Thursday, April 29, 2010

CDAA Workshop: 14. Business Plans

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


One of the many tools available for free to assist in the setting up of your business.

I also borrowed books from the library like "Business Planning for Dummies".

I wonder how useful they are in the "day dream" phase though, as sometimes rigid planning seemed to stifle the creativity I needed for this new venture.

My carry on luggage for the conference was heavy with all the freebies I'd accumulated over the last few years. I brought them along in the hope that someone might like to use them to assist in setting up their own career development private practice. In general there's little given for free for business start-ups, although having said that, I do like the free "Yellow Pages" listing - it's minimal, and has consistently brought me clients.


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CDAA Workshop: 13. Working locally

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


I live in a beautiful part of Victoria, and showed these pictures to emphasize the contrast between the heavy peak hour traffic, and the roads near my home town.

And yes, there is a car down there!



In my ideal world, I wanted to work locally, in a generally relaxing environment, smell the sea and meet and work with locals. 


This goal fits in with my belief that it's not helpful for ourselves or the environment if we spend hours and hours driving to and fro to a stressful job. I'd often think of how much petrol I used each week, and found it challenging to rationalise. there was a marked disconnect between my stated values and how I was living.


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CDAA Workshop: 12. Values

Change for the sake of change can lead to deep disappointment if your underpinning values haven't been explored as fully as possible.

The desire to live by my personal values, beliefs and principles including the desire to have a smaller carbon footprint was integral to my decision to resign from permanent part time work.

In my first foray into solo work some years ago, my decision was based on the value of family time over employer, and in the importance of being at home when my children got home from school.

Participants were again asked to explore their core values, and jot them down.

CDAA Workshop: 11. What makes me feel creative?


(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


Participants were encouraged to brainstorm privately and then to think about the questions, then answer them over the next couple of weeks or so.

So often we get caught up in the process of working to earn a living that we forget that work can, and ideally will have some element of personal satisfaction.

Sometimes we're locked in to an unsatisfying career due to a mortgage or loan repayments, but even then it's often possible to find an area where there's a bit of "give" and room to find enjoyment, although often we need outside help to find this.


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CDAA Workshop: 9-10. Life's better with no boring bits!


(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


What's important to me, where do I want to work, How do I want to work? 


 As Career Development Practitioners, we often ask clients these questions, but how often do we apply them to ourselves? How often do we sit quietly and think about our own future, satisfaction with work and life?


For participants of the workshop, the question was: Do you want to make changes in your career? 


What are the issues you face that need to be addressed? 


Is there something you can do today to begin the process of change?


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CDAA Workshop: 6-8. The tyranny of 'ungreen' traffic


(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


The theme of the 2010 conference is "Greening Career Development". I'd been getting more concerned about the environment, and wanted to have a smaller fuel consumption 'footprint' . Driving 100 km per day, an hour each way to and from work in heavy peak hour traffic wasn't sitting well with my philosophy of "living green".



My issues with traffic began to get the better of me. Too many accidents, constant road works, driving home in the dark on wet, miserable roads in winter with kamikaze trucks looming beside and behind me were a constant stress.

It was time for a major change in my life.




Alongside what I believed was a crazy amount of time driving, was the frustration of working across 4 campuses over 3 days.

I was heartily sick of living out of the boot of my car. Never able to confidently know that the paperwork or files I would need were on hand. But also knowing that it was considered inappropriate to carry confidential client files in a private vehicle. It did seem a bit of a double bind. Added to this was the seemingly insignificant issue of never being able to leave personal things, such as my tea mug, at the office. Anyone who has worked like this will understand.

It was time to move on.


CDAA Workshop: 5. Inspiration to change

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


The motivation to change career direction or work location can be influenced by many events. Such things as work-life balance are mentioned by many clients. However, when driving to work I was always inspired in particular by the tradies with their company name and phone number proudly emblazoned across their utes. I kept thinking that if they could work for themselves, why couldn't I?

What or who is your inspiration?

What can you learn from them?

What about them or their business can you emulate?


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CDAA Workshop: 4. Marketing on a Shoestring

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)

2004 - ?

How long can it take to find the gumption to start?


This is something I often observe in clients. An idea forms, but it seems that tomorrow will be a better day to begin the process of change. 


The first step sometimes seems too hard to take, and before you know it, years have slipped past... and nothing has changed, except you've got older.


CDAA Workshop: 3. Workshops on Private Practice Development

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


One of the first workshops I attended on Private Practice Development.

