Monthly Archives: December 2015

4 tips to decide if a sea/tree change is right for you

Article by Belinda Fuller

4 Tips to Determine if a Sea/Tree Change is Right for YouWhile these types of changes used to mostly apply to retirees selling up and moving to a coastal or rural area to retire, these days more people are choosing to escape the big city rat race by changing their lifestyles to achieve less stress and better work life balance. But this kind of major life change isn’t for everyone, so how do you work out if it’s right for you?

Over the Christmas break, up and down the coast of Australia, people will be gazing into the windows of real estate agencies, checking out property prices in their sleepy holiday destination. I know because I’ve done it before and stood next to others doing the same! We were having such a wonderful time in a coastal area on the northern NSW coast, and wondered how we could make it work as a place to live full time. We did do some research and seriously considered the move, but once those holiday endorphins wore off and we came back to reality, we never actually followed through for several different reasons. But many people will take up the chance to cash in on big city property prices and downsize their lives to achieve a better work life balance.

Achieving a successful sea/tree change is about defining exactly what is important to you in terms of lifestyle, then changing things to achieve more time, less stress, more fulfilment and/or a better work life balance. Thanks to technology, the options for people to achieve this dream while still earning a decent living are endless – it’s just a case of deciding what you can do and where.

Demographers estimate that of the 350,000 Australians per year that talk about making a sea/tree change, 20% will make it happen. Of those who do make it happen – 20% have major regrets and give it all away. In contrast, 80% are glad they made the change and wish they’d done it sooner – so how can you work out if this kind of change is right for you and avoid becoming one of the 20% with major regrets? Here’s some tips to get you started:

Tip # 1: Gain clarity about what it is you really want – ask yourself why you are making the move? What’s the main thing(s) you’d like to achieve or change about your current lifestyle – you could refer to our article this month on How to Create a Life by Design to help you gain this clarity. The biggest cause of failure results from people not being clear about what they really want or having unrealistic expectations about what the move will mean.

Tip # 2: Think about your lifestyle – how are you going to earn a living, how much do you need to comfortably do the things you want to do – and what will make you happy and fulfilled? Another major cause of failure is poor financial planning and under-estimating how much your new lifestyle is going to cost.

Tip # 3: Think long and hard about location – do you want to move to a coastal community to live by the beach? Would you prefer to escape to the country on a farm, in a small country town, or even a larger regional centre? Research and planning is essential when making such a major change, especially if you have children. Are there schools and facilities close by? If not, are you prepared for the travel that you/they will endure to achieve the kind of education you’d like them to have? What will you do for work? Are there the right opportunities close by or will you have to travel?

Tip # 4: Are you prepared emotionally? Not only will this be a major change to your day to day lifestyle, you will probably be moving away from friends and family. You need to overcome any fears you may have of the unknown and maintain a flexible approach in order to fit into your new community. You will have to make an effort to get to know people and small communities are often very different to larger cities.

This type of change is always going to be scary, with many decisions to make along the way. Fear, excitement, confusion, anticipation, uncertainty, eagerness, trepidation, hope – you’ll feel all the emotions as you go through the process. Just remember how rewarding a sea/tree change is for many people – it might be the perfect way to finally create the happiness you crave.

Life is too short to be unhappy – is this something you’ve been wanting to do? If so, you should explore your options and do your research. If you decide to go ahead, but you’re worried about your career opportunities, getting career advice from our Career Counsellors can help! Please see our Career Guidance Services for more information.

How to generate traffic to your LinkedIn profile

Article by Belinda Fuller

10 ways to improve your LinkedIn profileIf you think LinkedIn is a place to simply copy your Resume content and connect with industry colleagues, think again. As the world’s largest professional network with more than 8 million members in Australia, it’s an essential personal branding tool. More and more people are leveraging LinkedIn to boost their online profile, develop their reputation as an industry expert and/or generate leads for their business.

Since most recruiters and many employers use LinkedIn to source candidates – it is essential that your profile can be easily found. Even if you’re not currently searching for a new role – as a professional in any industry, you need to effectively manage your online presence since it provides the first impression to people doing business with you.

A professional LinkedIn profile will support your current role, demonstrate credibility, and validate your expertise to potential customers or business associates. Also, a well-developed LinkedIn profile and vanity URL will support Google searches and help ensure your profile is returned at or near the top when people search for you.

LinkedIn certainly helps if you’re seeking a new role, but it is also essential to help you build your profile as an expert in your field, generate leads for your business, and drive traffic to your website. So how can you generate the much needed traffic to ensure you are one of the chosen few?

