12 Big ‘Aha!’ Moments I Had In 2020…

On one hand, there’s the 2020 most people will remember. Like 1969, 2001 or 2016 it’s one of those years that in years to come I expect we’ll see books, movies and series written and created about that focus on the main stories that set the underlying theme for the year. So on the one hand, there is that. There is the 2020 that is commonly remembered. On the other hand?

There is the 2020 I remember- the year as it was for me, personally. At the start of every new week, I think of one thing that was great about the past week and I write it down on a post-it note. I then fold up that post-it note, slip it into a jar and over the course of the next 12 months, 52 post-its accumulate until (at the beginning of the new year) I tip out the contents of that jar and open up each of those memories- great or modest- that underscored the year just gone by for me.

Yet what I also do is ask myself if there was anything of note that I learned over the past week? Was there anything that particularly stood out, whether it was something new or something I’d known ages ago but was given a fresh reminder of? If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know I write these articles at the dawning of every new year. So what I’ve done again is pick just one thing I learned from every month in 2020- and share it here with you, whether it’s a new idea or something that’s simply worth hearing for a second time:

The Rule of 27- you may well have to fail 26 times in a row for success at last on that 27th attempt. So as long as your heart is set towards it, never give up.

There is that often played Michael Jordan v/o from an old Nike ad. You might have heard it:.

I’m well familiar with the idea of failing several times over, but hadn’t heard it as an actual formula: https://cameronherold.com/marketing/the-rule-of-27/

So essentially, you have to go through 27 failures or rejections for that one time you succeed. This is why it pays to be clear on what your objective is, so you can save time and reach your outcome more quickly!

With patience and a problem-solving attitude, even problems that appear insurmountable can be fixed easier than we might think.

It may come as a surprise to you, but I’m not the most tech-savvy guy. I’m not a technophobe as such, it’s more that I’m usually hesitant to adopt new technology or systems unless I can see real advantages to doing so beyond window dressing or minor changes. So early in the year when my trusty laptop began to show symptoms of ageing (slow to process information, randomly lagging for up to 30 seconds at a time having barely done anything etc) I wondered if it was time for a new laptop?

But instead, I decided to first see if I could fix the problem myself. Time was the most important commodity and I couldn’t afford to lose much of it- but still I contacted Apple Care, explained the issues and thankfully, they suggested there was a way beyond dipping into my long-term savings account and springing for a brand new MacBook! Long story short, I had to save my entire HD to a backup disc, wipe the HD and then reinstall everything. It took about half a day in the end, but here I still am, and the laptop is going strong, at speeds I hadn’t enjoyed in a while!

What had appeared like a giant frustration and inevitable waste of time that hit me in the pocket, instead turned out to be something I could fix myself with a little guidance. I had this moment where I thought “Maybe this doesn’t just apply to this thing, but to most other issues that come up in life: first find the right guidance and see if you can’t manage it yourself”.

The Tony Robbins golf analogy/ plastic surgery analogy: the results you’re looking for are found in that 1-2% you do differently.

I don’t remember the actual title of the video unfortunately, but there was something in the heading that made me click. It was a video in which Tony Robbins is speaking at a conference and he recalls taking up golfing lessons. He was failing to clear the ball off the tee correctly, mostly hitting dirt and he was about ready to give up. But then his instructor explained that Tony wasn’t far off- and then Tony realised this success principle applies everywhere, from golf to our very definition of beauty- I talk more about it here:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2020/03/17/why-your-business-is-already-great-of-little-hinges-that-swing-big-doors/

The way I persuade people is similar to the way I enjoy certain songs over others: the lyrics (words) might have a message that’s relatable, but the way it makes you feel is key. So in order to be Persuasive, think about how I want the other person to feel- and aim for that, first and foremost. Making them feel the right way is the key to all kinds of opportunities…

If you write your own copy, internalising this is one of the most important things to take stock of when reading back what you’ve written: regardless of how articulate or how clever your writing (your message) is- how do you want your audience to feel? If you get too bogged down on the small technicalities, you can miss out on getting your ideal result while other less able, less eloquent, less _________ people unlock all kinds of opportunities, simply because their message resonates with people.

Think of it- how many of your favourite songs do you enjoy purely for the lyrics, as opposed to how you feel when you listen to that song? The same principle applies here…

Seeking to be a leader one day (be it professionally or in your relationships) means living as a leader does now.

It really boils down to the idea that in order to become it, first you must be it. To enjoy the privileges of leadership means having to make adjustments, compromises and sacrifices now that many don’t or won’t do.

Being present means not concerning yourself with the mistakes you made in the past, nor worrying about missing shots you haven’t even taken. It means only bothering yourself with the things you can influence and control.

Like many, one of the Netflix series I enjoyed most in 2020 was ‘The Last Dance’, the story not just of the Chicago Bulls 1997/98 run to their 6th NBA title of the decade, but the whole story of Michael Jordan up to that moment in time. But there was this comment in the final episode that resonated with me. The Bulls have flown to Utah, and provided they win this 6th game in the final series, will clinch their 6th NBA title in 8 years. Footage shows Michael on the coach into town from the airport, kicking back and listing to Norah Jones on his Discman (remember those?), then joking about on the court during pre-game practise and goading his team-mates. Then the voice-over mentions how Michael didn’t see the point in worrying about shots he hadn’t taken yet, concerning himself with missed opportunities that hadn’t even presented themselves at that current point in time. Instead, he was always present.

“The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement, you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its’ course, and your tools will strike at the right moment”

Bruce Lee

Thinking about how we were complete or that when we do x we will be ‘complete’ is pointless- because with every new opportunity comes a compromise of some sort. Instead, it’s about doing our best and enjoying what we have from where we stand right at this moment

In short? It’s all about gratitude. I go more in depth on how important this is, here:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/your-journey-vs-your-goal-or-a-word-of-warning-for-the-ambitious/

If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. My time is now.

It’s one thing to recognise your worth, but it’s a whole other step to go out and put it into action. This might mean making some uncomfortable changes in the process, adopting strange new things while having to rid old habits in thinking or action that don’t benefit you. But if you have a real belief in your worth, then there’s no better time to stand for it than right now!

What can feel like a challenge is, in fact, often a lay-up for us to reach new levels, break new ground and set new records…

“Sometimes, opportunity comes to us disguised as a man-eating lion”. I don’t recall where I heard this, but needless to say that it’s changed how I regard uncertain or adverse situations ever since. And often we don’t realise we actually grew or reached a new level until we look back. Similar to how you can’t fully appreciate the view or how high up you are until after you’ve climbed the mountain:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/what-paul-kelly-teaches-us-about-success/

If there’s something you don’t like in your life, change it- or work out what’s going to give you the best chance of changing it, and then do that.

It’s one thing to complain about what we don’t want in life- but another thing to take actions (however big or small, usually the latter) to change that. This year marks 10 years since I did just that- and the rest is history. But it didn’t change overnight- it was a process. You can read more about what caused me to make this decision right here:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/the-night-it-all-lit-up-to-me/

It’s important to do the best we can and turn up, because sometimes (just from making the effort and being present) we put ourselves in line for great situations to turn out and opportunities to present themselves that bring us what we seek.

