Jason is a big fan of practical gifts that solve a problem or help people out. Here are some of his other top gift tips... 1. The best gift I ever received was… "The best gift I ever received was my wedding gift from my wife, Katrina. A cobalt sleek wrist-watch that she had engraved." 2. The top gift on my wish list is… "The top gift on my wish list would have to be a Fender Telecaster." 3. The best gift I have ever given was… "The best gift I have ever given was last Christmas getting a laptop for my grandfather. He was elated."
4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is… "The hardest person I have in my life to shop for is my mother. It’s not that she’s picky, it’s just finding the perfect gift is so difficult!" 5. The best last-minute gift is… "The best last-minute gift is whatever amazon will ship fastest ;-)" 6. My hot gift buying tip is… "My hot gift buying tip would be to purchase something that truly solves a problem, that you will use. Such as SeaSack!"
Jason VanHanswyk is a husband and father by day, entrepreneur by night at SeaSack…and day too! He just launched his Kickstarter campaign offering the most useful beach bag ever made for the whole family. Learn more about Jason's great product at www.seasackthebag.com
Kate Shelby lives in a townhouse with her three children. She recently wrote a personal article about how she survives in a 3 bedroom townhouse with three children. Kate says, "The best thing I have discovered is the washer/dryer stacking kit. This leaves more overhead room in the laundry if you need to use the sink or hang clothing up when it rains." Here's an example of the stacking kit.
Kate's article is definitely worth a read if you live in an apartment or house where you're struggling for space. Kate Shelby is an Australian blogger, mother and lover of superheroes in tight pants. Read more of Kate's engaging articles on motherhood, family life and more at www.australianmum.com.
Sarah's philosophy when buying gifts is to invest in gifts that enhance health and happiness - such a wise practice! Here are some of Sarah's other top gift tips... 1. The best gift I ever received was… "Sky-diving!! Unforgettable." 2. The top gift on my wish list is… "A new yoga mat. I'm a fitness junkie and I've had my current one for far too long it's beginning to lose it's anti-slip!" 3. The best gift I have ever given was… "I spoiled my mum with flights to the Whitsundays." 4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is… "My sister. I make it hard on myself because I have to keep upping the anti each year! lol" 5. The best last-minute gift is… "A meal at their favourite restaurant." 6. My hot gift buying tip is… "Sometimes sharing an experience with your loved ones is more important than buying more junky 'stuff'. I always ask this question, "Does this help encourage a healthy and happy life?" I think the most meaningful gifts go beyond just short term gratification."
Sarah Vass is a health and fitness junkie who writes for Fit Affinity - a leading online retailer of workout plans and natural fitness supplements to help busy women to get lean and sculpted. Learn more about Sarah at www.fitaffinity.com and connect with her on Instagram.
Judith is a self-confessed "gift buying guru" because she loves buying gifts and finding the perfect piece her recipient will love. This week Judith shares some of her favourite gift buying tips with us... 1. The best gift I ever received was… "My son Callum. Aside from that: a mocked up gift voucher that said I can go and choose a Louis Vuitton Bag." 2. The top gift on my wish list is… "A Speedboat so I can get to beaches in Sydney without having to worry about parking or traffic (well one can dream!)" 3. The best gift I have ever given was… "Can I have 2 please? I'm a gift buying guru. Put a lot of effort into it. 1) The second best gift I gave was a shirt from Lansky Bros for my husband at Xmas many years ago. Lansky is based in Memphis and was Elvis' personal clothing provider. They have a store which we'd visited on our trip to Gracelands in 1998. We are both Elvis fans so I contacted the store and arranged for them to send a very cool Elvis style shirt over to Australia! 2) The Best Gift by far needs explaining: My husband jokes that George Clooney looks like him. They are both grey!! My friend is a renowned and respected journalist (shall remain nameless) but she was the MC at an event where George was speaking. She showed him my hubby's photo and said he thinks you look like him. George laughed and signed it "You just look Younger". I put the signed photo and one of George in a double frame for my hubby for Xmas. You can't buy a gift like that."
