Thursday, 31 December 2009

Look Beyond The Coffee Tweets!

Of course I’m not the first to suggest that Twitter has been THE game-changing website/ platform in 2009; it’s disrupted how we all communicate. There’s a lot of talk and speculation about how it might develop and how it will get monetised in the New Year. And (of course) I *still* get comments from friends and naysayers who don’t get it and assume Twitter is all about mundane tweets on how great the morning coffee is. But look beyond that, and you’ll see the real value of the platform.

Here’s just a snapshot on my Return Of Investment from Twitter in the last twelve months:

- I got asked to co-present a session at South By South West 2009.

- I had a random meeting over coffee with Phill Jupitus.

- In a great example of crowdsourcing, I co-wrote a song with Dave Stewart on Twitter.

- I connected with an awesome bunch of people from Japan, South Africa, Asia, the US & Europe and turned some of those relationships face to face meeting people from Tennessee to Edinburgh.

- I met a great bunch of people in London who I’ve started talking to about working relationships.

- I got an opportunity to meet and interview people like Sarah Beeny.

- I tweeted out who might want to review my book and got a ‘yes please’ from the MP Tom Watson.

- I drove record-breaking traffic to my blog, my site and my videos helped by re-tweets from people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Brogan; great endorsements from people who are so big on Twitter.

- I discovered some great content through links to great posts, people and businesses who I otherwise would never have heard of. In turn I got great satisfaction from sharing those with my own contacts.

- I used it as a customer-relations tool to connect with brands like British Airways to bypass telephone call centres (with great success).

- I helped sell a few of my books and spread awareness to new readers, helped massively by followers who waved the Juggle flag for me (thanks guys).

- During the bad weather earlier this month I connected with people locally to check road conditions and whether the trains were running.

- I had random one-to-one exchanges with newsreaders, authors and newspaper columnists.

Tell me how else I’d got all of the above? And for free?

Of course, that return on investment does not come overnight (nor is it really ‘free’); it’s taken a big investment in time. It’s not just a few self-promotion tweets saying ‘look at my great blog’; it’s about putting in the hours in listening, sharing and connecting.

And if you do follow me on Twitter, I can tell you that amongst all the ‘meaningful’ stuff, I will continue to tweet about good coffee in 2010. Because, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in the last 12 months, it’s the importance of authenticity. Happy New Year!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

10 Things I Know for 2010

So as we approach the end of the year, the web is full of predictions & tips for the New Year. Me? What I’m offering up below is not full of jaw-dropping revelations. Just a simple Top 10 List of Things I’ve learnt in running my own business and working with businesses in the last 12 months. And these themes will continue to inform how I work with clients in 2010. Whether you are a small business owner, a department head, a solo-entrepreneur, whoever - I hope it resonates.

1. GO FOR IT. Forget over-planning, focus instead on actually delivering your projects, websites and products. Over-analysis can paralyse your business so don’t spend months deciding on your new brand name, or days and days plotting financial projections before launching a venture, often it’s more important to just go for it.

2. HARNESS DIGITAL TOOLS. “Digital tools”, “social media”, I don’t care what you call it but you have to be on top of the tools that work for your sector, for your message, for your audience. They’re pretty much free and they can be harnessed for enormous value. Don’t just use them to pimp your products, use them to build relationship with the marketplace, to listen and engage with people. I’ve made such a great bunch of contacts via Twitter this year, it’s a great way of expanding your network.

3. POINT OF DIFFERENCE. I make no apologies for banging on about this for the last 12 months; this is what marketing is all about. How is your product, brand, idea, offering different from the rest? Then tell the world about your difference.

4. KEEPING PACE WITH CHANGE. So you, your team, your business, your product has changed over the last 12 months. Question: has your marketing, your language of communication and your sales messages kept pace? If not, update them.

5. COMPETE ON SERVICE. Okay so hardly a new one, but it *still* counts. Are your beating the competition on service, on intimacy, on attention to detail? Because that’s where you can win. We like dealing with people who are nice guys and treat us well. That simple.

6. WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY SELLING? I still see so many businesses put the emphasis on selling what they make rather than sell the benefits of what they make. Missed opportunity. Sell what your products and services can do for your customer - sell the applications, not the software.

7. COLLABORATE. A personal goal for me for 2010. We have to recognise that however ambitious and talented we are, we often need other people to help achieve our goals. Find partner companies, new teams, like-minded souls to inject fresh passion and talent in to your projects to achieve game-changing results.

8. GROW DIFFERENT. Business growth doesn’t *have* to be about adding more stores, adding more staff, growing bricks and mortar premises, getting a bigger warehouse. There are smarter routes to business growth. Building intellectual property, building brand equity, growing it online. Keeping the operation small, but building your niche, offering more add-ons, charging clients more (and this route can be lower risk too).

9. FACE TO FACE. Communicate externally with clients and internally with your staff/ teams. Don’t let human relationships deteriorate. For the business that’s got “too busy” to talk to its staff, sit down and have that weekly 08.30 meeting; for the company that let clients lapse, come up with some initiatives to keep in touch. And don’t keep relationships virtual; invest the time and train/rail miles to sit down with clients and teams face to face (Twitter just ‘aint the same).

10. BE REACTIONARY. If you suddenly spot an opportunity, be flexible enough to react to it. If your business model is broken, fix it. If your marketing sucks, change it. If your offering is tired, reinvent it. Be open minded about opportunities, don’t get entrenched in rigid plans. Don’t run away from change, embrace it like crazy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Link Roundup

I’ve contributed a few guest posts to other blogs recently.

Here’s my article for Careershifters ‘If Big Change Is Not For You, Try Juggling’. Careershifters is a website and community for anyone making a major career change, run by people who have done it.

Here’s my short video post for Ian Aspin’s ‘Really Good Thinking blog’ on the importance of making tough choices when you’re managing time.

And here’s my contribution to Cath Duncan’s ‘Mine Your Resources’ blog with my take on goal setting: “I have goals but I have no plan for the journey I will take to reach them…"

Friday, 11 December 2009

“Word Of Mouth Is On Steroids”

What’s the most important marketing tool out there?

TV advertising? Nope.

Newspaper ads? No.

Twitter? No.

Word Of Mouth.

Whatever the benefits of digital tools and social media, all they’re trying to replicate is good old fashioned Word Of Mouth. It’s what we all aspire to, to grow our businesses, sell our books, our products, our brand. In 10 years of running my own business it’s what I’ve relied on for business development, every single project and client has come via w.o.m.

Gary Vaynerchuk reminded me this week in London about the importance of w.o.m. and how Twitter et al have super-fast-tracked the spread of buzz; for good, and for bad. In his words, “word of mouth is on steroids”.

