Things I Learned While Opening The New Office

Yeah, yeah – it has been almost a month since I’ve made a post. Long story short, in June, I incorporated a new business in Canada and on August 1st, I opened a new office up there, hired several new employees to work in it and moved myself and my three children from Florida back up to Canada (if you’re new, I lived there for two years up until the summer of 2006) to run it.

First, to answer the three most common questions… MFE stands for marked for evolution (hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), it does what I’ve always done – build and market our own websites and because I hate the weather in Florida – that’s why I’d move from there to Canada. ;-)

Along the way, I learned several things about opening an office in a different country that does what “we do” and thought I’d share (and prove I’m alive at the same time). Some are general business, some are specific to web business and one is simply a hatefest on a shitty airline, but all should explain why I’ve been a bit busy (I’d also like to say thank you to webmasterworld and Sphinn for not canning me as a moderator for my prolonged absence as all of this has occured).

Without further ado…

- US Airways sucks ass. Seriously. I was on my way up on the 31st and they got me to Philadelphia four hours late… which meant I missed the last flight to Toronto and since Air Canada was nice enough to throw me on their 6 a.m. flight, I didn’t have time to get a hotel room and instead stayed awake all night until my flight boarded at 5:30 a.m. To answer your next question… I can’t do the timing of the only two star alliance direct flights, so I am forced to take a layover on all flights from Florida to Canada. So, I was two hours late to open my office and by the end of day one, I’d been awake for 38 hours straight.

- If you take your employees shopping with you for all of the needed office supplies, they will attempt to co-erce you into buying vending machines for “cool factor” instead of a fridge for drinks.

- If you try to transfer accounts of quite a few domain names at godaddy (we wanted all domains falling under the new company to have their own account), they will automatically reset the DNS servers and you’ll lose traffic. According to godaddy, there is no way around this issue. However, a quick call to Moniker domains revealed that this was a godaddy issue and not a blanket problem with all registrars (it also revealed that their entire sales staff knows me as the “crazy badass girl” from the conferences *shrug* lol). So, all of the needed domains were transferred to Moniker.

- I was reminded that any domain that has been either registered or had a change to the registration cannot be transferred (see: 3. Obligations of the Registrar of Record) until 60 days after that change has taken place. So, several domains registered in the last two months will need to wait 60 days to be transferred to the good folks at Moniker.

- Someone in the office accidentally buying a poster of Johnny Depp’s Rolling Stone cover (I never did ask what they *thought* they were buying) and then hanging it on the wall directly across another person in the office’s desk for kicks is funny as hell.

- Dealing with Bell Canada was not only a horrid experience, but also left us without phone service or decent Internet access for almost a week. Apparently, I was also “striking fear into the hearts of customer service reps everywhere” according to those in the office while voicing my displeasure about the situation. The electrician installing outlets apparently thought so as well. While I was on the phone, he looks at two of the guys in the reception area and said, “Is she in charge here?” and when they nodded he gave a look described by the guys he was speaking to as “sucks to be you”.

- Like with godaddy, we wanted the sites under the new business to be listed under the new company in the commission junction account as well. However, we were informed that because the country is also being changed, we have to open a brand new account, which means we also lose our “performance history” on the network, which currently gets us a lot of good offers but also means we have to change our links across a crapload of sites, which really sucks. Additionally, we were informed that some of the companies we affiliate for may no longer work with us under the “Canadian account” though they couldn’t tell us which of the companies we affiliate for may choose to take that stance. Thank goodness we don’t use CJ for the bulk of anything. (Linkshare on the other hand, made the switch pretty damn seamless.)

- Take lots of geeks who know each other, add in freshly bought whiteboards and whiteboard markers and you quickly have a war of whiteboard nudity, insults and general all around “proof that we’re ThinkGeek shoppers for life”.

- We were reminded that switching payee names on an Adsense account also requires opening a new account and the topic is brought up among us as to whether or not your smart pricing history not being available in the new account has any sort of detrimental effect on earnings in the short term. I guess we’re about to find out. (As a unrelated side note, I’m totally curious why Adsense is in a folder and Adwords is on a subdomain.)

- For some reason, my business partner finds it “disturbing, but not surprising” that I have framed prints of Scarface and the Rat Pack on the walls in my office. He then becomes more disturbed by finding out I have another on order for my office and even more at home. ;-)

- Never be afraid to haggle. I managed to get Future Shop to give us 19 inch LG widescreen monitors for the price of some generic brand and even got them to throw in free adapters (or cables or whatever the hell they were called) for every one of them. Additionally, I got Rogers to take almost 300 dollars off the price of my new blackberry 8800 and throw in a free car charger after they didn’t have one available for me when they said they would (originally I was only getting 150 off). (Side note to Rogers AND Future Shop – entry pages suck ass.)

- The amount of people who call new businesses is absolutely disgusting. I have gotten more sales calls in the last two weeks than I’ve ever received in my life. Too bad that I won’t be able to get one of those fun calls from Merchant Circle since they don’t service Canada. (Note to the folks at MerchantCircle, you may want to pick up the .ca of your domain, which is currently unregistered if you plan to expand the “business model” into Canada.)

- Having an LCBO and about 8 bars within walking distance of the office may or may not be a good thing, depending on how much work I’m supposed to be doing. ;-)

So there you have the reason for the recent silence. And also the reason I am not in San Jose right now, no matter how many people tell me I suck for not going or email me asking me what time I arrive. ;-)

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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