I have been teaching in the classrooms of local colleges and universities both online and in person since 2003. Nothing makes me as happy as being in front of a classroom and sharing lessons and how-to's with students or professionals or anyone. Each class, to me, is like it's own challenging puzzle - which kids look like they would rather be getting their teeth pulled than sitting in your class? Which ones are so into it they might take over the teaching from you? How do you deal with all the other students in between the two extremes.
I am lucky enough to be doing what I love as an educator / entrepreneur and so much of what I do it due to the skills I have honed and learned as a speaker since 1994 in speech and debate and as an adjunct since 2003. The corporate experience is also paramount to what I bring to the class and to my students - I am not just speaking about things in "theory" but in reality from years as an executive to boot as well as someone who has been an entrepreneur since 2004.
On Monday night, I kicked off another round of Ladders for Leaders training and though the room was (very) warm and it's technically summer break for most of the students, everyone was focused and involved with the discussions. One of the students had already taken part 2 of this workshop Getting the Job (last night was part 1) and I was so impressed when he was able to recount and share my lessons from the previous training (which was held weeks ago).
These are the types of experiences I live for as an instructor and as a small business owner. Not only have I been given tons of great feedback on my workshops but people are actually learning from me. On Monday night (and with every training so far), I got great questions on how to network effectively, how to use LinkedIn and what is the hardest thing for me about being an entrepreneur. It is amazing to be speaking with and training our youth - not to get all Whitney Houston on you but they really are the future.
For my group of 25+ students last night I taught them to look around the room and consider building a network right there right now with the other students because it really was a sampling of amazing students and future connections - they could all be hiring each other in the future or teaching each other new lessons!
What do you think about teaching and learning experiences? Do you like learning? Why or why not. Happy hunting.
What a week! I created content, launched workshops and created my very own The Next Step online learning center!
On Monday, I posted about how to use social media to build your brand as a college student. I have found that as I build out and discuss my lessons in person with various groups of young people that not only am I on point on this but that it is something the students can leave that day and begin to do. The key is balancing youth and professionalism to build out those breadcrumbs of your personality for potential networking partners, hiring managers and others to see. By Monday afternoon, I was in real life teaching students how to do this in my workshop on career readiness.
This Tuesday, I had launched my online learning system and my strategy for launching online and in person training and seminars. Now, if only I could find some time to really beef up my business website pages on online training, course development and more. Maybe over the weekend I will carve out the time to do this effectively.
I used my blog to announce new work with a client in designing and launching these workshops with a NYC agency (more here on launching workshops). I really am so excited about these workshops and launching them in person and also in my online learning center concurrently means I am definitely balancing a ton of stuff which is why I thought it was timely when one of my workshop participants asked me how I do it all. That led to me sharing about my using meditation as an entrepreneur.
My weeks are getting busier – I did not even mention the clients I helped with their branding and their resumes during this week; I am so lucky to be an entrepreneur who has finally found my knack – through writing, publishing books and presenting I am truly building this business from scratch and I am so happy you are learning with me on the way! Stay tuned for more usages of my online learning system and teleseminars to build out more ways I can help you to take your next step!
Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
I am so excited to announce that I just created my own online learning forum using Moodle!
This is a game-changer for me and a great addition to the content and lessons that I share. I am at expert level at creating and launching online content and I am going to be using my new learning management system to create and launch some exciting content, training seminars and workshops. I also developed and launched a teleseminar service with the ability to create webinars. My first webinar will be coming soon and will focus on using LinkedIn for your career branding.
I think it is so necessary to have the ability to learn on the go – people just do not have the time in their schedules to balance their need to learn with their availability. For this, I can launch and run some online seminars, courses and more.
It is very hard to make a commitment to be at X place at Y time BUT it is so important to continue learning and to keep growing as a professional. I think that with technology, being asynchronous CAN be like being in a room together, if you do it well. For my purposes, I will be piloting this on a small scale for a new initiative I am working on (more on that soon) and then I hope to build it out for more. I can envision using this for lessons and other things to bring to my clients to help them take their next steps. I am considering offering some training for free as a way to continue to build out my email address database of interested parties.
