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)...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Take It And Leave It

My favourite read of the day comes from Bob Nelson’s newsletter www.nelson-motivation.com where he shares that: Zappo’s, the up-and-coming women’s shoe online retailer that offers free shipping for both orders and returns, offers all employees $1500 to quit their job after they have finished the company’s initial 2-4 week training orientation. It’s the final test of if they have hired the right employees…

Talk about money where your mouth is! I love Zappo’s dedication to getting it right.

What else is Zappo’s doing right?

Communication: http://twitter.zappos.com/employee_tweets shows you Zappo’s staff and even their CEO http://twitter.com/zappos are using Twitter to communicate with and engage their customers.
Contagious Culture: Each year Zappos 31 year old CEO asks each employee to write a description of the culture of the organization. Something’s working with employees writing statements like: “Everyone at Zappos is so warm and inviting, like a nice bowl of oatmeal.”
Fan-makers: Their customer service creates fans. From the standard:
“customers can order shoes as late as 11 p.m. and still get next-day delivery” to the extraordinary as shown in this online testimonial:

“My wife had ordered a pair of sandals from Zappos. When they arrived, she found that they didn't fit. She tried to order the right size, but Zappos was sold out of her size. So here's what the company offered: she could return the sandals (for free), Zappos would refund the purchase price and they'd send her a $25 coupon toward her next purchase.

But wait — there's more! Zappos also offered to try to locate a pair of the sandals in her size from another vendor. (Hah! Sure, they will!) Fifteen minutes later, the company called my wife and told her they'd found her sandals, in her size, at another online merchant — "and," the Zappos clerk told her, "they're even cheaper at this other site!"

So.. in short, their staff love them, the public love them and their customers love them and wait… they sell SHOES! Seem’s like a great start to me!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can’t Train Gen-Y?

Can’t train your gen-y employees? Nonsense I say.

You want proof? I just called up my 19 year old –Gen Y – Nintendo loving brother at home on his day off from work. He accidentally answered the phone: “Thank you for calling (insert workplace name)”.

And don’t think my brother is anything other than a very-gen-y 19 year old. He’s not the first person racing to get in the office door every morning, but his training is so well imbedded that it’s with him even outside of the job.

C’mon – if McDonalds restaurant’s the world over are fundamentally run by 16 year olds your Gen Y’s can be trained, it may just take a little longer before it’s habit.

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Friday, December 12, 2008


Thanks to the chaps at Anthill magazine, I just found out about my new favourite website (well, for 5 seconds anyway) http://futureme.org/

FutureMe is a simple little site that lets you send a letter via email to yourself at some time in the future.

4 reasons you may want to use FutureMe:

1. To make some predictions about your life in say 5 years
2. To remind yourself of something (a birthday, an amazing day, to take your garbage out)
3. To kick start yourself (I like this one sent by Luke in the public section on the site: “man. stop being scared already, and just tell the girl you like her. it's not that hard, and she probably feels the same way about you. I hope.”)
4. Snapshot yourself right now, and write to remind your future self of what it’s like to be you today. What do you love, what do you hope for, what are you scared of. This one’s sort of like a quirky one day journal that you can read in the future (without the commitment of daily Dear Diary writing!)

Go on, give it a go 648,509 people have already talked to their future selves already… 648,510 now that I have too!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Newsletters (other than Kirsty's) Do You Love?

Kirsty subscribes to a large number of newsletters from all over the world, some of which are listed here - www.kirstydunphey.com/recommendations.html.

In response to a request from one of our readers we want to know what other newsletters and ezines you subscribe to and would recommend. Simply leave your comment on this blog and let us know the name of the newsletter, what it's about and why you love to receive it.

We will compile a list of responses and publish them in a later issue of Kirsty's weekly newsletter Advance To Go.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 4 comments

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ready To Give Up?

Winston Churchill’s often misquoted as giving an entire speech where all he said was “never give up” three times, in fact he said the following and a little more: "Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” En Vogue and about a squillion others all know that it “‘aint over til the fat lady sings”! And even Rick Astley said he was “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down”… (yes, that was indeed a lame way to get an 80’s superstar into the blog!)

But you know what…with all of these stellar reference points, I’m still surprised at how much people do give up.

The PR firm who recent didn’t reply to my email asking them about their services (PS – anyone know a fabulous PR firm who do reply to emails? Let me know.

The real estate agent who told me that a property I had asked him to value was worth: “what it cost me, plus whatever profit I would be happy with”.

And my saddest quitter for the week showed themselves to me when I recently ran a contest to have a logo designed on www.99designs.com where we received over 180 entries. A few days into the contest I asked for a re-tweak on one of my favourite submissions. I didn’t hear anything back for a few days only to find out via a message later on that they’d “given up” when they’d seen the quality of the other entries. Funny thing – they were my favourite entry at the time they “gave up” and still ended up being my second favourite over all. If they’d not given up and been able to do the re-tweak, who knows what could have happened!

Now… I don’t believe you should never give up, have a read of Seth Godin’s book The Dip and you’ll see what I mean here… but in these cases please try:

1. Not to give up new business when it’s staring you right in the eye asking to deposit money into your account.
2. Not to give up when your “giving-up” reply will only serve to infuriate your client.
3. Not to give up when you’re just about to cross the finish line!

Today how bout we all let the only giving up you do be to “give it up” to someone in your life who rarely gives up!

I’ll start by giving it up to:

Lara Solomon, author of the hot on the shelves new business book Brand New Day who shares in diary format all the ups and downs of launching her Mocks business (think: Bridget Jones meets Richard Branson). Lara could have given up so many times, but she kept on plugging away and her story’s darn inspirational.

Rudy Ruettiger, whose story of never giving up on his dream to play football with Notre Dame was so inspirationally told in the 1993 movie Rudy.

Chistopher Reeve, the real superman to so many of us especially through his worth raising funds for spinal chord research in his last years with us.

Tim Ferriss, whose book – the Four Hour Work Week was turned down by 14 publishers (perhaps because the initial title was Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit!). Tim didn’t give up though and now his book has been translated into 31 langugages and was simultaneously the #1 book in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Will Your Tombstone Say?

I was very thankful tonight to be in a room surrounded by creative, energised people in my hometown of Launceston, Tasmania. There were ideas circulating a plenty, but one of them still has me thinking at 11.17pm, so I decided that had to be the one I shared with you.

Graeme Walker, founder of Walker Designs spoke so passionately about one of his mentors and a tool this mentor had taught him that the entire room went silent as he shared what he'd learnt. The tool was something I interpreted as a great way to prioritise things in your life.

The lesson was simple, but beautifully succinct in it's simplicity and was: figure out what you want your tombstone to say at the end of your life, and when faced with a dilemma, remember back to your tombstone and chose the option that leads towards what you want it to say.

Can't seem to get it out of my head!

I just came across this post from September 11 this year by one of my favourite bloggers Seth Godin which also reinforces this message.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Guess what Kirsty's up to...

Yes, for all of you who said I wouldn't be able to stay out for too long, you were right!

