Work-At-Home School: Improvements Needed

Work-At-Home School: Improvements Needed

Caitlin Pyle launched her Work-At-Home School this week, a collection of online courses meant to give you the equivalent of a college degree in starting a business you can run from home. The launch was surrounded by an awesome five-day Work-At-Home Summit, which featured video sessions with the teachers of those courses. Chances are, if you’re on the email list of any of those teachers, you’ve heard about this. If not, you can find out more on the official site (not an affiliate link).

The School is available in three pay tiers, with most of the best and most in-depth courses being reserved for the highest tier (which is still a steal for the intro price of just under $500!). I’m actually already taking one of those courses, Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success – which I plan to review in a later post!

But I really have a problem with SOOOO much info being dumped in the brains of those just getting started on their journeys of working from home. I’ve been there. It’s paralyzing. You can spend thousands on online courses, finish some, do 10% or less of others, and never make a penny with your business! Partly because you keep switching tactics as you follow all the different advice, partly because your imposter syndrome is urging you to “learn more” before you launch, and partly a few other things, like life, family, day job, finding your niche, coming up with a business name, building your website, getting a logo, etc.

So I’m wondering how many of these students are going to actually start a thriving business? How many more are going to start a course or two, get completely overwhelmed with all they have to learn before they can even start to make money, and end up abandoning the idea and maybe even blaming Work-At-Home School for their failure?

I don’t know how the course is set up on the inside, since I don’t plan to purchase it (I have too many other courses, travel plans, and a LinkedIn Learning subscription). The WAHS may have plenty of ways to help students stay focused and engaged, and actually build their businesses. But if I was bringing together a bunch of courses like this, I would do things differently:

I would charge a monthly fee (maybe $50 – just 10% of the highest tier) that includes:

  1. Access to the school’s Facebook group
  2. A couple of free short courses/ebooks, focused around deciding what your business will do, setting up a website, email opt-ins – basic stuff
  3. Insane discounts on all the other courses available
  4. A business mentor to contact either via email, Slack, or a 1/2 hour strategy video call each month to discuss how things are going and which course might be best for them to take next, depending on their personality, business, growth, past courses, and current struggles

 

Improvements for students:

  1. Less overwhelm – a few easy courses to start, and 1-2 at a time after that
  2. Lower cost barrier to entry
  3. Monetary investment in each paid course – yes, this will be an additional payment, but paying that will give you the motivation to make the investment worth it
  4. Personalized advice about where to go next, so your business can grow and thrive

 

Improvements for me/Caitlin if she used this method instead:

  1. More satisfied students
  2. Reoccurring monthly income, with the only added cost of the business mentor(s) for those students who specifically use that option
  3. Incentive for teachers to provide quality courses and updates as students choose which ones they’re taking (with advice if wanted)

 

Improvements for teachers/course creators:

  1. Reoccurring income as students take their courses when recommended
  2. Only engaged students joining their own groups and email lists

What are your thoughts? Do you like the all-you-can-eat option for a one-time fee that the Work-At-Home School offers, or would you prefer a monthly fee that gives you a monthly mentor session and a GroupOn-like discount on dozens of courses? And if you have signed up for WAHS, I’d love to hear what you think of it!

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31 Days of Blogging

31 Days of Blogging

Here it is – day 31! I reached my goal of blogging every day in the month of May!

What I learned:

Blogging isn’t easy. I mean, I know it wasn’t, but actually having to come up with new content every single day took a lot of energy and a lot of hours.

I have a lot to say about certain subjects. Some blog posts could have gone on much longer, but for sleepiness and the clock approaching midnight. Others I felt like the one blog post was enough for the decade for me.

I knew I write to discover. I didn’t think through how rambling that could make my blog posts, especially since I come up with the title first. I may try keeping a blogging journal offline, and reformatting sections of that into better-structured blog posts.

What I regret:

Spending so much time blogging. I figured out about 10 days in that daily blogging isn’t what I want to do – not when I’m also learning and trying to build a business. But I finished out the month out of stubbornness – and the victory feels a bit hollow. I could have finished the Design Skills course this month, but I’m only about halfway through. I could have been sending out proposals to perspective clients and creating beautiful items for my portfolio. Would I have if I hadn’t been blogging instead? Maybe.

Coming up with a solid list of topics before the month began. I knew I wanted to review Design Skills modules, but some were very in-depth, so for most of them there was no way I could watch the videos, complete the projects, and blog about the module in one day. Or even two days. Especially with a full-time job. So blogging about the modules and Bucketlist Bombshells in general only used up about a quarter of the days when I was expected it to be more like half. I ended up wracking my brain for ideas at 10pm some nights.

