I am passionate about many things - such as being mindful of every moment, of living life and not worrying about the what ifs and about sharing my skills and talents. I am an expert on college and career readiness - I have written books on the subject (check them out here -> College and Career Readiness Series) and have launched training about it (see testimonials from my students here College and Career Readiness Testimonials) and am scaling up to do more about sharing these lessons and my skills in the coming weeks and months.
After cancer, not much scares me - so being out there again and facing potential rejection is like "NBD" for someone who is newly "NED" (no evidence of disease - well for the past year and change already). Yesterday, at CareerCon, I met many many students and offered them all free resume help. I also offered to send them free copies of my College and Career Readiness books and over 80 filled out slips to get copies of the books sent to them (working on it; have to order more books as my stock is down to nothing). These books are for sale on Amazon for $7-8 each and my resume services start at $100 so WHY in the world did I give these things away for free?
Simple - I am starting over from scratch - I spent the last 18 months dealing with breast cancer and for a time working full time as a teacher and now it is all starting over. What is not starting over are my content, my lessons, my speaking ability - that is all as it ever was and ready to be shared with students who struggle - and it is most of them. The days when you could teach yourself (as I did) how to interview well, how to write a resume that rocks are gone. It is a "dead" skill - I am looking to resurrect it, though, one classroom at a time, or one auditorium at a time.
I wrote the books, prepared the presentations and my 15+ years experience as an executive, educator and entrepreneur are ready to jump right in. I also met potential partners yesterday and I offered them free one time presentations about college or career readiness or entrepreneurship. I have some meetings already set up over the next weeks. Giving something away for "free" might sound crazy but it is a great strategy to break back into the world of college and career readiness. I am focused, I wrote the books, I build the training and now it is just a matter of signing the clients.
What do you do to build your business? How does it work for you if you gave away "free" stuff?
I have been many different professions in my life from entry level employee to executive from college professor to K teacher to stay at home mom... and beyond. I have done many different things and learned something from each role that I took with me to the next. I have been entrepreneurial in between and during these positions for over 15 years. Right now, I am unemployed and looking at the big fork in the road ahead of me...
My unemployment insurance ends in a few weeks. I was looking full time for a job since September. I have only had a handful of interviews, despite my constant looking, networking and more. All of a sudden, this past week or two a few different opportunities have opened up for me but they will not really kick in financially until early April so I am still looking and thinking. I think a lot (this is never good for me).
I no longer fear things like I used to (such as being far away from home and my kids to manage things for my own career) and I miss, I really miss the whole environment of being in a large company and having a roll to rock and rocking it. I also no longer get so invested in the whole "WOW, I need to be doing EVERYTHING with my small business" as I had been in the past where it just consumed me to get it right.
Everything is up in the air right now but I do believe things will settle down soon and I will be able to share with you exactly where I wind up and how. I am thinking I will work a lot more than I could have pictured. I, who spent years trying to map my schedule to my kids, am now under no such constraints. I am ready to be out there, to be visible, to be out of the house. I am also thinking that for the last several years, I chopped off my earning potential with my own self imposed limitations.
Those days are over. I was able to get access to a temporary FREE office space through the SIEDC and it is amazing to have someplace to go job hunt, think about entrepreneurship and just be me LISA for a few hours a week. I am here on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as a way to break up my week and to see where things go - I for one am very excited about the potentials.
I met with my Score adviser today, too. It was a busy day and I am rocking my new suit, my fake boob and my curly pixie hair. It is a whole new world and I hope you stick with me as I figure out what and how that is going to look!
Lisa Vento Nielsen