How to run a business, have a family and write a book at the same time.

Don’t let me fool you, the title of this post makes it sound like it is all possible.

Well, maybe it is. But there are a few reasons  it has taken me so long to post an update on my blog, and the heading says it all. It has been a long, active year.

Financial year end has come and gone. We are doing some final numbers, but last year was a good one for our online business.

To sum up, we:

  • Completed the sales of our fishing business
  • Grew our Magento Development business, taking on some larger projects
  • Became Magento Partners in Australia
  • Grew sales in our retail business where it mattered
  • Grew our shipping label system over 260%
  • Added some retail services, providing a managed service for the eBay channel
  • Greatly improved our overall business position
  • Made some great new business contacts (and friends)
And on a personal note my wife and I added another girl to the family, so there has been lots of activity on that front. This has certainly kept us busy. Two girls can be a challenge sometimes!
Then there is the book. I was mentioned as a possible author for a book, and accepted the task. I knew I didn’t have much time but it is one of those things that I have on one of those secret lists tucked away on the back of your mind and I really wanted to tick it off the list. So this has meant inventing some more work hours, usually between 10pm and 1am. It is taking it’s toll.
Just writing this makes me feel a little bit guilty, as I should be finishing up a few more edits now for a deadline, and completing a presentation I will be doing at the internet conference in the Gold Coast later this week (check it out here:!
It just doesn’t stop at the moment! But January will be a landmark month for me I think. Ushering in 2012 with a fresh outlook on business opportunity that has begun this July, a book in the wild, co-authored by me (yikes, I am nervous already, it should be on shelves in Dec), and finger crossed no more kids! :)

A Really Clever Use of Twitter

I have been using twitter for a little while.  I started using it for a few reasons. Mainly to see how it works (the dynamics of tweets, conversations, and the social aspects), and what can be done with it for personal and business reasons.

What better way to find out about it than start an account and see what happens?

So, I have posted in a variety of topics, not just business. I have about 120 followers now.

I noticed one really good use of Twitter the other day though, and wanted to share it.

I had recently found out about a friend from school (we were best friends in Primary School, but had drifted into other cliques in High School) who had committed suicide. I sometimes write on this blog about personal things and I decided I would ‘tweet’ this information on my twitter account.

I wrote

Just heard my best friend at primary school and friend through high school committed suicide. Hadn’t kept in touch at all. Still, very sad.

Soon after I had a direct message sent to me from an American association for suicide and prevention, simply offering condolence and hoping that I could offer the family some support.

What a fantastic way to get in touch with people in this situation. I could imagine other twitter users tweeting about many emotional issues, in various emotional states, and having well timed messages from support groups willing to help.

A very clever and effective use of twitter.

A long (mostly non work) week. But still stressful…

I spent the week down in Hobart due to a family emergency. My dad had a health issue, and I flew immediately down to Hobart on Tuesday morning. I had spent the day in Sydney on Monday (long day), spent all week on Hobart and just got home yesterday. A long week.

Thank God my dad seems ok now. In fact, he should be 100% again soon, but he will be in hospital for another week or so. More tests to be done etc.

Of course, this has meant no blog updates, no tweets and very little work for the last week due to a distinct lack of internet facilities where I was!


I am running for charity!

goodfridayappealOn April the 5th my wife and I will be running in a charity event called Run for The Kids.

This event is a 5.7km and a 14km run around Melbourne designed to raise money for the Royal Children’s hospital which does fantastic work. It is an icon of Melbourne and as new parents to a beautiful 13 month old daughter we hope to never have to use their facilities.

So we are looking for friends, family, colleagues (and my blog readers) to hopefully make a small donation. It doesn’t matter how small, every bit counts.

To help you along, here are 5 reasons why you should help

  1. It will make you feel all warm and fuzzy
  2. You can probably afford it
  3. We are training really hard
  4. If you have a business I will post a logo and link and big thankyou on the front page of my blog
  5. Its a hospital that helps sick children, need I continue?!

So there it is, the end of my sales page.

If you would like to help with s small donation, please click the link below, and thank you!

Wow – what a year.

Well, 2008 has been a long year of hard work, meeting new people and enjoying my new baby daughter (who is now very nearly 1 year old!). It has been ages since I have written anything in my blog, thought I had better do a little catch up!

I hope you have had a prosperous new year, but from various discussions it sounds like online retail really hasn’t boomed at Christmas time (except for those gift sellers of course).

