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To expense or not to expense?

17 Jun

I’ve come to a crossroads where I’d like to buy a new laptop to create my albums instead of asking my husband to lug his home from the office. At the same time, I’d like to upgrade my wonderful text-capable cell phone to a BlackBerry so that I can tweet more often and on the go among other things. The later, however can wait until I’ve gotten a few more things going.

I’m really weighing this one out. Do I work with what I have, which isn’t really getting me too far too quickly mostly because I don’t feel comfortable using someone else’s computer? Or do I bite the bullet and buy my own before I have sought out any clients? I need to get a sample album done at the very least.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to ever have to weigh this sort of first time business expense. I just feel that if I’m ever to really get this party started I need to rock out with my own gear and hit the ground running with what I have set out to do.

Big box store here I come! It’s time to take this gig seriously and price out some new hardware. Investment first, return second!

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Home is where the work is

11 May

As you can tell I’ve been MIA the last week or so…we were moving into our first (and brand new) home! Hooray for us!!! We had to wait for construction to be completed and so this move has been 9 month in the making… Yikes! I just counted that out! I’ll channel my father in law for a minute “You could have had my first grandchild in the same amount of time.”

Yeah, well…not just yet.

Along side the move came some other great things. First and foremost the business has officially been registered. Splendid Albums, or according to the Quebec business registry; Albums Splendides (alboom splendeed).

So how was it? Not too bad. I’ve gone through worse experiences in my life. To be quite honest, I asked the first lady who served me (in French) for the French version of the form so that I could copy in my information for the English version. Yes you read that right, they don’t accept English forms, it had to be filled in in French. This woman appeared as if I had just asked her to smell the contents of my husband’s hockey bag. She handed me the form and very curtly told me to sit, fill it out, and get a new number. All the while my best friend, who was also registering herself as a freelance photog, was served by the same one person and had to do exactly the same thing.

Finally, the second woman who helped me was very nice and even spoke to me in English, although I made the effort to speak to her in French.

So I’m registered and now I’m looking forward to unpacking and setting up an office in our new place. Something that will inspire creativity, induce emotions and will be a haven for all things albums. I’ve got a few ideas for decorating but it’s a little hard to get some vision at the moment when it’s currently a catch-all for everything we don’t know what to do with.

Step 1 – Unpack. Step 2 – ??. Step 3 – Success!

Dreaming of reality

18 Apr

I had dinner with my best friend last night and caught her up on the latest and greatest, specifically speaking of my business venture in album making.

My current status has me trying to figure out the ins and outs of the Quebec government and how to officially register the business.

That said, my best friend, who is a freelance photographer, has been putting off registering herself as a business. My ambitious go-getter attitude has her thinking that there’s no better time like the present to get herself officially registered as a business in Quebec, too.

It’s a date! Next Monday, Apr. 26, we’re heading down to the Regis des Entrepreneurs to register our businesses. Things are sometimes better done in pairs and much more fun when you have the support of a close friend to help navigate through the fog of second-language legal jargon.

I have found a great resource on about.com that really broke down what tiers of businesses are available. I have heard though, that all the forms will have to be filled out in French. Not so sure how comfortable I feel about that… especially since this is a huge commitment and not just a restaurant survey.

Stay tuned…

This web page is parked free-courtesy of us

14 Apr

I took the plunge today and went for it. I registered a domain name on GoDaddy.com. How did it go? Pretty well I guess. I have NO IDEA what I’m doing but I do know that the domain name http://www.splendidalbums.com  is mine for the next 5 years for a pretty reasonable price.

Why GoDaddy? I can tell you that Danica Patrick’s cleavage (et al)  had nothing to do with swaying my decision. It was recommended by a friend (check survey box).

I have a personal contact who will be building my web page for me and in return I will build his wedding album, something that he and his wife have put off for several years. Service for service.

Because I’ll be blogging about my webmaster, and will keep things confidential, I’d like to give him an alias, nay, a stage name. Hmmm what to call him? Logan! Just like in Wolverine when Rose was hiding his true identity.

Alright, so Logan (how very General Hospital sounding…) suggested that I use GoDaddy.com. Apparently it’s easy to use, is cheaper than most, and offers lots of hosting options. Whatever that means. You can tell this is really not my domain. Pun totally intended.

I feel like my mom reading a road map…a little overwhelmed… I feel the anxiety starting with the disorganization of not quite knowing where to start. I’ve attempted to register an email address @splendidalbums…I’ll let you know how that turns out.

So far in the business management ‘control center’, I’ve been able to categorize the business. Good thing I can have up to 5 choices-Facebook makes you choose 1. Oh yeah, I’m also on Facebook now! I got that up and running today too.

My whole approach to starting this business is one thing at a time and in no particular order. My starting point happens to be WP. And why not its 100% free, so is Facebook and Twitter. So now that I’ve made my first business expense (and in the correct tax year might I add…yes I was thinking ahead there) I can and should get myself a business number. QC government, here I come. I bet the forms will all be in French.

