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, April 3, 2014

A little break

Hello my lovelies.

I've been a little quiet the past couple of weeks with glaring diary notes staring at me saying "write blog!" "post blog!". And yet my pen (you know, if I actually wrote with one) is dry.

I'll be back and writing more no doubt at some stage. Until then I want to thank all of you who have read my posts / books and general ramblings - especially those who have taken the time over the years to let me know the posts you've really enjoyed (or even just to point out that the Leaning Tower is, to my great disgust, not made of Pizza).

While I go into a self imposed hiatus stripping back a few things from my life for a while I want you to stay utterly fabulous (I know you will).

xx Kirsty

By Anonymous with 7 comments

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Law of Reciprocity

The Law of Reciprocity is as simple this: do something nice for a decent person, and they'll want to return the favour. 

It's one of my favourite universal laws and I see it in action all the time. 

Nowhere better than this hand written card I received around Valentines day from a local Beauty Salon I've never before patronised.  

The card says "Happy Valentines day Kirsty. The team at Beauty Plus have selected you as one of the hardest working women in Launceston. We wanted to reward you with a free 30 minute massage...."

Instantly. I know this salon. I remember this salon. I feel good will towards them and all they've done so far is compliment me and offer me something that will cost them half an hour of one staff member's time - but could lead to a long term customer (and in this case, one who talks about places she loves a lot). 

Limited cost, big potential payoff. I love it. And the law of reciprocity means I'm unlikely to take them up on their half hour massage offer and spend nothing else with them. It also means that they've wowed me enough that I'll share the story and give them positive word of mouth that way. 

And for the cynics out there who know that I'm unlikely to have been the only person to receive a card for Valentines Day -  you know what, it doesn't matter! Provided they haven't gone overboard and my entire facebook feed is teeming with Launceston's "hardest working women" - the recipient, me in this instance, can still smile and feel special - and let the law of reciprocity do it's thing. 

By Anonymous with 5 comments

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Exasperated or Elated the Choice is Yours

"And so I'd email them... and then 2 or 3 days later they'd call me back!" my client exclaimed, exasperated when describing another service experience to me. 

We discussed at length the two key rules for communication (in my opinion). 

Firstly - when a client contacts you - if you can't help them straight away - acknowledge them! A simple email back to say - hi, I got your request and I'm searching for the answer - or I'll be back in touch on XX date - would have been all this client needed. 

And rule 2, clients give you guidance as to how they like to be communicated with when they contact you. If a client emails you, unless they specify otherwise, they probably want an email back. If a client phones you, they probably want to be phoned back. 

Now - this one's a hard one for me. I'm an email junkie. It works for my lifestyle, it's verifiable, it's totally time appropriate for me (meaning I can get a lot of contact done after kids are asleep). BUT - if a client calls me and leaves a message I pick up the phone and call them back. The only exception being if I can't reach them - I won't leave a rambling voice mail message, I'll simply say - I've tried to reach you, I'll email you through all the answers (and on the email I'll say how they can phone me if they'd like to chat). It's a slight compromise - but I've always tried to contact them in their preferred method first. 

So - to recap:

Rule 1 - acknowledge if you can't answer straight away. (And then diarise your next point of contact even if THAT too is to say you haven't got the answer yet, but you haven't forgotten about them).

Rule 2 - communicate with your client in the method they show you they want to be communicated with. 

By Anonymous with 9 comments

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The power of the pen

I eagerly ripped open the tiny envelope my husband had placed in my hands. It's not often we get mail sent to our house and it's always a treat to see a pretty hand addressed envelope when I'm pretty sure it contains a card. 

You see, I love cards. I've just sent out a manifesto asking for no presents for my 35th birthday - which rolls around in a few days requesting a hand written card (and listing a few "non-present" alternatives for those who I know won't be satisfied with just a card). 

But back to cards - I love 'em and I'm sure I'm not alone. 

And this card was even more special than most due to it's complete unexpected nature. It was from one of my husband's friends. We've met 3 times in person. Once in Canada (where he lives), once at his wedding and then a few weeks ago when he and his lovely wife stayed with us at our home. 

The card was beautifully written (not unexpected, as this chap has a way with words that lead me to crown his wedding speech "un-toppable") but it was the mere fact that he'd thought to send a card that floored me. 

