project 40

Project 40 | Getting to forty years old with some goals

Sometimes you need to just write from the heart and this is one of those moments. I woke up at a crazy time this morning, I think it was around 5am and my mind was full of so many questions and a real realisation that I was turning forty years old in 344 days! I hate to sound dramatic but technically I’d say that 40 years old is well and truly middle aged. I started to think about two things, what was I happy with and what was I unhappy with. So I’ll start with a list of what I was happy about:

  • My family – I have been married for coming onto 8 years this year and together with my wife for over a decade now. Whilst we have had some downs, our relationship as a whole has been rather amazing. We still have some work to do but don’t all relationships? We now have a gorgeous 2 year old girl, who well and truly keeps me on my feet and is somewhat a major influence in turning around some of the negative areas in my life. She has given me the perspective and the drive to achieve greater than I already have.
  • My career – Whilst I’m not necessarily satisfied right now with the current role that I have landed in. I have to say at this stage of life, I’m rather happy with what I have achieved with my working career. I went to university with no idea with what I wanted to do with life and then started down the road of finding a path that would suit me. With a few hiccups here and there, I finally found my feet within the world of digital marketing and that was all due to a combination of losing my job, having started a band and the will to continue to succeed post losing my job. I have now held several senior roles which have allowed me to increase my salary to a point which I am extremely satisfied with.
  • Real Estate (Our home) – We are currently in a transition in life and have recently purchased what we would describe as our forever home. Whilst it is not the ideal setting of a block of land with a home on it, we have found a beautiful 3 bedroom ground floor apartment in a spectacular Art Deco building. It has all the space we need for the next couple of decades and allows us to continue living the inner urban lifestyle we have grown to love.
  • Finances – Unlike many of my peers I am happy to say apart from the home mortgage we are debt free which I believe is fairly uncommon today. Ironically I got a Facebook notification about this of a ‘memory’ which was a post where I declared that after nearly 20 years of using credit like it was my money, I’d finally overcome my addiction to credit and was debt free. I am thankful that we have been able to maintain this debt free lifestyle.
  • Travels – Since meeting my wife, we have done a whole bunch of travelling and seen so many places. Being in a band and touring around Australia allowed me to see a lot of it as well. So I very much satisfied with where I’ve been and what I have seen.

This list could go for a while, but that’s probably the cream of the crop right there. Let me analyse the bad. As I mentioned earlier, waking up 5am with that realisation that I was soon to turn forty was pretty daunting. I’m a realist I know we get old and die, I have no problem with facing death. The question is how far away is that death, which brings me to my negatives.

  • My body weight – I’ve been on a perpetual roller coaster with my body. I kid you not at the age of 17 I probably weighed 75 kgs. By the time I was 26 I weighed 140 kgs. I then had my first realisation that this was not a great place to be, so I turned that around and got down to 85 kgs. I then gradually over time put weight back on and about 5 years ago I jumped on the scales and I was back to 117 kgs. This is when I decided I would quit drinking alcohol. I then dropped a whole bunch of weight that year and was down back under 90 kgs. Again the same thing happened and as time elapsed I just put the weight back on. I jumped on the scales this morning and to my disappointment I was now 115 kgs. As usual an indulgent holiday season and 2 week break to Bali has come back to bite me.
  • My anger – I have for years struggled with anger. Not many people know this but the weirdest and smallest things can trigger me into a juvenile outrage. I am unsure if its anxiety / stress related but after it happens I have the greatest sense of shame and find it extremely difficult to admit I have a problem with this. In essence writing this is kind of the first time I am really admitting that I have a problem. This is not something that is ok at the age of nearly 40. I don’t know what it is but somehow I need to find a solution to it.
  • My addictions / lack of will power – I am well aware that I have an addictive personality. Judging by point one on this negatives list it would seem apparent that my greatest addiction is food. I also think I am addicted to coffee and drink way too much of it. I’m not addicted to alcohol but I’d love to stop drinking again, I do have fond memories of my sobriety.

 

Interesting that when I analyse the positives and negatives. Is that the positives are a combination of life achievements and tangibles. Where as my list of negatives are basically things I need to fix up with myself as an individual.

So whats the plan of attack? What can I possible achieve by the age of 40?

  • Is a six pack possible in 344 days? Well I’d say at least getting fit is.
  • Quit my coffee addiction – I think this could help with both my anger/stress plus my dermatitis as well.
  • Practice some mindfulness and meditation – I kind of cringe at the idea, but the reality is I need to change for my family as they typically feel the brunt of it.
  • Start a gratitude diary – learn to be thankful for the things that I do have. I wouldn’t consider myself entitled or spoiled, but sometimes I need the perspective.

I need to get a little more organised with this so I think the best thing will be to devise a plan of attack on how I will get fit, drop my coffee addiction and find my inner peace and stop sweating all the small stuff. I am blessed to be in the position in life that I am in. I know that I have worked hard to get to where I am and can only imagine where I would be with some real discipline.

Project 40 is a work in progress but I think it was good to just get this all out on paper.