As I continue to build out my business and its offerings, I am focused on bringing my skills and lessons to help people locally and beyond – by designing and launching my own proprietary online learning management system through Moodle classrooms and using existing teleseminar services, I can reach more and more people with my books, lessons and my own courses for The Next Step. I have over 8 years’ experience in launching and creating online courses and now to be doing it for my own business is such an exciting development.
Would you want to learn with me virtually? I am considering launching my college and career readiness seminars via my learning management system and also potentially looking into other courses and materials I can create such as public speaking training. What do you think about these potential offerings? Make sure you sign up below so you can be one of the groups I select to pilot some content for free!
Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
I tried something new for marketing my business last week; it does seem like I am always trying new things with promotion and marketing and most of them have been helpful and fun – some things are questionable in terms of impact, though. I wanted to share with my blog what I have going on and how/why it works or does not work.
My overview on some “new” avenues for promoting my business:
My radio interview with AuthorUniverse was so much fun that I decided to create a podcast. This can be fun but I think I will limit it to once every few weeks. I can use this medium to share my highlights of my blogging for the week or some other new lesson or trick I want to share with listeners. If I make a bunch of them, I can share them on IHeartRadio app. I am using REC Studio app and it comes with many bells and whistles in terms of adding in sound effects and tons of other stuff I have yet to even try. Apparently there is a “chat” function you can use while recording live that I would love to check out – maybe I can host a “chat” in show helping people with questions for their next steps – such as interviewing questions, resume questions and more. I think this would be so cool to do.
I do not yet know impacts on this type of promotion; I did get one follower to my “channel” after releasing my first podcast. I have to look into the app more to see if there are “listening stats”.
I need to continue to look into teleseminars; this is something that was recommended to me by someone I look up to who is in a similar type of business and it is something I need to consider for maybe my summer months. I am balancing many things with this business such as my “side gigs” of teaching 3 days a week for College of Staten Island, subbing at local area schools and raising two young children. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post the upcoming Spring Break and this will make my “time” much more limited as I need to arrange some fun stuff for the kids to do while off from school while still focusing on my business and teaching, too. So, teleseminars definitely have to wait a few more weeks until I launch it but this is key to how I brand and position my company as I want to be the resource for skills-based learning and focus on sharing my teaching skills with many through a teleseminar would be a great way to continue to raise my profile. What do you think?
Constant Contact is what I have used to create some newsletters but I have decided this should be a monthly thing and not a weekly thing. I add and create so much content weekly that I want to be able to curate it and use the newsletter to “reward” those who took the trouble to sign up with my website with unique and different content. I want to make this newsletter interesting and lively with different content and information that is currently on my website. I need to look into how to “host” hidden content via my site. Or perhaps just putting up some unique video content that is only available via link using YouTube.
Lately, I feel like I am hearing a lot about Snapchat and how powerful it can be for marketing your business. I am on the fence about it primarily due to time constraints. I am using already Twitter, Instagram and my Blog for promotion in addition the newsletters and podcasting – do I really need something else? It will get to a point where I will hire someone to help me manage my social media so maybe then? And who is interested in working with me? I will be representing my company at an upcoming career fair as someone who would like to expand with an intern for the beginning and then eventually full time positions, maybe. It is all up in the air and contingent on how I continue to grow and promote my business.
My Plan for Growth
As an entrepreneur, I am considering my own plan for growth. This step is a very big part of my Entrepreneurship: Build Your Own Business certificate course with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning and it is also a big part of my upcoming new book Entrepreneur-ING The Prof’s Guide to Going from Zero to Launch which I am working on in my “free” time.
I do think I will be diversifying myself into an education based provider for careers such as the classes and seminars I lead with my partner Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning and also the classes and lessons I roll out on my own or with other universities, whether they be through online course for credit or other potential models.
My business plan is a work in progress primarily because I feel like I can add so much to it but then I remember that for now I am a solopreneur and need to prioritize what pieces of business I reach for and how I reach for it.
My current focus is on building out my content and creating some learning opportunities to share with my followers, my clients and more. What do you think about my business plan and promotional plan? Let me know in the comments or via social media! Happy Hunting!
Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
Highlighting my Teaching Skills - Curriculum Creator and Adjunct of Online Courses available for teaching assignments
As an adjunct since 2003, I have been so lucky to teach and touch the lives of so many students - both online and in person.
Just yesterday, I gave the midterm review for my upcoming exam (Monday morning, students who are reading) and I was happy some of the students were able to answer the questions (emphasis on some) but I do know they will all study and do as well as they can on the midterm (right, class?).
As someone who has taught in higher education for the past 13 years, I have learned a lot in my classroom. Yes, that is right - I have learned a lot. I have taught a lot, for sure, but the bulk of the experience of teaching is that by teaching is that I learn, too.
One of my more recent skills as an educator is in the realm of online learning and teaching. I am now able to say I am "expert" level at creating and launching curriculum as well as designing the online learning environment. I created a page on my website to highlight these skills because I do believe they go hand in hand with the business model I am packaging as being someone who is the go to person in my area (and beyond with online learning) to create and share lessons and learning modules across various subjects.
My expertise is in both undergrad and graduate business courses. Over the past 13 years, I have taught anything from macro and micro economics to entrepreneurship. I wanted to highlight this diversity and skill set on my website - check out the page here and let me know your thoughts: Online Course Curriculum Development and Execution
Some questions - Am I calling it the right thing? How do I position myself to the colleges and universities that offer online courses in the best way so that I can use my skill set to further build out my business and my experience in using different tools and techniques to bring online content alive?
As I use this blog to share my focus as an entrepreneur, I did post not too long ago about the possibility of branching out to provide a turnkey operation on blogging for small businesses (see more here Small Business Blogging Service)- this is still an option particularly as I have some upcoming speaking engagements discussing my lessons and how to start blogging for a small business.
For now, though, this is the best way for my to execute on diversifying my skill set and making my business more profitable. I would love to be able to teach more classes online (and in person) while also publishing and doing speaking engagements and more with the local high schools on college and career readiness. I have a lot more going on and there will be more to share, too here on my blog, via Instagram and Twitter. If you are not following me already, please do join me on my journey to build out my business using my teaching skills and more!
My semester is beginning soon at the College of Staten Island. As of my last review of the registration, I have over 60 students across two classes. It is so exciting for me to get back into the college classroom after focusing exclusively for the past year on the K-12 classroom. There are lots of differences between teaching a bunch of college students vs any other age group – but there are also lots of similarities. Across the board, most students are waiting for you to entertain them and thankfully I am pretty entertaining but the older students are usually more easily taught – I think.
It is a hard comparison to make though because most of my K-12 experience is as a floater; I rarely have the same class consecutively although I do sometimes have the same classes pop up over a stretch of time. Meanwhile as an adjunct, I have the same class throughout the semester. It is more of a relationship because I am with them throughout a whole term. It also leads to a more mentoring type of relationship where I always help my students with their resumes, interviewing and real world advice and more.
This spring semester, I am teaching Corporate Finance, which is a favorite of mine – believe it or not. I mean, I love teaching everything but there is something about Corporate Finance that I really enjoy sharing. Part of this is because I have actually used these formulae and skills in my career in Corporate America AND as an entrepreneur. Plus, there is so much you can add on to with the lessons in the text book, especially as someone who lived through the 2007-2009 financial crisis and saw with my own eyes the $2 bill taped to the windows at Bear Stearn in protest over their stock being sold for $2 a share…
I also enjoy teaching the younger kids and floating, learning different schools and different methods of instruction. Sometimes, I am a secondary teacher in a room and those are my favorite days because I can learn so much from the lead teacher and also do some teaching myself under the watchful eye of a pro. And they are pros. Every K-12 teacher I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with has been so wonderful and so open to sharing and helping the “new kid on the block”. Even though I have been teaching since 2003 transitioning those teaching skills to the younger grades is a challenge. I am not going to lie -being in a room of 30 Kindergartners is one of the most challenging thing to do in anyone’s life. I think so, anyway. Give me a 50 student room of Freshman college students and tell me I have to teach them Macro or Micro economics over that K room of 30 any day!
