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How Xero saved my marriage

How Xero saved my marriage

Not only are my husband and I both self-employed, but we also both work from home, and share an office. It’s a miracle we haven’t already strangled each other with a USB cable! How Xero saved my marriage. #accounting Click To Tweet Then, last week, I decided to help him get his accounts in order, which I’m guessing is right up there with ‘Teaching your partner to drive’ in the divorce inducing stakes. Old school accounting My husband is a fan of old school accounting. He has a ‘system’ that I’m pretty sure Hawkins would struggle to understand. Ask him a question about a certain customer, and after a few minutes of paper shuffling he emerges triumphant with the answer. It works for him but ONLY him, and as his business grows ever larger, his manual processes become more and more time consuming. It drives me crazy to see him faffing around until the wee hours typing up invoices in Word, or recording payments on little yellow index cards. Finally I broke. ‘You have to get Xero!’ I screamed. Change is good (I promise) Okay let me be honest. It took a while before my accountant was able to persuade me to ‘see the light’. I definitely struggled to move away from Excel spreadsheets and take the leap into the brave new world of online accounting software. I’d heard about MYOB and Sassu but every time I’ve checked them out they gave me a headache, so I returned to my ludditey old ways. But then I discovered Xero and everything changed. What I like about Xero For me, finding...
Why I’ll never wear high heels again

Why I’ll never wear high heels again

These days I don’t dress up that often. My commute is a swift walk down the hall in my pyjamas. My only colleague is our dog, Pamplemousse, and most meetings take place via Skype, which means I’m an expert at looking super smart from the neck up. But last week I had a client meeting in the big city – so I did something I haven’t done in a quite a while. Why I’ll never wear high heels again Click To Tweet I wore heels. As I left the house I felt smart and sophisticated. My shiny girl shoes finished off my look perfectly. I enjoyed the satisfying click of heels on the pavement and blended in perfectly with the other female corporate types on the short walk to my client’s office. During the meeting I surreptitiously kicked off my heels under the desk. This was a mistake. The meeting went well and no one noticed when later I bent to slip my shoes back on. They didn’t fit. Perhaps in silent protest my feet had swelled up two sizes while I was talking. As I struggled to keep a smile on my face, I forced my now giant fleshy feet back into the shoes, biting down to stop a yelp of pain erupting from me as I said my goodbyes. When I stood up the pain really began. First a creeping throb from toes jammed unnaturally into pointy toes. Then burning pain as the skin was slowly chafed from both my heels. As I winced back towards the station, each step caught my breath with searing agony. I...
I’m sorry Mrs Lambert; it appears your child is creative

I’m sorry Mrs Lambert; it appears your child is creative

This is a guest-post from the lovely Bek Lambert. She works with lots of creative types and start-ups helping them build their brands. She’s Unashamedly Creative and here’s why: You have to feel sorry for my mum. She ended up with a queer theorist, a lawyer and a creative copywriter. Whilst everyone else was planning wonderful lives for their agreeable kids, we were off arguing the toss over the definition of gender, arguing in general or in my case, spending huge amounts of time in a red cupboard with far too many toys and pretending to be a London bus driver. Let’s just say we didn’t get invited to an awful lot of ‘kid friendly’ dinner parties and it’s lucky Mum doesn’t like scotch. I’m sorry Mrs Lambert; it appears your child is creative. @noshamecreative #copywriting Click To Tweet The two older girls grew up well – one into a PhD toting educator, the other into a well-respected lawyer with children off the front cover of “Ideal Child Monthly”. And then there’s me. I’m still being creative, drawing on the walls and wondering what I’ll be if I grow up. Yet somehow I’ve managed to make this creative thing work for me. How? I’m a freelance marketer and creative copywriter. What the heck does that mean? A long time ago I learnt a very valuable secret: creativity is about giving yourself permission to fail. You can aim for the stars a hell of a lot easier when you don’t mind if you fall with a dull, bruising thud. And that attitude works for content and marketing more than ever...
Women – stop staying stupid shit

