Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Change of Direction

It's been a while since my last post and in that time I've had a rethink about my business.

Although it's my first love, I've decided to postpone my idea of traditional scrapbooking and album creation business in favour of offering a photo scanning service to begin with. In this way I hope to build up a client base, then offer a digital scrapbooking service. I still plan to  offer traditional scrapbooking, but at a later stage.

In recent times in Australia we have had a series of dreadful natural disasters. These have ranged from cyclones, to floods, to bushfires.

People caught up in these disastrous events have lost a great deal including, tragically, loved ones. When interviewed, the survivors nearly always say that their trauma has been exacerbated by the loss of irreplaceable and precious family photographs, documents and mementos.

What if we could safely store all of these things together in one small container which could be grabbed and tucked under somebody's arm as they ran from danger to safety? Even better, what if it was possible to have several of these (each with exactly the same contents) stored in  several locations, so that if a container was not able to be rescued from a particular location, there would be a container somewhere else with its contents safe and sound and easily retrievable? We live in the digital age and, of course, such a scenario is possible for all of us.

Generations X and Y have this problem sorted. They have their images and other important documents stored in mobile phones which, naturally, have been surgically attached to their bodies. If they are really savvy they have probably stored them in online repositories out there in cyber-space as well. But for those of us of the baby-boomer generation our images are mostly of the printed-on-paper kind. We may have come into possession of our parents' collections of printed photos as well. 
    My Mum in 1939 at the age of 21
How to keep these safe from the ravages of time, incorrect storage methods and, of course, natural disasters?

Unfortunately, despite the fact that many of us of the baby-boomer generation, are digitally aware, many of us are time-poor and although we would like to have our precious memories stored conveniently and safely, we just don't have the time to organise and undertake such a daunting task.

That's where I hope to come in with my little business, which now has a name. It's called 
Allow Me To ... and I've even got as far as designing a logo for it.
I've tried to depict a mixture of old and new technologies. The image of the old-fashioned photo-frame I found at The Graphics Fairy, one of my favourite blogs. The modern little icons I found at Open Clipart

I'm still working on the website. I have the basic design created, but I keep finding all sorts of things that I need to know - such as Javascript - that are must-haves on an on-line business website. Also as I trawl around the internet looking at sites for similar businesses, I realise that  I'll have to work hard to find innovative ways to attract people to my particular business as there is quite a bit of competition out there.

For now, I've posted an ad on the Gumtree website under the Business Services category in the "Other" subsection for the Gold Coast area. And I've designed and printed a flyer which I'll distribute in our immediate neighbourhood via a letter-box drop. Very last Century, I know, but needs must for now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A RAK! and The Warrior (Worrier?) Queen Rides Again!

How about that! I won! In my last post I wrote about Pam Callagahan's blog Ideas for Scrapbookers and her invitation to followers to show how their styles have evolved. I left a comment on her blog and I was rewarded by winning a Random Act of Kindness. How lovely! Thank you so much Pam.

This was actually a week or so ago and I've been very remiss in getting back here to thank Pam publicly. So, I must apologise for that Pam.

I've been quite busy sifting through all sorts of information about starting an on-line home-business and I've made some progress ... well ... that is ... I have a name for the business and an ABN number (Australian Business Number).

Really there is so much information out there that it's hard to know what's relevant and what's not; what's good advice and what's misleading; what to do, what not to do.

See this guy? I've been going around with a similar expression on my face for quite a few weeks now.

Occasionally ... a lot ... I'm engulfed with self-doubt. I mean ... I'm a teacher-librarian ... what do I know about running a business? Well ... I know a teen-tiny bit I suppose. But ... is it enough? And ... do I have the skills to produce what potential clients may want?
I guess there's only one way to find out ...

and so ... in true Warrior Queen, Boadicea (who's name was actually Boudica) style .... I'll carry on.  

I do have the skeleton of a website started ... well it's only in my head at the moment, but I hope to have it live on the web very soon.

Watch this space.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Scrapbooking Style

I've just been over at  Ideas for Scrapbookers where Pam Callaghan has been discussing and showing how her scrapbooking style has evolved.

Her invitation to followers to show how their styles have evolved got me thinking about when I first started scrapbooking. My first project was a scrapbook of my son's first 21 years. You will see from my last post that this has been a somewhat lengthy process, but it does show how my ideas about scrapbooking have changed and how my style has evolved.

To begin with I thought that I had to use every single photo that I possessed of my son's first 21 years for this scrapbook. Believe me that is a lot of photos! Consequently my first pages were cluttered and it's difficult for the eye to know where to look first.

A little further on in my scrapbooking journey my pages had a more organised feel to them, but still too many pictures on the one page I think.

This would probably have been more successful as a double page spread, but I hadn't discovered the concept of double page spreads at that stage. 

However ...

... eventually ... discover them I did, and it's a technique I use quite a bit now.

Later still, I started to realise that it was a futile exercise to try to use every photo for this particular scrapbook and began thinking about other projects that I could do to use the left over photos. For example, I have enough Cubs and Scouts photos for a complete scrapbook and maybe I could do one on the holidays my son and I took when he was a boy.

Another thing I now like to do is create the page layouts on background papers and then slip them onto the album page. I find this a better technique than scrapping straight onto the album page itself, because if I mess up it's less expensive to replace the paper as opposed to replacing an actual album page.

These last two pictures are from a small 7x7 album I recently completed for a friend. The style is very much in keeping with my "less is more" philosophy.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Conversation with My Self.

