Half Year in Review

spot the odd one out

Lots of changes from so little.

So I’ve been slacking on the blogging front. To our four loyal readers and my mom, I promise you’ll be reading a lot more from us on Hamfats.ca in the near future. However slow our updates have been, a lot has been happening behind the curtain so far this year that I wanted to share with you all.

The 9 to 6 Job.

This year, I moved to Montréal after I would say about a year of back and forth of weighing in what I want to do what is actually reasonable. “Big deal”, you say, “everybody in Canada wants to move to Montréal, it can’t be that hard”. To some degree you would be right – it’s not really such a big deal. And normally it wouldn’t be but here’s the thing – I have invested countless hours helping the dance scenes here grow, and for the most part, people seem to like me in Toronto. (Ed. this is a safe statement since the haters wouldn’t be reading this blog anyways hehe). I also have a pretty sweet gig in Toronto. I work for a kick-ass NON-EVIL company with a very respectable wage that allows me to travel often throughout the year.

Unfortunately, as I follow the crumbs back to my house, I start realizing that there were things that just felt missing.

After a while, I figured out what it was – it was the overused big fish-small bowl metaphor that was eating me up. Now, Toronto is far from the small bowl in the grand scheme of things and actually there are a lot of social and professional dancers in the city that would kick my butt in a dance-off if they heard me say that out loud. However, for me personally, I felt like the challenge has worn off. I set out some goals when I first moved to the TDot and I felt like more or less they have been achieved. Of course I am no international jet-setting dance rockstar, but honestly, only a few of us who aspire to be that. I know that’s not my role here on planet Earth.

Moving to Montréal was really about scratching my own itch.

It’s scary walking into a work meeting and telling your co-workers and boss that you are planning on living in another city. Normally that would lead to the end of one chapter of your life and the start of another one – writing eighty cover letters. Alas, it was not to be and I still work for FreshBooks. In fact, I think I have an even sweeter gig now as I have a semi-office in downtown Montréal and am able to set my own hours. So long, 9-6, hello random schedules! I still travel out to Toronto once every two weeks or so for work, and besides weirdly seeing the exact same four people on every flight or train trip (more on that on another blog post), it’s been pleasantly ordinary.

So basically, if I had to sum this up, I am now getting paid to do what I love for a company that I love working for, but also have MORE time to dance, which is my real passion in life… but in Montréal. Amazing huh? Things have a way of working themselves out when you scratch your own itch.

The 7 to 12 Job.

Being a work-a-holic, my mind is always racing around on how I can achieve another dream of mine – building my own dance studio. According to most business books, the number one thing that I need to accomplish this is… cue drums… money. Lots of mad, mad, money. If you didn’t know, my future dance studio is going to be a pretty big deal, so I need mad money!

The key, I’m thinking, is having extra recurring revenue instead of taking out a huge ass bank loan. It sucks, I know, but I just keep telling myself that it’s going to pay off in the end when I can just live, literally, in my own dance studio.

The regular blues dance that I run is still growing but has had its ups and downs since it’s conception but the one thing that I have stuck with is tracking metrics. Some events I make a good tilt to make a significant bump to my paycheck. Others, I’m left lugging around a light cashbox. I’ve been pretty militant in tracking expenses and income and I’ve been trying to balance that with having a dance that people want to actually come to. What I’ve found out is that while the dance itself will never be a huge extra revenue source, what helps the bump is all the extra stuff that comes from running a regular popular dance venue – private lessons, teaching opportunities, and most randomly – photo gigs.

I’ve been getting a healthy flow of photo gigs from my dance worlds that are slowly but surely paying off my camera and poutine eating habits. I’m always a bit surprised and a little bit too excited when someone asks to have me take a photo of him/her/them. I constantly have to remind myself that yes, indeed, I are a “professional” photographer. It’s okay to take money from people in exchange for your services. Tee hee. I finally started curating my photos on this awesome website for portfolios: http://hamfats.carbonmade.com/ .

Building a Scene (no longer from scratch)

Oddly enough, Tien has been helping me plan the next phase of the Toronto blues dance scene all the way across the country out in Vancouver. We’re a pretty good team because he looks at the finer details of my crazy ideas and rants.

Me: “I WANT BIG WEEKEND WITH TWENTY BANDS AND INSTRUCTORS!!!”
Tien: “Okay, how will you afford that?”

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, my obsession the past year and a bit has been growing my own blues dance scene in Toronto so I didn’t have to fly out so much for blues dancing. Now that the scene for the most part is self sustainable with different parties involved, I’m trying to come up with ideas on how to take it the next level. If you have any ideas, feel free to shoot them our way :-)

Until next time. – Randy

Leave a Reply