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ENTREPRENEURSHIP In times of uncertainty

5 beautiful messes

INFLUENCER MARKETING: MY EXPERIENCE

sustainability: making the case for profitability with Christen Irwin

ISSUE 6

www.dreamer2creatormag.ca


CONTACT US DREAMER 2 C REATO R B USI N ESS MAGAZIN E

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20 CHRISTEN IRWIN: SUSTAINABILITY: MAKING THE CASE FOR PROFITABILITY

(647) 955 3567

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E D I T ORI A L K A R E N M. LOWE Executive Editor F R A N C I N E GREY Creative Editor K I M BL EY LOWE-B EN N ETT Editor N I C O L E LOWE Editor

10 TAKING THE PLUNGE IN A CRISIS by Jacy King

36 PLANNING AN EVENT Five Key Elements to Establish by Jocelyn Davison


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

RESOURC ES Page 6 ENTREPREURSHIP in Times of Uncertainty by Karen Lowe

Page 12

16

FIVE BEAUTIFUL MESSES of an Entrepreneur by Alana Swendseid

TURNING YOUR CREATIVITY INTO A BUSINESS by Chelsey Palmer

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INFLUENCER MARKETING: My Experience by Emilie Robichaud

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HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM STORIES

Three Tips To Help PREPARE FOR TAX SEASON

by Amanda Gobatto by Anastasia Gazarek

42 FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCT MIX For Your Business by Erin Ruta


editor’s note D

reamer 2 Creator Magazine is structured to focus on helping someone else and not so much on promoting your business. Promotion is a by-product of helping. Many entrepreneurs are, at first, happy at the prospect then become sceptical in their thinking that they cannot, as they have nothing to offer. What we ask is for you to stretch yourself. How often do we say, this year we are going to stretch ourselves, we are going to do something we have never be bold enough to do? We offer you an opportunity to do that here.

As an entrepreneur, you execute business processes; you research one operation at a time or a process at each moment. You may not think about what you are doing, but there are several things you must do to have a successful or operational business. If you plan to scale up eventually, you must be able to formalize these processes. Yes, they are called processes - your social media activities, your delivery activities, your accounting or financial activities (no matter how small they are) they are all processes. Here is a way you can begin to formalize your processes. Start by writing or voice recording them. Close your eyes, picture it and talk it through. You will find that you know a lot more than you think. From time to time, go back to what you have recorded or written, based on what you have learnt since, upgrade the information. You have just completed documentation. You are now on your way to creating a business that does not have you tied at the hips. Your assistants or successor will by now understand what you do and why. Their competence frees you up to grow the business in other ways or even take that long-awaited vacation. Is that not cool?

đ&#x;˜Š

Stay Motivated!

KAREN M. LOWE Executive Editor


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Copyright 2019 Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine. ISSN 2562-5330 (Print) ISSN 2562-5349 (Online) All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be copied, reprinted, displayed, edited or distributed without the written consent of Epigram Consulting Services Inc. Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine is a Canadian Magazine, published and distributed by Epigram Consulting Services, located in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.


Entrepreneurship

in Times of Uncertainty

I am an entrepreneur and researcher. As a researcher, I think in terms of tomorrow, not today. Statistics show that entrepreneurship increases when unemployment increases.

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he 2008 recession, which was not as bad as current world events, took the world ten years to recover. In light of this, ask yourself how long this economic downturn will take you to get back on your feet economically? In this time of uncertainty, several industries will change forever. In what direction will this change take you, your customers and your community? Use these questions to guide your decisions. Now is a time to pivot (see Issue 4).

Find a partner to brainstorm with and look at the following questions or scenarios: 1. Starting a new business. When deciding on which market to enter, there are three areas we must look at. √ New gap to fill. What gap in your industry has suddenly opened up, is unfulfilled and will continue to do so in the new norm of social distancing? How can you capitalize on this gap in filling a need?

√ Old gap to fill. There are old gaps that have gone unnoticed, now more so than before. How can I tap into this area and ease the pain, potential clients are experiencing? How can I initiate solutions with my current resources? √ Future gap to fill. Entrepreneurship best practice, before the market downturn, says entrepreneurs should be looking at what will happen to the market next year or in the next five years and consistently change with or before the market. Staying ahead of the market will be a little different, in that you must now consider a new norm. Once the economy starts picking up, what will people want that did not exist before. You will be creating a new market for this to work. Think Blue Ocean Strategy. 2. Keeping your business afloat should be a top priority. √ New directions based on what will happen when the current uncertainty ends. Is your current business equipped to handle the new type of market that will emerge? Many restaurants are being closed; when they reopen, they will have a smaller seating capacity, which may not allow for overhead costs to be met. What can you add to your existing services to meet the shortfall and increase customers? You may need to change your product offering or increase delivery methods. √ Expand your business to survive past the current uncertainty. How can you expand into totally new markets to ensure new income stream/s without deviating from your passion or your motivation for starting the business? In the case of restaurants, you may need to become a caterer.

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√ Status quo. I do not believe this is possible for anyone. However, if you think I am wrong, take a moment to examine; survey your client base to establish where they are. Is their disposable income the same as before the uncertainty? Will their spending habits be the same? 3. The potential for competition. It will increase in the world of entrepreneurship. How will this affect your business? √ Newly unemployed will seek to create their own opportunities instead of sitting at home looking. Research shows that innovations, no matter how small, can compete with any organization, including large and global corporations. How will you combat new competition that brings new innovative ideas? Partnerships are one way, but being aware of this threat is vital to mitigate risks. √ Entrepreneurs will seize an opportunity in your industry to fill a gap better than you. Some industries will struggle, and experienced entrepreneurs may look to change industries and be able to compete with you based on their history. They may seek to fill a gap you are not filling, inadvertently, creating a fuller ‘service offering’ that may include taking from your customer base.

require a formal or informal business plan. I have been asked many questions when selling my idea, had I not have a plan, I would not have been able to answer those questions. √ In some areas, current funding will be reduced temporarily. The usual methods of financing will not all remain available. There is also more competition for the available resources. √ Partnership resources will be great to increase capacity because there is less disposable income in the economy. Be prepared to be creative in your negotiations for resources. A direct financial resource is not the only way you can get help.