Effort and being in the right place doesn’t always get you what you seek. And failing usually sucks, to some degree let’s face it! But just being present (wherever we need to be or where we think we need to be) and putting our best effort in is a winning move in and of itself. Any success you gain from it is just the icing on the cake- you know what I’m talking about. I can think back to countless examples where (for whatever reason) the temptation was there not to turn up or to back off and not put in the full effort- but I did it anyway and got a great result after it. The satisfaction is always the equivalent of a cold beer after working outside on a hot summers’ day- such a relief!

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/preparing-to-fight-taught-me-these-3-unexpected-things/

To take the road less travelled by might not necessarily mean it’s a road less-travelled by other people. It could be a highway compared to the trails we’ve been taken. But to US, it could be the road we haven’t travelled, and that might just be the reason we should take it!

One of the gifts I got for Christmas was Matthew McConaughey’s recently published autobiography ‘Green Lights’. It was funnier than I expected it to be, yet throughout the book Matt shares notes that he’s kept in his journals over the years and revelations he’s enjoyed along the way. He has this way of talking/ writing that makes me think of Owen Wilson’s character Kevin from ‘Meet The Parents’ and sometimes the way Matt talks/ writes about ideas he’s had or stuff he’s done made me laugh when it wasn’t intended to be funny. But there’s plenty of great ideas he shares and on those grounds alone I recommend it, besides being an entertaining read. But there’s one revelation that stood out to be:

See, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Robert Frost poem “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less travelled by- and that has made all the difference.” And ever since hearing it, I’d always presumed that the road less travelled meant doing what most people won’t. But it was Matt pointing out that in fact, it’s about taking the road that is less travelled for us. Maybe something we’ve never done is something most people have? Sometimes, taking the more conventional or mainstream approach might be the one thing missing that makes all the difference for us.

So as you figure out for yourself what is your “road less travelled” I wish you all the best in 2021!

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Copy, Marketing & Mindset: These Articles Show You How To Hit The Ground Running In 2021-

It’s not long now-

Christmas Day is nearly upon us and the silly season has come around once more- that weird time of year where the days just seem to run into one another and you go from having a stack of plans and RSVP’s to no real plans. The smell of pine trees, tinsel, scented candles, saltwater, sunscreen and rain on hot asphalt. The sound of ubiquitous Christmas carols, cicadas, clinking glasses, crackling barbecues and evening thunder. Already, many are “clocking off” for the year and in many cases you could say it’s been well-deserved!

While I know that for many people this period is a fairly lazy one as work and the usual daily/ weekly commitments take something of a back-step, there are others who use this traditionally quiet period to study. To re-evaluate. To set big new goals for the new year. So what I’m doing today is leaving you with a few articles worth taking the time out to read through in your downtime:

These articles I’ve chosen below all help give you clarity in putting together your strategy, what you need to be doing and how to get into a winning mindset to make it all happen in 2021. If you do the work, I know from experience that committing is going to make a BIG difference in what you see and where you find yourself 12 months from now.

So while I’m not ghosting out completely, this is my last article for the year.

Merry Christmas, and see you again in a month or so!

#1- What Your 2021 Copy Strategy Needs:

How To Make YOUR Story Sell- A Demonstration:

The Macklemore Guide To Pumping Out Stat-Busting Blog Content

3 Ways To Sharpen Your Writing Game

How To Write Unique, Memorable Blog Articles That Stand Out

The 9 essentials you need for writing your own website copy:

The 5 Copywriting Action Items You Need For Your 2021 Marketing Plan

#2- What Your 2021 Marketing Strategy Needs:

5 Things You Need To Master Your Marketing

3 Reasons You Should Absolutely Bother To Blog

5 Ways To Boost Your SEO Rankings And Get Found

The REAL Stats On Blogging In 2020…

Here are the professionals and the experts I know- and this is what they can do for you:

5 Questions You Need To Be Asking About Your Post-COVID Content Strategy

#3- Getting Into The Right Mindset To Crush It In 2021:

The Reward Of Just Turning Up:

Your ‘Made In Japan’ Guide To Success (Or, how to make every day a win):

Storytime: The Night It All Lit Up To Me

No More Excuses: It’s Time To Make Your Shot NOW:

Why A Powerful Planner Is Your Roadmap To Reward

In Search Of Your Holy Grail- The Adventures Of A Late-Night Treasure Hunter

In a single afternoon, how I defined success changed forever…

Survey: What People Are Saying 2021 Has In Store For Us…

How often this year have you heard people refer to “these uncertain times” we’re living in? I’m not that old, but I’ve already lived through 9/11, the War On Terror, the GFC and the unexpected shifts in the western political landscape of 2016. All these moments in history were referred to in the same terms. The reality is, we’re always living in uncertain times. It’s only the daily, routine of our immediate world and the one presented to us by the news networks giving us the illusion of certainty, that “business as usual” will keep on keeping on, that life is comfortably predictable. We begin to think that the existing status quo will always run government, our local area will always be a slice of heaven untouched by greedy developers and the Melbourne Storm will always get away with playing grubby football. But it takes just one changing of the guard, just one clandestine handshake deal in an underground car park or just one star player/ coach/ referee calling time that causes the music to change. And then people get kind of worried, because they don’t know what song is playing and they don’t like not knowing what it is straight away. They’d rather hear Barry Manilow again for the 1,000th time than hear Billie Eilish for the first time.

But I digress…

Last week I posted the following question in several business groups I’m an active member of:

Your 3 biggest business predictions for 2021 are?

And then I waited to see what people would say. Here’s just a selection of what people responded with:

Increase in vegan products. Push for local manufacturing. Crypto boom.

ASIC turn back on the insolvency tap and the house of cards tumbles. Out of the ashes of bankruptcies will be innovation.

  1. Cashless systems
  2. Gaming industry dominance
  3. Working from home
  1. Change in spending habits and bigger divide between people being more conservative buyers and crazy impulse buyers (Especially in the online space)
  2. Big Tech getting in to Education business…Apple and Amazon go towards health. Google will go more towards education. Facebook will have more data breaches.
  3. The Invention Company will come up with a viable alternative to big-tech with end to end encryption, absolutely no data collection, with a subscription model for all tech needs. Starting with is for phones with internal basic internal communication apps and no ads!
  1. Global economic crash
  2. Spectacular real estate crash
  3. New financial order
  1. Same
  2. As
  3. Usual

Thinking back just 12 months ago, what ideas did you have in regards to how 2020 was going to turn out? Looking at them now with hindsight (which is 2020 Vision, no pun intended) how close (or far-off) were you?

Today I’m giving my 2 cents AND inviting you to share your own bold predictions about what 2021 holds in store, from a business perspective. I’m opening it up to you regardless of your industry because I’m genuinely interested to see how different our forecasts are!

So as I take a moment to think about what the new year might hold in store for us, here are 3 things I’m predicting, and as you’ll see, each one is connected to the other. I’m calling it ‘The Chain Reaction Of 2021’:

#1: The Commercial Real Estate Market Will Overflow

In his bestseller ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad‘ Robert Kiyosaki claims that the end of the Industrial Age and the beginning of the Information Age coincided with the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In that single year, 10 former Communist countries opened up to the west, bringing about the fall of the Iron Curtain. This also coincided with the dawn of the internet age and then there came the dot-com boom 10 years later, meaning that (with one or two exceptions) the entire world was now connected like never before in our history.

