This Week In Business: The Open Minded Edition

This Week In Business: The Open Minded Edition

Sometimes, I catch myself thinking in terms of black and white. I'm sure this comes from making my own decisions (most of the time rather quickly) as a business owner. "I don't buy that." or "I always do this." The truth is, of course, a little less simple than that but it's easy to convince yourself one way or the other when you are the only person there is to convince.

I've spent this week beginning to really work with other people as peers. And while this is a sign things are growing, it also means this is no longer all about me, and my snap judgements are no longer going to work. Here's what I've been up to this week, besides realizing I'm not the center of my own universe:

The workshop organizing continued.
I apologize to those of you who are probably sick of hearing about Matt and my upcoming workshop. I keep telling myself that the first one is taking so much planning because, well, it's the first one. We fielded questions over email (and put them in an FAQ on the website, work once use twice I say!); got a few more registrants; and put up a website at www.onedayworkshop.net. I also created and sent out a press release and Matt made a Facebook page for the event.
Since three people have registered and a few more have said they'll come, I think we might actually have enough people to *gasp* break even!
I began life as a paid blog contributor at Almost Frugal.
When my friend Kelly posted that she was thinking of selling her blog, I sent my condolences. Thinking about ending a blog seems (at least a bit) like ending a long term relationship. It takes more time than you'd expect and you care way more about it than you'll publicly admit as your ego gets pretty tied in. (Full disclosure: I won't even date a guy who doesn't read my blog.) And while I haven't dated Kelly (she's married and in France), I have been reading Almost Frugal since the very beginning so I was a bit sad about the end of an era.
A few days later, I got an email from her.

Too Cute Tuesday: Pom Poms

Too Cute Tuesday: Pom Poms

Too Cute Tuesday involves fun friends, a cheap craft, and a cool cocktail. To get involved, check us out on Facebook or contact Nicole.

So there's this fun hat party I might be going to at the end of the month and I thought that a pom-pom might be just the way to do it without having to buy a new hat. Enter Too Cute Tuesday for my excuse to make it. And since I have a feeling I'm starting a cold, a cocktail with orange juice might be a good idea for me. Let's craft!

Materials
Cardboard
Scissors
Two round things (one large and one small) or a compass (click here if you have no idea what I'm talking about)
Yarn

Cocktail of the Night
The Gilbert:
2 shot of vodka, 1 shot of club soda, and orange juice. Add lime if desired.

Dorrie's pom-pom came out well because 1) she used thick yarn and 2) she has much more natural crafting talent than I do.

1. Head to Craft Central with yarn and a vision. Get directions from a kid's website to ensure they will be super easy to follow. Pour cocktail and find some cardboard, though not necessarily in that order.

Marketing Monday: Can-Am International Dog Sled Race

Marketing Monday: Can-Am International Dog Sled Race

Every Monday, the Breaking Even blog looks at a individual, business, or website promoting itself in interesting ways online. Have an idea? Do tell!
Most years, I try to make it to my hometown of Fort Kent Maine for the annual Can-Am International Dog Sled Race. It's been happening for seventeen years and the total purse is up to $40,000.
Usually taking place the first weekend of March, Main Street is covered with snow and racers tackling the 30 mile, 60 mile, or 250 races all start off with cheering crowds around them. The 250 mile race qualifies races for the Iditarod, and a few say this race is even tougher than that.

The event is well organized and well staffed with volunteers, and I think thanks at least in part to social media, this year's crowd was among the largest ever.

The YouTube video clip from a documentary film flew around YouTube.
A few filmmakers made a Can-Am film last year and put the preview clip on Youtube as pretty much the only thing on this user's Youtube channel. As the event approached, I noticed several of my Facebook friends posted it. It was so well done, I posted it.

As one of the commenters wrote, "My third year as a Can Am vet is about to happen, and I thank you for the video reminder of why I do it!" It's no doubt that a well told story will get more people interested in a cause, and it's no doubt this film will draw new spectators for years to come. (If you want, you can buy the video off the Can-Am website... well, sort of anyway.)



The race website is very up-to-date with content.
My friend Sarah's father is one of the people who maintains the Can-Am website. While the design is very basic, throughout the weekend it was updated multiple times an hour with times, places, and other information about all three races. There is even a map where each individual musher's location was tracked through time. (To see the dots on the map, click this link and then the 'Track!' button. You can click on different dots to see a headshot of the racer and track their individual progress in relation to other mushers.)

This Week In Business: The Educational Edition

This Week In Business: The Educational Edition

This week was busy at Breaking Even Communications but since I was waiting on a few different stages of some ongoing projects, I found myself with a little time for some professional development then usual. That's right, I schooled myself!

Here's what happened:

I attended a webinar, and actually paid attention.
Most of the time, I am quite the slacker webinar attendee. I am usually filing papers or making lunch while I listen to a presentation. When I listened to a webinar sponsored by Verizon and given by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. I made myself get out my notebook and actively listen for the next 45 minutes.

You know, paying attention really does help you get more out of things! Being a good student paid off in some new ideas for improving my product. Partnerships with complementary organizations and video testimonials anyone?

Wish you had sat in on the fun? All of the Verizon sponsored webinars are achived here. And it looks like there are a few good ones for me to go back and listen to later.

I got a couple iBooks from a school sale for a song.
Those of you who live outside the state of Maine may not be familiar with the fact that Maine has a laptop program, which gives students 6th grade and older access to their own laptop. Beginning in grade 7 or 8, students can take it home after signing a sort of "I will be responsible and so will my parent/guardian" agreement. Every few years, the schools replace the machines, which are all Apple iBooks. To make a bit of cash (but probably more accurately, save themselves from disposal fees), the schools sell them off on the cheap, in my local case $25 a pop.

Too Cute Tuesday: Lava Cakes

Too Cute Tuesday: Lava Cakes

Too Cute Tuesday involves fun friends, a cheap craft, and a cool cocktail. To get involved, check us out on Facebook or contact Nicole.

Something about this rainy gross weather in Maine has made me pretty ravenous. Good thing was this was the week for lava cakes at Too Cute Tuesday.

My friend Kate had sent me a link to what I thought were lava cakes until yesterday when I realized they were whiskey cupcakes. This is what happens when I don't read carefully. Sorry Kate, we'll definitely make them another time but I had been advertising lava cakes on the Too Cute Tuesday Facebook page for two weeks, so I sort of had to do them! Good news is I was able to cover my gaff by finding a recipe for lava cakes on Foodista.

Dorrie took our little fun cakes out of the oven... and we were surprised that it actually worked!

The effort was coordinated over email today. Everyone was so contributory. "I have a port that was made for chocolate!" Jen said. "How about Frangelico for the cocktail?" Sue added. How about those being great fillings for our lava cakes in addition to being good things to drink?!

Materials
3-4 oz chocolate chips
3/4 of a stick of butter (for chocolate), rest of butter for ramekin greasing
4 eggs, 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks
2/3 c. flour
1.5 c. confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
ramekins
various liquors (for filling)
bowl and whisk (or mixer if lazy)
bain-marie to melt chocolate and butter (or microwave if lazy)

Are these for our craft-related cocktail or for the fillings of our cakes? How about both!

Cocktail of the Night: Frangelico and milk, served on ice.

1. Gather in kitchen. Preheat oven to 450 and chat about the day for a few minutes. Let's bake!