The card thanked me for lending him my husband (so to speak). They'd been on a boys fishing trip the weekend before and the card said he knew there were extra challenges with me being at home with our two little ones and just how much these sorts of trips meant to him with him living out of the country and just how appreciative he was. Not exactly what you'd expect from a 30-something guy without kids of his own eh? 

This card will be remembered and, you can bet, if my husband is needed on another boy's trip for this thoughtful friend, he'll be handed over willingly. 

One stamp. One piece of cardboard. One envelope. Huge power. What can you do with that arsenal this week? 

By Anonymous with 1 comment

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Flex it up

Once a week we buy lunch for our team. Today I had a gorgeous oven baked fish fillet on a salad with rustic cut chips. Last week a gourmet burger. The week before that burritos. And so forth…. My tummy is rumbling just thinking about my favourite work day of the week.

There are 8 of us, sometimes more and we ask for just one tiny special thing. We order about a week in advance. When we get our lunches (we have them at our weekly meeting) we don’t want to spend a whole heap of time figuring out who’s lunch belongs to who. (I also absentmindedly forget what I’ve ordered 9 times out of 10). And so we ask wherever we get our lunches from to write our names on each order (we provide the names of the person with the order).

You’d think it’d be a simple request right? Not so much. 4/5 places get it right, and we reorder from them typically doing an order once every 6 weeks from the places we love. And for those that can’t find a sharpie? One order – and then we move on.

When we requested names from one place the answer was “yeah – we used to do that, but we can’t anymore”.

I’m all for having systems and ways of doing things that work in your business – but I’m even more for common sense! When should you hold firm and when do you need to flex?

By Anonymous with 1 comment

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The power in a letter

An amazing friend’s little boy started kindergarten today. She was, understandably, emotional, excited and overwhelmed.

In watching her little man head to kindergarten – I myself find that I’ve been schooled.

We’ve all had special teachers in our lives. Someone who made something clear that was previously fuzzy, someone who made us see something in ourselves we didn’t know was there, maybe someone who showed us the type of grown up we’d like to become.

A week or so ago, new kindergarten man Xavier received a hand addressed and written letter in the mail from his teacher. It told him about her holidays, asked about his and said how excited she was to have him in her class and it included a home made story book with photos showing him what to expect at kindergarten. 

Sensational, I was already super impressed.

And then today, proud mamma arrives to drop Xavier at school only receive her own hand penned letter from the teacher along with some hand made slice. It was beautifully written acknowledging everything these parents were feeling and made me tear up. It ended with:

“Thank you for entrusting your child to me for the coming school year. I will do my very best every day to be your child’s guide in learning and exploring this bright new world they’ve just stepped into”.

This teacher has made an instant connection with pretty much every child and parent in that class by doing something both unexpected and very kind yet not particularly costly or unwieldy.  

This teacher is totally making me re-think some of our customer service initiatives in house to try and replicate the instant emotion and rapport she was able to generate. I hope I’m able to do that, but more so, I hope my two girls are lucky enough to have a teacher like this in their lives!

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, February 13, 2014


"Finite" is my key word for this month.

You see, I used to believe that my possibilities were infinite. I could do or be anything I wanted. I could work on as many different projects as I wanted. I could travel as far and wide as I wanted.

These days, I think it’s since having children, some things are now finite for me (whether I want to admit it or not).  It’s been a three-year adjustment process and I’m still learning to cope with it.

Prior to children if I wanted to set out on an overseas trip on a day’s notice, or start three new business ventures in a month it would push me, but it was totally do-able.

Now – my life is less about infinite possibilities and more about determining what the highest priority items are that I can fit into my finite space, finite time, finite mindspace.

It’s about learning to say no to things - which I find hard. I’m a person who likes to say yes. But in saying yes over the past couple of months I tried to be and do too much and it didn’t work.

My brain went into overwhelm and something had to give. For a little while it was my sanity.

So this month I focus on finite. Doing and being the best at a finite number of things instead of being mediocre at too many. I shall, I guess, continue to be a work in progress. 

By Anonymous with 2 comments

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Inspiration comes in the most unlikely of places

I'd like to thank the pre-teen series of books called "The Babysitters Club" for helping me become the entrepreneur I am today. 

For those of you not a female approximately my age, let me give you a quick rundown on the books. Basically 5 young friends start a business babysitting the kids in their local area. They market, they service clients, they come up with initiatives, they manage junior staff later on down the track. Basically they run the whole gamut of being an entrepreneur and all before they turn 15.

