Bonfire Life
August 29, 2019

New venture, feeling pressure and looking for paid work

Photo take by Ed Regan on North Bay's Main Street, where I cut my journalistic teeth... and where I'm beginning a new chapter 30-odd years wiser.

My intensity level will be bouncing over the red line for the next couple months.

No doubt that’s how all entrepreneurs feel when launching a business without a personal floatation device. Waves of excitement splashing up against a break wall of firm reality. Confidence battling fear from one hour to the next as operating costs mount.

Lofty titles aside and truth be told, there’s no guarantee of a paycheque as associate publisher and managing editor of A Bit of the Bay Magazine. I do believe it will become a half-time paid gig. Just so you know, for those thinking I retired a year ago, my last severance cheque from the Nugget's buy-out package is going into the start-up kitty.

It’s a bit like selling yourself a job title for 10 cents on the dollar. But I think this is a pretty solid bet, as far as new publicatons go, we have a great content recipe, a solid readership foundation and a lot of good will in our sails.

A little elbow grease and pragmatism and keeping expenditures down is the key to giving this ad-venture a fighting chance. Did I mention a solid team of professionals involved and a local printer?

Nice logo, eh? By Eric Boissonneault
Nice logo, eh? By Eric Boissonneault

But what’s with this ‘Worth $5 but Free4Now’ thing? Why are we giving them away while also trying to get subscribers? Well, the advertisers are paying for eyeballs and that means getting 5,000 copies into readers’ hands as quickly as possible. (Email [email protected] to book a bundle for your business or group). But we will need more revenue than just advertising dollars and there's not one news publication alive today that doesn't have reader support. We'll see if we have created a viable product or not in about six month. If North Bay residents want stories written about local people and issues, the facts are clear, they need to chip in because the old saying is true for journalism too: “You get what you pay for.”

So, if you see me handing out sample copies of our inaugural issue on Labour Day weekend, I’m not too proud to accept a donation and will jump for joy when someone chooses to subscribe. At the same time, as A Bit of the Bay gets its legs underneath it, I will also accept part-time work offers (three days of my week are reserved for additional paid work while doing the magazine tasks the rest of the week, nights and weekends ... or vice versa, because I can work nights and weekends too and do magazine business during the day). I enjoy working out of Coworking176.space at any time. A list of my services can be found at the bottom of this post.

One of the magazine stands I'm making by hand to give us that heritage-look and feel.
One of the magazine stands I'm making by hand to give us that heritage-look and feel.

I'm actually not sure what to do with my Small Town Times platform here, I think it will be used for the more personal writing and fundraising.

As far as the A Bit of the Bay team goes, Gary Davison did an awesome job selling ads for our first issue as well as booking some for several months to come. He had less than three weeks to work with and that’s a tough task, especially lacking a sample for a new publication. People bought into A Bit of the Bay based on the trust they have in him, myself and fellow associate publisher Jeff Fournier to deliver what we’re promising.

Gary Davison is the ad salesman for A Bit of the Bay Magazine.
Gary Davison is the ad salesman for A Bit of the Bay Magazine.

It’s going to be an interesting second month, though, with Gary’s shoulder surgery next week putting him out of commission for a bit. Thankfully, Kevin Smith has agreed to cover for him and we’re feeling confident having a veteran like him selling for us in Gary’s stead.

Our graphic artist, Eric Boissonneault, delivered the goods on a very challenging deadline while juggling his full-time work and other commitments. Aside from crisp and clear ad creation, his digital facelift of the 503 steam locomotive on the front cover gave us a unique piece of art setting the bar high for interesting focal points going forward. 

Eric Boissonneault's design skills gave us a big lift to get off the ground.
Eric Boissonneault's design skills gave us a big lift to get off the ground.

The idea was to illustrate both the potential and reality of how North Bay heritage assets are sometimes treated and the before-after approach hit the bullseye. And of course, his professional design of our logo gave the magazine and our production company instant credibility.

Jeff Fournier and I are partners in A Bit of the Bay Productions with the magazine one component of the overall plan.
Jeff Fournier and I are partners in A Bit of the Bay Productions with the magazine one component of the overall plan.

And of course, Jeff Fournier’s communication and publication experience is a big piece of the recipe with our concept and brand born out of his popular Facebook Group, North Bay’s best place to share in the city’s heritage, history and nostalgia.

We’re proud of the first edition but know we can do better. I expect to have a more prevalent voice in future issues, with some of my researched work spiked this issue to allow room for other people’s voices. Our strength will be inclusiveness and variety although we plan to do in-depth features and full spreads on important topics to provide an interesting read that stands the test of time.

That’s the plan, albeit on a shoe-string budget as we get things going.

P.S. We’ll be very selective on what we post on our website to protect the value and integrity of the printed product, although we’ll continue to make it worth reading, especially for those who don’t use social media and are missing out on the Facebook content. Just keep in mind, we don’t want to give ourselves away for free. Eventually there might be a digital product for people to subscribe to and support our efforts … but that costs money too.

Communication Services by Dave Dale, as part of A Bit of the Bay Productions or through me personally:

-      Media release writing ($100 same day service)

-      Proofreading (depends on word count and deadlines)

-      Public relations work, consultation ($100 an hour or $600 for a full day)

-      Biography creation (based on time frame, length and amount of research required, free consultation interview)

-      Video recording of 45-minute interview ($150 per for raw file in your home, $200 in studio and $400 for edited version)

-      Other as negotiated

Share:

Twitter Facebook Google LinkedIn