Similarly, I’m convinced that one carry-over from the Industrial Age, 30 years on, has drawn to an end with the COVID pandemic and the new restrictions it introduced to how businesses oprated-

See, one thing various lockdown measures made people realise in 2020 was just how much work they could achieve at home or in a designated office space besides their traditional work station. For some years leading up to now, the idea of people commuting more than an hour each way 5 days a week to go and work in a communal office space seemed archaic to me. Like having to wear a tie at work, it’s a leftover from the 20th century business model and (for various reasons) has carried on up until now.

But as our cities become more crowded, so it forces real estate and rental prices upwards- especially in our larger urban centres. Unfortunately it’s now too often the case that people can’t afford to live in the same city they work in, leading to traffic-jammed highways, packed commuter buses and trains, plus hundreds of hours wasted each year just travelling TO or FROM work.

It had to change sooner or later. The upside to the COVID lockdown and upheaval of standard work practises is that it forced many people to stay at home instead of going to the office- and as a result, businesses are going to look at the figures and realise that their employees still managed to get the work done- but remotely. Just because you can’t see your staff doesn’t mean they’re not doing the work, and this is something many bosses have struggled to adapt to!

But conversely, if your team can work just fine remotely, why bother paying rentals for office space? Allowing people the freedom to work remotely and (maybe) catch up once a week for meetings in a communal work space equals great savings on rent, but also on the time spent commuting, better wellbeing, less stress and a more productive team.

I forecast many businesses seeing the future and changing their work model, leading to a flood of office spaces for lease in the commercial sector for traditionally white-collar jobs. This is going to be an uncomfortable adjustment for people in commercial real-estate, but (to paraphrase a former PM) perhaps it was the adjustment we had to have?

#2: There Will Be A Surge In Demand For Business Hubs

Not everybody who stops going to the office every day will necessarily work from home, however. Especially those who are the one working member of their family and might want some peace and quiet to work away from the yapping neighbours’ dogs or the screaming kids!

I expect there to be a surge in demand for business hubs, where people can find a desk/ office, work in their own hours, enjoy direct access to 1st class facilities and do what needs to be done with human interaction from other professionals or work staff always close by. I know of one such hub not too far from me, and I can vouch first-hand for the facilities they offer: https://www.nexushub.com.au

The interesting thing about this scenario coming true is how it would impact the dynamic of the traditional office space…

#3: An Increase In Cross-Business Collaboration

Think of it this way: Instead of the traditional office space, where you might have different departments all working for the same company, in a work-hub you have people working for all different companies in direct contact with each other: They might be friends outside of work, maybe they chat in the dining area or play friendly games of table tennis or strike up the traditional “water cooler” conversation standing around the microwave.

Yet instead of talking inwardly, about their own company, they’re talking outwardly- about each others’ companies and about the companies of other people in the work space.

What this leads to is more opportunities for a diverse range of businesses to communicate with each other not just at a senior level, but at a staff level as well. There are more open channels (and more channels) for new concepts, strategies and ideas for partnerships to be traded where traditionally it came down to random discussions on public transport during the commute, or in the pub for the after-work drinks.

On top of this, internet access means that these ideas can be exchanged with decision makers in the company in near real-time. A simple email or video call to discuss a possible new concept or partnership is much easier. The end result of this is more widespread collaboration between businesses and greater room for innovation as the ideas marketplace opens up.

With the opportunity comes new risks, however: businesses are more likely to have good team members “head-hunted” and company confidentiality is easier to compromise either accidentally or on-purpose. How exactly businesses counter these risks remains to be seen, however the bigger picture holds far more advantages for companies looking to modernise their working environment than it does threats.

Wrapping Up:

So as you can see, my top 3 business predictions heading into 2021 are all connected. If #1 happens, then #3 is the logical conclusion. But over to you- do you think I’m onto something with these or is there an important detail that I’ve missed completely?

Either way, tell me what you reckon and remember to share your predictions for the coming 12 months!

Never miss another article again- subscribe here and get your FREE copy of ‘The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read’: https://www.scribecopywriting.com.au/stay-connected

The 5 Copywriting Action Items You Need For Your 2021 Marketing Plan…

It’s getting to that time of year, isn’t it? The days are heating up (at least here in Australia!) the nights have grown muggy, the cicadas are buzzing outside, Christmas decorations are hanging up in department stores and there’s a rush of activity as people look to organise Christmas parties, secure clients and settle projects over the festive season and coming new year period…

It’s also a time where businesses are reviewing what’s worked for them over the past year and what can be done better. For any business, how they respond to this is entirely dependant upon their unique circumstances. But if you’re now aiming to improve your customer interactions (higher lead conversions, more sales volume, better $ value per customer etc.) then there’s one solution that can unlock all of your targets for the coming 12 months…

For the answer, look no further than your marketing and sales copy. Devoting special attention to this is crucial from both an SEO perspective (in terms of having a strong web presence and getting found by leads) but also from a lead interaction perspective (e.g having the right communications that convince your leads to go ahead and take action).

But if the idea of having to re-evaluate and renovate your business copy is giving you a flustered feeling and you swear you can sense a migraine coming on- I understand! Because it’s not just about looking at how many platforms and mediums you have- you’ve also got to ask what copy you need for each of them?

Fear not- because today I’m giving you an overview of the areas you need to be focusing on and writing copy for in order to achieve your big, audacious 2021 goals. Below I’m going to show you how to make this vision come true:

#1: Website

Think of your website as your online business headquarters. All of your businesses online messaging should connect back directly to your website. The aim of your website is to share as much relevant information about your business as you can and then successfully persuade your website visitors to take the next step- whatever that desired next step may be. On your website there could be multiple courses of action, depending upon the page your leads are browsing. While on the home page you might want them to contact your sales team, on the ‘Products’ page you might want them to place an order, then on the ‘About Us’ page you might want them to click the checklist. In addition to this, you want your website to rank well for SEO so that people online know you actually exist. When you’ve got effective website copy you get more valuable interactions with your leads visiting the site as well as satisfying the search engines. Your website shouldn’t just be visually eye-catching. It should also read well, clearly outline who you are, how you help customers and encourage leads to take the next step in your sales funnel- whatever that next step might be…

#2: Blog

I’ve talked about why every business should blog and why it’s more relevant now than ever before: https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2020/03/04/the-real-statistics-on-blogging-in-2020-5-numbers-thatll-make-you-sit-up-and-take-notice/

So I’ll keep this part as short and sweet as possible: Publishing blog articles informs and engages your ideal target audience and also establishes a connection with them, building trust. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you- whether that’s on a short-term or long term basis. On top of that, when you have articles getting good interactions and being shared by your followers, you can gain even more leverage boosting your top performing articles through Facebook ads. If you’re going to promote your business on Facebook and put money behind your campaign, why not give your target audience something actually worth taking the time out to read? To discover what sort of articles are always a hit (regardless of your audience) get your complimentary copy of ‘The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read‘ right here: https://www.scribecopywriting.com.au/stay-connected

#3: Social Media

It’s not enough to simply have a placeholder presence on your professional social media platforms. Similar to your website copy, you need to create a comprehensive run-down of your business: what you do, how you help your customers and why people should reach out and contact your business. On top of promoting your business to potential customers, social media also serves as a powerful online business networking tool. The better your social media copy is, the more appealing you become as a potential referral partner to fellow business people, regardless of whether you’ve actually met them or not!

#4: Email Database/ Sales Letters

If you don’t already have an email database- get one. People are meeting and engaging with more new businesses every day than ever before, and having just a single point of contact with leads is a recipe for otherwise valuable customers to slip right through your fingers. Just a bit of lead nurturing could’ve converted these people to customers, and allow you to enjoy top value from your existing customers. Seriously- you’re 10 times more likely to sell to a previous or existing customer than to a new lead. So it pays to stay in contact!

