HOW TO TEACH A CLASS

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Are you thinking about teaching a class in your community and want to know how to get organized and prepared to do it? Say no more.

Teaching has helped me promote my business and build confidence in what I do. 

This January I taught my first calligraphy class. I had a little experience teaching - a few years back I taught some art classes to children and a few hair cutting/styling classes when I was in cosmetology school. But this felt different.

I had to come up with a description to sell the class so people knew what to expect, I had to create a step-by-step process to follow so my class had a good flow, I also had to source and order the materials in order for each student to participate. Basically, I was on my own to teach this class and that's what made it different.

I was excited to teach, especially to adults who were really passionate about learning, but a little nervous because this was a big step for me. 

I don't know if I would've known to prepare for the class without the help from The Skillery, a co-working community of classes and workshops for and taught by creative entrepreneurs. They helped me organize my ideas, create a class/workshop page online, organize a space to teach in, and promote and sell tickets to the class. Because I am new to Nashville, I am certain that I would've been teaching to an empty room if I didn't have the contacts and promotional help from them.

I'm now going onto my 5th class - DIY Brush Lettering - and want to share with you 10 easy steps on how to teach a class yourself.

Step 1. Identify what you want to teach, who you want to teach it to and why. Consider your skills and what you know how to do really well. What are those things? Maybe you're a photographer and you want to teach beginners how to use their first DSLR or maybe you're a songwriter and you want to teach how to write a song to children. Whatever it is you want to teach, consider who you want to teach it to and why you want to teach it. As Stephanie mentions in this article,

the best courses weave together four distinct areas -core skills or information, a strong sense of purpose, the creative process or philosophy of the instructor, and a great finished product or end result – to create a one of a kind course that is truly distinctive

Step 2. Write a brief description of the class.  In 3 paragraphs or less, write out what your students can expect, how long the class will be, what they will be given (worksheets, materials) and what they will leave with. Think about the materials that will be used and if they get to take them home or if they are theirs to use during the class only. Students will want to know what they're paying for. So try to be as specific as you can but keeping it simple so they can imagine themselves at your class, enjoying it, loving it and finding value in it.

Step 3. Decide if you'll be teaching it alone or through an organization. If you're just starting out, I recommend teaching your first or several classes through an organization. The reason why is because these organizations/businesses makes money through your class so naturally they want you to succeed. They will help guide you through each step and will also help you sell the tickets. If you're going to teach it alone, know what you're doing, how you plan to sell the tickets and be prepared. The upside to teaching alone is you get to keep all of the ticket sales.

Step 4. Name your price. Consider your time, how long it takes to not only teach the class, but to organize the class, set up and break down the class. Price out the materials you will need for yourself and for your students. Now combine your hourly rate with the material costs and divide into how many students you want to attend. For example, if you're hourly rate is $75 and the class is 2 hours long, that equals $150. Add 2 hours of class prep, promotion, organizing, etc that equals $300. Now add materials costs - let's say $200, that equals $500 in total costs. Now divide that price into how many students you want so in this case lets say 10 students. That would be a ticket price of $50. Now don't forget that when you work through an organization, they will take a cut of that or charge you a fee. Let's say they take 50% - this would mean my total profit would be $250. So again the ticket price would be $50, total profit would be $250.

Step 5. Nail down a date and place. When choosing a space to teach in, consider your audience and what they might like, think about logistics (is there enough space for me to walk around in), ask if they have equipment essential to class (do they have a blackboard to use, projector screen, etc), think about lighting (is there enough lighting for people to see what they're doing), pick a time of day that's best for your students, and so on. When considering a date, do some research. Check out what days other successful classes are being taught and do the same. For example, The Skillery suggests I teach on Tuesday or Thursdays because they have the best turnouts those days.

Step 6. Order materials. You've already done a rough estimate of what materials will be needed in Step 4. Now order/buy those materials making sure to give yourself enough time to have them shipped to you in time or to pick them up from the local store.

Step 7. Promote the class. Create a Facebook event, talk about it on your blog, tweet it, whatever you can, announce your class and all of the details that make the class great. Be sure to not sound too salesy, you want your potential students to find value in this class. So mention what they'll get if they come, why you love this class so much, how long you've been doing it, etc.

Step 8. Create a syllabus and checklist. Now that you've launched your class and people are buying tickets, create a step-by-step outline of exactly what you'll be teaching so that when your class comes and you're standing there you don't blank. For example, the first thing I do when I start a class is introduce myself and share why I teach, why I am passionate about teaching and how long I've been doing it for. Once you have your class plan down, create a checklist of things to remember to bring with you. For example, if you're teaching a painting class, you not only need paint brushes, paper and paint, you also need cups, water and rage to wash their brushes.  Try to really envision the class from start to finish and jot down everything you need to remember to say and bring.