Here’s my two minute video of Gary talking about word of mouth and the film ‘Bruno’.

If the video above is not displaying properly, you can watch it on YouTube here

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Getting Your Business Ideas To Market Rapidly

I’ve always been more stimulated by the ‘making things happen’ bit of business than all that inevitable long-term planning: I like to take ideas to reality, get them out in the marketplace. I have seen too many good business ideas stay in the womb for too long, and get launched too late, or worse, not at all.

Sure, you need to plan a business before you launch it but don’t get lost in five year plans and long term forecasting. In a fast moving market isn’t it often more important to actually get it out there? To DO, not plan? You can still test, prototype and tweak your proposition once it’s out there, getting valuable user feedback you could never get from focus groups and spreadsheets. And with digital tools, it’s easier than ever to rapidly and effectively launch an idea.

At SXSW Interactive in 2010 I’ll be hosting a session on this area - ‘Unplan Your Business Idea’ - along with David Sloly.

So with this in mind I was really excited to hear about Last month a team from Nonsense London gave themselves 24 hours to conceive, design and promote a new web business. the result is a brand called ‘Dr Hue’ which is now being sold on Ebay.

Okay, so it was a stunt (a good one at that), but proof that you *can* take an idea from blank sheet of paper to the market rapidly. There’s a 3 minute video below which summarises the stages in the 24 hour development. - hour-by-hour from NonsenseLondon on Vimeo.

Friday, 4 December 2009

What’s Your Point Of Difference?

The announcement this week that Borders bookstore was closing the UK generated some industry comment; despite the naysayers, there’s still optimism about survival in the book market. And whatever market you’re in, whether you’re an entrepreneur or a freelancer, it’s all about making your offering different.

Here’s my 60 second video take:

If the video is not displaying properly, watch it on YouTube here

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Navigate through the social media landscape

It’s fascinating how knowledge passes by word of mouth. When I joined Twitter in 2008, I was really lucky to have a hand-hold from my new friend Rachel Beer. Because there is no instruction manual, it was great to get an insight from someone who’d been using it for months already. Now one year on, increasingly people are asking me how to use Twitter: I’ve become the accidental expert. Whilst you still can’t be taught Twitter and social media, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s book ‘Trust Agents' is certainly a great navigation guide.

Okay, so I didn’t learn anything truly ‘wow’ from Trust Agents: there was no stage in reading it when my jaw dropped in astonishment. But of course a good book doesn’t need such dramatic impact to have value.

Trust Agents consolidates and articulates everything I’ve learnt in the last twelve months about this new space we inhabit and the new tools we have.

What’s the key takeaway? it’s about building relationships:‘never before has balance of business interaction and communication been so in favour of smaller, more personal interactions’

It’s consolidated everything I’ve learnt about relationship management, about networking online. About the importance of building ‘social capital’: that investment in relationships and collaboration is key, but that a ROI is not always instant or visible until way down the line. And how we use these digital tools to build personal brand equity and profile. But rather than selling to an audience, be their gatekeeper instead: ‘tell don’t sell’. All that resonates with what I’ve learnt at the social media coal face.

Of course, there are no rules. And in an experience where we make things up as we go along, we don’t always get things right. Like the time I rushed to get ‘great to meet you’ emails out after SXSW ’09 that one recipient said ‘thanks for the spam’. And I had to stop and think. (I learnt a lesson on that one).

So there’s no right and wrong but if you’re struggling and feeling your way around this new media space, not sure how best to optimise these tools for yourself and your business read Trust Agents.

And what you’ll learn is that whatever the tools and the opportunities of the digital age – of course – it’s all about real relationships. So make sure you get out in the real world enough!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


As we reinvent our work lives, more of us are working very differently from our parents’ generation. Lots of us don’t work Monday to Friday in offices anymore, we work from home, from cafes, we work ‘on the road’. That’s all very liberating but it does create challenges for the work-at-homers, the solo-entrepreneurs, the freelancers and the self-employed: yep, it can get lonely.

It’s like Phill Jupitus said to me recently. As a one-man stand up comedy act, gigging could be a lonely business. But now he’s joined the cast of Hairspray he’s really enjoying being part of a team of around 50, comprising crew and cast. And being part of a team feels good.

But it’s not just the social benefit. Teaming up with others is essential for providing more klout on a project or offering. I’ve spent the last week or so meeting lots of new people talking collaboration, thinking about areas where we can team up to develop and implement new projects and ideas.

Have a think about collaboration that can give you that social and business reinvigoration:

- organise a Tweet-up with your social media friends, or arrange to meet up next time you visit their city (I had a lunch last week in Edinburgh with two women I’d met on Twitter; great meeting new people and transferring online relationships into face to face ones).

- Start a neighbourhood coffee club for people in your industry or for like minded souls in your locality

- Collaborate with someone on running a workshop or event

- Partner with someone with complementary skills on an idea or project

- Join a co-working space or membership club to hang out and work alongside others

Remember, collaboration doesn’t have to be about making money; it’s always stimulating meeting new people and working in a team is often more fun than doing it solo. You can be more productive and it can fuel better ideas and results.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Sarah Beeny On Juggling

Sarah Beeny might be best known to people in the UK as the presenter of the TV series ‘Property Ladder’ and ‘Property Snakes & Ladders’ but she’s also a successful entrepreneur.

Having launched her own building company and written a handful of books on property developing, she now juggles a broader portfolio including two online businesses. She launched the dating website and more recently she set up a, a website where you can buy and sell your home for free.

Sarah also has four young children; so she got a lot of respect when she appeared at this month’s Social Media ’09 conference along with her baby son.

So Sarah was a great candidate for my Juggle Tapes series; I went to meet her a couple of weeks ago to talk about what drives her business ideas and how she juggles everything. Watch the video below:

*if the video above is not displayed properly, you can watch it on YouTube here

Monday, 16 November 2009

Think Like An Entertainer

Whilst the notion of juggling might be a new concept to some, others have been successfully living multi-dimensional lives for years. Look at the entertainment world, where performers regularly cross disciplines from comedy to broadcasting to writing to acting.

Of course the challenge with that plurality – not just for entertainers but for all jugglers - is how people get labelled. As Dave Gorman said on Radio 4 a couple of months ago (‘Loose Ends’ 08/08/09):

‘You just want to move on and do something different every time. Whatever you do first, people label you as that and you’re never allowed to try your hand at anything else. So if I write a book, it’s comedian turned author; never just an author and you’re always pegged in that way. Personally I don’t see why I can’t make a documentary one year, a book another and do some stand-up. They’re all strings to the same bow to me’.

