June 2014

Victory dances: Sometimes they’re just necessary

You know that feeling when things have been really tough – so tough that dropping your pen lid into your tea is actually just too much to deal with – for a really long time, and then suddenly everything starts falling into place? It’s happening to me. And I’m having a bit of a moment.

Pomegranite is doing SO well, you guys. Truth: if you had told me, a year ago, when we started our own business just how hard it would be, and how many stressful months there would be financially, I probably wouldn’t have done it. We don’t often talk about the tough times on this blog – mostly because, even when it’s rough, we still love what we do and wouldn’t swap it for anything. But it hasn’t been all champagne and sunshine.

Today Liz showed me our bank balance, and, well… I cried. Ok – I teared up. It all seems too good to be true. But we did the calculations for the coming months, and we’re still looking so strong. And it’s all come full circle exactly a year since we started Pomegranite on 1 July 2013.

It’s not just that. So much is going right these days.

I spent a week in Joburg for work (and a mom-hug) last week, which was really great. But as I landed in Cape Town, I felt for the first time that I was certain that this is where I want to be now. I opened my blinds the next morning and looked at the sun hitting the mountain and I laughed. Because it feels a bit ridiculous that that is my view. It’s so bloody “Cape Town”. And I freaking love it.

I’ve been struggling with a messed up ankle for almost four years now. I am SO done with xrays and surgeries and crutches and physio. I had given up trying to run, even though I had been given the green light by the physio. It was just too sore. But last night, as I was walking on the treadmill, I decided to run – just for five minutes. Those five minutes came and went… and I just kept going. And before I knew it I had run 5km and I had to force myself to stop. The even better news is that I can actually still walk today. HEY?? I can’t quite believe it.

There have been some difficult conversations I’ve needed to have lately. And they’ve been had. Or at least scheduled. I’m leaving a lot of stuff behind, and it feels good to travel light for a change.

The past year has been the most difficult year of my life – by a long shot. But I finally feel like I’m not only reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, but that sunshine is on my shoulders already. And, as John Denver promised, it makes me happy.

On the eve of my 29th birthday, this all bodes well (no really – it’s tomorrow. Don’t forget.). 28 was all about the spade work. The rough stuff.

And now I’m ready for the next chapter. Champagne?

The one where Pomegranite meets Saul from Homeland (yes, really)

Liz and I, for the most part, spent the long weekend working on two websites that needed to be launched on Monday. With deadlines met and very happy clients, we decided to leave work early on Tuesday afternoon for a walk around Lion’s Head for this month’s inspiration day.

It was a beautiful winter’s day in Cape Town – all blue skies and warm sunshine. After a brief chat about how work is going (summary: things are looking pretty exciting for Pomegranite right now), we broke into a gentle run on the contour path.

Not having been able to run for ages after two ankle surgeries and a whole lot of rehab, I was torn between the worry that I would turn my ankle on the rocky path, and utter exhilaration at being able to move at speed with the wind in my hair. I felt liberated, powerful, and downright graceful as I darted along the path.

“You look like a donkey newly escaped from a medical testing centre,” Liz observed.

As I said – graceful.

We made our way around the mountain, stopping to admire the view – and Instagram the sh*t out of it (obviously).

As we reached the wider road on the way down, we broke into a run again – this time not so gentle. Hurtling down the slope, we passed a group of people laughing as they sauntered upwards. I spun around to give Liz an “OMG-that’s-Marc-Lottering” look. Yip, full-on SA celeb spotted on Lion’s Head. Exciting times.

Little did we know what was in store for us.

We had reached the bottom, flushed with the exhilaration of the run and Marc-spotting, when I noticed an old couple just ahead of us.

Me: That guy looks exactly like Saul from Homeland.

Liz: It totally is!

Me: No, can’t be…

Liz: It is. It’s him! It’s totally him!

Being my father’s daughter (he would happily introduce himself to the queen – I’m not even joking), I was all for saying hello. Liz, it seemed, was not, which I gathered as she panic-ran to a safe distance.

Thus followed this (not at all embarrassing) exchange.

Me: Um, excuse me… Are you from Homeland?

Saul: Why yes, yes I am.

Me: (Struggling to make words) Um… wow! Um… wow! Um… welcome to South Africa!

(Liz in hysterics looking on)

Saul: (Amused smile) Thanks. Have a great day.

That’s right. The CIA told me to have a great day.

How was your Tuesday?

Question: How on earth are we going to top that for July’s inspiration day? If any of you chat to Ryan Gosling in the next couple of weeks, please let him know we’ll be waiting.

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Sorry, no pics of Saul – I wasn’t THAT brave.

The most powerful marketing tool

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a seminar on one of the world’s most powerful marketing tool.

Is it the hashtag?

Is it blogger relations?

No.

It’s word of mouth.

Being spoken of highly is the single most valuable marketing tool there is. We can vouch for it – Pomegranite has grown leaps and bounds through recommendations.

Other than always, always delivering a top product with exceptional service, there’s no direct way a business can create these positive conversations. That’s why they’re so valuable – they’re spontaneous and sincere. What brands can do, however, is make the most of the good relationships they have with customers and clients.

For us, testimonials are an important way to show that our clients trust us and are happy that they picked us to work with. They’re so important that we have them scrolling on our homepage and they’re displayed on their own page.

There are a variety of ways that a brand can squeeze every drop from a juicy, happy customer on social media. Reviews, testimonials, ratings, interactive content, forums, discussions and comments are all ways of boosting your brand in conversation which is a huge marketing asset. If it’s positive.

Our view? Build from the foundations. Always deliver and be a pleasure to work with.

Check out these amazing stats about word of mouth. They show why social media software company, Lithium, is expected to acquire online influence measurement company Klout for at least $100 million.

lithium wom marketing infographic

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Image source

The difference between 23 and (basically) 29

It was Liz’s birthday yesterday. To celebrate, we went out for a few drinks at Beerhouse – a local favourite on Long Street.

At one point during the night, a guy sat down next to me and attempted some pick-up lines of epic awfulness. We established that he was 23. And that I was not.

And then:

Him: So… are you going out tonight?

Me: What are you talking about? I am out.

Him: *Genuinely confused*

And that is the difference between 23 and (let’s face it – basically) 29.

The more I spoke to him (and marvelled at his persistence in the face of open laughter and incredulity of myself and my friends – poor guy), the more I felt the massive distance between his age and mine.

He was studying. Investment banking or something. Yeah, it was going really well, man. No he wasn’t really sure if that was what he, like, really wanted to do with his life. But, you know, did I come here often?

He asked what I did. I told him that Liz and I owned our own business. We built websites, handled content marketing and social media workshops, etc.

He looked vaguely impressed, and I thought – man, we’ve come a long way, Liz and I. From the days just after varsity when we were knocking on doors in Ireland, failing spectacularly to get people to sign up for direct debit orders for charities, and dreaming of the day when we might have a job inside. With a desk and a chair – the luxury!

And here we are, running our own business, working with amazing clients, loving what we do and celebrating birthdays with a few quiet drinks at the local pub.

Don’t get me wrong – 23 was fun. Ridiculously so. But I wouldn’t trade lives with 23 year old me. I’ve heard enough bad pick-up lines to last safely into the next decade.

Bring it.

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