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, July 31, 2009

What to look for in a coach

I agree that the best tennis coach in the world doesn’t have to have Roger Federer’s skills on the court. I agree that the best swimming coach in Australia doesn’t have to be Stephanie Rice in the water.

BUT, if you’re going to get a coach or an advisor in the area of money, health or happiness I think they have to have proven their ability on themselves first.

I personally wouldn’t want to go a business coach who’s never run a business. I wouldn’t invest my money with someone who doesn’t invest themselves and who hasn’t shown a past ability. I also couldn’t take health advice as seriously from someone who wasn’t practising healthy behaviour.

These days you can be come a life, business or wellness coach by way of franchise or by simply putting out a sign that says that you are one and I think it’s crazy.

Be careful who you put your trust in. Ask questions. Be assertive. And as always, if someone presents you with an offer that’s too good to be true, it probably is!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Buy Fast, Buy Cheap, Buy Now?

I’ve just spent the better part of the morning marvelling at the ridiculously low prices that you can get real estate in the United States for at the moment. Case in a point, a 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 3 storey brick home just sold for $7,102 USD in front of my eyes in an online auction.

I get so many emails at the moment from investors keen to grab their $7,102 investment property in the States sight unseen thinking it’ll be a gold mine for them as prices eventually go up and the rent will cover the teeny tiny mortgage in the meantime.

“Caveat emptor” is Latin for “buyer beware” and it’s my motto when buying any piece of real estate for investment or otherwise. Whether the property is in the States or 3 hours away in Australia, regardless of the price I still advise you to go through a lengthy research process including:

• Finding out what the street and suburb are like. What are homes of similar quality renting for in the area? Have you had an independent property manager (ie: not someone working for the company selling it) go and give you a rental estimate? How long are properties taking to rent in that area?
• Is the home even rentable in its current state? What repairs need doing? Have you had a building inspector look at he property?
• If you’re looking in the States, what back taxes are owing, are you buying the property outright or taking on debt from the previous owners? Are you buying through a legitimate source? Also check out www.zillow.com for some great info on neighbouring properties.
• Have you made contact with a good (no, great!) property manager to look after the property for you?
• Do you have someone looking after your legal interest and making sure that any contract you sign protects you adequately?

And please please please consider going to visit the property before buying it. A few hours on a plane gives you an opportunity to see the neighbourhood for yourself, to view similar rental properties, to chat to neighbours and so much more.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Friday, July 24, 2009

In all honesty… I hate my boss!

At 18 I received some of the best life and “interview advice” from my boss at the time Nick. I was interviewing with him and he asked me about where I was working at the time. I proceeded to tell him I couldn’t wait to get away from the place because I really was having issues with the boss.

Now, even though these issues were justified (a death threat is a justified issue right?) Nick sat me down after I got the job and explained to me that a future boss doesn’t want to hear about your issues with your current boss.

This was one of many lessons he taught me during the time I studied while working with him. Another one that stuck with me was when you start a sentence with “In all honesty…” you’re inviting the person you’re talking to think that you’re not speaking with honesty at other times.

I was reminded of these lessons when chatting with a friend recently who was having an issue with her boss. They didn’t appreciate her. They didn’t respect the work she put in. They took her for granted. No death threats here which is a great start! But it got me to thinking I’d had a similar discussion with her about her previous boss, and the one before that, and the one before that.

When a pattern like that emerges, where you’ve been at odds with every boss you’ve ever worked for, maybe it’s time to look internally instead of continuing to push the blame outwards?

There are great bosses out there and of course really average ones, but if you’re always looking for flaws instead of appreciate opportunities you’ll always have a martyr complex and be wondering why you’re not being fully appreciated. Who knows, given the economy (I was told just this weekend that 500,000 people in the States are losing jobs each month!), you could turn your feelings around and start appreciating your boss for the very fact that you have a job right now.

So, wrapping up and in all honesty… er I mean with as much honesty as I always write:
• If you can’t stand more than 60% of your current / previous bosses and managers, maybe it’s you.
• If you can’t stand your current boss but aren’t going to leave, try and change your attitude by realizing how lucky you are to simply have a job at the moment and consider what you can do to make the attitude more positive.
• If you’re getting death threats, leave your place of employment, but keep it to yourself in future job interviews!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, July 20, 2009


I’ve just arrived back from a 4 week holiday today to receive a great email from www.kiva.org telling me that I have enough credit to loan back some of the money I’ve already loaned to micro entrepreneurs.