Something I would be remiss if I did not mention is my observations of people's reactions to each of my "jobs" as a teacher / professor. The reaction of people when they hear I am a “professor” even an adjunct one leads to admiration and impressed reactions of how I handle being a professor, how wonderful it is and what a great career path etc etc. When I say, “teacher”, I do not get the same responses. It is sad. As an adjunct, I do take great pride in my teaching and my research and even considered getting a doctorate and becoming a full professor somewhere. And that might still happen if I can clone myself and find the time to do it…
However, being a teacher of younger students even as "young" as high school (blogger note: we knew it all at 14-17, too - don't you remember?), is an honor and a privilege. I can see how these teachers really impact these kids and even though I know I have impacted many of my college students, they come to me already “formed” – these students I teach at college are mainly adults (or almost adults) who know who they are and what they want to do and all I can do is provide my advice and insights into their already made decisions. For the younger students, they are not yet there – they are still forming who they are, what they are good at and what they can be in the future. These students are more malleable and formed by these teachers who are with them every day and sometimes are the adults that spend the most time with them in their lives due to work and schedules.
No matter the age group, I do love teaching and I am honored to be the teacher whether for a day, a week or a whole semester. I do look forward to one day being certified in Math grades 7-12 and using my unique background and insights to help those aged students move forward in their lives and educations and helping form them on their way to adulthood. For now, though, I am so excited to be teaching in Spring and helping a college class learn all they can about corporate finance and careers!
What do you think about my observations? Are you a teacher or do you love a teacher? If so, thank them for their work no matter what age they teach – it is all challenging and rewarding… Happy Hunting!
I wanted to make a post about the differences between teaching online and teaching in person.
For me, I love both methods of delivery and instruction because as challenging as it is to step in front of the room in front of a bunch of people, it can be just as challenging to engage those same students via technology.
I feel I am pretty adept at using technology to provide content and lessons across any medium. I would say this has only improved since I relaunched my business in July. Now I am using web based videos and looking into hosting teleseminars and more to help provide more and more content under The Next Step banner.
I have been teaching for (almost) 13 years and when I began teaching everything was done "outside" of technology. It was rare for you to email your students; if something changed and you needed to get a message to them, it had to be done in person (as in you would call security and have them put a sign up telling the class changes in schedule, etc). In 2003, we were just starting to use email methods of communication but even if you sent an email, there was no guarantee your students would read it because they more often than not had to log in to a desktop computer to even access those messages.
Over the last decade plus I have seen people move to more immediate ways of communication and though I took some online courses (asynchronous ones – meaning you could log in at any time to do the work) in 2008-2010, the way I launch and teach my online courses now just five short years later is much different and more robust and more student and teacher friendly.
When I was taking online courses for my DPS degree, the environment was kind of simplistic; just text answers and attachments allowed. Now, you can include video and make your PowerPoint files come alive with either Camtasia or Voicethread; you can actually make the classroom come alive via Moodle or Blackboard or whatever program you use for online delivery – heck, I feel I am making a classroom come “alive” by integrating video content into my site along with my blog posts. We have come a long way.
What do you think about online vs in-person learning? I will say that having an audience in front of you is very different to teaching to an "online" room. That being said, new technology is working on scanning and recognizing feelings by doing facial scanning and sending the information to the professor. This is interesting because I definitely use in person cues when presenting and teaching to figure out how people are feeling about the material. As I move forward with my seminars and other courses that I deliver both in-person and online, I look forward to learning from my audience and sharing the best information based on my lessons and curriculum.
I made this video using some new techniques with Camtasia but I do notice it is blurry. I need to work on my equipment and see what I did wrong. The content though of this video is all about how I became a teacher almost 13 years ago and what role mentors and being a good teacher play in making my decisions about my business and how I run it.
This video talks more about communication and using education to diversify yourself and to stand out from the competition. My seminars coming up at Wagner College for $99 or 3 for $229 are a great way to get your feet wet with continuing your education and growing your career.