If you’re a business that regularly features at trade shows or has multiple products in your range then you definitely need to be putting out sales letters. Otherwise, how are people going to know about the amazing offers you have going? There’s plenty of emails inundating people’s inboxes on a daily basis, so writing an entertaining newsletter or an engaging sales letter that converts does require a particular level of skill- but when done properly, the results pay off and are absolutely worth the time taken to master the art…

#5: Ebook

An e-book serves a similar purpose to blog articles, except that you can write a whole novel if you want as opposed to a single article. The added benefit is that you can use your ebook as a lead magnet (adding more people to your lead database and therefore your sales funnel) or you can sell copies of your ebook online, creating a further revenue stream that means you can sell without even being present. You get paid multiple sums without having to spend any more time on selling (or delivering) once your ebook is launched.

On top of this, when you have an ebook available it also builds your credibility to both leads and referral partners alike. This makes it more likely that people are going to trust you (essential with higher priced buying decisions) or to refer you on (which again means you can sell on autopilot).

CONCLUSION

So while all the above should make perfect sense, in order to go ahead and actually do it you still need a strategy in place. You also need to know what you’re going to write, so you don’t end up wasting time writing copy that isn’t going to make any notable difference!

But you can avoid this, and ensure every moment of your time is well spent writing copy that gets results for your business:

Because I have just launched The Comprehensive Copywriting Guide– your all-in one toolkit that shows you how to write all the copy you need for:

  • Your website
  • Blog articles
  • Social media
  • Email database
  • Sales letters
  • Ebooks

And do it all in your own time, at your own pace. Once you’ve read through all the modules, you’ll be able to write your own marketing and sales copy like a pro! On top of that, my 30-Day Money Back Guarantee means that if you purchase your copy and for some reason it doesn’t match your expectations, you get a full refund with zero hassle!

On top of that?

I’ve also included an extra special offer for those of you who go ahead and purchase a copy right now- so to find out more, just contact me: https://www.scribecopywriting.com.au/contact-us

How Are You Staying Business Fit?

Normally, I train at the gym 4 times a week with the dedication like it was a paying job. But last week was a little different…

Last week I only managed 3 sessions. So what happened? Well, on Saturday it was the birthday gathering of an old friend and for the days’ activities we’d booked in to go kart racing…

Now if you know me, you know that racing karts is something I love, and have done ever since the first time I drove as a 9 year old. So on Saturday, relying on a combined 25 years’ experience, I was soon in the lead. Setting fastest laps, pushing it to the limit and doing so without spinning out, crashing or running off onto the boggy grass sections even once.

Strangely, it began to feel less like we were puttering around in hire karts and more like an actual motor race…

Maybe it was the purpose-built, open-air track that allowed us to reach higher speeds? It could’ve been seeing a mate spin out on the main straight, tyres smoking like you’d see at an actual racing event. Or maybe it was the pure physicality of it all? At the end of the days’ racing, chatting with one of the guys he commented how “coming here and driving is like putting in a session at the gym”.

I realised he was right. I’d never given much thought to the physical side of it until recently. Overall, I’d done a total of 56 laps of the 800-metre circuit over the space of 90 minutes, with virtually every lap done at qualifying pace (i.e where you’re pushing the kart to the limits’ of its’ capabilities).

It also got me thinking- if I didn’t have the weekly fitness regime I normally do, could I have managed to complete all 4 sessions driving lap after lap at 10/10ths- or would I have fallen victim to the physical fatigue? One person (not naming names) had such a toll taken on them that they were physically sick in the middle of the second session. An old friend of mine (who also regularly trains and can lift heavier than me) ended up sitting out the third session because “he felt a bit how you going”.

So I began to wonder: if being in good physical state made a difference here, what difference does it make in the daily running of our business? Am I claiming I’ve found “the secret” here?

No, there’s always more work that can be done, and obviously diet matters as well. But what I want to do here is give an insight into a typical weeks’ fitness regime for me and the side-effects I’ve noticed over time:

#1: Gym

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Like I said, I train at a local gym 4 times a week. It’s a 1st class facility and has accommodated several NRL teams in the time I’ve been there. To give you some perspective, I am 6″1 and weigh between 81-83kgs on average. I don’t generally do leg exercises (and I’ll get to that soon enough) but on alternate days I either do floor related exercises or lifting/ squats. On the days where I’m on the floor and use the weight machines, I focus on my chest, back and bicep muscles. I aim to ad as much weight as I can manage and do two sets with 8 reps each. I use equipment like the dumbbells, chest press machines, the vertical lift machine and the seated row. On alternate days I do 3 sets of 8 reps squatting, using the bar and then I do 2 sets of 8 reps as I lift then do vertical dips- as many as I can manage until it feels like my shoulders are going to give out! I finish every session with 10 minutes abdominal exercises, ensuring that I get the full upper-body workout. In addition I drink a protein supplement when I get home.

Benefits:

Besides (obviously) gaining muscle mass and strength, my day always has a “complete” feel to it after I finish a session at the gym. Call it the endorphins or whatever you want, but even if I’ve had a workday that didn’t go completely to my satisfaction, there’s that sense of “at least I had a good workout”. Added to that is just the subtle confidence you get. Taking photos from when you start training and then (over the months/ years) taking new photos of yourself for comparison is great motivation. It’s a physical representation of how much we’re able to transform ourselves, and a reminder that the body is just one area. If we adopt the same attitude to our business, to our thinking- we can similarly go beyond what we expect. To see a photo of me where I don’t recognise myself- in a good way- is an awesome feeling!

#2: Martial Arts Training

I also train goju-kai (literally “hard soft”) karate. This form of karate utilises both open and closed hand techniques and I’ve been training on and off for the last 6 years. When I still lived in Brisbane I was part of a great dojo over at Camp Hill and I trained there 2 nights a week. More recently here on the coast, I could only manage to go along to one of the two weekly training sessions, but it’s just been announced that another night has been added, so watch this space. Besides (obviously) practising punches, blocks and kicks, we also do a lot of work on stances and breathing exercises.

Benefits:

Besides the obvious benefit of learning self-defence, martial arts training is also great for improving your reflexes. To co-ordinate a set pattern of techniques (known as a kata) you need to master not just your stances and your positioning, but also your timing. Combined, all of this serves as a further boost to your inner confidence. Then of course there’s the people you meet along the way!

#3: Walking

I know a lot of people like to go for a walk of, say, 30 minutes or so and with this in mind I might as well preface this: I like long walks. I’m talking walks of two hours or more. Looking at my phone’s health app, that usually means anything between 20-30,000 steps in an afternoon. You don’t need to go for crazy long walks like that (and even if you wanted to, I get that you might not have the time) but if you are able to manage it? I can’t recommend it highly enough from both a physical and mental perspective. Like putting in a solid session at the gym, the feeling when you get back through the door after an afternoon’s hike is both weary and satisfying. When deciding on a walk, I like to find a route that takes me past attractive scenery and (if I can manage) puts me amongst people for at least part of the journey. When you’re in the work scenario that I am, you can spend your day solo, typing out articles like this one with little personal interaction whatsoever. So on my walk I like to get amongst it at some point or another, wherever I might be. If you live near a beach or a major river, there’s a great destination for you. Likewise, if you live within reasonable walking distance or your city or town centre, you can get amongst it here, or even find a great park nearby for a stroll. I don’t go for one of these long walks every week, but it’s something I do at least once a month.

