Do you know how to invoice? Are the simple things stopping you getting going in business?

In many years of coaching social entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and people escaping from the big smoke of big organisations and starting their own thing, I have met many people who are too embarrassed to ask for the basic information that is needed for their business to get up and running. Sometimes something as simple as not knowing how to invoice will stop people starting to offer their services or product, and get paid.

There are plenty of resources available that give basic information, but it might be difficult to know which ones to trust, especially if you are new to Australia (which many small business people are). The government website that has been set up to assist businesses is useful and trustworthy. This is a great piece on how to create an invoice:

How to create an invoice

For speed of reference, here are the main points they mention about creating a tax invoice (if you are registered for GST), quoted directly from the link above:

For sales of less than $1 000, the seven details are:

  1. The words ‘Tax Invoice’ must be used – preferably at the top.
  2. Your identity as the seller, such as your business name or trading name. Contact details are optional, but recommended.
  3. Your ABN or ACN.
  4. The date the tax invoice was created.
  5. A brief description of the items sold, including quantity and price.
  6. The GST amount (if any) payable. You can display GST for each item in a separate column, or within the total price. If you choose not to display it separately, use a statement such as ‘Total includes GST’ as this is needed for the next detail.
  7. The extent to which each item sold includes GST. You’ll meet this requirement if you either:
    • show the GST amount for each item
    • clearly state that the total price includes GST.

Tax invoices for sales of $1 000 or more also need to show the buyers identity or ABN.

I can also recommend Amanda Fisher‘s blogposts and books as they are engaging and easy to understand. Her passion is to help people to manage their finances, particularly their cashflow, so that no one has to say no to something important that a loved one needs. She is committed to every business person maximising their cashflow, and understanding the detail once they unscramble their numbers. As I believe strongly in staying accountable to the promises you make to yourself, and understanding your business, these are three blogposts I recommend:

3 Strategies to fix a cashflow crisis

Setting accountability around the numbers

If cash is king, why don’t we get payment upfront?

If you need help to work out what is in your way, and what is feeding your “Monster Within” that is stopping you progressing with your business idea, do drop me a line. I know people who can help, or I can help.

#MeToo Listen
#MeToo Listen

Women: Listen to your Inner Voice and Act

As #MeToo sets the stage for how things should be, rather than how they have been, I’m thinking of how, for so long, prevention of sexual assault has been aimed at women. Don’t walk there, don’t wear that, don’t go out alone, don’t stay in alone. Read the signs. Notice the behaviour. Tell them it’s not okay.

For far too long.

Too late we’re changing the discussion and placing the responsibility where it should lie: with the choices men make. Simple. Just don’t do it. Don’t make up excuses in your mind for why it is okay generally, or specifically, or just this once. Just stop cat-calling, leering, staring, touching, trying your luck, and forcing your will. Just stop.

That said, there is one more responsibility I do want to put on women:…

Read more at the Rape Crisis Cape Town blog

 

For the founders
For the founders

11 Tips for the Founder of a Virtual Community

11 Tips for the founder of a virtual community

Do the virtual communities you belong to serve you well? Have you ever considered what makes one virtual community work better for you than another?

I am part of numerous groups online. What makes one more enjoyable and useful than another is often the way the group is run by the Founder. The group I have run the longest is what we fondly call The Walking Tribe: a community I founded of women all over the world who walk daily and post to a monthly theme. Each person actively commits to accountability, affirmation and celebration, and gives and gets support for doing what we set up to do: walk, connect and stay accountable.

Based on my learning from 50 months of running the Walking Tribe, I now assist business owners to build and sustain great virtual tribes around their purpose (often around the book they have written). I help them create Triple Wins; that’s win for them, those around them and the world. Triple Wins in virtual communities only really work when everyone is both benefitting and contributing as an active member.

Here are eleven tips for founders of virtual communities that make them good and powerful:

1. SET A CLEAR PURPOSE.

Be clear about why the virtual community exists. A clear purpose helps to achieve a good outcome. Your test of the clarity of purpose is if each person in the community can clearly state why the group exists.

2. ENCOURAGE STELLAR BEHAVIOUR.

My experience is that people are generally cooperative and polite. However, online groups can attract trolls and nasties, and you surely want to be sure to avoid this. Even when people don’t mean to, they can trigger anger and resentment by saying what they wouldn’t say to someone face to face.  If you are clear about the behaviour you expect from participants (like respect, listening, diversity of opinion), you reduce the risk of problems.

3. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS AND BOUNDARIES.

Write a blurb about the purpose, expectations and acceptable behaviour of the community. Copy and paste it into a pinned post and ensure that every person who joins the community has read it and is held to account. People who have been in the community for a longer time will often help to guide people to that blurb.

4. DEAL SWIFTLY WITH ISSUES THROUGH THREE-PHASE CONTROL.

It is your responsibility to keep the group safe and effective, and of low irritation value. If group members behave in a way that doesn’t benefit the group or is harmful, write a general statement about what is expected in a ‘founder’s post’. If it doesn’t change, contact the person whose behaviour needs to change in a private message. If it still doesn’t change, remove that person from the group.

