Saturday, December 19, 2015

When do you expect payment for services rendered?

So I stirred up quite a conversation on my Facebook wall yesterday when I posted:

Got this line in an email today:

"it's just that we don't prepay anything we always wait to receive the services and then we pay just like anything else in life for the most part."

Think I can use that to pay for college?

A few of my friends replied with:
  • Please tell me this person was no older than 16.
  • People just don't understand that the person performing the services has to make the commitment ahead of time to be there so the people attending have to make the investment ahead of time. It is an investment, often with those you do not see the return immediately
  • I attend many seminars and trainings as a nurse and as an educator myself and it's always prepaid. Sorry Gail. I think you should require prepayment in the event no one shows you still ought to be paid in full. Good luck!
  • Have to say..I've always had to prepay (Both for business and personal commitments), this way the presenter is paid and so is the venue in case anything happens and the "event" is cancelled.
  • "Like anything in life?" Really? I seem to recall paying at or before the time of service for every class or program I've ever taken. I pay my doctor BEFORE she sees me. Who ARE these people? This is not groceries we're talking about.
The back story: I have some people in my class today whose employer is paying for them to attend. My policy is payment received no later than the start of the class. I had been asked to mail a bill somewhere and I explained I am not set up to do that, payment is expected no later than the start of the class.  At their request I sent a credit invoice to them. This is part of the reply that was forwarded to me after I told the person attending that I would be holding their cards until payment is received:

"I can maybe pay it electronically on my credit card on Monday it's just that we don't prepay anything we always wait to receive the services and then we pay just like anything else in life for the most part."

I receive this after attended a workshop in college financial aid. Snarkily I'm thinking, can I use that line to pay for my daughter's college tuitition?  "Maybe pay it on Monday"?  The class is on Saturday, yes please pay it on Monday.  Paying it on Saturday would be preferable.

But seriously, I'm not a tradesman that you pay for after the repair has been made or a utility company. Many courses and programs require pre-payment prior to the course. If I buy Christmas presents I have to pay for them before I can take or receive them.  I'm actually pretty lenient on requiring payment by the start of the class instead of in advance. I have to purchase textbooks and supplies for each course, there are expenses to the instructor or school before a class is even held.  I'm sure the industry that these folks are in requirement payment prior services received.  Whether it's a small business like mine, or a large educational institution, prepayment for educational services is the expected norm, not the other way around.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Newsletter spam

Lately, I've been receiving some new newsletters in my inbox, from businesses that I have really no idea who they are.  It took me a few weeks to figure it out why I was receiving them.

I had attended a networking meeting.

Co-incidentally I had also been receiving some FB friend requests from people I did not know.  Turns out they were from the same networking group.

So here's the thing;  If I don't know you personally I'm not going to accept your friend request.  Nothing personal, it's just that I try to keep my business and my personal life separate online.  If you want to know more about my business then please like and follow one of my FB business pages or check out one of my blogs.  It's also a good idea to actually meet in person and introduce yourself, again in person, rather than blindly sending out FB friend requests.

Also, just because you are in the same room with someone, and have access to their business card, does not mean you can add them to your newsletter or email list.  You must actually have their permission.

That means trolling for email addresses in a collection of business cards from a networking event does not give you permission to put them on your list.  Asking someone "Can I add you to my list" or having a conversation that includes phrases like "I just explained your question really well on my blog/newsletter/email marketing, can I send it to you?" is how to ask for permission to add them to your list.

Call me old fashioned, but it's polite etiquette to ask first.  It also keeps you legal with CAN-SPAM, which covers commercial emails, not cans of spam.

A quick anonymous thank you goes out to the gentleman who actually called and left an apology on my voice mail yesterday.  I had unsubscribed from his newsletter, one of the ones I did not subscribe to, and he apologized for adding me to his list.  Thank you for actually reading my comments on why I was unsubscribing.  I might have been a bit snarky, but it was getting frustrated with all the newsletters in my inbox.

In thinking about this I did a bit of research, and I found some pretty good articles about this online as well:

http://blogs.constantcontact.com/permission-marketing/
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/84140

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

CPR by Donation is back!


