Thursday, July 14, 2016

Life is too short to wonder.

Today I responded to a question on my Linkedin profile about my anniversary with Gold's Gym. I have been practicing Centergy and a member of Gold's since 2005 and teaching at Gold's since 2010 and it literally has saved my life. Teaching and inspiring others to be more fit inspires me to be fit as well. It keeps me in balance with the other things in my life that are moving at one hundred miles per hour most days.
Sometimes we look at each other and see what we do, but not who we are, which is something that I feel stops us from appreciating the best of who we are. When I was in the corporate world as a planner, I would see people's lives and personal self worth defined by a title and a pay cheque. I always thought that was a shame. That was how I defined my self-worth. When that changed, my life changed. I had to discover who I was beyond the titles that others gave me and for which I was paid.
I am the Publisher of SKY and the owner of ZÖE Boutique, and a consulting practice under my company Lynear Thinking. I teach fitness classes at Gold's Gym, and I teach Yoga classes in the community. I make fitness a job so that I keep it in my life. That's how I do things. When I want to make something happen, I make it a job. Before all this, I was a corporate planner and communicator / strategist for corporations. In 2011, I left that to pursue my own interests. And I haven't stopped. 

Life is too short to wonder, it's better to wander. 

Have an awesome day. -

Friday, June 24, 2016

Flamingo Project: The Voice of the Butterfly

Flamingo Project: The Voice of the Butterfly: Somebody years ago with whom I shared a tumultuous relationship called me a butterfly.  At the time, he was pretty frustrated with the ...

SKY Magazine Strategic Direction

The Evolution of an Independent Boutique Magazine

A letter from the publisher

Dear Readers,

One of the things that I love about the sky is that it is constantly changing.  I love the possibility of change.  And it’s a necessary part of life in all things.  We all change. We never stay the same.  Now in my fifth year of publishing SKY (10 years in total), it is time to evolve with the times, and the realities of our daily lives. 

My founding intention for SKY was to create a magazine that would inspire us, and tell the stories of people living in their vision.  This continues to be my intention.  

SKY is an entrepreneurially driven independent magazine, owned and operated by yours truly and created with the help and vision of two amazing entrepreneurs and artists, Greg Huszar, photographer, and Amber Moon, Designer.  SKY has built a strong brand and following. 

Over the past four years, SKY has changed.  When I first became the publisher, SKY was a 100% cover to cover advertorial publication. The print run was 32,000 and it was mailed (for free) to homes in high income neighbourhoods in Regina and Saskatoon via Canada Post.  The cost of producing a single 16-page issue was approximately $16,000, and that cost was shared by the advertisers in the magazine.

I brought something new to the table.  I am a marketer, business strategist, journalist and a professional communicator.  So I introduced the concept of strategic story telling to the pages of SKY, and personally worked with each contributor / advertiser to hand craft their message with their brand and desired outcomes in mind.  I created a digital platform for SKY to move it from the mailbox into our readers’ hands more eloquently.   I also added a marketing and social media component for the businesses that supported SKY, personally promoting them, their businesses and their products on the SKY social media platform.

In 2014, I began looking at SKY from true magazine perspective, since that was my intention from the beginning – to create a magazine that tells the story of who we are through the eyes and experiences of the inspired.   I looked to Magazines Canada for a model, adopted the policies and made editorial changes to the extent that I could based on the financial implications of the print environment.  I submitted application to become part of Magazines Canada but the financial business model and the choices that I had to make accordingly that were driving the magazine created limitations, so I was not able to take SKY far enough and make the changes that Magazines Canada would have required.

However, I continued to evolve the model to strengthen the magazine, moving to a 70/30 split on advertising versus editorial.  Since 2014 the front cover  space has not been available for purchase, and has been created out of SKY’s editorial vision.

SKY does not sell advertising.  We sell spaces in which to play.  With each space, I work directly with the client to define how that space should be used. I have been the sole strategist and writer.  I have also created a social media platform to market my clients post print, and into the digital world of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other amazing places.

Our last issue, Winter Reimagined, the cover was a harbinger of change, with a woman walking and turning her back to convention. The image  was gifted to SKY by Lisa Wicklund, designer.

As a business strategist, I see that the world is changing.  That dollars are getting tighter for businesses to spend in print, that the market is already over populated in terms of advertising that people are rejecting “flyers” in their mailboxes.  

The print industry is changing too, and the cost for an independent is becoming prohibitive. Twenty years ago, when I was in journalism school with Jim McKenzie, the now deceased professor who taught me more than I could appreciate at the time, the web had just begun to show itself. It was unknown as to what it would be.  Our classes would ruminate on the business model that was going to drive the World Wide Web, and how that would translate to the journalism environment.  I just have to look at my own life to know and understand the impact of the way we distribute, share and assimilate information.  It is a function of two things: less time and more access to information literally at our fingertips. 

