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Thursday, December 31, 2009

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: motorbikes and cars were materialised on stage, a paper rose was lit on fire and turned into a real rose and of course there were ducks (well one duck at least called Webster).

Strangely what stood out for me the most though was Copperfield’s story about his father and his grandfather. Copperfield’s father won a prestigious acting scholarship (also won by Robert Redford and Danny Devito) but his father (Copperfield’s grandfather) banned him from taking it with threats of disowning him. His father acquiesced.

At the age of 14 when Copperfield decided he wanted to pursue a life as a magician his grandfather tried the same act on him telling him that performers were “bums”. Obviously Copperfield wasn’t dissuaded but sadly his grandfather never spoke to him again.

I’ve got to have such respect for someone with the maturity to determine a career path at age 14 and to overcome such obstacles to follow it. He had a dream and wouldn’t be bullied into forsaking it.

I feel sorry for his grandfather. Firstly, he’s attempted to bully two generations and has succeeded in helping one give up his dream. Secondly, he didn’t have the courage to admit he was wrong prior to his death when Copperfield had obviously proved he wasn’t going to be a “bum”.

If there’s someone around you: young, old or even yourself with a dream, what can you do to encourage it today?

And just for a giggle, here’s Webster (the duck).



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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, December 21, 2009

Message In A Bottle

In my continuing theme of “little ways to set yourself apart” let me show you the best gift voucher I’ve ever purchased.


It’s from the Drunken Admiral restaurant in Hobart, Tasmania. These guys really know how to do little things that make people talk.Their gift vouchers come “message in a bottle style”. Their seafood chowder which is truly world class comes displayed on a printed version of the recipe, but in pirate style the secret ingredients are “burned” off it. There’s a romantic booth for two that you can book which his actually inside the hull of a ship.

They’re little things, but they get me excited, they make me want to tell friends and they make me want to come back!

What’s the “little special” about you or your organisation?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, December 11, 2009

How much does it cost to make someone feel special?

My husband and I cruised through Alaska as part of our honeymoon. On this trip a fellow traveler told me that Alaska is the “cruise you take before you die” (the comment was more to do with the average age of the cruisers, not the danger level involved in trying to run on a treadmill while the ship dodged icebergs!)

We LOVED Alaska and this cruise despite the fact that we may have been the youngest people ever to set foot on the shuffleboard deck.

One of the reasons we loved it so much was because of our housekeeper Merawai. There’s a reason I still remember her name 4 years on (and it’s not just because she liked to enter our room without knocking.)

Every morning when she serviced our teeny tiny cabin she’d leave us a towel folded into a create of some sort. She’d use my glasses as props, or hang them from the ceiling.


It was systemized brilliance and gave us a giggle each and every day. It cost the company a little in time and nothing in materials and 4 years on I’m still telling people about the experience.

What could you start doing today to make someone still feel the need to rave about you 4 years on?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, December 7, 2009

Question on purchasing multiple properties

Question (paraphrased slightly)

How does a normal person on a normal salary get to a position where they can accumulate multiple properties purchasing negatively geared properties?


Response

What a great question! And one everyone should ask himself or herself prior to starting to accumulate property.

Step 1: Work out what each property you’re looking at will cost you on a case by case basis. The best way to do this (I think) is to read Jan Somer’s investment books on residential property and formulate a spreadsheet (excel is great for this) which takes into consideration all estimated expenses (land tax, insurance, property management fees, marketing, estimated maintenance, body corporate, interest and more) and then factors in any tax and depreciation benefits and works out approximately how much that property will cost you to own per week.

Step 2: If your goal is to accumulate lots of properties, the closer to neutral and positively geared properties you can find, the better. That’s easier said than done in many markets, but I think the best way to find these properties are:
- Look at lots of properties and do lots of research
- Get a property manager (not a sales agent) to give you a rental prediction on any property prior to you making an offer
- Don’t be afraid of making cheeky / low offers. If you’re worried about offending the owners of the properties, just remember, they can always say no. But if you don’t offer them anything, they never have the chance to say yes and you usually have little idea about their circumstances or motivation.
- Revert to step one and work out your numbers (all of them including EVERY expense)! The most common mistake I find these days comes down to basic math. If you’re paying $350,000 for a property and it’s renting for $350 per week that’s NOT a 10% return!

Step 3: Talk to your account about the best entity / people to own the properties under. For you it might be in one partner’s name or in a family trust, but work out what’s going to get you the best protection and the best tax benefits. You might also want to talk to your accountant about getting the amount you are taxed at your main place of employment decreased on a regular basis rather than getting a larger return at the end of the year – this can be great for cash flow.

Step 4: Maximise your rent by:
- Finding a great property manager who will get you top dollar
- Staying on top of regular market rental increases
- Looking at ways to increase the rental return on properties (if a tenant is prepared to pay extra for different heating, a carport, new carpet etc: work out your sums!)

Unless you work towards the above steps you may find it hard to accumulate more than a couple of properties as your cashflow will be depleted. Perhaps this is why around 80% of Australian investors only own one investment property!

Now of course there are lots of other strategies, but what I’ve outlined above is a fairly simplistic strategy for buying and holding residential property long term.

Of course, this information is general and should not be construed as financial advice. Consult your accountant for information specific to your circumstances.

Kirsty

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jim Rohn

I was so sad this morning to hear of the passing of Jim Rohn.

Watching him speak years ago in Sydney had a profound impact on me.

I highly encourage you all to hit YouTube, google Jim and look into his books and CDs.

His message is timeless and always powerful.

Rest in Peace Jim Rohn.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Common Courtesy Creates Captivated Clients

My parents in law are presently undergoing a kitchen renovation – stressful enough at the best of times, but made all the worse by having tradies stomping muck all over their floorboards, chipping bricks into their brand new bench tops and leaving all the cupboards full of sawdust.

We spent a fair amount of time this weekend discussing the simple things those tradespeople could have done to create an absolutely captivated client who told all their friends about their service:

• Brought some tarps to cover the bench tops while they were working on the bricks
• Wore hospital booties over their boots when they walked inside (we’ve used these previously at open homes and given you end up with bright blue covered feet, they’re a prominent advert for your care)
• Brought a dust buster or vacuum to clean up after themselves

If any one of these simple acts had been done my parents in law would have been raving about them and recommending them to every one of their friends.

As my mother in law said: “it’s just one of many jobs to them, but this is our house”.

Now whether you work in a trade, or in any other field, a simple act that doesn’t take much time or forethought can often have the power to amaze and impress.

Like the real estate agent who brings a CD of appropriate music to play at her open home, or the hair dresser who offers to save a lock of a child’s first hair cut for a doting parent or the insulation sales person who sends back his quote with a dog rusk for the beloved family pet. Having just read the book about John Ilhan, founder of Crazy John’s I loved the part of the story where it detailed that Crazy John staff would program in mobile phone numbers into their clients phones (common courtesy and a great business idea – after all, if the numbers are already in there, they’re more likely to call them right!)

What can you do today to captivate and amaze?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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