4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is… "My son Callum. At 12 years old what does he possibly need that he hasn't already got?" 5. The best last-minute gift is… "Gift certificates." 6. My hot gift buying tip is… "Buy Unique, Buy Gifts with a Difference that Mean Something. Shop Ethically. Don't buy more meaningless nonsense that will end up in landfill." Judith Treanor is Founder of Temples and Markets, Australia's Curated Online Store showcasing Unique Artisan Made Fashion Accessories, Jewellery and Home Decor from S.E Asia. Every product has a story. Check out their range at www.templesandmarkets.com.
Do you use mind mapping to help capture and organise your ideas? A mind map is like a visual To Do list, but more dynamic as it lets your ideas flow, rather feeling like you have to order them step-by-step. Gregory Golinski is a huge fan of the humble mind map, as he shared with us in this week's tip... "My tip to be organized at work is to use mind mapping software. A mind map is a graphical representation of my ideas and the tasks I have to complete. It helps me remember them, put them in order and generate new ideas. This mind map really looks like a tree, and each idea or task is a branch. Each new branch/idea gives birth to new ones, that's why it's a great tool to be more creative.
My favourite mind mapping tool is Mindjet, because it helps me create a mind map, but it’s also a complete project management tool where you can share ideas with your team," says Gregory.
"I have just finished writing a gift giving etiquette post for my website due to go to air on 29th November when I will also be interviewed on the radio about the same topic," says etiquette coach, Clare Maxfield. Clare also enjoyed the opportunity of sharing her top gift tips with us this week... 1. The best gift I ever received was... "A small wallet that I thought was useless until I realised that going out it was all that I needed." 2. The top gift on my wish list is "A gardenia plant. long story..." 3. The best gift I have ever given was... "Hand blown whisky tumblers." 4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was... "My ex-husband, he always bought everything he wanted and left nothing for me." 5. The best last-minute gift is... "Good wine." 6. My hot gift buying tip is... "Stock up on hand creams for women - they love it."
Clare Maxfield is an image and etiquette coach who makes looking good simple. Learn more about what she does here: www.claremaxfield.com.au. Don't forget to check out Clare's gift giving etiquette post on 29 November 2016.
After struggling with prioritising important tasks in his business, Prosper Taruvinga decided there had to be a better way to manage his time and move his business forward. These were some of the tools he implemented to do this: "I run and operate an 8 man Digital marketing agency of which half of the staff is overseas. This proves to be a bit hectic as the time differences and deadlines are met in different time zones. We now use tools like Slack and Calendley to schedule meetings and briefings. For me personally I found that I was always just all over the place without any direction or accomplishment. I have attached my trusted partner as a pic.
Prosper Taruvinga was able to focus on what's important by creating this timetable
I designed a timetable which I follow religiously. I now get everything done and don't miss out on the important stuff like family." Prosper Taruvinga is a Digital Marketing Expert for Live Long Digital, who help businesses get clients. Learn more about what he does here. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here...
Ever wondered what other people are giving and receiving as gifts? Our Top Gift Tips interview series is back and this week we caught up with Kim Ong from Intertain... 1. The best gift I ever received was… "A birthday trip my husband treated me to when we were dating, which ended up being our wedding proposal on The London Eye ferris wheel where he booked out the entire cabin with a personal butler." 2. The top gift on my wish list is… "An adrenaline-filled experience like a Via Ferrata mountain-climbing experience at the Dolomite Mountains in Italy this time since our last trip climbing to the top of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia." 3. The best gift I have ever given was… "A bed for my parents to help protect their backs and improve their health and sleeping. That was a paid gift. This year, I treated my husband to a 3 day, 2 night stay at the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat from an Instagram competition I won. The experience was so much sweeter because it was a win worth $2,000!"
Kim Ong and Josiah Ng, founders of Intertain
4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was / is… "My husband Josiah Ng, an avid former professional track cyclist / MAMIL who still indulges in his bicycle collection, gear and wear 24/7." 5. The best last-minute gift is… "A decent bottle of wine in a wine paper bag or tied with a ribbon." 6. My hot gift buying tip is… "To find out the person’s interest, it goes a long way to show that you’ve taken the time and effort to learn about the person. Use one element to connect that person to the gift. Cat prints for a cat lady, perhaps?" Kim Ong is the Chief Marketing Officer at Intertain, a marketplace offering an effortless and exclusive, yet affordable dining experience at home for people who love connecting over food. When she’s not busy eating and snapping photos of her food for social media, the digital marketing adrenaline junkie can be found hanging upside down on her aerial hoop, trapeze or aerial silks. Connect with Kim on Instagram: @kimongdotcom www.instagram.com/kimongdotcom Intertain was also recently featured in an article in the AFR.