Mindset: fear can be a motivator or a demotivator. How you mentally deal with uncertainties will impact your success. Reach out to other entrepreneurs for support, do not try to do it alone. Having weekly or biweekly conversations about experiences will encourage and motivate you. Ask for help to avoid feeling overwhelmed. How you deal with the uncertainties mentally will impact your success. Reach out to other entrepreneurs for support, do not try to do it alone. Having weekly or biweekly conversations about experiences will encourage you. Ask for help to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

4. The overall impact the economy will have on your business must be considered. √ Planning will make you ready for new funding. Many entrepreneurs do not believe in business plans, but working with certain organizations

By: KAREN LOWE Founder of Epigram Consulting Services & Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine Contact: klowe@epigramconsulting.com

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Photo Credit: SABRINA DOMIZE

Taking The Plunge In A Crisis

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ooking back on my business and its growth, it is not what I envisioned when I started. Growing up, I never truly found anything I was “good� at. Friends and family members excelled at sports, music, and more, while I felt empty and struggling to find something in my life towards which I could excel. Two and a half years ago, while severely mentally struggling, I found that thing that I had been looking for.

routine, and as any mother who has dealt with anxiety and depression can tell you, it was no easy task. My son was a baby who always had to have something in his mouth. Whether that being a soother, his hands, or anything he could get his hands on. While looking to find a safe option for him to chew on, I went way beyond my comfort zone and decided to start my own business and create Little Chomperz Teethers.

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tarting, I never would have believed the overwhelming support and success that I have had in my small business. What began as a hobby to keep myself busy and take control of my anxiety has now become a way to allow myself to stay at home with my children and have a small amount of financial freedom to do activities with them. It has also allowed me to feel a sense of purpose and belonging outside of being a mother and wife. Being able to push myself, and wanting to keep things organized and run my business a certain way has helped me learn not to give up.

eptember 2017, I was exhausted both mentally and physically. I had a three-year-old, a two-month-old, Postpartum Anxiety and Depression. I was struggling to adjust to our new

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s the sole owner of my business, life can become hectic, trying to balance everything. Trying to keep a business successful while raising kids can be a juggling act most days. The majority of my work takes place after my kids go to bed for the night, with creating pieces, ordering supplies, packaging items, and arranging orders to be dropped off or mailed out. Making items, especially for little ones, can be a long, tedious process to ensure that they are meeting proper safety regulations. When starting out there was definitely a lot of trial and error to ensure I met those standards, but after a lot of research, planning, and time put in, I am very proud of and confident in the quality DRE A ME R 2 C RE A T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

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of our products. While most nights I am not in bed until late (and remain on schedule with the early morning wake up calls), I find myself more focused and relaxed when I do have some time to myself.

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long with making products, the majority of my time is spent taking product photos, editing photos, engaging with social media (which is a significant part of my business), as well as doing local drop-offs to customers who live in our area. Being able to do a lot of local drop-offs is really important to us, as we feel that helps us connect with our customers. Many people may not think about all the behind-the-scenes things that happen when you look at a business, but it definitely is time-consuming. Running a business, especially by yourself, is not always sunshine and rainbows. The exhaustion, self-doubt, and seemingly lack of hours in a day can take a severe toll on a creator. There have been many days of tears, discouragement, and wanting to give in.

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or anyone who runs a business or is thinking of taking the plunge themselves, I say go for it. Managing how to handle each task, especially if you are doing it all yourself, can be extremely overwhelming. One of the most significant pieces of advice I can offer is to delegate. Delegate tasks to your trusted support network; this will reduce anxiety levels and workload. Whether that be daily, weekly or monthly, having a list of tasks that need to be done or prioritized written or typed helps to keep me organized, focused, and less overwhelmed. Finding something that you love, and that makes you happy is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life.

By: JACY KING Little Chomperz Teethers Website: https://littlechomperzteethers.ca/ Contact: littlechomperzteethers@gmail.com

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FIVE BEAUTIFUL MESSES OF AN ENTREPRENEUR

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must admit since the moment I received the invitation to write an article, I have been wondering whether I had anything to offer? My business is relatively new, and I do not have a remarkable backstory. Then one morning, I thought: Just be real. My Instagram (IG) account did start as Life’s Beautiful Messes - which is the real with the not so lovely - that life throws our way. Talk about the struggles. Tell what you wish someone had told you. This whole process has been a great learning exercise from which I continue to gain more understanding each day.

1. Research Firstly, I do not consider myself a researcher of any sort! One afternoon I decided to do some research around my concept and started ordering products that evening! I had no expert knowledge of any aspect of the business I was about to venture into. I thought my idea of gift boxes filled with Canadian, designed, made, and owned products were unique. It is not! So although I found out that my idea is not so unique, it is still a great idea. People are wanting to keep their economy going by shopping locally, keeping their hard-earned money in Canada. People are also becoming much more conscious of the environment. Buying Canadian reduces our carbon footprint and contributes to protecting it. I was under the impression that to be able to order wholesale, I would have to order vast amounts at a

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considerable expense, so I ordered everything retail at first. That is not the case. As it cost me much more to order retail, to try to make any money I had to add to the cost, which meant the products became ridiculously expensive. I could not sell gift boxes at such inflated prices! Thankfully I had some wonderful family that helped me out with the products I paid retail for. I gifted a lot of the products. And I had to take a loss on anything left over. I asked some of the companies that I ordered retail from if I could use their products in my initial boxes before I ordered wholesale from them, and some of them so very graciously said yes. I have learned not to be afraid to ask questions.

2. Relationships Be sure your suppliers and partners are going to be supportive of you and your business. This is something I should have done before ordering

products from them. I just assumed it would be a given that everyone would be supportive. That is not the case. Be sure to ask if they will be adding you as a Stockist and whether they will follow your IG account (if they have IG). I think it is imperative to have the brands we are presenting and selling in our gift boxes stand behind us in this day of social media. These relationships can be very influential.

I always wished there was networking of small business entrepreneurs like myself, in my tiny town. The support would have made a world of difference to me.

