Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Will your business idea work?"/ "At the speed of change"

Aug. 5 Entrepreneur: I always read the business section of the newspaper.  The Edmonton Journal has a section called "Capital Ideas" on Wed. about entrepreneurs and what they learned in running a business.

Does anyone remember in 2012, I even went to an information session so that I can create my own TV production company?

It would be cool to have my own company, but it seems like a lot of work and also I'm not sure what kind of company to have.

 "Will your business idea work?": I cut out this article by Roger Pierce in the 24 News on Apr. 16, 2012.  I liked the picture on the website.  There's a man covering his face, and the wall behind has yellow post-it notes to make a question mark.  Here's the short article:

There's a lot of uncertainty and fear around launching a business so it's natural for a startup entrepreneur to ask that question. It’s a valid question, but impossible to answer. And my response usually annoys people: It depends on you.

What excatly does that mean?

It depends on your research. Finding out who will buy from you and how much they’ll pay are cornerstones to market research – as is checking out the competition.

It depends on your finances. Starting a business without any money is not recommended. A little bit of money will help you to print up business cards, create a website or buy a computer. It’s also nice to have some money to pay your own living costs.

It depends on your business model. Be clear about revenue. Will you charge by the hour? Will you re-sell products for profit? Is it a web-based business? Can you earn a sales commission? Is there a recurring revenue stream? A solid, proven business model supports future success.

It depends on you. Above all else, the entrepreneur is responsible for the success or failure of a new venture. That's a tough nut to swallow, but it's true. You need to be committed to ushering your business idea through all of the not-so-glamorous launch steps. You need to be smart enough to know what you don’t know, and seek guidance. You need to remain motivated, positive and energetic - not matter what happens.
Will your idea work? I hope so, but it’s up to you.

Sept. 7 "At the speed of change": I cut out this article by Mary Teresa Bitti in the Edmonton Journal on Nov. 3, 2013.  She writes for the Financial Post.  I find this article motivational and inspirational.  It was about starting a magazine.  It was about business about it overlapped with my interest in writing.  Here's the whole article:

Lisa Charleyboy is on a mission to empower aboriginal youth and she is using digital media to get her message across.

Identified as an aboriginal millennial to watch by Huffington Post, it’s clear Ms. Charleyboy understands how to use social media — a fashion writer and editor she was named one of Canada’s top fashion bloggers, as well as one of Toronto’s top tweeters. Now, she plans to use the medium to inform her latest venture, Urban Native Magazine, an online publication with a clear mission: To be the go-to destination for current articles on Indigenous fashion, art, culture, entertainment, lifestyle, news and business.

The magazine, aimed at 15 to 35 year-old aboriginal people in North America, will use editorial content and social media streams such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram to create positive change for aboriginal youth by getting them talking about social, political and pop culture issues, breaking down stereotypes and sharing success stories.

Ms. Charleyboy is part of a growing population of young aboriginal entrepreneurs. That trend is highlighted in a recent TD Market report that pegs the aboriginal economy at $32-billion by 2016, with $13-billion the result of direct contributions of aboriginal businesses, said JP Gladu, president and chief executive of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB).

“We see a lot of young people get into businesses that directly support the development of our natural resources, but I don’t think you can name a sector that our people are not engaged in. Within our own membership we have technology, media design, cosmetic companies, engineering firms, architects, lawyers and they are competing and succeeding. That is what Lisa is communicating,” he said.

Certainly there are challenges, but if you are a young aboriginal person and all you read in the media is how your communities are failing, what seed will that plant in your psyche? On the other hand, if you start to see success stories of people just like you adding value to society, that’s where you start to develop pride. Positive energy breeds positive energy,” Mr. Gladu said.

Taking on this task is a challenge, but one Ms. Charleyboy is uniquely suited to. Growing up in suburban Abbotsford, B.C., the daughter of a non-native mother and a First Nations father who passed away when she was young, her interest in First Nations’ culture was only sparked after she moved to Toronto at the age of 17 to study fashion communications at Ryerson University.

She later transferred to York University to pursue a degree in journalism with the hope of entering the world of fashion magazines — a dream begun when she picked up her first copy of Vogue magazine at the age of 10.

“During my time at York University, I was introduced to the native arts community and that’s when I discovered my love and passion for indigenous and native culture. I had to go to the biggest city in Canada to find my culture.”

In 2007, Ms. Charleyboy started her blog, Urban Native Girl Stuff (the genesis of her current magazine) to explore topics of interest, which included native culture as well as politics, fashion, beauty and lifestyle, but also to test the market.

“I wanted to see if there was an audience for this type of writing.” As it turns out, there was an appetite both from native and non-native communities.  “A lot of people told me they found their culture through the blog and were really proud to be a native person,” she said.

That connection translated into 10,000 Twitter followers and 5,000 unique visits a month to the blog.  This past August, Ms. Charleyboy launched Urban Native Magazine to build on the interest she knew was there and turn it into a viable business, with revenue coming from advertising and sponsorship.

One revenue source she won’t be using is the pay wall. “I want the magazine to be accessible. I don’t want to hide behind pay walls,” she says. “As a teenager and young woman, I did not see positive reflections in mainstream media of Indigenous and native people in a current and modern context. There were no online or offline publications that were offering that.”

To get the magazine up and running Ms. Charleyboy took on a limited business partner who provided early financing. She continues to seek investment and says corporate sponsorships will be key moving forward. Because she had not monetized the blog, Ms. Charleyboy supported it by doing freelance and public relations/communications writing and she will continue to do that during the startup phase of the magazine.

“I’m a lean startup. I chose not to try and access bank financing because I have student loans and don’t feel comfortable at this juncture to take on more debt,” she says.

A small business workshop put on by an employment and training centre for aboriginal people in Toronto helped her with her business plan and she received a small grant. She worked with a business mentor from CESO, an organization that matches senior level executives with aboriginal entrepreneurs to help her create a business plan to pitch to investors. Another option she is exploring is Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone to help accelerate the business by accessing mentorship.

At the annual CCAB-sponsored Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Trade Show, being held Nov. 4, 5 and 6 at the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Que., Ms. Charleyboy will take part in a panel discussion on how to build a business using digital communications and how to establish an authentic digital voice.

Her best lesson, she said is to “know your consumer demographic and how and where they interact online. The goal is to create a community around your brand — not push out messages.

“The native community is diverse. We have actors, musicians, business owners, doctors, lawyers. I want to show young people that there are many indigenous people who have walked those paths. I want young aboriginal people who may not have the role models other Canadians have to see what’s possible.”


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