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Tom Valcanis
Top 10% Copywriting and Content Marketing

Owner at

Member Since September 2014

Cheltenham, VIC, 3192

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My name is Tom Valcanis and I'm the proprietor at I Sell Words. I sell words because my words sell! I'm a copywriter and content author with a background in journalism. I write content for web, print and all things that need words. I Sell Words is about writing your words right.

Qualified skills

Advertising
Copywriting and Content Marketing
Marketing Services & Consultants

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Narine Poghosyan
Narine Poghosyan, Community Manager at SavvySME

Sales and Marketing

How do you sell to consumers in an environment that hates sales?

If not all people liked to buy things, we'd live in some kind of communist country. People love buying things - everything you see around you right now was purchased at some point; how you arrived at the decision to buy that item is what you must reverse-engineer to figure out how to sell to others.Most people at their core like predictability. A new product or a new service interrupts that predictable flow and we must convince others that this interruption will enhance their life in some way.In the era of disinformation, simply writing something down and swearing up and down it's true no longer works. (It probably hasn't for a long time.) Sales tactics on scarcity rarely work, because we live in a world of abundance. The "buy my pen" example from The Wolf of Wall Street would only work in the jungle or the outback. We not only have pens, but we have computers and smartphones to record information.I think it does come down to an emotional decision - how do you make people feel? Paige's answer hits the nail on the head there; do you value your client as much as you value their business? I don't think it's a game of "I gotta sell this crap to these suckers and I'll be a millionaire!" it's really about fostering relationships and providing mutual value. Sometimes clients will drain your value by being a "ballbreaker" or argumentative. It's a symbiotic relationship - the hard part is coming across as sympathetic to their pain points and offering a solution to alleviate it, even when there are 100 other alternatives (and perhaps palliatives.)

Tom Valcanis answered this question

How much does it cost to hire a copywriter for a new website?

I suppose that's like asking how long is a piece of string! Each website is different, and has different copy requirements. For most small businesses, a home page that engages the browser right off the bat is crucial to keeping people interested and converting them into leads or buyers. In my experience, most small business websites comprise:A home pageAn about us or company mission statementServices or product page, outlining most, if not all of their offeringsContact us/inquiry page.I can only speak for myself, but my process involves the business owner as much as possible, taking their goals and their tone into consideration. Some solo business websites need to match the personality of the proprietor, so this is also something I take quite seriously. I usually write a test page with three variations on tone and style, so it matches the tenor of the business and what audiences will respond to best.I also bristle at the word "cost" to describe copywriting. It's not a cost, like rent is a cost. It's an investment. My copywriting isn't something a business has to buy, like a cafe needs tables or a retailer needs cash registers. It's a performing asset. Once it's up on your website, it attracts visitors through SEO, convinces them your product or service is worth buying, and generates those sales - as long as the copy is there, it can make you money. It communicates value. As for the price of this investment, I usually package up my website writing to cater to these small business needs. I also include rewrites and revisions for free, as a guarantee. My packages range from about 600-1750, with more value adds such as longer word counts, content strategies, and blog posts included along with additional pages. You can find out more at my website.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Digital Marketing

What laws and regulations do you need to be aware of in email marketing?

In Australia, mass email marketing and spam is covered under a Commonwealth act known as the Spam Act 2003. The act in a nutshell tells marketers (or anyone sending an email) their electronic messages (yes, it also covers SMS):Unsolicited commercial electronic messages must not be sent unless it is a designated commercial electronic message defined at Schedule 1 of the act.Commercial electronic messages must include information about the individual or organisation who authorised the sending of the message.Commercial electronic messages must contain a functional unsubscribe facility.Address‑harvesting software must not be supplied, acquired or used.An electronic address list produced using address‑harvesting software must not be supplied, acquired or used.The Spam Act 2003 is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. If you send an unsolicited message - that is, if someone does not opt-in to your marketing electronically - they are well within their rights to complain to the ACMA. Your first offence will be a polite cease and desist, and the next offences will be met with fines and lawsuits. That means if someone hands you a business card, it does NOT entitle you to add them to your marketing lists. You require an electronic confirmation from anyone who wishes to opt-in. (This is a pet peeve of mine - and if you do it, you could be in a lot of hot water!)

