My left ear is on the pillow and I’m thinking about my short term future. It’s 2am, not an unusual time for me to be away awake as I’ve settled into an 11:30am – 2am waking day here in Toronto. Normally though I can lie down and start reading a book, shuffle 1 or 2 pages and I’m gone, sleep takes me quickly. The last few nights I haven’t succumbed to slumber without a lot of tossing and turning. It’s my brain’s fault.
I roll over onto a combined shoulder/back position wary of the mornings I’ve woken up with a sore neck from sleeping on my stomach. Why is it that it feels best to sleep on your stomach but your head and neck just don’t work that way? Sleeping on your back is better for the body but I never can stay positioned like that for long without a strong desire to switch to tummy-mode.
I roll over onto my right ear and the thoughts keep coming. I can’t stop thinking about what I’m doing now, what I’m doing in the short term future and where I want to be in the further away future of my late twenties. In the present I’m at the whims of my decisions. I have no commitment but to myself. My mind changes often and consequently my plans do as well.
My thoughts turn to business. I’m excited about my business future, very excited. I have had no jobs the last week, not very encouraging, but not unusual for January. It’s given me the time to work on marketing and I’ve spent the last week tweaking and adding to the website. It’s some of my most satisfying work.
I face a multitude of options and I’m not sure which way to go.
I’m in Canada to promote BetterEdit. I’ve been putting out posters at the three campuses I’ve targeted, once every two weeks per campus. I’m going to keep at it for at least a full semester as a test run. That means I’m here until at least early April. I’m not certain postering is as effective in Toronto as Australia. The market is more competitive and my posters are gone from nearly every board I visit when I go to replenish. I don’t know how long they stay up.
In January we had two new Canadian clients, one business and one student. Both responded positively, the business client having already repeated. January webstats were great, in particular a 50% ‘added to favourites’ result which I hope means a lot of new Canadian clients are bookmarking in anticipation of using the service later in semester when their assignments are due. Time will answer that question.
I have options here. I can keep postering myself, by far the most cost efficient method. Alternatively I can hire a business to put the posters out for me. Why would I hire a company to do it?
It gives me time. I can head out to some of the further away campuses and put some posters out there (there are at least another 5 campuses within 1.5 hour drive radius of me).
I can test out how good postering business are. Maybe they know about boards I don’t. Maybe they are better at it than me and will do telephone poles and outdoor places I don’t currently. Then I will know if I can have them manage my campaign in Canada after I return to Australia.
It costs a bunch to hire a postering business. Probably $1000 per month just to do the three Toronto campuses I do now. If I had cash, I do all of Canada and all of America (100k a year should do it – why would I need a business if I had 100k to put towards posters!).
I could be wasting my money – maybe the market is too saturated (both in posters and editing services), maybe there isn’t a market for editing, maybe the poster company does a lousy job.
Or…I can hire the poster company to do other places, like Vancouver, Montreal or the campuses just outside Toronto that I’ve been thinking about driving to. Where do I spend money? How much? Or should I not worry about hiring a poster business until next semester in Canada which isn’t until September and just keep doing it myself.
Or…Forget Canada and go back and focus on postering Australia. Get into Sydney and Melbourne properly. I have a good lead on a poster distribution system for the east coast of Australia which could be a perfect solution. Although at what price? I donâ€™t know yet.
I roll over back on to my back and try to focus on sleep. It doesn’t last long.
I’ve been thinking too much. It’s not just my current business as it is now. I have other ideas I want to try. I want to develop a completely automated business model for editing where the client and editor work directly without me as middle man. It’d be completely turn-key and work 100% online. There’s a lot involved and I need to hire a web developer to do it because it’s technically way beyond my skills.
I have a friend that has just returned from a year long round the world trip. He’s great with web development and isn’t sure what he wants to do now. He’s talked about starting his own business, maybe. He’s reading entrepreneurship books. I’ve asked if he wants to work with me for a month or two on web development for BetterEdit. He hasn’t responded yet but I’m hopeful. He has strong technical abilities and can build a lot of online systems I’ve been dreaming about. I’d appreciate the human company while I work too. However I can’t really afford it and I’m not keen to dip into savings, although if business in the coming months were as good as last semester then the profits can go to his salary so I can afford it. There’s no reason to think it won’t be, but you never know. It’s investing in the future of the business afterall…that’s smart.
