Reason #578 why I love Cape Town: it’s full of amazing coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. This means that you have approximately one million places to choose from for client meetings.
Here are Pomegranite’s favourites:
Who doesn’t love free, limitless wifi? No one. That’s who. The Field Office in Barrack Street is not only a great place to meet clients, it’s also a perfect spot to work from. They somehow manage to make the relaxed and friendly atmosphere conducive to productivity.
Warning: Your colleague may become flustered during a client meeting if Jeremy Loops walks in and plugs his laptop cable into the wall behind her. However, the lapse in her ability to make words is temporary, and should return once Jeremy sits down with his friends.
Lola’s is one of my top spots on Long Street. And not just because they have a chalkboard menu with great handwriting. The atmosphere is just the right amount of “vibey” for a chat with clients, and the service is great.
Truth is hipster central – home of skinny jeans and edgy hairstyles – where the décor is just about as alternative as the clientele. What I like about this venue are the booths along the side of the coffee shop, which give you a bit more privacy and space for client meetings.
They make a mean cup of hot chocolate – but only order something to eat if you have a few hours to spare. Service can be on the slow side. The thing is, in Cape Town, where the pace is more tortoise than hare, this doesn’t seem to bother people much.
When you own your own business, client meetings don’t always happen within office hours. And with venues like the BeerHouse just down the road, this is not a cause for concern.
The BeerHouse focuses on craft beer and offers you a choice of 99 bottles from around the world. That’s right. 99.
Now that summer finally seems to be hitting Cape Town’s shores (although the weather over the past two days begs to differ), a spot on the BeerHouse balcony is a great place for a few drinks with clients.
So, you’re familiar with the subject after our introduction to content marketing. Now we’re going to look at how the approach is affecting traditional advertising and how it’s being used to impressive effect in the property development industry.
Eprop, a local property website announced that, going into 2013, “content marketing will replace traditional advertising”. They go on to explain that “marketing’s new mantra of ‘brands must now acts as publishers’ has arrived in part because of social media and its potential to engage in meaningful conversations with their loyal fan base and potential clients alike.”
One example stands out above the rest: Chinese property development company, Soho, has become a desirable brand because of its chairman Pan Shiyi’s remarkable flair on his blog and social media. His online presence has translated into a community that has bought into Soho’s brand.
“If you become a public figure, you communicate on your blog, you make some comments on the market, and you make yourself famous, people will not be just buying your units. They are buying your brand,” says Margaret Ng, the director of research at E-Commercial China in an interview about the property magnate. This rapport it noteworthy enough for Forbes magazine to have dedicated series of articles to it.
While Soho exemplifies the huge potential of content marketing, Eprop emphasises how economical online marketing is compared to traditional advertising and the risk you run in ignoring your online presence. They reckon that:
“[Y]our SEO efforts will be affected if you ‘opt out’ of being a producer. Google is now weighing current content, social proof and author scores in their results ranking. Simply put, you need to create and share content, while being of interest to lots of people to even be a player going forward.”
While Pomegranite is small, we have decided that it makes sense to work from home initially, rather than rent office space.
I’m not going to lie. When it’s cold and rainy and dark, there is something so-good-you-feel-guilty about not having to get up, shower and fight through immovable traffic to get to work. Instead, you carefully sit up in bed, reach for your laptop, sign into your email – and ta da! You’re at work.
While I have only done that once twice on a handful of occasions, and don’t recommend it on a regular basis, there are definitely some perks to working from home. There are also some cons – like checking your email at 11:05 pm because, well… your desk is right there.
The internet is full of tips on working from home. Having worked from home for four months now, I have tried ALL the things. Here are five things that I try and stick to to maintain some sense of normalcy.
1) Have a designated work space
Ok – so this is a tip you will probably find on just about every article on working from home. You know why? Because it’s a true story. It gets pretty hard to separate work stuff from your home life (especially when you live in a tiny apartment). But if you don’t have a proper office to go to, it helps having a desk to “go” to. It’s easier to “leave” work when you get up from a work space at the end of the day.
2) Try and stick to “normal” work hours
For me, it’s all about maintaining a sense of normalcy and routine when you don’t interact with the outside world as often as those poor humans with office jobs most people. It’s easy to sleep late if you don’t have a boss waiting to look at you disapprovingly, or to get caught up in a task and work late into the night. Try and stick to the usual eight to five where possible. It helps with sanity. And stuff.
3) Install a lock on your fridge and kitchen cupboards
But really. When your “office” is basically your lounge and kitchen, and the fridge is five steps away (if you take small steps), it’s hard not to visit it every couple hours, just… you know… to see. I swear, sometimes my fridge calls to me softly across the room. SHUT THAT DOWN. Otherwise there will come a day when elves shrink all your pants. And that’s never fun.
4) Get dressed (in clothes that are not pajamas)
So ja. I may or may not have worked in my pajamas for the first week. One day our business cards were delivered. In my excitement, I rushed outside to get them forgetting that I was in my dressing gown, moo cow pants, and slippers. I decided then that it was time to break the cycle. I’m not suggesting you wear a collared shirt and tie to your desk. But maybe some tracksuit pants, you know? Getting “dressed” for work helps get you into a work frame of mind. It’s also less awkward if your business cards arrive.
5) Remind yourself of the outside world
When you’re in an office environment, there is stuff going on around you all the time – office gossip, people’s comments on the news, your colleague’s stories about her ridiculous flatmates. When you work from home, it’s easy to get sucked into your screen and forget that there are actual, three-dimensional people out there. Take breaks. Step outside and remind yourself what sunshine feels like on your skin. Go to the gym – and be shocked at how many people are there at 10am on a Thursday morning. (Seriously – who are these people? Are there that many freelancers/students/housewives in Cape Town?)
Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy those rainy days where your most stressful moment is trying not to let too much cold air in as you reach for your laptop.