Tom Valcanis answered this question

What's the difference between a copywriter and an SEO copywriter?

A copywriter is someone who writes copy to make things sell. An SEO copywriter is a copywrter prefixed with "SEO."All copywriters in this day and age must have a basic working knowledge of SEO. Period. Anyone who writes online must optimise their content for search engines. Journalists, authors, bloggers - anyone who uses words to sell their craft - must know something about Search Engine Optimisation.Some copywriters can also do the "off-page" SEO quite well, though I'd argue that's more a technical skill than creative skill. As for on-page SEO, every copywriter should know how to do this. I don't wish to disparage my colleagues, but if a copywriter tells you they don't know anything about SEO...find a different copywriter.Many copywriters (like myself) work with SEO analysts to best optimise pages. The SEO optimises the links and metadata, etc. while I write the actual words under the SEO's direction. SEOs usually refine keywords and backlinks every week or month, where someone like me is called upon once in a while to update or rewrite entire pages.That said, SEO is only half the battle. If people find your page and aren't convinced to stay, then the copy isn't doing its job. The results are what matters; whether the copy you paid for returns your investment.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

William S
William S, Digital Marketing and Junior SEO Consultant at Pixel Capital

Website

Your opinion on sites like Wix, Square Space, BigCommerce

I've used Squarespace for a while now, and it's far more powerful and integrated than WordPress, which is what I'm used to. The e-commerce functionality baked in is a massive plus for me.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

What are the must-have features in a small business cloud accounting software?

I'd say some "non-number" scorecard at a glance. What's coming in, what's set to go out, and a graph to track it all.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

SavvySME Official
SavvySME Official, Official Account at SavvySME

Budgeting and Forecasting

How will your business be affected by interest rate rises?

Possibly for me if other businesses tighten their budgets to service debts instead. It's a bit of a worry.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

What are the advantages, disadvantages and risk of using cloud accounting?

The obvious advantage to cloud accounting is that it's always on wherever you have an internet connection, and you can get managed support at almost any time.Disadvantages are when it goes down, so does your productivity. With any cloud software, it's open to the risk of hacking and exposure of confidential information.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Keith Hutchings
Keith Hutchings, The guy in charge at The Comfortable Home Project

Sales and Marketing

How do we change the culture around housing ?

I think it comes down to the hip-pocket nerve. All you need to get is a few people bragging about how much money they're saving using solar compared to grid electricity. A simple ad campaign that opens with a family on holiday for the fifth time that year. Some wait staff grumbling that they're "sun worshippers" - they chase good sunny weather thanks to solar energy savings. The environmental impact is not so big a deal in this country, since grid electricity is so expensive.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Which is the best CRM software for a new company?

I have been using Pipedrive to track deals, because I'm a soloist and it's simple and easy to use. Connects to a lot of other platforms, too.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

I am a copywriter by trade, and that's akin to asking how long is a piece of string. Some copywriters charge a fixed price per page (me), others by word, others by the hour (which I couldn't do - curse these fleet-fingered hands!)The first thing I ask is "how many pages, and how much words do you want on them?" before ever sending off a quote.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

SavvySME Official
SavvySME Official, Official Account at SavvySME

Entrepreneurship

What's one inspiring quote you live by as an entrepreneur?

From The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, which is permanently bookmarked in my copy:"At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”— But it’s nicer in here…So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?— But we have to sleep sometime…Agreed. But nature set a limit on that — as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts. (emphasis mine)Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort? 

Tom Valcanis answered this question

How to get my name out there?

It might be worth teaming up with real estate agencies as their preferred removalist - or get a relationship going so you're top of mind when clients inevitably ask about them.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

How to manage multiple social media platforms with Squarespace?