The key is to try not bother about the labels and just carve out that work life based on your talents and passions. I had coffee with Phill Jupitus last week - he has an awesome portfolio that includes: comedian, podcaster, newspaper columnist, broadcaster, actor (he’s currently starring in ‘Hairspray’ in the West End), cartoonist and musician. That’s not a list of his career history; that’s what he does *now*.

Like any successful juggler Phill has to be ruthless about how he manages his time but that broad portfolio is the result of his multi-dimensional talents. He seems to place no limits on what he does; proof being taking to the stage in a musical for the first time in his life. And ‘Hairspray’ is quite a leap from where it all started for him as a one man stand-up act ‘Porky The Poet’ (the guise I first saw him as, at Peckham Town Hall back in 1985).

So if you’re looking to juggle in business, you can learn a lot from the entertainment industry where reinvention and plurality of talents is behind much success. Take a leaf out of Phill’s book: extend your portfolio to wherever your passions and talents take you; go out of your comfort zone to find your career equivalent of taking a leap to the West End stage.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

If You’re Looking For Success, Get Over Sticking To One Thing!

One myth I aim to bust in Juggle! is the notion that you can only be good at one thing in life or business: you find a single talent or profession and you stick to it. Crap.

But encouraging plurality does not mean diluting your talents. You need to stay focused to make sure you’re good at one skill, project or venture before adding another one to the mix. It’s a tricky juggle but what successful entrepreneurship is all about.

You don’t need to think like a plural brand such as Virgin to spread your expertise from one business to another. It’s about taking an honest approach to your juggling. Taking on a new project because you know you have a compelling business idea, because you know a lot about a subject or just because you’re passionate about making a success of something. Passion should not be underestimated as a tool in the proverbial entrepreneurial tool kit. It’s the essential ingredient to drive success, especially where you are trying new ventures.

I’ve been talking to entrepreneurs recently about how they’ve transcended their core specialism. Look at Gary Vaynerchuk, morphing into new business areas beyond his core specialism of wine. He’s making a success of juggling other ventures because he’s passionate about his portfolio reflecting his - multi-dimensional - dna. Last week I met up with Sarah Beeny (a Juggle Tapes video of our chat will be ready later in November). Most people in the UK know Sarah as the ‘property development expert’; as presenter of TV’s Property Ladder and author of a handful of books on property development. But like Gary she’s transformed her portfolio beyond her core specialism to include new ventures including her dating website Just because you’re good at property, doesn’t mean you can’t do dating too. Why did she set up a dating site? Because she wanted to, because she had a good idea and thought she could make a success of it (she was right).

So don’t place too many limits on your talent, role or project portfolio. Follow your dna, your passions and transfer your success to new areas.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Five Big Lessons From Small Shop Keepers

Convention was that if you were thinking of launching a small business you should look at big business for inspiration. Now with many big businesses failing that's being turned on its head as the business world looks at the small independent shop keeper to learn lessons for success: when global brand Starbucks rolled out its new store concept recently it resembled a local unbranded independent coffee shop.
A successful independent shop is what enterprise is all about and recently I've been chatting to neighbourhood coffee shop owners, barbers and shop keepers. Here's what I've learnt:

1) TIME. Success is about putting the hours in, and being patient – it won't happen overnight. From the coffee shop owner putting in 12 hour days to the barber on his feet all day, you have to invest hands-on time in your business. Many people I spoke to didn't even have hire staff for the first 6 or 12 months, keeping the operation lean whilst building revenues and a reputation.

2) CONTROL. Everyone I spoke to stayed across the whole operation, especially the details. From knowing they need to budget £10 a week for window cleaning to checking the utility bills, these proprietors keep their eye on everything.

3) NICHE. The successful guys are filling a niche in the market. The coffee shop that roasts its own beans on the premises is the only one in town. The barber shop that cuts men’s hair for £10; that's what he and his team do. And it's what people queue for, 6 days a week. No-one else around is providing that damn-simple offering; he's not trying to compete with the £30+ hairdresser visit with complimentary cappuccino.

4) SERVICE. Tom Peters quotes a Chinese proverb in one of his presentations: 'Man With Unsmiling Face Must Not Open Shop'. Dead right. These guys are going the extra mile. Welcoming customers, engaging with them. Offering free coffee samples, providing a venue for community groups, discounts for pensioners.

5) WORD OF MOUTH. Sure, social media and on-line will help buzz marketing but success here is about good old-fashioned word of mouth, something every entrepreneur aspires to. We get good service, we talk about it, we spread the word.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Forget Job Titles And Tell It Like It Is

Business – and society at large – has always been obsessed with giving labels to people. ‘What does he do?’ we ask a friend who announces she has a new boyfriend; application forms ask us to put in our job title; and we exchange similar data every time we go on a date, to a dinner party or networking event.

10 years ago when I was Managing Director of a small business, I had that simple 1-dimensional answer for what I did; but now it’s much more complex we have become multi dimensional. Our professional identities need to reflect that plurality – we need to rethink how we describe ourselves. Look at your average Twitter bio and it’s plural not singular: a list of talents, hats we wear, balls we juggle. There are some more creative descriptions too: Kevin Spacey describes himself as the ‘Former shoe salesman now making a go at film and theatre’. Queen Rania is ‘A mum and a wife with a really cool day job’.

Rethinking our identity is at the heart of ‘Juggle!’; as we carve out portfolio careers our personal brands need to reflect and communicate our multi-dimensional talents to the marketplace. That means ditching one or two word job titles and coming up with a phrase or bio that tells it like it is.

The obsession with labels struggles with the notion that people may be talented at more than one thing. It’s like the sportsman and academic Myron Rolle who I heard on Radio 4’s ‘Saturday Live’ at the weekend. Myron was ranked as the number one high school American Football prospect in the United States in 2006. He is also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where he is undertaking an MA in medical anthropology. Myron said:

‘Society and people want to categorise you, compartmentalise you as either a jock, a sportsman or an academic, a nerd. Why can’t you do both? Why can’t you …marry both into a wonderful life?’

Gaby Hinsliff is also learning how to deal with her new-found plurality. Having just resigned as Political Editor of the Observer, she wonders how to describe herself now she is carving out a portfolio career. Indeed her blog is called ‘Used To Be Somebody’. She says:

‘The plan is for a portfolio career, juggling several writing and policy projects part-time, but that is still a tricky concept to explain. "I'll just put homemaker, shall I?" said the woman arranging our new mortgage, apologetically. "You don't fit any of the other categories".

