November 29, 2007
I’m absolutely excited. Last night I moved into a new office at the Bandwidth Barn. It’s so beautiful, I have a view of the city and the well known landmark Table Mountain. This is such a change of environment for me, in all the offices I’ve worked over the years, I’ve never had such a beautiful view. All I’m used to looking at from desk-view is a wall or the street! :)
This is quite refreshing. I feel refreshed. I feel Summer.
I look forward to spending the next few months (at least) working from this space. Talking about work, I have to tell you some good news. Due to my regular writing on this blog, people have been getting to know me, and they’ve been finding me on Google. I’ve been able to land 2 decent contracts this week with people who have typed in some keywords on Google and found me. I think that’s absolutely brilliant. It’s perhaps also a lesson for the sceptics. Blogging works. And blogging works because it’s a conversation. And we’re human. And we love to talk. It’s really as simple as that.
November 28, 2007
If you do anything, rather do it well. We hear this all the time. We know this. And the same applies to blogging. Not everyone can be a blogger. I’m not saying that everyone can’t learn the skills of blogging, but I believe that in order to be good at it, you need to enjoy it.
I love writing. I’ve been writing online for years, and blogging has been a natural progression for me. I can’t wait to blog, and if I had more time I’d probably blog more. When I’m experiencing something or learning something, I immediately start to think how I can blog about it.
That’s the first part. The enjoyment. The thrill. The passion. Then there’s another part – the art of writing. If you can’t write then you should try to improve, or get a ghost writer. Or hire me!
I’ve seen blogs with 10 or more grammatical and spelling errors in just one post. That just destroys credibility in my opinion. If I read any business communication with bad spelling, I’ll easily notice, and my trust in that company will be lessened. We make sure our business cards are error free, so why are our blogs not seen as important? Blogs are informal yes, but that doesn’t mean they have to be unprofessional as well.
November 27, 2007
When speaking to clients (and people in general) they sometimes don’t seem to grasp the importance of blogging regularly. I’m not referring to the sceptics here. I’m talking about people who want a blog, people who understand the relevance of blogs in today’s marketplace. They know they have to blog, but that they just “don’t have the time.” I’ve just read a short and direct article called Time is Something You Make, go and read it here. I totally agree with it. We make time for what we know we have to do. If you aren’t making time for blogging, you don’t really know you have to. You might say you know you have to – but you really don’t. It’s not coming from the core of you!
In a short space of time I’ve achieved a great success by way of this blog. I don’t make money directly on my blog – there are no ads or sponsored posts (and this might change over time…). At the moment my blog is being used as attraction tool. People are attracted to my business and to my skills because of what I write about. This is hugely significant because my personal profile is being built online, and months from now anyone will still be able to read my archives, and thereby track how I’ve grown as a person and how my business has grown. (Don’t you just love the archives?)
I think blogging is a great opportunity to express yourself. We all yearn for that at the most basic level. I’ve been doing this for years, in the form of a community network I started building in 2002 which I named Message Islam. It started out as a daily newsletter (from about 3 to over 1200 members currently worldwide!), and in May 2007 I started a blog at www.messageislam.co.za. All activities have been on hold for a few weeks, because I’m about to register a Non-Profit Organisation, and we’re going to start 9 major projects under the Message Islam banner, some of them international, and all of them web-driven. It’s quite exciting how a simple effort of sharing information (with no real long term vision) has now spiralled into something bigger than my wildest imagination!
November 26, 2007
Most entrepreneurs have heard of the term “Guerilla Marketing” at some or other point. The term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his popular 1984 book titled “Guerrilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits From Your Small Business.”
The concept is geared more towards entrepreneurs and small businesses, and does not really apply to massive corporations. It is an unconventional system of marketing and promotion which relies on time, energy and imagination – as opposed to large marketing budgets.
Young entrepreneurs generally don’t have large budgets for marketing campaigns. If they do receive funding it usually gets allocated to development or operations. Guerilla Marketing is thus very suitable to the ambitious entrepreneur.
Interestingly, I came across a post recently on Dave Duarte’s blog. It’s a post about Guerilla Kindness. According to Dave, Mike Stopforth speaks about the concept a lot, and Dave explains it in the following way:
Guerilla Kindness is an ongoing strategic approach undertaken by a company to surprise and delight people in the hope of creating a great story associated with the experience to pass on to their peers, and hopefully mention online.
November 25, 2007
Early in 2007 my good friend Hashiem Croeser (of C3 Technologies) introduced me to Entrepreneur.co.za, an initiative driven by Brian Walsh to be a “complete support and development solution for entrepreneurs.” I signed up for the email newsletters (which I received regularly, and passed on to my friends), and I received notices of the regular seminars. Brian is actually from Cape Town, but he is currently based in Joburg. He hosts seminars and networking events in the 3 major centres of South Africa, i.e Cape Town, Joburg, and Durban.