Step 9. Show up and crush it. Now all you need to do is show up. Keep in mind you might need to show up a half hour or 45-minutes early to set up. And a tip from The Skillery Teacher's Handbook is to surpass your students with something. So every class I come up with some way to surprise them. My last class, I surprised the students with a blank envelope with a stamp on it, challenging them to write a hand-written note to someone they know. Other times I've shared cookies or cheese and crackers with them.

Step 10. Build relationships. One of the most important things I like do when I teach is share my story, how I got to where I am today and then ask the students the same. Some are a bit shy at first, but once a few people break the ice, most join and share what they do, why they do it, how they heard about time and my class, and more. I do this not only because I selfishly want to learn all about them, but

I also do it to help build a community. I want these students to be friends with each other.

My last class, I jotted down any websites or blogs that the students had onto the chalkboard for everyone to check out. I encouraged them to stay in touch the other students and to email me anytime. I also put my social platform info on the chalkboard for them to share any photos they may have taken during class. This step was a gift that I was not expecting and is now one of the major reasons why I love to teach.

What's your experience teaching a class? Do you have any steps or tips to share for us? Have any classes you want to share? Wanna take a class with me but not sure if I teach it or will travel to where you are? Email me to see meredithcbullock@gmail.com

LIVE YOUR DREAM | CREATIVE COACHING GIVEAWAY

Live-your-dream-creative-coaching-giveaway As my favorite time of year approaches, so do new resolutions, ideas, goals, and ambitions. Starting 2014 with a clean slate, renewed energy and a whole new set of goals inspires and motivates me to get all of those things I've been meaning to do, done.

So today, I am giving away a 4 week Creative Coaching Package that will help you get organized, clarify your vision, make more money and achieve your creative goals.

What is Creative Coaching? We all know or at least have an idea of what life coaching is, right? Well imagine that, but instead of focusing on your life, we focus on your creative work. Another words, Creative Coaching helps you move forward and grow in the direction you desire with your creative work. So if you have a goal to make 120K in 2014, we work together to help get you there. Or maybe your goal is to start a new business or maybe even tour with your band for 6 months - whatever the goal - big and small - we work together to make it happen.

Who is Creative Coaching for? Creative Coaching is for artist, musicians, designers, photographers, writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, freelancers and creatives looking to grow their expertise, build an incredible career, connect with their dream clients, make more money and reach their goals.

What exactly will we be doing for 4 weeks? Beginning in January, we will meet for 1 hour each week, for 4 weeks (via Skype). Each session, I will give you my complete attention, guiding you through exercises and equipping you with tools that allow you to daydream, achieve your goals and clarify where you want to go.

How do I enter the giveaway? In order to enter, follow these 2 steps:

  1. Like my Facebook page (if you already like it, go to my Instagram and follow me there)
  2. In the comments below, share your business name and 1 goal you have for your creative work in 2014.

The winner will be drawn at random and announced on Monday 12/16/13. Good luck!

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5 WAYS TO PAVE YOUR OWN CREATIVE PATH

how-to-pave-your-own-creative-path People often ask me how I learned to be a successful business owner, a money-making artist, and a girl who chose to pave her own creative path.

Growing up in a family full of entrepreneurs helps, but mostly I pay homage to lots of reading, watching and planning.

After briefly attending one semester at a community college, I realized that I was disinterested in paying thousands of dollars for an education when I already had everything I needed in order to educate myself. Don't' get me wrong, I loved that I was learning when I was in class. But I couldn't help thinking, I could teach myself this and not pay all of that money.

So that year I dropped out of college with a commitment to grow, read, observe, plan and most importantly to always believe anything is possible.