It may not sound too riveting, but as I discovered in a catch up with girlfriends the other day (where every one of us was obsessed with the books) this colourful collection of pre-teen tomes was like heroin to us twenty plus years ago.

While our adult selves might more closely relate (or at least wish we did) to a Carrie or a Charlotte (a'la Sex and the City), our pre-teen selves all had a corresponding character in the Babysitters Club. For those of you familiar with the books you won't find it surprising that everyone immediately pegged me as a "Kristy". She's the creator, the president, the loud and bossy one. Hrmm, ok, it's a fairly close approximation. 

But Kristy taught me just as much as some of my favourite business biographies have. She taught me the challenges in managing a team, how to systemise, the importance of structure and order. And what's more, she opened my mind to the fact that running a business was possible at a young age. 

Now Kristy and her gaggle of friends might be nothing more than words on a paper, but they helped spark something in me. Something aspirational and something that inspired action in me.

It makes me so thankful as a Mum that my girls (3 years and 8 months) already both love to read. Who knows, they might read the Baby sitters club when they're older and be inspired by Claudia to be an artist instead of following my route! I don't mind - inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places - if you're open to it. 

By Anonymous with 3 comments

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hate networking? Stop trying to "get"

I’ve always cringed at the thought of networking events. I rarely carry business cards, I dislike getting business cards thrust at me and I’m kind of (despite what you might think if you met my business persona) shy and would prefer to be home in my pjs and ugg boots.

This week I was watching a seminar by photographer of women extraordinaire Sue Bryce (www.inbedwithsue.com) and she said the best thing I’ve ever heard on the concept of networking.

Stop trying to “get”.

Don’t go into a networking event – or any form of networking for that matter looking to get something. Instead – look to give.

In Sue’s words, think “how can I help you?”

She’s a photographer, so in her earlier days, she would look to offer her help –in photographing and in turn, because reciprocity just works that way, those people she photographed in PR or other local businesses would then, after loving their shots, want to refer her to their clients.

How can you help? Never, what can you get.  

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, January 23, 2014

But I don’t know where to start!

We’ve all been there – the work has slowly but surely piled up, the emails have gone unanswered, and every time you turn your head it seems you’re just being bombarded with more to add to the “not-done” pile – in short, life is out of control.

I recently worked with a friend who was in just this situation and even though she knew she was rapidly falling further down the rabbit hole her issue was, she didn’t know where to start.

So – where did we start?

Well – I wanted to have a one day action plan to get her back on track. Not everything could be accomplished in one day, but everything could be organised and planned in one day.

Only – so we could get off to the right track we started our one day – at about 7.00pm. Now I’m not advocating working at 7pm every night – but when things have gotten to panic stations, being in the office or your workspace at a time when no-one else is might be just what you need.

Step 1. Find and organise the clues

It took about 2 hours, but the very first step was to categorise every “clue” in her office. They went into various “piles” of clues (in no order within the piles). The names of some of these piles were:

·           - Leads for new clients
·           - Random pieces of paper / post its / messages
·           - Personal stuff
·           - Files / checklists
·           - Current clients

Remember, you don’t need 30 post it note squares and 25 pens, minimise the amount of crap on your desk and you’ll minimise the amount of clutter in your brain. Keep what you need immediately within reach, logically store anything else, throw out everything you can that is junk and donate to your office stationery cupboard anything else.

Step 2. Use the clues to generate a plan

So then I took each of these categories and roughed out a plan for the next day allowing spots within the to do list for checking email, confirming that day’s appointments etc.

Step 3. Get an early win

By the time we met first up the next morning there was already a sense of order to the office.  But the list was still terrifying with it’s 9 scary dot points. What we needed was an early first win. The first item on the list was small, it took less than 10 minutes. As lame as it sounds, I invoked a rule whereby we would high five every time we had a “win” (ie: every time we took an item off that list). In the first hour the first three items had all been high fived and we were working on item 4.

Step 4. Throw multi-tasking on it’s ass

Part of the problem, I’ve found, for when everything is getting on top of people is that they’re trying to do everything at once. Multi-tasking is a farse – try and do everything and you’ll get nothing finished and more importantly nothing finished well.

With our little 9 point list – it was clear what we were working on at any time. When we were working on following up every client lead (that’s right, every one) – we weren’t checking email and we weren’t focussing on any of the other 8 points.

Step 5. Rinse and repeat

Pick one thing, do it, complete it, high five, move on to the next.

