What is School for?

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I’m a teacher and I’m usually loathe to listen to any non-teacher who criticizes education. However, Seth Godin is a teacher in his own right and what he has to say makes perfect sense.

Godin published an education manifesto and I think everyone should read it. It’s made a deep impression on me and I’ve made immediate changes to my teaching. Rote memory is ridiculous. Deducting points off for trivial things is dumb. Let’s teach students how to learn and then CREATE things and take ACTION!

Please, read some of his manifesto or watch his podcast (Stop Stealing Dreams) if you care about education.

Just because it’s hard to make change doesn’t mean we should give up.

Gimme

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There are a number of ways to draw new customers to your business:

  • Advertising
  • Coupons
  • Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth is powerful because it means others can vouch for the quality, service, and value of what you’re selling.

Advertising might be necessary just to get your store/gig/restaurant some attention. But if you are stellar, Word of Mouth will take care of it.

However, coupons often draw the worst customers. They come in expecting something for (close to) nothing. These “clients” will use a $30 coupon towards a $33 meal and leave a 75 cent tip.*

Is this the kind of clientele you are seeking?

*This just happened to my daughter, a server, and I’m pretty sure they were supposed to spend more than $33 to get the discount…but she’s 16 and new…but the point is, the coupon drove people like that to the business.

Freelancing – Inspirational Words

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31 Day Painting Challenge – August Wren

 

Freelancers podcast from Seth Godin’s Akimbo – the Conclusion (last 5 minutes):

You need to deliver the product of difficult work. Solve a problem in a new way. If you had a great boss, your boss would understand and encourage you to keep doing it.

Be smart about how good you are, who you do it for and how much you charge. This is an opportunity to dig deeper and do the work. This is what you signed up for – not to work a lousy job for a lousy boss.

 

 

 

Working for Free (Seth Godin)

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Watercolor with August Wren (Creativebug.com)

…and now, for the continuation of my notes on Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast on Freelancing:

The world will ask you to do work for free and promise that if this is good, then maybe they will buy it.

Seth’s recommendation – “That thing you do…that you sell…you should sell it. You should find something else to do for free. Something you do to have people see you and understand you.” For example, Seth gets paid to fly to places and speak. But his blog is free. His speeches are expensive.

Differentiate what is free.

People will walk away. People will leave. But you’re work is so good, people will miss it. There will ALWAYS be people who will give away what you’re selling for free. Always. Your job, then: Build practices and skills that no one can give away for free because you are a category of one. Be comfortable advocating for yourself.

You’re the sales rep.

How does a freelancer get more? How to turn this into a career?

The alternative SEEMS to be that you have to work harder and longer hours.

Or, you need to hire people in order to get bigger.

The THIRD path (and Seth’s recommendation): Get better clients. Clients who trust you and want better…why pay better. What will happen? Word will spread and you’ll get better. Good clients lead to better clients who lead to the best clients.

Podcast for Artists and Consultants

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I’ve been following Seth Godin’s work for many years. He just gets better and better. This podcast episode got me jazzed. If you’re considering freelancing or being an entrepreneur (or if you believe they are synonyms(!)) this podcast is for you:

“Freelancers”

Here are notes from the podcast:

First of all, entrepreneurs are people who start companies, make money while they sleep and employ people. Freelancers actually create the work and usually work alone (might shop out aspects of their work, but mostly do it themselves). When he said this, I realized I am definitely not an entrepreneur! But being a freelancer resonated with me when it comes to my personality and goals.

Choose an industry that is glad to see you arrive.

Possess hard-earned skills.  You can charge a lot, but deliver more than what people pay for. 

Focus on the smallest viable audience – not a large one [This is the opposite of what so many failed businesses do!]. As a freelancer, you can only handle so much. This small group of people (your customers) will talk about you and wait in line for you.

Commit to the discipline of prospecting – you need to do your work and spend time getting work (building your business). Dedicate some time every day to honing your skills, finding new tools, spreading the word, earning the privilege of working for others (NOT networking parties).

Godin uses an example: He knows a photographer who shoots in a specific location at specific times and only those for clients. She

What gets you picked is you being in the Category of One. No one can substitute you. Get beyond being One of Many. Do quirky, unique, exceptional work – work that sounds like you, looks like you….the work that most people do not like. (Are you trying too hard to be liked by everyone?)

True Wealth

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My sister gifted this book to me for my birthday, along with a magnifying mirror:

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Thus, I’m becoming knowledgeable about microcredit and I have a freshly tweezed face.

I’m only on page 28, but this is what I’ve learned thus far:

Mr. Yunus has been involved with working for the benefit of poor people in India for most of his life. He is now 77. Through his work, he has enabled the poorest of the poor to gain credit, become entrepreneurs and thus, productive members of society.

The American economic system works in the favor of the rich. This is plainly obvious. Our banks do not believe in our poor. We believe that given credit, the poor will never pay the debt back. However, Yunus says his experience is the opposite: his Grameen Bank “lends over $2.5billion in U.S. currency a year to 9 million poor women on the basis of trust only.” The repayment rate? 98.96%!

Grameen Bank has 19 branches in the U.S. with “86,000 borrowers, all women*, who receive business startup loans averaging around $1,000. As of 2017, the loans disbursed…total over $600 million, and the repayment rate is over 99%.”

Yunus believes our emphasis on GDP is inaccurate and incomplete. We are not taking account the “Whole Person” in our economy. Our focus is on the selfish and our system is based on rewarding the selfish. So what do we get? Corruption, inflation and more and more people in poverty.

This man’s work is proof that it only takes one person to make an enormous difference globally. The secret? See a need, work to fulfill that need to help others and do not focus on fame or wealth. (Never mind that Yunus has a net worth of $10million and he won the Nobel Peace Prize!)

 

*You might wonder why Yunus is loaning money to women: He wanted to help the poorest of the poor.