5. ENCOURAGE ENGAGEMENT BUT RESPECT PEOPLE’S LIMITED TIME ONLINE.

Don’t panic when there are low moments: a healthy tribe will be dynamic. With limited time to be online and limited patience, people choose what they want to belong to. If the Tribe talks to them and serves their needs, and if it creates a place that they feel safe, they will want to be there. You can be most useful if you offer shortcuts and ways of people being connected without having to live online and be part of every post. Give suggestions about what is ‘enough’ engagement.

6. ENGAGE REGULARLY WITH THE GROUP.

A key component of building relationships in the tribe is occasional one-on-one communication with every participant. This might seem like a luxury, and in bigger groups, it might not be possible. But my experience has been that a monthly check-in via private message (not a group message as these are incredibly irritating to participants) builds the relationship more than any other one action.

7. GET HELP IF YOU ARE NOT AVAILABLE.

When things get busy, ask someone who loves the Tribe to co-host with you. Discuss the kind of help you need and why you are asking for back-up, then make it quite clear what tasks you are asking your co-host to take on. Don’t imagine they know. Only you know what you would like them to do. Be sure to inform the Tribe of their position.

8. KEEP A LIGHT TOUCH.

You don’t need to like or comment on every post. Keep a light touch by expanding comment threads, affirming involvement of community members (especially the kind of involvement you think is good for the tribe) and affirming good process. Model appropriate behaviour. Ask questions, acknowledge people’s wisdom that they bring to the group and their role in creating community.

9. UNDERSTAND THE EBB AND FLOW.

There will be times when the mood is low, the engagement is down, or people are negative. Allow this to be part of the process of the group forming and storming. Discourage people speaking on behalf of everyone about issues or problems; help them to own their experience of the community.

10. REPEAT THE GOALS OFTEN.

Mention the goals regularly. For example, in the Walking Tribe, I mention that the purpose of the Walking Tribe is walking or moving 30 minutes a day plus a ten-minute challenge and that we focus on ‘Accountability, Affirmation and Celebration’.

11. BE SUPER PROFESSIONAL.

Remember everything you do online is there forever. It’s amazing how easily people forget this, believing privacy settings or closed groups will protect them. No. It’s better to err on the side of caution and think carefully before you post. Encourage your community to do the same.

Polish up your online etiquette; be a shining role model. Never talk about one person in the Tribe to another. Be true to your values. Consider whether it’s ever appropriate to swear, and balance how much you open up in the virtual community while holding the leadership role. It helps to be positive and encouraging.

Enjoy being the founder of your virtual community. As I’ve said before, a virtual tribe can be a powerful force for good, and you have an important role as the founder.

A manifesto provides a way forward
A manifesto provides a way forward

Have you considered a manifesto for your virtual tribe?

Have you considered a manifesto for your virtual tribe?

Most of us belong to a few online groups for business, for growth, for social or emotional needs or for opportunities.
The online group has evolved to offer a powerful sense of community and a fervent feeling of belonging and shared values for its members. When this happens, the group has become a tribe.

Read more

Walking Tribe Member, Dr Estelle. South Africa.
Walking Tribe Member, Dr Estelle. South Africa.

A Virtual Tribe can be a Powerful Force for Good

A Virtual Tribe can be a powerful force for good

As the founder of the Global Walking Tribe, I am utterly convinced that a virtual tribe can be a powerful force for good.

We are a virtual community of women who walk wherever we are in the world for 30 minutes a day, posting photos of our walks on the monthly theme, to a Facebook group.

It didn’t start as a tribe. It started as my personal quest for health and fitness.

Read more

Start collaborating
Start collaborating

Stop Backbiting. Start Collaborating.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the lunchroom at work in Sydney one day to hear women gossiping about their colleagues: how this one behaved, how that one dressed, how the other one wore her ‘Greek hair’, who wore hijabs and why. There was all manner of nastiness about skills, personalities, appearance and behaviour. It was all about backbiting and elbowing for position.

It shocked me that these were women talking about women. Listening to the stories of women I coach and groups I facilitate tells me this is not unusual in corporate settings, in not for profits, small business or social environments (and, of course, online). Surely there are enough obstacles for women who work – balancing their caring and professional roles, finding a supportive and encouraging partner, and earning well enough. Whether we are employees, executives, entrepreneurs or solopreneurs, the last thing we need is other women bringing us down.

Continue reading at Smallville

 

The Solopreneur’s Best Temporary Income Strategy

When I exposed the best-kept secret of woman solopreneurs – that they often don’t draw an income – a host of wonderfully honest conversations ensued. Women wrote to me privately, they commented on threads, and they stopped me in the street to talk. Each woman said that she thought her situation was unique and that it was hard to admit she wasn’t drawing an income.

Many thought they were failures and everyone else was doing just fine.

Continue reading at Smallville

When a Collaborative Book is a perfect Triple Win

I’ve just had the privilege of being one of 100 authors published in The Better Business Book, Volume 2. The story behind this project is a great example of Triple Win thinking in action. In fact, I was so taken by the concept that I arranged an interview with the chap who put it all together to understand what he was thinking when he created this set of wins.

Let’s go back a moment. When I heard of this collaborative project, I signed up for a discovery call with the head honcho from Authors Unite….

Read the full article at Smallville