Tag Archives: going far

Going Solo is Hiring!

[fr] Going Solo cherche un vendeur (sponsoring). Ça se passe en anglais, donc voyez directement les détails de l'annonce ci-dessous.

Wanted: sponsorship salesperson for Going Solo conference

Going Solo is looking for an enthusiastic salesperson to negotiate and finalise sponsorship deals. After a very successful first event in Lausanne, Switzerland, the conference is taking place again in Leeds, UK, on September 12th. There are plans to produce the event elsewhere in Europe and in the US.

Availability: as soon as possible
Remuneration: 20% commission on cash sponsorships
Profile: skilled in negotiating and closing sponsorship deals, knowledge of the tech/freelancing world a plus.

What we provide:

  • leads (past sponsors and fresh contacts)
  • sponsorship materials

What we expect:

  • discuss and amend existing sponsorship offerings
  • follow through to closure on provided leads
  • other leads can also be explored freely.

If you’re interested or would like more information, get in touch with Stephanie Booth (steph@going-solo.net, @stephtara, or steph-booth on skype).

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Posted in Being the boss | Tagged commission, conference, entrepreneuring, event, going far, going solo, hire, job, opportunity, sales, selling, sponsorships, Wanted | 4 Comments

Thinking About The Next Going Far Events

[fr] Alors que je commence à penser aux conférences que j'organiserai après Going Solo, je me retrouve saisie par l'angoisse de la transparence. Même si je prêche l'authenticité et la transparence à mes clients, cela ne m'empêche pas d'être moi aussi sujette à la crainte d'en dire trop.

Je commence aussi à sentir le besoin de véritablement créer une entreprise. Il y a trop de travail pour moi seule. Je perçois quel devra être le profil de mon/mes associés: bon vendeur (je suis une bonne marketeuse, mais pas très douée pour clore et vendre), bon dans l'opérationnel, et qui ne rechigne pas aux tâches administratives. Il y en a probablement pour plus d'une personne, là. M'enfin, je réfléchis.

There hasn’t been much going on here, I have to admit, as I decided to postpone the actual incorporation of Going Far until Going Solo was off the ground. So, head over there (if that’s not where you’re coming from) to catch up, if necessary.

As Going Solo is taking shape, I’m really awed by how much support and how many positive responses and comments I’ve received, both from old friends and new contacts. It feels good to not be the only person to believe in what I’m doing. I have a great team of advisers, too, which has taken shape over these last months.

As I start thinking about the next events I want to organize, I find myself facing (once more) what I’m going to name “The Angst of Transparency”. Although I’m 100% sold on the idea of being transparent (the Cluetrain kool-aid and 8 years of blogging) I still find myself unsure about how much to say when business is at stake. It’s as if, when it came to myself and my own actions, I didn’t really believe what I was preaching to others. I find myself afraid, just like I sense others are afraid when I tell them transparency is the way to go. How transparent is too transparent?

I have a pretty good idea for what two (maybe three) of the next Going Far events are going to be. I’ve mentioned them in passing to a few people. I also have ideas for developing Going Solo, if the event on May 16th turns out to be the success it seems to be promising to be.

But I’m afraid to start blogging about this, on the one hand for fear of giving too much away and being overtaken (which in my right mind I find stupid), and on the other hand because it will set things in movement, and I’m already aware that there is not enough of me to deal with Going Solo itself — let alone get started on another two projects.

This is where I’m really starting to feel the need to create a company. I need other people on the boat with me. And I’m starting to see what kind of person/people I need to bring on board. I need a good salesperson. I’m good at marketing, but not so much at the actual selling/closing/getting the cash. I need somebody who’s good on the operational front, who actually gets things done, and doesn’t mind dealing with tasks like making sure people have paid, keeping track of what needs to be done when (that bit is project management, actually), and so on.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to go about finding that person or those people — but I guess having a clear “profile” in mind and making sure my advisers know what I’m looking for (and mentioning it here) is a good start. This isn’t a job ad, though. I’m far from there.

Cross-posted from the Going Far blog.