3. Community I loathed asking for help, yet I always had so many questions. I always wished there was networking of small business entrepreneurs like myself, in my tiny town. The support would have made a world of difference to me. Computers have been and still can be my hardest struggle. Bookkeeping is not my thing, although I do very well on sticky notes if you can imagine! I still struggle at times with my Shopify shipping. I am still learning. If you struggle with any aspect; something like setting up your website, and it is consuming you, consider hiring someone to help you. Developing your workforce, the expertise and skillset needed to develop your business are critical. Initially, I did not have much choice but to figure out how to do most things on my own, which was stressful. However, it gave me great confidence that I lacked before. It is essential to be gentle with yourself and give yourself some time and credit.

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4. Product Quality Trying to find products was challenging. I like unique, new, beautifully packaged items. I would discover gorgeous brands and then I would find out Well.ca sells it. It was hard finding items they did not offer! I just kept searching. I did this because I love gift giving. I love beautiful things. I love supporting other Canadians. I wanted it to be more accessible for people to give gifts, even on a budget, knowing they are offering high-quality products presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. I had to connect with the messages and beliefs behind the products. I wanted lines that had not been around too long for the most part. I wanted them to be of high quality and ethically produced. Keep going until you find

very blessed with how it has turned out so far. I am so thankful for my clients and am a firm believer in letting them know how much I appreciate each of them. I missed quite a few critical steps that could have saved me time and money in the beginning, but the best thing about it all is, I made XARIACO all on my own! So go for it, just not as fast as I did! Slow down: do your research thoroughly; build the right and necessary relationships; network and build the capacity of the skillset essential to your business; secure the quality products that will be your unique selling point, and market your product to secure sales. If done right, the process that seems a mess will eventually reveal the beauty of its success.

what you like and want. And do not be afraid to discontinue a product if it no longer lines up with your business’ values.

5. Social Media I think social media is vital to talk about. It is useful for a myriad of things, including researching and testing the market, advertising, networking, recruitment and, most importantly, sales. Please remember numbers and likes do not define you. IG is great for getting your posts shown, but how many likes you get is not a reflection of your sales, value or worth. You may even be surprised who supports you in your venture and who does not. I have learned some extremely healthy life lessons through my business journey. I did not ever think I had thick enough skin for me to put myself out there like this, so this is huge for me. It has been necessary at times to take a break from social media and invest in myself. Listen to yourself, what you need. Give yourself credit when it is deserved. Others can be proud of you, but when you can be proud of you, without anyone else’s words of affirmation, that is what matters. Remember, you are daring to try, that is amazing!

By: Alana Swendseid, Website: https://xariaco.com/ Email: contactxariaco.gmail

I have a long way to go. I need to reach a more significant clientele, find my target market, but I feel

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TURNING YOUR CREATIVITY INTO A BUSINESS Starting a creative business as an entrepreneur presents its own set of unique challenges, but I would have to say that the most crucial element in starting a company like this is originality. Quite often I see people trying to start a business by just using templates off the internet or other people’s ideas to try and make a quick dollar, but in the long run that is not going to work. People want to see what you have to offer that is different, and that is where you can set yourself apart. Taking my ideas and making them come to life was and is a form of therapy.

I read a quote the other day that said “The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling,” and I think that is definitely true. From a very young age, I was always searching for an outlet for my creativity. Whether it be drawing, cooking, sewing or painting, I was always fascinated with art in all its forms. As my life progressed, regardless of what path I found myself taking, I have always been led back to my creative roots, where my passion, success and happiness lie. Ultimately, that is why I decided to start my own business, Jagged Little Pillows.

The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling. Fabienne Fredrickson, Mompreneur & Author

When I started Jagged Little Pillows, I was going through a really tough time in my life and needed some way to express myself. The business part stemmed from the fact that people ultimately liked my ideas and what I was creating. At the end of the day, what is going to set your business apart from others is the crucial factor that

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was the moment that I realized that people might really like what I have to offer and that with some work, my hobby could become something more. I love doing what I am doing. As with anything, hard work and dedication, as well as staying true to my craft, have helped me to progress and keep growing my business into something that I have become very proud of, while never forgetting what got me there in the first place.

started it in the first place, you. Your ideal clients will find you, and they will like you because of what you have to offer them. Staying true to that and keeping your product unique is essential and will keep them coming back. It is very easy to get caught up in comparisons on social media, and I think it is something we all struggle with, as entrepreneurs. However, if you find your niche and stick with it, people will come to you for it. You may not have a million followers on Instagram overnight, but the ones you do have will be real, and that is what is important.

Business: Jagged Little Pillows Jagged Little Pillows creates quirky, one of a kind, hand-sewn throw pillows and other home decors not only built to last but crafted to make you smile! Vibrant, modern and humorous (maybe even a little ironic at times). Jagged Little Pillows aims to create quality products that you will not find anywhere else. With a background in printmaking, all of the textiles are hand-picked, graphics designed individually and products handmade with hands in Swan River, Manitoba. Jagged Little Pillows loves to bring custom ideas to life and create uncommon goods for every home and occasion.

By: CHELSEY PALMER Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ Contact: jaggedlittlepillows@gmail.com

Being an entrepreneur means you need to constantly be changing and adapting to the market and current trends. Not only do you make your products, but sometimes you also have to be your marketer, designer, secretary, photographer, social media promoter, accountant, sales rep, customer service rep and many other things. I had no idea what I was doing when I started this crazy endeavour, but have been continuously learning and growing as I go. At my very first craft show, a small one in my home town, I started with only a few pillows and some other items. I definitely did not know what to expect, but ended up surprising myself and just about selling out. That

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Christen Irwin

sustainability: making the case for profitability

Please introduce yourself to our readers. Christen: I am Christen Irwin, the Founder, Owner and Creative Director of Ten and Co. What life experience do you feel led you to become an entrepreneur? Christen: As a young child, I have memories of my parents working for themselves. My dad is a lawyer, and he started his own firm. My mom worked in the nonprofit sector and consulted on the side. I saw the benefits of working for yourself, such as making your own hours, but I definitely recognize that it required a lot of hard work and really long hours. There is an immense amount of satisfaction that comes from working on that level. I worked for a firm for two years while trying to maintain some of my own clients. I was finding it hard to produce somebody else’s vision. It was important to start creating my own designs and products and ultimately fulfil my vision.

evolution, or as a gift; this fabulous kit will help people aiming to swap items into their home to live more sustainable, with ease. It includes eco-friendly tote bags, market tags, sponge cloths, dishwashing blocks, like soap blocks, and scrubbies. We have several exciting projects in the works right now.

