94 is a start-up journey blog series that captures Jamie’s first weeks at Amplify during the summer of 2018. The summer of 2018 was the soft launch of Amplify Advisors & the blog captures the weekly journaling of a co-founder. 94 has been released one year later as a reflection of how far Amplify has come in one short year.
Well, I might have made a mistake! I should have quit my job after Stampede so that I could have scored better tickets and events! Being a new entrepreneur doesn't have the same perks in this area.
Having said that, we are half way through Stampede and I’m feeling like the minor activities and events I do have are making it hard to get things done and are wearing me out, so maybe more would have been too much.
(For those unfamiliar with the Calgary Stampede -- it is our annual rodeo and summer event. Business nearly shuts down and is replaced with networking pancake breakfasts, BBQ lunches, happy hours, the rodeo, chuck wagons, beer tents, fair visits, family activities, nights out and country music for 10 days)
Here’s my 10 top items that I’m busy getting through despite my limited/exhausting Stampeding
1. What accounting software are we going to partner with?
This has proven to be challenging because of all the different levels of software and the people that know one level aren’t aware of the next - kinda like Jupiter vs Venus. It’s easy to decide among the bookkeeper/small business solutions - basically we need to choose between Xero, Quick Books Online and Sage.
The challenge is understanding the next level up and when we will need to go there, as well as what the options are. So far it seems to be Microsoft, NetSuite, or Intact. Lots of emails, calls, demos, reading, probing new contacts in this world and other research and effort is going towards this big decision. We want to be decisive and we want to develop expertise and leverage standardized processes on one (or two) systems.
2. Apps, apps and more apps
I fully dove into TSheets (everyone loves them and they gave out amazing socks so it seemed obvious at the time)! I know better and should have done my research and system selection process because I took 90++ minutes setting it all up only to discover that you cannot edit their invoices and they don’t deal with tax, including GST. I called them to question this as they are in Canada where we have the GST? So disappointing. So now I’ve moved on to Harvest and the quotes alone seem to make it pleasant.
Looking at optical character recognition (OCR) and the receipt scanner options for the bookkeeping software and it is between Receipt Bank and Hub Doc.
For my client(s) and possibly us, I am looking at Expensify and the alternatives for expense forms.
I’ve looked at other apps too - proposal writing, purchase orders, practice management, reporting, forecasting - these demos are certainly taking a big chunk of my days!
3. Working on my client as well as planning/preparing for my 2nd one. Lots to learn and set up. Overall it’s been great so far.
4. Finalizing my draft contract (or engagement letter). Eventually we will need a legal review of this, but hopefully it does the trick to start with. Chipping away at other marketing content too including our start-up package.
5. Finally got my business number for my holding company. This allows me to set up my investment accounts. One small thing missing though - the cash to live, let alone the cash to invest! But best to set up for success, right?!
6. Finally received a payroll/recruiting contract from a business affiliate to review. Business partnering is proving less fruitful than I’d anticipated.
I hope it improves as I think collaboration is the best way to move forward but when there’s money involved people stop being as generous and helpful! On that end though, business karma is a strong energy so I’m going to keep charging this path of helping others.
7. Meeting with people and more people but keeping my official “blitz” for the fall. So far just being responsive and meeting those that reach out. Responding and following up is a lot to keep up with - I’m going to need a few of me when we start our blitz!!
8. Final selection of logo! So exciting! This adds items to the to-do list though, including business cards and more. 99 designs has been amazing. We've had 144 submissions with over 80 logos that I have been more than okay with. This process did make me recognize the “issues” with our initial ideas though - many of them had AA and I wasn’t fond of that connotation! I also paid to get our website text reviewed by an English student and submitted it to the 99 design winner because my crowdfunding contest included both logo and website - fingers crossed as this was a big budget cut due to start up cash flow restrictions.
9. Switched from Calendly to Bookings by Microsoft for my automated assistance in calendar scheduling. It’s the first of my virtual or automated assistants. More to come!
10. Reading the book '4 hour work week' to help me consider other virtual assistants, automation and start up processes, marketing and ideas. The book frustrates me but has a lot of relevant ideas too.
So week two captured and done!
Next week my kids have camp so that will take some pressure off (We decided to reduce their structured activities this year to let them have more downtime, experience a little boredom, to be independent with a routine they are to follow on their own during the day, and to save costs of course. With both my husband and I working from home sometimes we figured we could share the childcare and that it would be minimal. It’s been interesting!)
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