Category Archives: Green Room

How Do You Know If Your Business Idea is a Good One?

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Before we begin, let me give it to you straight. Starting your own business is bloody hard. So hard in fact that most of you reading this will quit before you’ve really began. A slightly harsh way to start an article about success you might think, but that’s really the whole point. Remember, if it was easily attainable, everyone would be accomplishing it. If I told you it was going to be an easy ride, I’d be doing you much more of a disservice.

Running a successful business is not easy. Working for someone else is easy. Letting someone else make all the difficult decisions is easy. Working an eight hour day and taking home a regular pay check is easy. Running your own business is as far from easy as it can possibly get.

When you decide to strike out on your own you will be inundated with people ‘helpfully’ offering you their advice and opinions. They’ll tell you that you’re mad to want to quit your job, and that leaving behind the security of a regular income is crazy… and in many ways they are completely right.

If I’ve kept you this far then hopefully you’re now thinking “Screw that! I’d rather work twice as hard so I can live a life and create something I really want – whatever the cost” and if that’s the case, then congratulations my friend, you may just have a shot.

Yet passion and determination are only one piece of the pie. You first have to have a damn good idea and then the drive, ambition and forward planning to actually make it happen.

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The Idea

For some people, coming up with their business idea is easy. They have a lightbulb moment or a brainwave when they least expect it. But for the rest of us it can take years to uncover exactly what it is we really want to do. So just how do you know if your latest business idea is a ‘good’ one or not?

Of course no-one can give you a definitive answer to this biggest of questions but there are a few things you can do when trying to figure this out for yourself. Firstly you need to obsessively research your chosen field and profession. You need to devour books, blogs, workshops and training courses. You need to take in as much information as possible and then you need to work your butt off practising over and over and over again.

If this sounds like a lot of work then you may not have uncovered your brilliant business idea just yet. However if this is something you’ve already done or you can’t wait to get stuck into then you might just be on the right path.

If you’re not obsessed with your chosen idea then drop it and move on. You have to really love what you do, and be willing to do it for free (or at least very little money) for a significant amount of time before you really make any traction or even a sniff of profit. If you’re not willing to work for free then you’ll likely give up before you’ve even really got started. If you don’t completely love what you plan to do then working for a regular pay check is always going to be an easier route to take.

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Business Bites: Get Over It and Get It Done

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Late one night this week, as I was battling the jet lag and working way past 3am, I was simultaneously having an email conversation with Paul Jarvis: web designer, writer and all round awesome dude, If you haven’t obsessed over Paul’s work yet by the way, where have you been?

Anyway he sent me a copy of his latest book, Everything I Know, and while flipping through it I was met with an uneasy feeling of dread. It wasn’t dread knowing I had to read it (I promise!) it was an impending feeling that I’m not sure if I’ll ever match up. I haven’t said this publicly anywhere before but next year my grand plan is to write and publish a business book. ARGH.

I’ve been procrastinating on the whole thing for months because I’m shit scared. Scared that it’ll be rubbish, scared that people will point and say things like “What the hell does she know” and scared that I’ll tell you all about it and then never actually get it done.

Paul replied with possibly the best piece of advice I’d received all year, “Get over it and get it written” he said. And so that’s what I’m going to do.

So let’s all be honest with each other today. It is seriously scary to share your plans in public, especially if you’re not really sure if you have the ability to follow through, but let’s be brave and do it together. If I can share then you certainly can do. So tell me, what have you been procrastinating over recently? What do you need to get over and just get done?

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The Secret of Success

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I kinda hate it when people ask me what I do for a living. It’s not that I’m embarrassed, but when you reply with “I’m a blogger”, it’s usually followed by a million other questions like “Is that like Facebook?”, “What’s a blog?” and “How do you make money?”

Another round of questions that I seem to get asked a lot are about how I became successful and profitable at something so many others try, and fail, to do. Like I have a secret that others haven’t quite figured out yet or something. People always want to know if there was one defining moment or a turning point that took my blog from a small hobby on the side to what it is today… but I’m sorry to report that the answer is always no.

Like anything in life, there is no quick fix or easy answer. The reality is that there is no single trick or technique to making your blog or business become ‘successful’. There is no ‘one size fits all’ guide or single path you can follow for guaranteed prosperity.

However when I think about it logically, there probably were three main things that I did that helped me become (however you might define it) successful in my field.

Determination

For three years I blogged without making a penny. I did it because I loved it. The thing about working for those years without thinking about how to make a living from it was that I had plenty of time to practice. I didn’t have the pressure of earning a crust to contend with. I was able to just learn and create without any pressure.

