Monthly Archives: November 2018

A Great Way to Get Fit in a Hurry

Just about anyone can enjoy bootcamp fitness. You can either participate in a bootcamp setting or you can enjoy getting fit at home. There are some wonderful things about a bootcamp, however. You get to work out with other people who are also trying to get fit. Even though it is a bootcamp you still get to train at your own pace. You should push yourself a little in order to reap the benefits.

The Bootcamp Setting

There are many plusses to a bootcamp setting. For one thing you will get to work outdoors at most bootcamps. You will be able to enjoy the company of others who are also trying to get fit. In many cases you will work as teams with others to get fit by playing fitness games and doing races and other team sports. Sometimes just having other people to exercise with in a bootcamp setting can inspire you to do more and exercise harder. It may be just what you need to get motivated to get in shape. There will be physical trainers who are often referred to as drill instructors on hand to teach you and help you with your workouts.

Bootcamp at Home

If being around people and exercising in front of them is not your style, you may prefer to do a bootcamp at home. You can enjoy an outside setting at home for exercising. By doing exercises without taking breaks you will get the benefit of a bootcamp. The secret is to do different exercises such as push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, and other calisthenics without a break in between. You can also take up jogging in the park to get some scenery. You really don’t need any special equipment to enjoy bootcamp fitness. Just your body is all you need to get a good workout.

Bootcamp Fitness in the Workplace

Many employers are learning how well it pays to send their employees to bootcamp to get fit. Employees tend to do more when they are fit. This is true of all types of employees whether they are factory workers or bank employees. What boss doesn’t want more from their employees? In most cases when employees are sent to a bootcamp setting they will work as teams to get races won or win other physical games. They will work out together as well.

Where to Find a Bootcamp

Bootcamps are very popular all over the world. You can find them throughout Australia, the US, UK, and everywhere in-between. Sending employees to an exotic place would be a wonderful way for them to get fit. Many bootcamps have nature hikes for the enjoyment of all who come to them. Not only are nature hikes a great way to get fit, but they are educational as well.

There are indoor bootcamps for winter months when getting outside just won’t work. The workouts are similar with calisthenics being the number one form of exercise. This type of exercise will work the heart and muscles, giving a whole body workout. Can you think of a better way to get fit than bootcamp fitness?

Bundled Cable TV and Internet Packages Can Save You Some Money

More than likely you have heard the following saying, which is “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. When it comes to getting both your internet and cable TV from the same company, sometimes it is a very good deal, and other times, you should be using more than one company.

Each and every location and deal is going to be different when it comes to it being a good deal, or not. So, if you want to be absolutely sure you paying as little as possible while receiving the highest quality product, you are going to need to spend a little time researching your alternatives.

When it comes to cable TV, your three options are the cable itself, a satellite system, or receiving it over the internet. Presently, the internet TV industry is still in its infancy, and should improve significantly over the next decade or two.

That being said, there still are some very good deals to be had, if you look around for them. The problem with internet TV currently, is that you almost always have to purchase special equipment to view it on your television set. You might be wondering why that is an issue. Well, it is because more than likely the equipment you buy today will be totally obsolete in less than five years, and you will not be able to recoup those funds.

So, when it comes to receiving your television entertainment, you are going to really have to examine all the plusses and minuses of each option, compare their monthly cost, and make your decision based on your findings.

Thankfully, you will have a little greater selection when it comes to your internet service. Not only will you be able to choose from your local telephone and cable TV company, but there are all kinds of independent suppliers that you can also use.

Once again, you are going to need to compare their cost, verse your needs, as well as the quality of the service that these companies provide to make an educated decision.

After you have accumulated all of your research material, you now have enough data to make you a very sharp shopper. What you want to do now, is to select the bundled package that you prefer, and compare it to the individual services that you like best. Whichever price wise works out best for you and your family, is the way you should precede.

The Facilities of Owning a De Waterkant Property

Living in South Africa requires a lot of research and rational thinking because, as living anywhere in the world, there are plusses and minuses, advantages and disadvantages. There are many people who really enjoy living in South Africa. For those people, Africa it is a way to leave life adventurous, to leave the ordinary behind while taking risks and learning more about the world.