After a summer/fall hiatus CPR by Donation is back!

Things got really busy this summer with my kids.  We planned our first serious family vacation around a college touring schedule for my eldest daughter.  I also volunteered and worked at 2 different summer camps.  This was my first paid camp position and I had a super fun time!

The school year started off with a bang and a lot of on-site class bookings.  With so many classes it just was impossible to add more to my calendar!

But as the dust of a busy Fall settles, I'm thrilled to be able bring CPR by Donation back later this month!  The program will still run roughly every other month beginning in 2016.

For information on the program and to register for the next course on November 21st please visit my CPR by Donation webpage.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Would you steal a sticker off someone's bulletin board?

Saturday evening when I was leaving my class I found a thumbtack on the stairs.  I thought it odd since I don't have anything on the walls in the stairwell.

Today I discovered where the thumbtack came from.

I have a bulletin board in the hallway in our studio.  I post stickers, business cards and postcards from different business I have taught at.  There are also some lovely notes posted there that folks have sent me.

I went to add a card to the board and discovered that a sticker I had tacked to the board was gone.

Who would steal a sticker from a bulletin board in someone's office?

It had to have disappeared on Saturday as there was no tack on the stairs when I arrived that morning to teach and I had tucked a business card behind the sticker that morning.  I found the business card on the floor.

So to whomever from one of my Saturday Heartsaver courses that took my Portsmouth Kayak Adventures sticker, I hope you're enjoying it.  I will pick up another as not only did I teach a class for them; I brought my Girl Scout troop there and we had a wonderful evening kayaking adventure.  The staff at Portsmouth Kayak Adventures are well trained and were great to work with.  My troop had a wonderful time and I can't wait to visit them again.



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Numbers

So seriously, we have so many numbers running through our heads on a daily basis.... how can we keep track of all of them?

I had someone come up to me the other day and ask my hourly rate for proofreading.  (sigh)  I supposed I looked rather unorganized or clueless, but off the top of my head I just don't remember.  It's not a number I have memorized or that I'm asked on a regular basis.

In case you're wondering, I looked it up.  And now that I've got a number in my head the chances of anyone asking me today have decreased exponentially.

Shameless plug:  If you are in need of a proofreader, editor or content/ghost writer please visit my alter ego at http://www.somethisandthat.com

Monday, October 5, 2015

When it rains it pours

Last year I was hired as a substitute teacher for a local school district.  Technically I was hired at the end of the previous school year, but didn't get any calls.

In fact my phone really didn't ring at all.  For months.  However things picked up and I started subbing a bit more last spring.

Why did I become a sub?

My primary business is a feast or famine business.  I'm either really busy or I'm listening to crickets.  My secondary business is also very, very small.  Since it is primarily short-term & occasional projects, it is not a steady source of income.  I also left my steady, but low-paying, part-time job last winter.  Subbing was a way to bring in some income without limiting my availability for booking classes.

I was really surprised to start getting calls on the second day of school this year.  I figured it would be several weeks before teachers were out sick or needing to take a day off.  Wow, was I surprised!  But September was pretty booked with classes so guiltily I had to decline the offers to sub that month.

This week I am attending & working at a 3-day business conference that I have had the opportunity to work at for the past 3 years.  While several of thing that will be discussed do not match my business model I always learn new things and it gets me really thinking about my business.  Which is good with the changes that will be happening in just over a week.

So of course, I had not one, but two calls to sub.  Today.  Day 1 of the conference. (sigh)  Like my feast or famine business; either no one calls me for weeks or everyone calls on the day I have something scheduled.

Fortunately I already have a sub shift lined up for later this week.

I'm excited to be learning and focusing on my business for the next three days. This is my annual opportunity to review where I am at, what direction I want to move in, and begin to make strategies to do it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sales spam

I think every business owner gets lots of unsolicited emails from companies trying to sell products and services to them.  I usually ignore them.  They usually send 2 emails.  The second outlining why I need them.  The second usually more informal, like a friend catching up, using comments like... "I haven't heard back from you".  Yup, right... you didn't hear back from me because I deleted your email.

