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)...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Multi-tasking, schmulti-tasking

You might hear a lot of people talk about the benefits of "multi-tasking". Me personally, I think it's one of the worst things you can attempt. The only times I truly find myself multi-tasking are when my mind is scattered and I’m latterly trying to do two or more things at once and each one is getting done poorly.

My job each day is broken into about half the day of smaller jobs that take say 5-30 minutes each. The rest of it is longer tasks that may take me an hour or two each – more long term planning tasks. If I try and do any of these overlapping each other, nothing gets done properly.

One thing that works well for me, is the following:

1. Start each day by spending 5-10 minutes looking at all the work for that day (so emails, diary/to do tasks for the day and things in your in tray).

2. Split the above into 2 piles - the first one being things that need to get done today, the other, things that can wait.

3. The stuff that isn't urgent for today, move back into a working on tray on your desk.

4. The stuff that is urgent, put it in order if priorities in one pile and steadily work through that one at a time until it’s all done.

5. As things come in during the day, decide if they need to be done that day and add to the appropriate pile in order of priorities.

6. Once you get through the stuff that needs to be done that day take one thing at a time out of your working on tray and complete as much as you can.

I know it all seems a bit simplified, but the number of people I see with 7 “to do” piles on their desks or having 5 files open and being worked on at once is crazy. One thing, done well, then move on. Sure you’ll get interrupted and need to be able to break away, do something else and come back. But multi-tasking – meh – I don’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I’d take someone who can efficiently work through a big pile of stuff in the best order of priority than someone who tries to impress (me or anyone else) by working on numerous things shoddily. 

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The top mistakes you could make when buying an investment property

I owe much of my financial security to real estate property investment. Having worked in real estate my whole life (well – since I was 15, so it feels that way!) it’s what I know and it’s also what I love. But it’s not for everyone.

Here are my top mistakes you could make when buying an investment property:

1. Borrowing an amount that’s going to stress you financially to repay. This is the bottom line. People’s circumstances change, you could lose your job, have a/nother child, have an extended period of vacant time, interest rates could dramatically change. Are you prepared for that and will you still be able to (comfortably) afford your investment property.

2. Not having the appropriate insurance. I call a specific landlord protection insurance a “sleep easy” policy. While it doesn’t cover you for everything it sure covers you for a lot more than your building insurance with a tack-on landlord component and is a must – especially for owners with only one property.

3. Having a property manager who doesn’t wait for the right tenants and simply puts in any old tenant. Correct tenant selection eliminates 90% of all future problems and you need a property manager who understands that.

4. Worse still – managing the property yourself. You could do your own appendectomy if you wanted to, but you wouldn’t. Many privately managed properties attract worse tenants, aren’t inspected regularly, the tenants aren’t reference checked, have leases which aren’t up to date and condition reports that aren’t adequate.

5. Don’t listen to the sales agent. With all due respect to my wonderful colleagues in the sales side of real estate – their job is to sell you the home. Confirm any rental projections of any form (projected rental price, likely tenant etc) with a specialist property manager. In the same way that I, as a property manager could tell you what your home may sell for – it’d be nowhere near as accurate / reliable and researched as if you went to someone who did that job function all day every day. 

6. Buying a property and becoming a property investor if you’re not mentally prepared for it. I have clients right now who know they’re not made for being property investors. They’ll sell their homes when the market is right for them and never look back with a moment’s regret. A property investor has to be able to have a good level of emotional distance from their investments. Own a property long enough and you will have tenants who do not respect your investment. Own a property long enough and you’ll have (even with great tenants) damage done to your investment. There will be times when the gardens aren’t done perfectly or the internal presentation isn’t up to scratch (isn’t it this way at your home at times too?) and if you drive past your investment property all the time you will see these occurrences. 

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Communication – the skeleton key?

A while back I was asked what would be the next big thing to impact on business over the next 7 years. Rather than focusing on some exciting new element of technology I found myself drawn back to communication and my answer was as follows:

Just this morning I found myself enraged at the service provided by two companies I’d dealt with over the internet. One that had taken 8 days to respond to a simple query posted on their website (one of only two ways I could ask them my question) and another that had taken over 5 weeks to perform a task they said they’d do online.

You see, the thing about this evolution of communication and the various ways that we now have to do so is that our customers know the time frames in which it should take to respond to an email, to answer a question posted on a website, or respond to a tweet or facebook comment. It’s exactly the same

With great advances in our communication media there’s an even greater responsibility for the person behind the tools to maintain the service level. Using technology does not give you an excuse to hide behind it.

For my way of thinking, the challenge to businesses eagerly embracing this evolution will be to evolve the way they provide their service to clients through these different outlets that are becoming so much more mainstream.

I’m relieved to see more and more businesses taking heed of this message already.

Take Shoes of Prey as an example. Each pair of shoes they sell online goes out with an individualized hand written note.

Imagine Cruises will happily tweet with you about your upcoming whale watching tour, injecting the same personality through twitter that they do onboard their cruises.

Zappos, another shoe retailer in the US (ok, so I may have a small shoe obsession) known for their service despite having no face to face contact with clients, have 24 hour customer service call lines to put a friendly voice behind the oft daunting process of buying something to wear online without being able to try it on. To top this off they have free returns and shipping to further add a caring factor to the service they provide.

Showing heart in all communication, expressing care even without face to face contact and building lasting, strong relationships over new forms of communication will be the challenge to businesses that want to embrace new media yet still be spectacular in the experience they offer going forward.

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to prepare for an award panel interview

Being a former winner of the Australian Young Telstra Business Women of the Year and also being a prolific nominator of other people in awards (I've just submitted my Telstra nominations for this year) I’m often asked what my tips are for performing well at interview panels.

So, here’s what I usually tell people:

1.   Be yourself, have a personality (preferably yours).

2.   Remember they're looking for someone who will be a good ambassador for the program as well as someone deserving – so think about the brand of the awards program and how well you fit into that (presentation wise, aspiriational wise etc).

3.   Know your application inside and out for your interview and (this should go without saying) make sure it’s all 100% the truth.

4.   Be memorable. When my real estate agency was called M&M Real Estate - my application had M&M chocolates inside it, not a bribe, just something to indicate the type of service we offered to our clients in a fun way.

5.   Have a killer answer to the question: “What would change in your life if you won”.

6.     I’d recommend setting up your own practice panel of people you trust / value and preferably a mentor or two and have them ask you all the tricky questions they can think of. If it you’re going out for a business women’s award program be sure to have them throw in questions around: juggling family – balancing act / glass ceiling / advantages/disadvantages to being a woman

7.     And finally – if all else fails, just go with number 1. There’s no point winning any award unless it’s YOU who actually does it. You’ll typically be a representative of that award for at least a year (good lord, I’m still talking about some of my award wins a decade later). That’s a long time to be anybody but yourself. 

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Email is simple

(work related email that is)

If you want to be known as someone accountable, dependable and on top of their email game.

You get an email and you either:

a)  deal with it (ie: do it, delete it, reply to it)


b)  you acknowledge it with a time frame as to when you’ll get it done and you put some sort of reminder in place (whether it’s a diary task, putting the email into a folder, a manual note – whatever works) so that you stay accountable to that time frame.

You do not…

a)  read email
b)  re-read email later on
c)  re-read email and stress about not having done it yet
d)  accidentally file email into a “to do” folder and forget it
e)  keep the email without acknowledging it to the person you got it from
f)  re-read the email (again)

By Anonymous with No comments

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