No time for design and promotion. Since I was spending my hours creating content for this blog, I had little free time to work on the design. I did do a few things here and there, but until I had a 4-day weekend over the holiday, the site didn’t look great. And I still have tons more to do. Not only that, I was embarrassed by the design and some of the shorter posts that didn’t provide much content for my readers, so I didn’t want to share posts via social media. Toward the end I shared about the site a bit in different groups, but I still felt embarrassed.

 

Have you ever reached a goal that probably wasn’t the ideal goal for you? What did you do about it?

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Designing Create Wherever

Designing Create Wherever

I’ve spent a good portion of the past two days designing the logo for Create Wherever. It’s been an interesting process.

Quite a few months ago, I saw a discount on Tailor Brands’ logo design package. Since I was studying visual design, I didn’t think I’d use their service, but I ran a few business names through it for fun. One of the ideas it gave me was for a calligraphy font paired with an all-caps serif. I liked the idea and the contrast. I didn’t like the exact fonts they chose, and there was no way to change them. I also didn’t like the idea of having basically the same logo with different words that who knows how many other people chose.

But since then, I’ve kept an eye out for a brush script font that would look good with the word, “Create”. After I started the logo design module of the Design Course, I knew it was time to finally design a logo for Create Wherever. I pulled up all my Creative Market fonts and installed a few. One immediately stood out as a good candidate, but I thought the “C” was a bit too narrow.

The next part of the process was seeing if I could find a good font to match for “Wherever”. I tried a couple serif fonts, but didn’t like how they went with the brush font. So I turned to sans serif fonts. I really wanted the “W” to have a bit of uniqueness since I wanted to use it in the favicon, but most were super plain.

Two days ago, I decided to buy a huge font bundle that DealJumbo was offering. It had a large number of gorgeous fonts, and I knew if my current font didn’t end up working, one of these would be a great fit for this site. It would also be awesome to have so many font options for future design projects.

I didn’t end up using one of those fonts, but I did find a great glyph within the bundle to add an extra swoosh to my horizontal logo. It matched the font perfectly.

I narrowed my sans serif font options down to two choices. One had more of a playful vibe, but there was not enough contrast with the brush font. The other was more sleek and sophisticated, and even though I liked it less, it was the better match.

Now I’m working to have the rest of this site match the new logo. So be prepared for a few changes ahead, and let me know what you think of the new look!

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!

BB Design Skills Course: Module 5

BB Design Skills Course: Module 5

I am finally starting the next module of the Bucketlist BombshellsDesign Skill Course! I am still working on Module 4, since logo design is such a huge endeavor – I’ve had a lot of fun trying out different font variations, and I even bought some new fonts to play with!

Module 5 focuses on branding style boards and guides. Basically, you are putting everything you created from the previous module into professional documents to deliver to your client. As such, this module is a lot shorter (less than half an hour of instruction over 4 videos) and only teaches a few things.

Cassie explains the differences between a board and a guide – a branding style board displays all the branding elements in one document and a branding style guide tells you how certain elements should be used (namely fonts) and provides codes for color palettes. She provides a beautiful template for you to use for each document, and walks you through how to add items you’ve previously created.

She also shows you how to add some graphic elements to the board – like line art and a website button – to provide that extra bit of value to your client. She also explains how seeing everything together can help you spot a few things to tweak before the branding style is finalized.

Near the end of the lesson she explains how you need to save each element as a separate document to deliver to your client as .png (for transparency), .jpg, and .ai (Adobe Illustrator) files. She suggests placing all of these in a Dropbox folder you can share with your client.

I was a little disappointed that this module didn’t have more content, but all of the concepts presented were covered thoroughly.

Do you have a style guide for your own business?

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Introduction to Skillcrush

Introduction to Skillcrush

I’ve mentioned Skillcrush on this site a few times, and it’s about time that I introduced you to this wonderful resource! Before I heard of Bucketlist Bombshells, or even much about this whole digital nomad idea, I came across Skillcrush, and it’s where I have invested most of my time and effort toward gaining digital skills so that I can build a business.

Skillcrush offers three-month online tech courses they call blueprints. Each blueprint focuses on a particular career path and has three three-week classes or apprenticeships (a few have a bonus 1-week class on Git). Different blueprints may have overlapping classes or build on previous classes, and they just started a new all-access membership with all classes.

I don’t remember how I first heard of Skillcrush. It was most likely a Facebook ad, or someone referenced the company in an article or on Twitter. I just know that around May 2015 I signed up to get their emails, which were full of great info and links to their blog.