So today I get a third email from this company, it was kinda entertaining.  Identifying information on the company removed.  I might find this amusing, but they might not like being the subject of a blog post.

Gail,

I have been trying to connect with you over the past two weeks, to learn about your programs and who the best person to speak with on this subject. Being that I haven't heard from you, this leads me to a few possible circumstances:

1) You’re all set with suppliers at Coastal CPR and First Aid LLC, and if that is the case please let me know so I stop bothering you.

2) You are interested in what XXXX can do, but just very busy right now. If this is the case, please let me know when we can pick up the conversation.

3) You got attacked by a Lemur,
and need me to call for help....
Brown Lemur in Andasibe.jpg
  
Please let me know which it is, as I am beginning to worry......

Look forward to hearing from you!

Best,

Joe

So I begin to think about this.  Despite a crazy busy day preparing for tomorrow's race.  Yes, tomorrow is the 14th annual Fox Point Sunset 5 Mile Road Race.  We'll be doing race day registration beginning at 3pm if you want to come run or walk the best 8K on the Seacoast!  But the race is not the topic of my post.  I got home from early bib pick up and saw the email still sitting in my inbox, and well..... felt I need to reply.  If only to assure a total stranger that I was not in danger from Lemurs.  

My reply:

Dear Joe,

Thank you for your kind concern for my well-being.  I have not been attacked by lemurs, I live in NH so I have a greater chance of being attacked by a moose, or a coyote or fisher cat.  Although I do spend time in the evening watching deer, which are much more docile.

I have not replied as I get a lot of unsolicited email from folks like you trying to sell me services and products that I don't need.  Mostly I ignore all these emails. I get that you're trying to make a sale, and want to follow up.  Pretty much everyone sends me a second email writing something like "I haven't heard back from you"; which is accurate since I never replied to the first email.  I have to admit your third email was a bit unique, although might appear stalker-ish if you are concerned for my welfare when you really don't know me.  And perhaps subtly appealing to old fashioned manners that would necessitate a reply to your inquiry.

I teach CPR and First Aid, I use national programs published by groups like the American Heart Association.  I don't make up my own stuff, I use their stuff.  It makes my job easier and ensures I'm meeting national guidelines.  And they require that I use their stuff and buy it from their vendors.  That is how they earn income that they use to fund scientific studies in cardiac resuscitation and how to improve training methods so we can save more lives with reduced neurological deficit.  This is truly exciting stuff.  The new Guidelines for CPR & ECC will be released next month and the studies being published now are really interesting.  The AHA has a great blog with more info at http://cprblog.heart.org/

national responsibility

If I was going to write my own stuff, it would really just be borrowed stuff.  I'll share one of my favorite books on this topic with you:



I have also been really busy as I volunteer a lot.  I co-direct a road race which is a fundraiser for my kids school.  It's been a really busy week as we get ready for this weekends race.

So therefore you have no need to be concerned about my well-being.  I'm healthy, busy, teaching and volunteering.  There is no need for you to fill my inbox with your concerns which I'm sure are really just about making a sale.  I think my lack of response to your first 2 emails should have been indicative of my lack of interest, or need, for your company's services.  I am replying solely because from the tone of your third email I'm led to think you might keep emailing and I'd like to save us both a lot of time.  I politely ask that you remove me from your list and do not continue to email me.

Take care,

Gail 

The questions now are:....   Will Joe reply?  Will he read exciting news on the AHA's CPR Blog?  Might he check out my book recommendation or will he just delete my email like I did to his first two?  Should I update him and tell him he's the subject of a blog post?  Is his name really Joe?  I'll update if there are any new developments.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

My Fabulous Four

It's the morning of First Day of School Eve.  A morning I wanted to sleep in.

Well, that didn't happen.

The Bickersons were in full force at 7am in the living room fighting over who was sitting where.  Please note that between the couch, chair and glider there was more than enough seating.

Lying in bed I realized that they all have super hero-like bickering qualities.