Women – stop staying stupid shit

I don’t know if my feminism detector is slightly more attuned since starting to write for Discordia (and since reading Caitlin Moran’s excellent book, How to be a woman). But of late, I’ve noticed that a lot of women say some really stupid stuff about women. Take my friend the other day: “Well, men are just better at building stuff, aren’t they?” My answer: “No.” Women – stop staying stupid shit. Men are not better at building stuff! Click To Tweet While some men are better at building stuff than some women, other women are better at building stuff than some men. Take, for example, my female friend who is a carpenter. She is much better at making things out of wood than my male friend who can barely replace a battery without hurting himself. “Building stuff” is not a skill all men are born with. “Building stuff” is something you learn how to do. While some people are more able at it than others, I doubt very much that having a pair of tits has anything to do with it. Now fair enough; this friend’s partner may well be more adept at building things, he might have a better attention to detail, be more organised and handier. But we’re talking about two people here. Not the entire human race. I happen to be excellent at building stuff; my eye for detail is just fine and ‘organised’ is my middle name. (It’s not really – it’s Jane – but you get my point.) And when another intelligent female uttered without shame the opinion, “Men are just better drivers though,...
How to kill your competitors… with kindness

How to kill your competitors… with kindness

Everyone frets about the competition. Whether you’re an old established firm terrified about young upstarts or a brand-new small business trying to break into a competitive field, it’s hard not to be fearful. After all, there is only so much business pie to go around, right? Your slice is barely big enough, so how will you cope if your competitors start taking a bite? Well, I’ve got a radical suggestion for how you can overcome your fear of your competitors and it’s simple: Embrace them. Embracing your competitors can be great for your business. #copywriter #copywriting Click To Tweet My copywriting competitors When I gave up my real job (running digital departments for ad agencies) and became a full-time copywriter, I often wondered if the competition would be too much. Just type ‘Copywriter Sydney’ or ‘SEO copywriter Sydney’ into Google and you’ll see that there are simply zillions of copywriting businesses out there. How on earth would I make my mark? Would I ever get enough work? Well here’s what I did, in five simple steps: Step 1: Ignore the competition It’s important not to get overwhelmed by who else is out there. Think about your own business, your goals and be true to your vision. If you’re good at what you do and you work bloody hard, you’ll be right (as the Aussies say). Or as they whispered in that Kevin Costner film, ‘Field of Dreams’: “If you build it, (they) will come”. Step 2: Copy the competition Okay, so this sounds like I’m negating point one and I kind of am, but bear with me.  When you’ve...
Is buying likes for charity ethical?

Is buying likes for charity ethical?

                I spotted this ad on Facebook the other day from Babyology. Basically the idea is to exchange likes for donations. You like their page in September and they give 20 cents to the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Association of Australia up to a maximum of $10,000. Is it a clever social media strategy? I certainly think this is clever in some ways. With CPC (cost per click) rates on Facebook soaring, 20 cents is a bargain. I don’t think they could get a CPC rate as low. Also, by associating themselves with this charity, they’re boosting their brand and showing that they ‘care’ – kind of. At time of publishing they’d earned over 4000 likes – a 10% increase on their liker figures in less than a week. Not bad. Is buying likes for charity ethical? #facebook Click To Tweet Or a cynical marketing ploy Look, while I know that lots of business give to charity and shout about it to promote their brand, there’s something about this particular tactic that made me feel a bit icky. Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a particularly nasty affliction (especially when it affects our children) so it’s sure to strike a chord with parents – their primary audience – but isn’t it a touch of emotional blackmail? And also a bit flippant? They’ve had a bit of backlash through comments (now deleted) and answered with: “We support a lot of charities and spend a lot of our own time and money doing so. However we also enjoy giving other people the opportunity to get involved and have...
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