We have a date!

Aaargh! Where to start? The good stuff or the not so good stuff? I’ll start with the latter and then head back to the former. It’s been a little ‘one step forward, two steps back’ around here lately….

So after the first meeting with the start-up counsellor, a phone call came requesting me to come in for an interview; on Friday the 13th, at 13:00 ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  This was a different counsellor and we spoke for quite a while about the application and what I was up to. It was all in Finnish and I was very happy that I understood everything she wanted. This was one step forward! The backwards steps came after the interview and the followup statement that I needed from my other counsellor over at the city entrepreneurship office. He’s on holiday until early next month and needs to see me in person before issuing the statement. So, my application is now sitting on the desk just waiting…

The second ‘setback’ is one of my competitors launching a product very similar toย one of mine. I’m a little bit cranky at myself for not getting started sooner, but I know that I wasn’t in the right place to launch myself any earlier than now. I’m just chalking it up to ‘that’s life’. Anyway, when you see what I’ve got planned to the travelling public, I think you’ll agree, it’s nothing like the competition.

Of course, this hold-up with the grant application means that I can’t register the business. One of the main stipulations about getting the start-up funding is that the business can not be registered until the decision on funding has been made. No business registration means no ability to invoice, which in turn means no cash coming in. Although The Engineer is footing the bills at the moment, it does mean the little extras have been trimmed back. I’m okay with that, Mr. 14 however is finding it a little more difficult to understand. He has had some interesting advice for me lately!

There are a couple of silver-lined clouds on my horizon – albeit far away still! Firstly this delay means I can really research the banks and insurance companies. School studies will be useful for the business and the business will be useful for the school studies. That is the biggest and best bonus. I’ve collected credits on half my subjects so far and my course advisor at Helmi tells me that I can collect credits on the remaining subjects and more just by documenting my business over the next six months! The only non-business part will be the practical exam, although if I wish, I can use real customers for that also ๐Ÿ™‚ Any volunteers?!

I’ve left the best until last. My webpage will be live October 16th 2013, at 12:00 (GMT+2). Today I met with the guy who’s going to be the driving force behind that. We talked about what I do need to worry about right now and the things that can wait a little while. I’m so excited – he knew exactly what I was thinking of, and has already started working on the look! That’s the power of a good business plan!

The domain name registration is in order, the Twitter account has been set up, the Facebook is there too, although I’m not releasing that on the general public just yet… Next step will be ensuring that I’ve claimed my business pages on Yelp, Trip Advisor, LinkedIn and FourSquare. Pinterest and Instagram are also on the cards! So much social media ๐Ÿ™‚

Wow, it’s tomorrow already! Sleep tight ๐Ÿ™‚

PS: Did I tell you I had lunch with the guy from Yelp today. Nice guy and had lots of interesting stories and things to share. I hope we get to do lunch again…

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Aha! I had an “aha” moment!

I’ve been struggling lately. The pieces haven’t been falling into place. Not like I imagined they might or even into any sort of order.

Bear with me for a paragraph or two, by the end of this post I think all will be clear ๐Ÿ™‚

My struggle has been a loss of faith in myself and what I want to do. Well, not actually what I want to do, rather are there enough people out there like me who want to do what I want to do. Now, that does sound very confusing I know.

The whole business idea is built around showing my Helsinki, not necessarily the same as the official Helsinki version or any of the myriad of other tour operators about.

I think I am as close to rock bottom as I can get in this planning / pre-opening stage.

My aha moment came when I realised that I only need one person to believe in me. ME. While this is painfully self-evident now, last week this concept was clouded in a heap of doubts and negative thoughts. I was doubting the name, the idea, the source of customers. Everything just felt wrong.

I contemplated dumping the study, even though I enjoy it immensely. In the long run there will be benefits.

I contemplated dumping the volunteering, even though I enjoy it immensely. It pays to broaden ones’ horizons on occasion.

I contemplated dumping the book club, even though I enjoy it immensely. Despite the fact that I’ve been unable to read any of the books for the past few months, that one night of good food, good wine, good company does much to restore my spirit.

I contemplated dumping the cycling, even though I enjoy it immensely. Physical exercise and pushing the pain barrier can’t be beaten for getting those cogs turning in new directions. Some of my best ideas have come after a stint in the saddle. Followed by walking the dog ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now that I’ve said aha out loud a few times, even in the shower (which resulted in a mouthful of soapy water – bleugh) I’m set to move forward. I’ve cleared the table (literally and metaphorically) and all of those positive thoughts are about to become actions.

More soon, just watch!

Computers and a competition

Hah! (I’ve been waiting for such a long time to open a blog post like so :)) What a couple of days I’ve just been through…

Firstly my sound card has given up the ghost. This happened some time last week, though I thought if I restored to the last pre-update status and restarted two or three times that the problem would miraculously repair itself. Not so. That brought me to Monday afternoon hanging on the line for customer service. The helpful gentleman on the other end of the line didn’t really want to speak English with me, which left me struggling for such technical terms as speakers (kaiuttimet) and headsets (kuulokkeet) etc. These are not words that fill my daily vocabulary anyway!

Luckily we crossed that barrier and traversed the sticky ground of serial numbers. Thank goodness for the universally recognised Alpha, Romeo, Sierra etc. There are Finnish equivalents (Aarne, Risto, Sakari) although they don’t spring to mind readily. This is definitely one list that I need to learn. Back to the service call and after a few seconds I’m instructed to write down a warranty return code and head to an special site dedicated for returns… Too easy.

Yes, too easy. It took me a long half an hour to work out that I should have used “http” instead of “www”. Then once that hurdle had been overcome I was faced with a page of text. Including a statement in bold red saying “read first”. It was far too much for my frazzled brain to deal with at the time, so this morning I picked up where I left off.

It turns out that the original packing that I tossed about a month ago is required for return. Humph. Oh well, I’m sure I can find some bubble wrap and cardboard. Reading further the power source has to go back as well. Hmm, odd shaped package then! Reading to the bottom of the page it appeared that every second statement seemed to absolve everybody of responsibility if something went wrong…

Eventually all fields are filled and appropriate boxes checked. An email has arrived with information about scheduling a pickup. I’m tempted to arrange pickup for after Easter. There’s some things I want to work on that don’t need sound… Wordt case scenario I could use the ‘house’computer. Upside it has sound, downside I’m last in line for access after The Engineer and Mr. 13. Very thankful for the “cloud” though. No last minute panic to back everything up ๐Ÿ™‚

Now for the competition part! I’m contemplating holding a contest over on Heather’s Helsinki. I have some prizes. I have the “subject”. What do you think faithful follower? Do blog competitions work? Have you ever taken part in a competition that had prizes – real things that is? Was it properly run? Would it better on Facebook or Twitter? Serious questions that need answers! ๐Ÿ˜‰