The Road to Self Employment ~ Step #1: The Business Plan

~Every business starts out with an idea. Then that idea is turned into a business plan of action. There are many steps to follow when starting your own business and with a lot of hard work and determination the last step ends with success.

What’s your key to success?keyboard-621829_1280

I’ve tried a handful of different business ideas and none of them ever worked out for me. But it wasn’t because they weren’t great opportunities full of potential, it was that they were not the right fit for my future. I have tried many multi-level marketing companies that involved selling products such as dietary supplements, cleansing kits, health food alternatives, telecommunications and even coffee.

I also tried out self employment as a Personal Trainer for a few years and ran my business by going to people’s homes, personal gyms and group training boot camps. Each business had a great compensation plan and a bucket load of wonderful people involved, but they just did not fill my heart with passion. Although writing has been my passion for years, I have always held myself back.

I ask myself: “What if I’m not good enough?” or “What if people don’t like what I have to say?”

And those two questions have stopped me in my tracks many times. Now I am finally ready to work on the business plan that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. It’s travel blog time!

A business plan consists of many things: statistics, numbers, time frames, information and facts that secure the business idea.

You have to ask yourself: Is this a viable business that can make money?

Will my costs be more than I am willing to pay out?

Can I put in the hours that are required to deliver results?

Do I have the start up funds I need to get going?

mark-516277_1280Once these variables are sorted out then the business plan  can finally be put together. I think of it like a mind map. You must fill in the bubbles with the ideas and connect the dots to create a road map to success.

Well it’s time to get started.

There is a lot of work to be done and step by step I will collect my information and start working on my material.

Are you self-employed? Maybe you might have some advice or would like to connect and chat about self employment.  I would love to hear any success stories out there or even network with others just getting started on this same path. 🙂

If you would like to chime in, please leave a comment in the box below. I love connecting! ~T

New ECOBC Website Premiere :)

leaves-160960_1280~I am very excited and happy to announce a new project I’m so grateful to be a part of. Introducing BC’s very first Eco-Directory: ECOBC!

I will be working alongside my friend Mr. Christoph Ravin Cook as the content writer for this wonderful new website which is now under construction. ECOBC aims to promote Eco-friendly, green sustainable living through organizations geared towards this way of life. Please check out the Facebook page and like, share OR send us a message if you would like to be included in this amazing directory.

Help us spread the word!

Whether it be an organic food market, an all natural product, a service you offer to promote health and wellness we want to include all green local businesses and other green businesses around BC. Go green!!

Thank you friends!

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About us:

ECOBC is British Columbia’s première online business directory dedicated to a vision of providing its community with a user-friendly, one stop resource for companies, products and services that are dedicated to environmental sustainability and responsibility.

Whether you are looking for an Eco-friendly cleaning product, a LEED certified contractor, Eco-friendly clothing or employment within the environmental protection industry, you will find it here at ECOBC.

If you do not see a product or service or would like to recommend a business or initiative and feel they would be a great addition to our directory, please fill out our “request a service” form and we will be sure to add them to our pages.

ECOBC cares…

http://ecobc.ca/

Another Phase of Life Completed~Now for the next step

vision-board-520757_1280~I have finally completed my 12 week business program at the University of Victoria. It’s been an incredible journey and extremely intense to say the least. With a final exam every week and homework every night, my blog posts have yet again been few and far between.

But now another phase of life is completed. Now for the next step. To make my world what I want it to be.

I’m feeling a bit nervous to go back out into the real world and everyone keeps asking me what I am going to do now that I have a certificate in business.

In all honesty, I have no idea.

I do however know exactly what I want to do. I want to write and travel the world and somehow make those two things go together. Whatever the next step is, I’m actually not quite sure where it’s going to take me. I have always ended up answering phones, greeting people and filing at a reception desk and I would like to try to do something completely different. I’ve always defaulted to working in a dental office because that’s really the only field I’m experienced in. But now I want to do something different, exciting and new! 🙂

And since nothing is written in stone, I nothing-is-written-in-stone-527756_1280need to build up the confidence to try something I’ve never tried before. I can now say I have extra abilities and skills I didn’t have before.