Suburbian South Africa is more quiet and peaceful, the prices are lower than in the city. De Waterkant properties are situated at Green Point along the Somerset Road, near the Bo Kaap suburb. De Waterkant is the name used to indicate that the suburb is situated at “The Waters’ Edge”. This suburb is newly renovated and it offers a bright perspective on city living.

Diverse range of De Waterkant property can be found in means of location, facilities and prices. Apartments and cottages, free living homes or semi-detached dwellings can also be found. The surroundings offer great views of the mountains and the fresh air helps De Waterhank property owners appreciate and enjoy life more.

The houses are deceptively small at the outside but offer generous space through well thought techniques and experience in interior design both in terms of style and practicality. In the neighborhood there are entertainment places, restaurants and a well balanced mix of residential and trade center through a strong policy that prevents overdevelopment.

De Waterkant area has evolved very much over the years and has been attracting an increasing number of visitors with each year. Its accessibility has enabled travelers to reach it easier and the local people also benefit from its development.

Although it is situated at the periphery of the Cape Twon it is close to all tourists attractions and therefore, locals have plenty of shopping choices and amenities together with extraordinary schools. There are two major hospitals that serve locals and tourists very well. It is about Chris Barnard Hospital and the Somerset Hospital.

For others instead, South Africa might be less suitable. This is why good research and consultations with De Waterkant property agents represents a must. In maybe 15 years South Africa may become a role model in terms of human cooperation and development. From other points of view, South Africa can be a place where unemployment, AIDS and child rape are serious problems. In truth speaking, there are many nonprofit organizations which help develop better policies in terms of AIDS prevention and family education.

Finance Your Startup in the Community

Finding finance for your startup may be easiest within your own community. Your ‘community’ could be in terms of relationships, geography, field of interest or affiliation.

Community Financed Business is not a generally accepted term. However, there are an increasing number of ways that businesses are financially supported within a community. Some are very traditional, such as coops that started in the nineteenth century and new ones are emerging all the time. An example is crowdfunding, that springs very recently from the social networking phenomenon.

The impetus is coming from two directions. The first is the disaffection for Wall Street and all that ‘big banking’ represents. The other is the burgeoning ‘local’ movement, the natural offspring of environmentalism.

Keeping funding in your own community has advantages and disadvantages. Some of the plusses are that you know the people providing money and your business is ‘visible’ to them. Banks have a very bureaucratic approach and lending decisions have to be ‘passed up the line’ to a corporate office somewhere else. With community finance, your access to the lenders is easy and in most cases will be face-to-face. Minuses include the reverse of that coin: you will have nowhere to ‘hide’. I always tell business borrowers to ‘over-communicate’ with their bankers. If you borrow from those you know, the time spent on communicating with them is likely to take a lot of your energy (and emotion).

Family and Friends (some say also, Fools)

For many generations, startups have looked to their family and friends for finance, whether equity or loan money. This is often extended to customers and suppliers, too. According to the Angel Capital Education Foundation, startups annually raise $60 billion through friends and family. Thus it’s probably the biggest single source of ‘series A’ funding that there is.

There are some strong caveats to this route, since emotion and relationships are to the fore. You will be focused on getting the money, but you need to know their point of view, too. Treat them as if they were a business and give them good reason to help. Be clear about how you will repay them and use a promissory note to make it legal.

Have a backup plan. If the loan from a family member needs to be called in for reasons like the lender lost a job, you need to be able to repay quickly or risk a family feud. Ask yourself if it’s the right course in the first place, and beware that it’s tough to price and structure the right deal for both parties. Think about how things will be if your startup goes belly-up. Checking downside risks is often the key to a successful startup.

Community Financed Business

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is now a widespread means of providing small-scale financial support to farmers. Typically, members in a community buy shares in the produce of farms pre-season and receive delivery as and when the particular crops or meat becomes available. The process has now spread to other sectors of the economy, mainly in ag and food. There are examples in seafood (Port Clyde, ME) and restaurants where patrons invest and get repaid in meals and other perks over time.

This tends to be a very effective, but somewhat risky way of raising funds-for the investor. I lost several hundred dollars, supporting a small bookshop in my village, where my up-front money was to have been repaid in books on a monthly basis with a small amount of interest. The business model was not carefully enough prepared and the startup was poorly managed, and resulted in failure.