Our bricks and mortar retail store had a soft Christmas, with a late surge, hopefully the good sales of the past week and a half continue into January!

So what have I been up to?

Most of my time has been taken up with our retail business, opening a new online electronics store (which has quickly grown to be a good portion of our revenue), working a little on our shipping automation product (, and doing some consulting for a few other sellers.

Although I can’t commit a great amount of time to consulting but I have had a good number of clients this year which I have been able to mentor to and assist. It has really been great to have contributed, and it is something I really enjoy. I guess it comes from having two teachers for parents!

Our business has also spent a lot of time looking at some strategic technology to help us grow in the future, including some new ecommerce software ( Magento has really impressed us so far, especially in it’s technical/software design. With a growing community, it will really add a great option to those looking for a well engineered well featured open source ecommerce platform in the market.

Next year will be another busy one. The Australian online market space will gain a bit more competition as some of the bigger retailers start to make ground (see, and smaller retailers will need to continue focusing on building and retaining a strong customer base and utilising as many sales channels as efficiently as they can to stay one step ahead of their competition. This is exactly what we will be doing I think!

Will you?

Back to the Real World

Well, I am back from some long needed time off, hence the long break between posts.

I travelled with my wife and now 8 month old daughter to South Australia and visited a lot of family friends, squeezed in some fishing and even got time to read a book. Wow!

It was a fantastic trip.

Before we left I had plenty of friends asking if we were driving across.

“So, you have an 8 month old daughter, and you are driving 2 days to the Eyre Peninsula…  Good luck!”

Turns out our little baby was a dream in the car. No crying, just sleeping when she should, and playing happily between feeds. We couldn’t have been more proud of her, getting couriered around and shown off to a host of different relatives and friends.

We must be lucky every one says…  Sounds ominous… let’s hope the next one we have is the same!

And I thought running an eBay business was a challenge…

Just over 2 weeks ago, something changed my life.

My wife and I had a baby daughter. What an amazing experience. I thought it was tough to run a business, but its nothing like the life change when you have a child. All of a sudden, you are running totally on someone else’s schedule. This is going to take a little adjusting too!…

I tell you this because:

1) It explains why I haven’t been putting much effort into the blog recently (I have other things on my mind) and

2) It helps you to keep focus on the important things in your life like family.

3) I am a very proud father!

It is a real challenge, but we are making headway, and I have still been working a little bit here and there and coming up with some good content ideas that I will be able to publish (baby permitting!) soon.

Big News – I am going to be a dad!

Yesterday my wife and I had a 12 week scan, to confirm that we are heading down the path to parenthood.

All looks good, wife is happy, husband starting to get scared!

It will be a big change in our lives but one we are both really looking forward to. Christmas is certainly going to be great this year!

I will spare everyone a grainy screenshot of the ultrasound scan, but can confirm it currently is 6.5cm long and looks somewhat like at alien.

I hope everyone has as good a weekend as I am having!

Yesterday My Grandmother Died

Ok, for those of you who expect this to only be a ‘business blog’ turn back now, or click a link!

I feel compelled to write about my thoughts today.

Yesterday, my grandmother, 94 years of age, passed away. She would have been 95 this week. The phone call I received from my mother last night did seem a bit out of the blue (as we normally talk on Sunday evening). And a shock it was.

But not totally unexpected. You see, for some years now she has been saying things (to me as well) like ‘I have had my time, I am ready to go anytime the good Lord wants to take me!’ which isn’t the sort of thing you want to hear from your Nanna (as we call her) when she rings to have a chat and wish you a happy birthday… :)

So last night, she kind of got her wish. It was fast. She was probably in pain for only a short amount of time. She was with friends. And my family was near. They had been near her for a while.

Four years ago my parents (semi) retired to her location. They have been able to spend more time with her in and out of her retirement home, which I am sure she was very grateful for. In a way I wish I had spent some more time with her, but we had a great friendship and would speak on the phone, and I was happy to visit when I could.

I was sad today, because, quietly, the world lost a great person.

But my Nanna had a great life. She achieved the things she wanted to. She was happy. She was with family and friends.

So put aside some time for family. Put aside some pleasure time. Don’t spend all your time pedaling so hard to be someone in business, that you forget to be someone to your loved ones.

It is great to be motivated and driven, but don’t lose sight of the real goals in life…