One entire year later, after my finances had recovered from my trip to the UK, I signed up for my first Skillcrush blueprint, Visual Designer, and was part of that blueprint’s inaugural class. I then took their Front-End Developer and WordPress Freelance Developer blueprints, which I still need to fully complete. (Interestingly enough, those same three blueprints, in a different order, are now bundled together into their 9-month WordPress Bootcamp.)

Rather than focusing on the possibility of using tech skills remotely, Skillcrush trains women (and men) of all ages to be tech professionals. Alongside the solid instruction in coding and design are plenty of guidelines for working with teams, preparing documents correctly, setting up a developer environment, and doing things in the right order.

Side note: What my INFP brain tells me is the right order and what other people tell me is the right order often differs. That led to some frustration with a few of the challenges within the Skillcrush blueprints. I did rearrange a few things and skip ahead to a different section when I was feeling stuck, which helped. It was also very encouraging to watch a video of Adda Birnir, Skillcrush’s founder, as she tweaked and shuffled through code for a project, instead of the sanitized step-by-step process presented in the lessons.

Skillcrush does present freelancing as an option and the ideal place to get started, but roughly half of the courses’ focus is on getting a job with a company, often as part of a larger team so you can expand your knowledge.

The blueprints run about $400, or $450 with a three-month payment plan. While you have lifetime access and can work at your own pace, the blueprints are structured to follow a set schedule so that you can be at the same place as the rest of your class. It usually follows 3 weeks (Monday-Friday) of lessons and a 1 week break for each of the three classes. The extra week gives you time to catch up, and there is sometimes an extra project you can do as well. I generally found the first week to be very easy, the second to be more challenging, and the third to be very hard and time-consuming.

Concepts are presented and demonstrated in short videos, and explained in more detail with text and screenshots. Lessons have a few challenges, some with typing code directly into the class website, others done with outside programs and you upload screenshots or share links. You can interact with instructors and fellow classmates in a Google Group for just your class (all starting the same day with the same blueprint). There are also group office hours via video chat that you can join.

One of the best parts of Skillcrush is saved for the very end. After the three months are up (even if you haven’t quite finished all your classes), you are able to join the Skillcrush Slack alumni group. I’ll have more details about that in a future post, and will also compare it to the Bucketlist Bombshells community.

Bottom line, Skillcrush is one of the best and most thorough ways to learn tech skills. I’ll provide more information about the individual blueprints I’ve taken in separate posts!

What is the most important thing to you about an online course? What would cause you to choose one course over another?

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Methods of Online Learning

Methods of Online Learning

To become a digital nomad, you need to be able to do money-generating things remotely. For some, they can use the skills they’ve already gained to jump right in. For others, they will need to learn new skills or brush up on some old ones. For everyone, the fast-moving world of tech and the ever-changing trends of design means that learning should become a way of life.

Fortunately, it has never been easier to learn things online! This training can come in a variety of forms, and some of the best online courses combine all forms for all types of learners.

Text

Not regulated to simply books, text can be found everywhere on the web, because the web was built in text. From ebooks to blog posts to email courses to intelligent chatbots – you can easily learn almost anything in text. It’s especially good for print learners (me!). One hidden benefit is that text is the easiest form to translate – so learning can reach people in any language! It is also great for bite-sized learning and learning in places where sound is not allowed or hearing is impossible.

Pictures

Worth a thousand words, right? Sometimes some things are just easier to understand when you can see a picture or a diagram. Great option for visual learners, but most often . . .

Text and Pictures

These two combine to make learning twice as effective, and for me, this is my favorite form of learning. I can’t always grab a pair of headphones and devote my whole attention to something. Also, having a text/pictures option is very helpful for trying to actually do a difficult task while you follow along – no need to pause or rewind, just flip between the screens or have them side by side on your desktop. Screenshots are a great use of images, and adding gifs (moving images) takes things to a whole new level. Great for text and visual learners.

Audio

This is one area of learning I haven’t explored much, since most of what I want to learn has a visual aspect. But podcasts are still immensely popular, and you can find great ones about almost every topic. Great option for commuters and auditory learners. I’m definitely not one, and since I can read faster than most people speak, audio learning feels very slow and I’m easily distracted.

Video

Currently, video is the most popular learning method, and sites like Udemy, Lynda, and Skillshare use it almost exclusively. It’s easy to see why – it works for most learning styles (some better than others, depending on the type of video) and for both complicated and simple subjects. It also feels more premium than other types of learning (since it can take more effort to create) and therefore people are willing to pay more for classes that offer a video component.

 

What type of learner are you? What is your favorite method of learning online?

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!