That’s the awesome thing about Kiva. You can make some initial loans (of $25 USD) and then as those people pay the money back you can keep lending it, or if you need to, you can withdraw the money. I’ve never had any other charitable type donation give the money back to me or allow me to keep reloaning it!!!

Happy to have sent some money towards a group of 9 women in Ghana today through our lending team.

Added bonus of Kiva: it helps with your geography, now exactly where is Ghana…

I highly encourage you to go check out the site today www.kiva.org and make your own micro loan to an entrepreneur who needs it.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blind Obedience

I’m not sure I could ever be in the military as my father was. Blind obedience doesn’t sit well with me, and yet it’s a way of life and a vital tool for survival in the military.

In a business environment however, I think that blind obedience only hamstrings an organisation.

Any manager who expects and wants blind obedience is really just saying they want to constrict the growth of an organisation.

There’s a huge difference between respect and blind obedience.

• Blind obedience keeps on doing something even when it knows there’s a better way.

• Respect, says “have we ever thought about adding / changing…”

And while there’s a huge difference between respect and blind obedience there are also miles between respect and disrespect.

• Respect says “I’ve been thinking, what if we tried…” and clearly and concisely states their point for their manager.

• Disrespect says “That’s stupid and inefficient” either to their manager’s face or behind their back or continues to press their point long after their manager has considered it and decided to go in another direction

The problem? So many employees think that what their manager wants is blind obedience. The secret? The best managers want your input. They want you to help your organisation get better. When you improve something, everyone benefits and you make your manager look better. They may not always take your advice, or move in your direction (as a manger that’s their choice), but done respectfully it will always be of benefit.

Tweak your communication so it’s always respectful and always helpful and you’ll soon see that a first class manager will welcome your suggestions.

What to do if you have a manager who isn’t first class and who only wants blind obedience? Firstly, find out if this is the case or if you just assume it is (have a coffee with them and try them out on one piece of feedback, ask how they like feedback delivered). If you’re positive that they only want blind obedience my advice is: fall into line (but keep your eyes open for a different manager or mentor - you deserve better).

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are You Creating The Magic?

I have a budgie named Walt (Walt Disney), I honeymooned at Disneyland, I’ve written articles and more about them. You could say I’m a crazy Disney fan. Why? Because of the magic. Walt Disney wasn’t perfect, but he did try to distil a little bit of magic back into the lives of the people who interacted with a Disney product.

I’d like to think that while Walt isn’t still with us (the man, not the budgie), that spirit of creating magic still is.

I feel it when I walk into a Build a Bear store where they create a retail experience like no other where you actually make your own teddy bear complete with the ritual that goes along with giving you bear true heart.

The magic was there at a character filled and people packed restaurant I once went to in Texas. There were around 8 of us dining on a huge round table and when it was time for our meals, 8 waiters all stood behind us and in unison placed our plates in front of us.

Magic surges from the website at Toms Shoes www.tomsshoes.com where you know that for each pair of shoes you purchase they also donate one to a child in need.

What are you doing to create the magic in your life?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Important Is… ?

One of the most read articles I’ve ever written was on “Killer Customer Surveys” – however it’s just been brought to my attention that I’ve missed a vital part of it.

Now that it’s been pointed out to me – it’s so clear!

Let’s say for example, you’re asking people to rate your:

• Website
• Customer service
• Newspaper advertising
• Phone manner

You get an average rating of 9/10 for website and newspaper advertising and a 7/10 for customer service and phone manner.

Most businesses would be fairly happy with this overall average of 8.

BUT – what if you add an extra portion to your customer survey’s that also asks them to rate how important each of those items are to you.

From there you may get a totally different picture.

What if people still love your website and newspaper advertising but it’s not at all important to them. The customer service may be all the client cares about – and rates this as VERY important – and you’re only getting an average of 7 in this area. The 9’s you’re getting on the other two items which aren’t important then don’t contribute to an overall rating of 8 – they’re simply not important.

One simple addition to your survey could shed a whole new light on your customer’s wants and needs.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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