I’m done looking for postings on Craigslist and I’m ready to start networking through people who are doing what I want to be doing. I would love to get into a publication where I can learn the ins and outs of the writing industry. I want to know what it’s like to work directly with an Editor.

So I’ve revamped my resumé and I’m working on making my portfolio look perfect. It’s never to late to change something and I guess that’s exactly what I did. I suppose I just need to dive right into the job search as soon as possible and put myself out there.

I refuse to give up.
I refuse to do something I don’t love thoroughly.

I vow to myself I will not stop searching until I find the perfect job. I may not be an extraordinary writer but I am willing to follow my dream as far as I can.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Thomas A. Edison

Whoo Graduation!! 😀 Here we go!

International Business Paper #1- The Conservation Controversy

~This week I am finishing the last part of my business program in International Business. My last course. I have three papers to write and here is my first one:

Write a 2-3 page paper on International Business of any kind. 

The Conservation Controversy

There is an overwhelming amount of poverty, animal decline, and other serious problems in different countries all over the world. There are also many conservation efforts being made and a large amount of travelers either teach English abroad or volunteer at some point on their journey. After some research I’ve realized that there is a controversy hidden within the concepts of volunteering and working in these sorts of international establishments.

There are a number of different ways to get involved in a conservation or volunteer project. You can work by teaching English, rescuing trapped sea animals from the ocean, cleaning beaches or even collecting sea turtle eggs that could potentially be snatched up by poachers. Sometimes you get paid really well and sometimes you just get free accommodations while you work. In some cases you have to pay to volunteer. There is a conservation project for every endangered animal on the planet. The argument is that some of these conservation projects are no more than a glorified travel experience for a backpacker. Young travelers can handle wild animals and go home to tell their friends what an amazing experience they had while making a difference at the same time. As for teaching English, it is said to be a modern, Western-style education system that is taking away from ancient cultures and creating a worldwide mono-culture.

In either case, the Eco tourism and ESL industries are booming. The tourism industry itself is heavily relied on to generate revenues for many communities and travelers rely on these types of projects and jobs to fund their travels. Rosaleen Duffy, a world expert on wildlife conservation, wrote a book called:
Nature Crime: How we’re getting conservation wrong. The book talks about western-style conservation projects harming wildlife and damaging the environment. There is also a compelling documentary called: Schooling the world, which explains the westernized ideals being carried over into other cultures and diluting traditional societies.

With travel becoming more and more popular in developing countries, communities have come to depend on these associations within the tourism industry. International politics surrounding this means of travel have critics extremely concerned. The loss of wildlife and the lack of education around the world is disheartening to say the least. Is there any way to continue these multicultural practices in an ethical way? The social benefits that are coupled with Eco-tourism and teaching English as a second language are essential for many economies. Is there a better way to carry out these practices?

Every year thousands of Canadians with good intentions venture out into foreign countries as overseas ‘Voluntours’ to help build houses and schools, improve communities and educate small children. How could this be such a bad thing? Some environmental and humanitarian activists say that for-profit entities put poverty on display and exploit the people in the families that are involved. It’s hard to make sure the best practices and knowledge when so many of us want to be included in the rejuvenation of our environment and our people. How can unskilled workers who want to make a real difference succeed if time or money is a problem? The short term programs don’t seem to be the best solution in providing to the needs of those overseas communities.

Volunteers need experience, awareness and on-the-ground expertise when it comes to any conservation project. The volunteer travel industry is advancing at a rapid pace and with the concerns around this trade it is difficult to foresee the future and where it will lead us. It goes without saying that there is a lot of good that goes into these programs and the genuine relationships that develop in these subcultures are commendable. With corrupt political systems in place, astonishing poverty rates and the ever growing population, what else are we to do to protect those who are less fortunate and in need?

I handed this in this morning 🙂 Hope my prof likes it!

Today in the Martlet Newspaper: My first published article!!

Hi friends!

I am extremely happy to announce that today in the Martlet Newspaper my 2200 word feature has been published!!! 😀 I am so honored to have my very first piece published in this paper and proud to have met my subject Mr. Greg Pratt, who I absolutely adore. What a wonderful instructor he is and such a lovely person to write about. I am confident we will have a long-lasting friendship.