So re-think how we communicate and promote our offering. Whether it’s a multi-dimensional sales pitch or a unique blog, we need to create personal brands that reflect our talents. It’s about going beyond a job title to describe ourselves. That may make form-filling in a little more difficult but dinner party exchanges a little more interesting. So tell it like it is!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Forget The Planning. Focus On Doing.

I’ve spent much of my career busting myths about the way things *should* be in life and business. In most organisations there’s a lot of effort devoted to the tradition of business planning. Five year plans, forecasts, projections. But now more than ever, I don’t see the point of long term planning. Sure, I understand the rationale: the importance of investor and shareholder accountability and of measuring performance. But it seems so academic in an ever changing world: better to be pragmatic and reactive in a world where things change in a flash.

It’s a subject that I hope to be talking about at SXSW 2010 with David Sloly – ‘How To Unplan Your Business’. I also talked to Gary Vaynerchuk about it on his recent trip to London (video here, go to 08:11):

"A 5 year plan is impossible in a world where what 5 years represents is so different than it used to”.

And then this week Stefan Stern in the FT talked about ‘The Death Of The Five Year Plan’:

“ are unpredictable. The economic outlook is uncertain. The world has changed. If old-style strategy formulation is not exactly dead, then it is hardly in the best of health”.

So I say forget long plans and just focus on DO-ING. Put the damn idea or start-up or new product into the market and test and tweak as you go. Forget projections about what it’s going to make in Year 2, who knows until you get started? Who knows how market forces will change, how technology will change the game?

Let’s remember how technology has changed business lifecycles. I can launch a web business in a couple of hours. I can shoot a video on my Flip and post it up straight away. Here’s another example of the game-change. On Monday evening the songwriter Dave Stewart said let’s write a song on Twitter. Followers had just five minutes to write the lyrics and 24 hours later, the results are up = a demo of the song ‘Love Tower’ (featuring my lyrics). And it’s good! Download it here.

So quit the big planning and the big plans and just GET DO-ING.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Change Your Scenery

A familiar story.

Burning the midnight oil trying to come up with that idea for your presentation. Trying to devise that wow strapline for your website. Working out the killer application for your new product.

And where do too many of us attempt these tasks? At the office, our desks at home, in board rooms.

Try changing your scenery. To a coffeeshop, a train carriage, the beach, a park bench.

You'll be amazed what a change in scenery can do, you just have to get out of the office.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Crushing It With Gary Vaynerchuk

Here’s the second part (well actually it was shot first) of my brand new video interview with Gary Vaynerchuk that I recorded on the M4 from Heathrow to Kensington when Gary was in London earlier this month.

In the video I chat to Gary about his new book ‘Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion’ – he talks about how social media has put power into the hands of the individual and covers:

- the importance of publishing ‘old school’ and how he doesn’t get ‘romance by a platform’. ‘I don’t care if it’s smoke signals or a laptop’.
- how social media has changed the game, gatekeepers have lost their power and now everyone is in play.
- it’s all about niches; ‘everyone’s passion is more narrow than they think’.
- the fact that you can still crush it if you’re quiet; you don't have to be loud like Gary.

if the video is not displaying properly above, you can see it on YouTube here

Friday, 16 October 2009

Jose and The Spicy Factor

I talk a lot in my business about the importance of having a point of difference in the marketplace. Whether you’re a freelancer, a corporate exec, a micro-business, an indie band or even a stand-up comedian, you have to work out how are you different from the competition?

Someone who shares that philosophy is Jose Castillo. Jose is based in Tennessee and I met him on his trip to London this week. Jose is a true juggler: he writes about new media, speaks to groups and conferences in the US and Europe, and consults with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups on the convergence of technology, marketing, and ideas. With his wife he also runs a co-working space in his native Johnson City.

What unites everything that Jose does? What he has billed the ‘spicy factor’. Through all his projects Jose strives to invest that wow factor clients are looking for: it’s about creating spicy projects. Recent spicy projects include pumping up 160,000 fans at the hottest race in NASCAR, leading panels on User Generated Content in Silicon Valley, starting up a company focused on generating new media business concepts, and launching a monthly Geek Dinner.

Here’s a 5 minute video I recorded with Jose on Floral Street, Covent Garden.

If the video doesn’t display properly above, you can see it on YouTube here

Friday, 9 October 2009

Me and Gary V: Part 1

Last Friday Gary Vaynerchuk and I took a ride from Heathrow to central London together. Gary had come to London from Hawaii (via LA) to speak at the Future Of Web Apps Conference. Having interviewed Gary in Paris last year (download the video free on iTunes here) and connected again in Texas at SXSW it was great to welcome him to London. I shot two videos with him; one about his new book ‘Crush It’ that I will post on October 20th and this one below.

For anyone who doesn’t know who ‘Gary V’ is, he’s the New York based wine entrepreneur who’s reinvented himself as a social media star. Having made his name presenting the daily wine tasting video blog Wine Library TV , Gary became an expert on social media and web 2.0 speaking at conferences around the world. His first book ‘Crush It: Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion’ is out this month (part of a $1m multi-book deal), he now runs a consulting business Vaynermedia and has recently launched a wine club website and a food retail website He’s a true juggler and he also has about 850,000 more followers on Twitter than me.

In the video Gary talks about:
- the importance of change in his life and business.
- his ‘layer cake’ notion where he juggles a lot of different business interests.
- how social media is changing the agenda for businesses; they can’t dictate to people anymore.
- staying flexible in business and the impossibility of the five year plan.

*If the video is not displaying correctly, you can watch it on YOU TUBE here

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Stamp Out Workplace Apathy!

I walked past a newly opened clothes shop yesterday morning and saw a woman sitting at the counter. She was looking down, deeply engrossed in reading a book (and nothing wrong with reading a book, but there’s a time and a place).

But I couldn’t help thinking - hasn’t she got better things to do? Tidying up the stock. Changing the window display. Writing emails to customers. Coming up with ideas to fill that shop. Something proactive? Even sweeping the floor?

Okay so maybe she has a bad boss or no one to mentor her (or maybe she is the boss). But there’s no excuse, it’s about using your initiative. Wherever you work – and especially in a competitive job market - I can’t believe someone has ‘nothing to do’, there’s always stacks of things that you *could* be doing, whatever level you’re at in an organisation.

Success – and survival - in the workplace in 2009 is about ‘upping your ante’ to be better than the next guy, so whether you’re working in a business or an employer yourself, take the initiative and beat apathy.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A Brand Juggle: From Ice Cream To Radio

I’m doing some ad hoc videos with people who interest me; those who have a good story to tell behind their business or career, people who juggle plurality in their working lives or who have reinvented themselves through their career. The first one is Giles Pearman.

