It’s 4am, I’m sitting with my ASUS S5N laptop on my, ah, lap, typing this blog entry from Brisbane. I made it through the 20 hour flight from Toronto to LA to Brisbane in one piece. I’m a little bit tired and of course this is way too early to be awake. I tried desperately to stay awake Friday but I could only make it to 7pm (note to self – watching Star Trek DVDs are not good for keeping you awake). Brisbane of course is turning on great weather and yesterday was pretty perfect (around the mid to high 20′s C and breezy). We are spoilt down under.
I checked my email and about 60 emails came through during my Internet hiatus while flying the pacific ocean. I’ve trimmed the SPAM away but I’m not even starting to wade through the BetterEdit emails until I confer with Edward who looked after things while I was travelling. I’ll take back admin control and business life will continue from how I left it in Canada. You certainly have minimal boundaries managing an Internet business.
Now that I am back in Australia and with the University semester into the second month I have a lot of work ahead of me. It’s all very exciting stuff and I can’t wait to jump into it. Things have really picked up in the last few weeks as my efforts in Canada to spread the word about BetterEdit.com start to bring in results as the university semester come to an end in Toronto. I haven’t done the detailed statistics yet but I think my persistence poster advertising for a full semester has brought in at least 20 new clients and if at least 10 of them continue to use our service and tell friends then I can certainly call my trip a success business wise.
The business focus is on providing the best service we can which will promote healthy word of mouth. If you start with even just a small group of clients, for example say we have 10 regulars now in Toronto, and meet or exceed their expectations, by the same time next year we may have 30 new clients just from the original 10 spreading the goodwill. It’s not speedy growth but its healthy growth. I often tell myself this when I am struggling to negotiate for a job that is only worth say $25 to the business. It’s $25 today but potentially a lot more tomorrow and month after month if you can keep your quality at a high standard.
Added to that good news is that BetterEdit is making strong gains in Google placement and I’ve started to notice an increase in the amount of international clients that come through from search. Even better news is that BetterEdit is now positioned at 1st-3rd for all of our key search terms for Australian based searches using Google. We are in the lead position for university and academic editing services in Australia. Now we just need to make sure we stay there, continue to lead the market in proofreading and editing in Australia and continue to improve our overseas position.
Excuse me, I have to make two phone calls…
Okay, I’m back.
What I just did was use SkypeOut to call a new client in the USA. It cost me about 20 cents to have two phone conversations for a total of about 10 minutes. One of the calls was to a cell phone at an airport. I’m sitting in my lounge at home at 4am in the morning and my client is in an airport in the USA waiting to board a plane. How cool is that. Later this morning I’ll call my grandma in Toronto using my laptop to let her know that I made it back to Brisbane okay. She will be sitting down to Friday night dinner and I will be just about to head out on a Saturday morning.
What’s even more exciting is that Skype has two new services in BETA testing that I’m eager to start using. One is SkypeIn, which allows a Skype user to have a ‘normal’ phone number which is purchased on a subscription basis. What happens is that anyone can call this number using any normal phone or cellphone and it will go to your Skype account which you answer using your computer. The person will only be charged as if they were calling locally for that country. If they are not in that country then they are charged a long distance fee exactly like they were calling internationally over a landline. Because of this you may buy numbers for each country you want to have a local number in.
The other service is Skype Voicemail which is included for free with SkypeIn or you can subscribe to it separately. This acts like a standard voicemail service for your Skype phone. It records messages for any SKYPE calls you miss, including Skype to Skype, or if someone was to call you using SkypeIn and you missed the call.
For our business this is how I would use the services – I subscribe to have a local number in the USA, Canada and Australia, our main markets. I can then list our new ‘normal’ SkypeIn phone numbers for customer queries in each of those countries. Any person that calls gets routed direct to my Skype account which, since I am always on my laptop means I could answer it wherever I am. If I miss the call it goes to my Skype Voicemail which I check and then use SkypeOut to return the call to any phone in the world. This potentially can replace our entire business phone needs, allow us to improve client support and all at extremely cheap rates.
Right now these services are in BETA and only available in a few countries but I am very, very, excited about their potential. Combine this with wireless Internet access and it’s truly a global, mobile business world.