I found Paul Stevens to be encouraging, generous and supportive. He had just sold his business and offered a comprehensive list of suggestions and ideas to assist our private practice development.


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CDAA Workshop: 2. Personality, type, preferences

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


Personality has a big bearing on where you feel comfortable working each day. I shared my preferences in these 3 instruments so participants could understand where I was coming from.

I'd like to explore the interrelationship between personality, values, and goal setting sometime in the future.

CDAA Workshop: 1. The roller-coaster ride from permanaent part time work to private practitioner - a work in progress

(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)


This title slide encapsulates the theme of the workshop I presented at the CDAA conference in Adelaide, April 2010.

The idea was not to present myself as having comprehensive knowledge of small business management, (I don't) but to invite colleagues to learn from the pitfalls I'd experienced, and hopefully inspire some to "give it a go". 


Participants were encouraged to explore their motivation to become a private provider, and encouraged to ask questions and jot down ideas throughout.

What follows is an overview of my journey, a look at the resources I've come across, and a celebration of change, uncertainty and a values driven decision. It is a personal exploration of the highs and lows I've experienced since attending my first workshop on Private Practice Development in 2004 (or thereabouts).


The photo was taken at Luna Park in St Kilda.



Facebook networking for the paranoid

An extremely internet savvy friend has done a bit of sleuthing on my behalf.

We've discovered (well really it was all her work - thanks Michelle!) that FB looks like it will do the trick.

At the conference presentation, it came to me that some kind of on line loose knit network would be nice for people dipping their toes in a new venture. The idea being, as I mentioned earlier, so that someone could mention that they are about to try a new (to them) bit of marketing/promotion/or whatever, and could post that they might be feeling very hesitant and nervous, and get some encouragement from another member. Nothing super formal or "stuffy", just a relaxed "we're in it together" kind of thing.

So, I've set up a FB group set to 'extremely paranoid'. Of course with all this, there's always the possibility of a Lisbeth Salander (isn't she amazing) hacking in, but why bother? I mean, it's not all that riveting for people outside is it. Initially it is set so that I have to invite people to join, but that can be changed at a click.

What I expect to happen is that it will fall on its head, and no one will be interested enough to devote time to it. but it's been good to see how it works anyway.

And the other challenge is to entice colleagues who are paranoid about security, and distrusting of FB to get an account, ah well. As they say, "It's not your problem Sue".

So, there we have it, colleagues & friends are most welcome to contact me to ask to be included. No cost, no fuss, and best of all you aren't expected to be a super duper whiz bang internet savvy business person to join in. Just someone who wants to launch an idea/service or whatever, and wants the support of others in a similar situation.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

CDAA 2010 conference. Are blogs relevant for CD practitioners?

So what is blogging anyway, and how can we use it, can it help us, or is it another time waster?

Is there a place for this medium as well as the more formal one on one Mentoring which is available in Victoria and networks like LinkedIn?

Is there some value in it for us as a group, or is it more an individual thing? Could it be used to informally network, support, inspire, cajole, challenge and link us in our desires to grow our businesses?

Kind of a bit like facebook; more informal than formal & by us and for us as professional individuals? How would that work? Could it be used to share business growth tips and encouragement. We often feel very isolated, could it be used to break down the isolation?

Is there a better medium available? If so, what? Is this too public? Does that matter?

Could it be used so colleagues could explore how to post comments in a safe and non threatening arena?

Someone might "confess" to feeling completely at sea with current media, and receive some feedback on how to access it. Of course, that could be difficult if they are too wary about publishing a post. Could be a double bind there :P

Perhaps a colleague might post that they are about to send emails or letters introducing themselves and their services to (insert name of company here) and they are feeling nervous, then someone else could post encouraging comments. or suggestions on how to make the content fabulous. Then a few days/weeks later, another member might ask how it panned out.

Do we already have something like this that I've missed? If so, is it used, or are people intimidated for some reason?

I'm visualizing something authentic, not "learned" necessarily - though there could be a place for that too. Something where people could post just a 1/2 line or so, and not feel compelled to be perfectly grammatical or formal or "on show". Where we don't feel judged for not being perfect.

So much to learn! I can see that it's possible to set up a group blog, would that work? Is it too much effort? We seem to be so time poor, and many of us are good at talking to clients about work/life balance, but seem to lack the skills to take our own "advice". Does it have the privacy we desire?