I love print magazines, indeed I subscribe to my favourites.  I love the feeling of paper in my hands, and I love the way a new magazine smells.  But on my coffee table right now is a stack of magazines that I have not been able to read. What am I doing when I sit down?  Reading my emails.  Checking my Instagram feed.  Posting. Communicating.  Reading.  My phone has officially become part of my life and business.  Readers are reading online more and more.  Is there a place for print? Yes, but it is becoming an individual choice to print or not to print.  

SKY is a boutique business, owned and operated by a person like all boutique businesses.  Boutiques are famous for their service experience and individualized attention.  And so must be we, to be successful and relevant to our clients. From a business perspective, my clients want to stand out.  They do not want to be lost in a sea of advertisements, stuck somewhere on page 68 in an inside corner.  They want to be seen. They want to be shared. They want to be marketed. And that’s what I do, passionately. 

So it’s time that we called a spade a spade.  The magazine has to evolve to match the value proposition for all concerned – our readers, our clients, and our very viability.

Inspiration is what SKY is all about.  And possibility. And exploring new places.  SKY is about being seen. 

This issue, I am so pleased to share our first “magazine” featuring a  strengthened editorial vision to inspire and raise the profile of the inspired and the visionaries who are changing the world on a daily basis.

I am so honoured to share the story and the work of Brenda Rossow-Kimball, a woman who works tirelessly to improve the lives of people with complex disability.  Brenda is also a guest contributor in this issue. 

Read the issue on your tablet, and share it with your friends and family. If you do choose to download the PdF to print, please keep the planet in mind.

Sincerely and without further adieu,

Lynn Armstrong

SKY Magazine

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016 Outlook: A Bigger SKY

Hello friends. I don't know if you've heard, but I am bigger than a business card. And I looking forward to some exciting things in 2016.
One of which is the expansion of SKY Magazine. SKY is moving into year four - where did the time go? It is the most rewarding thing that I have done over my career and it just keeps getting better.
I began SKY as an entrepreneur with a passion for entrepreneurs, and I have shared stories about amazing people in our market place on the pages of SKY. Every issue is truly a humbling experience, and each beautiful in their own right. At the end of each issue, after we send it off the printer, Amber and I always say - 'this is the best one yet'.
I am still printing and distributing 32,000 magazines each season, when many others (of a greater size) are going digital or disappearing into the sweet night of memories. We are advocates for local business. SKY is created in Regina by people who live and work here. We are part of the community, and we give back to the businesses that we support.
As a former print journalist and professional writer, I am very committed to print because I believe that seeing is believing, that people will sit down and read good writing and appreciate good photography.
I am passionate about promoting independent businesses and telling the world about what they do, and the products and services they offer. I believe that when people know the story, that is the first step in building a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
SKY goes well beyond the printed word. We also have a continuous and growing voice in the social media realm; I am always posting to promote the businesses on the pages of SKY. I do this as part of my service because I want people to visit their businesses and say "I saw you in SKY". When that happens, it's the best feeling - because I know that SKY is working, because I am working for purpose.
A big thank you to Amber Amber Hack Moon, SKY's designer, and Greg Huszar, photographer, to ‪#‎MarilynMisko‬ at PrintWest for always working with us to produce a beautiful product, and to our rep Jesse Culbert at theRegina Leader-Post for helping us get SKY into mailboxes. And a big thank you to my family and friends for just being there through the ebb and flow of this crazy business.
But there is more to do. 
This year, I am expanding the operations and the scope of the magazine. There are stories to tell. Businesses to grow. Industries to discover. Entrepreneurs are everywhere. And our goal is to shine the light on every single one of them before we're done, from film, fashion, arts, music, food to industry.
If you have an irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit, are skilled in relationship building and sales, writing, social media communication and are interested in becoming part of this crazy print and social media ride, I would love to hear from you. Send an email to me, and watch for detail on our website.‪#‎itstimetogrow‬ ‪#‎biggerthanabusinesscard‬ ‪#‎entrepreneursneedonlyapply‬

Friday, January 1, 2016

JOY | Teaser Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

Winter Reimagined

Inspiration comes from places that reside in the heart. It comes from a place of curiosity. Of wishing and dreaming.  Inspiration comes from the most innocent of all gestures. It is that moment that makes you stop doing whatever you are are doing just to take in the moment.

On October 24, my daughter and I organized a "tea party" inspired family photo shoot. I envisioned a Johnny Depp - Alice in Wonderland concept, to emulate the naturally interesting qualities of each member of our family.  We gathered my most prized family pieces of china handed down to me by mother grandmothers and mother, and my mother's linen table cloth.  We loaded up a table and chairs and travelled to our photographer's farm, 45 minutes from Regina. 

As we were setting up the table, my grandson Ronan (aka #Ronanthegreat) ran across the field in his little tuxedo, curiouser and curiouser, to see the table that had been randomly set up in the field. That was the moment of inspiration and the inspiration for the SKY Winter Issue.