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Sometimes – working for nothing just feels “right”…

December 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Sometimes, someone just leaves a great impression.

On the PowToon website, users have a way to request work/consulting from me. Many of the messages I get are either “please do this for me for nothing…”, or personal insults.

Last week, someone contacted me, wanting help with a school project – they wanted help adding “cool stuff” to a project.

Normally, I would just reply with a pleasant reply, explaining it was not a support line, or a “fee help line”, but this email was different.

Apart from wanting “cool stuff”, (which I suggested was not the right thing…), they obviously wanted some HELP, (and had also asked about my prices).

So – I started an email exchange.

During last week, that person and I exchanged ideas, concepts, and what I saw was someone GROWING, someone with an open mind willing to learn, and also being appreciative of the advice I was giving.

I love working with people who show some enthusiasm:

Thanks you so much! That really helped me

Thanks for all the help !! I really appreciate it. 

I added all your suggestions. Thank you

In between each of these was another question, and I really hope that I helped someone grow in their skillset.

Just occasionally, you FEEL that doing something for nothing is a good thing to do. It makes so much more sense than answering the emails that mean nothing.

Today I got an email from the same online form that had 3 words in it – “Philosphy of Education”. If they can’t be bothered to read the form, or use full sentences, and realise what it is for then why should I? I’d rather reserve my efforts for the Stephanies of the world, and Stephanie – I hope that project went brilliantly, it was fun working with you.

The seesaw between “100% utilised” and “Yes – I could do that!”

October 15, 2014 1 comment

Being a freelancer is hard at first – you take almost anything that comes along.

When you are little more established – there’s a balancing act to perform. When do you take work, and when do you not take work?

This morning I had to turn down an Articulate Storyline opportunity for next week as I am blessed with being 100% utilised for the net few weeks, however – should you leave space free for just such a contact or not? This was a GREAT client, and although it was below my usual budget would have made a great prospect going forward.

So – nothing remarkable in this post, just pondering how do people handle this sort of situation?

Focusing on the experience rather than the “product” – so why do IDs focus on “training” all the time?

October 10, 2014 4 comments

Steve Jobs focused on the Apple “experience” rather than the product – you can see a GREAT YouTube video here that shows this.

In the same vein – why do Instructional Designers seem to focus so much on the “course”, and the “training” – rather than the REASON we spend all our hours producing all of this content?

I had a discussion earlier this week on “An Ebola Course”. But for me it was not “…an ebola course”, it would be online content that saved lives. This is a mind-switch.

I would LOVE to see a forum or group of IDs have “No Training Words Week“, where – just for a week, just 7 days, we NEVER used words like “training”, “course”, “authoring”, “quiz”, “test” or ANY of the other “learning’y” words.

Could we/they do it?

Could we get through ONE working week with nothing but discussions on VALUE, or workflow, or profit/loss, or process re-engineering, or risk, or profit, or production or technique or re-financing, or loss, or problem-solving, or creativity.

Is it really too hard? Those are the words our customers and clients use in THEIR daily lives.

Try to talk the same language your customer/prospect/client uses – do you even know what language they DO speak?

Freelancer Instructional Designers – take a risk, sometimes it guarantees success rather than putting the next invoice at risk! Take up that flag of professionalism, but become a “business pro”, not just a “training pro(vider)”. It makes sense doesn’t it?

That mind-switch can be hard, and sometimes, your prospect, customer or client does not want it – but that is no reason not to TRY it. You owe it to yourself don’t you? If nothing else you certainly owe it to your profession.

And now for something completely different…

July 2, 2014 1 comment

Apart from the fact that a good Instructional Designer should probably not begin ANY sentence with “and”, this blog post celebrates the triumphant return of The Monty Python Team, (nearly all of them…) to the London stage last night, and some complete silliness from a Skype discussion I had earlier.

I was trying to discuss the merits of 14:9 Articulate Storyline slide dimensions with a colleague versus 4:3.

When I type :3 something wonderful happened….

It interprets :3 as a cat licking its paw.

14_3 on Skype

I never knew that, and I suspect you did not either. Unless you are cleverer than me and understand social media more. Or talk about eLearning or PowerPoint slide dimensions a lot in your Skype-life.

If you did NOT know this, promise me that next time you Skype someone, at an opportune moment you will just type :3, and then pretend you have no idea what you did.

We all have to right to be silly once in a while – and on that note “Hurrah for Monty Python!”

I just need to slap someone with a fish now…..

 

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