Anyway, a little off topic. I took a pretty big step today and I wanted to share it with you. I have a ways to go and figure out tonight, like how to get something up that is representative of my business and not just a GoDaddy.com business directory card, albeit, it’s better than nothing. The good thing is that it already links up right here to the blog! I tested it out. I’m very hands on.

There’s an option to use a template which will be a good option in the interim until Logan and I have a sit down to build out my vision.

What’s in a name?

1 Apr

What’s in a name? A lot actually. It predetermines who you will be as a business, it tells your customers who you are and hopefully also covers what you provide be it a service or product. My business name will also dictate my branding. What do I want my brand to convey? I’ll discuss this in a later post when I nail down my logo.

I knew getting into this I’d have to be creative and clever. This is where my job in marketing has helped me out.

I wanted something that would say it all, be easy to say and spell, be relevant to the product I’m offering, sound current and be nicely wrapped up with a nice ring to it.  Oh, and of course be Google friendly.

Having the word “album” in the name is key not just because it says it all, this word is also a French word. Living in Montreal I have to think on a 2-way street if I want to grow my business locally as well as virally.

Have you ever done brainstorming exercises where you take a paper and a pen and just write whatever words come to mind? If you don’t do it. You should. The creative juices get to flowing before you’ve even realized what’s happened.

Some things I came up with…that weren’t so hot…

– I do albums (cute, clever, has ‘album’…but not quite enough)

– Wedding book (too narrow of a field, I’d get pigeon holed for sure)

– Brilliant Books (I might have been mistaken for a bookstore or note pad supplier)

Some other words I played with: compilation, collection, assemblage (where my French kicks in), picturesque…

So how did I get to “A many splendid album”? you ask. I’m a romantic at heart and a big fan of music. So I looked to my Jazz collection for some inspiration. A favourite of many-Frank Sinatra-recorded a version of the first song ever written for a movie to become #1 on the charts and also carried the name of the film and was adapted from a novel and later a spin off soap opera(thank you Wiki). Any guesses yet? ” Love is a many-splendored thing”.

Call it creative influence. Changing splendored for splendid is a tactical move. Typing splendored isn’t as easy as typing splendid…not to mention it’s not really a word. Familiarity it is.

So how does this related to the message I want to convey? Being recently married and still very much in love I wake up everyday knowing that I’ve found that one true love. If you’ve ever been there you know what I’m talking about. I want to bring those moment together in one place where they can be cherished, proudly displayed, and passed on to future generations.

Love is…it goes without saying love is what will be in the pages of the many splendid albums I will create.

1 down and infinity to go!

24 Mar

I’m sure this has been said many times before on Word Press, but I’m all for not re-inventing the wheel – This is my very first blog and my very first blog post! Congratulations Johanna, you did it!

Why am I here? It’s simple. I’m starting my own business and I want to blog about it from A-Z and hopefully one day when I’ve earned my successes I can look back on this and share it with others who are as ambitious and want to break off and do their own thing. Maybe this blog will become a how-to/trial-and-error guide…

So let’s begin with the questions:

Am I unhappy at my job? Heck no! I love my job. I have what many people would consider a “dream job” and I’m one of those people.

What do I, do you ask? I’m an Assistant Brand Manager for a high profile sporting goods company. My path here was not paved in flag stone with a neatly groomed flowerbed lining the way…I knew I was passionate about something, it was the “what” that had me left wondering. Although it should have been obvious form the get go, I needed someone to help me figure it out.

Here’s my story in short (well, sort of). I had just finished my Bachelors degree in Elementary Education at McGill University and had zero intention of jumping right into a class room. Think about it, I was 22, had an official document in hand form the government of Quebec that said “Yes, we recognize that you are fully capable of teaching the next generation of budding young executives, athletes, politicians. Now get to it!”

Uhhh…excuse me? I don’t think you get it…I’m 22. I just stopped being a student and now I have to have to be accountable for cultivating the minds of 30 children? Are you mad??

So why spend 4 years, one year more than most professional programs, learning and mastering a trade that I had no intention of pursuing? I’ve always had positive experiences with kids as a camp counselor. Read: sports camp.  Aha! But how did I not pick up on it? i actually had a professor say to me “This will be a very long profession if you’re not passionate about teaching. I don’t get the feeling you are.” He was clued in, I was just going through the motions of doing what I was asked to do to get my grades.

I spent year 1 out of uni as a high school Sports Cooordinator coaching, mentoring, and having fun playing sports. I was finally making a connection to my passions. Now how to get a job in sports that actually paid?

Going back to school was exactly what I vowed never to do when I was handed my B.Ed. So much for that. You gotta do what you gotta do, so I did. I enrolled at Concordia University in a GDSA (Graduate Diploma in Sports Administration).

Fast forward through a few hard years’ learning about my limitations of dealing with angry consumers and here I am; a well rounded individual with character.

I leave you with this for today-the most important piece of advise I can impart on you is to network, make a name for yourself and be patient. Rushing things will only build you a house made of straw or twigs.