 

eating one meal a day

Eating one meal a day Round 2 – Weight loss results | Before and After

The thought of eating one meal a day seems like a daunting task to many. This has become commonly known as the OMAD diet and has steadily increased in its popularity over the last decade. Whilst this is not a mainstream way of eating it has definitely grown in popularity as intermittent fasting has grown. I tried eating one meal a day at start of this month as part of getting ready for a holiday. I did this over a 10 day period but only last 5 days. What was the killer of the diet plan in the first try? The weekend.

How does OMAD diet work?

Simple you simply eat all your daily calories as one meal. This is typically consumed at night time after your day of activity and work. During the fasting state of when you are not eating you are able to consume as much zero calorie beverages as possible. So water of course, black coffee and tea. It has been suggested that it can even be more beneficial to just drink water. I have no actual data on this rather anecdotal evidence I have heard.

Is eating one meal a day hard?

It sounds impossible but I did notice that just after 3 days it was actually rather easy and in fact gave me moments of mind clarity toward the afternoon and felt ultra productive.  The thing I noticed initially was actively knowing that you were not eating. It was still part of the psyche which made it top of mind.

The hunger pains will come obviously as your body is used to getting calories at certain times so this will cause the regular pains. The best thing to do in this case is to drink a shit load of water and realise it is ok to feel hungry. I believe its all in the mind. So with the right attitude and will power getting through the first few days can be tough but it does become a lot easier.

How much should you eat on the OMAD eating plan?

You should eat what you normally do in a day in one go. Wow! You’re probably think thats a hell of a lot of food in a short window. But the reality is if you don’t eat the amount of calories required you may feel lethagic due to not having the right amount of energy in the body.

For those of you who are a little beefier like myself. Calorie reduction and OMAD is not so bad as you will be able to draw energy off the fat reserves you still have on your body. It will just accelerate the weight loss of both OMAD and calorie restriction.

Should I exercise while I am only eating one meal a day?

If you are not doing any extreme calorie restricting, then not a problem at all. When I did my first trial I still went to the gym and did my regular routine and felt better than usual to be honest.

If you are calorie restricting I would suggest treading lightly and maybe some light exercise like walking will not be bad but definitely don’t go to hard if restricting your calories.

The best thing to do in this instance is go slow at first and just see how the body will handle it but I wouldn’t shy away from exercise if this is something you regularly do and you maintain calorie intake.

My next effort at OMAD Diary

As mentioned earlier I tried eating one meal a day previous to my holiday, at that time I weighed 112.8 kgs and after 2 days I had dropped to 109 kgs. Two days later I was up to 109.8 which seemed odd but after some reading and realising that the initial adjustment was most likely a whole bunch of water weight. After Day 5 I hadn’t weighed as I basically failed to maintain the regime.

Right now after probably the most hedonistic 10 day fiesta in Bali including 3 nights at an all inclusive restaurant (I made the most of it by the way, cocktails all day) I jumped on the scales of my first day and I am back to 114.2 kgs. I was actually expecting to be higher than that, so I’m actually surprised that I didn’t balloon right out. I have an amazing ability to put on and lose weight extremely fast. My record to date was my honemoon to the USA where in a 4 week window I was actually able to put on a whopping 11 kgs.

Below is my next diary of round 2 of the OMAD Diet Plan.

Day 1

After a whole bunch of indulging over the last few weeks, having probably hit the alcohol everyday for the past 16 days, not only am I eating one meal a day but I am going to have a crack a sobriety. Today was very very easy to say the least. It must be all the back log of calories I have been consuming over the past couple of weeks but alas I made it through the day without actually feeling any hunger pains. At this stage I have not felt that clear of mind, but I am still getting off jet lag, plus a horrible start to working week. A whole other story. Looking forward to Day 2 and my first weigh in on Day 4 I think I will do.

Day 2

Have to admit once again I did not have any real hunger pains until around 5pm on the drive home. Was a breeze of a day until some crazy stuff went on in life when me and my wife finalised a purchase of a new house. So while we had dinner, I couldn’t hold back and break my sobriety rule and have a couple of drinks in celebration. So my fast started a little later than usual at about 11pm. So a little bump in the road to success but very much worth it!

Day 3

This day was super easy, nothing to really report. Slight hangover.

Day 4 

The excitement over the easter long weekend is on me. It all starts with the exicting non related AFL premiership rematch. For this I will be indulging in something hearty, Domino’s vegan pizza. Again this day was fine not a worry in the world. I also did have a beer with my brother during the footy, so sobriety fail once again.

Day 5

Weigh in day! So after 4 full periods of the OMAD I jumped on the scale and happy to report that I am now back to 111.4 kgs. So I have lost 2.8 kgs in 4 days of OMAD. That again is not a bad result for 4 days of ultra intermittent fasting.

So Day 5 it would seem was the end of this next attempt as the Easter Weekend got way out of hand hanging out with my parents in law at their country ranch. The wine and been was flowing in celebration of purchasing out property.