Everyone has a story to tell when it comes to giving and receiving gifts, so we'd thought we'd share some of these stories as 'mini interviews' to hopefully give you a bit of inspiration the next time you need to buy a gift. In this post, Elle-May Michael from in.cube8r gallery shares her gift stories... 1. The best gift I ever received was… "A painting of me and my best friend which the artist pinched from my Facebook and created without me expecting anything! It is still on my wall years later!" 2. The top gift on my wish list is… "Ooh gosh... I would LOVE a custom perfume by The Perfume Lab. He sits down and goes through all your favourite scents with you and creates a scent just for you! My mum got one and I am forever wanting my own!"
in.cube8r Emporium in Fitzroy, Mlebourne
3. The best gift I have ever given was… "When we were teenagers I bought my bestie who loved Dance Dance Revolution a professional mat to play on, it was MASSIVE and expensive but totally worth it!" 4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is… "Colleagues who you don't know very well are always hard to buy for! I like my gifts to be super personal so choosing for people I don't know is hard!"
in.cube8r exhibition space in Fitzroy, Melbourne
5. The best last-minute gift is… "Gift Vouchers for boutique stores (not major chains but bespoke small businesses which will make using the voucher an experience and not a chore)." 6. My hot gift buying tip is… "Go in with friends! We would all rather get one really nice thing which we love dearly rather than lots of little cheap things which you feel like you need to hold on to for a period of time until it is acceptable to get rid of it... Plus, getting a group gift is fun!" Elle-May is the owner of in.cube8r gallery, a handmade emporium supporting Australian creatives and taking no commission on their sales.
Gifts to celebrate summer Gifts that make the most of the great outdoors
Summer (and Christmas!) is just around the corner, so if you're looking for some seasonal gift inspiration, check out some of our new (and old) favourite gift ideas below.
FOR YOU: Here’s a $20 Discount Voucher. To redeem your $20 voucher, simply enter Discount Code SUMMER in the Discount Code field when you place your order (product total must amount to $20 for voucher to work). You're welcome to use this yourself, or pass onto someone else you know who might enjoy using it. Voucher is valid until midnight Sunday 13/11/2016.
Here are a few of our favourite warm weather gift ideas...
2. Sow n' Sow Seeds $9.95 each or 2 for $15
Spring is the perfect time of year to get out in the garden and grow some new plants from seed. This Trio of Herbs mix includes basil, coriander and parsley. Other seed varieties available.
4. Burgon & Ball 'Dig the Glove' Gardening Gloves $37.95
These fun gardening gloves have been designed just for men. The secret of their incredible comfort is the fabric they're made from - a two-way stretch, breathable mesh and ultra soft, yet hard wearing cushioned fabric that means gardeners can move comfortably in these gloves.
5. Burgon & Ball Poc-kit Gardener's Ultility Belt $40.95
Burgon & Ball has mastered the "Bum Bag for Gardeners" in the form of the Poc-Kit, which is a comfortable, stylish utility belt. This genius belt will keep everything from your phone and specs to your gardening tools at your finger tips.
Lillie Cawthorn is the bestselling author of The Money Factory - How Any Woman Can Make $30,000 to $100,000 Passive Income, which was published by Black Card Books in November 2015. Since that time, Lillie has experienced incredible media exposure and invitations for speaking opportunities. Here's why...
1. Tell us your story: Just over one year ago, Lillie was working behind the scenes supporting her husband as he focused on developing their successful industrial real estate business which was jointly purchased. To enable her husband to transform the business by growing and modernising it, Lillie agreed to take responsibility for the business book keeping in addition to home and family. However, this meant giving up her career to work from home. This change resulted in virtually no interaction with their business customers or indeed others in the business world. As the business became increasingly successful, all the achievement, recognition and acknowledgements for their success were directed solely to her husband. Consequently, Lillie became more and more dissatisfied and withdrawn. 2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve? In May 2015 she attended a workshop for budding authors that would change her life forever. The facilitator advised “to grow your business and write a book about it”. Lillie saw her opportunity and, feeling hugely excited, hurried home to tell her husband of her intention to take their business to the next level by writing a book about it. She received a resounding rejection, which ensued a terrible argument that could easily have destroyed the marriage. After much soul searching, Lillie decided to commit to write her book.