There is so much based on my work, educator and entrepreneurial experience that I am bringing to my seminars at Wagner College. Find out more on my February seminar here: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/
I hope to see you there next month! Happy Hunting!
I recently posted a photo to Instagram with a quote from an article talking about how the way to have a career and grow in it has changed. That you must be constantly learning to maintain your career. Not even just to grow your career, but to have one at all.
Based on this fodder, I built the below video talking about how education and learning can help you achieve a competitive edge. The only way to do this is to find your learning style and to find the right person / people to learn from. I hope I can be that person for you! Find out more here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/seminars-offered-by-the-next-step-and-wagner-college-office-for-lifelong-learning.html
Watch the video below for my Prof view on how to learn to grow your career. Happy Hunting!
I just wanted to take a minute to talk something that can be tricky for some people – that of achieving their college degree after the age of 22. For many, it is something that is a challenge because their careers and or lives took a different path than others. Today we have a very high level of college graduates but there are still people for whom life got in the way and they did not complete their requirements, course work or maybe did not even start a college degree program.
I happen to be extremely lucky that I completed my BS and MBA before 22. And even luckier that I did my MBA in Rome, Italy with St John’s University as a Graduate Assistant.
For those who have not been as lucky or for whom life has just gotten into the way, I want to talk about going back to school after being out of school for a while (or maybe never starting).
I have been an adjunct since 2003 and for some classes, I taught students balancing working full time and/or family life and trying to finish their degrees. I have always been understanding for those students as I try to be for all students, of course.
For those of you considering as your New Year’s Resolution getting back to finish (or start) that degree, I want you to know that it is possible to balance but it can be tricky. It pays to be honest with your Professors and let them know you are balancing school and work. It is not good to lay it on too think, though, especially because some adjuncts are also balancing tons of stuff – although an adjunct will have more understanding perhaps than a tenured faculty who is teaching for many years and maybe forgot what Corporate America can be like (no offense; I hope to be a tenured faculty someday, too…)
Even if you never “use” it; there are many people who have found their careers stagnate because they never received their BS or BA degree. Even just having an Associates is not always enough. I recently met a potential client who has associates degree only and I was talking with him about going back to get the BS. It means everything to yourself and your potential future – and it is something that can never be taken away from you. It becomes a part of you and will always help and not hurt. In other words, the only potential downside is if you pick a school you cannot afford. If you find a school that fits your budget and has the degree that will hopefully lead to your next step, what are you waiting for – go for it! If you are not sure where your next step is or should be, consider a liberal arts major to just get that piece of paper.
If you already started the journey back to your degree, congratulate yourself and hang in there. If you did not start it yet, feel free to reach out to me for advice, questions or just words of encouragement. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or other information about continuing your education. It might never be the “right” time but now is a great time to go for it! Happy Hunting!
As an entrepreneur, you always have to be willing to try. Just to try. Executing on new ideas and launching new programs take time and tinkering, too. It can be a challenge to share the news of a venture with the right people - as I progress in this launch of the business, I am learning more about SEO and Google Analytics and more - all of which I am rolling into the courses I am leading at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business.
I made a new video announcing the seminars for the Spring for you to watch and hopefully share about how being an entrepreneur takes trial and error and more to execute on new ideas and more. Something I talk about a lot on my videos and social media is how I teach. I am focused on presenting the best and most actionable information available to those who need help on how to take their next step either in their career or in building their own businesses. I provide career plans as a value-add to my clients and have the ability to provide that one on one service even in a group setting at my seminars. Are you interested in learning more about meeting with me in person? Check out the link below to register for my upcoming seminars for the Spring.
What do you think about being an entrepreneur and launching new programs? How do you execute on new offerings as an entrepreneur? How do you get the word out to your potential new customers? How do you share the news with current customers? If you watched my video, let me know what you think about how I flubbed the "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it" line... Let me know in the comments, via chat or via email. Happy Hunting!
So I took a recent getaway and did some #unplugging as per my own #profadvice and it was really great. It led to me be more invigorated and ready to tackle some new challenges and some new adventures than I thought it would. I did not foresee that a few days away would really lead to so much new energy but it did.