Benefits:

First of all is the strength in your legs and thighs that you build up. Especially so if the route you walk incorporates some uphill sections along the way. Added to this is the physical stamina you develop- you’re able to walk a steadier pace for longer and this develops your endurance. I remember once I ventured off the usual track and I chose to explore a steep grass hill before me. I’d already been walking for an hour, so making it up this grass hill was a slow, steady affair. But then when I reached the top I found myself on a road along a ridge and looking out was the most wonderful view across the ocean.

It occurred to me: if you want to enjoy the view, you’ve got to make the climb first.

And this is the other thing these long walks do: it’s a great workout mentally. Because as you’re walking along, you find yourself thinking of different things- it could be a present problem or a potential scenario that may come to pass. Yet as you toy with it in your mind while getting physical exercise, your mind goes to work, exploring ideas you might not have previously considered. If you love brainstorming new ideas or have problems that you haven’t been able to find a solution for until now, take a hike. And of course, if you’re more of a cyclist, this works just as well- plus you can cover more distance. I know it myself from all the times over the years I’ve taken my mountain bike out for hours and come back weary, but happy- and brimming with revelations previously untouched.

Conclusion:

Here I’ve shared what works for me. But maybe for you, it’s something else- maybe you enjoy kayaking, horse riding, jogging or spending hours out in the surf? Of course, if you have a dog (especially one of the bigger breeds) then they need regular walking too. You find that this doesn’t just have a positive impact on your fitness, but in other areas too- like your ability to come up with new ideas and to think positively.

Walking away from the go-kart track on Saturday afternoon, my arms were heavy, my legs were taut and there were red marks on my knees where they’d banged against the steering wheel. There was a well-earned beer or two somewhere with my name on it. Yet it occurred to me that (without even realising) I’d been regularly training to do what I’d just done: drive at 10/10ths consistently for a total of 56 laps in less than two hours, without losing speed due to fatigue or making myself physically ill. In the same way many of the (seemingly) irrelevant exercises I did while boxing training were preparing us to step in the ring and fight to the end, my usual exercise routine had unwittingly prepared me to drive fast- and do it consistently:

Regular weight training had developed the strength in my arms and shoulders required to control the steering wheel and physically guide a speeding, jolting kart over the bumps and through the corners of the 800 metre circuit, lap after lap…

Karate training had sharpened my reflexes so I could make short, sharp adjustments to correct a slide that would otherwise scrub off speed, or pounce on a gap where I could sneak past another driver without costing me seconds of my lap time…

And those long walks had developed the muscles in my legs and physical stamina, which (ultimately) gave me the ability to drive fast and do it consistently with minimal fatigue, which would not just have a negative impact physically, but also on my ability to focus and make split-second judgements.

To neglect our physical health is to take great risks with our mental well-being and (therefore) our ability to make good decisions that directly impact our business. Like I said, you don’t have to follow what I do to a tee, but I strongly advise you get your own regular fitness routine in place- and start enjoying the benefits- even in those unexpected places!

Remember: quality of health = quality of life AND quality of business.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed (the art of the do-over)-

As much as we’d like it to be the case, it doesn’t always turn out how we want the first time, does it. But realising this is a universal fact of life means it’s not our failure that counts- it’s what we do afterwards. Like that time, in a past life, where I answered a job posting for a recruitment firm in the city-

The first time I went in, I met with a woman who (if I recall correctly) was part of their HR team. I don’t remember her name, but let’s call her Gemma. She asked me about my employment history and what had inspired me to enquire for this job, before explaining what the listed role would involve. I got the strong impression she didn’t think I was suited for the position and that I really didn’t understand what the job actually entailed. I wondered if I’d read the job description correctly?

Still, Gemma mentioned that there was a group interview the following week and if I was still interested, I could put my name down to attend. I went home and considered whether or not I should bother? Maybe I’d be wasting my time and I’d just look like an idiot in front of everybody else there? Yet I decided it was better to go down in a blaze of glory than die wondering (as I expanded on here) so I found myself opting in and marking myself down to attend…

That following week, suited up and shoes shined, I returned to the company offices for the group interview. Conducting the interview was the company’s hiring department, and looking around the room the other applicants were of a similar age to myself, some with previous recruitment experience and then others who (like me) hadn’t worked in this kind of role before…

Throughout the interview we had to do exercises like conduct a pretend phone call with a disgruntled client and get them back onside, or pick from a number of statements and choose which one to argue the case for. I lucked out here because they’d included that Einstein quote about imagination being more important than knowledge. So during my turn to argue this cause I encouraged everybody in the room to look out of the plate glass window, at an elaborately designed building across the river. I then pointed out that this structures’ entire existence had its’ origins in someone’s imagination.

By the end of that group interview, I felt more than qualified. It would seem my confidence was justified when (a few days later) I received a call from a member of their hiring department to say how impressed they’d been with my interview and could I come back in for a 1 on 1 interview?

I showed up a little early, and while in the downstairs foyer I happened to notice Gemma. When she saw me her demeanour couldn’t have been more different to our last meeting. Her face lit up as she congratulated me, because she’d heard great things from the team about how I’d aced the group interview. What a change! And to think I would’ve missed out if I hadn’t taken another crack at it…

For stories like that one, there’s been times where the draft I’ve sent a client didn’t match their vision of what I was going to do for them. It doesn’t matter how clear your communication is, this is bound to happen sooner or later. As long as human relationships exist on the personal or professional level, there is also going to be misunderstanding along the way. I’ll admit there have been times where I’ve taken clients on with one understanding of what they needed- and then been left perplexed by what followed-

Clients have dropped off the face of the earth and not returned my calls when I was halfway through putting together their first draft they’d paid up for. Clients have begged me to help them get better interactions and engagement from their copy and then didn’t want to budge when I suggested any changes that would’ve helped them get the results they wanted. Clients have complained when I did exactly the job they asked me to do in the first place-

But if at first you don’t succeed, give it another shot. Accept that (even if you don’t get what you expected the first time) people generally are able to adapt and still want to help.

This is why, from the date that first draft gets sent to a client, I give them a month of unlimited edits to the document/s at no extra cost. It’s rare that a project needs more than two rounds of editing before the client is happy with what they see and (in my professional opinion) it’s copy that’ll get the results they seek.

But Ben“, you might be asking “giving your clients a month of unlimited edits is short-changing yourself, surely? What about the ones who waste your time or can’t make up their mind and want to chop and change every 5 seconds?”

Glad you asked-

This 5th and final one of Scribe’s Big 5 Guarantees is how I find the type of clients I love working with versus those who would be a better fit elsewhere.

I love clients who are ready to take action, clients who are great communicators, clients who are clear on what they want even if they don’t know exactly how to achieve it (and that’s often why they’re talking to me in the first place!) Those clients are why I’m happy to provide this guarantee, because those are the kind of people worth making that extra effort for.

Such clients, to me, are priceless.

So if you need copy and that sounds like you- or you know of somebody who needs copy and that sounds like them, then Contact Me!

The Power Of Prolific Business Connections: Why Every Single Contact Counts…

It is a well-known fact that a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery. It is also a well-known fact that an individual battery will provide energy in proportion to the number and capacity of the cells it contains. The brain functions in a similar fashion. This accounts for the fact that some brains are more efficient than others, and leads to this significant statement- a group of brains coordinated (or connected) in a spirit of harmony, will provide more thought-energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery.”