The following is a conversation I had with myself this week

Self: "The first Scrapbook I ever started was an album of my son's first 21 years. He's 26 now ... in fact ... he'll be 27 in a couple of months."

Other Self: "What did he think of it?"

Self:  "Well ... he hasn't seen it yet." 

Other Self: "Why?" 

Self: "Well ... because I haven't finished it yet."

Other Self: "What!  It was started almost 6years ago, for goodness sake!! "

Self: "I know ...  hopeless."

Other Self : "Yet here you are thinking you can have a successful business creating scrapbooks for other people. You know what ... I think the prospect of having to wait 6 years for a completed album could possibly cause potential clients to look elsewhere ... just a thought ...

Self: "But there's always been so much else to do ... hobbies are what you do when everything else is done ... and ... well ... everything else is never done."

Other Self: "So ... if everything else is never done, how are you going to create albums for other people in under 6 years!!? I mean ... I suspect potential clients would want an album completed in something more like ...  well ... under 6 weeks!

Self: "Okay ... I'm giving up Scrapbooking as a hobby."

Other Self: "Well ... that's what I call giving up without a fight."

Self: "No wait ... I'm not giving up Scrapbooking! It's just not a hobby anymore ... it's my livelihood!!!

Believe me ... it's amazing how much I've achieved since I began thinking of Scrapbooking as a business rather than simply as a hobby. 

I can actually sit down and work at my craft without feeling guilty. Sure ... I'm working on a personal project at the moment, so of course not making any money. But the time I spend on this I view as well spent, as I'm bringing my skills up to date and perfecting my style and technique. 

Very soon I'll be ready to go out into the world.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? 
That which we call a rose, 
By any other name would smell as sweet." ~  Shakespeare.

I've been a tad worried since I created this blog and decided to call it Nettie's Nook.

Firstly it struck me that the word "nook"  meaning a corner or recess is a bit outdated ... archaic even.

But then ... I decided that it was okay, because it conjures up an image of peace, contentment, big comfy armchairs, cosy fireplaces ... that sort of thing. So, hopefully, these lovely, positive images should  entice people to visit, right?

But then ... I got to thinking ... about graffiti ...  someone who was so inclined could add one (or two,depending on his/her spelling ability) certain letters and in a nano-second completely change the meaning and intent of the word.
Oh dear ... I mean ... I don't think that could happen here in the blogosphere ... could it?
And then ... good grief! ... What have I titled my first post? "A Baby is Conceived", for goodness sake!

So embarrassing ... and for days I haven't been able to bring myself back here. I'd have to delete the blog and start again with a different, more suitable name.

But ... I love alliteration ... my other blog is called Nettie's Notes. I also love rhyming words and ... "Contact Nettie's Nook for your next Scrapbook," ... has a nice ring to it.
After a while I began to get over the embarrassment and started to see the humour here.

So ... I've decided throw caution to the wind and stick with Nettie's Nook.

After all what is in a name? 

My sister (who has been saddled with a nickname since the day she was born) loves this quote ... Perfectly nice people get stuck with dreadful nicknames, often for their whole lives...."The Evening Star".....Larry McMurtry

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Baby is Conceived

I have been Scrapbooking for a few years now and have often wished I could do it for a living ... but being, until recently, a full-time teacher, I had very little energy left at the end of the week to do my own projects, let alone create albums for other people.

During the past 18 months things have changed for me and I now have more spare time. So, I've decided to see if I can create and make a success of a home-based scrapbooking business.

I discovered an ebook called How to Make Money Scrapbooking via a link posted by scrapbook_diva whom I follow on Twitter. I think it's an absolutely wonderful resource and it has given me the confidence to go ahead and give it my best shot.

I read the whole 91 pages of "How to Make Money Scrapbooking" in one sitting and was greatly inspired.

This is what I've done so far:

As said earlier, I have been scrapbooking for a few years and have in that time collected many of the tools and accoutrements required to make great pages. But ... I had moved house twice in 18 months and all of these things were still packed away in boxes. So my first task was to unpack it all, do an inventory and then re-sort it so that I could easily find things.

The next thing I needed was a practical space in which to work. I had already bought a couple of paper storage cabinets, but I didn't have a work table. At this stage I have absolutely no spare money, so I had to make do with what I could find in the garage and elsewhere around the house.

My storage cabinets were used to make a work bench - exactly the right height for me.

The bench part is the table-top from one of 2 trestle tables whose trestles mysteriously disappeared a few years ago. I knew that if I kept those table-tops for long enough they would come in handy one day!

I created a second bench by laying the other trestle table-top across my plastic crates of teaching resources, which I'm not using at the moment.

Voila! Two problems solved in one fell swoop. But it's a bit unsightly so ...

This is how I solved the problem of unsightliness ... and ...

Ta dah! The spare bedroom is now the studio of .... well ... I still have to think of a quirky, catchy name for my new business.

I've just completed a small wedding scrapbook and I'm ready to send it off. It's a gift for a friend, so no money to be made from it, but it has helped me to re-hone my skills.

I have also been looking into what needs to be done with regards to registering my business and applying for an ABN number.
Brett McFall's book is fabulous. I don't think I would have had the courage to try this without having read it. So, thank you very much Brett for creating such an inspiring and useful resource. I am so pleased to have it.

This is what I will buy with the first $1000 I make from my new business.

Wish me luck.