I'm opening a new real estate agency here in Launceston, Tasmania on January the 12th with two of the most amazing women and property managers I've ever had the pleasure of working with: Bella Fountain and Megan Hampton.

We'll cater exclusively for investors looking after their property management. So, if you know someone who we can assist - please reply to this email and let me know!

And - as a little competition, we're opening with quite an unusual name. If you would to a go at winning our competition and a $20 credit to www.unleashedknowledge.com - have a go at guessing our new name by adding your comment with your name and your guess. We'll randomly chose the winner (with the correct guess) and award our prize by COB 4 December 2008.

Is it:

a) Trio Property (because there's three of us who are business owners)
b) Heart Property (because your home is where our heart is)
c) Elephant Property (because an elephant never forgets - and isn't that what you want from your property manager?)

By Kirsty Dunphey with 4 comments

Friday, November 21, 2008

Business Lessons A Budgie Can Teach You

So… I’ll share something personal with you: I’m afraid of birds… there, I said it. And to try and wean me off my fear my husband and I got ourselves a baby budgie a few months ago.

After bursting into tears the first time he flew too close to my head (and then into a window) I can proudly say I’ve grown some, and am now slightly less afraid of birds in general. In fact our new little blue-grey budgie Walt is a constant companion of mine these days so I thought I’d use him as inspiration for this (albeit light hearted) post on the business lessons a budgie can teach you:

Preening is important
You only get one chance to… that’s right, make a first impression. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m at my happiest in Peter Alexander PJ pants and ugg boots and while (much to Walt’s disgust) I’ll sometimes wear them to the supermarket each of us has to know when it’s time to put on our fancy feathers. Whether it’s the job interview you really want to rock, the client you’re looking to impress or dinner with the future parents in law, there’s a time and a place for some good old fashioned preening.
Walt suggests: that you should also remember not to go overboard on the preening (a full face of makeup at the gym is just kinda strange).

Sing a song
If you’re happy and you know it… sing a song. Walt’s singing along to some very dodgy pop music at the moment and he’s as happy as Julius*. People love to interact, work with, promote and generally be around happy people. No, you can’t be happy all the time, but when you are, project it and get it out there.
Walt suggests: limiting the actual physical act of singing to your car, cage or shower (singing in busses, busy office places and elevators is also kinda strange but not as strange as this.

Get what you want
Don Burke tells me that budgies have feathers on their cheeks and the crowns of their heads which reflect ultraviolet light and the little critters use these to find and attract mates. In the business world, what are your ultraviolet feathers? I think they’re your skills and talents and the parts of your service that mean that you go that extra centimetre further than your competitors.
Walt suggests: that while budgies use these gorgeous feathers to court and flirt, humans may want to try finding out a girl’s shoe size and buying her a pair of Manolos (Walt watches too much Sex and the City).

Sometimes someone who loves you may have to poo on you
It’s true, my lovely little Walt leaves fabulous little deposits on me every now and then (which is why my head is no longer an approved landing post). In your life you’ll encounter people who will leave their own deposits on you, some are doing it, because they’re simply full of “deposits”, but others do it for you own good. The boss who pushes you outside your comfort zone is one example. It may be tough right now, but eventually you’ll be a bigger and better person for it.
Walt suggests: that if you can learn business lessons from a budgie – where can’t you learn them!

* Julius is a friend’s budgie and a happy little man indeed

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Your chance to win 1,001 real estate tips from worldwide experts

Your Chance To Win!

What’s this all about?

This month to celebrate the launch of Kirsty Dunphey’s new program 1,001 tips for real estate agents to improve, re-energise and re-style your real estate career we’re running a contest that could see you winning the entire program or some great other prizes.

To enter

All you need to do is submit your best tip for real estate (one or two sentences only) here: www.kirstydunphey.com/contact.html along with your name, your website or blog address and where in the world you’re from. Or simply leave your comment on this blog.

What can I win?

The best tip will win 1,001 tips for real estate agents for use in their office, valued at $99.95 AUD.

The next 100 best tips will win your choice of our open home, databasing or property management section from 1,001 tips and will have their tip featured in a “user generated” section (a bonus section to be sent to all purchasers) of 1,001 tips along with a link to their website or blog.

Each entry will win a 30 day gift subscription to www.reallysold.com and while you can enter as many times as you like, you’ll only win one 30 day subscription per person.

Entries close 18 December, 2008 and winners will be chosen at Kirsty’s discretion. Winners notified by 20 December, 2008.

Some more about the 1,001 Tips program

Kirsty has joined forces with some of the biggest names in real estate worldwide to put together this 1,001 tips to improve, re-energise and re-style your real estate career guide.

Covering all areas of real estate this program will be a huge asset to new agents, however those who have been in the industry for years will still find heaps of ideas to improve their careers.

Each week a new section of the guide will be delivered to your email inbox allowing you to work through it then and there, or save it for time when you want to address: Your Open Homes, Systemization, Dealing with Investors or any of the other categories.

As well as tips from Kirsty this program features - Dirk Zeller, David Knox, John McGrath, Pat Mesiti, John Shackleton, Ron White, Rich Levin, Darryl Davis, Richard Robbins, Colin Dick, Malcom Riley, Amber Werchon and many more.

What is www.reallysold.com?

reallysold.com makes writing copy for your real estate advertisements - either sales or property management - really easy! No longer will you need to sit and wrack your brain waiting for inspiration.

We give you the inspiration and save you the perspiration by creating your headings, providing you catch phrases and enhancing the words you already use. Take the tour to see how easy it can be!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Weird But Cool Moment

A few years back someone came up to me and asked if I was “Real Estate Kirsty”.

Now to me, “Real Estate Kirsty” sounded like she should have her own action figure and superhero costume, it was quite a bizarre moment really.

But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it because:

• It was spot on for my branding at the time in my local area
• It meant that this person remembered not only my name but what I did
• It was soo much better than “real estate KRISTY”!

So what would your action figure be? Lawyer Simone, Jack of All Trades Jack, Hairdressing Harry?

But more so, are people associating you with what you do. If someone needed a real estate agent, I would have loved for them to have thought of “Real Estate Kirsty” first. What or who do your potential clients think of when they think of your industry?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daily Fun

I’m a big fan of the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

He’s got a great blog with lots of useful resources and today I want to share one of my favourite parts with you.

Consider the question: What would you do, day-to-day, if you had $100 million in the bank? If still blocked, fill in the five “doing” spots with the following:

1 place to visit
1 thing to do before you die (a memory of a lifetime)
1 thing to do daily
1 thing to do weekly
1 thing you’ve always wanted to learn

Excerpted from: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/lifestyle-costing/

Until I read this, I rarely thought about my wild-dream-style goals in terms of what I’d love to be doing daily or weekly. Most of my daily goals revolve around actions I believe I have to take that perhaps aren’t always the most fun stuff in the world (exercise, learning, eating correctly).

But if I had $100 million in the bank, what would I like to do daily? Thanks Tim, this put a whole new spin on my thinking.