Interestingly, about two years later in the space next door, another community supported business has opened – a restaurant. Not only did these founders sell shares to local supporters, but they, themselves, are buying produce from local CSA farms. There are many other ways in addition to the CSA model of pre-funding product sales by subscription or ‘shares’.

Cooperatives

They are much more widespread than you might imagine, both locally and nationally. There are nearly 30,000 of them in the US. I used to serve on the board of the Brattleboro Food Coop, a two-store retailer in my local Vermont town. We had reached capacity in our main store with a $16 million turnover, and decided to build an entirely new store at a cost of several millions. Coop members in the locality advanced well over $1 million in 3 and 5 year loans as part of the shareholder equity to back the bank and other financing. In addition another local coop partnered in the building – Coop Power – by providing the solar roof.

A significant proportion of coops are small and locally oriented. Many are among farmers and banking. Savings and Loan Associations are, in effect, coops. Some started small and local but have grown into large entities, with the strength of local support. An example is Land o’ Lakes, now pretty much a national brand of dairy products.

Direct Public Offerings

A direct public offering is a way for a company to “go public” without the intermediaries that orchestrate an IPO. A company completes required offering documents and securities filings, which enables them to sell shares directly to the public – the company’s customers and community.

A recent example of a DPO is Quimper Mercantile in Port Townsend, WA, that has raised over $500,000 in a DPO to open a general store. They were assisted by Cutting Edge Capital. Another of CEC’s clients is People’s Community Market, whose model of grassroots investing allows Californians of all economic backgrounds to become Founders and Shareholders in creating a food store in West Oakland.

Crowdfunding

You will surely have heard of Kickstarter. An MBA student of mine raised over $15,000 (on a $10,000 target) seed money locally for Raleigh City Farm in North Carolina, via a Kickstarter campaign. Well, the movement is much more widespread and often locally oriented. You can take a look at my crowdfunding page for more info.

The JOBS Act which is due to come into force this year, allows anyone to invest up to $10,000 a year, or up to 10 percent of their net income if they earn less than $100,000 a year, in private companies. This contrasts with the present, given that crowdfunders are largely rewarded non-financially. One of the first platforms off the block will be Earlyshares, an equity based crowdfunding platform.

Revenue-based Funding & Customer Financing

Another new approach to funding business is Revenue-Based Funding. The idea is that instead of the risk being associated with the capital growth of the investment, the lender takes a risk on the revenue, by charging a percentage of the top line. A US company called RevenueLoan now offers a Revenue-Based Funding product, but on relatively large amounts for startups. As they say, “Revenue Based Financing (RBF) is a hybrid financing method that fills a need in the growth capital market for companies with approximately $1 to $10 million in revenue and a proven plan for growth.

Maker Community

Typical interests enjoyed by the maker subculture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, 2-D plotter cutting, water-jet cutting, and the use of CNC tools (even applied to embroidery), as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts.

The whole print-on-demand industry is another example, where authors can produce books even one at a time. While these are not funders, they reduce the costs that would otherwise be associated with small-scale manufacturing. However there are hybrids that combine maker facilities with startup seed funding, as well as incubation space in factory-like settings.

Business Accelerators and Incubators

Unlike many business assistance programs, business incubators do not serve any and all companies. Entrepreneurs who wish to enter a business incubation program must apply for admission. They also tend to be physical places where you can start your business under a collective roof. Many incubators/accelerators are competitive to join, but once in seed capital is provided.

While it is possible to generalize about accelerators, there are almost as many variations as there are similarities. Business Accelerators may focus on very specific geographies (such as cities or States), industrial sectors (such as information technology or clean energy), industrial processes (such as manufacturing or industrial kitchens). Accelerators can offer physical space on short or medium terms, networking, mentoring, funding or introduction to funding, training, peer group support. These may vary in time, for instance: pre-launch, startup, early stage.

Other Community Finance Opportunities

Many other community or ‘local’ finance opportunities exist. There may be financial incentives such as grants available from local government agencies, or business plan competitions run by local development bodies and academic institutions, for instance.

