New Privacy Act in Effect


You’ll have probably seen the notifications that the Privacy Act Amendments came into effect 12 March. There are new privacy compliance requirements that you should be aware of if you collect client information and the Australian Government business website has some great info.

You need to first check whether your business is affected by the changes. From the website:

The Privacy Act protects personal information handled by large businesses and health service providers of any size.The Act may apply to a small business if it has an annual turnover of more than $3 million and either:

  • trades in personal information,
  • provides services under a Commonwealth contract,
  • runs a residential tenancy database,
  • is related to a larger business,
  • is a reporting entity under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.


If you’re not sure whether your business needs to comply you can check out this 9 Step Privacy Checklist for Small Business on the OAIC website.

Another great place to go for info is the Pod Legal website . They can also help you prepare a privacy policy statement that complies with the changes.

AVAC 2014 – Top 15 Things I Learned


The Australian VA Convention is over for another year – congratulations to Kathie Thomas and the organising committee for another great event. It’s always great to get together face to face with colleagues in a fun and relaxed environment – and learning something along the way for me really is an added bonus! :)

This year’s convention could really be subtitled “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise” since the speakers seemed to cover those three broad topic areas!

As I was sitting back at home flicking through the convention booklet, I came upon the 30th page: “Lessons Learnt from AVAC” and figured I’d run through the exercise to see what the main “takeaways” for me were. I thought I’d share with you the top 15 I came up with. I didn’t just learn these from the speakers, but also gained some “a-ha” moments from talking with other VAs:

1.  Plan for retirement – and superannuation is not enough.

2.  Women live longer than men on average but earn less, take time away from work for children, and therefore have less super, which they need to make last longer in retirement for the remainder of their lives.

3.  If you can’t pull it out of the ground, pick it off a tree or bush, or pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it.

4.  You don’t own Facebook. It could be gone tomorrow, so use it to push people to your site, blog, etc and onto your mailing list.

5.  Avoid “Yes but…” and right/wrong discussions. Try “Is there the possibility that…” instead.

6.  Ask clients what they want then give it to them – that’s the big ‘secret’ to business success.

7.  Don’t sell on your home page – it should be a guide directing visitors to elsewhere on your site where they can find the solutions to their problems.

8.  Each page on your site should have a call to action: buy this, download this, listen to this, watch this, call us.

9.  One topic/one problem – one solution – one page.

10.  Optimise your site description and title – not the meta keywords.

11.  ”Online a confused mind says no” – Natalie Alaimo.

12.  Facebook content should be 80% attraction-based; content-based; business/inspirational content; and engage me content – and only 20% conversion/selling content.

14.  Take time to meditate/relax and engage the alpha brain.

15.  People are listening to you and watching what you do online, whether they let you know or not. They may never engage directly, but that doesn’t mean they don’t value the offering. Always be sure to present yourself on-brand because you never know who’s watching you and getting value from your activities.

What were your main takeaways from the convention? Share them below!


© Lyn Prowse-Bishop – eSOS

Don’t Let an Opportunity Pass You By


It became apparent to me a local business missed a massive marketing and community engagement opportunity recently.

With the release of ‘Saving Mr Banks’ our local cinema (the only one that services our entire region) had a golden opportunity to engage with community via things like wine and cheese opening nights, private showings, birthday parties, hire the screen from Council and set it up at the Allora park. (Allora is a local village where PL Travers spent just a couple of years of her youth and the home is recreated in the movie.) There are just so many things that could’ve been done with a show that – even if only very briefly and no matter how remotely – has a connection to a local village!

How many marketing opportunities will you miss out on this year because you are focused on ‘making money’ over engagement with potential customers? Or because you are focused on what you ‘do’ over thinking outside the box and finding opportunities for exposure?


© Lyn Prowse-Bishop – eSOS

Seth’s Blog: Eight email failures and questions for those that want to do better


Some great tips from Seth Godin on how to avoid getting “blow back” when you hammer your email list. Remember Australia has a current Spam Act – and breaches of it can land you in a lot of hot water. These questions could go some way towards thinking before hitting Send.

Seth’s Blog: Eight email failures and questions for those that want to do better.

(Remember: registered charities, religious institutions and political parties are exempt from the provisions of the Spam Act.)

ASIC address suppression … NOT


Further to my ASIC Comes To The Party post, I attempted the address suppression steps and as expected, it’s not as straightforward as we’ve been led to believe.

First up you can apply - that doesn’t mean ASIC will grant it. Secondly you can only apply for suppression once you have applied to the Electoral Commission to have your address suppressed there.

“You may be entitled to use an alternative address in place of your usual residential address in forms and applications lodged with us, and on our public database, if: the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has granted you ‘silent enrolment’ status. This means your name, but not your residential address, is on an electoral roll.”

“If your name and address are currently on the Australian electoral roll, you need to apply to the AEC for ‘silent enrolment’ before you apply to ASIC to suppress your residential address. If silent enrolment is granted, the AEC will remove your residential address from the electoral roll and will display only your name. You then lodge with ASIC a Form 379.”

There are a whole lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘mays’ in there…..

There are alternative steps if you are not on an electoral roll but for the purposes of this exercise let’s assume you are on a roll somewhere in Australia.

On the Form 379 you can only provide an alternative STREET address.

“An alternative address must be within Australia and be one at which documents can be served on you. A post office box address is not acceptable.”

So nothing seems to have changed at all and the only alternative address available to home-based business is their accountant (if they have one) and accountants have already said they don’t want to become mailing houses for small/home-based businesses. Plus consider the additional cost to home-based businesses of having your accountant acting in this way?

Interestingly all ASIC have done is direct us to the form that company directors and secretaries have to use – so they’re not considering small business and home-based business at all and merely treating us like big business. Which we’re not.

So the upshot is, despite their 26 September assertions ASIC clearly don’t give a toss about privacy concerns of home-based business, and you still cannot use a PO Box as an alternative address.

Nothing like KISS!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if the states could do it why can’t the feds? It cannot be this difficult.



It seems the form I was originally provided is not the right one. You can access a different suppression form here. This makes the process much simpler however again the application must be approved. If the details you wish to suppress are on the electoral roll for example they won’t approve the request. They also still say:

“We will not suppress….the address for the service of documents, therefore, the address for service should not be your residential address.”

In addition, supporting documentation must be provided and may include:

  • a letter from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) showing that the applicant has silent elector status)
  • a court order
  • a police report, or
  • other evidence to support this request


Keeping it simple? Would be interested to hear from anyone who has successfully completed the process about how difficult it might be?


© Lyn Prowse-Bishop – eSOS