And if you haven’t read the book I couldn’t recommend it more.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why Lindsay Lohan Should Be Your Entrepreneurial Role Model

I’ve recently been interviewing a whole range of successful people and one question I’ve taken to asking a lot lately is “if you could go into business with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?”. For me the answer is easy, today my answer is Walt Disney, tomorrow Richard Branson (a popular choice) the next day Barbara Corcoran. Other popular answers include Warren Buffet and Donald Trump and yet no-one has listed Lindsay Lohan! I’m shocked, so let me share with you why I think Li-Lo is a GREAT role model for any aspiring entrepreneur.

1. She started young
This girl got into her chosen field young and attacked it with gusto.

2. She has surrounded herself with geniuses
From Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday to the eternal Jane Fonda and always fabulous Felicity Hoffman in Georgia Rule, Lohan has been awash with potential mentors and other people who have “been there and done it”.

3. She’s willing to try new things
She sings, she acts and most recently she’s dating girls, being super skinny (and then not super skinny), she’s a red head, but she’ll try being a blonde, or a brunette, heck she’ll even give rehab a go.

4. Like 80% of all entrepreneurs, she’s a first born

5. She’s fiercely protective of her team
Recent comments on her personal blog show what Lindsay will do if you start messing with her sister!

6. She can put up with the insults flung her way
Brandon Davis’ highly quoted remarks that Li-Lo was a “fire crotch” didn’t even trip this stilettoed gal’s walk.

Yes, this is of course written with my tongue very firmly wedged in my cheek. My point, I swear I have one, is that you can learn something from almost anyone that crosses your path. Whether it’s the nightmare boss who teaches you how not to lead, Paris Hilton who shows us that anything is possible (yes, even being famous for doing nothing) or the long lasting words of a true business hero written in an amazing page turner – take the lesson in whatever form it comes, but don’t always expect that it’ll come from a Branson look alike.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Never Listen To The Person In Business Who Tells You…

Don’t hire people smarter than you
As Ziz Ziglar eloquently recaps when you hire somebody smarter than yourself, you prove you are smarter than they are. One of the best lessons I’ve ever been taught in managing people is that A-grade manager’s hire A-grade people, B-grade managers hire C-grade people. If you need to be the smartest person in the room at all times, get used to your business growth stagnating and constantly hearing the words “If I want something done right… come out of your mouth.

Don’t share your knowledge within your industry
I was always asked by other real estate agents why I’d get on a stage (or go to lunch) and share everything I knew about real estate and about my business. Wasn’t I afraid that people were going to copy me? Number 1 – if you’re doing something exceptional, people will find out regardless, that’s the beauty and the downfall of word of mouth, nothing sensational stays a secret for long. Number 2 – people don’t implement every great idea they hear, as much as speakers would love them to, it just doesn’t happen. Number 3 – when you share a great idea, you don’t lose it, you just multiply it, and if you do it properly the person you’re sharing it with may have some great ideas on how you can improve your idea.

You don’t have time to learn
It’s simple really: don’t learn, don’t grow. Don’t grow, go backwards. "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." - Henry Ford

You have to be ruthless to get ahead
I have my own theories on different success styles but the more I meet successful people, the more I meet amazing, kind, generous, sharing people. In speaking to two different groups of real estate agents in New Zealand last week, the overwhelming response when I asked who was the person in their industry who they’d most like to become more like, was an agent by the name of Alison Aitken (a gun, but also incredibly well respected because of her ethics, standards and values).

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book Review - Zero To One Million by Ryan Allis

Packed full of content Ryan’s book is a nice combination of his story and his “how to”. More slanted towards those who want to take a business from start up to a medium sized exit strategy (as opposed to small / micro business) it’s easy to read and has some great exercises. My only criticism was that I wanted to hear more about Ryan’s business icontact and less about the company he was working in as teen. When you read it, grab a pen and paper though as the ideas come fast and you’ll get the most by writing a to do list as you go.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Interview with Kirsty on InspireMeToday.com - This Wednesday

Please join me on October 22nd, 2008 as I am the featured Inspirational Luminary on InspireMeToday.com, a website that provides the Best of the Best Inspiration Daily™- each day from a different Luminary.Enjoy reading my, biography, quote of the day and 'Today's Brilliance', my personal text of the best things I've learned in life. The 30 minute interview with me and Gail Lynne Goodwin is a membership feature and will be available for free in mid-October. Just use the affliate code provided on this invitation to access. Thanks for joining me!

When you register, please remember to use my referral code: KR6BXFLAXI



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Monday, October 20, 2008

Real Estate Agents - What book helped you the most with your career?

I get asked by real estate agents to recommend books all the time, so I have decided to put together a list of the best books for real estate agents.

We would love to hear from you about the books you have read which have helped you the most in your career.

Please leave a comment on this blog listing the book title, author and why you would recommend this book.

Thanks in advance!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 3 comments

Friday, October 17, 2008

Endless Email - Tips to Curtail the Convolution (or how to get control of your inbox)

Is email ruining your life and your productivity? Ok, sure it may not be as dramatic as that… but if you’re heart beats a little faster every time you hear that tone your computer makes when you get mail, or if you’re checking your email every few minutes (hey, did you just go and check it while reading this sentence?) maybe there’s a few little things you can do to get your productivity (ie: your actual work) back up the priority list.

1. Get the news, when you want it
I looove newsletters but if I stopped to read each one as it came in, I’d never have any time at all. Instead I’ll sit down with a cocktail (or on a plane) once a week or every few weeks and read through the ones that grab my attention. To make sure I’m not bogged down with them in my inbox I can set up rules so that they got into a special folder in my inbox called (shock horror) “To Read”.

2. Alias it up
An even more advanced version of tip 1 (so that you don’t have to create a new rule for each newsletter) is to have a different email alias for your newsletter subscriptions. So you might be jane@rockstarrealestate.com but you might sign up to all your newsletters with janenews@rockstarrealestate.com. That way all your newsletters will automatically go into the folder you’ve set up.

3. Ditch it
Still on newsletters and regular mailings. Be a little cruel and ditch the ones you don’t read.

4. File like a crazy person
I like to keep my inbox empty or with only the most pressing items that need to be done that day. To do this, I’ve got about 5 folders set up that I file my work into. These ones work for me:
To do this week (and I have a diary note to check this once a week)
To do soon (I usually only check this once a month, but if I put something in here that has a specified time frame I’ll put a diary note in to remind myself)
Waiting on other people (so that I can keep track that what I’m delegating gets done, I find it’s easiest just to CC myself in on any emails that I delegate and pop them in this folder)
To read (which we’ve been through)
Funny (for the emails that make me giggle, it gives me somewhere to go back to when I need a pick up)
Delete (ok, so I didn’t make that folder up, but the only way to stay on top of your email these days is to put MOST email in here! Stop clogging up your system and your mind, deal with it and dump it)
Others (I have a few specific folders for different business ideas I’m working on, people I need to visit and other folders that work for me. You’ll figure out what works for you, just don’t go folder mad and have so many folders that you only file and never do the work!)