As an entrepreneur who also still works as a K-12 teacher, an educator and who designs and builds out content for training sessions, seminars, blog posts oh and also has a home life to manage, it can be tough to manage my time effectively and sometimes even to prioritize what to spend my limited "free" time on so having that break really helped me focus and prioritize for the next few weeks. I am hoping it extends and lasts even longer but I will let you know.
The extra focus I was able to gain from my getaway had me thinking about my business model and my business plan. So much of my identity and skill set is wrapped up in my teaching and public speaking skills. I am just still amazing by the amount of opportunities that have arisen for me as an entrepreneur and small business owner as a direct result of these skills. I knew when I first started doing resumes as a side gig almost fifteen years ago that I would someday like to do courses and seminars to bring my knowledge to more people - it is a big part of why as a professor I have always brought in real life experience and resume development and more to all of my courses. That being said, I do not think I could have predicted the partnership with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning. As I just received a copy of the press release they created regarding my classes and seminars, I am sharing it here because I am so proud and excited. I am also just so sore from pinching myself because it seems like a dream!
I love getting in front of people and sharing my ideas, wisdom and more and I think there will be more announcements coming over the next few months. It is exciting to have a business and to be passionate about it but most of all, it is just awesome to (hopefully) help many people with the skills and talents that I have spent so many years cultivating. I also love working one on one with my clients who find me through my blog, word of mouth and twitter. It has been amazing to see my web traffic spike - I shared the photo of my spike in visitor traffic recently on Instagram. Oh yes, I am on Instagram now so please follow me there, too at thenext_step123.
I cannot wait to see more clients and teach my seminars over the next few weeks and months. I do hope to see you there! What are you waiting for? Take your next step with me.
Why are you an entrepreneur? What is the best part of it for you? How did your business plan help you build your business? Let me know in the comments or via tweet or chat. Happy Hunting!
I am so happy to announce that Wagner College Office of Lifelong Learning has partnered with by business, The Next Step, to provide an adult certificate course called Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business (click here to see the course information and my promotional video - http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/entrepreneurship/ . )
This is not your typical course. As you have been seeing if you read my blog, I am using some new software with video and audio enabling posts and more to really bring my teaching to life. Also, if any of my former students are online and paying attention, they will tell you that I am not a typical teacher - I am infectious, energetic and (usually) wicked smart.
I have launched and re-launched over a dozen companies over the last few years. I know the ins and outs of how to get stuff done as cheaply and yet as effectively as possible and I am so excited to share my passion of entrepreneurship with you.
This course is a course that makes you work - you will be (with my help) preparing and executing on an actual real-life business plan. If you do not have an idea at this time but know you want to be an entrepreneur, I can help you hone in on your specific market offering. If you already know what you would like to do, I can help you bring your dream to life. Just read through my blog post category of Entrepreneurship to see how much I research and keep an eye on in terms of marketing, technology and more for the small business. This is not even the tip of the iceberg of the work and knowledge I have to share on this topic - that is for my 12 modules that I am currently putting the finishing touches on and that will morph and change based on input from YOU my potential future students.
Please check out the course and I do so hope you register for it because I cannot wait to help you achieve your dream of becoming a small business owner. The course begins on 10/19 but it has a rolling admission so you can join us at any time to realize your dream. Happy Hunting!
Happy Saturday! I have created a quick tutorial on how I am using Camtasia. I have the free 30 day trial and this software has revolutionized the way I can share, teach and learn. I made this almost 5 minute video showing how to create a screen recording with audio. I will be making a web cam enabled video tomorrow on the self promotion blog post and I wanted to share with you how easy this software can be to make basic online tutorials and more. I am still learning the functionality of Camtasia and if you have any hints or tips, please let me know. You will notice how awesome the audio sounds and how wonderful it is to really share a quick how to taking only like 15 minutes to create...
As I mentioned in the video, I am using Audacity for the audio. The Audacity link is below and if you have any questions on how to use that, maybe that will be my next training video.
Let me know in the comments what you think! Happy Hunting!
TechSmith Camtasia Free Download
Lisa Vento Nielsen