So it would seem attempt number 3 is on the cards. This time I think I need to at least get 2 weeks in. In the meantime I will just return to my general intermittent fasting of 16-8 during the week.

 

Can you lose weight eating one meal a day

Can you lose weight eating one meal a day?

Prior to goin on my 10 day Bali trip I embarked on an experiment to see if I could lose weight eating one meal a day. It’s no surprise that yes, you can and will lose weight eating just one meal a day.

In fact in the first two days of my one meal a day experiment I was able to lose 3.8 kilograms. This was mind blowing and quite the revelation. Although in all honesty getting your mind focussed while having an empty stomach can be difficult.

I will add that this initial inability to focus is one which is purely a thing of mind over matter. I found it was purely because I was hyper aware that I was actively doing this experiment. The thing I learned early on was that it is ok to feel hungry.

As time went on day 3 I found myself not really thinking about the fact that I was not eating. In fact this thought of not eating surprisingly turned into a moment of clarity. I found that surprisingly at around the 3pm mark of the day I was getting this buzz feeling and even to say I had somewhat of a energy high.

So eating one meal a day is definitely not for everyone but I can definitely say it does work if you want to lose weight. This is for 2 reasons ultimately its extremely difficult to consume your daily calories in such a short period of time. Secondly when you are fasting your body will hit a level of ketosis which the body will then commence using stored fats as a source of energy.

In theory it makes a lot of sense. In fact if your turn back the clock and get historical about how people ate. You will find pre the industrial era most people lived below the poverty line which meant most of the time they only ate one large meal a day around dinner time.

The concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner is one which in the grand scheme of things is a fairly new concept to how most humans eat. It’s definitely a sign of opulence and the times we live in especially if you are lucky enough to be located in the developed part of the world.

As for me I didn’t last on my 10 day experiment of one meal a day. I last 5 days and lost in total 5 kgs. Which is a ridiculous amount of weight and probably not sustainable in the long term. I do know all that hard work that I did put in over that 5 days has definitely eroded in my 10 day Bali bonanza feasting and drinking like a king.

Good news is I can return to this one meal a day routine and get rid of this excessive weight. In fact it will definitely play a part in my new experiment which I am calling project 40. Simply named after the fact that I am turning 40 in a years time and there are a few goals I’d like to achieve in that time. One is a six pack by 40.

Good luck if you’re planning on trying the one meal a day diet program. I do have faith that it is something for strong willed people and can have immediate results for those who are looking to shed weight fast. If this is you have a go at the one meal a day program and you will definitely lose wieght. All the best in your journey.

how much does the average australian save

How much does the average Australian save?

With the ever-increasing cost of living in Australia sometimes saving some extra cash can seem like quite the daunting task. Understanding what the right amount to save simply comes down to each individual’s goals in life. Personally, I’d feel anxious if I had less than $30,000 in savings. To me, it seems like the right number just in case things go wrong in life. Thankfully I am doing much better than that but the question is how do you compare and how much does the average Australian save? Well, quite surprisingly more than I initially would have guessed but the average Australian saves $427 a month or just a tad over $5,000 of savings per year.

Sounds a lot in the grand scheme of things but what on earth does $5,000 buy nowadays? Not a lot to be honest but on the brighter side of things we Australians are doing a much finer effort than anyone has done in the last 30 or so a year with saving being at its highest point since the 1980’s. As interest rates dropped from the 1970’s to the 2000’s Australians saw a major decline in savings as they opted to take the option of using someone else’s money, that pesky old credit! By the early 2000’s Australians were barely saving any cash what so ever.

When did this all turn around? Thank the good old global financial crisis of 2007 that sent everyone around the world into a perpetual motion of savings and pulling on the reigns of spending. From that time the savings rate for Australians has hovered around the 12% mark of disposable income. Even though they are busy spending their hard earned cash on avocado toasts and latte’s people between the ages of 25 and 34 are actually the best savers of any demographic. On average those within this age group save around $533 a month. This probably has a lot to do with the average age that kids move out of home is increasing as well.

It is also no surprise that the more money you earn the more you save. With those that earn in the top 20 percent save 15 percent of their disposable income, doubling the median rate of savings. So the question is how do you compare to others when it comes to savings. I know my family is a little higher than that but that’s because I am a massive tight arse and this was only learnt from the lesson of being made redundant close to 6 years ago now. The best life lesson I have gotten so far about respecting the value of money.

