Tag Archives: start-up

My 2011 Wish List for Canadian Digital Media Entrepreneurs

wishlist_imageIt seems that everyone in the blogosphere right now either has a “re-cap” list of 2010 stories or a 2011 “predictions” list published. Since I have a serious case of the “FOMS” (a fear of missing something), I thought I’d add my own personal wish list blog to the mix. Starting my own business has been a serious learning process over the past few months.

While I’m slowly starting to navigate how to make a digital media focused start-up work in Canada, I thought I’d share my wish list for products and services that could make my life easier in 2011. I’m sure that there are other start-ups and entrepreneurs out there in the digital media space who share my sentiment and can provide additional requests.

(1) Small business pricing on digital media measurement and analysis tools like comScore and Hitwise in Canada

While there are many free tools out there like Google Analytics, Google Ad Planner and Alexa, I find it perplexing that small businesses are not able to access the industry-standard tools like comScore and Hitwise to help them properly position and sell companies in the marketplace. It would be amazing if some of the standard measurement companies developed a small business pricing model to help us to run our businesses like a larger company.  Perhaps a pricing model of a quarterly cost for a limited number of data pulls would suffice?

(2) Small business discounts for conferences and events

If you are a small business, coughing up $500 to $1000 to attend one conference is a hefty price to pay.  Again, perhaps larger conferences could have a “start-up” price that is similar to student pricing to attend larger conferences?  Industry events are essential to help smaller businesses to network and learn to fuel their growth.

(3) Increased promotion of digital media start-ups in Canada and more forums to help them interact and share best-practices

Start-ups like Sprouter and TechVibes do a great job of promoting Canadian digital start-ups and work to unite the Canadian technology community.  I’d love to see additional movement towards promoting and uniting Canadian digital media companies in 2011.  Having recently sat in on some meetings with a few female-targeted digital media start-ups in the past few months, I definitely see an opportunity for uniting Canadian female-targeted digital media companies to help them cross-promote each others’ sites and products.  I’m sure that there are other like-minded start-ups who could benefit from cross-promotion with each other as well.

Please share your thoughts on what could help make the lives of Canadian digital media entrepreneurs better in 2011?

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Inspiration: Why SmartBrideBoutique.com is a True Labour of Love

Andrea Lown (left) and Leah Andrew (right) from SmartBrideBoutique.com

I had the privilege of working with some remarkable women this summer who have shown me what it means to truly love your job. Andrea Lown and Leah Andrew from SmartBrideBoutique.com found their inspiration for starting their business while each planning the wedding of their dreams. They soon realized that it’s tough to find the ultimate wedding dress on a tight budget.

They knew that there had to be a better way to find a beautiful wedding gown for less and so they turned to the Internet to look for deals. However, what they found was that the shopping experience on sites like Kijiji and Craigslist is not conducive to easily browsing postings and searching for specific designers and sizes.

So, they decided to develop a way to make it easier for budget-savvy brides to shop online while also dreaming up a concept that was good for the environment. They ended up building an easy to use online platform that helps brides-to-be to save up to 50% on their wedding dress while helping recent brides to recoup some of the costs from their wedding by recycling their wedding dress, decor, accessories and more.

What I find so inspiring about watching Andrea and Leah work together is not only their great and often hilarious rapport with each other, but also their tireless efforts to make their company a success. What is also incredibly refreshing to see is that both the idea for their business and their willpower to succeed are born out of the same motivation – love. If it weren’t for love, they wouldn’t have had weddings and discovered a business opportunity. In addition, if they didn’t love what they do on a daily basis then they wouldn’t be so determined to grow their business.

Having worked with Andrea Lown in the past, I know that she is not one to settle for less than the best. After her honeymoon, she too was looking for a new job and realized that if the right one wasn’t out there, then she’d just have to go out and create it for herself.

These ladies have no idea how much they’ve inspired me. A Facebook “like” button on their site does not express how much I have enjoyed watching their online business grow and thrive. Facebook, please develop a “love” button!

Read more about Andrea and Leah’s business here: http://t.co/AUO841M

Watch Andrea and Leah talk about how to stretch your wedding budget:

Taking a Leap of Faith

Me (Andrea Wahbe) at the finish line of my first triathlon

After gathering up the courage to leave a job that was definitely not for me, I have decided that it’s time to take a chance and go out on my own for a while.  The reason for this leap of faith is that I have recently been on countless job interviews and have yet to find a role that I feel is the right next step in my career. So, I figure that taking on a few short-term contracts is the way to go.  I’m hoping that I will have the chance to be exposed to new roles that I would never have had a chance to try out as a full-time employee. Luckily, I live in the fabulous city of Toronto – where new start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures are popping up all over the place. I’ve decided to document the challenges that I am facing as a budding entrepreneur who is trying to start my own freelancing business.

To get my first gig, I have reached out to a lot of people who I have worked with in the past.  I figure that people who know what it’s like to work with me and the quality of work that I put out is the best place to start.  From there, I’m hoping that I will be able to get new clients as I will have built up my experience.

I have been experimenting with a number of social media tools like Twitter and LinkedIn and have discovered a lot of new companies and other entrepreneurs in the Toronto area through these platforms.  I also recently attended a “SproutUp” event in Toronto to hear from other entrepreneurs and get some inspiration about what works in regards to promoting yourself and staying true to what you have to offer to the world.  If you haven’t heard of Sprouter.com, definitely check them out.  They have “SproutUps” every month in Toronto and have an online social media platform to connect with other budding entrepreneurs.  The energy in the room at the “SproutUp” was infectious and I really feel that Toronto is just ripe for growth in the start-up arena.  It’s a very exciting time to be living here!

This week, I’m also teaching myself how to use WordPress.  Hello world!  I’m also interested in learning more about the tools that work with Twitter and how I can track my tweets and followers more efficiently.  I feel like a new University graduate again and am trying to get my first break!  It sounds funny but I feel more alive in my career now than I ever did in previous jobs in the past.  I would equate this feeling to training for my first ever triathlon.  I know that it’s going to be a long road ahead but if I stick to my plan and persevere, I can reach the finish line!

Stay tuned for my next blog post.  I’ll let you know how some of my exploratory meetings with former colleagues go.