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    How a vacation can help your business

    sky-people-whitespace-freedom copy


    By Diana Scully


    Most of us find ourselves dreaming about our next vacation or travel holiday but don’t book anything. Many of us follow travel accounts on Instagram, commenting on how much we’d love to visit this destination, but then don’t take any steps to get there. We want more time in life to take holidays, spend time with the family and just relax but find ourselves at the end of the year with accrued paid leave owing to us. So what’s going on?

    For many of us, taking time away from our work, whether we are in paid employment or run our own business, can feel overwhelming.  But its one view to be busy and another to confuse it with having a negative impact on your success. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt a personal change upon returning from a vacation, for the better. And for the positive impacts it has on my work, taking a vacation is no longer perceived as a luxury, but rather an essential part in the outcome of my busy work/life schedule. Here are five reasons why I make taking the time to travel each year, a necessity in my life:

    A change in perspective. Travel gives you the opportunity to get away from your usual routine, the people you meet, what you eat, how you sleep and where you work… You begin to view things differently, think outside the box and allow yourself to take on something new.

    When you travel, especially to underdeveloped nations or unknown destinations, you open yourself up to new ideas. You begin to appreciate how different life can be and you return to your own lifestyle with a fresh perspective and point of view. Consequently, the flow-on effect leads to new ideas or solutions to problems you may have been facing prior to your vacation, by allowing yourself to think in new ways.

    Take a break and recharge your batteries. Travel gives you a chance to renew your energy, find your balance and re-align yourself. Most people reach a point throughout the year when logic becomes cloudy. Productivity declines and enthusiasm wanes. Taking a break, relaxing and switching off are ways to refuel yourself and find your positive energy. This opportunity allows you to indulge in your own needs for a period of time. And when you return, improve your productivity at work with your new, positive outlook on life.

    To push your limits. Travel allows you to break a routine that at the best of times, is designed to make you work efficiently and effectively each week. But in doing so, you also build yourself a comfort zone and forget your ability to push boundaries to grow your business and work opportunities. If you’re thinking about applying for a new role, starting a new business or growing an existing one – you need to think beyond the norm. You need to push your boundaries. If you expose yourself to this way of thinking, you will teach yourself how to build the courage to do this in other areas of life, i.e. work, fitness and health.

    Find inspiration. Travel gives you the opportunity to think for yourself for uninterrupted periods of time. Taking a vacation allows you to consider and contemplate issues/topics/opportunities that have been sitting on your to-do list for some time. When you give yourself the chance to think about something else than your daily routine and work commitments, you open your mind to new possibilities.

    Network and meet new people. Travel allows you to network organically, especially if you travel independently or on your own.  Travel forces you to talk to people, ask for help, seek advice and start conversations with strangers. It also shows you your strengths and weaknesses in your ability to communicate, adapt to new situations and accommodate different cultures and customs.

    Start changing your perception about taking time off from work to travel. Reverse the logic and the tendency to perceive a vacation as an indulgence in life, but rather, focus on the benefits travel can offer you at work and your general overall happiness.

    Images by Pexels.

    Interior designer Diana Scully owns and operates her own interior design firm Spaces by Diana that’s all about designing beautiful, personalised homes to reflect the people who live in it. Diana also has her own lifestyle blog, Spaces + Places, where she regularly writes about inspiring spaces to see and visit from around the world and shares her recent travel adventures. This year she has plans to spend time abroad in the US. Follow Diana on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.


    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: business tips, my advice, stress and wellness | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Behind the scenes: our first market stall

    grattonBy Emma Clark Gratton

    As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I run a furniture-making workshop and have recently released a range of kid’s furniture. We are big fans of visiting craft and design markets so took the opportunity to launch the new range at a market. While furniture isn’t commonly sold at markets (besides old bearded men making coffee tables out of stumps at your local hippie market), we thought it would be a great way to increase awareness of our brand, meet our customers and make some new connections.

    Which market?

    There are heaps of markets to choose from, depending on the type of product you have, the amount of stock you are prepared to make and who your customer is. Markets range from smaller specialty markets, such as Boutique Markets and Rose St Artists Market, to local community markets, right up to design markets such as The Finders Keepers and trade fairs such as Life Instyle. We decided to apply to The Finders Keepers in Melbourne, as the ethos and clientele suited our products.

    The countdown

    Once we had confirmation that we were officially accepted into the markets, the real work began. We used it as an opportunity to freshen up our business, so we had a new logo designed, overhauled our website and designed a few new products. I arranged for new business cards, postcards, stickers and stocksheets to be printed, and made a huge masterlist of everything we would need on the day, from props to snacks to packing materials and payment facilities.

    On the day

    We had the afternoon to set up our stand before the markets opened at 6pm. We had prepared a quick mock-up of the stand in the workshop beforehand, so I had an idea of where everything would go. Once we had the stand up and ready, we wandered around and were blown away (and slightly intimidated!) by how amazing everyone else’s stands looked. We met our lovely stall neighbours, had a quick bite to eat and then the crowds poured in.

    We quickly realized that it was up to us to engage the customers and be as approachable as possible. Start talking to people as soon as they approach your stand and keep smiling! It might feel artificial at first, but asking people how they are, how they are enjoying the market and letting them know something about your products can be a great way to make a connection and hopefully, a sale.

    That said, being ‘on’ all the time can be exhausting, so take regular breaks. Make sure you bring a friend or helper to cover the stand while you duck off to eat lunch or have a rest.

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    What worked

    Getting customer feedback

    Getting to meet our customers and potential clients directly was invaluable. It was a great way to see which products people were interested in, what customizations were popular and who our customers were. For example, quite a few people asked if we made bunk beds. We didn’t, but are now adding bunk beds to our range in response to the customer feedback. We had always imagined mums being our biggest customers, but just as many dads purchased products too, which was interesting information.


    I grabbed a few bags of lollies at the last minute and put them in a bowl on one of our kid’s tables. It turned out to be perfect, as lollies attract kids and kids bring parents! We also provided chalk to draw on our Mini Chalky tables and crayons and colouring in pages for our Mini tables, which were a hit with the kids. While the kids drew, we chatted to the parents and made a few sales and contacts.


    Beg, borrow or steal at least one trolley to carry your gear. Using a trolley will literally cut your bumping in and out time in half. We ended up lending ours to our neighbouring stallholders once we were unpacked, as it was a bit of a walk to the carpark and lugging boxes of stock and trestle tables is not fun.

    What didn’t

    Fancy shoes

    I made the mistake of favouring fashion over function on the first night and my feet were not happy. Make sure you wear shoes and clothes that you will be comfortable standing in all day, in hot or cold weather.

    Not spending all our profits

    As tempting as it is, try to resist spending all your cash! As much as we love to support other handmade businesses, we did want to take home some profits and so I set myself a budget for a few special things that I was eyeing off over the weekend. Chatting to other stallholders is an excellent way to get advice, suss out how other small businesses do it and make new connections.

    Not being prepared for the post-market rush

    We expected to be busy the weekend of the market, but were not expecting the amount of orders in the weeks following. Our site received more traffic than ever before and we got a lot of requests for custom orders and different projects. In retrospect, this should have made sense as people don’t really go to a craft market to buy a large piece of furniture and would rather purchase it later on. We managed to adjust our workflow to accommodate the influx, but it would have been better if I had planned for the orders.

    Emma Clark Gratton is an interior designer, writer and podcaster who, alongside her husband Lee, runs GRATTON, a timber furniture and architectural joinery company. She blogs at Worst House Best Street and posts endless photos of her sons on Instagram at @emmamakesthings.

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: business tips, how to, my advice | Comments Off