Think & Grow Rich’, Napoleon Hill

Did you ever see that movie ‘Sliding Doors’? The basic premise interested me- the notion that one simple scenario like just missing a subway train home could trigger a massive alternate reality where everything from your hairstyle to your relationship status to your career differed. I didn’t actually watch the movie until just a year or so ago- and (while I don’t want to reveal spoilers) I found it interesting that what appeared to be the ‘better’ reality for the main characters didn’t necessarily turn out to be so. But I digress-

Because here’s my own story about how a single coffee meeting in Brisbane’s eastern suburbs back in 2013 was to notably change the course of my business- and my life- for the next few years at least:

See, John and I met at a business networking event, and we arranged to catch up for a coffee later on at a cafe in Norman Park. During that conversation, John mentioned a business consultant he knew, named Anthea, who was running an upcoming workshop on time management called ‘Stop The Clock‘. Getting better results for my time was something I was quite interested in, so I found out more details and then (on the day) I went along to this workshop over in Newstead…

Despite it being a single days’ workshop (and a free one at that) I was immediately impressed with the amount of preparation Anthea put into the workshops’ organisation, and how professionally laid-out the materials were. While I was already familiar with many of the areas covered, there were other concepts where I had something of a lightbulb moment. I left the workshop with new ideas and a folder under my arm full of valuable course material…

Not long afterwards, I was at another event where attendees dropped their business cards into a metal bucket and then (at the end of the event) cards were randomly picked out for prizes. As it happened, my card was drawn second- and the prize was a years’ membership in these monthly educational events Anthea held, aimed at business owners just like myself.

Going to these events is how I got to meet Julie. Julie had actually been there the night my card was drawn and we’d spoken briefly, but I realised the scope of Julie’s expertise when she did a presentation on getting the most out of LinkedIn. She was holding a 2-day workshop and I was definitely interested in brushing up on my LinkedIn knowledge (knowing it’d translate not just for my profile, but in regards to what I could do for my clients). So I put my name down and off I went…

The workshop was both informative and entertaining- and that’s a testament not just to what Julie knows about LinkedIn, but how she teaches it. If I had to sum it up in two words? Infectious Enthusiasm. But it didn’t end there-

See, Julie went on to provide me with two things I hadn’t expected:

a) A carton full of marketing and copywriting related newsletters, DVD’s and other educational material she thought would be right up my alley, probably worth 4 figures in total when bought- and mine to keep

b) An introduction to Rose

Rose was the director of a business networking organisation with groups in my area, and while they had all sorts of business owners and specialists in these groups, they didn’t have anybody who specialised in copywriting- yet.

So I began attending a group in the CBD that met every Thursday afternoon, and I was soon doing presentations on copywriting before the group. I also met other business owners in the process and some of them I’m still connected with to this day. But it didn’t end there…

See, at this point in my life I was at something of a crossroads. I’d been in Brisbane for nearly 5 years and in that time I’d started Scribe, made new friends, seen some old ones move on and (to say the least) I’d changed as well. My life and my whole outlook was largely different from the one I’d arrived with. I’d begun wondering if staying here was meant to be, or if I should make a fresh start somewhere else. Because if I had the freedom to be anywhere, was this really the best option?

Then in February 2015 I was with Rose and a colleague named Stuart who did videography, at a 3 day marketing seminar at the Grand Chancellor on the Gold Coast. The whole time during the seminar we were brainstorming ideas, jotting them down and passing notes back and forth between the three of us. Then on the second day, Rose told me that she’d decided to open a new group here on the Coast, and she wanted me to come on board as assistant to the group ambassador.

I was already doing my MBA part-time down on the Gold Coast, so coupled with this new role? It now made perfect sense for this to be my next move...

So in a single weekend I got the answer I’d been looking for, and without any prompting it’d come about because I knew Rose>

Who’d been introduced to me by Julie>

Who I’d met (indirectly) through Anthea>

Who I’d been recommended to by John.

So, if it wasn’t for that coffee meeting with John back in 2013 in Norman Park, would I have found myself relocating down to the sunny Gold Coast in March of 2015, right when I’d been looking to start afresh? Who knows…

On another note, I would later sign up to do a 10 week course with Anthea when I realised I could do with a bit of mentoring as I shifted all my focus to Scribe. There’s a story that outlines how all that came to be, here. Again, if I didn’t already know Anthea, hadn’t seen the quality of content she put out and her ability to teach business owners, would I have ever got on board? Possibly not. It’s all in the power of connections.

No doubt you’ve got plenty of your own stories- maybe you landed a great new job because of somebody you chatted to at the races or in a corporate box at the game or even at your favourite bar on a Friday evening. Or maybe you met your spouse/ significant other because of your friend or your sibling or somebody they knew? That’s before even talking about the people you meet through business networking…

If you stop and think about it for a moment, how many circumstances and relationships do you enjoy in this present day all because of that one person you met?

Just this weekend gone, I went to birthday drinks for an old friend I’ve known 15 years. I met him through another friend, who I’ve known 16 years- and we met out the front of North Sydney station because he wanted to know which bus took us to the footy? Through him I have another mutual friend who lives a couple of suburbs away, and we’re throwing a surprise party for him this weekend (don’t mention the surprise party. I did once- but I think I got away with it). We’re all going kart racing a couple of weeks from now- and the catalyst was one random encounter on a winters’ afternoon back in 2004…

A single connection can have a huge trajectory on your business success, a single meeting can inspire a transformation you didn’t expect to see in the entirety of your life.

My current role as Group Leader for bX Gosford is no different. I went to a day seminar event hosted by bX Director Matt Alderton back in August 2018 in Sydney’s west and (afterwards) we were all in the downstairs bar of the venue when Matt mentioned his interest in opening a group up on the Central Coast. Fast forward a year later and Jason (a colleague and previous client of mine) called up to tell me bX was starting a group in Gosford, and would I be interested in coming on board as the Group Leader? I didn’t need to say I’d think about it!

It should be clear by now that I’m big on connections, and through our fortnightly Gosford events (or our weekly online meetings) I’m always looking out for who I can connect people with. Who is (maybe) just one introduction away from achieving that big outcome they’re looking for? Who might be one connection short of seeing real transformation, and could I make it happen for them?

Yet, I also realise that despite my knowledge and ability when it comes to turning out copy for clients, I’m not always that person who can help a lead in getting the results they’re after. But- if I’m not that person- I have no problem admitting it to them! Because instead, I just refer them onto somebody else who I know is a better fit-

This means that just by talking to me, people are putting themselves in a win-win situation. Because if I can’t help you to achieve your desired business outcomes, I’ll connect you with somebody who can. So (obviously) I’m happy to include that as another one of my Big 5 Guarantees.

So, if you’re looking for assistance or advice and you want a guaranteed win-win, then contact me.

And of course a big shout-out to everybody I mentioned in this article- even if your actions seemed small, they’ve all played their part in a bigger picture.

Selling On Promises: Why Transparency Matters To Us…

Life’s like a box of chocolates- you never know what you’re gonna get

– Forrest Gump

Am I that transparent? I want you, I need you- oh baby, oh baby

– 10 Things I Hate About You

Have you ever bought a discount flight and then paid more on top for all the unseen extras? Or been in the U.S, seen an item listed for a great price and then been stung when the local sales tax was stacked on top of that seductive sticker price?