Depending upon the governance structure of your startup, there may be program funds that are accessible. For instance, in those States where the L3C form (limited liability company that limits the level of profit) exists, you could get foundation funding.

There are also combinations of some of the different community funding avenues to be explored. For instance, you could use crowdfunding to extend the family and friends route. You could add other people in your network and, by having a larger lender base, each contributor’s risk could be reduced, because they’d be providing smaller sums. The downside of the hybrid would be the time you would need to commit to keeping lenders informed of progress.

How You Can Do It?

Brainstorm with friends and associates, but do it in an organized way. You probably have fixed ideas about how you are going to raise money for your startup and it will be important to spawn new ideas. On a solo basis, one of the methods I use is mind-mapping (several free programs and apps are on the Web); it lets me get all my scattered ideas briefly noted in one visual space. It helps me see the wood for the trees.

Affinity diagrams might be something you can use in a group. It sounds daunting, but all you need is some wall space and sticky-notes. Participants work on their own ideas and post them. When you have them all on the wall you can begin to see which ideas are related, or which may generate new ideas.

Be as wild as you can about where you can capital or loans from. You’d be surprised about how many sources there are, and just how many people would love to help.

Why I Live in Montreal

I’d like to tell you why I live in Montreal.

I came here in 1990. I was fresh from my Master’s programme in English Literature and needed a second-language credit to finish, so I came to do French immersion. Two weeks into the programme, I knew I was going to stay.

Although I’d grown up in Ontario and gone to university in Toronto and Hamilton, I never quite felt like I belonged. There was something about the formality of my education environments that always troubled me.

I never felt good enough or competitive enough. Although I now understand there were myriad reasons for my feeling this way-my natural temperament being one–external and measurable reasons existed too.

I was born in the 1960s, before the celebration of multi-culturalism in this country became standard operating procedure, and my parents had felt the lash of xenophobia. They were afraid of authority because they had reason to be. Although their fears had more to do with social ostracism than anything else, I could see, even as a child, that they occupied what they felt was a safe space on the periphery of Canadian culture. There was a reason they had one foot in Canada and another back in the old country: it gave them a sense of security.

So when, as a 30 year-old, I came to Montreal and breathed in the atmosphere, I was surprised to find myself feeling so completely at ease. Layers of unhappiness just seemed to peel off. There were also clues in the environment that told me I was in the right place, a place where I could be myself, or at least be closer to myself-as-a-destination.

The potential for greater authenticity seemed to be part of the zoning here, just like the crazy parking signs, the multitude of buskers and performers and the vivid street art. There was an irrepressible energy here-like the energy that made trouble for me back in Ontario-and I experienced a quiet sense of permission. There was a voice that said it’s okay, be yourself and it was irresistible. So I stayed; I explored.

Why am I still here? I can answer that best when I look at the last year of my life. I took part in two projects outside my teaching duties. One project involved working with Francophones on a government initiative. The other was a more personal project, one that had a less sweeping focus but was very important to me. The latter was organized and conducted by Anglophones in Ontario. Suffice it to say my experience of these two groups differed significantly.

I think courage is a strength of the Anglophone culture, both in Canada and abroad, and is what makes it competitive and strong. The Brits colonized much of the world for a reason. They had the will to do it and the smarts to accomplish it. Their ability to act speaks to a competitive streak that has served them very well. On the other hand, their famous reserve-that stiff upper lip–can be downright unnerving to someone like me.

The French, who don’t seem to like Anglophones very much, were just as exacting in many ways. Their capacity for bureaucracy startled and dismayed me. When I think of the French, I automatically think of paperwork. They colonized too; however, I’m tempted to believe that their relative lack of breadth in that regard was due to the bureaucracy that surely must have slowed their imperialistic drive. Invade another country? Attendre, we’ve got a form for that!

So what was the difference? That irrepressible energy I felt when I first started exploring the streets of Montreal has another incarnation and that’s in the level of connectedness I felt with my French colleagues. I screwed up a couple of times; most notably, I once got hopelessly lost on the way to a meeting and was very, very late.