I was finding it hard to produce somebody else’s vision. It was important to start creating my own designs and products and ultimately fulfill my vision.

First, tell me about the name Ten and Co. Christen: Ten and Co. was initially founded with myself and a good friend of mine. Both of us have similar names. Her name is Kirsten, and my name is Christen, and we both had ‘ten’ in our names. I played on the term ten and created Ten and Co.

Can you share the history and progression of your company? Christen: Ten and Co. is a holistic, eco-friendly home goods company. It is our goal to create products that you love, but that are also sustainable. We are improving the lives of the producers of our products, but also the end-user of our product and the overall production circle.

Tell me about your products. Christen: We have the Swedish Sponge Cloth in three different sizes. We also have tea towels. We are coming out in the next three to five months with a full kitchen eco swap kit. It is a full kit that would be great for new consumers of the sustainable living

We started in 2013. I was gifted a sponge cloth about ten years ago when I was in design school and thought they were just the most fabulous thing I had ever seen. I thought it was amazing that not only were they eco-friendly, but I thought they were much more effective and functional than the classic jay

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Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

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of business, we were written up in the LCBO Food and Drink magazine. That was super exciting because it showcased the product to a large number of potential customers. We were one of the first to bring sponge cloths to market in Canada. We kept it a cash business. We did not look for capital elsewhere. We recognized early that people really liked the product. Slowly the business grew enough that we were able to implement additional products. We currently sell to 200 stores worldwide, and we hope to double that number in the next year.

cloth or any other microfiber cloth on the market. As far as I knew, the sponge cloth had not made it to the North American marketplace. However, they were in the kitchen of every person that lives in Scandinavia. I decided that I could and would design my own. That is where the business started; recognizing a hole in the market, and incorporating it with my knowledge of design. I started playing with ideas and patterns, focusing on what I could do differently than what has been done before. Those differences are still evident today. Our company tagline says, ‘We design with your home in mind.’ We put time and thought into how the consumer will use the products in kitchens. We utilize our knowledge of interior design to create modern pieces that will complement the modern looks throughout the home. We started small in Canada; we invested only what we could afford. My partner and I took the jump and wanted to see if people liked it. Within the first year

There are two directions for sustainable businesses. Some are 100% sustainable, and some have sustainable elements. How did your business exist in both scenarios? Christen: We started with sustainable components because seven years ago, it was not our priority; we originally shipped in plastic mailers. Over the years, the importance of being eco-friendly and sustainable became a clear possibility that we wanted to prioritize. We believe that we should take ownership of what our company produces and what we are putting into the world. We started looking for eco-friendly alternatives for packaging. I believe that anyone interested in making the switch towards 100% sustainability can do so. It does cost more money, but there is usually a tradeoff. The tradeoff for us was that we were able to streamline our marketing; our packaging reflects our product which reflects our message. I apply this thinking to my everyday life as well. If my kids pull out a Ziploc bag, they know that we are going to wash it and reuse it. It is important for me to live in a way that reflects my business. Sustainability is a factor that more and more consumers are looking for, so it is something that more and more companies should be considering.

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Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

How do you find your customers considering you are selling something that is more expensive? Christen: It is very much a niche market and social media is very important for us. We align with influencers that live and breathe the holistic, sustainable life. In general, the eco-friendly consumer base is huge and continues to grow on a yearly basis. We seek out the influencers that we feel will represent our brand well. We also reach out to

Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

Being sustainable is more expensive. How do you make it profitable? Christen: You must be prepared to look at the big picture. Our actual products are what I would consider a premium product. There are other companies producing similar products, but they differ in where and how they are produced. We try to balance everything out. The shipping, for example, is absorbed by the company, because we believe that in the long run, we would get more orders from happy consumers. I think in some industries, and with particular products, people are willing to pay more knowing that the product they are purchasing is a higher quality and ethically made. Every business owner needs to think strategically and realize that there are options in becoming a sustainable business while still making a profit.

magazines that are of a high calibre that we feel our clientele would be interested in reading. We have an amazing community, and we regularly thank them. At Christmas, we send free products and previews for the spring, to thank them for being such amazing followers and customers. Engagement goes a long way and recognizing that your customers can choose to purchase anywhere, but they are choosing to purchase with you, should be valued. What is your take and experience with internet influencer marketing? Christen: We have worked with micro-influencers who have 5,000 to 10,000 followers, and just require free products to review on their platforms. That is an affordable way to work with an influencer. That being said, there are influencers that charge thousands of dollars for a post, and we have tried that method as well. It is a hit or miss situation. Sometimes we will seek out an influencer that we

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Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

over the last seven years with our producer in Sweden. Having an authentic Swedish product is something we feel really strongly about. As we move forward on other products, we are not only looking within Canada, but we are looking at other countries for production. Production is inexpensive outside of Canada. While looking for less expensive production options in other countries, we intentionally only consider companies that represent the same or surpass the ethics and standards that we follow. It is extremely important to us that if we go beyond our Canadian borders that we enter into a business relationship that is mutually beneficial, where employees are treated well. One of our producers have onsite daycare for their female workers, they teach skills to these women, and they celebrate all major milestones. That’s something that we feel really good about.

feel has fantastic engagement, and realize that we are wrong, and the relationship is not beneficial. Financially, your company needs to be in a position to risk losing $1,000 or more on an Instagram post. Obviously, the hope is that you will gain traction from the interaction, but nothing is guaranteed with social media. If you are new to internet influencing marketing, micro-influencers are a great place to start.

How did you get your second and fourth clients? Christen: Most of our business is through our social media platforms and our wholesale accounts. All 200 of our current retailers contacted us. We are starting to target specific brands that we think we will align with, and it takes time, energy and focus. I think targeting brands and researching wholesale accounts or retailers that represent your business is a strategic move; send them a professional package with your information. We just completed a look book and packaged it with samples of our products. The returns on that investment have been huge. Businesses need to take risks and recognize that pounding the pavement is required. Ask for help and use any and all resources available.