I use Squarespace for my major site, and it's quite flexible in terms of integrations. You might be able to connect certain social media platforms using an intermediary API service like IFTTT or Zapier.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Tim Gardner
Tim Gardner, Owner at Apprahensiv

Sales and Marketing

What can I do with a $100 marketing budget?

$100 ... for how long? A month? A year?It depends on what you sell and to whom. An easy pick would be an Google Ads campaign, or a Facebook ads campaign.I'd agree with Steve - spend it on fuel getting to as many networking groups as possible. This is crucial when you're starting out.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Advertising

Any memorable radio Ads by businesses stuck in your mind?

Chris & Marie's Plant Farm in suburban Melbourne. The owner, Chris, has a high-pitched and distinctive voice, which stands out from professional style advertising. Their kitschy catchphrase "Hello Hello" plays to their strengths as small business owners; it's authentic, and draws people in.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

Why should you switch accounting software?

I switched from MYOB to Rounded because MYOB had all these features I just wasn't using. I just wanted to send out invoices, keep track of my profit and loss, and generate expense reports. Rounded was simplified to my needs. If you're using Xero or MYOB et. al. and haven't clicked on tabs in years (or ever), it might be worth switching to something streamlined.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

Do you need accountants to help write business plans?

A good friend of mine once said that "accounting begins where finance ends." Accountants help a business keep score, not kick the goals for them. They are effectively a referee, making sure you are playing by the rules. So an accountant's advice may be prudent, but I wouldn't go about hiring one exclusively to help write a business plan.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

Who's best in customer service Xero, MYOB, Reckon or Saasu?

As a sole trader, I cannot recommend Rounded enough. Simple to use, intuitive layout, and near-round the clock support. Quite reasonably priced, too.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Do you trust online legal services?

To a point. As much as I trust any online service. For boilerplates and general advice, I would go to an online only service. Earlier this year, I had a legal matter concerning defamation in my industry. I wouldn't go to an online service straightaway, I'd contact a bricks and mortar media lawyer.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Advertising

Which is more effective: TV advertising vs YouTube advertising?

I would suppose it depends on which audience you are chasing - but TV viewership seems to be the province of the Boomer generation. YouTube ads are more targeted, and you can appeal to laser-focused demographics. YouTube advertising would be more cost-effective, too.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Hazel Theocharous
Hazel Theocharous, Small Business Support Specialist at Expert VA

Business Growth

What is one thing every business should outsource to an expert?

Anything you prefix with "my." As in, I use "my" accountant, and "my" lawyer. So if you have to consult someone you call "my" [job title], that's what I outsource. Think of who you are as someone's "my" - as in "my" copywriter or "my" graphic designer. That's your core competence. If they don't think of you as that "my", then it's probably best you outsource it!

Copywriting and Content Marketing

How to Make Your Writing Effective

Writing is a form of art in its own way. It should be purposeful and created with passion. What is your writing like? Do you open up to your reader emotionally? Do you have an endgame? Let's understand how it's possible to connect with your readers through your writing in the most effective way. One of my favourite TV shows is Star Trek. My favourite spin-off is Deep Space Nine. My least favou...

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Is PR worth doing for small businesses?

Depends what you mean by PR - if you're a business that makes, let's say industrial rope - then clogging editors' and journalists' inboxes with releases about rope day in, day out won't help you any.However, if you're creative and you can pitch interesting stats or insights into rope to an industry publication; let's say RopeBlogger - then that's worth a bit more.With any good PR campaign, you have to look at who you are targeting, what return you're looking for (goodwill? brand recognition? sales?) and how you can measure your investment (with time or money.)

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Why would you hire a copywriter?

I am a copywriter, and I could ask myself "Why would I hire an accountant?" Because I'm terrified of numbers. If writing makes you shudder, that's why - on a very basic level, of course!