Maybe he’s not interested though. Should I hire someone else then? How can I find someone I trust and that has the skills I’m looking for?
Maybe I should get back to Australia sooner. Get to work on business there. Get web systems in place.
I roll over onto my left ear again. It feels fresh for a second and I feel a little more relaxed. Maybe I can sleep now.
I have another plan. I want to start a poster distribution business in Australia. I can handle Brisbane to start with, get it established and then move to Sydney, repeat the process and then move to Melbourne and repeat again. Brisbane would be a great test market and I can do it all myself to start with. Just put up a few posters, contact potential advertisers, easy enough. I need to work on the website. My new web development employee could work on that. The synergy with BetterEdit is great too. I establish a new business and also a way to advertise BetterEdit around Australia. But I’m not certain it will work, but damn I’d love to try it!
But I’ve done this before. I started an English school and spent a lot of money, time and energy only to close it down because BetterEdit was doing well and deserved my focus. Remember the rule – milk your *successful* business for all it’s worth before starting something else. Would I be repeating the same mistake starting a postering business? Is it a mistake to divert time away from BetterEdit onto another project? But these projects seem so interlinked, although the English school was too…and hey, it’s not like I’m that productive now with BetterEdit. I don’t work hard on the business and that’s the way I like it. I try to work smart, do the things that work and put out small bursts of energy. Live the 80/20 way right. I’m not lazy, I’m smart! But there is always more you can do, always things you can tweak.
I open my eyes, turn the light on and start reading.
I’ve just finished reading ‘The five people you meet in heaven‘ by Mitch Albom, the same author who wrote ‘Tuesday’s with Morrie‘. I cried some and learnt so much reading ‘Tuesday’s with Morrie’ but his other book hasn’t impressed me. It’s just left me feeling sad about life.
I also just finished reading the story of Starbucks, ‘Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time‘, as told by the CEO. It was an interesting read, made me think more about business (I really shouldn’t read these types of books before bed, but I do), although it tended to be a bit too much of a glorification of the achievements of the author and his business. A lot of ego came through the book, but I know that is the sort of ego and drive is part of why the author achieved his business success. I’ve seen it before, Sarino Russo also had it. It’s a one minded drive. It’s powerful, inspiring, but a little scary too. It powers corporate greed and gives people the strength to make positive change. Do I have this sort of drive? Can I make a business that successful? Do I even want to? I don’t think I do. But then what do I want…
I’m finishing the third book that I purchased along with the above books titled ‘What do I want to do with my life‘ by Po Bronson. It’s about people finding purpose in their lives and recounts different stories from individuals about their careers, life choices, etc. It’s been a good read, sometimes a bit boring, but often a tidbit of stimulation pops up and makes me think and reflect. Most people will find someone in this book they can relate to. If nothing else they will feel comforted if they don’t know what they are doing or don’t feel right with their own life. Personally ‘The Alchemist‘, by Paulo Coelho did more for my life’s journey than Po’s book has, but more on a spiritual level which is always more powerful because of the emotions involved. I have had a few practical insights as a result of reading other people’s stories and I don’t feel depressed at all about my situation, just confused with all the options – all good options.
I’d like to surround myself with people that share the same drives as me. In his book Po talks about an office/building space that he rented along with other aspiring writers, actors, and other creative bohemian types. Their shared goals, similar direction in life and personal philosophies served to reinforce their career paths and provided a comfortable working environment. Like minded people tend to reinforce your choices because they would make them too. They can also help each other when they are lost. The shared frame of reference gives you genuine insights into problems others face because you have faced them in your life too.
I’d like to create a place for entrepreneurs. I had an idea in the past of getting an office space to be shared by start up businesses. Those that couldn’t afford an office individually could join in with a collective of entrepreneurs and share the space and costs. It would be difficult to organise, but I’d like to try. Another thing on the to-do list for when I return home.
I should return home. I have so much to do. But I’ve only just scratched the surface of Toronto. I have only met a few people and I’d like to see more, meet more locals, do more things. But business things are what really excite me and I should be in Brisbane for that. Although if a girl came along I’d probably do another 360 degrees and change my mind again. I’m easily swayed when my heart gets involved.
I switch off the light and roll over onto my stomach. Right now, I feel comfortable and sleepy. I think I’ll stick with right now, for now…