Some of your products are made in Sweden, and some are made in Canada. How has the Shop Local campaign affected you? Christen: Considering our very first product was and is still made in Sweden, being locally made is not something that we promise. Some of our products are locally made, and we do our best to keep those products in Canada. At the end of the day, we are looking for the best producers to benefit our end user. We have had a fabulous standing relationship

Name business challenges or obstacles that you have experienced while operating your business. Christen: As a designer and someone who comes from a creative background, I struggled with wanting to design everything and create everything all at once. I got excited about new products and new patterns; I want to bring them all out at the same time. One of the mistakes I made was convincing myself that a pattern or a product that I came up with was amazing, despite what everyone said. I

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would go ahead and produce it, but it wouldn’t sell well. Realistically when you start out, you only have so much money to produce something. We started with a limited run of five patterns in three different colours and started to see what sold the best. For us specifically, we used social media as a tool to help us decide what will be the most popular, and it revealed critical information. We constantly are asking our customers what they want to see. I have learned that you do not always have the same taste as your customer and should listen attentively to their wants. Listening to the opinions of others and suggestions from my customers has brought me success. When we have listened to our customers, their preferred products do really well; sometimes we adjust our plans because of what they have shared with us

Entrepreneurship is heavy on time and mental capacity. You have children, and you have a husband. Were you ever tempted to give up? Christen: Oh, yeah! I can be very honest and say that I do not deal with criticism well. I have gotten better, but I really struggle with negative feedback. I have recognized that it is probably the most important feedback you can get because it offers learning opportunities. I struggled with it, and there were definitely times when I wanted to quit; sometimes, after receiving negative feedback or when orders felt overwhelming. I think recognizing your personal issues of struggle and pushing through them makes entrepreneurs stronger and establishes a stronger business.

Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

What helps you to push through those times when you wanted to give up? Christen: My husband is incredibly supportive, and he is fantastic at providing perspective. Sometimes I get bogged down by what is going on with work. Talking about it with a third party gives a different perspective; it’s not always as bad as I think it is. As well, the last couple of years, I have started to selfeducate. I recognize that personal growth is just as important as business growth. Becoming a stronger, confident and happy person while strategically surrounding myself with key people, plays a role in who I am becoming. You have worked with a partner, and you have worked alone. Please share your experience with us. Christen: As I mentioned before, I started the business with a friend. I bought her out a few years ago because she moved in another direction. There are benefits to having a partner. You have somebody else to bounce ideas off when working with a partner. Sometimes pulling the trigger and ordering a new product, or investing $10,000 or $20,000 into a new product can be scary; sharing that fear with somebody else is comforting. From a creative perspective having a partner can be difficult. You may not always see eye to eye in terms of the creative direction of the company or a product.


The first one is asking your customers what they want to see or how your product can be improved.

How do you feel your children view you and your business, and how much do you feel they know? Christen: They see my business up close. My son is six, and my daughter will be four. My husband works downtown for a large finance company. My husband and I come from very different business worlds. My son gets to see the full lifecycle of a product. He sees me sketch designs and then takes it into my computer and print off digital templates. He then sees the hard samples in person and lastly, views the products in a magazine. My son is proud of me and thinks the process is very cool. He has an amazing opportunity to see two different ways of earning a living and supporting your family. He recognizes that mommy is at work, and it looks different than when dad is at work.

Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

Personally, I wanted to preserve my friendship. I feel that the business may not have been as successful in a partnership as it is now, as a corporation with one creative director. If your partners are from different backgrounds, such as business, finance or marketing, it could be very complimentary. In my case, we were both very creative. Although we did see eye to eye on a lot of things, there were a few things that we saw differently. Being on my own is fantastic. I essentially make all of the decisions with insight from my team and my customers. At the end of the day, it is super scary to pull the trigger on a product and put that lump sum behind something that you have not tested yet, but I also recognize now, that is a good fear.

I recognize that my work sometimes spills over into my personal life. However, I strive to keep them separate. I do not want my business to take over my life and spill over into the time that I do have with my kids. Being an entrepreneur, it is incredibly easy to work 24/7, but that should not be the reality, especially when you have a young family. Even if you are single, you need to have hours that are just for yourself. Once again, I think that makes the entrepreneur a stronger person and in turn, a stronger businessperson. What are three tips or ideas that entrepreneurs can use to generate ideas for upgrading their product or service? Christen: The first one is asking your customers what they want to see or how your product can be improved. The second would be using your own product or service on yourself. Take on the perspective of a consumer. ‘Is there a better option out there?’ ‘Is this the best it can be?’ Is it being

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produced the best way that it can be?’ ‘Is it being packaged the best way it can?’ ‘Is it designed as well as it can be?’ Really picking it apart from square one and seeing if there are any improvements that can be made. That has definitely happened with some of our products where they have evolved over time because we picked it apart. Lastly, ask close friends to be brutally honest with you. I’m very fortunate to have a lot of friends that are creative and in marketing. They are straight with me. They tell me what they think I’m doing right or wrong and what can be improved and, and I take that to heart. I do not ask and then nod my head. I write it down, and I buy them dinner, and I really think about what they said. Anything you would like to share what was not asked? Christen: From a mom’s perspective, I really struggled through the years of having young kids and trying to figure out how to run the business at the

Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

Photo Credit: RACHEL THAM

same time. I felt tight for time, wanted and needing to spend time with my young children, but wanting to develop my business as well. Know that there will come a time when the kids get older, and they go to school, or whatever situation you may have, dies down. If you feel strongly about the business idea, or the product or the service, you will find the time, and you will make it happen. I struggled with finding the time and thought, maybe I just should not do this. But time passed, and I decided that I am going to give this my all and the rewards have been tenfold. It is amazing, and it is worth it. Follow your passion!