My Fabulous Four are:

The Delegator is quick to tell everyone what to do while managing to not do what she is supposed to as she has attempted to delegate it or has to rush off to work, band or softball.

The Manager hides in her room and appears to tell others how to do whatever she thinks they need to do in explicit detail and then disappears.

The Justifier has to preface every poor choice or action by explaining how he was wronged by someone else first.

The Instigator has the uncanny ability to wind up the others with words or actions and then emphatically states that it is not her fault.


Can they become a force for good?  Or are they destined to antagonize each other?


I think I need a logo....


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Can you help? A plea for the Parent's Music Club.

There are so many things that municipal budgets don't cover, and that's why there are so many booster and parents organization that fund raise to cover the difference.

And that's what I'm writing about today.

I volunteer.  A lot.  A friend told me the other day I have not learned to say NO yet.  And despite my denying it, she's actually right.  I'm a sucker for a good cause and I volunteer quite a bit with organizations that my kids are involved in and things I'm passionate about.

Which is the topic of this post.

In addition to the Newington School Supporters (I'm a past chairwoman, past treasurer and current race co-director), and Girl Scouts, and myriad other things, I'm also helping out with the Parents Music Club of the Portsmouth Schools.  My oldest is a member of the Marching Band and I have spent quality time this past week sewing and altering band and color guard uniforms.  Yes, I sew.  I actually enjoy it and sometimes dream of having more time to sew. But I digress.

School booster organizations fund the things that school budgets don't cover.  Like enrichment activities, field trips, artist-in-residence programs and the arts.  The Parent's Music Club organizes and funds music & theater scholarships, help purchase supplies needed for the performing arts in all the Portsmouth Schools - elementary, middle school, & high school.  They help in the background at plays, concerts and assist with travel for the choir, drama and band. They provide food for Band Camp and parent volunteers to assist at any music and theater event.  It takes a small army of volunteers to get 130-some odd kids organized, on buses and on a competition field.

And quite frankly, they need our help.

In this case the Parents Music Club of the Portsmouth Schools has started a Go Fund Me account.  Not for something huge or wonderfully exciting, but something really necessary.  A trailer.

A trailer... what do they need a trailer for?

Because at every competition... whether Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, Winter Color Guard, or a drama performance; they have equipment to transport.  Something that has been done by volunteers and borrowing equipment and trailers.  But over time, sometimes you can't keep borrowing something.  Or someone can't keep lending it,  or their kids have graduated or ... whatever.  At some point the parents realize that they need something and there is no one to borrow it from.  And in this case it is a trailer to tow behind a vehicle to transport musical, color guard or drama equipment.

And this is why they are looking for your help.

Unlike the schools that have their own fancy schmancy trailers and trucks lettered with their school name, the Parents Music Club is fundraising to buy a trailer to transport equipment that the students use.  This trailer won't haul all of their stuff, but help to get some of their equipment from point A to point B.

Can you help out?  Every small amount builds to something larger.  Like a student learning an instrument learns how to play one note, and then another and soon they are playing a piece from start to finish.  Each small note, or donation, leads up to completing the entire piece.

http://www.gofundme.com/pmcportstrailer

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The tale of 2 orders

Sunday I ordered CPR & First Aid supplies from 2 different companies.  Two because the supplies for my new AED trainer are not carried by the company I normally order from.

Why do I have loyalty to one company?

Because tomorrow, Wednesday, my order from the usual company will arrive.

The status on the website or the second company is "order processed" and I have yet to get a delivery alert to my email.