6 years ago I started that trek and today I am sharing with you 5 ways that help me make it happen:

1. LEARN - although I chose to discontinue college, I never stopped investing in ways to learn new things. I truly believe that a constant stream of fresh and new ideas is the best way to stay on top of your game. When I first opened my Etsy shop several years ago, I had no idea how to scan images onto my computer, edit them, then print them as high quality pieces of artwork. It took a lot of time and a lot of practice. A year or so later, I learned how to navigate the Adobe Creative Suite and now have several years of experience translating beautiful hand-made art into graphic art. The easiest and cheapest way I learn new things on my computer is to google it. But googling things does not give you all of the answers and advice you need. When I need more thorough explanations and more inspiring people teaching it - I go to my monthly lessons, podcasts, blogs, magazines and newsletters. My top 6 fav's are:

  1. Braid Creative (newsletter + ecourses) - have you guys seen their new website? it's amazing!
  2. How (magazine)
  3. Fast Company (blog)
  4. Be Free, Lance (blog series) 
  5. Music Business Radio (podcast)
  6. Entrepreneur on Fire (podcast)
  7. Lesson Learned (blog)

2. GROW - Self-growth can only happen when fears and obstacles are diminished. So what fears or obstacles are keeping you from growing? Is it failure, is it a past experience, is it the fear of losing money? So intend of imaging how you can grow, think about what is keeping you from growing and start eliminating it from you life. To me, self-growth isn't just about learning and making money, it's about being the best version of yourself. It's about finding balance, peace, happiness, love and diminishing those fears and obstacles that get in the way. One way that has helped me get rid of fears is working with a coach. I offer creative coaching and recommend it for anyone looking to overcome and conquer those hurdles.

3. GOAL-SET - You've heard me say it before, and I'll say it again goals are dreams written down with a deadline.I know you have thousands of dreams swimming in your head and heart, you're a creative person, of course you do. But until you write them down and give them a deadline, they will only ever be a dream. So get yourself a notebook and start jotting down your dreams and when you'd like to achieve them. Grab some tips from this blog post on how to get your dreams on paper.

4. READ - I can't say enough about how much reading books has helped me grow my expertise and guide me through running my own business to managing my day-to-day routine. At first I read more instructional books on how to screen-print, how to paint with acrylics, etc. Then I found a deep passion for self-help books. Books that shared techniques on how to prioritize your goals, how to dream big and how to make money doing what you love. Some of my favorite books are:

  1. Focal Point
  2. Manage You Day-to-Day Routine
  3. Launch
  4. Start Something That Matters
  5. The Magical Path

5. BELIEVE - None of these tips matter if you don't' believe. To achieve your biggest dreams, you must believe that it's possible and that you have the power to make it happen. Otherwise, it will never happen. Sometimes believing is hard because of fears, but what if you didn't have those fears, would you believe? Fears are only hurdles in our creative path. Jump over them and keep going, I promise you that your biggest dream are on the other side.

Are you paving your own creative path? If so, what tips you do have that have helped you? Any recommendations on resources or blogs, I love a good blog!

CAMPS, COURSES & CONFERENCES

camp-courses-and-conferences-23 As a self-taught artist, I learned early on that a constant flow of education and inspiration is mandatory for my personal and business growth. It's like the fuel that feeds my fire.

Lately, I've seen workshops, e-courses, classes, conferences and camps popping up all over the country. It's no surprise to me that more and more people want to share what they know with others because I believe that most of us were put on this earth to do exactly that. And two (or several) people/brains are better than one, right?

The obvious reasons to participate/purchase/attend a class, course or conference are:

  1. Connections - whether you're attending an event in person or online, the connections you develop with others who attend, teach or speak are priceless.
  2. Inspiration - Sometimes inspiration comes from photographs, nature or music. Other times I find endless inspiration from others. Participating in a conference, course or camp gets you out of your own head and watching and experiencing others.
  3. Learn - I am proud of the fact I am an entrepreneur living my dream and I couldn't have done any of this without the help of courses or conferences. I have yet to attend a camp, but I have a feeling they help you learn new ways to pave your own path too.

So here are my favorite camps, courses and conferences (most I have yet to attend) that promise a bucket full of inspiration and education.

Conferences

This year, I've attended 2 conferences and met dozens of creatives, speakers and leaders who were a part of them. Most of my business is based online, so the value of having face-to-face-shake-their-hand conversations with real people is priceless. I walked away with lasting impressions, business cards and the feeling I wasn't alone and that others want to connect too. Here are a few I have my eyes on and a few that I attended this year:

Courses

I am no stranger to e-courses. This year alone I purchased 2 out of 3 of the e-courses that Braid offers. I then ultimately hired them to help guide me to where I am today. Check out their courses and some other awesome online courses that look interesting:

Camps

I have yet to attend a camp, besides the ones in grammar school, but love the idea of taking consecutive days off to from work to shift your focus and thinking. Here are a few that sound pretty inspiring:

Resources

Here a few additional resources to find camps, courses or conferences:

Have you attended/taken or purchased any camps, courses or conferences lately? I am always on the hunt, do you have any recommendations?

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