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Shane Gold
Shane Gold, Compliance Officer at First State Super

Website

Does either .com or .com.au domain have an advantage? ✅

.au domain names are industry regulated while .com names are not. .au domain names are regulated by the .au Domain Administration. They are a not-for-profit company endorsed by the Federal Government. oversee and enforce three main aspects of the domain name industry- Domain name policy: who can register certain .au domain names (eligibility and allocation)- Delegation of registry function (who runs the entire .au registry - AusRegistry)- Accreditation of registrars (companies that register domain names for consumers, such as GoDaddy etc.)The domain name policy protects consumers because com.au and .net.au domains must be purchased by ABN holders. This means you can trace the .au domain back to a registered entity. This theoretically prevents scams, etc. Policies also cover:- Monetisation and mispellings (you can't just sit on a domain name forever without using it, nor can you register an obvious misspelling of a known domain to scam people)- Allocation and eligibility (you can't register a domain name unless it has a close or substantial connection to your business, for example)- Domain name arbitration (in case there are contested claims to a domain name, such as partnership breakups - which is known to happen.) This is kind of a long winded way to say .au should be more trustworthy than a .com name, if you are looking for Australian businesses to deal with. a .com could literally be "anyone," where .au is a registered business that is based in Australia (or has dealings in Australia.)

Copywriting and Content Marketing

My Story: From Slinging Prose to Selling Words

In the twilight of 2013, I was sitting at my desk. I was sitting, writing content for the new .au Domain Administration website. Instead of paying the developer to sort it out, that job as Marketing and Communications Officer, settled on me. I leaned back in my chair, daydreamed a little before thinking; You know what? I bet I could do this full time. I bet I could do this full time and make even ...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

From the Niagara to the Atlantic

A few weeks ago, a dear friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Leslie Fisher, asked me two thorny questions – how I do what I do, and why I do what I do. The how is straightforward. You can see my process précised right here on my website. My personal “why” is an easy one; I love doing it. Underpinning the “how” is a deeper “why.”   This “why” is a mission statement of sorts: I do...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

Meditations of a Copywriter

Ever since high school, I've turned to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius lived almost 2,000 years ago. He was a great Emperor, general and statesman of the Roman Empire. Whether at governing home or locked in the horns of battle, he wrote little reminders to himself based on the stoic philosophy. So profound were these aphorisms they were bound up into twelve books known as the...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

How to Make Your Writing Effective

Writing is a form of art in its own way. It should be purposeful and created with passion. What is your writing like? Do you open up to your reader emotionally? Do you have an endgame? Let's understand how it's possible to connect with your readers through your writing in the most effective way. One of my favourite TV shows is Star Trek. My favourite spin-off is Deep Space Nine. My least favou...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

My Story: From Slinging Prose to Selling Words

In the twilight of 2013, I was sitting at my desk. I was sitting, writing content for the new .au Domain Administration website. Instead of paying the developer to sort it out, that job as Marketing and Communications Officer, settled on me. I leaned back in my chair, daydreamed a little before thinking; You know what? I bet I could do this full time. I bet I could do this full time and make even ...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

From the Niagara to the Atlantic

A few weeks ago, a dear friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Leslie Fisher, asked me two thorny questions – how I do what I do, and why I do what I do. The how is straightforward. You can see my process précised right here on my website. My personal “why” is an easy one; I love doing it. Underpinning the “how” is a deeper “why.”   This “why” is a mission statement of sorts: I do...

Copywriting and Content Marketing

Meditations of a Copywriter

Ever since high school, I've turned to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius lived almost 2,000 years ago. He was a great Emperor, general and statesman of the Roman Empire. Whether at governing home or locked in the horns of battle, he wrote little reminders to himself based on the stoic philosophy. So profound were these aphorisms they were bound up into twelve books known as the...

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Narine Poghosyan
Narine Poghosyan, Community Manager at SavvySME

Sales and Marketing

How do you sell to consumers in an environment that hates sales?

