Lately, I haven’t hit “publish” as often as I would like. But judging my progress by the article count would do the slow and steady project that is Future Tides a disservice. Here are a few of the tasks keeping me busy behind the scenes:
Forming a legal business. LLC registration. Tax ID number. Business license. Future Tides now has all of these!
Receiving a grant meant needing a bank account, the start of finances and accounting. My previous job at GeekWire included managing many of these administrative tasks but starting from the beginning is different.
This has not happened without help: Lawyers for Reporters took Future Tides on as a client and is helping me with pro bono legal services. I’ve also connected with a free small business mentor through SCORE. My grandfather volunteered with SCORE, so that’s a fun connection!
Informational interviews and such. On both the media and entrepreneurship front, I am talking to helpful, knowledgeable people.
Often after these calls, my brain is firing on all cylinders and I want to dive into new ideas. For now, many of them compiled into notes, then re-emerging in planning documents and some will eventually become part of a focused strategy.
It’s been a year since I published my final essay for CUNY’s Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators program. I reread it and have little to change. Everything outlined there is still my plan and focus, the highs and lows still ring true. The resources and connections I gained through that program continue to guide me and I remain a student in many ways.
I recently celebrated this one year mark with some members of my cohort! I spent many Zoom hours with this international group and everyone in attendance had inspiring professional and personal accomplishments to share.
I also conducted a peer feedback exercise, asking several journalists to review three Future Tides articles and three issues of this newsletter. They all had something positive to say, which is encouraging! But also provided me with tangible feedback I’ve found incredibly helpful.
Identifying my tools. I’m researching and preparing to make some key decisions about technology and services for Future Tides.
This includes developing the website, the content management system (CMS), email service provider (ESP), tools for surveys and polls, sourcing images for articles, making cool maps and more. For each one, I am considering the cost, compatibility and its long term potential.
Right now, Future Tides articles are hosted on my personal WordPress website (this was the fastest way for me to start publishing) and you receive these newsletters via a free MailChimp account. I use the free level of Later to schedule social media posts. This setup isn’t meant for the long term.
Future Tides has been accepted into a program for small publishers that includes a promising tech stack. It would, crucially, allow me to focus more on writing and building the business, rather than setting up a website, learning about WordPress plugins or troubleshooting something not working like I thought. It does come with a monthly cost, but is something I’m seriously considering. More to come.
Building this “boat-y beat.” I’ve joked that I just want to write about boats, and while I absolutely love that, my vision for Future Tides covers much more than boats. It also includes covering complicated topics from the marine environment to the maritime workforce to regulations impacting recreational boaters, fisheries and more.
I am one person, I can’t do it all. I’m using this process to build my background knowledge through in-depth articles, podcasts and books (any interest in a Future Tides’ book list?). I’m also closely following what other media outlets, especially those dedicated to this region or the maritime community, are covering and what they are not covering.
Listening remains critical. I’m listening to what people say in passing, in the Future Tides community survey responses and, for better or worse, in online forums. I aspire to facilitate more in-person discussions in the future.
I suspect I will continue to swing between visible and less visible phases of work as Future Tides continues. I appreciate you coming along through this process! I hope to deliver some piece of news or information you find valuable, if not in every issue, then in almost every issue.
The Future Tides email newsletter covers maritime innovation and the future of the maritime community in Washington state.