This is only my second time ordering with this new company.  They even sent me a lovely handwritten note thanking me for my order.  As much as I thought the note was a nice touch, I'd rather receive the stuff I ordered.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sprint is not my friend today

This is what I typed in the 'how was your interaction with us today' box:

I went online to upgrade my phone.  Somehow the phone I was looking at got put in a 'saved cart', that I am unable to access.  It asks for my email, I put in the email on our account (my husband's) and it tells me it is invalid. :(  I had to call - first call went to call center that NO ONE was on the line.  I could hear the background noise of the call center, but no person.  So I hung up and called again for customer service, who transferred me to the call center.  Maybe I'm tired, but I had a hard time understanding him.  Order placed (took forever), and then I ask... how do I access or clear this saved cart?  He transfers me.  I'm on hold with overmodualated music (you really should fix that, it's obnoxious).  So now I'm on hold, typing this and I  look at my phone and realize I've been on the phone for 40 minutes to place an order and wait for customer service.  This is exhausting and frustrating.  I've not had great success with Sprint lately over notifications and account changes.   I only want simple things: being able to access my account, order a phone, and have it work.  Which apparently is just too much to hope for.

Background: 2 months ago my husband and daughter upgraded their phones and our plan. Somehow some other parts of our plan were changed too, we just didn't know.  Sprint said they notified us via text - but sent the texts to my daughter's phone (which she said she never received) instead of my husband's phone - the primary number on our account.  We discovered this 3 weeks ago when we were locked out of online account access.  Multiple phone calls, emails and faxed forms later, our account is squared away. However this was in the middle of our traveling to visit colleges so very much inconvenient.

Meanwhile, my 2 year old phone is not charging well and acting wonky.  So thinking we were all set and good with Sprint, I attempted to upgrade my phone today.  Oh, I am so foolish and trusting....

I was on the phone with sprint for 54 minutes.  Phone ordered after being transferred from one department to another (?).  Turns out even getting to talk to 2 more customer service reps after that, (one who can't figure out how to transfer me...) they can't look at my account either, something about website upgrades and for the past few months they get a blank screen instead of the customers information.  That is so reassuring (picture this said with high sarcasm and eye rolling). *rant over*

I should have waited and gone to the Sprint store on Monday.  Foolish me.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer camp!

Despite my best intentions, I've neglected all my blogs.  I can blame part of the reason on summer camp.

I'm working at 2 camps this summer, well.... technically volunteering at one and paid staff at the second.

I should have begun doing this years ago.

Okay, so I've been volunteering at Cub Scout day camp for 3 years.  As a volunteer my Cub Scout attends for a mere $25.  My daughter can attend with me as a tagalong for free.  Yes.... FREE!  2 kids at 1 week of camp with swimming, archery, etc...... for a mere $25.  It's the deal of a lifetime.  I am also outside with them all day.  I really enjoy it.  The past 2 years I have the tagalongs den which means I watch the children of all the parent volunteers.  So I have boys to young to be Cub Scouts and girls.  Our mixed age/mixed gender group always seem to get along really well and the kids are just plain awesome.

This year I took a paying staff position at Girl Scout camp.  Totally different than Cub Scout camp.... and just as fun!  I should have done this years ago.  My Girl Scout attends for half price, I'm getting paid - not a lot - but still it's an income. And I'm having super fun.  I just finished my first week and am finally learning how to use gimp since I am gimp-challenged.

The cool thing about working at camp is that I am outside all day long.  The kids are outside all day long.  No TV, no electronics, just doing amazingly fun things outside.  Friday I cooked our lunch over an open campfire with 5-7 year olds.   Okay, so I am probably cheating a small amount as the camp does have wifi so I can check messages on my phone as needed, but I don't have time to answer them until after dinner.

The challenging thing about working at camp is that I'm super behind on blogging, writing and keeping up with the office side of my businesses.  I'm teaching all day today, but am not offering any courses until camp and a small family vacation are over.  It also means if anyone calls me about courses it's going to take me a while to return their call as I can only do that first thing in the morning or in the evening.

Summer camp.... just as fun for the adults!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Valuing others time

This past weekend I attended mandatory camp training.  This is required every 2 years to review the staff guide, emergency procedures and health & safety info.

This could have been an awesome training opportunity.  Instead it turned into a colossal waste of time.

The training was scheduled for 5 hours.  In the first 3 hours we heard more inside stories of incidents that occurred over the previous years than we did actually covering the material that was provided to us.  2 hours into the training class I was irritated.  At 3 hours I was just sad. When it ended 4 hours later I just wanted to go home.

