Posts Tagged ‘instructional designer’

Just wanted to say “THANKS!”

October 10, 2014 1 comment

Somehow, based on “Social Appeal”, this little blog reached #2 in the rankings at

So – I just wanted to say THANK YOU to anyone and everyone that might have looked, circulated, retweeted or any other social thing. Hugely appreciated.

I’ll try and keep useful and provocative (?) thoughts coming.



The value of REAL networking in your freelancer community.

June 28, 2014 5 comments

There’s an old business saying along the lines of “Never annoy anyone on your way to the top, because you may need their help when you are on the way down“. Basically, I take that to mean try and treat everyone right, and they will treat you right when you need them, (even if you are still on the way up).

Earlier this week I got a call from a very influential/well-known UK Institute. They had a problem. They had contacted me because I have 2 specific skills – #Articulate #Storyline and #Sparkol #Videoscribe – two products that are essential for their project rollout.

They need nearly 100 short, 10/12-slide, 10-minute courses produced – originally the deadline was sometime early in 2015, it is now late August 2014. It is almost the end-June now. There will be around 30-40 standalone Videoscribes to produce after that.

I went to see them, to see what I could do to help, if anything. To cut a long story short, after the meeting I placed a call to a Storyline colleague, to see if he could help, because there is no way I can do this on my own. He told me that he had diversified from Storyline, and had entered the Video Marketing world too using a new product – had I heard of a product called “Sparkol Videoscribe”?

He also knows of another resource who can help us with these skills. Sometimes – the planets just align perfectly.

In the meeting, both the client and I accepted the project dates were bordering on insanity, however, after a couple of hours, some laying down of the production “rules”, and some networking, this project has become completely realistic. I’m not saying it will be easy, but 1 person has become 3, and the light at the end of the tunnel is certainly brighter than it was. In contacting this colleague, and giving some work AWAY, a project is now more likely to happen, with me at the middle, managing it, and client panic (hopefully) turning to client delight and future repeat business.

I believe that effective Freelancer networks are ESSENTIAL, especially in my own eLearning business world . There are so many products and tools, no-one can be effective in them all. Work with REAL people, contact REAL people, and do not just be “Social Media Friends”. Be REAL friends and REAL colleagues. I am totally sick and tired of social media contacts to “Like” and “Friend” and so on – where they just ask, but offer no explanation WHY they want me to like, friend, buddy, connect and generally add to my Inbox.

That way, a massive piece of business, crazy to look at on paper MIGHT just become a workable reality with one phonecall. Freelancers often on PC/mobile tools to be effective, but do not, ever forget the value of ongoing contacts, and the occasional social call just in case you need their help.

Refresh, re-learn, and reinvigorate – look at the work of others.

May 20, 2014 2 comments

I’ve just been reminded of the Articulate Weekly Challenges at (brilliant to look at as an Instructional Designer whether you are an Articulate product user or not).

It does not matter how many months or years you have been a freelance or other instructional designer, you can still learn.

These challenges force us to think, and they force us to think not about our own entries, but how we never considered the perspectives that we see in the other entries.

It is SO easy to get bogged down in your work, and your style that you have to force yourself to see what others are doing. I find myself looking at the entries from people who may have just entered the industry and going “WOW!”.

There is no better way to keep you from getting stale than by looking at how others view the same sentence or challenge. And, (as a freelancer), it reminds me that getting stale is the worst thing you can do, because there will always be someone else there with a more attractive, or beautifully executed idea that taps perspectives I should have perhaps seen.

Look at what other people are doing, and view it as inspiration for your next piece of work for a client.

4 ways to be the best most successful eLearning freelancer EVER!

May 11, 2014 4 comments

I find myself repeating all or some of these points on a variety of forum threads. One thing I learned at Oracle was if something can be repeated, it can probably be automated, so here goes for a distillation of everything I know in terms of advice to make you the best and most successful freelancer EVER!

  1. There is no “best”. If there was – we’d all be doing it.
    1. There is only “best” as defined by you. Creating lists for blogs is currently seen as one of the “best” ways to get readers, so I followed current advice, but it will change. “Best” is fleeting.
  2. “Successful” is subjective.
    1. For example – your definition of “financially successful” may be defined by me as “I wouldn’t get out of bed for that”.
    2. Decide what your measure of success is, and measure yourself against it. Periodically – measure how well you are doing against that and change as needed.
  3. The 4 Guiding Principles. Everyone likes an acronym, so here is another new one – BITS, (Business, Interests, Tools and Social). As a freelancer, you will need to learn, engage, and practice each one of these in equal measure. Get them out of balance and your business is likely to fail.
    1. Business – Selling, Marketing, Financials, Customers, Entrepreneurs. Buy books about these. Read Web articles. Join forums and ask questions, start discussions based on facts that you know will generate debate, use knowledge to defuse arguments. lecture, blog and grow.
    2. Interests – when you become a freelancer, you may soon find that the “fun” of your work dissipates. Late nights, clients that do not pay and rejection of your work will do that to you. Find ways to keep developing, happy and engaged, both in and out of the “work” environment. Everyone does this in different ways. My “fun” comes from doing paid work that is “fun”, and I can justify this to anyone who asks why.
    3. Tools – this is “the stuff you need to know to do your job”. That may be a software tool, or other skill. It is just assumed that you learn, develop and keep up to date in your chosen work area.
    4. Social – work network, family, work-life balance and social network presence. There are no rules here. My version of “work-life balance” (completely accepted and loved by my family) is that I can work as much as I like, but still be here close for them. That may not be yours. Your concept you have of work-life balance before you are a freelancer may well change when you actually become one.
  4. You need to do things rather than talking about it. This is the hard one. Actually deciding to do something and doing it are different things. Doing is easy, (you just do it, or do not do it….); what stops things getting done is the crap that gets in the way, (fear, guilt, worry, a need for certainty etc.) Here’s my model for “doing”.
    1. I spend all the spare time I can find for about 2 weeks researching the positives and negatives of my subject. Do not just research areas that support your existing position.
    2. I run a hot bath, and sit in it with a glass of single malt whisky (one ice cube), and either classical or jazz music on, no words allowed. Your unconscious will have been processing and ordering the research done in step 1, now is the time to let it out. Reflect on these 4 questions:

Do I WANT to do this new thing? Yes/No.
Do I HAVE the skills to do this, or KNOW WHERE TO GO to get the skills and assistance when needed? Yes/No
Will I be able to SELL this thing? Yes/No

Actually – I usually just go with the first question, and if it is a “Yes” I get going and start doing something, ANYTHING, and work the rest out as I go along.  🙂

So that is it – the model for freelance success, the model for being the best freelancer, EVER, in your chosen field.

So – no more questions required, unless they are about things that you are doing to move towards the goal. If you are stationary – you should probably consider a safer career. However…if you are showing good solid results, taking risks in your thinking, and actually moving forward – I will help you every step of the way, if I can. If I can’t, we can work to find people who can.

Good luck.

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