10 Practical Tips for Saving Money

  1. Stop buying coffee, you snob. Nescafe went to great efforts into getting to that 43rd blend. Seriously though if you buy coffee every day, you are literally spending $1500 a year on coffee, that’s mental!
  2. How far do you live from work? If you live less than 10 km’s get off your arse buy a pushy and save on the petrol, the parking and road tolls. I have saved thousands over the past couple of years by this one option.
  3. Go vegetarian and eat like someone from the third world. Whilst I am vegan for ethical reasons one of the main wins from this decision was the amount we saved on buying meat. Well if not vegetarian try meat-free days and you will save yourself at least $50 a week.
  4. If you have kids, rather than buying them new toys, join up to a toy library. For a small annual fee, you can take home, in our case 3 to 4 awesome toys a month. So when your young one gets bored and fed up with the toys you just swap them and kapow happy child!
  5. Sell some of the random shit you have around your home. Yes, you might be getting a general trend here, but I am a minimalist. Which means I hardly own anything. I don’t poo poo materialistic things, I just don’t value them. Try selling some of the crap you have lying around the house. The last time we move, we downsized and the stuff we sold paid for our move.
  6. Bring your lunch to work. Don’t buy takeaway at work. It’s such a damn waste. I have gotten my lunch down to an art form where I spend $3 a day. RIght now I spend zero as I am doing the one meal a day diet, but that’s another story.
  7. Change where you shop for groceries, if you have an Aldi near you. Shop there it will save you 20-30% on your grocery bill. Again stop being a snob and save.
  8. Throw dinner parties rather than going out. You’ll save on food and the booze.
  9. Stop drinking soft drinks or any other drink that is not water. Try it for a week drinking nothing but made at home/work coffee and water. You’re guaranteed to save a small fortune.
  10. This is not a savings tip but an earnings one. Try starting a side hustle, something a little on the side. Take for example my wife she has a part-time job, plus she sells flower crowns online at her Etsy shop and online store.

Information Resources

SMH – The average Australian’s savings: how do you compare?

Why failing is winning

Why failing is winning

Yes you read that right. Failing is winning. You are probably thinking, what the heck is this guy talking about? Well it’s pretty simple, all the greatest achievers in the world have failed at something along their journey. What, did you think there is some kind of ultimate human being who is infallible? That’s just ridiculous. Whether it’s our greatest idols, heros, athletes, business people or world leaders, somewhere along their journey, they have experienced something that has led to a result that was not so favourable.

If you think failing is bad, you need to commence accepting failure as just a result of an action, rather than a negative, it is the mindset of being awesome. What holds people back from being awesome? The fear of failing.  So do yourself a favour and go out into the world and start failing, try as many things as you possibly can. Sooner or later you will realise it’s not bad at all. But the reality is, rather than looking at the outcome as a negative or positive thing, just merely take the outcome as a result of an action. For example if you rephrase it simply as: I tried to do this, and ‘A’ happened versus ‘B’. Whilst ‘A’ might be a positive result and ‘B’ might be a negative result, reaffirm it merely as an outcome. You definitely learn from both don’t you?

O.K so you want some more convincing on this. Well let’s take a look at some awesome people we all know and see how they have also had a case of result ‘B’.

J.K. Rowling – Hey what does J.K actually stand for anyway? Who cares! Ms Rowling was down in the dumps in life, divorced on welfare and not in the greatest position in life. Thankfully she wrote a story about a little boy named Harry.

Elvis Presley – After his first performance he was fired and told “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Damn was that guy wrong.

Michael Jordan – Arguably the greatest athlete of all time. Did you know he was cut from his high school basketball team? Thanks coach!

Walt Disney – The Godfather of animation and the creator of a company that has touched nearly every soul on earth, through the magic of Disney’s animations. Early on in his career he was a writer at a paper, he was fired by the editor who stated “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

Albert Einstein –  A natural born genius right? Well young Albert did not speak until he was four and did not commence reading until he was seven. His teachers and parents thought he was mentally handicapped, go figure? He was expelled from school and refused entry into another. Whilst it might have taken him a little longer than most, I’d say most people would be happy with a Nobel Prize.

Thomas Edison – The man who is heralded for inventing the light bulb, what an absolute wizard! Well it only took him over 1,000 efforts to get to the final working light bulb. But he got there.

So friends, as you can see, if you think failing is bad, you’re absolutely wrong. People fail, they learn from it and they move on. It takes courage to put yourself out there and try new things, but the key is, actually trying. Yes trying, it sounds hard I know. But if you want to achieve great things you need to at least try. I guess if you don’t really care about achieving anything in life, well this message is not really for you.  You are more than welcome to continue in your aspirations of nothingness. But if you do want to achieve something, here are a few things that can help you along the way with ‘failure’.

1. Feedback – Welcome it as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask people what they think. Feedback is the most vital part of creation.

2. Stop making excuses – It must have been bad luck. For some reason this thing didn’t work. The odds were stacked up against me. STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

3. Learn from the result – It may not have worked out this time, but like Edison, he continuously learnt from his iterations. He got there in the end. Which obviously leads into.

4. Persistence – A manager in my early years told me a line that has remained with me my whole life. Persistence overcomes resistance. You need to keep trying, if you give up, that’s when you are actually failing. Because winners don’t quit, but sometime quitting helps you move forward (that’s a whole other conversation).

So now get out there and start failing!