3. How did you work towards achieving your goal? Lillie announced that she would write her book with a focus on women. It would provide an insight into the lucrative industrial real estate investment sector that was almost entirely a male domain and thereby empower women to consider this investment vehicle. Since Lillie has been in this field for almost two decades, she discovered that very few women invest in industrial real estate. She sought to determine the reasons why. Her greatest concern is the level of poverty being experienced by retired women in Australia. The Superannuation system is simply failing the women of Australia. Alternative income sources are desperately needed, so women can achieve their financial independence and Lillie is gaining incredible attention for the hope she gives women to secure a dream retirement.
Since the launch of her book, Lillie also has been featured in many influential media outlets in Australia and the United States. Media highlights have included Sky Business, The Daily Telegraph, realestate.com.au, commercialrealestate.com.au and Business Blue Print’s Empire Builders. CBS News, Fox, ABC and NBC in the United States have also interviewed Lillie about many industrial property topics She has spoken at the highly regarded National Achievers Congress 2015 events in Sydney and Melbourne. CPA Australia has requested Lillie speak at the organisation’s 2016 conferences in Sydney and Melbourne. 4. What are the next goals you hope to achieve? Lillie continues to aim and bag more speaking opportunities and exposure to be a key woman of influence.
Lillie Cawthorn has been investing in industrial real estate in Sydney for the past 15 years and also has real estate investment interests in France and the United States. She is the author of the international bestselling book The Money Factory - How Any Woman Can Make An Extra $30,000 to $100,000 Passive Income. Learn more about Lillie and her book at: www.moneyfactoryinvesting.com/
Sarah has been through a lot over the last few years, but what hasn't changed is her vision and determination to work from home and raise her children. Even when her journey didn't follow the path she expected, Sarah has remained positive and made the most of the opportunities presented to her, which have made her the successful business owner she is today. This is her journey so far... 1. Tell us your story: I was working full time for an international relocations company. I loved my job – I met my husband, Jason, while working there, and was going to stay there forever! Our plan was to have a baby and I’d go back to work while Jason stayed at home and looked after the kids. He had it all worked out too – he’d get the kids ready in the morning, do the washing and the housework, and be on the golf course by mid-morning with his specially made golf buggy/stroller. A few months after getting married I got pregnant but unfortunately had a miscarriage. As devastating as that was, it didn’t change our plans; a couple of months after that my sister-in-law lost a 5-week old baby to SIDS. That turned my world upside down! 2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve? I identified that I wanted to work full time, but I wanted to be at home with a baby too. The only way that I could see that I could have my cake and eat it too, was to be able to work from home. So I approached my boss and said that I planned to get pregnant again and have a baby, and I’d like to be able to work from home, so let’s put things in place now to make that happen. He said absolutely no way, that couldn’t possibly work. Still feeling the devastation from the loss of my baby niece, I was quite tunnel visioned in my quest. The next day, just short of long service leave, I handed in my resignation. My family and friends said that I was crazy and it would take at least three years for my business to take off. It was at this point that I began to get scared! So I got a part time job as a court reporter for three days a week, and the other two days in the week I spent working on my business. I had a very clear picture of me working from my home office with my bundle of joy sleeping soundly beside me – it was the in between that was a little fuzzy! 3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? Fully expecting to be a court reporter for three years, I resigned from that job and went full time in my bookkeeping business after only eight months, when I had 50 clients. Within 12 months of that I hired my first full time bookkeeper, and in another 12 months there were more staff and we were working out of commercial premises. This was achieved through a lot of hard work – developing relationships with businesses and strategic alliances, creating systems so that I wasn’t reinventing the wheel each time and could handle the work flow.
