Bad times can lead to Good things

Very often it is in times of crisis when we are at our most creative. We can’t afford the luxury of sitting back and allowing things to happen around us. Necessity is the mother of invention as they say. A number of new initiatives have caught my attention in recent times. Three of which I mention here.

The Greenhouse Incubator in Limerick was set up in February by Evert Bopp in response to the closure of the Dell factory. It offers an innovative opportunity for new start ups to get off the ground without getting bogged down in red tape and bureaucracy.

From the site; -“The GreenHouse has been started up now to combat the ongoing economic downturn. While there are a number of admirable government initiatives going on, the only real way for the economy to recover is by an increase of private sector activity. The recent and future redundancies by large, small & medium sized companies create a huge pool of talent. With the right guidance & support a percentage of these people are perfect candidates for developing their own ventures.

TalentTank.ie is an exciting initiative linking employers and employees in a new and different way that can only be of benefit to everyone. I’ll allow them explain:– “Talent Tank is a website that provides Individuals and Employers the platform on which to have a direct influence on the speed in which we recover from the recession. The concept is simple, talented Individuals offer their skills and experience for free, for a couple of hours or days and Employers avail of this free skills offer.” You can read the press release here.

As we have recently embarked on a new publication and can do with all the help we can get I registered on the site and posted my details. I received a reply fairly quickly from John Jennings who offered to produce a video advert for us. A couple of emails were sent over and back, with good suggestions from John (as I didn’t really have any plan as to what I wanted) the finished product is below. It won’t have the same viral effect as Susan Boyle’s now famous video but I do quiet like it and found John great to work with.


Swop-o-nomics.com offers the chance to barter for products and services. Personally I love this way of doing business and have been known to swap advertising for a TV, photography sessions, IT support, general labour, diving gear and other things I can’t think of right now. I think it makes great sense as the cost of supplying a product or service is less than what someone would pay to buy it from you. Both parties forgo the profit on the transaction and the only cost is your time or the wholesale value of the goods. Although the market value of the goods should be used as the ‘exchange rate’. We all need different goods and services over time and it’s great to see this site up and running. You can read their press release here.

Press releases and DIY PR

I decided to write up a Press Release to promote our new magazine Life and Fitness, and  announce that it will now be available in Northern Ireland as well.

For ideas and guidance I consulted Adrian Weckler’s post and Emily Tully’s ‘5 things you should know when sending out a Press Release’.

When complete I uploaded it to some press release distribution sites. One I had been using regularly for sourcing articles, IrishPressReleases.ie which as the name suggests is specifically for Ireland and the others I found through Google. I have used the links to my press release rather than to the home page of the various sites to allow you to see how each one looks across the various sites. I’m sure there are loads more out there and a professional PR would most likely know about them. They all had free uploads, but with www.1888pressrelease.com, maybe due to a better sales cycle, I opted for the platinum package of $25 which offered better promotion of the release than the free option. A quick look at site stats first thing this morning showed this one actually had send the most traffic through to the site (which will hopefully be looking a lot better very soon). So maybe it was worth the extra expense.

The other sites I uploaded to were PressReleasePoint.com (They have a list of options for you to bookmark on all the popular sites) and PR-Inside.com (who nicely display whatever picture you supply beside the release)

As yet, I haven’t sent to any journalists, newspapers, magazines, TV or radio stations. That’s next on my list. Again a professional PR should have all these contacts. Some would argue that you are better off doing your own PR

Like anything you take upon yourself to do, it is time consuming. But I like a challenge and learning something new. At least now I have the registration part with the various sites out of the way. It has also made me more aware of the need to have something newsworthy to write about, and if I don’t, to go and find something and make it newsworthy.

While writing this I came across these blog posts which have more information on the whole PR thing:-

Eoin Kennedy

Piaras Kelly PR

Whether the press release makes the mainstream news or gets published in any medium remains to be seen. But please do let me know if you see it in your local or daily favourite.

And if you have other ideas on DIY PR please leave a comment

Twitter business opportunity that anyone can do

Twitter, the micro blogging platform as it’s known, is fast becoming the source for breaking news stories. It is also a way for people to follow what’s happening in sporting fixtures, for example by following the hashtag (#) for a particular event. These give you an update on the highlights but aren’t really ‘commentary’ as such. To date I have not seen any actual live sports commentary on Twitter.

A post by Kevin Dunne had me think about this some time back and recently a comment by him on my blog prompted me to write this.

As Niall Harbison has pointed out before most entrepreneurs have several business ideas each day and see opportunities all around them.

So this is my offering to anyone who fancies making a few quid. I don’t think you’d get rich however and there is a bit of work involved in doing it and it is seasonal and out of office hours. So it may suit students during the evenings, weekends or holidays better. It can be replicated in any town in Ireland or indeed anywhere I’m sure.

What is it?

Basically it’s live tweeting of local matches or other sporting occasions. The ones that aren’t on TV or radio. Suppose your local team, or any local team for that matter, is playing a match somewhere. You go to the match and tweet the action as it happens. You don’t need to know the names of the players, people will be shouting them out for you. Some knowledge of the sport may be useful however….

How do you make money from it?

That’s an interesting question, I’m glad you asked. There are a number of ways to monetise your activities, but it does involve a bit of selling.

You could approach 1 or 2 of the pubs in each town to pay for the service. You or a friend would most likely have to set up a laptop connected to the TV with a broadband connection so the punters in the pub could follow the action. Most of the clientele or publicans won’t have a clue about Twitter so the whole novelty value here would be a crowd puller. It may not be a huge crowd but it would be better than an empty pub for the publican. They could also get some free publicity in the local media for being so innovative.

You could also sell advertising to various businesses in the towns which you could display through Twitpic. Using the Power Twitter add on to Firefox the pictures are displayed without having to click on the link. You can of course put up team photos, action shots and crowd photos to liven things up a bit as well. Lets face it, reading the match commentary does not make for riveting entertainment. But it does give the pub back to the customers who can talk away while keeping up to date with what’s happening. Although some clever tweeting could build up the suspense.

You’d have to decide which platform to use displaying the tweets, the web interface would need regular refreshing but as mentioned photos would be viewable. Twission could also be used if you set up a hashtag and if there were pubs in the rival towns the punters comments of each pub could also be displayed to each other adding to the overall fun.

How much to charge for advertising or using the service would of course be a major consideration. Most die hard sporting fans will be at the match so it will depend on how much extra business the publican is likely to receive. But as already mentioned if they contact their local radio/newspaper/magazine etc. and let them know what is happening, they could get several hundred euros worth of free publicity. Adrian Weckler tells you how to write a competent press release here

It could be a hard thing to sell though as you would most likely have to explain Twitter as well.

That’s just a local example of one opportunity with a limited market. Maybe you can come up with your own model that would appeal to a national or worldwide audience. Remember if you have a lot of people buying from you at a low price, it all adds up.

Not a get rich quick scheme, but it could help earn some extra cash for college, teach you how to sell, be a challenge and possibly be a springboard for even greater things. And maybe someone with a knowledge of building applications or better ways of doing this kind of thing can create the best way of doing it.

Don’t forget Setanta Sports started out beaming live GAA matches into pubs in the US and Australia.