If you’ve been visiting this blog site and observed a sudden lack of activity, you are noticing a real lack of updates. The reason is that my writing bandwidth and energy has been drained by the demanding challenge of producing content for Ontario Construction News (while maintaining other business operations).
Despite the writing stress, I don’t doubt my decision to bootstrap the new business, relying on sweat equity with support from a truly competent writer who is being compensated for half-time work as an independent contractor.
The original business plan called for several weeks of daily publishing without revenue generation — and a delay of a month to even start the publishing cycle (so we wouldn’t have started the daily schedule until June 1 and started selling the publication’s key reason for being — specialized legal “certificate” notice advertisements — until July 2.) And I would have staffed the editorial responsibilities with a full-time editor from the actual publishing start-up.
From a business launch perspective even this “risky” strategy would have been relatively inexpensive — I forecast a start-up budget of $10,000 or so.
But what if we could do it for less — to the point that the risk (outside of stress) would be insignificant?
The decision to accelerate the launch by a month in part reduced start-up revenue projections, for two reasons. First, with knowledge of the market and volume for these specialized ads, i know the early spring months are the slowest time of the year. And conservative advertisers might want to hold off unless they are satisfied that their project qualifies to publish under the terms of the new Ontario Construction Act rather than the former Construction Lien Act. Transition rules in the legislation mean that the current legislation only applies to project started or in pre-start active procurement stages after July 1, 2018.
These “costs” of an earlier start were offset by the decision to boil down costs to the minimum and to start selling the legal notice ads from day one of daily publication, because as far as I can tell, we would be 100 per cent legally compliant with the rules if we did.
We’ve now produced eight issues on the daily cycle and sold five ads. Hardly enough to get rich, but certainly there is some revenue to pay some of the costs of the part-time writer.
I’m encouraged by some early signs of traction and take-up as we publish enough real news to keep things interesting. So far the stress isn’t killing me — but I acknowledge that researching and writing this blog (and even maintaining the judging process for the annual Best Construction Blog competition) has been challenging.
But the good news is that I think this weekend I’ll have things set up well enough that this blog will come back to life next week. Overall it’s quite a bit of fun, if a lot of stress, to make the new business happen.