How Redundancy Changed My Life

How Redundancy Changed My Life

There was a moment in life where I realised that the system was not meant for me and realise how redundancy changed my life for the better. For over a decade of trying to build my career profile within the corporate marketing world, having worked across a range of large companies, that time was coming to an end. It was August 2012 and I’d just experienced the greatest loss of my life. One of my dearest and closest friends had been taken away from me. I was in despair and my mind was in another world. The day after preparing and delivering the most heart wrenching speech I’d ever given, his eulogy, I found out abruptly that my job had been made redundant.

Filled with anger and confusion, I was extremely frustrated with what had happened. It felt like the whole world was against me. I cried and screamed with rage many a time, but it was the release of energy I required to move past what had happened. Although I must admit, it took me a few months to get back up on my feet, I did awake from this momentary depression in a state of realisation. I realised that life is way too short to sit around and wondering and hoping for things to happen, the loss of my friend Andrew, was a deep reminder of that. The other was that I’d allowed myself to become disposable, I was just another cog in a rather large and beige machine.

So what to do from here? The options were limitless and I was now creator of my own destiny. My wife (whos job was also made redundant a few days after mine) and I decided to launch an e-commerce business. One which has become extremely successful and allowed us the time to do things that we had always wanted to do. The realisation of the options in life was quite startling at first and quite hard to become accustomed to, as we had been trained in the mode of nine to five, Monday to Friday. It was an adjustment process that took time, but in the end, we got there. With the business well established and profitable we have decided it is time for our next challenge in life, so as I type, we have the business for sale. The dream we have built can now be passed onto someone else, who can also experience the dream opportunity we have created.

Whilst I might return to a day job as a result of the sale of the business, I will no longer be content with that employment as the be all and end all as a means of income. With my tunnel vision now switched off and the realisation of the many opportunities that life has. With some hard work, grit, determination and passion, you can truly achieve great things. I look forward to the next chapter of this adventure called life and I look forward to helping other people realise their potential. I am always open to talking to people about the possibilities in life, so feel free to contact me through the comments below and if you would like any advice on anything, I am more than willing to share my thoughts if you are open to receiving it.

Why touring Australia is expensive for new bands

Why touring Australia is expensive for new bands

The first day I joined my band back in late 2006, the band I am still in today Bronson, all I wanted to do was go on tour. You know press that magic ‘make tour happen’ button and bang off you go on this smooth sailing trip around Australia, with hundreds of people flocking to your shows because you are f%$king awesome. Only if I could insert a record scratch there, it would make perfect sense. But yes aspirations and dreams are a great thing to have, but there is also a bleak reality that touring Australia is expensive for new bands.

Take a look at a map of Australia, it’s pretty big right? Each major population hub is approximately 1,000 km’s apart from each other (This is of course not including major regional centres). Unlike the USA and Europe where the next million populous is literally the equivalent of driving from Pakenham to the Tullamarine Airport. This is the point where you feel sorry for yourself, cross your arms and screw your face up and scream ‘it’s not fair’. It is pretty shit luck being born in Australia as a musician, I’m not denying its an amazing country. It’s just shit if you are a musician or a refugee.

Doing a tour budget for a run of major city shows in Australia can be a fearful and intimidating task. Now if you have never done a budget before it’s ok, it really is not that hard. I’ve dealt with corporate business budgets in the 100’s of millions now that is crazy! Simply a budget is figuring out how much a particular ‘thing’ is going to cost. In this case it is a tour. There is two columns you need to work with. There is the costs involved and then there is the revenue.

Simply, the goal of a budget is to figure out how much something is going to cost your band, so you can be prepared for these costs as you get ready to go on this marvellous tour into the unknown. Costs include:

Van Hire vs Flights vs Trailer Hire (Already have car with tow bar) – They all have their pros and cons
Estimated petrol cost (If driving)
Accommodation costs per night per member (Caravan parks and hostels all the way)
Gear hire if flying (try and borrow off other bands to reduce costs)
Food and drink (usually consists of mostly beige coloured foods and amber coloured liquid)
Production costs per show (dont skimp)
Advertising and PR costs (no point in touring if nobody knows)
Now the positive side, the revenue:

Ticket sales (Split of door or ticket sales for your band)
Merchandise sales (CD’s, t-shirts, hoodies, panties, etc)
Golly, there’s a lot of costs involved and not a lot of revenue if you’re a band expecting 50-100 people (thats generous for a band who hasn’t left its state yet) to your shows. Look I am not trying to be pessimistic, while you are young and have a bunch of expendable cash to invest (or blow) on your band, do it. The amount of times I hear people come back from tour and they say something like. It cost us a fortune, I am so broke now, but man, it was so worth it for the experience. Just be realistic about it all, don’t set your expectations to high and remember it is all an experience.

Here is a quick budget of a 4 date tour if you are from Melbourne. Van hire to Syd and Adelaide. Plane to Brisbane. Perth sorry you are just way to far.

