Saturday, May 8, 2010

CDAA Workshop: 23 - 24. Web site or not?

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

I eventually had a web site created. It was one of the most confronting things I've ever done. I found the whole process extremely daunting, and it took around 9 months. Very like having a difficult pregnancy, but an exciting birth, with due celebration!

I approached a student of mine who I knew had done some good web sites. She was a young mum, and was so supportive, and gave me loads and loads of information, advice, and lots of tactful, kind cajoling. When it came to doing the "about me" segment I did rather stick my heels in. I just couldn't see the point, and as for a photo - there was no way I was going to go there! But, as you can see I did cave in to her experience. And she's right, people do look at the photo, and read the blurbs.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that not everyone is alike. That kind of thing wasn't so important to me, but having gone through the process, I take more notice of what others have done now. I also thought the whole Testimonials page was unimportant, but have been assured people take note of them. I had assumed they were made up, but used real comments from real clients.

I became sidetracked and read research papers on eye tracking, how to write for the web and the like. I found it really interesting. Some people might call it procrastination ;-)

Because of my interest in Learning Difficulties (including Dyslexia) I tried to make it all user friendly, with lots of pictures that would give a feel for the kinds of people I like working with.

I like colour, and it's important to me to be surrounded by tasteful design and complimentary colours. I've got friends who've said they're happy to go with whatever is recommended by their webmaster, but perhaps because I've been burnt by people who say they have in depth experience of writing and design (but ultimately turn out to be novices) that I - how do I say this nicely - take more of a hands on approach.

Michelle was extremely patient, and worked above and beyond what anyone else would have done. I am indebted to her, and so grateful for her persistence with my fine tuning tones of colour, fonts and overall layout.


As I mentioned in the previous post, I have since found some people use LinkedIn in place of a web site. Not a bad idea really; cheap, efficient, and easily updatable.

I also have an artist friend who has used iWeb to produce his own, and it looks great.

I think there's a place for doing it all yourself if spending a lot of money if out of the question.

People get to my website from my listing in the CDAA find a practitioner. I am also listed in the Russ Harris ACT link.

It's always important to CELEBRATE!! our achievements no matter how insignificant, but especially when they have been a long time coming. A pat on the back (even if it's your own hand doing the patting) is not to be shunned.

CDAA Workshop: 20 - 22. Advertising



(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


The kinds of things I've done and people I've spoken with to promote myself as a private practitioner.

I've had 3 versions of my business card so far -I'm the kind of person who can see room for improvement! The most recent was produced by my lovely local printer in under a week. I knew I was going to work at the Reinvent Your Career Expo in Melbourne a couple of years ago, and it seemed sensible to have something suitable for the event.

I'd been unhappy with the previous card which had been designed by a graphic artist. I'd been procrastinating hugely about getting another done as I knew I'd been ripped off with the earlier one. Thankfully this experience was really different. I got to chat with the designer (no charge!!) and he suggested something cheerful that might appeal to the demographic I sort of expected to be working with. No rip off, AND quick printing! What more could I ask for (apart from heaps of enthusiastic clients)?

We had a general discussion about what worked, what didn't and why. There was some great input from the participants. Interestingly very few people had received leads from psychologists. I had seen us as working in tandem with them, but the general view is they see us as more or less poaching their clients. Hmmm.

I've placed ads in the local paper (got one client - so didn't cover costs), a glossy local magazine that had a bit of an alternative angle and encouraged work life balance/life coaching etc. (no clients). I regularly attend networking functions (no clients) (so maybe the BNI would be better as they are more into marketing, not so much for the social scene.

Generally it was felt that word of mouth was the best marketing possible. Strangely (or not) a friend who is a psychiatrist said he'd be unlikely to be in a position to refer people to me, but has at the time of writing been my best, most consistent support.

A couple of local allied health professionals were very keen when I spoke with them about my business, and appeared to genuinely believe they would have lots of referrals for me: however after 2 years, I've had none.


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CDAA Workshop: 18 - 19. Resources for business start up - a sample!





(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


Here's a sample of the websites/institutions available to assist the Career Development private practitioner with business ideas, marketing, and general information.

BNI is unapologetically a marketing organization. Is costs somewhere around $1000 to join and for a year membership. You are expected to attend a breakfast meeting each week and be an active advocate for the other members of your group.

Each group only has one representative of each business, so there is effectively no competition. I can see that it would be beneficial, and everyone I have known who has belonged says it is excellent for leads and generally keeping your enthusiasm going.

Each week you give a little blurb about what kinds of leads you are looking for that week, and the other members try to assist.

Have I joined? For me, the deal breaker was making a commitment to turn up for breakfast each and every week during the year. It is effectively $30 per week to market your business, and may be really good value, as long as you're able to make the time commitment. You're only 'allowed' to miss 2 meetings, and above that need to find someone to substitute for you. 

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CDAA Workshop: 16 - 17. An overload of brochures & publications

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


A sample of the amazing variety of publications available for free to assist small businesses.

Frankston City Council offers a series of informative brochures suitable for small businesses. On the whole they seem more relevant for a goods rather than service based business, however some are interesting.



Good title here!

I showed these to encourage participants to make use of the variety of institutions offering support.

However, as I mentioned, some of this comes with an emotional rather than financial cost.