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Grace Conyers

Professional science communicator, MMA enthusiast

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Freelance science communicator and marketer

I already have a large dream in the process of making, but it could use a lot of refining. For this project I'm going to work on the one part of the dream that brings in money right now. My goal is to make this aspect stronger so I can move on to forming the other parts of The Big Dream I call Insanitek.

Ink -- The business plan

Ink is the science communication and journalism part of Insanitek. The business model for this is simple. We provide the service of translating science to laymen's English in order for the researcher to fullfil the "broader impacts" section of the grant application requirements.

This is an important aspect to the grant application process because without it, they don't receive funding to continue their research. Normally, the research will let their outreach do the talking for them, but the outreach division doesn't cover in-depth points. So, the researcher may then turn to undergrads and graduate students, but they only place they do "outreach" is at an academic conference, and this does not fullfil the "broader impacts" requirement.

However, what I'm proposing is that myself (and my future team) translate their research into various formats, such as beautiful infographics, engaging presesations, or even lesson plans that may be taught as part of a cirriculum. This not only fullfils the grant requirements for "broader impacts", but also the more recent societial push for transparent and easily accessed science.

Who am I?

Well, this part hardly seems relevant to making the business startup what it should be, but I'll answer anyway. I am me. In a business sense, I am an entrepreneur. I am also a freelancer. :)

In a less complicated sense for Ink, I'm currently a freelancer building up a client base. I'm trying to build up enough clients that I can pay other people to do this part of Insanitek before moving onto the next part. So, in sort, I'm an entrepreneur.

Funding

I took a few days of researching options before writing this part, even though I already have a "vague" model put into place. Well, it isn't a model so much as a set of rules I follow. Here are those rules:

  1. Never spend more than 80% of what you make.
  2. Never take out a loan because you never know if will be able to pay it back under current conditions.
  3. Be honest.
  4. Charge accurately for your time and services.
  5. Sell digital things that will receive more money than it takes to make as often as possible. 
  6. Invest in the future. 

After learning more about funding options while listening to the funding lecture, I decided that a bootstrapping model might be what I'm in for with my current rules. After all, I'm bringing in money from my freelancing jobs, then applying them to furthering my company. I'm not doing anything extravegant, high speed, or even very fancy.

I have come to the conclusion that I need more research in this area before I settle on a model. I might even combine a few tricks from each model before I settle on an exact funding model.

Hiring

As it turns out, I just hired my first employee. They are an independent contractor I found by way of a graphic arts competition.

You see, I needed a graphic artist to complement my writing skills. I knew I wanted someone that was talented, a self started, wanted to create things on the side that were sciency, wanted to learn and grow their own skills, and, for the most part, could operate independently.

I figured the best way to find such a person was to hold a contest with a few rules to outline. Every entrant would be publically displayed on our various social media sites as graphic artists that are looking for freelance work. Our community would vote on their favourite one, and the one with enough votes would get a job from us. Everyone else might get a job with others and a LOT of exposure for their own business.

I like this model so much I will also likely do it for writers and every other position that can benefit from it. They win, I win. I like that idea.

Naming

Obviously, this is not something I have to worry about at this point. I like the name, though I was not the one that thought it up. I give props to my overly geeky friends for coming up with that pun.

Partnerships

My partners are my friends, really. We went into this venture together because we believe in what it can be, what it's uses are, and it's future. We are bound together not by money, but by belief in what we are doing, why, and the determination to see it through. We are all freelancers, so we keep what we earn giving 10% to the company as a whole so we can expand it in the future.

Will we change this plan? Most definitely some time in the future. It works for now, though, so it's unlikely to change any time soon.

Cash flow

When we first started Insanitek Ink, we didn't know how this was going to work out. Invoicing people for your services and then getting them to send money can sometimes be tricky. It's often nice to have a backup plan in mind, which we have. 

However, what we have set up is that the client pays for a portion (10%) of the services up front, then the rest when the task is completed. This 10% is to ensure their commitment and give us a little bit of working funds to start with. However, we have found through trial and error that sometimes you need to ask for 50% of the remaining revenue halfway through a large project. To get clients to feel at ease with this, we include them in on the progress so they can see the process as it unfolds and our progress every day. They feel quite comfortable knowing we are working on their projects and their money is not going to waste.

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