Five years into my business, and after five years of fertility treatments, I was finally pregnant and carried a baby to term. My friends and family were again quick with the questions – how was I possibly going to run my business, manage my staff, have a baby, and not have a nervous breakdown in the process? Their concerns were understandable – I’d barely changed a nappy in my life and was a little concerned about my bundle of joy’s arrival. I jokingly insisted that it would be okay because I’d scheduled my due date in my diary, and the baby was going to fit nicely into my diary too. Funnily enough, baby Zac did arrive on his due date, and he just about did fit into my diary after that. 4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way? During the time I was pregnant, my father had a terrible motorcycle accident in New Zealand. I travelled to be with him 6 times in the 6 months before he passed away. I had some business planning to do through my pregnancy too. My employee bookkeeper was also pregnant and she was leaving to be a stay at home mum. So how was I to run my business with my own baby? I restructured my business to work completely remotely rather than travel to clients premises, I put systems in place so I could access their information remotely and work from my home office around baby. This meant that I could work my own hours, and it opened up my business to clients who weren’t just within my driving circle. Then I started looking for contractors to help me – I wasn’t superwoman, after all! What I found was dismal! The bookkeepers I interviewed were sloppy, uneducated, and didn’t consider themselves in business at all – this was before the BAS Agent legislation came into being and a lot has changed in the industry since then. So it got me thinking – how can I help train bookkeepers so they can run a great systematised business like mine, how could I help other mums get started in their own business while working around their family commitments, and in the process, develop some great bookkeepers who could assist each other in times of need or when they wanted to take a break from their business. So I developed Miss Efficiency Franchising and within a few years had up to 14 franchisees across Australia. 2010 was a particularly challenging year – Jason broke his arm in January, a very bad break that left him not working, and consequently not earning an income; I had a (very difficult) baby in February, and Jason had a massive heart attack in April. This was an extremely difficult time emotionally, and even with these extreme events I still had a toddler to take care of, as well as a sick baby and husband, and a business and house to run. Were it not for the tremendous relationships I’d developed with my clients and accountants, and the excellent systems that had been developed, which included my franchisees, both my business and I would undoubtedly have collapsed in a heap.But we didn’t – it was just another obstacle to overcome, which we did. It turns out that franchising isn’t for me, but during the time it was running we had helped people develop their bookkeeping business to work around their own personal goals. The franchise business was closed down, and the franchisees were free to continue on their own. My passion is helping business owners with their business, through empowering them around their accounts. But what I’ve seen is many business owners have their own passion, and this can get lost when the reality of business hits, they get overwhelmed and burdened, and wonder why they bother. So I’ve written a book that tackles exactly that, called “Wow … I’m in Business!” The book is designed to help business owners re-engage with their business passion, get through the overwhelm, and put systems in place to move their business in the direction they want it to go. This has created opportunities for me to present my ideas to business owners, and the light bulb moments that I’m seeing are spectacular! My children are now in primary school. I work from a purpose built office at home (outside the house) and my routine is such that I can work in the early hours before they rise, then I revert to ‘mum mode’ before school, work during the day, and back to ‘mum mode’ after school. This enables me to get enough working hours into my day, be there for my children before and after school, and also have some time to myself and with hubby in the evening. We schedule a 3-day camping weekend once a month and take that time to reconnect as a family (let’s face it, things can be pretty hectic during the week just going through the motions), and get away from the business to recharge. The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome in my business is learning that it doesn’t matter how good I am at bookkeeping, I have to be a great (or better) business person. It’s not good enough to just get on the tools, get the numbers crunched and the BAS lodged. I need to nurture my business, my clients, and myself, and everything else will follow.
5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles? I’m inspired by people who are out there making their own dreams come true. When I see people start to get overwhelmed in their business, I love to be able to help them with strategies to get through it and keep their business moving. When I come up against my own obstacles, I just look at my children – they are my driving force. I want to instil in them that you can do anything you set out to achieve; that hard work and persistence pays off; that it’s possible to do something that you’re passionate about and love what you do! 6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal? My advice to anybody who’s got a goal and isn’t quite sure how to reach it: -Write down your goal – this makes it tangible -Draw yourself a road map of how you’re going to get to your destination -It doesn’t matter if the path changes, as long as you’re continually moving forward -Believe you can do it – and you will! 7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve? My book was released this year and from that I’ve secured a few speaking engagements. This is a very different area to bookkeeping, and I’m loving it! I’m passionate about my subject (overcoming the overwhelm) and love helping others in their business. My goal this year is to reach more people with my message through presenting at business events. I’ll leave you with these final words – believe you can fail, and you will; believe you can succeed, and you will. Get your mindset right, and everything else will follow.