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Support for your small business in 2017

You’ve got big plans for your small business. But putting those plans into action sometimes requires more than big ideas and hard work. You need money. And you’re not alone. As at 2014-2015, more than 2.1 million businesses were trading in Australia. But lucky for you (and everyone else), there are literally hundreds of grants for small businesses up for grabs in 2017. You just have to know where to look for them. Here’s where to start. Let’s start with Queensland (cause that’s where I am) Queensland has approximately 406,000 small businesses across a range of industries. And given that they represent over 97% of businesses in the State and employ approximately 43% of all private sector workers, they’re contributing to the economy in a big way. The Queensland Government has recognised this, and has created a business and industry portal (you can access it here)  offering support to Queensland business owners. Full of advice on how to start, run and grow your business, it also provides information on grants and support specifically for small businesses. If you’re into innovation… You might want to check this out. Innovation based grants provide funding and mentoring support that could help you create a new or improved product, develop a new process or explore new ways of doing old things. Both State based and Commonwealth funding is available and can help you improve your business’s capability and competitiveness, and overcome the barriers to commercialising your big ideas. If you need help with all things digital… With more and more businesses being run online, the pressure to remain visible, effective and relevant is...

The life changing power of change

Change (verb) – ‘To make or become different’ Change (noun) – ‘An act or process through which something becomes different’ I’ve got one big goal for 2017 – to embrace change. For too long, I’ve allowed it to control me, dictating how I do things, when I do them and how I feel about it. I’ve reacted to it, rather than directed it. So in 2017 I’ve decided to change my mind about change. I’m in charge of it now (well, a bit of it anyway). Here’s what I’m changing this year. I’m changing my mind about… where I work I’m the first to admit that I hate being told what to do. So working for myself has long seemed like an answer to all of my independently minded dreams. However, along with an increased sense of control and independence has come an increased sense of isolation. And instead of feeling liberated by my decision to work solo, the last 6 months or so have had me wondering whether it’s really all it’s cracked up to be. A large part of this can be put down to the fact that I’ve been largely working at home, in an empty – well, apart from me – house. I’ve been telling myself it’s better that way because it’s quiet there, or because it doesn’t require me to put on clothes fit for the outside world, or that simply getting out of the house and going somewhere else to work is a great big pain in the bum. And there is an element of truth to all of that, but the real...

New year, new you? 3 new ways to set your resolutions

So the new year is upon us. Bright with expectation and ripe with promise, it’s that magical time when anything seems possible. So we load ourselves up with resolutions and promises to be and do better this time around. Problem is, we’re often unrealistic about what we want to achieve, and put little thought into how we’re going to make our new year’s dreams come true. So this year why not approach the ‘new you’ from another angle? Instead of making vague and undefined promises, focus on getting specific. Instead of setting unrealistic goals, focus on a series of tasks that can be broken down and chipped away at all year round. And instead of getting sucked into shiny object syndrome, focus on how you want to feel, as opposed to what you want to do. Here are 3 ways to help yourself do things differently in 2017. Get specific about what you want to do There’s nothing wrong with setting a big scary goal. But to achieve your big scary goal, it has to be a specific and defined big scary goal. Let’s say you want to make more money this year. Great – but how much money, and where is it going to come from? Instead of setting a vague, undefined goal like ‘make more money this year’, give yourself some boundaries and metaphorical goalposts. Perhaps ‘make 20% more money than I did last year’ is more appropriate, or ‘create a passive income stream that amounts to 40% of my overall revenue’ will be the go. Whatever your big scary goal is, you should be able to...

4 things being my own boss has taught me

If I had to choose one word to describe my year, it would be change, because so much has. I returned from 6 months overseas in January and suddenly everything around me was different. Where I was living, how (and how much) I was working, what I was eating, the people I was living with, even the landscape around me. And it was hard to get back into a normal rhythm – one that didn’t involve mini-breaks and jaunts to neighbouring European countries every other weekend. And I won’t lie, it was pretty jarring. I’d been living in a happy little bubble of just enough work to get by, lots of travel and new food, people and experiences and suddenly things were, well, normal again. But rather than be dictated to by change, I decided to take control. I changed everything about my environment last year, why couldn’t I do it again? So I did. I finally committed to a re-brand, website upgrade and everything else that comes along with completely re-vamping your business image. I’ve also committed (at least in my head), to finally buying some property and getting my long-term financial ducks in a row once and for all. And I’ve found that rather than being scared of or pressured by change, I’m grateful for it. It’s made me realise how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing, the way I’m doing it. I’ve also realised how much running my own business has taught me. In no particular order, here are my top 4. Discipline I’ve always been a head down, bum up kind of...

Surviving the solitude – How to stay sane when you’re working solo

I’ve been working for myself since 2013. And although I’m a natural introvert who’s very comfortable with her own company, there have been times when the solitude’s threatened to send me a little bit loopy. To avoid going completely round the bend, I’ve had to develop ways of working that maximise the good bits of this great solo adventure, while minimising the bad ones. Here’s how I manage to maintain my sanity in a solo working world. Meditation For a long time, I thought meditation was one of those things restricted to Buddhists, yoga teachers and catatonically calm people. I believed in its potential benefits, but thought I lacked the wherewithal to make it work for me. Then in early 2014 I hit an anxiety and depression related wall at full speed. Headspace was no longer something to ponder, but something I had to learn to access for the sake of my continued mental health. By helping me learn how to build a mental bridge to more peaceful mental pastures, meditation has pretty much knocked my anxiety on the head. So much so that it’s become a daily practice for me. A big part of my getting ready to work routine, it helps me shut out the distractions, stresses and worries that plague small business owners, and focus on getting stuff done. Now I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. But the benefits far outweigh the frustration of finding a method that works for me. These days I’m using Headspace, a guided meditation app developed by a former Buddhist monk. They have an amazing free ten day starter course...