“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde

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The Importance of World View to Friendships

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friendship-1534626

I’ve been trying for some time now to nail down a framework for thinking about friendships.

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Optimizing for Mobility – Our Struggles Keeping the Luggage Down

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Mel and I are avowed minimalists.

It’s true – we even got profiled by a major Australian newspaper.

This can be a charged term, meaning different things to different people. There are minimalists who count the number of items they own (including individual socks) and try to keep them under a certain number (someone I heard owned 70 items).

That’s a bit crazy, but good on them.

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The Next Step in the European Adventure?

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In a post a couple of days ago I gave an extremely lengthy diatribe – some might say harangue – about the German / EU visa system and how, despite the fact that we are extremely lucky to be in the position we’re in (don’t get me wrong), we still have a few things to figure out.

So we’re in the following situation:

We have the option to stay in Germany and get Mel her EU residents’ card, which will let her stay indefinitely in Germany (as long as we have an address here and I’m registered for tax) and travel with me throughout the Schengen zone.

Under the terms of the residents’ card, we would need to remain in Germany for more than 6 months out of each year. We would therefore need a ‘permanent’ address and health insurance.

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Navigating an extremely convoluted EU partner visa system

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*UPDATE*

(I think I’ve cracked the code. If you want the full rant, it’s below.)

Following extensive Googling and forum lurking, I have figured out what the difference is between what we were told by the purportedly reliable immigration office in Berlin and the actual reality, from which what we were told is subtly – but in its impact, majorly – different.

Herein lies the important distinction, and I’d like to thank the European Commission for exercising a greater level of common sense than at least one of its member States in this regard (in its appropriately titled ‘Free Movement of EU Citizens Directive’):

Holders of the residence permit for which Mel applied are visa exempt within the Shengen zone (provided they travel with their partner).

Now, the immigration official did not mention this little (but one might suggest, important) tid bit to us yesterday, when we asked point blank about Mel’s right to travel within the EU.

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Masterminds – putting a rocket under your business(?)

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It could take you to the moon - or blow up on the launch pad.

It could take you to the moon – or blow up on the launch pad.

In around October last year (7 months ago) I joined my very first entrepreneurs’ mastermind group.  For the uninitiated, this if a group of people that meets, in my case weekly over Skype, and discusses what’s going on in their respective businesses.  The idea is to provide impartial advice, accountability and support.

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Systemising your customer interaction – Switching to a CRM

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Seeing everything neatly in front of you - that's the dream.

Seeing everything neatly in front of you – that’s the dream.

Since the inception of our business, we have been using a clunky and blunt email system – hosted webmail redirected through Gmail – to handle all of our customer interactions – from their initial enquiry on our website all the way through the order process and any post-order follow-ups.

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10 Things We Learned from our First Trade Expo:

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Expo Booth Version 1.0

On the weekend, we attended our first trade expo; a 2-day wedding fair open to the public in Sydney.  We had a steep learning curve and weren’t sure quite what to expect, but we sure got a lot out of the experience.  Here are our top ten lessons; we hope you can learn from our experience.

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Seizing the opportunity

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Do I, or don’t I?

We’ve recently had a big opportunity fall into our lap.  It’s funny how these things never come along at a ‘convenient’ time, but as a business owner it’s so important to remain open to opportunity, even when everything is crazy and you couldn’t possibly fit more into your work week.  This has proven true for us time after time, and this week is a fairly typical, if dramatic, example.

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The importance of maintaining habits (even if it’s cold and dark outside and you really don’t want to)

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Look at that Tortured Face!

I am not an expert in this area at all, but am compelled to talk from my personal experience of the last few weeks.  I’ve been striving to bring more structure into my work days beginning with early-morning blogging for around half an hour (500 words) every day except Wednesday (which is when I learn to code).

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Discovering meditation

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I have long been fascinated in the mystical powers of meditation; it is fair to say that I have been highly skeptical of the benefits raved about by its many practitioners, but at the same time I figured that after more than a millennium of practice, there may be something to it.

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