Back to study! Part III

Since my last posting I have received confirmation that my application to attend summer school was successful. I subsequently paid the required registration fee and now have received the confirmation mail and a place has been reserved for me. The same mail also had the login information for the summer school intranet. Unfortunately at this early stage there is nothing to see: Come back in May. We are sorry for any inconvenience. My calendar has been blocked off for those days. Now to wait and see what the social programme has to offer.

Other exciting news is that I have a name, although I don’t have a .com domain to match it. It’s out there and I’ve put in a bid to buy it. Now I need to wait. Obviously my first offer has probably been too low…

The business plan is taking shape and now just requires cutting, pasting and editing into a proper document rather than many separate sheets of paper.

The best of all is the appointment with the EnterpriseHelsinki people. That’s still a couple of weeks away so I can use the time to fine tune the plan, work on the product and get it all packaged nicely.


Back to study! Part II

Further to my earlier post, the application has been submitted. Now the waiting starts again…

The most difficult part of the application was the ‘letter of motivation’. Once I cleared my thoughts about what I’d studied in the past and where I am heading now, it was quite easy.

Also reassuring were the mails that came from the admissions office indicating that entry wouldn’t be a problem in the ‘professional’ arena.

Best I dust off my book bag….

Back to study!

Exciting stuff! I’ve just sent off a ‘request for information’ mail to the Helsinki Summer School. Even though I’m not a student they have some positions available for ‘Professionals’ so hopefully I can gain entrance that way.

If I think about the last time I was in a classroom, it’s not that long ago (Finnish classes, started 2001). Except that it never felt like I was studying. The exam in 2010 for my citizenship language capabilities did feel like an exam.That was awful.

It’s an opportunity too good to pass up. Hopefully I get a (positive) response soon.


For some time in February I was cut off from the outside world. Plenty of time to work peacefully, without disturbance or the distraction of daily routine. I am sorely missing those days now. I may well be the boss from April 1st. The real question is ‘the boss of what exactly?’ A heap of spreadsheets and word documents and ideas rattling in my skull. Read on to see how well I was doing in February…

Tuesday February 21: While the Tasmanialainen blog is cruising along quite easily and I’m finding enough things onboard to write about, this page I’ve left alone. In the main because I’ve been too busy to blog that part. The business plan is taking shape quite nicely. I’ve finetuned the overall description for the umpteenth time now, although I am quite sure that this is not the final version.

For the last two days I worked on products and services. I enjoyed that very much. I could imagine driving through Helsinki and the sort of spiel that might accompany such a drive. I could imagine the look of wonderment that would appear when we stopped at one of my lunch places (wish-list item at this stage of the works). I could even imagine the bus driver, guiding us through Helsinki and describing their city in glowing terms. Okay, yes I got a little carried away, still after I wrote the first product detail description things started to feel right!

I now have 6 core products that comprise my summer business. I need to work very hard on creating some opportunities for the off-season now. My off-season will be 7 months long. That’s a long time not to have any income coming in, although it does provide a wonderful block of time for development: markets, products, leads, and new opportunities.  This will be the majority of my trading year and I hope I can maintain the momentum.

Have I mentioned EnterpriseHelsinki * previously? The night before we left Helsinki I logged into my business plan that I have started building there. I printed all my pages to PDF format, and saved them in my Evernote (remind me to tell about that great little tool one day!). I upgraded to premium as it allowed for offline folder and file access. This is exactly what you would need when you are literally in the middle of the ocean and satellite internet services are slow and prohibitively expensive. I should have read the instructions properly. Nothing was available where I thought it would be. Help was of no help because I wasn’t online. So I bit the bullet, opened the internet and quickly printed my PDF’s again. This time I saved them on my computer. There will be time to work out why my Evernote didn’t perform as expected when I get home and have proper internet again.

The goal is to complete all ten pages before the ship arrives in New York. I have one week left and only two pages 100% completed. Best I get back to it!

Wednesday 22: Yesterday was a bust. I’m finding it very challenging to describe my customers. I look around the ship and imagine that some of these cruisers are my passengers, yet actually describing them in an adequate way that I can direct marketing towards is proving elusive. My first customer group sounded a lot like me. Hmm.

23rd Thursday:  The customers have been categorized, although there is much more work to be done. I’ve moved onto describing the competition and doing my PEST analysis. Political, Economical, Social, and Technological factors. This will sit next to the SWOT analysis inside the final business plan document.

Friday 24th: Small panic setting in although I have achieved more in the last week than in the last 6 months. Now I’m getting into the nitty-gritty, financials, insurances, company structure etc. Reality has just struck. My first trading period will end 30.9.2013. The second one will start 1.10.2013. Now I have that terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. What have I started? Is it too late to withdraw that resignation and go back to working for the man?

Saturday 25th and now there are only three full days onboard left. I am not going to panic as I should be incredibly proud of the work done so far. Now I’m getting into the financial part and for a lot of that I need to be online. I have plenty of work to do once I’m back on terra firma next week. Back to my spreadsheets. Safety note: all my files were backed up onto memory stick yesterday. Just in case.

I have reached a point where I can go no further without access to high-speed internet. Regretfully this means I now have to wait until we return the Helsinki. The good part, all of my spreadsheets and documents are ready for cutting and pasting into the business plan builder! Yippee. Sunday and Monday shall be days of rest and recreation. Tuesday is a day of travel and Wednesday we arrive in Helsinki in perfect time to go back to work.

* Check out the tools I use page. Enterprise Agencies have been established around the country to assist budding entrepreneurs in getting started. They offer advice, consultation contact, mentoring and training courses.