Thank you Greg!!

Look MOM I’m a real Journalist!!

Here it is for your reading pleasure: Meet Greg Pratt

Good Morning Monday!

apple-256263_1280~I am so incredibly excited today! GOOD MORNING MONDAY!! Whoooo 😀 😀

Why am I so incredibly excited you ask?

Well, today I am going to meet up with Greg Pratt, my previous Freelance Journalism instructor from UVic, to have an interview with him about his awesome career in Journalism.

Why am I having an interview with Greg you ask?

Well I had this sweet story idea, so I pitched it to a local newspaper at the University of Victoria called the Martlet and I recieved an instant reply to write a feature for the paper!! 😀

Look MOM I’m a real Journalist!!!

The Martlet newspaper is a great independent publication showcasing a handful of amazingly talented writers from right here in Victoria. http://www.martlet.ca/
T
his newspaper has a wonderfully driven purpose to share information, break down social barriers and run as a society of like-minded people. It’s extremely community oriented and focuses on a range of meaningful topics. I was quite touched by a recent feature called “Following Brian’s Bliss” written by Kier Robins, about a professors passing. You can read the heartwarming article here.

Finding a mentor is very important to me and Greg may not realize it yet, but he is already a strong influential person in my life. What a perfect person to start my journalism career with. 🙂

I am so honored to write for Martlet. 🙂 Wish me luck! My first big story starts here!!

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May your week be full of love and knowledge ❤

The tiny writer xo

 

So you want to be Travel Blogger? Me too!

globe-454479_1280SO I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to talk about Travel Blogging  as I continually warp my blog over and over. I’ve landed on a new look I really like and I’ve made changes so my blog is more responsive.

Now let’s talk about being a Travel Blogger! 🙂

Travel Blogging is one of those professions everyone secretly wants to have. Wandering around the globe with only a backpack hanging off your shoulders, stopping to “work” beach side from a lovely little café in Europe somewhere or just relaxing while you write your next post from a hammock tied to a tree in some humid rain forest in South America.

OK these are my visions of being a Travel Blogger. What are yours?

During these past few months I’ve gone into great detail on how to be a Journalist and the many ways people make money as freelancers. You can post online to magazines and newspapers, send pitches to print publications or send portfolios to publications who are specifically looking for completed articles.

Well guess what?! Travel Blogging is pretty much the same thing.

Most travel blogs I come across do a hand full of the same things Journalists do, like pitching to an online magazine. The only difference I’ve found is that those bloggers are pitching to travel publications. It’s the only difference I can find.

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In many cases, it’s a matter of finding ways to make money. As I’ve stated in earlier posts you can make money on the road by writing for magazines, using ads on your blog, direct sales or copy writing. If you take a look at Sebastian’s blog from Off the Path, you will see he does a number of these jobs to make ends meet:
http://www.off-the-path.com/

Another great site I stumbled upon is The Travel Bloggers Academy. It has a course you can take through their website, which is a couple of years old, but still has relevant information.

http://travelbloggeracademy.com/how-to-become-a-travel-writer/

Aside from posting on your blog about amazing places you’ve been, Travel Blogging can go as far as you want to take it. If you want to keep travelling, you must find ways to make money.

My travel blog is still in its beginning stages so I’m just discovering the many ways to actually make this work. If you have a look at my post from yesterday you’ll see all the changes I’ve made:

https://thetinywriter.org/2014/10/23/thursday-thoughts-on-blogging-201/

The next step for me is triple checking that I don’t have copyrighted images on my blog. If you want to use Word ads, that’s a crucial thing to be sure of. You can’t have any ads promoting through your blog if they are not your own or from legitimate free-to-use sites. It may take some time, but go through ALL of your images if you’ve taken them off the internet and if you don’t know about an image then email the website you took it from.

I hope this helps!

Travel Blogging is a “Dream Job” everyone wants to be in whether they say so or not. What separates you from the people who are keeping it a pipe dream?

GOING FOR IT!!

Happy Travel Blogging! xo

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PS: I just started using Zemanta as well. This plugin helps you find related articles, tags and images through its own search. Pretty cool right?! Check it out: http://www.zemanta.com/

That’s where these articles came from:

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing!