Giles is Group Director Of Marketing at Global Radio, the UK’s largest commercial radio group that owns stations like Classic FM, Capital FM, XFM and Heart.

I met up with Giles last week in London’s Green Park to find out how he juggles his multiple brand portfolio and to discover how his passion drives all he does.

In the video interview you’ll hear:
- how he made the career transition from marketing ice cream to radio.
- the importance of loving the brands he works on to go the extra mile.
- how he has to be ‘jack of all trades’ to understand the different touch points for the consumer.
- How marketing is understanding who your target audience is and super serving them.
- The importance of instinct and keeping his feet on the ground to ensure he preserves a real-life take on things.

Here’s the interview below (with Buckingham Palace and a few random pigeons in the background)*

*if you can’t see the video above, it’s on YouTube here

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

What's Your Niche?

One big thing I’ve learnt in my career and running my own business is the importance of occupying a niche.

By that I don’t mean a gimmick, but an authentic offering that is more distinctive than aiming at the mass-market at large. I’ve seen too many executives and small businesses who try and be ‘all things to all people’, rather than have the courage just to think niche.

‘Niche’ doesn’t have to mean specialist; it can be the unique attitude that informs your approach to business or your brand personality. It’s about knowing who you want to talk to – who your target audience is - rather than just blindly trying to talk to everyone.

The skate store in my local town. Yes, that’s niche.
A marketing specialist focused on tech brands. Yup.

But it doesn’t have to be so obvious.

One of my jobs working for a organisation saw me soaking up the projects and opportunities the CEO didn’t know what to do with. That vacuum became my strength. All that weird and wonderful stuff that no one knew what to do with landed on my lap. ‘Special Projects’ became my niche – people knew that Ian Sanders was good at dealing with pioneering and odd-shaped projects.

So whether you’re an executive seeking a job or a start-up defining your market offering, give your offering that distinctive edge with a clearly defined niche that you – authentically - live and breathe.

So what’s yours?

Monday, 28 September 2009

How To Beat Stress

Here's my four tips to beat stress, from October's 'Esquire' magazine which are taken from my book 'Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life'.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Managing Your Identity

(This is an excerpt from my book ‘Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life’)

Wearing different hats can get confusing. Some people see you as one thing, others might see you as something completely different. But if you define your personal brand as YOU – beyond the job titles, beyond the labels - then that's much more authentic.

If we heard that the CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi was also a lecturer in Business Studies and Chairman of USA Rugby we might wonder what on earth that has to do with being head of a global advertising agency; but as his brand is personified – ‘Kevin Roberts’ is the brand not ‘Saatchi CEO’ - then why can't this bloke called Kevin juggle nine different balls? He’s defined by who he is not a bunch of job titles.

Since you may be judged by perceptions (and the reality of your professional offering might be quite different from its perception), in a Juggle life your identity is really important. In all you do, you need to communicate your breadth. If you don't, people might think you are a one trick pony and that will limit your potential. Be honest; your work life should be a mirror of the real you; don't hide your talents – be your (full) self.

So if you only have a reputation for one thing; start shouting about the other bits. Communicate your personality. This new media space offers fantastic opportunities to communicate our multi-dimensional selves and to be really transparent. As Gary Vaynerchuck said:

‘I think that every person is multi-dimensional and has enormous things they are good at and many different interests and I think that the best way to communicate in this new social era is to talk about all of them, don’t hide anything. … I think people will always embrace ‘real’ and ‘authenticity’ and I think the more things you talk about that you are passionate about, I think the more people are going to get to know who you are. So please don’t fear being multi-dimensional.. Expand what you are talking about’.

Use whatever platforms you have at your disposal to tell YOUR story. Communicate your passions and don’t be afraid of mixing it all up together. Tell it like it is: Work, Play, Family, Hobbies = This is me.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Make It Your Own

I’m often asked by people working in full-time jobs how can they start to reinvent their work lives. They want their work life to better reflect their talents and desires, but they don’t know where to start.

I always tell them to start by making the job their own.

We all have the potential – whatever career level we are at - to shape our jobs in a particular way, to put our personality stamp on it. Sure, you need to ensure you deliver the requirements of actually doing the job, but around the edges there’s huge potential for making it your own. Whether you are the CEO or the 65 year old greeter at the door of the local Asda supermarket, you can inject your personality to bring a distinctive approach and style to the role.

I never just filled a job. I always reshaped it, re-invented it and made it very much my own, reflecting my style and also my desires to get involved in other projects and ventures. You may not feel that your admin or sales role has much scope to be reshaped. But try taking on other tasks that reflect your talents. Organise the team social, be the company blogger, take photographs for the company newsletter. Whatever it is that is ‘you’, put some of that in to the role = it’s all in pursuit of the Work You being the Real You.

There is no one-size-fits-all career plan or job spec. Each person brings a unique approach that has the potential to take the role in a different direction.

So whatever you do, don’t stick with the job spec, start reinventing it.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Think Reinvention

If you're looking for ways to reinvigorate your business or your career, Think Reinvention.

In this rapidly changing world reinvention is a powerful way to consolidate your strengths, keep fresh and stay ahead of the game. But reinvention is not about marketing hype; it’s about staying authentic - taking a look at your organisational, personal or brand strengths from a fresh perspective and repositioning your offering to maximise potential.

Here's my 90 second video on the subject:

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Being Direct In Business Relationships

Like any relationship, business ones can get muddied if neither party is clear about what they want or what they are looking for. That can lead to misunderstanding, frustration or conflict.

Being direct upfront about your expectations or requirements can save a lot of grief later on. Whether you’re having an initial meeting with a client or sounding out a supplier, let them know what you’re looking for and/or ask what they want from the relationship.

Tell them what you want:

‘I’m looking for a new supplier’.

‘I’m looking for a new client’.

‘I want to work with you’

‘I’d love a job with you’

Don’t waste time playing games.

It’s like the approach John Chambers, CEO of Cisco takes to meetings:

Meet Mr Chambers in the flesh, and the small talk lasts for about five seconds, until he asks: “What do you expect from this conversation?” (The Economist Aug 29th)

You might think that’s brash. But at least it’s focused. No room for ambiguity.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Does The Work You = The Real You?

How important is authenticity in your working life?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Spell It Out…

Is your business or career potential hampered by misperceptions from people who don’t understand what you really do? Are you still defined by what you *used* to do or what your business *used* to stand for?

The marketing challenge for many of us – especially where we have reinvented ourselves or our business – is fighting such misperceptions in the marketplace where potential customers think we are all about ‘x’ where actually we are all about ‘y’.