5. More on the Sydney Bristow (aliases)
I travel a lot, and when I’m away someone else (fabulous Megan) will check my email. If you’ve got your very own Megan, consider another email alias that you can give people as a contact in case of emergency email (I just use my hotmail account for this as it’s web based and I know that I can get quick access to it almost anywhere in the world).

6. Be Zen like
Keep your in box as empty as possible. I don’t care how brilliant you think you are at email, having 1,500 emails in your inbox is a recipe for disaster.

7. Just say no
If you’re constantly getting swamped by annoying emails (perhaps the ones that promised doom and gloom if you don’t pass them on to everyone you know within 4 seconds) just kindly let the repeat offenders (and they are usually repeat offenders) know that you’d prefer not to receive them anymore.

8. Recycle (good for the environment, and for your inbox)
In an ideal world you should only write the answer to a question once. From there you’ll blog it, or add it to your website’s FAQ or you’ll keep a template so that you can reuse it.

9. Don’t be a robot
On that last point, any standardised or template emails you send out should still sound like a human (not a robot) wrote them! Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality.

10. Delegate with style
If you pass an email onto someone else so that they can action it, CC the person who sent it to you in on this delegation so they know that you’ve done it and they know who the contact person is now. This covers your butt and lets the person know you’ve done something all in one step.

11. Break the addiction
Turn off your email program and just come back and check your emails say… twice a day. If the thought of doing this sends you into a cold sweat, just check for emails every hour to start off with. If you need to keep your email program open to work from say your calendar or to do lists just schedule the auto send and receive link so that you have to click it (and then hands off the button!)

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Help Change A Life Today

Thanks to the lovely chaps at Marquette Turner this weekend I found out about Kiva and I got pretty emotional reading through the site.

Kiva facilitates micro-financing loans to help build sustainable businesses that provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks.

Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.
Just now I helped my first entrepreneur Francis Tejada Rios from Peru.

Each time you assist it’s just $25 USD and when the entrepreneur repays the loan, you get that money back to either on-lend or to withdraw.

I’ve also started a team on Kiva – if you’d like to join, simply head here http://www.kiva.org/community/viewTeam?team_id=1756 after signing up.

Kiva say they provide “Loans that Change Lives” and I’m so proud to be a part of the community. Check out the website today and help change a life! www.kiva.org.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beer-O’Clock Or Reflection Time?

As I sit at my desk writing this post, it’s Friday afternoon.

Ahh.. the end of the week.

What does the end of the week mean for you? Is it time to look back and see how things have gone that week? Does it mean that beer-o’clock is just that little bit closer? Does it mean that your real life (the weekend) is just about to start?

It could even mean all three of those things, but if you’re keen to have a bit of a reflection (perhaps before beer-o’clock) consider asking yourself the following questions.

In the past two months…

1. What have I done that has challenged me?
2. Who have I met that has enriched my life?
3. What book / blog post have I read that has helped me learn something?
4. What have I figured out about myself?
5. Who have I thanked?
6. Whose life is better for having me in it?
7. What goal have I achieved or am I closer to achieving?
8. What didn’t I get done, that I wish I had?
9. What was the highlight (and how can I replicate that or something similar in the future)?
10. What was the lowlight (and how can I avoid it in the future)?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What Do I Think About Networking?

Inspired by this post by Naomi Simson founder of redbaloondays.com.au where she said that when she walks into a room full of strangers at a networking opportunity she thinks: “Goody, a whole room of potential new friends”.

I like that as a potential thought, especially when the more introverted part of me is really thinking: “Goody, they catered this event really well and do you think that anyone will notice if I just stand in the corner, don’t talk to anyone and attack the canapĂ© waitress each time she exits the kitchen?”

I love the topic of networking though and so I thought I’d list some other things you can get into the habit of thinking at a networking event (to overcome some of your perceived weaknesses):

If you’re an introvert challenge yourself by thinking:

• “I can stop networking as soon as I’ve met 15 people and exchanged business cards”
• “I can stop networking as soon as I’ve found out 5 pieces of personal information about people (children’s names, hobbies, company goals) and written them on the backs of those people’s business cards
• “I can stop networking as soon as I’ve got reasons to write 10 hand written cards tomorrow when I get back to work to people I’ve met here tonight”

If you’ve got the opposite problem and you know you talk a little (ok a lot) at these sorts of events, challenge yourself by thinking:

• “Over 50% of my night tonight will be spent silent” (remember the letters in silent spell listen!)
• “I will end every sentence about myself tonight with a question for the person I’m talking to”
• “How can I limit my elevator pitch to a fabulous 30 seconds?”

And if you have my problem and you’re overly fascinated by the munchies and cocktails on offer, rephrase the above goals so that you can eat one piece of food per 2 business cards exchanged.

Ultimately, in my mind, what I try to think when I walk into a networking situation is:

• “How many of these people don’t know about my business?” (and will by the end of tonight)
• “How many of these people are potential clients?”
• “How many of these people know potential clients?”
• “Who in the room can I become or refer a client for?” (reciprocity works wonders and the best way to get a referral is to give one!)
• “Who in this room has done something I’d like to do” (ie: who can I learn from?)

Getting your thoughts straight before you head into the event really helps you clarify your goals for the night and remember, of course you can also go along to an event like this just to have fun. Don’t be afraid to forget the strategy for a night (but take business cards just in case)!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kirsty's on TV: TripleJ's Hack Half Hour - ABC2, Monday 6th October at 8.30pm

Kirsty's going to be on the new Hack Half Hour TV show this coming Monday. Kirsty was asked to come in and provide her opinion when the Hack Half Hour asked: is the great Australian dream a crock? Could buying a house in your twenties actually be a flawed dream? Should we be spending our money on other things or just be concentrating on having a good time?

To find out more, or to view the episode after it airs head here: http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hackhalfhour/programs/

The Hack Half Hour is a show that gets everyone talking about the issues that impact on your life. In a comfortable setting like your own local you can be part of the conversation and hear views that explore opinions and experiences you may not have heard or seen before. This is a show about your world and the things around you, so be a part of the conversation!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Waiting on 1000 this month

Hey guys, just a quick post to remind those of you who know real estate agents that now is the time to refer them to www.reallysold.com. All they have to do is trial it (no cost) this month, and say you referred them and if you're the 1000th referrer this month, whammo - you'll get a lovely lil pressie from us.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Wave

When I was a young, confused recent uni drop out I set myself a goal with a list of “things” that I wanted to achieve with my spectacular (and yet completely unknown) future career. The list read as follows:
• I want it to be fun and exciting
• I want to be able to be really successful at it and make a great income
• I want to be able to have an impact on the lives of the people I deal with

It wasn’t until I started selling real estate at 19 that I realised I could tick all those boxes with that career, so I started getting my teeth stuck into it.

In thinking about what I do with my life going forward (I’ve now sold my real estate businesses) my mind is drawn back to that list, especially point 3.

I’ve been quite lucky with my real estate businesses to feel and create that “impact on people” in a big way. Many real estate agents do. We’ve all had clients cry, scream, jump up and down because they’re so delighted / moved / emotional, and it’s a lasting effect in many cases. Just this weekend a former client came up to me and chatted about his experiences when I sold him his house (back in 1999!)

