Advice for WEV’s TO SET Class Transfers to Many Classes!

6 Sep

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) asked me to be on a panel tonight to talk with the new students in the Self-Employment Training (SET) Fall 2010 class in Thousand Oaks at Cal Lutheran University.

As a grateful recent graduate, I said yes, I’d love to share my experience and advice!

They asked me to prepare the answers to the following questions (in bold), and I told the students tonight that I would post my responses on this blog.

So welcome SET students! And congratulations on taking the class and committing yourself to a new life! Please subscribe while you’re here–it’s easy! You can subscribe by email or RSS feed. And if you’re on facebook, please join us in conversation there, too:

  1. 1. Describe your business.

The Write Alley Coaching and Writing Strategies collaborates with clients like you to create compelling content and to complete careful editing of print and online writing projects including blogs, newsletters, book length manuscripts, and other materials. Our services include one on one coaching and group classes. We strive to always work in ways that are sensitive and harmonious to the health of both planet and people.

And yes, I joked, I wrote that statement as part of my WEV SET homework!

  1. 2. How did the SET program change your life?

Writing a business plan is not rocket science. Running a business is not rocket science. But if you’ve never had your own business, the WEV SET class will help you figure out what you need to do, how you need to do it, and if you’ve been doing it, how to do it better. SET gave me the tools and the support to get a business together. Attending the classes kept me on track and made me do it!

  1. 3. What challenges did you face in the program?

When I started the program, I had been underemployed for several years, I was currently unemployed and on unemployment which made it seem like a great time to take the class. Then my husband broke his neck right after I signed up for class. The statistics weren’t good: 95% die instantly when they break a C2, 5% live. Of those 5%, only 3% fully recover. (Here’s more about how my husband broke his C2 and recovered.)

While my husband was one of those 3%, we didn’t know then that he would, whether he’d be able to go back to work, or what was going to happen. My friends and family and my husband supported me in following through on the class; we never actually voiced our worst fear which was that I would become the family’s sole provider along with disability. So when I was in class, someone had to be there to take of our son AND my husband.  It was very stressful, but with their help, I did it.

  1. 4. What successes did you attain due to the program?

I’ve been a college writing teacher and a program facilitator for 25 years, on and off, full and part-time. The reality is I’ll never be tenured. So a few years ago I started looking at other jobs, working for other people; just before the economic downturn I was hired for the perfect job (which tanked when the economy did). But with my skills and abilities to work with people and their writing, it made more sense for me to develop my own business as a writing coach.

I was always being told by people that they needed help with their writing; the SET class helped me develop the tools I needed to form a business. In the midst of the SET class, I was offered a greater than full time teaching load for summer and two-thirds time for fall. While working so much over the summer slowed me down in terms of developing my business, getting clients and teaching blogging and writing workshops, I couldn’t say no to the steady money.

I am coaching one client regularly, writing freelance articles, and plan to offer more blogging workshops in the near future. I’m excited about building my business up from a part-time, supplemental income type project to a full-time, mortgage paying family supporting career.

  1. 5. What tips do you have for the current SET clients?
  2. If you’re going to be late and you get locked out, come to class and sit outside the door. You can still hear a lot.
  3. Bring water in a metal bottle and snacks to help keep you mentally alert. Bring enough to share. Tubs of cookies from TJ’s are perfect!
  4. Do the reading and try to get the homework done. It will make it easier in the long run.
  5. If you don’t get the homework done, still come to class. You’ll still learn.
  6. If you’re struggling, ask questions or for help; remember, the only stupid question is the one that’s not asked.
  7. The only thing you can change is you. Make your best effort at all times.
  8. And last, sign up for WEV got business! I am looking forward to taking advantage of it now that I have more time. The more people who sign up, the better a resource it will be.

Up next: Keynote speaker Zhena Muzyka’s inspiring story, advice, and tips!

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