Systematically work through your list.

Step 6. Remove the memory

As you work through your list – be smart about it. For us in this instance, ever time we followed up a new client lead we put it into a categorised folder and diarised the next follow up. No need to have to “remember” to do anything.  Life is stressful enough without having to wake up at 2.00am because you forgot to do something you were relying on your memory for.

Step 7. Stick-to-it

And finally - being organised, especially if you’re the type of person (read: me) who gets disorganised, isn’t something that will naturally happen if you get organised. You’ll need to keep check of it. Maybe you diarise to clean your desk and remove the clutter once a week, maybe you set aside a time each month to meet with an organisational mentor within your organisation and get 100% on track. 

By Anonymous with No comments

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New project launching tomorrow - tune in for nix!

Hi All,

Just a quick one to let you know my new little project http://somewherelive.com/ is launching tomorrow at 9.00am (on the East Coast of Australia) with a free live stream of customer service guru Glen Coutinho.

It's going to be nice and interactive - anyone watching can tweet questions, comments, thoughts with the hashtag #somewherelive and I'll be your voice in the session (along with a live audience).

If you're in real estate - it's got to be a must, if you're in business for yourself - I'd strongly recommend it if you want to enhance your customer service and if you're in sales in any form - WATCH!

I'm very excited, a little nervous and keen to have your thoughts and feedback!

So - to watch, just register at http://somewherelive.com/ and click "watch live"tomorrow!


By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Red licorice

My husband and I were reminiscing about the sorts of presents we used to get our parents when we were younger. He fondly recalled one year when he got his dad red licorice as a birthday present. He told me he couldn’t have been more excited to get this awesome gift for his dad and that he was so positive that his dad would love it. Now, knowing my father in law, I’m sure he gave every impression to his young son that he couldn’t have been more excited at the gift – but my husband realizes now that it probably wasn’t the ideal present for him. You see, my husband made the classic mistake of giving what he would have liked to have received.  As a child, the idea of a big present of red licorice was the stuff of dreams, and that’s why he chose it for his (much loved) dad.

Simple childhood mistake right? Not so much. I bet you, like me, make this same mistake in your adult life all the time. I bet your sales pitch is heavily skewed to how you would like to be pitched to. I bet your staff management and reward techniques are those that would work beautifully if you were managing yourself. And if any of you have read the book “The 5 Love Languages” you’ll know how easy it is to show love and appreciation for your partner in the way that you’d like to receive it.

So – my homework for you today:
   - Grab a copy of The 5 Love Languages if you haven’t read it. It’ll change your life.
   - Analyze one area of your life in which you think you might have a red licorice skew and try and enact some changes. For me –it might be the way I reward my staff at work. I’d love to be offered extra opportunity for travel, training and money – but I’ve got to remember the staff that would respond equally well to more time off work to pursue personal interests, or having the company get involved in a charity that is important to them or public praise of their work. 

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Testing the Tagline

I’ve been emailing back and forth with a girlfriend in real estate who is about to get her car branded up. She’s a clever cookie – so she got her branding mock up done and then sent it out to a bunch of people to get their opinions and thoughts on what she’d missed or could change.

One of my suggestions was that she needed a tag line on the rear window. Since then every car with tag lines on their rear windows have been jumping out at me and I’ve been busily snapping photos and sending them to her.

She’d brainstormed some ideas – but when we sat down today we mulled them all over. I wanted my friend to leave with something concrete - so I said she wasn’t leaving until we had 3 taglines to test.   Effectively trapped in my kitchen we both just started rambling to get our 3 taglines to test.

Why would someone want to use Jane as their real estate agent? What were her best features we wanted to emphasize? What did we want to avoid? How were we going to get something that didn’t sound super cheesy, but that was something that you’d remember and would make you pick up a smart phone and make contact with Jane.

We also googled for our inspiration –steering clear of other real estate agent’s taglines. We got started with #2 below on a list of websites with taglines for charitable organizations.

In the end we came up with 6 taglines to test – knowing which one we were both super pumped up about, but wanting to see what other’s opinions were.