Contact: www.tenandco.ca/

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advertise with us 647-955-3567 ads@dreamer2creatormag.ca

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influencer Marketing: My Experience

A learning curve for me was studying and understanding the ins and outs of Instagram (IG). At first, using IG, as a personal user, was liking pictures that resonated with what I liked and moving on to the next. IG, as a business owner, is a whole different world! It is all about the algorithms and engagement, figuring out what to post and what people and your customers want to see. Where IG was concerned, my mind was spinning! I was on another level. Luckily, I have a friend who is well versed in this world and has helped me tremendously, which led me to the unpredictable world of Influencer Marketing. As I started my business IG journey, I posted pictures of my bracelets and custom pieces that I made for friends and family, but I found that this in itself was not enough, I needed to add more of a personal touch to my feed.

Gifting Collaboration

Trial and Error As a new entrepreneur, this was not a new concept that I had to become familiar with. We grow up most of our lives living through trial and error and the consequences that come with it. For example, if I scream like this, I will get that. But as an entrepreneur, you are more inclined to make certain decisions and changes that may be successful or detrimental to your business.

When I first started my company last year, I knew I had to get my brand out there to be the place where you can shop for mala bracelets for your friends, family and yourself! I knew that IG was a great place to start, but did not know how or where exactly to begin. My friend mentioned to me that I should reach out and send bracelets to IG accounts that had many followers and so I started reaching out to people whom I thought matched what my brand represents. I set out on a journey sending messages to influencers. They started responding right away, and I was thrilled! I asked them if they wanted to choose a bracelet from my shop or make

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a custom piece for them in exchange for a shout out or a post on their feed. What I have learned from gifting is that the content seems more genuine. The influencers receiving the gift are a little more grateful and are genuinely happy to spread the news of your products. It even led to one of them giving me a lead to stock my bracelets at a wellness centre. I am forever grateful for that and could not thank them enough!

knowledgeable and friendly. It sounded amazing! You could post your product for influencers to claim (similar to the company I was working with before doing it on my own). The influencers are held accountable for the content that they post; they must follow the guidelines you put into place, for example, the theme of the content, any captions or hashtags. They have different options to choose from, for example, if you wanted an influencer to do a shoutout, host a giveaway, or become brand ambassadors.

Paid Collaboration

In my experience, I had to chase influencers to see if they received the bracelet I sent them, find out when and what they were going to post; it was an added stress that I did not need at that point on my journey. I had to seriously evaluate why I was paying for a service where I was doing all the legwork. So, I decided to do it on my own. Let me be clear; it is challenging! To send endless amounts of Direct Messages (DMs) and either have no response or a response where they want compensation for their plans – I do realize that this is a reality of today’s IG world, however, being a small company with a limited budget, this was just not an option for me at the moment.

I partnered with a company that works with brands and influencers. It was a paid venture, and the outcome was not what I expected. This experience does not suggest that working with companies that provide these services are all a bust. There are many influencer marketing companies that are available; you have to choose the right one that will work with your company and brand within your budget. Shop and Shout is one of the many influencer marketing companies that I was eager to work with, but sadly my budget did not allow. I had a telephone meeting with them during which they explained to me the ins and outs of what they had to offer. They were very

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Some takeaways from this experience were that it was reasonably cheap to do it on your own, but a lot of work – reaching out to the influencer, making sure they received the product; making sure they followed your instructions when posting; following up on when they will post; the list can go on forever. The content that you get in exchange is either amazing or can be a bust. When it gets down to it, you will have to base your decision on whether you can fit a paid partnership into your budget, and if not, be prepared to do the extra work – remembering that your time is of value as well. If you decide to do it on your own, you will need to ask yourself questions like – are you drawn to their feed? Does it resonate with your brand and image? Once you get that down to a science, then you will be well on your way to getting your brand and products out there! I have met some wonderful influencers that I have and continue to work with. They have posted some amazing content that I can repost on my feed. I have found and continue my journey of finding influencers that would like to receive my product for free in exchange for a post/shout out and hope to one day have a budget big enough for paid partnership services. There are still so many things that I need to figure out on this journey, and I know that there will be many more trials and errors to go along with the experience. As long as I am learning and growing on this path to developing my business, I am happy to continue the journey. DRE A ME R 2 C RE A T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

By: EMILIE ROBICHAUD Founder of Beneva Designs Website: https://www.benevadesigns.com/ Contact: benevadesigns@gmail.com

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Instagram Stories Are Trending: Hop On This Trend For More Exposure To Your Business

Instagram stories are a fantastic way to be more relaxed about the type of content you are sharing on social media, which also takes some of the pressure off. And just because we use the term “relaxed� does not mean that there is no need for a strategy, AND it does not mean that they are used for fluff and filler either (although sprinkling that in can always be a part of your plan). In fact, an Instagram Stories strategy is key to using them effectively as part of your overall business marketing and branding approach. Did you know that Instagram Stories are used by more than 500 million users daily? This data was collected internally by Instagram in January 2019, so I can only imagine what the statistics are today. We know that as a business owner, in this day and age, the human to human connection has become even more crucial. That means we need to be relatable and available to our audience. Instagram

M

y current favourite asset to use inside Instagram is Stories. I will be honest; it used to stress me out because of the need to continually create content for them, as they disappear in a short 24 hours. However, once I spent some time creating a strategy for how to use them to enhance my online presence, I was all in in no time.

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instagram stories are a fantastic way to be more relaxed about the type of content you are sharing on social media,

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Stories allow us to offer snippets of insight, awareness and information in order to attract and engage new and existing clients. We can do this in a less formal way, as raw and real is where it is at with stories. Instagram Stories are short and fun and allow you the opportunity to shine some of your personality and your business personality all in the same space. We can use stories to educate, inspire, entertain and empower our audience all in a few short clips. Some of the areas in stories that I encourage you to explore are stickers, polls, questions, hashtags, mentions, filters and videos. Some ideas for how to use Instagram Stories: • Plant seeds of what is coming in your business – You can create some behind the scenes shots or even video snippets as teasers to peak curiosity. • Announcements – Use Instagram Stories whenever you have some news to share (e.g. new products, workshops, events.) • Features – You can feature customers, fans, favourite products, behind the scenes at your office. • Professional Development – Take a picture when you are at a networking event, a conference or a workshop. • Just be YOU – Whether you are the face of your brand as an entrepreneur or not, putting yourself out there is another opportunity to humanize your brand and to gain human to human connection. There are so many ideas for how you can creatively and effectively use stories. If creating a strategy stresses you out, then I encourage you to spend some time scrolling through the stories of the people whom you follow and gain some ideas and inspiration. And then jump right in! After all, you can always delete one if you feel uncomfortable, AND they do disappear in 24 hours.