I’ve learned a lot of important lessons in writing lately. I tend to get excited and make “newby” mistakes still, but I am trying to learn from them. I have prematurely posted on many occasions and commented on other peoples posts without editing properly, and in turn, I sound like a “newby” writer.

baby-84627_1280:/

But it does seem like there are some general rules when it comes to writing. I’ve observed a lot of formalities and such, but the imperative “rule” is to be professional, resourceful and reliable. Weather you’re posting on a blog just for fun or working with a publication like a magazine, the content should be engaging and helpful. Traffic will come to a blog when there is something to offer, and an editor will hire a freelancer again and again when that writer gets the job done in the right fashion.

Both Greg Pratt and John Threlfall have great advice when it comes to becoming a successful writer. They are both very successful freelancers and… well you know what they say when you are trying to carry out something in life right?

Do what the pros do! Learn from the best 🙂 So here is a list of some of those do’s and don’ts I’ve learned from Greg and John… and some other insightful fellow bloggers of course, such as my girl Erin at All Curves West. I know these tips will help me on my writing journey as they have already shown me how to become a successful writer.

Do’s:

Make a writing schedule– A writing schedule helps keep you on track, trumps procrastination and attracts readers.  This is useful in blogging because regular readers usually like a scheduled post. If they know a post/topic is going to be at the same time each week and they like what they see, they will more than likely come back.

Do your research– Facts, and links to back of those facts. That’s what people like to see!

Connect with like-minded peopleFeed off others, share and gather information from them Again, following people who are doing what you’re doing is the perfect way to build your business and hone in on your skill.

PracticePractice makes perfect. It’s an art… a science. Engaging and stimulating your mind will only improve your skills.                                                                          

Take constructive feedbackAlways be learning from others 

  • giornalistiIn Journalism specifically:
  • Query the editor and ask what didn’t work if your work is rejected. It shows potential
  • Provide tear sheets and clips of your work
  • Good subject lines
  • Email: “Incoming Pitch” to editors
  • Include your name and the date on your pitch
  • Pitch yourself

Why are you the best person for the job?

Most importantly… WRITE! Always be writing.

Don’ts:

Publish/Post immediately – Wait and walk away from a post for a while before you edit and publish/post.

Get too distracted by social media– OK I should probably take my own advice here and finish my damn book already 😉

Copy and Paste someone else’s work and call it your own– That’s a very big no no. New material fresh from your own brain is obviously best.

Get Angry or insulted– Constructive criticism shouldn’t be taken to heart. Learning is the key to success. It can be tough when people make harsh comments though.

  • In Journalism:journalism-cartoon
  • Spell an editor’s name wrong- that’s an instant pass
  • Skip the little things: spelling errors, punctuation and obvious mistakes
  • Hand in an article late
  • Miss your word count: 10 words max give or take from the piece
  • Give an editor attitude
  • Be unethical- this is an extensive topic
  • “Don’t create controversy where it doesn’t exist.”
    – Greg Pratt

Most importantly: Don’t stop writing!

Great tips from great writers! After all isn’t that we’re all striving for? To be great!?

I honestly love sharing and that is what everyone should do. Sharing is caring ❤ If a writer helps you out then pay it forward and help another writer in their journey. That’s what it’s all about. Connections. I am so grateful to those who have shown me the way and I am happy to help anyone who is also just starting out.

Apparently there are a lot of “lazy” writers out there. Both Greg and John say that it’s incredibly surprising how many writers just don’t step up. Being polite, keen and willing to learn should be a no-brainer, but that’s not always the case. This post may sound like a recap of the tips I’ve written about in earlier posts… and it is! I’m still learning myself and now I can refer to these tips for inspiration down the road if ever I lose my way.
Recap. Practice. Perfect.

No one is a newby forever…baby-74163_1280

So why not shine above the rest right?! Be the best writer you can be. I sure hope these tips have helped you out in your writing journey today and if they have… let me know in the comments below!!

Do you want to add some of your own tips as well? I’d love to hear them!!!!!!!!!!