I had a full time job where I worked nights. I’d start at 6pm and work on until 2.30am. The only way I could blog too was to get up in the morning and do it – all day – before going to work again in the evening. Am I going to pretend it was easy? Of course not, I was bloody tired all the time, but it wasn’t even a question for me. I loved blogging so much that I kept doing it, even when I wasn’t seeing and rewards.

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Business Bites: What Goal Would You Set Yourself If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

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Photography Credit: Janneke Storm

With my adventures down under soon drawing to a close, this week I’ve really started to think about my goals and plans for 2014. While, yes, it may be a little intimating to ponder a whole new set of tasks and things that need to be achieved, it is one of my favourite things to do. Someone in our Auckland workshop this week asked me why it was important to set yourself goals and commented that she was scared to do so in case she didn’t achieve them. I told her what I’m telling you now.

Goals are great because they not only set your head in the right space and give you something to aim for, by committing them to paper (whether publicly or privately) you are also much more likely to achieve them… and if you don’t, well that’s OK too, you have something to keep aiming for next time. Without goals we simply plod along aimlessly, having a concrete benchmark to hit is a massively powerful tool in our business arsenal.

As the latter part of the year creeps up on us, and if you haven’t already, I’d like to encourage you to set some 2014 goals for yourself and your business.

So tell me, what goal would you set yourself if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Why creative people sometimes make no sense
What you fail is more important than if you fail
Does my business idea have potential?
Success is for the lucky

“In business or entrepreneurialism especially, more luck and serendipity is required than anything else. So the only way to reduce the probability of loss is to try experimenting with new ideas as often and as publicly as possible. This is the only common thread with successful entrepreneurs: they keep trying different ideas until one sticks”

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How Often Should I Be Blogging?

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Dear Kat
I’m in a quandary… I’m expecting my first baby in three weeks time and am obviously not going to have time to post on my blog as regularly in the coming months. My blog is a wedding blog and is fairly new (only launched five months ago) but it’s going really well and I want to keep the momentum going in the best way possible.

I have two questions. Firstly, if it’s not going to be updated for a while do I need to have a post explaining why, or can I just leave it standalone with the content as is? Obviously viewing figures are going to go down whilst I’m not updating regularly – there’s nothing I can do about that – but do I need to tell the world that I’m on a little maternity leave?

Secondly how often, as a minimum, do you think I should be aiming to post? Do readers genuinely expect updates or can they be happy with the content as is? I look forward to hearing any thoughts.

Well firstly, congratulations. It’s going to be a super exciting time for you. If you want to keep blogging you’re going to need to have a plan because I imagine you’re going to have your hands full!

A blog is like a baby in itself. It needs to be nurtured, to be given regular love and attention or it won’t continue to grow. So, yes, if you want to keep the blog going in some capacity, you need to be posting regularly. How often you post isn’t actually the most important thing, as long as you make the commitment to update at regular intervals. Most of all you need to find a schedule that works for you.

Remember, if you don’t blog, no-one is going to tell you off. You need to be accountable for whatever you decide to do otherwise it can be all too easy for it to fall to the wayside. You’ll wake up one day and think “Oh I’m too tired/ busy today, no-one will mind if I don’t blog” and you’re right, they won’t, but without the commitment to do it, one day will quickly turn into two… to a week… to a month… and soon enough you won’t have blogged for a year. You’ll have no readers left and you’ll basically have to start again from scratch.

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Business Bites: On The Road Again

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Photography Credit: Lakshal Perera

Hello from Auckland! Our alarms went off at five o’clock this morning and we were back on the road, heading to New Zealand for our third class on this Antipodean adventure. Although Gala, Shauna and I have been having an absolutely fantastic time down under, it really has been all go go go. We’ve been pretty un-Rock n Roll and spent most of our down time in our PJs, laying about in whatever hotel or apartment we happen to be holed up in.

After teaching this weekend, we hop on yet another plane down to Wellington to visit Gala’s parents for a few days before heading back over to Melbourne for our final workshop of 2013! It really has been such an incredible trip but I sure am missing Gareth and those kitties of mine. But – yay! – only just over a week until I can see all their cute little faces again.

In other news, I’ve been invited to speak at Enterprise Nation‘s Blogging for Small Businesses event in London on December 3rd. I’ll be sharing my blogging journey and letting you in on just how I turned my hobby into a full time business. PLUS it’s completely free to attend. I’d love to meet you there!

So let’s check out some of this week’s most inspiring business links shall we?

10 reasons why Kate Spade is the queen of digital marketing
♥ 20 entrepreneurs reveal practical wisdom to succeed in business
98% of your paid ads are a colossal waste of time
♥ Want to be more productive? Do less!

“Doing less will help you accomplish more.

We have to start by redefining productivity, because the current definition is clearly broken. When was the last time you finished everything? What was the last time you thought, “I’m so productive that I got it all done.” and didn’t have to wake up and do it all over again?”

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