I was sad because this was an opportunity to learn and review some pretty important information.  But the rambling stories and “… several years ago we …” detracted from the small reviews of the printed material.  A good portion of the emergency information was glossed over or not covered at all.

I had to drive almost an hour to attend, and of course almost an hour home.  I learned more about the woman running training than I did about the camp material.  The training was for volunteers who would be helping at camps in different locations, but instead she primarily covered what she thought was important to volunteers at the main camp - where they have a trained paid staff.  That was not where I would be volunteering.  She skipped over pages of material telling us that was for the paid staff, except where I and some of the other volunteers would be running the program that was some pretty important stuff we needed to know.  Like what to do if a camper is missing or hurt.  Being told that her paid staff at a camp an hour away from us would handle emergencies at her camp.  This training was not a valuable use of my time – I learned more reading the material on my own when I returned home and then taking some online courses on camp.

I took this training 2 years ago with a different trainer and I learned a lot.  I really wish I could say this same this year.  The staff running the training seemed more interested in telling camp stories, feeling impressed with their knowledge and status, and not training the adults who had to attend to volunteer at camp.  And occasionally bashing the organization they were representing.   I’m sure I am not the only one attending who had to juggle things to attend.  Which made me realize they really did not value the time of those attending.

This is probably a  bit of a rant, but ask yourself - Why would anyone want to continue to volunteer for them if the organization or trainers did not value their time?  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

How I schedule classes



Add the subtitle:  and how creating schedules in my house is like herding cats.

Image result for herding cats
My instructional business is part-time.  I don't teach full time.  I could try to, but I'm just not sure there is actually enough people out there wanting to take classes to have enough registered participants in each class.  I also like being part-time as I can teach around my family's schedule.

And this is where I should put "Cat Herding" on my resume.  Except, we don't own a cat.

I usually schedule my classes 3-4 months ahead of time.   Not this time.  Here it is June, and I'm finally posting the summer class schedule.  We were supposed to take a trip, which didn't end up happening.  Then we were signing the kids up for summer camps, looking at creating smaller vacations while college touring all while not knowing which colleges since my oldest has been so busy with school, softball and work that I only see her for short pockets of time - if at all.  (sigh)  It's like herding cats to nail down the who, what, where and when with my family.

It's not like I don't WANT to schedule classes; I just don't want to schedule something and then need to change the date of the class due to a conflict with my family schedule.

Because ultimately I am self-employed so that I have the flexibility to be present when my kids need me.   So I can volunteer and make quesadillas on demand at Seis de Mayo (because at our school we never do it on the 5th of May) or attend the Holiday luncheon or sell tickets at the Music in Our Schools concert.  It means I look at all the things my family is involved in, put them on a massive Google calendar, and then create a class schedule from what is left.  Except my family is not often as forthcoming with their schedule information.

It's like herding cats.  It takes forever, but it gets done eventually.



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Online only certification programs, again.

I've previously written on online-only training programs (see Certification Mills vs. Blended Learning and What is Online Certification?).  I've been seeing this happening a lot more recently and took a peek at one of the online-only programs that is becoming more popular.  I'm not going to name them because I don't want to get into a huge debate with them, but I'd like to point out why I'm uncomfortable with their program.

This site is like a lot of others.  You pay them, you take an online course that includes an exam and you print your card at the end of the course on your printer.  For the low cost of $39.99 - $49.99 it seems like the easiest way to get certified, right?  Their website even states that the course meets AHA Guidelines.

So I've spent $40-$50 bucks, took a course and printed my card.

But the AHA and ILCOR Guidelines require a practical skill component.  I can't do that in an online course.  Again, see What is Online Certification?

So the next option - they'll give me a list of instructors who can provide a skills check off for me.  That can cost up to an additional $50.  So... $39.99 for layperson CPR or $49.99 for healthcare provider CPR we're up to .... $89.99 - $99.99 for our certification card.

Okay, so now I've spent almost $100 buck for my certification card.

But what if there is no affiliated instructor nearby?