It's like the perceptions of one of my favourite cities where I was last week -Amsterdam. Mention ‘Amsterdam’ to people and you’re likely to get one of two responses. Either how beautiful the city is with its architecture, canals and bicycles. Or people will talk about the red light zone and the cannabis cafes. Amsterdam is indeed a brand that suffers from a large amount of people thinking it is one thing, but once you experience the real city, you’ll probably have a completely different view.

So start asking your target audience what they think you do or what do you stand for. That may sound a bit obvious but the feedback will be invaluable. You may have assumed that your website or ads explain what you do, but don’t take anything for granted.

And if you’re reinvented yourself, the challenge may be tougher. It’s like when I worked with the fashion brand Benetton. Mention ‘Benetton’ and so many people think of their provocative ad campaigns (even though that was over 10 years ago) or brightly coloured clothes. They don’t know about the other products, the smart suits from Sisley, the jeans, the kids clothes. And that was my marketing challenge for the assignment I worked on.

So whether you are a big brand, a city, a freelancer or even a job-hunter, start educating your audience about what you actually do – spell it out. Make sure everyone knows what you stand for, why they should hire you/ buy your products/ or use your services.

And don't take the risk that your audience must already know the basics.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Life In Perpetual Beta

Life in Perpetual Beta is a documentary film from Melissa Pierce about the ways in which technology has/is/will change the ways in which we thinking about ourselves as individuals and a society. It is exploring the cultural shift that technology creates as it enables people to live less planned and more passionate lives.

In December I met up in London with a San Francisco-based camerawoman Adrienne Brawley who filmed an interview that I did by video Skype with Melissa Pierce in Chicago (in fact Melissa was somewhere else, at her parents-in-law’s place if I recall). She was in her pyjamas early morning somewhere in the US and I was supping a pint of Guinness somewhere in deepest west London. The plan was to shoot the video in Borough Market in an empty bar, but the plan kind of changed. It was one of those days. There was no plan. And that’s what ‘Life In Perpetual Beta’ is all about.

You can check out my interview below (or click here) and see all the other interviews on the Life In Perpetual Beta website. Other interviewees include Dan Pink, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Hsieh, Seth Godin and loads of other really cool people.

You can follow Melissa on Twitter here.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Playing Where You Play Best: Part 2

I did a blog post last week about the importance of being ruthless in how you manage your time - focusing on what you enjoy & are good at in your job. I got some good comments back on Twitter and a question from @Leggetter, 'how do you persuade people to let you do that?'

He’s right. Focusing on ‘playing where you play best’ might be easy for jugglers like Gary Vaynerchuk and Kevin Roberts who are at the peak of success. But what if you'd love to apply this mantra to your own working life, but don't know where to start? Here are a couple of tips that I've learnt through my own career.

First, it's about communicating your talents to your boss, co-workers or clients. In my 20’s I joined a company at a junior level with aspirations to rise to the management team (a goal I realised a few years later). But I had to be proactive to get noticed. I displayed my appetite for management wherever I could, producing a monthly report, coming up with ideas, being visible and vocal in team meetings. Of course, alongside that I had to deal with all the stuff I didn’t enjoy so much, but it gave me a new focus. Suddenly people realised I had bigger potential and the organisation started to take me more seriously. I was able to get promoted to take on new responsibilities and focus on what I was good at (and what I enjoyed). Then - and only then - I could start to leave some of those other tasks behind. Success didn't happen over night, but by showing what I could achieve I'd got the opportunity top focus on my passions.

Second, it's about knowing what you're not so good at and communicating that too. It's about being honest and saying 'that's not for me, it's not my strength'. That can be tough in a competitive environment where everyone is looking to prove themselves, but success is not about blindly taking on every task, project and responsibility that gets thrown at you. It's about sticking to your strengths and also knowing your limitations. That honesty shows vision – your boss would rather give a task to someone who was passionate about it than someone who was indifferent. And I do the same in my business - you have to know when to delegate or outsource tasks to suppliers or other team members who can do the job better, or when to turn opportunities or clients down because you know you won’t enjoy them that much.

So start by proving your talents, then be honest about what's not your strength, and then you can focus on playing where you play best.

Friday, 21 August 2009

‘Why I Don’t Do The Garden’ & The Importance Of Time

I’m often asked what is the secret of juggling a portfolio of multiple interests and projects? Well, there's no big secret, it's all about recognising the importance of time. It’s about being ruthless in what you choose to do, and what you choose not too.

I was reminded of this recently as I sat reading the paper in our summerhouse at the weekend; the garden outside was demanding someone to weed it, tend to the vegetables and empty the slug traps. But I didn’t stress.

Because I don’t ‘do’ the garden: sure, it would be nice to get involved, but I'd made the decision not to. I realise I can’t do everything and also my wife is more passionate about it (and does a better job too). If I added gardening to my weekend t0-do list, I wouldn’t have time to write my books, read the paper or just play with my kids.

So sure, be confident about taking on a broad workload, but recognise you don’t want (or have time) to do everything. Whether in domestic or professional life, try and divide tasks with others, delegate or outsource stuff that you can afford to. Being an effective Juggler is about focusing on your passions and strengths.

It’s back to that mantra of ‘knowing where you play best and playing there all the time’. That should inform all your juggling. So yes, think broad, think plural. But know where to draw the line.

My panel ideas for SXSW 2010

This year was my first trip to SXSW in Texas; documentary film-maker Melissa Pierce invited me to co-host a session with her. I loved the SXSW experience and am returning next year, hopefully to present another session.

I have two sessions up for consideration on the SXSW Interactive Panel Picker, where you can check out more information and give it a ‘thumbs up’ vote:

#1 How To Get Your Clients To Stick

A new dial has appeared on the business dashboard. It’s the ‘Happy Customer’ dial and to ensure you continue getting work from that customer you need to keep the needle in the green. So how the heck do you make sure your agency, start-up or corporation keeps your clients happy?

#2 How To Unplan Your Business Idea

The notion that every business needs a detailed plan is broken. If you’re launching a business it’s more important to put your ideas into action and not over-strategise. Online tools mean you can launch a business faster than you can build a theoretical model. So unplan and just do it.

My collaborator and fellow-speaker on these ideas is David Sloly. David is Creative Director of Mason Zimbler, a disruptive digital integrated marketing agency.

Thanks for checking them out

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

'Juggle!' on SmallBizPod

SmallBizPod is a great audio podcast for entrepreneurs hosted by Alex Bellinger. In episode #86 Alex interviews great ‘thinker’ and creativity specialist Edward De Bono. There’s also a very well presented review of my book ‘Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life’ recorded by a listener. You can listen to the episode here or download via iTunes. If you’re interested in the book review, scroll forward to 34 minutes in.