If not all people liked to buy things, we'd live in some kind of communist country. People love buying things - everything you see around you right now was purchased at some point; how you arrived at the decision to buy that item is what you must reverse-engineer to figure out how to sell to others.Most people at their core like predictability. A new product or a new service interrupts that predictable flow and we must convince others that this interruption will enhance their life in some way.In the era of disinformation, simply writing something down and swearing up and down it's true no longer works. (It probably hasn't for a long time.) Sales tactics on scarcity rarely work, because we live in a world of abundance. The "buy my pen" example from The Wolf of Wall Street would only work in the jungle or the outback. We not only have pens, but we have computers and smartphones to record information.I think it does come down to an emotional decision - how do you make people feel? Paige's answer hits the nail on the head there; do you value your client as much as you value their business? I don't think it's a game of "I gotta sell this crap to these suckers and I'll be a millionaire!" it's really about fostering relationships and providing mutual value. Sometimes clients will drain your value by being a "ballbreaker" or argumentative. It's a symbiotic relationship - the hard part is coming across as sympathetic to their pain points and offering a solution to alleviate it, even when there are 100 other alternatives (and perhaps palliatives.)

Tom Valcanis answered this question

How much does it cost to hire a copywriter for a new website?

I suppose that's like asking how long is a piece of string! Each website is different, and has different copy requirements. For most small businesses, a home page that engages the browser right off the bat is crucial to keeping people interested and converting them into leads or buyers. In my experience, most small business websites comprise:A home pageAn about us or company mission statementServices or product page, outlining most, if not all of their offeringsContact us/inquiry page.I can only speak for myself, but my process involves the business owner as much as possible, taking their goals and their tone into consideration. Some solo business websites need to match the personality of the proprietor, so this is also something I take quite seriously. I usually write a test page with three variations on tone and style, so it matches the tenor of the business and what audiences will respond to best.I also bristle at the word "cost" to describe copywriting. It's not a cost, like rent is a cost. It's an investment. My copywriting isn't something a business has to buy, like a cafe needs tables or a retailer needs cash registers. It's a performing asset. Once it's up on your website, it attracts visitors through SEO, convinces them your product or service is worth buying, and generates those sales - as long as the copy is there, it can make you money. It communicates value. As for the price of this investment, I usually package up my website writing to cater to these small business needs. I also include rewrites and revisions for free, as a guarantee. My packages range from about 600-1750, with more value adds such as longer word counts, content strategies, and blog posts included along with additional pages. You can find out more at my website.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Digital Marketing

What laws and regulations do you need to be aware of in email marketing?

In Australia, mass email marketing and spam is covered under a Commonwealth act known as the Spam Act 2003. The act in a nutshell tells marketers (or anyone sending an email) their electronic messages (yes, it also covers SMS):Unsolicited commercial electronic messages must not be sent unless it is a designated commercial electronic message defined at Schedule 1 of the act.Commercial electronic messages must include information about the individual or organisation who authorised the sending of the message.Commercial electronic messages must contain a functional unsubscribe facility.Address‑harvesting software must not be supplied, acquired or used.An electronic address list produced using address‑harvesting software must not be supplied, acquired or used.The Spam Act 2003 is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. If you send an unsolicited message - that is, if someone does not opt-in to your marketing electronically - they are well within their rights to complain to the ACMA. Your first offence will be a polite cease and desist, and the next offences will be met with fines and lawsuits. That means if someone hands you a business card, it does NOT entitle you to add them to your marketing lists. You require an electronic confirmation from anyone who wishes to opt-in. (This is a pet peeve of mine - and if you do it, you could be in a lot of hot water!)

Tom Valcanis answered this question

What's the difference between a copywriter and an SEO copywriter?