Happy writing and Happy Friday! xo
🙂 🙂  

Freelance Journalism Course #4 and 5

18688409-office-writing-woman-with-paper-note-illustrationIt’s all about the art… the art of writing. Turning words into a compelling story readers can’t tear their eyes away from. This is really all we have talked about in the last two classes of my Freelance Journalism Course at the University of Victoria.

Once you study the way a certain publication works, you understand the tone and the theme of that magazine. I don’t think I will be able to read anything the same again. Now I’m not just reading it but I’m also dissecting it, tearing it apart piece by piece like a science project unfolding. There really is a science behind it.

Our instructor Greg gave us some homework to do over the last two weeks which included: writing a practice article about a tuna delivery truck driver, whose hillbilly quotes made him look “not so bright” shall we put it? And we also had to write a pitch for a magazine. Practice makes perfect so I was pretty excited to write these two pieces for Greg to edit, even if he did rip them apart.
😉 It’s the only way to learn!

Some of the suggestions Greg had for my article were:

-be aware of factual errors and get all the facts straight
-there are no exclamation points is great journalism (oops I get excited)
-read the story out loud to find sentences that don’t make sense
don’t use words that end in -ly: it borders on opinion writing
– stick to present tense
-always use a persons last name throughout the story after introducing them
-headings: you have to make the reader want to read on

Reporter

We also read some incredible pieces of journalism from different writers and studied them bit by bit. Two of the most fascinating stories were:

Animals by Chris Jones
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The Fighter: The Life and Times of Merle Haggard by Jason Fine

I was absolutely captivated reading both of these pieces. Both are quite lengthy but I could not put them down. They are both very different in so many ways. The journalism is just astounding and the emotion that is portrayed in them is very admirable.

What makes great journalism? Fine tuning your work and always practicing the craft.

Greg went into a lot of detail about targeting a specific audience with tone, what works and what doesn’t and how to use descriptive words and phrases when reading someones body language. The moments when the writer takes your breath away by utilizing an emotional moment. A blank stare. A brief pause. A short silence.

Greg shared some of his work as well:

That’s Just the Way it isIsland Parent
Goo Goo Dolls make Victoria women scream for limp rock– Nexus
Shopping Hub Redevelopment- Douglas magazine

He’s a talented writer and so versatile. Each article is different from one another and going through them, seeing the way each piece is written and realizing that words are extremely powerful… it’s humbling. Greg inspires me to become a great writer and definitely has the right tools to apply to this field of writing. Without any university training, Greg has mastered the art of freelance writing and knows the ins and outs when dealing with editors. With only one class to go I feel I have learned so much from him.

As you can imagine, he has also had his ups and downs with his writing. In the articles above he writes from a dads perspective, voicing his opinion about technology. He then writes about middle-aged women singing at a concert and comparing it to dish washing. And lastly he shares a story of a handful of unfortunate events that happen to local business owners when a mall is being reconstructed.

Opinion writing is tricky. You really have to know how to present it properly so it doesn’t come across as something other than what you’re trying to say. Sometimes people get offended or take things the wrong way and it’s hard, as a writer, to have your words misconstrued or the message mistaken. Writing “snarky” pieces full of sarcasm are difficult and Greg has had issues with upset readers, negative feedback and even harsh comments at times.

In the end, I learned a lot about techniques and how important your headline is. Greg made a joke that I wont repeat but I’ll tell you, it was pretty funny when he explained what he was really trying to say when he wrote “limp rock” in the title of his Goo Goo Dolls article. Whoops… a secondary editor is always a good idea when you’re an editor. And Greg says that will haunt him to this day that he published that one a bit prematurely. I guess he got excited too 🙂

Words pack a punch!

John Threlfall also made a guest appearance in yesterdays class and gave us the rundown on the do’s and don’ts of working with an editor and what kind of writer he would work with again and again. You can check out his marvelous blog here 🙂 He has an unbelievable story himself and I think I may just have to write about it! He’s an animated speaker and I really enjoyed listening to his tales of success.

Stayed tuned for my next article… and I will go over some of those do’s and don’ts of writing I’ve learned throughout this wonderful class!

Happy Wednesday! xo