By: AMANDA GOBATTO Website: https://digitalgirlconsulting.com/ Contact: amanda@digitalgirlconsulting.com

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Planning an Event

Five Key Elements to Establish first

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ost Events are exciting, and when we get the idea, our instinct is to MAKE IT HAPPEN, NOW! Do not lose that enthusiasm; just reign it in for a quick moment and consider the following things to help you build the foundation for a successful event!

1

Event Purpose

Establishing why you are putting on the event will help to keep your planning on track and keep you from straying off course by all the “shiny objects” that inevitably come up during the planning and execution process. So ask yourself, “Why do I want to host this event?” and be honest with yourself! The purpose of the event could be community building, a product launch, client appreciation, brand awareness, education, or even to create warm leads for an upcoming workshop, class, or product. There are many reasons you could host an event; it is important to take the time at the onset to establish clarity on your specific purpose.

2

Event Goals

To evaluate the success of an event, you need to set clear goals beforehand, so you have something to measure the outcome. Again, be honest with your goals. They can be anything from attendance numbers, ticket revenue, sales revenue at the event, media impressions, creating community, booking future meetings, new clients, and more. Decide what is truly important for you and your business, write it down, and then establish how you are going to achieve it!

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Make sure that you schedule your post-event debrief in advance, as this is another critical element of the event. Involve those who were a part of the planning and execution process and be open to the feedback from everyone involved. Once you have reviewed your goals, you can refine them and determine how to make improvements for future events. Improving your process for future events will allow you to be more efficient with your time and money, as well as realizing the specific outcomes of your aim.

3

Target Audience

Much like establishing your ideal client, with each event, it is essential to be specific in whom you want at the event. Is it existing clients, vendors, prospects, adults, children or influencers? And “everyone” is not an acceptable response!

5

Event Budget

Before you do ANYTHING, set your budget! The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a venue that you cannot afford or make promises to guests about what to expect only to have to remove them due to cost. Being clear about your resources beforehand will allow for easier decision making throughout the process! Some high-level areas to include in your budget are a venue, food, beverage, entertainment, photography, videography, advertising, décor, audiovisuals A/V, rentals, licenses/ insurance, event planner, event host, and gifts/swag. Events, when done right, are a high impact way to showcase your business, your expertise, your brand, and your community. Maximize the opportunity through proper planning, execution, and intention.

You can have primary and secondary markets that you want to target, but be sure you take the time to understand why you want this particular audience and how they relate to your event purpose and goals. Being clear on whom you want at the event will also allow you to create brand messaging that will speak directly to your ideal audience.

4

Key Brand Elements

Before you get carried away with all the details, list the key elements of your brand that you want to weave throughout the event. It includes everything from colours to textures, to the overall feel/vibe of the event. Once you have this list, you can brainstorm how to incorporate these elements at each touchpoint. An often overlooked touchpoint that sets the tone for the entire experience is the welcome/registration upon arrival at the event. It allows you to set the stage and intention as well as project the energy of the event onto your guests as they arrive.

By: JOCELYN DAVISON The Virtual Effect Website: https://www.thevirtualeffect.com/ Contact: jocelyn@thevirtualeffect.com

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Three Tips To Help

Prepare For Tax Season

It is time to gather your documents and organize your paperwork. If you planned well, this process should be simple. However, I know for many, this can be a very stressful time. Before I get into the tips, here is some general information relating to tax filings.

General Tax Filing If you are running a business, let us clear up any confusion regarding which kind of tax return you are required to file. If you are a sole proprietor, then you are not a separate legal entity from the owner. You

can report all of your business income and expenses on form T2125, Statement of Business or Professional Activities of your personal tax return. If you have a balance owing, it is due April 30th; however, your tax return is not due until June 15th. If you are incorporated, then you need to file a T2 Corporation Income Tax Return. This return is due six months after your corporate year-end. If you have a tax balance owing, it is due 2-3 months after your year-end (depending on the type of corporation you have). If you are on an installment schedule, you will have to pay your tax balance throughout the year.

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Throughout the year, when you receive anything tax-related, please keep it in a separate folder marked for your taxes. Input your expenses frequently to stay on top of your bookkeeping. There are many choices you can make throughout the year that can affect the amount of taxes you owe. By waiting until close to your tax deadline, it is often too late to plan to optimize your situation correctly. For example, if you are incorporated, and have no other sources of income, it is vital to plan accurately and pay yourself either a salary or dividend to ensure you are taking advantage of the basic personal tax credits available.

GST/HST Registration If your business makes more than $30k over four consecutive calendar quarters, you are required to collect GST/HST on your taxable sales and must, therefore, register for a GST/HST registration number. Failure to do so can cost you 13% of taxable sales (in Ontario), as you would have been required to collect and remit the GST/HST on taxable sales. If you do not meet the $30k threshold, you can still voluntarily register to collect GST/HST. If you are a GST/HST registrant, you would be required to file a GST/HST return, Form GST34 (frequency of filing depends on taxable income).

Tip #2 - Set Aside Money For Taxes Frequently reviewing your books will help you stay on top of your businesses’ performance and keep you aware of any items you need to address. If you have taxable income, you are going to have to pay tax. Avoid the shock by setting money aside for taxes throughout the year. Unpaid taxes can incur penalties and interest from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Please make sure you have money available when you need it. A good habit is to set aside a portion of the revenue you earn from each client/customer.

Now that you have a better understanding of your tax filing obligations, here are three tips to help prepare you for tax season, and avoid last-minute stress.

Tip #1: Stay Organized And Plan Ahead A common mistake is to wait until April (or the tax return filing deadline) to concern yourself with your taxes. Start organizing your tax documents as you receive them to make the process of filing your tax return less overwhelming.

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Tip #3 - Take Advantage Of Tax Deductions Available To You Some often-missed expenses by entrepreneurs/business owners are home office expenses and business use of motor vehicle expenses.