Costs (guestimates):

Van Hire 3 Days x 2 – $360 x 2 – $720
Petrol – $350 x 2 – $750
Return flights to Brisbane – $200 x 5 – $1000 (be sure to have correct baggage allowance)
Accomodation – $30 a head (cheap) x 5 – $150 at 6 nights – $900
Gear Hire – Just borrow them to save
Food & Drnk – $30 a head x 5 – $150 – 9 days – $1200
Production – $150 per show x 4 – $600
Advertising & PR – $1000
Total Costs: $6170 or approx $1200 each – So that is your break even.
Revenue:

4 Shows with 80 payers paying you $3 a head – $960
20% of the people buy something worth $15 on average – $1080 – profit @ 50% – $540
Total Revenue: $1500
Estimated Investment: $4670

So as you can see, it’s pretty expensive when you write it all down and whilst these are all guestimates and you could try and be a lot more frugal with your money. But the toughest part is actually organising the shows, making sure it’s with other bands and a venue that will compliment your style. But the major reason I wrote this article was not to demonstrate the costs involved, it was to make you think a little and ask you a simple question? Is there any other way you can do it? The key to playing shows is obviously getting people to witness your shear awesomeness right? But have you ever thought of possibly investing into non traditional music industry methods to increase the awareness on your band?

The answer for most is, probably no. Think about that $6170 you could possibly be spending on this tour and the reach of audience you are getting. It costs you $6170 to reach 320 people, say 50% of these people took and interest in your band. So it costs you in reality $40 per new fan. But if you are smart about this fan acquisition and have collected some form of information to remain in contact, that $40 typically will then equate to a continued fan. But let’s be totally brutally honest here. There’s something wrong when it ‘costs you’ that amount to reach new fans. There are other ways you can do it. In my next article I will be discussing several digital methods and what it would typically cost you to initiate these tactics. So be sure to subscribe in that little section in the right hand column, which says ‘subscribe to newsletter’.

Feel free to share your thoughts below, I’d love to know what you think, thanks again.

Milk vs Water: A perspective to make you think differently.

Milk vs Water: A perspective to make you think differently.

It’s no use crying over spilled milk, but water on the other hand. A perspective of milk vs water to make you think differently.

The word perspective is one, which I had little understanding of for a long time. Now it is a word, which I frequently use in life. When your life changes drastically financially as mine did, it may well be the greatest perspective builder you ever experience. Having gone from a family, that the marketing world refers to as a DINK (double income no kids), both employed by better than average paying corporate jobs and then the both of us being made redundant within a week of each other. This was the biggest single life changing event that could have ever happened. We lived in a reality where the possibility of one of us to lose our job, it’s the world we currently live in, but for us both to be made redundant within a week, is no circumstance. It was a genuine sign.

I used to live by this rule, it went something along the lines of: I knew I would be financially comfortable when I was in a position where I didn’t have to think about money. Little did I realise, I was already in that position. It was perspective that made me realise this. The idea of going to work doing a ‘job’ and getting paid for it, is a lot different to having to figure out how to earn enough money to live on your own. Why not try running your own business? When I entered that world of independence from any corporate job, was the moment I realised, I had to take off my hat off to every single person who is self-employed. This world is very emotionally and physically strenuous, but also very rewarding.

This idea of perspective made me begin thinking of many things in the world, looking at things from another point of view. In a world where the cost of living increases day by day. It’s not new news, the pricing war on milk has now created somewhat of a pricing conundrum. Milk as a product is innately the same thing, no matter what badge it has on the front label. It is dairy farmed from cows and then it is processed. So you would think, such a process would have very high costs. Of course, it’s no secret that dairy farming is an expensive industry to be involved with, but when you look at the price of Milk vs bottled water, you start thinking, something seems odd here.

The first conundrum, the cost of producing milk is one, which continually rises. The increased cost of utilities over recent years, would add up to a small fortune for these dairy farmers. But the farmers have increasing costs of production on one end but they also have pressures to decrease the cost of selling their products, which seems crazy. The end result a reduction in price to the end consumer, what a great thing. But let’s not worry about the dairy farmers situation, where costs are rising and selling price is reducing. Their profit margins have had to have plummeted over that time. But why? The consumer of course, and companies like Coles and Woolworths getting the tick of approval from their consumers, underneath the guise of decimating an industry that is quickly becoming unprofitable.

A harsh reality is the consumer never asked for the price of milk to be lowered, it was purely done in a stunt to win over the consumer. To gain market share. Milk being one of the highest sold products in the supermarket, it was a massive carrot to dangle in front of the consumer. But how long is this going to last? When the supermarket world consists of two major players who together own around 80% of the market. It just seems silly. Of course your competitor is going to immediately swing over and match your pricing. How long did that stunt last? How much market share did you gain? Of course not much. But they will of course argue that this has helped with their pricing perception to the consumer. Are you kidding me? This new normal is a killer to the industry.

This is where perspective comes in handy. Milk’s poor brother, water. When it comes to perspective this is a whole other kettle of fish. Two litres of milk from Coles brand will set you back $2.00 (one dollar a litre). Two litres of Coles brand water will cost $1.54 (77 cents a litre). Look at the cost of dairy milk production versus the cost of bottling water and the maths just doesn’t add up. But wait a minute why are people buying bottled water for? The water, which comes from your tap is perfectly safe and is of the highest quality (assured by Melbourne Water). It comes in at a whopping cost of a quarter of a cent per litre or $2.24 per Kilolitre (1000 litres). Now thats a whole new level of perspective.