Or maybe you’ve met somebody and while their words told you one thing, you could tell they weren’t being up-front with you. Just little giveaways (or ‘tells’) that revealed all. Recently I read a book, titled What Everybody Is Saying (Joe Navarro) and it delves into the minor details of how to read a person beyond the mere words they’re speaking to you.

Because you might ‘know’ a person doesn’t line up with how they’re trying to present themselves or that a particular offer sounds too good to be true, but when you think about it, what’s the real frustration?

The real frustration is that we’ve already got enough things to think about. Enough issues that require our ongoing attention and energy. Having to decipher what somebody’s real intentions are or what you’re really getting when you sign up means you have to devote more of your time (and energy) to being on-guard and minimising the chances of being stung.

If you ask me, life is too short! Call it simplistic, but whenever I pay for a service or a product, I want to know exactly what I’m getting- and it seems like I’m not the only one. Places like Dominos now allow you to see your pizza being prepared in the store before it’s delivered- so you know exactly what you’re going to see when you open that piping hot carton.

After all, when you know what you’re getting straight up then it’s easier to make a decision- yay or nay? At least if a service is expensive, we know it’s expensive from the start. If a process is complicated and time-consuming, then you sign up understanding it’s not a simple case of click your fingers and get the result.

I still remember the day I walked in and signed up for the Fight Like A Pro experience back in 2016 and Gavin talked about how over the coming 10 weeks there’d be times I’d feel like quitting, but that (ultimately) if I got to Fight Night it’d be one of the best things I’d ever done and I’d want to go back and do it again- like plenty of other guys who returned to train here at the gym…

Without giving too much away (because you should read the article for yourself), I was in the midst of a difficult year and I’m generally a persistent person. I figured wanting to give up was for men weaker in spirit than myself. I also assumed Gavin talking up Fight Night as being “one of the best things I’d ever done” was just his pitch.

Yet ultimately- he was correct on both counts. Not only did I return to the gym to train again, I stepped into the ring once more at the next Fight Night. It turned out that I got what I signed up for (and then some) even if I didn’t know it yet…

As human beings we’re attracted to certainty because it’s part of our survival mechanism. We want to know that water is wet, sand is gritty, sugar is sweet and that if we stand in the middle of the road then our day isn’t going to end well. Small elements of certainty like this make it easier (mentally and emotionally) to focus on longer-term decisions that are important to our survival.

If we do get the unexpected, we want it to be something good. Like the afternoon when, just a couple of weeks short of my 10th birthday and (intending to hit the street in the new billy-cart I’d built with my dad) I walked out into the living room to see both my parents sitting there with the Scalextric slot-car set I’d been wanting for ages. It was an early birthday present (truth is, my dad was keen to have a crack at it himself) and to date it remains arguably the best birthday present I ever received…

But back to what we expect as a customer-

Ideally, we want to know exactly what we’re getting and how much we’re going to pay for it, right? If it’s a product then we want to know the materials, the quality, the finish, the size, the weight, the features and the price. If it’s a service then we want to know what’s going to be done, how long it’s going to take, the results and (yet again) the price.

So when I was brainstorming what kind of guarantees to offer clients, making transparency one of those guarantees didn’t need a second thought. What it means is that before you pay the invoice (let alone receive the invoice) we’ve discussed the proposal with you. You know what service you’re getting, the timeframe it’s due to be completed in and how much it’s going to cost in total-

So if you’re thinking about getting sales or marketing copy written and you want the peace of mind that comes with certainty and knowing what to expect, then contact us

The Birthday Party That Fell Flat: Why Efficiency Matters…

Let me take you back to the occasion of my mothers’ 40th birthday party

Now obviously, your 40th birthday is a big occasion and (while I haven’t experienced it yet) it’s considered a milestone like any year where you turn another decade older. So for Mum’s 40th she’d organised a medieval themed birthday party, complete with a spit-roast in the backyard, horseback rides and (best of all): a jumping castle

It was that last one I looked forward to the most. Having a fairground attraction in your own backyard for a day seems like the most awesome thing ever when you’re 9 years old, the only thing better would be discovering they were taking apart The Demon from Wonderland and coming to set it up at your place (but then again maybe not, as I was scared of rollercoasters as a kid and I regret the rides I missed out on, but that’s another story)…

So the weeks counted down and then at last, here it was: the day of Mum’s 40th birthday party…

The caterers arrived and set up the spit roast, the horse float showed up and a white horse clopped through our side gate and into the backyard, family and friends came around to our place dressed like the cast from a Robin Hood movie- while I eagerly waited for the jumping castle, which would arrive at any moment, surely…

I waited…

And waited…

The afternoon drew on and still no sign of any jumping castle. By this stage even my parents were getting impatient, calling the hire company up for a please explain? According to the hire company, their guy was on the road and meant to be turning up with the jumping castle soon.

Half an hour ticked by. Then another half hour. The birthday cake was brought out, Mum blew out the candles and speeches were made. Yet still no sign of the jumping castle. Eventually Mum called the company back and passed on a message, simply saying “Boy very upset”

As I heard her say this I cringed at her exaggerating for dramatic effect. I wasn’t balling my eyes out. I wasn’t sitting in a corner and sulking. There was cake to eat, a horse to ride, cousins and the family friends’ kids to take for hot laps around the backyard in my old red Little Tykes wagon. But sure- I was as disappointed as any 9 year old kid would be when they get promised a jumping castle and then it never shows up…

To their credit, the hire company did the reasonable thing and (once it was clear today there’d be no bouncing) let us have the jumping castle for another day and refunded us. I could live with that.

So the alternate date was arranged, I invited my friends over and then come that day when I would- we all would- all get to jump around at last?

No sign of it. A call to the company again led to them calling the home of this guy who was meant to be delivering it. His wife apparently said he was at footy training and then meant to be dropping the jumping castle off. I don’t know what happened after footy training, but that jumping castle never showed up. Strike 2…

After this point, the company boss spoke to Mum on the phone and said they’d now give us the jumping castle for an entire week. It would be delivered by somebody else, as they sacked the bloke who’d let us down twice now.

Looking back now, it almost feels like the premise for a depressing Simpsons episode: bloke still manages to fail at a job that allows him to be somewhat loose with punctuality= gets the sack. I wonder what the rest of that guys’ backstory was? I probably wasn’t the only person he’d let down because in my experience, if somebody is letting you down on small things then they’re probably letting other people down on much bigger things as well…

But in the end, the jumping castle arrived- a giant inflatable giraffe, head popping up behind the roof of our house and wobbling around all week, visible from the end of our street. My friends, cousins and the neighbourhood kids all came around and yeah, it was cool being able to come home, go out to the backyard, turn the generator on and bounce around until you were exhausted!

Whether it’s waiting for a jumping castle to show up at your house, a flight to leave or a team member to submit their contribution for an important group assignment, being kept waiting is massively frustrating, isn’t it? Because somebody else’s incompetence or lack of care means you end up paying for it, whether you miss out on the fun, miss out on an important connection or miss an opportunity to achieve greatness.

And nobody wants to miss out like that, do they?

It’s for this reason that here at Scribe Copywriting, we’re committed to efficiency. So much so that it’s one of our 5 Guarantees to every project we take on. I’ve edited brochure content, written client emails and turned them over in the space of 24 hours to help clients meet important deadlines. There’s an added cost involved with tight deadlines like those, of course- but it pays to be punctual.