Monday, 17 August 2009

BBC Essex interview

I went on a nostalgia trip this morning; I was in the studios of BBC Essex in Chelmsford to appear on the Dave Monk programme talking about ‘Juggle!’ 24 years ago, I started my broadcasting career at BBC Essex, starting out as a helper on the Saturday evening ‘youth’ show and then graduating through doing the gig guide to co-presenting that show, ‘driving the desk’ for other programmes, operating the radio car and returning during my university holidays. Having done radio interviews on the ‘phone with stations in the U.S. and Ireland, it was great to visit one closer to home.

1986-7 was when I started juggling. I was working part-time at BBC Essex during the week, helping out on the mid-morning show; then I would go and work for a local record distribution company later in the day, and I was also studying Photography at the local college. That plurality whetted my appetite for a lifetime of juggling.

Dave Monk was there all those years ago, presenting a show on a Saturday morning alongside lecturing in law, Dj’ing at weekends and running his own law practice (he was an early juggler). In the interview I talk about how you can reframe your work life to become a juggler. You can hear it via the BBC i-player here

The interview starts at 02:06:38 and lasts around 10 minutes.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Introducing The 'Sex & Cash' Theory

I just read Hugh MacLeod’s book ‘Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys To Creativity’. I saw Hugh at Pam Slim's session at SXSW earlier this year but didn’t pay that much attention to the bloke in the cowboy hat who went by the name of Gapingvoid. When I was back home I wondered what all the fuss was about. Who was this guy who draws ‘cartoons on the back of business cards’? Once I checked out his site I ‘got it’.

And his book is great; it’s my kind of book. It’s a quick read, it’s eminently dippable with short punchy chapters and the advice might not be rocket science but it really resonates, and its message is powerful (hopefully, a bit like my own books then).

Here’s one takeaway I want to leave you with, it’s Hugh’s ‘Sex & Cash Theory’:

“The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: one is the sexy creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task at hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will also play center stage. It will never be transcended.”

I talk about this theme in my own book ‘Juggle!’ – stuff we do for love and stuff we do for money, but Hugh has another point here and it’s all in his last line above. It’s that whatever your success in life, whether you are a struggling waiter or a movie star, you won’t be immune from this duality.

“As soon as you accept this. I mean really accept this, for some reason your career starts moving ahead faster…. It’s the people who refuse to cleave their lives this way… well they never make it”.

So maybe ignore everybody, but it’s still worth listening to Hugh MacLeod.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Be Good At Coming Up With Ideas

I was talking to a client today about how ideas are at the heart of his business and advising him what he needs to do to ensure he continues generating good ideas. And it reminded of what I said in this video (one from the archives!). It says it all, click and play:

Get Unplugged!

(this is an edited extract from my book 'Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life')

Because most of us can – and do – work anywhere, the challenge is in switching off totally. It’s absolutely crucial to be able to do that, to unplug your connections once in a while.

The trouble with our BlackBerries and iPhones is that they connect us with the lives we lead; these tools integrate both the business and personal sides of our lives. If you carry your iPhone around at the weekend, it’s difficult ‘not’ to check emails. Sure, I sometimes check emails and Twitter on weekends and holiday, but it’s when I choose to, I don’t want it in my face 24/7.

So you have to find time and space to dial it down. To switch off, shut down and get real.

When speaker and columnist Mike Southon travels overseas he tries to take his family with him; it gives him the opportunity to switch off after a speaking engagement and it’s also a good excuse to disappear upstairs to his room:

‘For me, family time is switch off time. All theatrical people know this – you’re on stage/ you’re off stage and you have different modes. You learn how to control it. If you’re ‘on stage’ all the time you end up with a heart attack. You switch in/ you switch off.’

But it’s not just creating time for thinking or for the family; it’s also the importance of creating ME time.

When you’re flat out juggling, sometimes you need that quiet moment to give you sanity. A lie-in, a soak in the bath, a pint of Guinness by yourself, a seafront cycle, reading that novel for ten minutes.

Beach Walks TV host Roxanne Darling finds it difficult to turn off her business brain. Even on vacation she still wants to read her feeds and spots business opportunities frequently. Same with me. When Mike Southon goes on holiday he finds he can relax straight away without thinking of work, ‘because nothing is that vital’; but he still checks mails to filter them before his return.

When the schedule has been really manic, Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi just unplugs for a few days and retreats to one of his homes. He doesn’t take long holidays; preferring to take snatches of time here and there to switch off.

For Roxanne and her partner, it has been their company goal to be much more conscious of when they are ‘on the client clock’ compared to when they are off-duty. Their white board system helps, as once the assigned tasks are done for the day, they feel better quitting:

‘We are building the muscle to discern what is truly urgent and what can actually be added to the list. I also really let how hard we work weigh in and matter in our lives. One of the big plusses is being able to just stop and go to a movie in the afternoon if the day is crap and we are feeling burned out. It's easy enough to point to the hours we've undoubtedly put in, so the muscle is learning to take a break and realize if a client calls and we are unavailable for two hours, it is not the end of the world’.

So, make sure you get unplugged once in a while.
Right, I’m off for a walk, and I’m leaving the iPhone behind....

Monday, 10 August 2009

How To Live The Juggle Life

Last Friday I was interviewed by a local website . is a great website run by James Harrod serving the local community with stories, videos and features. He's great at covering local events, offering live coverage by uploading pictures to Flickr, videos to YouTube and updates to Twitter. You can follow James on Twitter @longpier

Here's the interview that was filmed in the gardens of Leigh-on-Sea Library.

Play Where You Play Best

I got asked a good question in an interview last week about whether ‘juggling’ was for everyone; wasn’t it important that some people remained specialists in one field rather than be good at more than one thing?

Absolutely. I don’t think everyone can become a juggler. Instead it’s about being authentic: about your work life reflecting your multi-dimensional talents. So if your talents are brilliant but singular, don’t fake it and try to become a juggler. Stick to what you are good at, and passionate about. The world needs specialists, whether engineers, scientists, footballers or designers. But don’t be limited by your specialism, look beyond what you currently do to consider what else you are good at. Don’t limit your potential.

So juggling is not about stretching your talents in ways they don’t stretch; it’s about knowing all the stuff you’re good at and focusing on that. Stuff you’re not so good at? Delegate or outsource that.