At first I was met with a Gallic shrug and then questions about my welfare. Are you stressed? Do you have a GPS? Ahhhh, GPSs. A long and detailed discussion followed about the newness of the roads in that part of Montreal and how they were not yet appearing on satellite maps. I sat there willing everyone to please stop talking about it. It’s because there was someone in the room who was judging me quite harshly and that person was me. I’m not sure why this is, but I can still cringe over that episode. I cringe even though it’s clear I was forgiven, immediately and completely, by the very colleagues I had kept waiting.

My dealings with the Anglos didn’t go quite like this. I had some difficulty with them too, but the resolution, such as it was, looked quite different. I had an email correspondence with an Anglo woman that can only be described as a conversation so tautly strung with suppressed anger that it twanged. Politeness is there in spades, but underlying hostility is too. As is the judging, the neutral words designed to point out my deficiencies, the posturing for power, the strategic sense of advancement and retreat. In short, I felt I was fighting a war and I had to measure each word because, like beads on an abacus, they would be counted. It was painful too, but I didn’t cringe. I walked on eggshells instead and it was exhausting.

It would be easy to say I’m over-simplifying. That I’m erroneously making these conflicts represent larger trends in diverse cultures. But having lived here for over 20 years, I know I’m right. The connectedness I feel living in this city explains why things went so well with my French colleagues. People here look at one another, acknowledge one another, and it makes a difference.

When I first arrived in Montreal, I had few opportunities to work. My French was limited and even service-industry jobs require one to be fluently bilingual. So I did what I knew best: I taught English, first as a second language and then as literature at the college level. My first job was at a language school. It was located close to a flagship location of The Bay, right in downtown Montreal.

One thing I noticed about Montreal was that people, particularly men, would look at me in a very frank and undisguised way. I remember walking into The Bay, almost daily, and using mirrors on the cosmetic counter to check my face. I did this precisely because I was being looked at. I assumed these men were looking because I had touched my cheek after erasing one of the school’s whiteboards. I thought I must have an ink smear, or perhaps running mascara, on my face.

It took me a long time to realize that they were looking for another reason altogether and that a frank appraisal of my looks was meant to communicate a very positive message to me. It took me a bit longer to realize that even women looked at other women and, far from being a sign of competition, it seemed to reflect a genuine curiosity, or a willingness to make contact, however subtle.

At first I was non-plussed by this and and it flustered me more times than I care to remember. However, in a sneaky way it felt good and gradually I got used to it. Around that time, I had a chance conversation with a woman at a coffee shop, a woman who had been recently widowed. She told me that whenever she felt lonely, she would take a walk around old Montreal. She said she felt an instant connection to others and I knew exactly what she meant. Looking at another human being can be a salutory act, a way of saying “I acknowledge you.” It’s powerful and it happens here all the time.

So you can imagine my surprise when a friend from Toronto, here for a year, started telling me how violated she felt when she walked the streets of Montreal.

I tried to explain the difference in culture. I tried to tell her that if men were looking at her, perhaps it was because they found her attractive and that she should enjoy it. I also encouraged her to become an observer of life in this city and to wait and see whether or not women looked at her in a similar way, albeit with friendship on their minds. She was not convinced, although I hoped that in a year’s time she’d at least come to appreciate the power of a friendly glance.

I had no luck and that’s because the cultural imperative of avoiding the gaze of others is strongly ingrained in other people in other cities. That’s true in this country and in other parts of the world. It’s too bad. When my mother was ill and I was crying almost every day, I appreciated the fact that people here would see my reddened eyes and not look away. Their gazes, far from being threatening or embarrassing, served to tell me that crying was a normal thing to do under stressful circumstances. C’est normal, their eyes seemed to say. And that helped–a lot.

I can still feel the way I felt when I first arrived in Montreal: that I’m living in a transporting place where I can be taken to a higher state of consciousness if I allow it to happen. And it does happen when I come around a corner and see a sculpture in an intimate spot or a window-box overflowing with flowers. I still stop when I see a church facade that is particularly artful or an expanse of water rippling in the view between buildings. Montrealers have taught me to notice these things.

And I still remember my first year here. I remember opening my classroom window at the Y, where I was teaching English, and explaining that what a soulful saxophone player was doing outside was called “busking.” The children came to the window and we watched as a crowd formed and passersby stopped to put coins in his saxophone case. In other words, we watched while people of all ages stopped not only to notice his music, but to listen and acknowledge it as well.