On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day we had a welcome break from entertaining – visiting our respective parents. Paul had been allowed to take his presents to both houses and Harry disappeared after our meal at my Mum’s house to play with Paul using the second controller. My Mum thought that he’d probably end up buying a set for himself by claiming it would be there for whenever his Grandson visited.
Helen had been quiet all week but had been snappy when I asked how she was or tried to cheer her up. As I thought about it, she’d not really been herself since the week before Christmas – on the other hand, she had been working long hours.
On the first Monday of January – we had the next meeting of our group at our house. I’d asked Helen if she wanted me to cancel since she had seemed so tired. She said that she’d booked the day off from work to act as hostess so I should leave things as had been agreed.
They all arrived fairly promptly and Helen offered tea and coffee after introducing herself. It sounded as if everyone had had a good Christmas, but they were all eager to get a joint business off the ground – all bitten by an entrepreneurial bug. I let them know that my contribution would need to be part-time because I’d be starting in my new job in less than a week. That was a bit of a shock to most of them, but Beverly understood why I’d done it. Once we were ready to start the meeting, Helen sat in with us.
As meetings go, is was quite productive. They all liked my idea of a computer services company. It was agreed that, once we started to become profitable with a good cashflow position, we should consider renting office premises from which we could both meet our clients face-to-face and even start selling some computer accessories. Ben said that he’d get some prices for hiring a server; Jason would look into public liability insurance and similar matters. He would also have a word with a friendly solicitor he knew to ask about the legal side of setting up – whether to do it as a coop or as a limited partnership. Tony, Susie and I would look at the design of a website, logo and how to promote the business. For the time being, Beverly would just help out on the admin side.
We agreed that Susie’s brainwave of providing seminars would be a good way of starting to bring some cash in. Tony said that, from Spring onwards, he could offer location-based photography workshops in the Peak District if someone could find a way of promoting the idea online. Beverley said that she could tutor seminars on ‘wellness’ as this seemed to be a fashionable desire – again requiring suitable promotion to stand out from the competition. It turned out that Jason was another keen photographer and he had some ideas relating to getting brand-ambassador for a start-up companies filter products and others about online post-processing tutorials. It seemed that most of us could offer something to teach and all of them required excellent online promotion. The great thing was that none of the ideas required physical premises or expensive computer systems. Between my brand marketing experience, Tony’s design skills, Ben’s IT know-how and Susie’s website design abilities we already had the basis of a superb range of products to promote. The promotion of them appeared to have a quite short gestation period requirement.
Ben suggested that we could hold a virtual meeting next time. He promised to contact us individually by email to help us to get set up. He asked would anyone have problems with the last week in January – everyone was fine with that. Beverley asked everyone to email to Ben a summary, on one side of A4, of what we could offer as a seminar subject. The discussion had only taken about two hours. They all thanked Helen for agreeing to hold the meeting at our house.
Afterwards, Helen said that she could see how the proposal might succeed and that they seemed a nice bunch of people. She seemed a bit miffed, however, about me Susie and Tony working together. She commented on how pretty Susie was, how she was only a couple of years younger than I was, and that she’d realised that she was divorced. She made it sound as if I’d somehow manipulated things so that I’d be working with Susie.
I explained the logic of the arrangement – Jason was the Finance king, Tony as a designer – was a natural for working on the design or look and feel of the website. Susie – as a website design specialist would be the best person to sort out things like optimising the security, backup and technical aspects of the site. My role would be promoting the business using the work that they’d done, ensuring that the promotional messages, payment facilities, contact aspects and so forth would work well.
None of this seemed to placate Helen. She liked Susie as a person but seemed to think that we’d seemed a bit too close to be ‘just’ colleagues. She told me that I could do as I liked but that I shouldn’t take her for a fool. She decided that she was going to go to her Mum’s to calm down – and that she might be late. Paul came downstairs once Helen had gone out. It seemed that he had heard some of what we’d been talking about. He accused me of upsetting his Mum. It took me some time to console him. I wondered if I should withdraw from the project. The relationship price seemed too high to jeopardise with the idea while it was still at the embryo stage.
Today I continue my series of Christmassy shots in black and white. My Featured Photo today was taken of an illuminated arch in Church Street, Liverpool.
The EXIF Data for the featured photo are as follows: Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm mm f/2.4 lens at 35 mm and f/3.5. The shutter speed was 1/200 secs and the ISO was 1600. The camera was handheld and the post-processing was in Lightroom.