It’s like Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide Of Saatchi & Saatchi said in my book, 'Juggle!':

‘It all starts with knowing when you are at your best and playing there all the time. I focus on those things I'm good at and try to get world class at them. The stuff I can't do I ask others to handle and choose people who are brilliant at it, significantly better than me at least. None of us is as good as all of us and I make sure that I have a bunch of inspired people around me who are all experts in their fields’. *

Last Friday I was working on the copy for my new website. I was on the 4th draft and was struggling. I knew I needed a fresh pair of eyes to polish and improve it. Sure, I could have spent hours persevering but I knew my limits; I recognised it was time to call in an expert. I ‘phoned my copywriting friend Rich and asked him to get involved.

And that’s what being an effective juggler is about; sure, stretch yourself in loads of directions that reflect your desires and talents. Play where you play best; and bring in experts for those areas where you don’t.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Well Targeted Marketing?

I got this marketing email from Amazon this morning, wondering whether I might be interested in buying..... my own book.

(As it happens I've already got a few copies)

Friday, 7 August 2009

Start Wandering Around

Tom Peters has always advocated ‘Management By Wandering Around’ as one of the most effective management styles. I never had a name for it – it’s what I did in some of my own management roles. But it was something I learnt. When I started doing a management job and got busy, I spent more and more time sitting at my desk dealing with budgets, proposals, staff appraisal forms, board minutes, meeting agendas, forecasts. But I soon realised this wasn’t spending enough time walking around my team or the operation I managed. So I started wandering around, walking the floors, seeing what was going on. Of course, this got me closer to the business, to the staff and to the customers. It meant I did my job better.

I think more people in management need to get up from their desks and start wandering around. This point was brought home in a documentary I heard on Radio 4’s ‘In Business’ programme about the UK’s Timpsons shoe repair firm. John Timpson manages his 550-shop business by dropping in on them all the time to find out what's going on, day by day. He calls it 'upside-down management'. He and his son James spend 3 or 4 days each week on the road visiting their shops, talking to employees and even serving customers because in James’s words:

‘The business isn’t about what happens at head office, business is about what happens where the money’s taken, and that’s where we need to be’

Don't say 'it's not my job'

Seth Godin had a great blog post the other day entitled ‘All I Do Is Work Here’ about how some people don’t take collective responsibility at organisations – they say, ‘oh no, that’s nothing to do with me, all I do is work here’.

It reminds me of a company that I worked with. They had this really great culture where everyone from the CEO down took full and collective responsibility for what happened at the company. Everyone answered the ‘phones; when a courier turned up anyone who happened to be around would sign for a package; people in finance and admin roles stayed close to the core of the business and ‘got’ what the business did, they knew who the customers were, so they could engage with them too. This created a really strong culture that came to be at the heart of the organisation. But as the company grew, it was decided that there needed to be more organisational structure so workers could be more focused on their respective roles. A mantra of ‘that’s not my job’ was encouraged to focus on individual responsibility.

I don’t like the idea of ‘it’s not my job’. Whatever the size of an organisation, if every part of it can be encouraged to live and breathe what it does; rather than be head-down and siloed in their own role or department, that kind of culture will shine through and can really contribute to a company’s success both internally but also externally.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Ditch the rules and do it your way

In life and business we’re thrown loads of rules about how to do stuff. Policies, guidelines, standard operating procedures.

But often in order to succeed you just gotta chuck away the rules and say proudly ‘I'm going to do it my way’.

Do it.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Bits of advice...

I was interviewed for an online article recently, 'Are you putting your job before you?' which is live on the Nicole Williams website here.

I was also interviewed a while back for the News Of The World 'Fabulous' magazine about time management and how to maximise your time, that piece is here (or click on the images above).

Friday, 31 July 2009

Think Rapid!

Here's a simple yet obvious tip (so obvious that people consistently fail at it).
In business if you want to stay ahead of the game, keep your clients happy or just stay on top of your projects & commitments, make sure you deal with things rapidly.
Watch the video:

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Take A Zoo Day (But You Don't Have To Actually Go To The Zoo)

If you work for yourself or have enough flexibility in your working life, once in a while give yourself a treat; take a Zoo Day.

What's a Zoo Day? It's an impromptu day off.

Why 'Zoo'? Because one morning I was sitting having breakfast with my wife and kids and she said to me ' why don't we go to the zoo today?' and I said don't be so silly I'm far too busy for that. But then I thought, I had no meetings; yes I had some time critical stuff to do but that could be done in 2 hours so yes I could actually free up the day just like that. I realised what's the point of working for myself if I couldn't take some time off.

Having a Zoo Day is great to remind yourself of the benefits of doing your own thing, of taking a break from work pressures to get a breath of fresh air, to recharge your batteries, do something different. Of course, that gives your job or profession reinvigoration or some new ideas.

We did a Zoo Day yesterday; we went to the countryside for the day, for a walk and a pub lunch. Inevitably I sweated at the start and end of the day to make sure I got everything done and as a result I started this morning at 06.30 but I did get great value in return.

(But I never did actually make it to the zoo. Oh well, next time....)

Monday, 27 July 2009

Take Your Office Out Of The Office

When you’re busy juggling, different places can help reflect the multi-dimensional you. You’ll have your office, perhaps a workspace at home, favourite coffee shops where you do certain things and weekend places where you do others, a summerhouse at the end of the garden or a park bench.

When the coffee shop trend started up in the early ‘90s they were trying to create what was billed a ‘Third Place’ between work and home, a space that mixed social with work. Well forget Third Place, in 2009 it’s more like thirty three places. We are nomadic, working from airplanes, trains, wherever. There are no rules and no walls to where and how we work.

In the week I met him in Paris CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts’ schedule was taking in Mexico, Miami, Peru and Brussels. With his offices in New York and New Zealand and homes in New York, New Zealand, St. Tropez and Grasmere in the UK, this guy travels a heck of a lot. All contribute – in different ways – to making him an effective Juggler.

‘All of them connect past, present and future. All of them have work, play, friendship and family relevance. All of them are perfectly set up for me to be effective and efficient in terms of work. The different bases help me juggle because all of them are themed differently and are typical of their regions. They all have meaning and all serve to inspire me. New York is an abstract art driven Tribeca loft, Grasmere is a typical Lakeland cottage in National Park land. St. Tropez is a Provence villa, and New Zealand is an environmentally friendly sports complex’.

But you don’t need to have four homes around the world to be a good Juggler. You can create your own diversity through different spaces that energise and stimulate you, whether hotel rooms, cafes, workspaces or open spaces. These can reflect different sides of your personality. I have a mix of ‘zones’ - client offices, member clubs, coffee shops, workspaces - that I have available; each of which has played its own contribution as a space to juggle. Spaces for meeting, for thinking, for writing, for problem solving, each with their own source of inspiration.

So forget just one room with four walls, make your office a variety of environments that will help you get results in whatever you do, however you want to work...
[An excerpt from my book ‘Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life’]