Home Office Expenses You can deduct expenses for the business use of a workspace in your home, as long as you meet one of the following conditions: n It is your principal place of business n You use the space only to earn your business income, and you use it on a regular and ongoing basis to meet your clients, customers, or patients. Allowable expenses include property taxes, mortgage interest (or rent), heat/electricity, home insurance, and cleaning materials. To calculate the part you can deduct, use a reasonable basis such as the area of the workspace divided by the total area of your home.

Business Use Of Vehicle Keep a daily vehicle log of the kilometres driven for business use. This log (which may be requested by the CRA) provides the basis for a ratio of personal to business use that is applied when computing allowable vehicle expenses. If you are incorporated, you can use a rate per km based on the CRA allowable rates. If you consider these recommendations, hopefully, the tax season will not be overwhelming for you. If your tax situation gets too complicated for you to handle on your own, seek the help of a tax professional.

By: ANASTASIA GAZAREK Website: http://eversavvy.ca/ Contact: anastasia@eversavvy.ca


“FAILURE IS JUST A RESTING PLACE. IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN AGAIN MORE INTELLIGENTLY.”

Henry Ford, Industrialist

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FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCT MIX FOR YOUR BUSINESS

I am Erin, and I run a small shop called PrairieWilds – we are a small batch organic and sustainable clothing shop in Alberta. I am very excited to share with you some tips and tricks that I have learned over the course of my entrepreneur life on how to create the right product mix for your company – so let us get down to business!

STEP 1

Listen to your customer OK – I feel like this one should be a no brainer, but so many businesses (including mine) can be myopic about their products. As an owner, you can fall in love with something, put hours of work, sweat and money into it only to have it sit on the shelves. Seeking input from your customers via Facebook, Instagram, trade events, markets (to name a few) – is truly the best way to know if you are on the right track. So before you decide to add that full-body sleep sweater vest to your line up – you might want to check in with the people who follow, buy and love your shop, they will tell you the truth!

Photo Credit: TRACEY JAZMIN

STEP2

The law of attraction Often seeking out items that are complementary to one another allows for cohesiveness with your brand. If you are a candle company, it may not be a good idea to branch out into jewelry. Setting up collections that are capsule, or run together is a great idea. This strategy also lends itself to your customer purchasing more than 1 item. So if you sell bootie slippers – a scrunchie, head wrap, scarf or toque will engage the customer to see your products

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seeking out items that are complementary to one another allows for cohesiveness with your brand.

Photo Credit: TRACY JAZMIN

in complementary use with one another, and they will be more likely to buy more. If they cannot see themselves in it, they will not buy it.

At the end of it all, every day brings new opportunities to partner and grow your small business. Creating the right product mix takes trial and error – sometimes, the errors are not bad ideas, but sometimes they are happy accidents that turn out to be winners! Do not be afraid of mistakes, relish in them and learn from them! As a small shop owner, I have made a laundry list of errors, but I know that I never make the same mistake twice – and for that there is wine, there is always wine! Stay Sassy my friends! Erin

STEP 3

Scarcity

is too late. This practice will also help you pivot if something you have is not working – so sell those candles that smell like feet at a steal to get them off your shelves, cause nobody is buying that!

Photo Credit: TRACEY JAZMIN

I have found for one reason or another – being able to please everyone is not something an entrepreneur can do. If I have joggers, there will be someone who wants shorts; if I have a dress, there will be someone looking for a shirt; where I have purple, they will wish to have a choice of pink – you get the point. You cannot please everyone – so having something for everyone should not be your goal. As a small shop owner, it is also hard to carry and pay for a lot of inventory, so the law of scarcity goes a long way for you. Once this item is gone, it is not coming back – so my advice is if you love it, buy it now before it By: ERIN RUTA OF PRAIRIE WILDS Website: https://prairiewilds.com/ Contact: info@prairiewilds.com

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BUSINESS: THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE


resources DIY VIDEO EDITING

Headliner

Marketing is generally a critical success factor for your

Headliner makes it easy to turn your audio into full-

business. Videos are the number one way to get noticed,

featured videos. You can make a simple audiogram with

but what if you are not good at video creation? Features

one image and a waveform, or an entirely customized

include trimming, cutting, cropping, rotating, speed

video with many images, text, and effects. Include

control, and more. Below is a starting point in creating

captions and is geared more for podcasts which have

marketing videos with an eye on financial returns.

mostly audio content. Maximum lengths for common social media platforms:

Most free versions of video editors/creators will have the

Twitter - 2 minutes and 20 seconds

company’s watermark. Also, each option has a unique

Instagram - 1 minute

feature, and some are easier to use than others. I found

Instagram Stories - 15 seconds

Spark to be a little more complicated than the others but

Snapchat - 10 seconds

still not hard to use.

Full Episode – 2 Hours

DIY websites like Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, etc. have

Price: Free option; 10 videos per month share directly to

their own internal video creating apps. Windows and

social media sites

Apple also have video editing software.

Headliner Pro $12.95 Customized watermark.

Below are standalone options. Clipchamp Magisto converts your videos into professional-looking

Recording, compressing, converting, and live recording

ones. Videos are up to 10 minutes long.

capabilities.

No free version

Price: Has a free version and the next step up is Basic $0

Premium $4 - unlimited downloads, premium editing

with 480p SD; Creator US$9 with 720p HD; Business US$19

styles. Professional $9 - unlimited downloads, premium

1080p HD

editing styles. Business $34 Adobe Spark is a tad bit more challenging to use but is Moovly: Build your videos from scratch or use templates.

still a comprehensive option. It is from the Adobe family

Free: Limited free stock photos. Publish to Youtube and

of editing software, so they know creativity.

Vimeo.

Free features: Limited number of free mages and icons

Pro $49 HD download quality, no watermark, unlimited

Features: Individual $9.99; Team $19.99; personalization

uploads. Max $99 Use own fonts, advance features, screen

with logos and colours;

and webcam recording.

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“THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DO IT, IS TO DO IT.”

Amelia Earhart, Pilot


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Profile for Dreamer 2 Creator Magazine

Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine Issue 6  

Issue 6 delve into the world of sustainable business. How can you make your eco-friendly business profitable and sustainable.

Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine Issue 6  

Issue 6 delve into the world of sustainable business. How can you make your eco-friendly business profitable and sustainable.