But in a recent experience that I want to share with you.. I realised that what I’ve done so far is not going to be near enough for me and it’s made me reassess some of my goals for the future.

The event came about when I was recently fortunate enough to have John Anderson, founder of iconic travel brand Contiki, speak at Success with Attitude, a conference I co-organise here in Tasmania. John was exceptionally well received by the audience and actually brought more than a few people to tears during his speech.

One of the most touching parts for me was when John mentioned that these days, even after he has sold the company, each time he sees a Contiki coach touring young people around, he looks up, smiles and waves. He said something to the effect that the people on the coach have no idea who he is, but he knows what he’s done for them and thousands of others.

Having been on a Contiki tour (my first trip outside of the country) I know exactly what John’s talking about. I had an amazing time, truly life changing and completely memorable.

It got me thinking about the different types of impact businesses can have on their clients. It made me realise…

It’s not about frequency of use
I’ve travelled Contiki only once, but I have more brand passion for it than say, Microsoft (even as I type this blog into a Microsoft product, sporadically checking my email in another and doing my finance homework in a third) whose products I use every day.

It’s about how much you can stay in their hearts
Knowing the brand power is such that the average family saves for seven years to get to a Disney resort, I’m sure Walt would give a posthumous and knowing wave to each person entering the gates.

I would imagine my fellow smartcompany blogger Naomi Simson’s Red Balloon Days has that same potential to create a lasting impact when someone is gifted one of their amazing experiences.

Should we chuck the rest?
Am I saying that businesses that don’t tug at the heart strings are bad or evil? Certainly not! I’d be lost without my ability to “Google”… I’m just not going to send Larry and Sergey a valentines card (yet).

I even have a business of my own – www.reallysold.com – which is a vital help to real estate agents, but is unlikely to get me words of praise equivalent to even one experience helping someone sell their largest asset or trekking across the countryside.

It’s not about size (really!)
I know people who worship at the altar of Steve Jobs for their spanky new macs, iphones and ipods, but I’d be just as inclined to hug the staff at the tiny restaurant, Magic Curries I went to last week in Hobart for the exceptional dining experience I had there.

It doesn’t matter what your business is… if it’s still around after you’re gone, will you have justification in knowing you’ve had a hand in changing people’s lives for the better?

My new aim after seeing my new role model John Anderson speak is to try to emulate some of the effect he’s had on the world, in my own way. Stay tuned. Thanks John!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, September 22, 2008

Only 100 days to go!

I just left a fabulous master mind session with Celine Egan from www.tyc.com.au where I was reminded that as of today there are only 100 days left in the year!

100 days left before the year in which I turn 30 and still so much to do.

What will you do with the last 100 days of the year?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Real Estate Agents: “Trustworthy” is the new black

A survey of 500 people conducted by real estate copywriting site www.reallysold.com shows mixed results.

36% of people thought real estate agents were “generally trustworthy” with 38% unsure and 25% disagreeing with this statement.

Respondents stated that they would be most likely choose an agent to sell their home who they felt was the most trustworthy followed by one referred by friends and family and then the one they thought cared the most. Overwhelmingly people said they would not be swayed by the sale price an agent quoted or the commission they charged.

Promising results show that of those surveyed who had dealt with real estate agents, fewer than 8% had never had a good experience. There’s still work to come however with over 40% not ever having had an “exceptional” experience with a real estate agent. Just under 75% of respondents had previously had a bad experience with a real estate agent.

In excess of 88% remembered the name of the last real estate agency they dealt with, but around 10% fewer remembered the name of the person.

In excess of 35% thought that real estate agents had some improving to do in terms of the quality of the text and photography in their advertisements and the quality of an agent’s marketing and advertising is important or very important to 90% of people.

If an agent had a spelling mistake in their advertisement 12% would definitely not hire them while a further 55% would be less inclined to hire them as their agent.

Over 55% of people would call in 3 different agents to give their opinions if they were thinking of selling their property, less than 2% wouldn’t chose to use a real estate agent.

This survey was conducted online with 500 respondents 75% of which are based in Australia. Full survey report available online at: www.reallysold.com/2008survey.pdf

Survey conducted by www.reallysold.com is the world’s leading online real estate copy creation site. It assists real estate sales and property management agents in writing their property advertisement headings and copy. The entire process is done online in seconds and real estate agents have the ability to sign up for a complimentary 10 day trial of the product.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 8 comments

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Work it Baby… 5 tips to work your networking

I was at a networking event last week for Anthill magazine’s top 30 entrepreneur’s under 30 and it reminded me of some of my favourite networking rules.

1. Practice makes polished
Be well prepared for the question “what do you do?” If you’re a bit of an introvert (like me) be a nerd and practice in front of the mirror or with a friend answering this question until you can get it out in 30 seconds or less.

Awesome on the night at this: Sarah Sammon, founder of www.SimplyRosePetals.com supplying the most fabulous and colourful rose petal wedding accessories I’ve ever seen.

2. Work it
Before you answer “what do you do” have a bit of a think about what you might like someone to say once you’ve said your answer. Do you want them to say “cool” or do you want them to ask questions about it or do you want them to say “I want to use your service”?

Rocked it on the night: Seb Maslin, founder of 199QUERY (you can mobile text message ANY question you like to this number and they’ll answer it for only $2.50). After Seb told me what he did I instantly wanted to check it out for myself.

3. Card up
Have your business cards at the ready and consider:
• Not having your mobile number on your cards (so you can give it out to people specially and make them feel like a champ)
• Writing a small note on someone’s business card if they tell you a detail that could be important later on like kids names, birthdays, favourite drinks.
• Writing a small note on your own card when you give it to someone so that when they go home with their stack of cads they’ve got an even higher chance of remembering you from the bunch.

Failed miserably on the night:
Me! I left my cards in Tassie (don’t tell any real estate agents or they’ll kick me out of the club!) but I made sure I followed up all the business cards I received on the night with a quick email or handwritten card within a few days.

4. Homework first
Before I work… er walk into any networking situation I like to know, to the best of my ability, who’s going to be in that room. For this event my homework was sending a hand written card prior to the event to the people I knew were going to be there (not always possible) and reading up on their bios. “Mini-stalking” like this gives you something to chat about instantly and avoids those oh so soul shattering silent “I don’t know anyone” moments when you walk into a room, it also kinda makes people feel a little special which is always nice. If you can’t do your homework prior to the night, keep your ears peeled while you’re there for interesting tidbits.

My new BFF: Tobi Skovron of www.petloo.com.au heard I liked shoes, remembered it, and used it as a talking point later in the night (his collection, as it were may even rival my own).

5. Be Different
Whatever you can do to stand out on the night or afterwards (in a professional way: not by Coyote Ugly style dancing on the bar) makes it more likely that your name will be remembered instead of you being “whatshername” I met at “that thing that time”.