If you ask any entrepreneur, he/she will tell you how lonely it is. It’s very tough being an entrepreneur. Many times you feel overwhelmed, and you feel isolated. When interacting with a group of people who are in a similar “place” as you, you realise: “I’m not alone!” – and suddenly there’s a sense of relief and an increase in confidence. I have experienced this, and I’ve heard these sentiments expressed by many during the course of 2007.
I guess what Brian is trying to do is establish a community of like-minded people, and to coach them on certain skills to help them on their journey.
November 24, 2007
I must say that I love my job!
A few weeks ago, on a Friday, I left the office at 4pm and continued to work at home, from the comfort of my bed! :) Just after 5pm I received an email from a friend. She was still at work because it was raining, and she was waiting for the rain to stop before making her way home. That was one of the many moments of appreciation for my situation.
Whether it rains or not I can work. Whether I’m at the office or sitting on a
park bench I can work. Whether I’m in Cape Town or another city I can work.
This is a great blessing. It allows me to be quick in servicing my clients, it allows me to do my research, reporting, training preperation, etc without any limitations, and it brings about immense convenience to my life. Of course time management plays a very important role in all of this, and if you do not manage work time, personal time, and family time you might find yourself facing some problems. About one month ago I posted an intriguing video by Tim Ferris where he comments on ideas in his new book called The 4-Hour Workweek. Go and view it here if you haven’t seen it yet.
Just yesterday my brother-in-law, Ismail Aziz, told me how his work suffered last week due to the Cape Town rain. Ismail does a range of maintenance work on houses and buildings, and when the weather is bad work cannot proceed. What does this result in? Of course completion of projects is delayed. What does that result in? Of course final payments are delayed. Not a very favourable situation!
November 21, 2007
I’ve finally been able to lay my hands on these photos. Thanks Odette! :) On 9 November I wrote an article about our graduation of the VeloCITI Business Acceleration Project titled VeloCITI Graduation – Inspiringâ€¦ – now you can finally see the photos…
Photography by John Haigh Photography – firstname.lastname@example.org
November 21, 2007
Last week I had the priviledge of meeting Ramon Thomas. Ramon is, as he puts it, a Speaker, Trainer, Evangalist, Blogger, and Author of “LinkedIn Lessons.” A few months ago Ramon delivered a course titled Blogging for Business at the Bandwidth Barn (for those of you who don’t know, the Bandwidth Barn is an ICT Incubator Hub in Cape Town, and my company is one of several ICT companies housed in this hub). Even though I was a blogger myself, and I also now train on blogging, I still wanted to attend Ramon’s course because I’m always keen to learn and discover new perspectives. Due to a scheduling conflict I could not attend though, but this was the start to our relationship.
Since then Ramon and I have been conversing via email, LinkedIn, and Facebook. What was really nice is that in October when I was delivering a seminar titled “Using LinkedIn and Facebook for Business,” Ramon sent me a PDF document and told me I can use it in preperation for my talk.
Now think about that. Here is someone whom I’ve never met in person. Here I am, a competitor in his industry. Yet he offers a helping hand. This is great! This is what makes Web 2.0 so exciting, because it uses the same underlying principles of authenticity, sincerity, sharing, co-operation, collaboration, etc. I call this new wave of the Internet to be the “Human Web” – because I feel it resonates from deep inside of us. We all want to share, we all want to contribute.
November 19, 2007
I haven’t written for a couple of days now. This doesn’t work well for my blogging strategy. Dropped Amatomu rankings (from 165 to 298) is the result. Apart from having a very busy week, I’ve also let myself slip into Entrepreneural Syndrome – trying to perfect things before executing them in my business.
I’m sure every entrepreneur struggles with this. It seems so simple to avoid this when you become aware of it, but it’s actually not. An entrepreneur wants to perfect his product and business model so passionately, that he (or she) begins to lack in other areas in the process.
I can say that in certain areas I’ve excelled over the past week, but in other areas (this blog is a good example), I’ve not done too well. :)
Moving forward now…
November 14, 2007
We’ve been requested to develop a new website for a client, and alongside the website we also have to develop a very intricate Facebook application. I thought I’d share this list of resources with those of you who are interested in developing Facebook applications.
- Anatomy of a Facebook Application
- Step-by-step Guide to Creating an Application
- f8 Keynote (Video with Mark Zuckerberg)
- Facebook Open Source Projects
- Facebook Developers Wiki
- Facebook Developer Garage