Back to business. Erick and I had a very interesting week filled with the highs and lows of starting our own company. The highs were literally high. Since we’re on our own schedule, we took Tuesday off and went for a hike to the top of McIntyre Bluff near Okanagan Falls. The snow held off, the air was crisp and the sun was shining. It felt good to say “yes” to an outdoor mid-week adventure. Life is short and I’ll work through the weekend.
Other highs: last Sunday we volunteered to shoot a video promoting the Downtown Penticton Association’s Christmas Market at the Lakeshore Resort. It was a great opportunity to meet new people, help out an organization we believe in (the association promotes shopping locally) and practise our skills. It allowed us to film in a public place with mixed lighting, lots of background noise and crowds.
Another high: We met with David Arsenault, an economic development officer with Imagine Penticton. I arranged to meet with David to learn more about what he does, and to get a better picture of the city’s economic situation. The meeting started off a little funny. Let me just say this – Erick has a rather sarcastic sense of humour. (This helped him get through many awkward moments during his 20 years as a news anchor and reporter.) As soon as we walked into David’s office, Erick said “so why did you want to meet with us?” David did not look amused and I wasn't sure if I should just show myself out. But it worked! With the ice broken, laughter ensued and the meeting carried on. David was very supportive and extremely knowledgeable.
Final high: We attended our first ever “Business After Business” sponsored by the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. Each month a different business hosts the event and this time it was Edgy Petals, a local florist. Usually, I can chat with anyone, especially people I don’t know. But now that I have to represent myself as a business owner, the pressure is on to say the right things, sound intelligent, look good, network, memorize my elevator pitch, hand out business cards…my hands are sweaty just thinking about it. I can’t hide behind my former employer’s brand anymore, I am the brand now.
Luckily, we made friends with the mayor last week, and she promptly made us feel welcome by introducing us to new people. I guess it must be a small-town thing, but everyone is really friendly and seems to enjoy each other’s company. I had a glass of wine and slowly, the nervousness faded away. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds these kinds of events awkward. How long do you hold a conversation before it’s time to move on? Do I have food in my teeth? What is this person’s name even though I’ve been talking to them for the last 20 minutes? There must be a Seinfeld episode on this. By the end, I had made several new friends and had a mitt full of business cards. When is the next event?
Low: I’m not going to devote much to this and now that I’ve had time to digest it – I think we’ll turn it into a high. This week, we had a phone conversation with someone who was interested in our videos. That person had a few concerns about our work, including pricing. The phone call left Erick and I questioning our product, our strategy, ourselves. But it also caused us to change our tactics, reconsider our price points and refine our pitch. We aren’t HBO or the Discovery channel, but we are experienced shooters and editors, and we know how to tell a good story. Erick and I are professional, reliable and flexible video-journalists who want to help small business owners build relationships and reach new customers using video.
This coming week, we're putting the final "FINAL" touches on our documentary about the Vancouver-based band FERA. We're also excited about Local Lounge's first-ever “Girls Night Out” (yes, men can come too, the more men the merrier - 5 bucks a pint!) Thursday night, and Summerland's Festival of Lights and Light Up the Vines next weekend. Lots of blogs and photos to come. Finally, we’re in discussions with several potential clients and look forward to sharing their stories very soon.
Before I go – if you own a business, I highly recommend reading Twitterville by Shel Israel. The book is equally insightful for both users and non-users of Twitter. Israel discusses the social networking site from a broader perspective and provides several examples of how Twitter has helped business of all sizes grow – by creating two-way relationships with customers. It has been an extremely powerful tool for et2media and it’s free. If you haven't jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, this book will convince you to!
Enjoy your weekend!