Definitely different: David Stallard of www.platinumcare.com.au was constantly amusing on the night, laugh out loud funny, but also followed up the next week via email with some interesting suggestions for me on domain names I might like to register (following on from a joke on the evening).

And one final tip for those of you perhaps looking to organise a networking event of your own. Try to give people something to talk about afterwards.

My hero on the night: James Tuckerman, founder of Anthill magazine www.anthillonline.com who set up the night, chose the theme of a children’s birthday party for the evening, based on the fact that young entrepreneurs may give up part of their childhood to achieve at a young age. James certainly gave me some of my childhood back... think party hats, cheezles, fairy bread, beer (ok, not so childlike) and pass the parcel with costumes to boot. The event was fabulous, fun and completely memorable!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Success Junkie Interview - Tobi Skovron - Co-Director of Pup-Pee Solutions Pty Ltd

Tobi is a self confessed Go-Getter and Entrepreneur who thrives on turning concepts into business. For nearly 10 years Tobi's professional background was based around Health in both Personal and Corporate environments. It was Tobi's partner Simone's passion and appreciation for pets that propelled Tobi into changing career paths and create the business Pup-Pee Solutions Pty Ltd. As a team they created The Pet Loo and will continue to release further products in the range - www.thepetloo.com

In bringing such a new and innovative product to the market I can imagine marketing was one of your biggest challenges. What were the most successful ways you got people to know and talk about the Pet Loo?

Maybe this will help, this is being featured on the Vic Gov Website:

I can see from your website that you're taking your Australian success story international - what have been your most exciting successes to date?

What I get the biggest kick out of is the stories that come into our office by email / fax / phone & pictures saying how happy they are that they can own a pet despite their dwelling situation. It doesn’t matter if the person is disabled, unwell, living alone, young, old, live in the coldest climate, apartment down town or a town house the benefits of animal companionship and breaking down barriers to pet ownership is what it’s all about – our product allows more people to be pet owners!

The most recent international pet show was Interzoo... that was an overwhelming experience! We setup our trade stand in Nuremberg Germany two months ago. This show is a biannual show and attracts in excess of 37,000 buyers from all over the world over four days. I met some phenomenal contacts and am going to visit them over the next few weeks where I plan to secure a significant partnership to grow the brand to where I vision it to be.

The products I have developed (we are more than just pet loo) are unique to the global pet industry, they also have a “wow” factor to them – it has put me and my company into a circle of highly successful people who all want to represent our brands in various regions and for us to become part of their strategic partnership group.

I love walking down town (in any major city I’m working in) going into a pet store and having the sales staff explain what the product is and how it works & the benefits it has without them realising I’m the one behind the product. I just love the excitement they have for the product ...

I'm a big believer that failure and the ability to deal with it shapes many entrepreneurs. What failures have you encountered and what would you change looking back?

Failures – Plenty BUT it's how you respond that makes you a champion. Coming from a amateur / professional sporting background you are going to win some games and lose some games but it's how you respond to a loss that allows you to overcome the opponent next time you meet them on the court by tending to the one percenters. While I ALWAYS knew I had it in me... In the past the areas I’ve chosen to really drive hard on haven’t really been ME or the vision and the task / industry haven’t worked. It shaped me which has positioned me to where I am right now. If I hadn’t done the things in the past, then I would have probably failed on this right now and learnt from that to do something else!

What were the three things would you say were most vital to your success with the Pet Loo?

To learn, to heed, to act!

I know where I am as a professional, but I seek the assistance and advise of those that have been there and done that before me. Individually I can’t take on the world but by surrounding myself with successful people with proven experience in excess of thirty years deep – I may come close... and if not... I’ll have a go!

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Success With Attitude 2008

We recently held a motivational / business style conference in my home town of Launceston. It’s the fifth year we’ve held it and it was a huge success again. Each year I find I learn some really valuable lessons, not only from the speakers (who are always fantastic), but also just from helping put together the event with my co-organising superstars Ronald, Rob and Tim.

This year’s lessons for me were:

1. Marketing creativity doesn’t have to cost much more than a thought. When I walked two of our speakers to their rooms I was surprised to find that they’d been upgraded to gorgeous suites. When I thanked the Country Club Casino’s manager Rod for this he said there was no need to thank him. By upgrading these VIPs to suites they’d leave with a more favourable impression of his venue and hopefully tell others. Clever but simple Rod - I love it!

2. To rethink what I consider fundamental business skills. Our speakers this year were more diverse than ever. We had John Anderson (NZ: founder of Contiki), Justin Herald (Aust: who turned $50 into a multi million dollar business with Attitude) and Ron White (USA: Mr. Memory). When someone said to me prior to the event - “What does memory have to do with business?” I’m glad they were in the audience to hear Ron White meet over 50 people prior to the event and then rattle off each of their names from memory many times over during the evening. As Ron pointed out, if you’re the sales person, business owner or receptionist who can meet someone once and then see them again 6 months later and know their name, their hobbies and their kid’s name you’re far more likely to win their business. (to see what Ron’s amazing Memory in a Month is all about head here: http://www.yoursuccessstore.com/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=195&kbid=7167)

3. When someone’s heart is really behind a topic, their emotion can impact even more than the words they’re saying. John Anderson is one of the more emotional speakers I’ve heard and I was blown away by the reaction our audience had to a couple of his stories about his wife, some of Contiki’s more challenging times and what he does when he sees a Contiki bus now after having sold the company.

4. There are all sorts of ways to get things done and this fact was made obvious by John Anderson and Justin Herald. Both have phenomenal business stories to tell, but the two couldn’t be more different. It reminded me that when I see a Trump or a Packer and think, oh wow, I’m nothing like them, there’s hope for me and for every other unique entrepreneur out there to do things their own way.

5. Think before you speak. This one’s a bit of a personal lesson for me. I like to think I’m kind of funny sometimes and I said something to someone at the event which I found hilarious, but that wasn’t at all necessary - Oh Kirsty! I thought I’d outgrown this at age 16, but it seems as though I’m still a work in progress… aren’t we all though!?

6. ClichĂ©’s often ring true. When I attended my first ever speaking event / conference I was told by a mentor that all I had to do was to take away one lesson from the event and I’d made my money’s worth. Since that time I’ve sat in the audience’s of some of the world’s finest and most acclaimed speakers (Tony Robbins, Denis Waitley, Les Hill, Seth Godin) and I’ve also sat in the audience of speakers you may not have heard of but who I consider to be world class (Marcelle Bernard, Ron Lee the corporate ninja, David Knox, Rick DeLuca, Eric Bailey, Anne McKevitt for a longer list see: http://www.kirstydunphey.com/lovetomeet.html) and I’ve learnt something valuable and powerful at almost every event I’ve ever been to, often worth ten times more than the price of admission. If you haven’t heard a speaker live on stage recently, get looking for an event to get your teeth stuck into! And if you can’t afford to see someone live, check out www.youtube.com and www.ted.com for some amazing keynotes online.

And that’s my wrap up for Success with Attitude 2008 our fifth, certainly not our last and absolutely one of my favourites!