The last bit of perspective comes from the wise people of Mount Franklin water marketing. What an amazing website they have. The all revealing, but somewhat confusing truth’s page. They state that their bottles are perfectly safe, that even the substantial heat inside a car during summer is not hot enough to create a carcinogenic effect with the bottles. The next question about the environmental friendly effect of reusing the bottles is then rebutted with ‘for health reasons, we recommend you do not refill bottles because of potential bacteria’. Oh that’s right, that perfectly safe water you are pouring from your tap is dangerous. So much for recycling, just buy more please. Come on!

Palm Oil use in products: Consumer Opinion vs Product Cost

Palm Oil use in products: Consumer Opinion vs Product Cost

In the growing world of social awareness, products which violate anything, which goes against ones ethics, is one which is bound to come under scrutiny. From what seemed a distant memory, which has floated away with the breeze, has risen again with the strength of Social Media and in particular Facebook. Social Media is becoming the hunting ground and the voice to oust these unethical produced or sold products. A page, which caught my attention was one, that was created to make consumers aware of these products and the effects of producing Palm Oil on the environment and its habitat.

You would think that every major company in the world would try and avoid any little scandals today with the strength and speed of Social Media word of mouth. But they have become lazy in the effort to reduce or maintain cost by using products such as Palm Oil. The unfortunate truth is that only small percentages of these companies are using palm oil, which is sustainably sourced (another topic all together). The alarming fact is how many companies continue to use Palm Oil in their products. Names Such as Coles, Kellogg’s, and Arnott’s and so much more. Arnott’s even have the audacity to palm it off (pun intended) as if they use Vegetable Oil. Their entire biscuit range contains Palm Oil, except cruskits. The company responded with the Statement: Since August 2010, we have decreased our current palm oil usage by approximately 25 percent by replacing palm oil with alternative oils across a number of products. The Company remains committed to identifying opportunities to further reduce usage of palm oil on an ongoing basis.

The unfortunate thing is, that this is corporate bullshit, wrapped in cellophane paper.

You can see right through it. It should read: We will continue to look like we are doing our part for a sustainable world, by attempting to reduce our palm oil use. Our replacements are a lot more expensive, that’s why we haven’t changed immediately, we will continue to use palm oil until the voice of the minority becomes the majority and begins to effect our sales. Thank you for swallowing our BS!

I can’t wait until they find a company, which tries to position itself as environment friendly and gets caught out. Talk about misleading the consumer. When that bomb hits, they will never be able to speak the terms ‘brand trust’ ever again. The movement against palm oil is also getting some attention from the health and wellbeing community. There is glaring research, which also shows the negative effects palm oil use can have on the body. With Palm Oil containing more than 50% saturated fats, theres a big chance it also contributes to cardiovascular disease.

It seems ridiculous that corporations profits are more important than the life of another living being. For anyone who works for a company like this, you can only hope that they feel some kind of guilt about their contribution to the disappearance of one of the earth’s amazing creatures, the Orangutan. If you disagree with this point, it goes to show how much the human race does really suck. I know in years to come, when everything is gone, because people were too selfish to even care about what was happening to the world, they will look back and say, we could have done something. Why wait I say, it’s never to late. Do your part because until this minority becomes the majority, these scoundrels of the corporate world will continue to kill.

Australian Made – What is it really worth?

Australian Made – What is it really worth?

It is amazing how this little cherry still survives, ‘Australian Made’.  That old moniker, which was originally a great concept and being setup and run as a public, not-for-profit company.  Most people understand the concept of not-for-profit.  It is an organisation, which is set-up to serve a certain purpose and break even or minimal profit, or profit that is redistributed back into the business or donated to a charitable cause.  So why would someone set-up a business that doesn’t allow you to maximise your profit or earnings? Well the person who establishes this style of organisation, I imagine has some intention of giving back, but there is also the perk of being able to  set your own ‘reasonable wage’.

So what exactly is a reasonable wage? What the average Australian earns in itself is an interesting revelation.  The average income for a private sector worker is $1,038 per week, whilst the public sector the average income there is $1,255 per week.  This makes the public sector worker earn on average $11,248 a year more than a private sector worker.   With a public sector employee earning on average of $65,260 per annum.  So it sounds like it pays to work a public job of some kind.  It seems to be the right direction to take for anyone who maybe unskilled.  There are always opportunities in the public sector.  It would definitely be a great grounding place for a prosperous future.  That’s if you do the maths.

What maths?  Well the typical Australian corporate worker would have typically have got a higher education to ‘further’ their options when it came to employment.  The only thing is, it doesn’t further your options.  It actually limits them.  Most higher educations allow you to get a specific job, like a lawyer or a doctor and that’s pretty much it.  So if you end up getting your degree and begin practicing in the art of what ever you have learned.  You better be good or well you’re pretty much go no other option! Whilst this is probably rare and those in these fields are naturally high achiever, if you do happen to strike out, you’re right back with the common folk, looking for a ‘job’ and paying that education debt.