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Posted in Being the boss, Connected Life | Tagged business, cluetrain, company, entrepreneuring, Events, going far, going solo, Online Culture, organizing, partner, planning, transparency | Leave a comment

November 2007 Recap

[fr] Un résumé des divers billets que j'ai écrits en novembre 2007. Je sens que je devrais faire une version française complète de cet article... mais honnêtement, pas le courage de m'y remettre juste là!

A few days ago, I had an idea: why don’t I write a “recap” post of what I wrote during the month? Sometimes I go on writing binges and it gets a bit hard to follow, so maybe this will help. Note that some of the links here point to older posts, I’m not being 100% strict about “November” — but everything is indeed related to that month.

So, what was the deal for November 2007? Looking back, it was a busy month. Mainly conferences, as I travelled to Berlin for Web2.0Expo, Serbia for BlogOpen, and Paris for ParisWeb in the space of two weeks, giving a talk each time — and a fourth in Zurich when I got back. I also decided and announced that I was starting a company, and moved CTTS back to my server, upgrading WordPress while I was at it.

Talks and Conferences

Berlin, Web2.0Expo

Although I did live-blog quite a few of the sessions that I attended, I didn’t write a “summary” post like I did for FoWA or WordCamp earlier this year — heading off for Serbia and Paris right after, and being sick, I guess, didn’t exactly make for ideal conditions to be a model blogger. So, here’s a list of the sessions I blogged about:

My talk proposal didn’t make it, but I had a chance to give “Waiting for the Babel Fish” at Web2Open, the parallel unconference running during Web2.0Expo, in the Expo area. Somebody filmed a part of it, but unfortunately it never made it to me. It was fun, though — starting out with three people, and finishing with about 20 (the room was clearly hard to find, I myself got quite lost on the way).

I took photos of the conference (and a few of Berlin), of course.

Novi Sad (Serbia), BlogOpen

I was invited to Novi Sad in Serbia to give a talk about my experience as a blogging consultant. I had a great time giving the talk (and before that, taking silly facial expression photos to illustrate my slides) and was taken good care of by Sanja, who volunteered to act as my host during my stay.

Unfortunately I fell ill there (food poisoning), but did have time to go out and catch some photos of Novi Sad, in addition of those of the conference.

My talk got quite a lot of coverage (in Serbian!), including two short video snippets (thanks again!).

My departure from Berlin had been quite hectic (wrong airport!) and I was provided with the most scary landing experience in my life, courtesy of JAT airways, when we arrived in Belgrade. Leaving through Belgrade airport to go to Paris was not exactly a fun experience, either. I tell it all in Berlin, Belgrade: Two Contrasting Airport Experiences.

Paris, ParisWeb

It was nice to be in Paris, see my friend Steph again after many years, and meet all the fine people behind ParisWeb and the francophone web standards movement — some of whom I’ve known online for years through their involvement in Pompage.net, a web standards-oriented translation magazine I founded way back in 2001.

I was pretty ill though and just wanted to go home — no live-blogging, and not many photos. More than half of the photos in my ParisWeb set were kindly taken by Fabien while I was pretending to be a window for Chris Heilmann’s demonstration of Javascript event listeners (video snippet). You should definitely check out Fabien’s photos rather than mine if you want some visuals from the conference.

A video of the talk I gave should be available in a few weeks.

Zurich, ASCI

After the success of my talk How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications in September, I was invited to Zurich again to give a similar talk focused on internal communications: Blogging in Internal Communications.

Starting a Company

November was a busy month not only because of all the speaking and the travelling, but also because I took the decision to become a full-fledged business woman and create my own company. I announced this and also blogged some of my first musings as an entrepreneur: Competition, Colleagues, or Partners?. Way more about this in December or under the Going Solo tag.

Geeky and Other Stuff

I didn’t just blog about conferences and business stuff. As I mentioned, I also changed servers and upgraded WordPress on this blog, leading to an update of my Basic Bilingual plugin (update which was actually broken, but has since then been fixed — please upgrade if you haven’t), and some tortured thoughts about cleaning up categories on CTTS (I still haven’t done anything about this).

I also tried creating a Netvibes widget (a rather disappointing experience, in hindsight, though it was some fun geeking out).

Last but not least, I created a focus page on experiential marketing after a quick round-up of Stowe Boyd’s writings on the topic. (I’ve done some more thinking since then and need to update the page, by the way).

