Working on the second issue and thought I'd take a break and tell you a short story of how Small Towns, Wisconsin came to be.
You know how you get an idea and it just snowballs from there? Yea, that is exactly what happened here.
In early 2013 I had been struggling to get people to come to my home and enjoy my events, from professional socials to personal socials, so I was wondering what the deal was. I got my answer from Facebook of all places: it turned out that some do not like traveling more than twenty minutes away and I live around thirty minutes from Madison.
Growing up in Colorado, we always hopped in the car and would drive five minutes, fifteen minutes, even ten hours to our destination. Never had any problem traveling out of my comfort zone. I held events in Colorado and they always had good turnout and that was what was so frustrating with the move to Wisconsin: I'm a social butterfly and this was cramping my style.
So since some folks do not like traveling to the small towns, I came up with an idea to promote the village I lived in, Brooklyn. This was a perfect time too as I found out that Brooklyn was moving forward with a business complex and would surely welcome it. The idea started out as a way to promote only Brooklyn.
So I started brainstorming all sorts of ideas, looking at several ways to best represent my little town. Weeks turned into months and during the summer I shared the idea with a friend. Well, that exchange turned the whole project on its heels as now I was looking at a bigger picture: the idea of promoting other small towns that are trying to get out of the "sleeper town" mode.
As this had now grown from one town to many, it needed a name, one not limited to just Brooklyn but that would describe the entire project. Several ideas and names popped up but most were cliché or over used. Finally one late night, just about to fade off into the world of dreams, the name hit me like a ton of bricks. Most creative ideas that are thought of that late normally are forgotten by the next morning so I quickly grabbed my phone and wrote it down. If the URL was available than that would become the name, I thought as I drifted off to sleep...
The next morning I got up and was getting ready to go to work, and fetched my phone and as soon as I turned it on, the very last thing I wrote popped up:
Small Towns, Wisconsin.
I immediately bolted to my computer in a semi-panic (as I couldn't believe I forget it but actually manage to type it in my phone's note app). I quickly pulled up the domain search and typed it in (like I was competing for it?!) and hit "enter". After what seemed like several minutes but was most likely seconds, up popped the green "This domain is available"
Utterly Stunned. I just couldn't believe that it was in fact available.
Quickly I purchased it and that was the end of the name game. So at this point there was a great euphoria feeling, and than a funny panic in realizing that what started out as a showcase for ONE single tiny town now just included a state full of small towns. Due to the name I had to come up with a couple of plans to help better organize the project back to a small scale and allow it to grow naturally but if it takes off, I have my plan B, C, and even a D to help navigate and be prepared for most situations.
Once I figured out the plan, I begun getting materials and photos together and than showing a very ROUGH draft to a few select folks, to get honest opinions on several key elements. Hands down folks were excited over it and offered suggestions. I took these suggestions seriously and appreciated all the feedback as it further helped me get to where Small Towns, Wisconsin currently is.
Shortly before the first issue I rounded up a few select key people to form a "Creative Board". These folks will help Small Towns, Wisconsin achieve and maintain its mission and goals. Faithfully at this moment everyone involved is volunteering their time to see this get off and running.
If you told me this time last year that this year I would release an eMag, I would think you were crazy... Enjoy!