Also: If you’re holding an event anywhere in the world, Ron White, Justin Herald and John Anderson are some of the most insightful and entertaining speakers you could choose from. I’d be happy to put you in contact with any of them, just contact me if you’d like me to do so.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, September 8, 2008

Success Junkie Interview - Ryan Hreljac - Founder Of Ryan's Well Foundation

At the age of 17, Ryan Hreljac is a compelling voice for those impacted by the water crisis throughout the developing world and his story has inspired many of all ages to take responsibility for their world, whether in their own communities or, like Ryan, in far away places. He is the founder of the Ryan’s Well Foundation, an organization supporting activities to BUILD safe water sources, EDUCATE individuals, schools, corporations and other service organizations to create awareness of water related issues and those with limited access to resources and MOTIVATE present and future leaders to realize their own global citizenship.

In 1998, 6-year-old Ryan Hreljac was shocked to learn that children in Africa had to walk many kilometers every day just to fetch water, the most basic element for human survival. Ryan decided he needed to build a well for a village in Africa. By doing household chores and public speaking on clean water issues, Ryan’s first well was built in 1999 at the Angolo Primary School in a northern Ugandan village. The well continues to serve thousands of people. Ryan’s determination grew from the $70 collected by doing simple household chores to the Ryan’s Well Foundation that today has contributed a total of 432 wells in 15 developing countries bringing clean water services to 577,640 people.

Ryan, what you've done with Ryan's Well is amazing, but the thing that strikes me is that you didn't wait until society might have thought you "old enough" to make a difference. What gave you the confidence to start so young towards your goal and what advice would you give others in pursuing their dreams at any age?

My story is really very simple. One day in January 1998, I was sitting in my Grade 1 classroom. My teacher, Mrs. Prest, explained that people were sick and some were even dying because they didn’t have clean water. She told us that some people walked for hours in Africa and sometimes it was just to get dirty water.

All I had to do was take 9 or 10 steps from my classroom to get to the drinking fountain and I had clean water. Before that day in school, I figured everyone lived like I did and so when I found this out, I decided I had to do something about it. I started doing extra chores, telling family and friends about the water crisis to raise money for a well in Africa. My goal of clean water for all has grown from $70 collected by doing household chores to the Ryan’s Well Foundation. Over 10 years, Ryan’s Well has carried out hundreds of projects in more than a dozen developing countries benefiting over half a million people who now have access to clean water and sanitation services.

My advice to anyone is that in order to make a positive change in the world, you need to find something that you are passionate about and then you need to take steps to act. Although they may be very small steps, if you keep at it and never give up, your impact will grow year after year. And whether you are a gas station attendant, the Prime Minister of the country or a kid in Grade 1, I hope my story is a reminder that we can all make a difference. This works regardless of whether you are short or tall, old or young. It applies to each and every one of us.

As a consequence of the work of Ryan's Well over half a million people in the world now have access to clean water where they didn't before - that's amazingly impressive. We all know though that on the road to success, most people have setbacks. What was one setback on your journey and how did you deal with it and overcome it?

I can’t really think of one set back specifically. We all have bumps in the road and we all need to learn to deal with them while keeping a positive attitude. I think your attitude is the most important part of dealing with any set back.

Ryan, you're a hero and a role model to a lot of people out there in the world (young and old), we'd like to know who your heroes are - who do you look up to and respect in the world?

I don’t really have any idols. I think that all people are human. We all have good characteristics as well as things we need to work on. If I really had to pick someone to admire it would be all the young people out there with the tenacity and determination to work for a better world.

And finally - what's next for Ryan and for Ryan's Well?

I have had an exciting and busy year. In late June, I returned from studying abroad with a school called Class Afloat (www.classafloat.com). I spent from September 2007 to January 2008 at a land based school in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. From February to June 2008, I studied and helped crew on the tall ship “Concordia.” Over the five months, we traveled to Salvador (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom), Cape Town (South Africa), Walvis Bay (Namibia), St. Helena (United Kingdom), Ascension Island, (United Kingdom), Fernando de Noronha (Brazil), Natal (Brazil), Belem (Brazil), Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Bahia de Samana (Dominican Republic), Hamilton (Bermuda) and Lunenburg (Nova Scotia). It was hard work and I was a little sleep deprived but loved sailing while learning about other countries and other cultures that make up our global village.

This fall, I will begin my final year of high school in Kemptville Ontario. I’m a pretty regular teenager. The only thing different about me is that I have been working on this project since January 1998, more than half of my life. But there are many other young people doing the exact same thing.

I continue to be involved with the foundation and have already had meetings with our new Executive Director and other staff and volunteers since my return to Kemptville. I continue to speak around the world on water issues and on the importance of making a difference no matter who you are or how old you are. Within the next few months, I will be in Taiwan, New York City, Toronto, Ottawa and western Canada speaking on behalf of the Foundation.

I am very excited about our new youth program – Ryan’s Well Ambassadors. Youth, like me, will be participating in a 3-day workshop learning and talking about water issues and the work of the Foundation. I hope that these Ambassadors will help us to spread the word about the difference we can all make by working together to build, educate and motivate people in communities across the planet.

The Foundation hopes to continue growing to take strong steps forward toward a brighter future for our friends in water poor countries by working with them to develop safe water points and proper sanitation so that they can build brighter futures for themselves.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What’s On The Inside Isn’t All That Counts – 4 simple steps to put the magic into online shopping

I ordered a book online earlier this year and eagerly checked my post box daily waiting for it. Two weeks later, nothing. No contact to say it had been delayed. No email to say my order had been dispatched or even received. No reply to my email politely asking them where my book was. Fast forward over four weeks before my book finally arrived (it must have been an arduous trek from Sydney to Tasmania.) The anticipation of the read was definitely diminished because of the wait and the lack of service.

It got me thinking, with so much trade happening online these days what are retailers doing to contribute to the excitement of the experience? I’ve surveyed a few friendof mine in retail and I’ve come up with a few ideas.

1. Email your client when they make their order (either have this automated or shock horror do it manually) and let them know:
a. When they can expect their order
b. When it will be shipped
c. How it will be shipped
d. And if you can, make it sound like a human wrote the email

2. Inject a bit of personality into your order. We often send out our orders from www.unleashedknowledge.com addressed to “Fabulous Jody Smith” or “Rock Star Robin”.

This comment left on a blog shows (think free publicity for your company) the impact this tiny gesture can have:

Saturday, June 28, 2008
I got wowed!
Today I received a package that I had ordered from Kirsty Dunphey.

It cost nothing to address it to me with the title as "The Awesome..." but it made me feel like a million dollars (is that how she got her first million by the time she was 23?).

They also included a mobile phone sock & a CD, but it was the title that made this package memorable.

It made me think how I can make my clients feel extra special ...
Posted by Tony
Friday, June 20, 2008 from http://tonysideaspage.blogspot.com/2008/06/i-got-wowed.html

3. As Tony mentioned in the point 2 – we like to include some extras when people purchase directly from us. Sometimes they’re cards, a mobile phone sock (a Mock!) or a DVD of me speaking –a nice little surprise (as opposed to a boring invoice) when people open their package.