  • Decide on keywords and develop your LinkedIn content around these. Think about the skills and abilities you want to be known for. What will people search for when looking for someone like you?
  • Include a professional-looking photo (head and shoulders) that enables people to recognise you. Profiles with pictures are much more likely to generate traffic so don’t skip this step. No picture doesn’t instil any sense of trust or engagement from the audience – in fact many people may wonder what you’re hiding.
  • Create a custom headline and make sure to use up all 120 characters to describe what you do and the market(s) you serve. Don’t let LinkedIn default to your current title – make it descriptive, engaging and personalised to you.
  • Ensure your profile content positions you as the ideal person for the opportunity. This means being very definitive about what you offer and not trying to be ‘all things to all people’. Many people believe they may miss an opportunity if they don’t ‘cover all their bases’ however the problem we see with this approach is that you will never be the right person for anyone – because people look for experts in their field. Decide on what you want to go after and focus!
  • Prove your expertise with evidence – people love proof because, again it creates credibility and professionalism and a desire to do business with you. Evidence could include specific statements detailing what you offer, skills endorsements, recommendations from others, and links to websites, presentations and articles you have written.
  • Create a vanity URL using your full name or area of expertise.
  • Share content including articles, industry news, accomplishments, and your own articles – it takes minutes but helps you become more visible while providing opportunities for others to engage with you. Sharing your own content helps build your credibility and allows people to get to know you (and your offer) better to support their decision in working with you. According to LinkedIn, users who share content on the professional social network at least once a week are much more likely to be contacted for new opportunities than people who don’t share.

If you would like more tips on how to optimise your LinkedIn profile to position yourself in your market, increase your chances of being found and generate more traffic to uncover job opportunities, contract/freelance work and/or word of mouth referrals, our team of Professional LinkedIn Writers can help! Please see our LinkedIn profile writing service for more information.

How to create a life by design

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to Create a Life by DesignIf you are becoming increasingly fatigued by ordinary life and frustrated that you aren’t getting where you really want to be in your career, life and finances, you are not alone. It’s estimated that around 80% of the population are finding it more and more difficult to gain and maintain clarity and control across all these areas of their lives.

We have written before about career change, work life balance, and choosing a job and career you love. Many of our clients, especially those who take up career counselling services, are not only facing challenges with their work, but are also at some kind of crossroad in their lives. They want to be more fulfilled across all areas – which can include family, health, relationships, finances, social, spiritual, and/or creative aspects in addition to work and career.

At some point in our lives, most of us would like to gain more control over some or all of these areas with many believing that more time is the answer. However, often this just isn’t a viable solution – we all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and most of us are stretched to our limits as it is. The real reason most of us don’t have control of our life is CLARITY! While most people don’t have enough time to do everything they want to do, they almost always find the time to do the most important things.

Happiness and success in life is very much determined by how well we understand what we truly want. While most of us can define what we don’t want in life (that’s the easy part), few of us know with real clarity what we really do want. Taking responsibility for all areas of our life, work and finances; and working out what our true priorities are isn’t as easy as it sounds. To do this requires taking some time out to ascertain what really is important, ideally with some specific tools and expert guidance.

Here are some tips to get you started:

TIP # 1 Create a bucket list with at least 50 things you would like to do in your lifetime

TIP # 2 Identify your top 5 priorities for next year

TIP # 3 Create a personal cash flow to get more financial control

TIP # 4 Focus on your daily priorities – three for work and three for personal time

TIP # 5 Develop the habit of gratitude and take time to appreciate the best three things in your life each day

TIP # 6 Design your perfect ideal week and action a few things from it now

TIP # 7 Make a top five fun list (e.g movies, massage, dinner with friend, comedy show etc.) and make sure you do one every week

TIP # 8 Exercise to energise

TIP # 9 Allocate set times to check your email so you have time to focus on important priorities

TIP # 10 Schedule some fun things in your diary now for the next 12 months

Setting Yourself Up for a Great Year Ahead – over the Christmas/New Year break is a great time to do this with the added benefit that you’ll be reinvigorated with new goals focused specifically on your needs for the start of the new year. Set yourself up to achieve your best year yet with clear strategies to improve your work life balance, maximise your job fulfilment and take control of your personal finances.

While you may have the best intentions to try and gain this clarity, it can be difficult without assistance. Some of us at Katie Roberts recently completed an online self-leadership program which has helped me personally to achieve improved clarity around what’s important, with an added bonus of creating some strategies and steps for my personal and business life. As a result of our success, we would like to encourage you to also complete the course.

If you would like to take more control of your life, work and finances; and feel happier about your future direction, please click here for the Life by Design Self-Leadership online course.