Selection

If you were to read only three posts?

Five? Add these two:

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Posted in Being the boss, Travels | Tagged 2007, blogging, blogopen, conférences, Consulting, ctts, entrepreneuring, Events, experiential marketing, going far, november, parisweb 2007, recap, round-up, speaking, summary, talks, Travels, web2expo, web2open, Writing | 1 Comment

Websites and Blogs, Where Does One Start?

[fr] Petite prise de tête (j'aime bien ça!) au sujet du site pour Going Solo et l'entreprise (pas encore existante légalement) qui est derrière. Quel nom de domaine utiliser? (J'en ai enregistré toute une série autour de cette idée de conférences, ça m'a d'ailleurs coûté un saladier.) Il va me falloir une identité visuelle. Que bloguer où? Créer déjà un site pour l'entreprise? Bienvenue dans les méandres de mes questionnements.

Along the lines of rediscovering some aspects of blogging, I’m rediscovering some tricky online presence questions which I’m more used to hearing in the mouths of my clients than in my head.

Questions like: do I create a separate blog for my company? for my event? how? when? who will blog on them? what will we blog on them?

To be honest, those questions aren’t actually all that tricky. For example, of course I’m going to create a site-blog (website with a blog) for Going Solo. Is it too early to create a site for the company, though? I’ve got a good mind for the moment to hold off incorporating it until the first event is done. I mean, not to be pessimistic, but if Going Solo doesn’t work out as well as I hope, and I decide to leave the event business at that, it will have saved me the trouble and grief of setting up the company “for nothing”, right? Other opinions on the topic?

A few weeks ago, I booked a pile of domain names (my poor credit card can testify). For the company, for Going Solo, for other events I already have in mind. I got .nets, .coms, .orgs, and even .co.uks. You don’t want a porn site as a neighbour, right? And if you’re going to build a name or a brand, who knows what you might want to do with the other TLDs 3 years from now? Better have them handy. Well, this isn’t really the topic of this post, but gosh, does it add up to a pile of money.

Of course, to make things easy, one of the .coms I didn’t manage to get is going-solo.com (it’s an insulin pump, so not much to do with what I’m plotting). Which leaves me with a choice of .co.uk, .ch, .net, .org. I’d say .org is out, as this is a commercial venture. As the event is going to take place in Switzerland, .ch would make sense, but then what happens when we reproduce the event in other countries? (I’ve actually already been talking about that with a few people — and can you imagine: the first event hasn’t even happened yet that they are already showing interest…)

Leaves us with .net and .co.uk, the latter making sense if the mother company is indeed incorporated in the UK as I plan, but as it hasn’t actually happened yet, it could change. So, I guess for the moment I’d go with going-solo.net and set up a blog there, to start with.

I don’t have any visual identity yet so that means it would be pretty bland at first. (This is where I really regret not being a bit of a designer myself.) I’m half-tempted to try and recruit Bread and Butter (look at the beautiful art they did for Adsclick), but they’re already doing LIFT (maybe a bit of a conflict) and as they’re already nicely established, I’m a bit afraid about the price tag. My more realistic idea is to try to find a small design shop in Lausanne which could use the visibility (local and international) Going Solo will bring them, or see if anything could be set up involving students from the ECAL.

As for the company, should I set up a website already, even if it doesn’t “legally” exist? (God, I wish I were a lawyer and understood all this stuff.) I’ll need a visual identity (at least a logo) and some content. I guess there will be a lot of cross-posting between the Going Solo blog and this one, at least at the start.

Also, languages! Oh my! Actually, no. Going Solo will be held in English, therefore the site will be in English. I’ll provide some French content for local sponsors to dig through, but I’m not going to do the whole multilingual space thing yet for it. Could be an idea in the long run, though… hmm.

Well, thanks for following my thought process. I’ll be setting up going-solo.net soon and cross-posting relevant content there so that we can all start linking to it! :-)

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Posted in Being the boss | Tagged adsclick, blog, Blogger musings, bread and butter, company, design, domain names, ecal, england, entrepreneuring, Events, going far, going solo, law, strategy, switzerland, website | 12 Comments

Advisors, Boards, Companies, Partners, Oh My!