But in today’s society I find it refreshing to hear people discuss what they are earning.  The most bizarre part of this whole mantra of not kosher to talk about your financial earnings, a majority would probably be more comfortable talking about their sex life amongst mates than their earnings.  I met one guy tonight who told me straight up, he works in the mines in Adelaide, works 7 days on 12 hour shifts, then he has 7 days off.  So its torture one week, then holiday the next. That is something definitely I couldn’t do, along with many others.  That’s why, for the average person they earn pretty damn good wage.  Most people I have spoken to who work in the mines earn in excess of $100k per year.  It’s big business and pays well.

Which brings me back to Australian Made.  Did you know that businesses pay a fee for the ability to use the Australia Made logo? Well yes they do, whilst its reasonable, but why?  How else do you expect this Logo to survive, they would ask? Surely it would take an army of people to protect a logo and regulate it’s use.  I was also curious to find out how much these people get paid but I can’t seem to find an annual report, even though it’s a public company.   But in all essence  isn’t it stupid that someone/company needs to pay extra to have a recognised Australian Made logo on their packaging, whilst already battling price pressures from imported products, Australian Made ones need to pay to use a logo, making their costs increase even more.  Wouldn’t it make sense for companies to be able to just say Australian Made, whilst you probably could list Australian Made on your product,  not using the official would just look kind of dodgy to average Australia consumer.  The current logo, is quite iconic and recognisable for what it means.  The flip side is trying to mimic the current Australian Made logo, but this would surely breach copyright.  Sounds a bit confusing to me.

Some may argue that the money that is raised through membership fees is being used to lift the Australian Made profile.  Like the massive billboard I saw driving down the Monash Freeway.  I find it odd that they need to advertise the Australian Made logo.  Surely when customers see the logo they make the preference to buy Australian made, well some do, but is supporting Australian made a priority to everyday people?  Australian made products in our traditional sectors such as consumer goods have been losing the battle to cheap imported goods for a while now, with the influx of on par quality home brand products, which are sold for much cheaper than branded. Either way the Australian made manufacturer loses out.  It begs the question of whether or not people prefer to buy Australian mad?  The typical answer people give is ‘yeah of course it supports other Australians’. But is it a reality? We all know what people say versus what they do is an extremely different thing.

Whilst that is the major benefit to our Australian economy,  do you ever wonder if those final profits remain within Australia?  Well not all the time.  While many products are ‘made in Australia’ this does not necessarily mean they are Australian Owned.  Don’t get me wrong supporting Australian’s through employment is very important, but should we also be concerned about where this money is going?  I am, that’s for sure.  I used to work for one of these companies myself, Simplot, the American owned company, which owns many house hold names such as Birds Eye, Leggo’s and John West amongst many others.  They have suite of products, which are Australia Made and they also use the Australian Made Icon where they can.

But of recent times as the continued banter of the cost of manufacturing in Australia grows, there has been speculation in the media regarding Simplot continuing manufacturing in Australia.  So whilst for a long time there, they were supporting Australia, now that the cost is too high, they may plan to move their manufacturing off shore, having hundreds of Australians lose their jobs. While Simplot are reducing their costs by moving their production to a cheaper nation.  So in reality, no real loss to them.  Money is still money.  Just like Ford, an American owned company employing many Australians, for your ability to buy Australian Made vehicles.  Unfortunately we know how that story went and yet again thousands of jobs slashed.

Unfortunately it paints a bit of a sad picture in that, we as a nation are struggling to be able to manufacture anything in Australia, due to labour costs.   It’s definitely a double edged sword when you have a need for local manufacturing but with Australia’s high levels of income, it is just not sustainable.  Ford is a fine example.  Whilst new car sales are at the highest point they have ever been, “So far this year, Ford has sold 7236 Falcons, about half of the number it sold in the first five months of 2010, a drop of 45.8 per cent.”  It just goes to show that really when it comes down to it, Australian Made doesn’t really matter.  The Australian option The Ford Falcon starting price on carsales 13 plated was $32k versus the the number one car the Mazda 3 13 plated was $19k.  So don’t even bother analysing the savings on petrol, you are already way ahead on cash in the bank, for a vehicle, which is probably a lot better and also has decent retention of value for a second hand car, in comparison to the Fords of course.

I know its only one example, but the question still does beg, do people really care about Australian Made or do they care more about their own pockets?  The proof is in the pudding and with so many Australian manfacturers struggling to compete with cheaper imported items, it’s an extremely tuff situation to be in.  I personally think that the current Australian Made idenfication isn’t a clear enough of a clasification.  The people of Australia should know whether or not the product is Australian Made and Owned because really, foreign owned has no guaratees of holding up their end of the deal with maintaining Australian Jobs and that’s what it should be all about.   Rather than just another not-for-profit disguised as an ‘official’ organisation who has the ability to ‘market’ Australian Made.