Bex Gold, founder of the divine range of glamour cleaning products at www.cinderella.com.au told me: “I often add microfibre cloths or stain removal sachets - the feedback from consumers is really positive.”

Lara Solomon founder of www.mocks.com.au also includes a whole swag of kit for her online purchasers including pins and loot directly targeted to her major demographics.

4. This is something we’re not doing yet, but I really noticed the importance of it when I received my new Borne Naked Handbag liner.

Amanda George, founder of www.borne.com.au is the queen of style and branding. She sent me through these images showing her packaging. Gorgeous personalised label, pretty pink ness and fabulous branding all round.

Sammie Appleyard founder of www.funkyhomes.com.au and Lara Dall’Alba founder of www.destionationstyle.com.au pay the same attention to their packaging – and if their customers are anything like me, they appreciate the extra care.

So there you have it, 4 simple steps to make online shopping with YOU an experience.
1. Get in contact quickly with all the info
2. Have a personality (and show it)
3. Consider a bonus extra
4. Pack it like you care

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is It An Asset Or Just Making You An Ass?

What’s not an asset in your business?

1. Your systems (if they’re only in your head)

2. Your written systems (if they’re rigid, inflexible, un-personalised and can’t be changed with influence from your team and customers)

3. Your number one customer (if your business is too dependant upon having their custom)

4. The customer you’re dealing with right now (if you don’t have a service plan in place to nurture the relationship into the future)

5. Your best salesperson / employee (if they believe that they’re indispensable, worst still if you believe they are)

6. Your longest standing employee (if they can’t embrace change)

What could be a hidden asset?

1. Your customer complaints (they should scream to you: fix or implement a system here)

2. Your outgoing emails (many could serve as a blog post, an answer to a frequently answered question and a reason never to have to type that same email answering that same question ever again)

3. Your current customer when you only have a few (One delighted customer (if you do it right) can talk about you ten times more than 10 moderately satisfied ones)

4. Your suppliers (if there’s a hidden customer hiding there)

5. That plucky (translation: sometimes annoying) employee who just won’t shut up with all their great ideas (find a way to channel their creativity so that you don’t get frustrated, and so that you can farm any brilliance that may occur)

6. That employee you know has dreams and desires of leaving you and starting their own company (figure out a way to encourage, challenge and inspire them, utilising the best they have to offer while they’re with you – who knows you might also end up with a dedication in their book once they’ve gone on to further greatness)

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flickr photo credit

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Success Junkie Interview - Kelly Perdew - Entrepreneur and Donald Trump's Apprentice

After winning the second season of the NBC hit show, The Apprentice, Kelly spent 2005 as an Executive Vice President in the Trump Organization, where he managed several projects. Kelly earned a BS from the US Military Academy, West Point, a JD from the UCLA School of Law, and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA. Kelly authored, “TAKE COMMAND: 10 Leadership Principles I Learned in the Military and Put to Work for Donald Trump,” to provide guidance on how anyone can develop their leadership capabilities and he donates a percentage of the royalties to the USO.

Kelly Perdew is the CEO of www.rotohog.com. RotoHog provides the best fantasy sports platform in the world. The unique RotoHog game solves many of the problems that have plagued the Fantasy Sports industry for years. Currently, they serve as the official fantasy basketball game provider for the NBA, and have created NBA.com's most successful online game, the NBA Stock Exchange. RotoHog also powers a fantasy soccer game for ClicRBS, a major Brazilian media company. In addition to providing fantasy sports games for major media companies and leagues, www.rotohog.com provides fantasy sports games directly to users on their site.

Your background including the military side is very different to the other Apprentice winners, how do you feel this gave you an advantage during the interview process?

Actually, I wrote my book about how my military background assists me in business and how it helped prepare me for any situation – including competing on and winning The Apprentice. Specifically for The Apprentice, my background helped me because I learned how to remain calm and focused under pressure, learned how to lead people, and learned how to solve problems creatively.

While reading your book Take Command I found myself completely seeing how the values instilled in you during through your military time (Duty, Impeccability, Passion, Perseverance, Planning, Teamwork, Loyalty, Flexibility, Selfless Service and Integrity) would serve an aspiring entrepreneur or intrapreneur. Would you recommend some sort of military service for anyone looking to follow that path?

Military service is not for everyone and it is not the only place where those leadership qualities are instilled, but it is one of the best. Every individual must first understand themselves and determine what will truly make them happy. Not their parents, not their kids, not their partner…really understanding what makes you “tick” will help you decide the path to follow.

I'm a big believer that failure and the ability to deal with it shapes many entrepreneurs. What failures have you encountered and what would you change looking back?

My first start up was a "failure". I learned so many important things in that endeavor…

1. Be careful taking investment money from friends and family
2. Make sure to surround yourself with great advisors
3. Raise as much money as you can when you’re raising money
4. Think big
5. Never underestimate the competition

What three books would you recommend all aspiring business people read?

1. The Art of War – Real World Strategy
2. Done Deals – VC Stories
3. The Cashflow Quadrant – What do you want to be?

What were the three things you now see were most vital to your win as the Apprentice.

1. Think strategically all the time
2. Organized planning is critical
3. Keep your head about when all those are losing theirs (stole that from Kipling)

What three things surprised you during your year working with Donald Trump?

1. Donald gets 100 requests a day from people and organizations asking for things.
2. Donald has people that have been working with him/for him for 30+ years. 3. He gets invited to a lot of parties!

I know that you have some exciting new projects including Rotohog.com - what's next for Kelly Perdew and how will your time as the Apprentice contribute towards who you are going forward?

I was very lucky to make it onto the show and I feel incredibly fortunate to have won. One of the best things about winning was it gave me a platform to help some causes I support – Big Brothers/Sisters, The National Guard Youth Challenge Program and the USO. www.rotohog.com is a platform for fantasy sports so come play on www.rotohog.com!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, August 22, 2008

Can Childhood Dreams Come True?

When I was a kid, I had one recurring dream (that wasn’t a nightmare about Witches from Roald Dahl’s book of the same name). I would climb our fence and jump off it with a towel strapped to my back, just before I hit the ground I would swoop up into the air flying away or towards whatever that dream happened to be about (giants, piles of lollies, you get the drift). I know lots of you have had the same or similar dreams, maybe even a few of you have acted them out with the same painful consequences I encountered, but in watching the following video, which I’m ga-ga about, I realised that if my childhood dream of flying could come true surely nothing is impossible.

If you think back to your childhood your dream may not have been flying, it may have been going to Disneyland, having a happy family with 7 kids, buying your Mum a brand new car, starting your own business or eating 25 big boss cigars in a single sitting.

Maybe you even dreamed of selling a sibling (hey – if James Blunt can do it…)

I don’t know what your childhood dreams were, but I do know that in this world, not much is out of the realms of possibility. Take 5 minutes today and think about what you dreamt of when you were a child, and if you still want it, get to it. I’ve put base jumping in the flying suit in my goal box what’s going in yours?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

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