Welcome to the area where I feel I’m swimming rather than standing on firm ground. Thankfully, I have advisors for this, but I’m still the person who needs to make the decisions. Let’s dive into the swimming-pool: it’s called Starting a Company, in the city of Oh-My-God-Is-It-Really-A-Good-Idea-To-Blog-All-This.

I have one event underway, Going Solo. If all goes well (and I intend it to) this will be the first of many — whether they cater to the same audience or not is still something I’m thinking about. So, I want to create a company which will be behind these events. Good for branding, allows me to bring in partners, pay myself a salary, etc. (Actually, I realise now that I’m not 100% sure why it’s a good idea to create a company — I’m sure it is, but I have trouble explaining it. Enlightened comments welcome.)

This company has a board of advisors. I haven’t drawn up any contracts or anything yet, but we have verbal agreements. I do want to get things down on paper, though. In French, we say les bons comptes font les bons amis, meaning that keeping money/business issues clear and clean preserves friendship (or makes it, depending how you understand it).

I need to incorporate the company, too. I live in Switzerland, I’m a British-Swiss dual citizen. In Switzerland, to have an “SA” company (the equivalent of an Ltd.) you need to show up with 100K CHF on the table. Even an SàRL requires 20K. From what I hear, it costs virtually nothing to set up a company in the UK. My focus is events on the European market, so basically, I see no real reason for the company to be Swiss. I’m no specialist of these kinds of decisions, though, so I’m basically listening to what people tell me and reading up here and there.

It seems to me that the simplest thing to do is to set up the company in the UK. I could have a subsidiary (? = succursale) in Switzerland, but again, I don’t understand how this makes things easier. (This isn’t making me look good, is it?)

I’m also not sure what happens with my “independant” status in Switzerland. I’m not going to stop being “independant” because I set up the company (ie, not looking at becoming a full-time employee of my company yet), so is there a way I can preserve this — it’s particularly important from a tax point of view, for example.

Then, advisors. I want the advisors to the company to have a (small) financial stake in it (I think that’s rather common), so I need to write up agreements for that. Do I need a lawyer (eeek)? Can I just do it myself? How do I know what to write in it? I’m a bit uncomfortable about saying who the advisors are publicly before the formalities are done — am I worrying for nothing?

Which also brings up another issue: many people around me are being very helpful by providing their advice and support. But if I bring them all onto the advisory board, as I’d be tempted to do, that means I’m going to have a (possibly) important amount of very little shareholders, which can create trouble if I want to bring partners into the company, or investors, or sell (they have to approve, don’t they?) So, can I have two kinds of advisors — advisors with a financial stake in the company, and others without?

Those of you out there who own companies with advisory boards or who are on advisory boards — would you mind telling us a bit more about how this works? And this is Europe, not the US (in case it changes anything — I suspect it does). Also, should I set up the company now, or wait until the first event is done?

Same kind of questions about partners. At the moment, there will be three of us doing the bulk of the organisation of Going Solo. We’ll be subcontracting other companies or individuals for some pieces of work, of course (any tips about where to go shopping for Wifi That Stays Up, by the way?) So, as far as Going Solo is concerned, we can draft out an agreement between the three of use to determine how much and how we get paid for our work, and what happens with any extra money we might have (ok, might be dreaming here). If this first event goes well, and we’re happy working together, it could make sense to have them enter the company, wouldn’t it? (This is where the when-how-howmuch stuff comes in, but I’m aware we’re not there yet.)

So, maybe my question is this: what are usual models for paying people who organise events? From what I’ve heard, bringing in sponsorships should earn you a cut of what you brought in, though it gets complicated when the sponsorship in question is not just cash, but covering the expenses for certain parts of the conference, or bringing in goods/services. It also gets complicated if the event doesn’t make as much money as planned, or makes a loss — should the person in charge of the sponsorships be paid while others are not? So many questions.

Also — trademarks? Do I need to trademark anything?

Any pointers, advice, or opinions that can help me see clearer here will be most welcome.

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Posted in Being the boss | Tagged advisors, advisory board, company, england, entrepreneur, entrepreneuring, europe, going far, going solo, issues, partners, questions, startup, switzerland, tax, uk, united kingdom | 6 Comments