They have the option of doing your skills check via Skype or something similar on a webcam with a mannequin you can order and they will send to you. For an additional $39.95-$49.95.  From the image I can see on their website the mannequin looks like a cardboard box with a head.  How can you compress that and show that you can provide ventilation to a cardboard box?  How do I breathe into the head?  It looks like it is styrofoam or plastic and has no openings to breathe into.  This is looking way too odd, even for me.

At this point I've spent almost $100, got to play with a cardboard box with a plastic (or styrofoam) head on my webcam all the while realizing in my rush I never deep cleaned my living room and the examiner can see Lego's under my sofa.  And probably some killer dust bunnes.

You could have a taken a local course for half that.  And not stressed over the cleanliness of your living room or waited for your expensive cardboard box to arrive in the mail.

There are a lot of CPR AED instructors out there.  You can find a reputable course through your local FD, hospital or from the American Heart Association's CPR Class Connector or the American Safety and Health Institute's Find a Class webpages.  I'm sure the American Red Cross, Emergency Care and Safety Institute, and National Safety Council have similar pages.  Most of these large reputable organizations have links to connect you with a local instructor or training center.

It can be super confusing to know what is a reputable course and what is not.  The Health and Safety Institute has put up a very informative website to help.

What prompted this post?  I had 2 students who took an online course from the above referenced online-only program.  I suggested they call the program, since the program stated it would give refunds if the card was not accepted by the students employer.  In both cases the card was not accepted.  Surprisingly enough - they both got a refund.  I guess that's the only positive out of their situation.  Both were duped; they took a course, turned the card into their employer - and it was rejected.  I cannot provide a skills check off for a program I am not affiliated with, nor will I affiliate with this program.  They wasted valuable time and resources and then had the added stress when their card was not accepted.  Fortunately for both they got a refund, took a hands-on classroom course and were able to turn a valid card in to their employer.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bittersweet

Today was a bittersweet day.  I’m excited to become pretty much a full time entrepreneur, but I’m sad to be giving up my regular part time job.

I am a librarian, or actually now I can say I was a librarian.  I only worked 8-10 hours a week.  I planned and ran children’s programs, shelved books, planned a move, cataloged books, moved books and in general did all the little things that helped to keep a small library running smoothly.  I loved what I did!  It didn't pay much, but it was a steady small paycheck.

So why did I leave?

My life just got busier.

I have 4 children, a small but growing business, a second business that is slowly growing. I’m a substitute teacher, road race organizer, and lead a Girl Scout troop.  I volunteer in my community and I don’t get a lot of sleep at night.  Originally I set up a part-time schedule that would allow me to have enough time to balance family and work.  It worked for a while, but lately it hasn't.

This was a really tough decision.  My primary business, Coastal CPR & First Aid, is kind of a feast or famine business.  I'm either really busy or I'm not.  That small paycheck carried me through when my community course registrations were down and no one was calling for on-site courses.  My secondary business, Some This & That, is slowly picking up.  Lately there are more things to do every day than there are hours in a day to do them.  Something had to give.... and that was my part-time library job.


So while I’m sad to leave a job I enjoyed, I’m excited to have more time for my family and to be able to focus on my businesses more.  I feel like I'm coming full-circle to where I was 4 or 5 years ago with 2 kids in school, 2 preschoolers and a small part-time business.  Except now I have 4 in school, I co-own a studio which gives me a permanent home for my courses and my business has moved from fledgling to thriving.  I'm nervous, scared, sad and excited all rolled into one!  

So today was a bittersweet day. I'm sad to close one door, but super excited to be opening another.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Small world



I meet all sorts of really great people in my classes.  At last weekend's CPR by Donation class I met Cindy.  Turns out we have mutual friends and enjoy the same nutritional products!  She took a picture of me with my protein bar.

Thanks so much for your kind words!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Speak up, show up, or shut up

In the past few months I've attend a few public meetings in which some members of the audience have been outraged over the actions or spending of an elected town board.