A copywriter is someone who writes copy to make things sell. An SEO copywriter is a copywrter prefixed with "SEO."All copywriters in this day and age must have a basic working knowledge of SEO. Period. Anyone who writes online must optimise their content for search engines. Journalists, authors, bloggers - anyone who uses words to sell their craft - must know something about Search Engine Optimisation.Some copywriters can also do the "off-page" SEO quite well, though I'd argue that's more a technical skill than creative skill. As for on-page SEO, every copywriter should know how to do this. I don't wish to disparage my colleagues, but if a copywriter tells you they don't know anything about SEO...find a different copywriter.Many copywriters (like myself) work with SEO analysts to best optimise pages. The SEO optimises the links and metadata, etc. while I write the actual words under the SEO's direction. SEOs usually refine keywords and backlinks every week or month, where someone like me is called upon once in a while to update or rewrite entire pages.That said, SEO is only half the battle. If people find your page and aren't convinced to stay, then the copy isn't doing its job. The results are what matters; whether the copy you paid for returns your investment.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

William S
William S, Digital Marketing and Junior SEO Consultant at Pixel Capital

Website

Your opinion on sites like Wix, Square Space, BigCommerce

I've used Squarespace for a while now, and it's far more powerful and integrated than WordPress, which is what I'm used to. The e-commerce functionality baked in is a massive plus for me.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

What are the must-have features in a small business cloud accounting software?

I'd say some "non-number" scorecard at a glance. What's coming in, what's set to go out, and a graph to track it all.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

SavvySME Official
SavvySME Official, Official Account at SavvySME

Budgeting and Forecasting

How will your business be affected by interest rate rises?

Possibly for me if other businesses tighten their budgets to service debts instead. It's a bit of a worry.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

What are the advantages, disadvantages and risk of using cloud accounting?

The obvious advantage to cloud accounting is that it's always on wherever you have an internet connection, and you can get managed support at almost any time.Disadvantages are when it goes down, so does your productivity. With any cloud software, it's open to the risk of hacking and exposure of confidential information.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Keith Hutchings
Keith Hutchings, The guy in charge at The Comfortable Home Project

Sales and Marketing

How do we change the culture around housing ?

I think it comes down to the hip-pocket nerve. All you need to get is a few people bragging about how much money they're saving using solar compared to grid electricity. A simple ad campaign that opens with a family on holiday for the fifth time that year. Some wait staff grumbling that they're "sun worshippers" - they chase good sunny weather thanks to solar energy savings. The environmental impact is not so big a deal in this country, since grid electricity is so expensive.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Which is the best CRM software for a new company?

I have been using Pipedrive to track deals, because I'm a soloist and it's simple and easy to use. Connects to a lot of other platforms, too.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

I am a copywriter by trade, and that's akin to asking how long is a piece of string. Some copywriters charge a fixed price per page (me), others by word, others by the hour (which I couldn't do - curse these fleet-fingered hands!)The first thing I ask is "how many pages, and how much words do you want on them?" before ever sending off a quote.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

SavvySME Official
SavvySME Official, Official Account at SavvySME

Entrepreneurship

What's one inspiring quote you live by as an entrepreneur?

From The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, which is permanently bookmarked in my copy:"At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”— But it’s nicer in here…So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?— But we have to sleep sometime…Agreed. But nature set a limit on that — as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts. (emphasis mine)Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort? 

Tom Valcanis answered this question

How to get my name out there?

It might be worth teaming up with real estate agencies as their preferred removalist - or get a relationship going so you're top of mind when clients inevitably ask about them.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

How to manage multiple social media platforms with Squarespace?

I use Squarespace for my major site, and it's quite flexible in terms of integrations. You might be able to connect certain social media platforms using an intermediary API service like IFTTT or Zapier.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Tim Gardner
Tim Gardner, Owner at Apprahensiv

Sales and Marketing

What can I do with a $100 marketing budget?

$100 ... for how long? A month? A year?It depends on what you sell and to whom. An easy pick would be an Google Ads campaign, or a Facebook ads campaign.I'd agree with Steve - spend it on fuel getting to as many networking groups as possible. This is crucial when you're starting out.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Advertising

Any memorable radio Ads by businesses stuck in your mind?

Chris & Marie's Plant Farm in suburban Melbourne. The owner, Chris, has a high-pitched and distinctive voice, which stands out from professional style advertising. Their kitschy catchphrase "Hello Hello" plays to their strengths as small business owners; it's authentic, and draws people in.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

Why should you switch accounting software?