So whether you’re in party hire, property development or providing an outstanding service people pay you top dollar for- you’re assured that the copy you need is in your hands when you need it-

If punctuality is your prime objective, then contact us.

Story time: Communication problems and what it REALLY costs you…

It’s amazing to think just how popular ‘Fawlty Towers’ remains, considering they made just 13 episodes. Yet it was the characters and some of the lines that became part of comedy folklore:

“Dont mention the war- I did once, but I think I got away with it!”

“What are you looking at? Get on with your meals!”

“About your Waldorf salad- well I’m sorry but it appears that we’re all out of waldorfs.”

My favourite line was in one particular episode where Basil (on the verge of losing it) punches his open hand and says “Right- I think I’ll go and hit some guests!” For me it was the visual of Basil storming into the dining room then indiscriminately punching hotel patrons as they sat and ate that cracked me up.

Yet certain episodes were equally frustrating as they were funny, with one prime example being an episode titled ‘Communication Problems‘. In it, one of the hotel guests is a deaf woman named Miss Richards, and what made her so annoying wasn’t just that she kept forgetting to turn her hearing aid on. It was her manner as well- overly demanding, uptight, loud monotone voice, the stick up her arse type. You know the sort…

Poor communicators are so frustrating because they don’t just make life more difficult for themselves. Everybody they come into contact with risks having their time, energy and yes- money- wasted as result. Looking back, I can think of a few examples of this from my own life:

Story #1: The Bi-Polar Property Managers

It was my 1st year studying in Brisbane and I lived in a student accomodation place where (at the end of the university year) I’d cleared out my stuff and stored it in the flat, because I was moving down the hallway to the bigger (and now vacant) room when I came back for the new semester. Now as you know, part of moving out of your rental dwelling is that you’re expected to clean it before you vacate- which I did. I vacuumed the carpet, dusted and wiped down the windowsills and desktops, cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom and gave the mirrors a polish as well. With that out of the way, I vacated the flat, went home for the summer holidays and (the following February) I returned, moving into my new room. But in my 2nd year there, I noticed something…

Because while the complex I lived in had been designed as student flats (and titled as such), I began noticing that amongst the fellow residents I saw daily there were fewer students in their late teens or twenties and more people who’d be classed as mature age students- mature aged students with kids- if they were studying at all. Now while I can’t prove anything, I’ve got a suspicion that body corporate wanted to push the uni students out and turn it into a residence aimed at low-income families, figuring they’d be less trouble for the same rent…

If this is what they were doing, I’d have no problem with it. Just be up-front about it, and at least you’d know where you stood. But here’s what happened-

To keep it as short and sweet as I possibly can, let me break it down for you:

a) It came to the end of the year and one of the property managers (we’ll call her Nadine) told me that while I was gone over the summer, the flats may be rented out to other tenants and so there was no guarantee I’d be in the same flat when I returned.

b) I asked where I could store my possessions for the time being, and Nadine said to leave them in the storage space under the flat, accessible through a lockable side-door next to the carport. So away I went, hauling my gear out of my room, downstairs and into this storage space.

c) I was about half way through when Nadine saw me and said I couldn’t leave my stuff there. I tried pointing out this was what she’d told me to do just the day before, but now apparently that wasn’t ok for reasons I’ve forgotten since. Point was, she now said I’d need to move my gear up into the so-called conference room of the complex office building. I say so-called because they never held conferences in there and it didn’t look likely any time soon. It was essentially a vacant room, housing old furniture ready for the dump.

d) So I moved my belongings a second time, from the storage space up to the conference room. But finally, my room was empty- which I proceeded to clean top to bottom just as I’d always done when vacating. I packed the stuff I was taking home into my large grey suitcase, dropped my keys into the slot of the mailbox outside the front office and headed into town, ready to catch the train home early the following morning. At last, my holidays had started and I could relax. Or so I thought…

e) The following afternoon I was sitting back in my comfy seat on the passenger express when my phone buzzed. It was Nadine on the other end and she was irate about the fact my personal belongings now sat there in the conference room. I said that was where she’d told me to put them (sound familiar?) but now *apparently* this had never been discussed. On top of that? She also complained about the state I’d left my room in, claiming it was “unacceptable”. I pointed out that I’d cleaned my room just the same as I’d done the previous year before vacating and nobody had said a thing about it, to which Nadine claimed that hadn’t been left in an acceptable condition either (I have a theory about how this shake-down works but that’s for another time). She said I wouldn’t be allowed back to live there in the new year and, realising it was pointless trying to reason with an unreasonable person, I hung up.

Now, maybe she was right? Maybe I hadn’t left my room in a state deemed to be acceptable from a tenant? But even if that was the case, they had an entire year to say something about it, to say “Look, the condition you left your room in when you vacated wasn’t acceptable and you’ll need to do a better job next time if you want to continue living here”. I would’ve asked for clarification, got a checklist from them and ensured their expectations were met. But they never said a word. Being a lowly STUDENT, I suspect my name had already been marked down, long before that December evening when I vacated the premises…

So the following February (having found a new place just down the street in the interim) I returned to the old premises and began moving my stuff out of the conference room. One of the caretakers (we’ll call her Rosie) saw me as I worked away and said “Do you know how much trouble you’ve caused?” Arguing with a complete idiot is a waste of time, so I brushed her off, saying “I didn’t mean to cause trouble for anybody” and continued my relocation…

If just reading all that frustrated you, then imagine how it was for me! So much trouble, and it all could’ve been avoided with some simple, clear communication on the other sides’ behalf.

As I’m sure you’re well aware, customers aren’t exempt from the curse of bad communication, either.

Story #2: The Client Who Needed To Consult A Dictionary

Years ago I was writing website copy for a client, on behalf of a mutual contact. There was a section they wanted written that was (essentially) a straightforward FAQ section, nothing fancy. I asked the client directly what they were looking for (as you do). They sent me an email with a link to the FAQ section of a company website from the same industry, and he told me to “take this and replicate it”

Replicate: To make an exact copy of, or reproduce.

Check out the definition for yourself. So I replicated the FAQ’s from this other company website, pasted it into a new document for my clients’ web-page and then edited it (where I saw fit) to make it as straightforward and simple to understand as possible. Then I sent it off to the client…

A day or so later, I got an email from the contact who’d introduced me to this client. The client had emailed him, ranting and raving about how what I’d done was “plagiarism” and that my contact should demand a refund on his behalf, etc etc. I told my contact I’d be happy to chat with this guy on the phone and straighten things out, but that request was never followed up.

As far as I’m concerned, in business and in relationships, poor communicators are welcome to go elsewhere. I only have a finite amount of time and energy and I intend to invest both where it’s actually worth the trade-off.

I’m sure you’ve got your own horror stories about people who drove you up the wall and wasted your time/ energy/ money (or even the trifecta) through their poor communication skills- whether a colleague or a client, boss or body corporate. I get it-

That’s why here at Scribe, one of the 5 Guarantees we offer you is clear communication. This means nothing is left to guesswork. When we write a brand new piece of copy or edit existing content, we explain the thinking behind what we do- and ensure that before we start, we’re as clear as possible on what the client’s vision is, what they expect.

From start to finish, we keep you posted every step of the way regarding the progress of your project. Because good communication costs nothing.

So if you want effective copywriting that pulls in new leads, gets clicks, gets new customers AND comes with clear communication? Then contact us today!