Archive for October, 2009

The Perfect Gift for a Man

Every now and then something comes completely out of the blue that you have to be involved with. Just recently, I heard about The Perfect Gift for a Man through Gavin Heaton. I submitted my story on growing up and becoming a man (many, including myself and my missus when she wants to have a dig, might say I’m still far from it). My story has been included.

It was a great process having to think through the emotions and the events involved in my life.

Anyway, here is part of the press release:

A group of Australian men have banded together to create a book about some of the tough issues facing the average Aussie bloke.

The book, The Perfect Gift for a Man – 30 Stories about Reinventing Manhood aims to get men talking about their feelings in a bid to help prevent male suicide in Australia

Touched by the mental health, drug and alcohol problems facing young Australian men, local bloggers Gavin Heaton and Mark Pollard appealed to their readers, friends and family to honestly share the intense emotions and experiences of being a man. This collection of stories has been published into a high quality book for the first time, using online creative publishing website’s unique self-publishing capability.

The Perfect Gift for a Man is available for sale via the Blurb Bookstore with the profits going to the Inspire Foundation a national non-profit that delivers online programs that prevent youth suicide and improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

You can buy the book on Blurb.


Social and online media important for small business

You can’t avoid social and online media for a small business these days. The LA Times has an article on how social media, in particular, Facebook, has helped a small business:

“Each day on the website, Sprinkles announces a secret word, such as “ganache,” or “bunny,” or “tropical,” or “love,” and the first 25 or 50 people to show up at any of its five stores and whisper that word get a free cupcake.”

An article in the New York Times talks about online reputation for small businesses.

“Local review sites are reshaping the world of small business by becoming the new Yellow Pages, one-stop platforms where customers can find a business — and also see independent critiques of its performance.”

So, I wanted to share some of the links I’d come across that help small business with online and social media:

It’s also worth checking out Gavin’s Servant of Chaos blog.

7 Things I Learnt In Getting To The First Invoice For infome

infome sent out its first invoice the other day. In getting to this point through I’ve learnt a few things, I thought I’d share them:

  • Do something useful. It seems obvious, but it is so easy to get caught up in cool ideas and grand schemes. All you need to do is do something useful for someone. Businesses want more customers and customers want a good deal.
  • Keep it simple stupid. If you’re going to be useful, people need to be able to use you. It’s tough for them to use you if they don’t even understand what you’re doing in the first place. For businesses, “we bring more customers to your door” and for customers “we get you a good deal on lunch”.
  • Get yourself noticed. Placing massive red lunchboxes with our website on them around North Sydney, often accompanied by a glamorous blonde girl handing out discounts, has played a huge role in getting to this point. By making ourselves stick-out, we made people double take, point fingers and take notice of us. Don’t be afraid to be a bit outrageous. (I loved it when I put the boxes next to some suits handing out pamphlets and the suits didn’t even get a look-in from passers by.)
  • Talk, talk, talk. The more people we talked with the more we improved the business model and the offering. Go and talk to someone. Now.
  • Stick at it. It’s easy to hang up the boots when you’re facing a bit of adversity. It’s easy to move onto the next exciting thing. I’m learning to push through these sorts of things, pushing through is leading to rewards.
  • It’s all about the journey. I’ve been saying to myself, I should have reached this point earlier. However, the more I look back, the more I trace my steps, the more I realise that each and every step along the way has been essential in getting to this point.
  • It’s an internal battle. What’s stopping you from getting that next customer? What’s stoppping you from looking at new partnerships? What’s stopping you? Well, you. You are both the greatest asset and the greatest obstacle you have.

These are the things that have stood out the most. I hope you can take something away from them.

Invoice #0000001

Last night I sent out the first infome invoice. It’s been almost a year or more in the making. Evolving from rough idea, tried concept in many different fields through to what infome is today,

Part of me wishes I could have reached this point sooner. Another part of me realises that there is no way I could have arrived at this point without going through the process I went through.

I’ve come to realise that it is a lot harder work then I thought it would be, however it isn’t hard in the way I thought it would be. Instead, it is hard in that you are confronting yourself each day, questioning yourself and pushing yourself forward. It’s easy to slave away writing code, writing plans and writing documents. It’s hard, so hard, to work up the courage to walk up to someone you’ve never met and convince them to pay you for a service that has never been used before. The battles you face are with the conflicting voices in your head, rather than with those around.

I love it. Every bit of it.

Scott Middleton
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October 2009
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