1. The go to girl for real estate
2. The agent for the home you cherish
3. Not your typical real estate agent
4. Jane Crawford - A fresh approach
5. I can put a value on your home - but never on our relationship
6. Jane Crawford - exceptional agent, mediocre runner (and a whole series of these cook, gardener changing them often)

So how could we test them? Sending them out to Jane’s friends was a good start – but we also wanted unbiased opinions from people who don’t already adore her. Thank you facebook. We posted the taglines asking for feedback on a real estate group and also on my facebook page  (https://www.facebook.com/KirstyDunpheyEmail/) - a couple of hours later and 50+ comments were received. Voila instant feedback.

Overwhelmingly we had our suspicions on what we thought was the best one confirmed and Jane’s car is now going to be branded on it’s behind with “exceptional agent, mediocre...” and then the last word is going to change every few weeks and tie in with her other marketing (letterbox drops, facebook page, newsletter etc).

A fun hours spent with a fun result. So next time you brainstorm – maybe lock yourself in the kitchen (or wherever you need to) til you’ve got at least 3 ideas – and test the immediately. 

By Anonymous with No comments

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How I got out of a funk

“I’m in a funk” I said morosely to my husband. He’d heard it before from me. Sometimes I just fall into “funks”. Nothing’s wrong. In fact, I’m rarely in a funk when something’s wrong (I kind of thrive on fixing problems). I’m usually just bored and lacking motivation. Hey – I’m sure it happens to everyone, and you probably have your own definition of a funk.

Contributing more to my, for want of a better word, funky-ness, lately is the fact that I’ve been more house bound that I’m used to with the birth of my gorgeous new daughter. I adore her, but I do get a little stir crazy when trapped in the house for too long. (Don’t even get me started on how insane I went trying to work from home full time after doing/writing this: urlm.in/rzaz)

So – I was in a funk. And like I said earlier, I’m a bit of a problem solver, so I decided to try a new way of dealing with my “funk”.

Every day I work through a to do list on my calendar. At present, there are 25 different things on my “every day” list from taking certain vitamins, doing certain exercises for my constantly misbehaving back, reading a certain amount for myself and to my kids, taking a photo etc etc – as well as the other tasks that are specific to that day. What can I say – I work well with a list.

But – back the funk. To try and resolve the issue I added one extra task to the list. I don’t do it every day, just days that aren’t as “full”, days that I know I’d be more prone to falling into a funk. It is my audacious daily goal. I think I have Eric Wahl’s Unthink to thank for the idea (http://theartofvision.com/unthink - it’s a great read, check it out and also check out his cool online tool to help you uncover what kind of artist you are in the workplace http://theartworkrevolution.com/ - I’m an inventor/sculptor).

So my first audacious daily goal was to do 1000 mountain climbers (http://youtu.be/KI8u58hPam4). I had all day to do them and every time I felt a little bored or stagnant, I just hopped on the ground and did another 50 keeping track of the tally as I went. My 2.5 year old daughter thought I was insane at first and I was told sternly (as only a toddler can) to “stop doing that right now”. But by the end of the day, whenever she’d see me pop my hands down on the floor to crank out another 50, she’d join in with her own adorable toddler version which most amounted to her doing almost headstands.

Next daily goal – 2000 crunches, then 1000 calf raises then 500 tricep dips. Then I veered a little and my goal was to cook three meals from scratch in a day (I’m very undomesticated, this was a stretch for me). Then back to the more physical stuff, 200 push ups off my toes. And today’s goal – write 10 blogs (this is number 4 of 10 and I usually write just one a week).

The cool thing I’ve found? When I’ve got a goal to focus on and work on and a fixed deadline - I’m far less likely to get into a funk (so far, zero funks on audacious goal days). Second side benefit – proof positive what we as parents do in role modeling for our kids.  If my girls see me being fit, they’re going to be far more likely to do the same – likewise, when they seem me going nuts for chocolate, I think I can make the connection. Third – I’ve always known I’m the kind of person who thrives on challenge and goals. If I set myself a goal – I’m going to achieve it, even if at 11pm I’m still cranking out sit ups (hasn’t happened yet). And finally, if my goal isn’t quite enough of a stretch (my original tricep dip goal was 300) – I can simply reassess the goal and make sure it is.

Want to help me? Send me an idea for something I can use on my next audacious goal day by commenting on my blog - http://blog.kirstydunphey.com/ or emailing me Kirsty (at) kirstydunphey.com

PS - I reached my goal of 10 blogs, and, the very next day wrote two more - easily, they just came to me, and then the next day another one popped out. It seems that my rubber band of writing was stretched and found it that bit harder to go back to normal!

By Anonymous with No comments

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