do them as you go

If the idea of hand writing all those Christmas cards at once is about as appealing as licking the underbelly of a sheep, consider writing them throughout the year. Real estate agents for example could write the cards as soon as a property they’ve sold settles when they add that client to their database. The Christmas card can then be thrown in a box and hey presto – when November comes around half your work may already be done.

7. Don’t rely on your brain

I have a category in my database which tells me who I need to send Christmas cards to. When I add someone to my database I decide if they’re getting a Christmas card and categorise them appropriately. It means come November, my cards are a no brainer. I print off my list, remove anyone, add any last minute people and write away to my heart’s content. And don’t think you need a database to do this – just keep a list as you write out this year’s along with addresses and I promise you, next year you’ll find it all the easier.

So there you go, 7 simple steps which, if implemented correctly, will make all that time, effort and stationery worthwhile. If you want to practice – I love a Christmas card: Kirsty Dunphey, PO BOX 7713, Launceston, TAS, 7250. Pop in a note if you’d like some feedback on your card!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 5 comments

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