This Week In Business

This Week In Business: Helping Out Friends Edition

This week was all about helping friends (and having them help me out) in both my personal and professional life. Here’s how things went.

I attended my friend Ogy’s first webinar, and he did a heck of a job.
I love attending webinars but I’ve never given one myself. Giving one must feel an awful lot like being on the radio. You are talking to yourself and not sure about what your audience is thinking because you can’t see their faces or get any other feedback from them. Meanwhile, you are trying to get through your slides and read everyone’s questions all while being an interesting and engaging presenter. In short, I’m sure it’s way harder than it looks, which is why no matter what, I was going to attend my web designer friend Ogy’s first webinar.

Turns out Ogy did a great job, and the good news is he has more coming up. (Did I mention they are also free?) Seeing Ogy do this actually encouraged me to go public with a few projects of my own I’ve been a bit nervous about.

Matt came over and we set up the screen and projector.
My friends know that while I love the internet, I am completely nervous about setting up anything physically. Everything from operating a dog crate to a sewing machine for the first time, I usually try to get a friend to help me by offering to cook them food. I have a profound fear of breaking things and get easily frustrated.

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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 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.

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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.

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This Week In Business: One Person Edition

Sometimes, all it takes is one person to make a difference. This week, I salute that one person, and the many forms they came in:

My friend Matt and I had one person sign up for our workshop…and hopefully more to come.
We took the plunge and Matt and I went forward with our presentation idea. We reserved the room. We advertised the presentation to our networks. We bought the projector and screen (nothing like the thrill and terror of spending $850 in 5 minutes). I began to panic this week when no one was signing up. Did we charge too much? Was it too early to hope for more enthusiasm? Did we schedule this workshop the wrong time of year?

And just when I was second guessing the whole thing, someone signed up. And paid. Insert sigh of relief here.

Here’s hoping for a few more participants. For more information or to sign up yourself, click here.

I’ll be presenting to the Deer Isle-Stonington Chamber of Commerce, and as part of the Schoodic Arts Festival this summer.
Based on my Ellsworth Chamber presentation, I booked two more speaking gigs for the coming months.

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This Week In Business: Oh Wait, There’s More Edition

Remember last week when I had the brilliant idea of offering a workshop with my friend Matt? Well turns out planning events takes, um, planning.

This week, I learned there’s always a little more to something than we expect there to be. Here’s what happened so far this week:

The workshop had multiple details to iron out.
First of all, Matt and I realized that neither of us have a projector. With this realization came more questions: Which projector do we buy? Are there any on CraigsList? What about people we know who might have one? Which one of us should buy it? You can see what I mean.

Then there was the whole “How are we going to accept payments?” issue. Which one of us is talking about what? What if people don’t have laptops? What’s the internet connection like at our venue? Oh, and what are we going to call this workshop anyway?

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These Two Weeks In Business: The Great Idea Edition

Do you even have an idea, and wonder “Why haven’t I thought of this before?”

Sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it, and then actually works out. Here’s what happened the last two weeks at BEC:

I had an idea for a workshop.
One of the littler known things about me is that I have a teaching certification, and I really do miss helping people learn things.

It was while I was sitting in a talk about websites that I had an idea about how I could combine teaching with what I’m doing now. What if I gave a class to help people set up a blog?

Partnering with my much more tech-oriented friend Matt, he could give the technology portion of the talk (how to install Wordpress on your domain name, basic setup, etc.) and I could do the content part (what to put on the blog/website, how to promote it once it’s set up). We would help registrants of the class buy their domain names and hosting the week before so that the day the class met, we could actually set up the website/blog. Charging $50/person would allow us to pay for our time and the room and give those just starting out a chance to have a website on their own domain in just a few short hours of work.

Matt is down for it and we have a venue…More on the progress of all this next week. In the meantime, let me know if you have any interest in attending.

After the talk, I answered people's questions and even had time for a few clever staged photographs.

I gave a presentation to the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce.
It turns out that double the amount of people registered for my talk about social media. I was a bit worried about getting through my material and also being able to answer questions so I tightened up my presentation. The other good thing was some of the people who attended gave me an idea of what they’d like to ask me, and the Chamber director was kind enough to send me a list of those who registered.

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