I switched from MYOB to Rounded because MYOB had all these features I just wasn't using. I just wanted to send out invoices, keep track of my profit and loss, and generate expense reports. Rounded was simplified to my needs. If you're using Xero or MYOB et. al. and haven't clicked on tabs in years (or ever), it might be worth switching to something streamlined.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

Do you need accountants to help write business plans?

A good friend of mine once said that "accounting begins where finance ends." Accountants help a business keep score, not kick the goals for them. They are effectively a referee, making sure you are playing by the rules. So an accountant's advice may be prudent, but I wouldn't go about hiring one exclusively to help write a business plan.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Accounting

Who's best in customer service Xero, MYOB, Reckon or Saasu?

As a sole trader, I cannot recommend Rounded enough. Simple to use, intuitive layout, and near-round the clock support. Quite reasonably priced, too.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Do you trust online legal services?

To a point. As much as I trust any online service. For boilerplates and general advice, I would go to an online only service. Earlier this year, I had a legal matter concerning defamation in my industry. I wouldn't go to an online service straightaway, I'd contact a bricks and mortar media lawyer.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Advertising

Which is more effective: TV advertising vs YouTube advertising?

I would suppose it depends on which audience you are chasing - but TV viewership seems to be the province of the Boomer generation. YouTube ads are more targeted, and you can appeal to laser-focused demographics. YouTube advertising would be more cost-effective, too.

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Hazel Theocharous
Hazel Theocharous, Small Business Support Specialist at Expert VA

Business Growth

What is one thing every business should outsource to an expert?

Anything you prefix with "my." As in, I use "my" accountant, and "my" lawyer. So if you have to consult someone you call "my" [job title], that's what I outsource. Think of who you are as someone's "my" - as in "my" copywriter or "my" graphic designer. That's your core competence. If they don't think of you as that "my", then it's probably best you outsource it!

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Is PR worth doing for small businesses?

Depends what you mean by PR - if you're a business that makes, let's say industrial rope - then clogging editors' and journalists' inboxes with releases about rope day in, day out won't help you any.However, if you're creative and you can pitch interesting stats or insights into rope to an industry publication; let's say RopeBlogger - then that's worth a bit more.With any good PR campaign, you have to look at who you are targeting, what return you're looking for (goodwill? brand recognition? sales?) and how you can measure your investment (with time or money.)

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Why would you hire a copywriter?

I am a copywriter, and I could ask myself "Why would I hire an accountant?" Because I'm terrified of numbers. If writing makes you shudder, that's why - on a very basic level, of course!

Tom Valcanis answered this question

Shane Gold
Shane Gold, Compliance Officer at First State Super

Website

Does either .com or .com.au domain have an advantage? ✅

.au domain names are industry regulated while .com names are not. .au domain names are regulated by the .au Domain Administration. They are a not-for-profit company endorsed by the Federal Government. oversee and enforce three main aspects of the domain name industry- Domain name policy: who can register certain .au domain names (eligibility and allocation)- Delegation of registry function (who runs the entire .au registry - AusRegistry)- Accreditation of registrars (companies that register domain names for consumers, such as GoDaddy etc.)The domain name policy protects consumers because com.au and .net.au domains must be purchased by ABN holders. This means you can trace the .au domain back to a registered entity. This theoretically prevents scams, etc. Policies also cover:- Monetisation and mispellings (you can't just sit on a domain name forever without using it, nor can you register an obvious misspelling of a known domain to scam people)- Allocation and eligibility (you can't register a domain name unless it has a close or substantial connection to your business, for example)- Domain name arbitration (in case there are contested claims to a domain name, such as partnership breakups - which is known to happen.) This is kind of a long winded way to say .au should be more trustworthy than a .com name, if you are looking for Australian businesses to deal with. a .com could literally be "anyone," where .au is a registered business that is based in Australia (or has dealings in Australia.)

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