Complaining after the fact is like repairing a dam after the slowly building crack has dumped so much water that there is no need for the dam.  Odd analogy, but I couldn't think of another one off the top of my head.  Or waiting to tell someone that there is a leak in a can of paint or cup of coffee until after all the paint or coffee has spilled all over the floor.  Okay, enough obsessing over analogies, you get the idea.  Too little too late is not useful for anyone.

Because here's the thing...  Being an armchair quarterback might make you feel better for venting, but your words would have far more meaning and impact if you actually got out of the audience and got involved in the process.  Don't complain about decisions being made when you chose not be involved in the decision making process.  Your neighbors will only see you as the after-the-fact complainer and not a pro-active participant in making decisions that could affect everyone.

Municipal government, especially in a small town, is a perfect example of government by the people and for the people.  We're all volunteers.  Meetings and work sessions are open for anyone to attend.  Make your thoughts and concerns heard!  If you don't like the way a town board is run, run for office during the next election.  If you don't want to run for office, attend a few meetings to voice your concerns or speak to your elected officials.

If you don't like the way things are being run speak up, show up and get involved.  One of the people you can blame when you think things are not going the right way is yourself.  You have the opportunity to make a difference.  Otherwise shut up and save your venting for yourself.

Today's post isn't brought about by today's public hearing.  But it got me thinking about what I meant to write after a meeting last fall and I'm just now getting to it.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Weather is not my friend

Last week it snowed.  A lot.  The meteorologist on TV suggested taking 3 measurements in different areas and average them to determine how much snow we received.  In  my yard it ranged from 22" to 27".  No matter how you average it, that's a lot of snow.
This is a yardstick stuck in the snow in my yard.

This creates an insane amount of havoc on my class schedule.  Last Tuesday I had a class scheduled, which meant I had to reschedule.  One person I tested alone, one switched to a class this upcoming week, the others I have not heard back from.  This is a healthcare provider renewal, so if they need it they'll call or email.  I don't chase people down.

This week we're getting snow.  Again.  On Monday.  When I have 3 classes scheduled.

{sigh}

I just spent 20 minutes figuring out how to fit more classes in over the upcoming week to reschedule all these students.  Normally I can squeeze it in.  But for the last month, and in this month I am working more hours at my part-time job. I always thought I'd like more hours, but not I'm seeing the downside as it is making scheduling so much more difficult.  Add in a few medical or dental appointments for myself or my kids, and my calendar is booked solid.  If anyone can figure out how to get more than 24 hours in a day please let me know.

So the weather is not my friend.  It would be so much easier if it would snow on a day I'm not teaching, but I have no control over that.  Please be considerate when I'm trying to reschedule.  I'm doing my best to accommodate everyone and their certification needs.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Self promotion

I've been at 2 things this past week where I was expected to talk about myself.  {sigh}

I'm primarily an educator.  I can stand in front of a class and discuss and teach on a variety of topics.  But talking about myself is different.  Its ... , well, ... personal.  It's that awkward I-want-to-share-everything-but-don't-want-to-annoy-everyone-sell-overpromote-myself.  I don't want to come across as pretentious and I don't often talk about myself.

What's worse is when it's a networking event.  And I'm sitting waiting my turn.  As everyone talks I think of what I'm going to say, and that just makes me nervous.

If I was giving advice to someone I would suggest they write down what they are going to say and practice it.  I've tried it ... but it makes me nervous or I forget the carefully crafted words.  I'm also a writer, and I like to write, review, write, review and then post/publish/submit.

So Wednesday I started with what I wrote above in the second paragraph.  And rocked my intro.  Explained both my businesses, what I'm looking to accomplish and how I'm looking to grow.

On Thursday it was more personal, and I'm thinking I didn't do as well.  Because when it's about me; the personal me -not the business me, it's a lot harder.  {sigh}  I can think of so many things I should have said, but thinking of them while driving home in the car isn't helpful.  Second guessing, ugh.

So earlier today I was out shopping with my daughters and I saw one of my favorite quotes on a bracelet charm that sums it up well.  "It is what it is".  We can't change what has been, just look at how to continue to improve moving forward.