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Archive for learning tools

Have you got that back to school feeling?

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Back to school again?

What is it about this time of year that makes us take stock and start making plans for the future?

I don’t know about you, but I always have a certain sense of excitement at this time of year. Okay, I know, it’s still only August, but the schools in Scotland are already back (and no doubt schools elsewhere will be returning in a week’s time), and despite the fact it doesn’t feel like we’ve had much of a summer to speak of, I’ve noticed certain trees are starting to change colour already. I’m very much looking forward to September, which has always been one of my favourite months, the bridge between seasons and the ideal time to start and implement something new.

When is the best time to make plans?

Some would argue that January is a good time to sit down and think about where you’ve been, where you’re going and what you’re planning to do over the next few months. It seems like a natural time because of the turn of the year marking new beginnings and so on, but I don’t see this as the ideal turning point. Okay, so you might be in need of a bodily spring clean following the excesses of Christmas, but otherwise in my opinion it’s winter, it’s dark, it’s dreary and I don’t often feel that inspired!

This time of year, however, is completely different!

If you’ve got kids at school, or even if you haven’t, you might still feel a certain frisson of anticipation about the idea, at least, of going back to school, of starting a new class, having a new teacher and writing out new timetables. Just the idea of a new crisp uniform, a smart new schoolbag and a shiny new pencil case full of lovely new stationery is enough to conjure up memories that may well be a bit skewed by the passage of time!

The point is that the start of a new school year and the change in season always makes me think about starting something new, or in my case, finishing what I’ve started!

You might have read my post a while ago about getting out of my comfort zone and thinking about online courses.

Okay, I admit, this stalled a little bit at the start of the summer holidays.

I’m not going to beat myself up, though!

I’m starting again, and I’ve set myself a deadline of 16th September (my birthday!) to get my beta version up and running. I’m feeling a bit anxious about this again, but I’m going to attempt to push through the fear and Just Do It.

After all, what have I really got to lose?

I’d love to hear about what you’re planning to do now that the school year is beginning again and the seasons are changing. What exciting things have you got in the pipeline? Please do comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page to let me know.

Online courses – getting out of my comfort zone!

Something scary, but useful!

IkeaI’m starting something this week that’s scaring me a bit. I have been challenged by my business coach to get out of my comfort zone and do something I’ve been talking about (and not taking action on) for AGES! I’m in the process of starting to create online courses!

The aim of my first course is to help people become more effective in their business writing, particularly when it comes to social media, newsletters and blog posts, and to help a wee bit with the things that can trip some of us up along the way, such as spelling, punctuation (see image!) and grammar.

At the moment it’s going to be very much in beta mode, and I’ve gathered a small band of willing volunteers who are going to help me hone it into a format that works for everyone, including a snappy title (I hope!).

Is it normal to feel resistance?

I wrote a bit about this in another post a few weeks ago, and I have to admit I have been feeling a large degree of resistance towards the whole thing. I know now that this is completely normal. Although I very much enjoy the different challenges of the day to day workings of my business (and transcription can be a big challenge sometimes!), I felt it was important to do something a bit different, even just to avoid becoming stagnant. It’s easy to get into a bit of a rut when you’re doing the same sort of thing every day, and I didn’t choose to work for myself to feel like that!

Blogging and social media gives every man and his dog the opportunity to be a writer these days, and there’s a huge amount of really useful and well-written content out there, but there’s also a lot that doesn’t grab the attention in the same way. I won’t even begin to pretend that I’m a seasoned blogger or that I have a huge audience (yet!), but I do enjoy the writing process and I enjoy crafting each piece of content as well as creating smaller pieces of writing that go into my social media posts. I know that some business owners find this a struggle, particularly if they’re worried about the grammar police coming down on them like a ton of bricks!

I have been procrastinating over this for weeks now, but with only four weeks until the Fife schools break up for the long summer holidays, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and just get on with it.

I’m really nervous about how it’s going to turn out, but really, what’s the worst that can happen?

Have you thought about doing an online course, or have you done one, or even a few? I’d love to hear how you got started, so please leave a comment or drop me an email. I will keep you posted as to my progress!



Making a change – introducing learning tools

April is a funny time of year, one where it seems to be true to say that you really do experience four seasons in one day. Last week we were enjoying 20 degree temperatures (yes, even in Scotland!), and yesterday I rushed through a stinging hailstorm which was closely followed by a blizzard.

The variability in the spring weather patterns has got me thinking about the changes business owners must make on a reasonably regular business in order to keep things moving along and stop things going stagnant.

Change is good!

I know, I know, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day routine of business when you have a few regular clients, a fairly consistent amount of work and you know what you’re doing with whatever product or service you’re offering.

At the risk of sounding like a cliche, however, you have to get out of your comfort zone if you’re going to grow and develop your business. This is what I’m planning in doing in the not too distant future, and I would love to have your feedback on my idea, and if you think it’s something that’s going to work.

Up until now, my business has been purely service-based. In the main I provide transcription services to my clients, along with a bit of proofreading and editing (which, I’m sure you’ll agree, comes with the territory). However, this is very much a time-based business model, and it’s always been my intention to look into ways of creating passive income (I’m not even sure I really like that phrase!) by creating courses or learning tools of some sort.

Here’s the scary bit…

Okay, so I recently made myself accountable both to my coach and to my mastermind group that I would map out a potential course for people who are a bit scared when it comes to writing for their businesses. This could be in terms of blog writing like this, or even just best practice when it comes to contacting clients or posting on social media.

So this is where you come in!

What puts you off writing for business?

Is this you? What are you afraid of when you’re writing for your business?

Do you feel anxious about getting your spelling, grammar and punctuation wrong? Are you worried about your sentence structure? Are you unsure of the proper way to address somebody in a letter? What about different styles to use in different types of writing or correspondence?

Is the whole writing process just not something you feel comfortable with at all and you feel more comfortable articulating yourself verbally than getting your words down on paper?

This is a bit of a scary thing, and because it’s so new for me I can still feel a certain amount of resistance towards it, but by writing it down here, I’m making myself doubly accountable. I would welcome your comments, so please watch this space!

So….how do you make changes in your business? I would love to know!