I'm Teaching a Class, You're Teaching a Workshop, He's Teaching Too! (Tips On Teaching For Small Business Owners)
I'm noticing more and more that small business owners, like writers and photographers, are using education as a source of income. I'm even teaching a class on how to preserve and restore old photographs and negatives at Centralia College in October, through their Continuing Education Program.
Teaching what you practice is a great way to diversify your income and connect with your audience. I'm not saying you should give away your trade secrets, but there are a growing number of Do-It-Yourselfer's who would like to give things a try. Once they have tried their hand at it, and they know you are an expert (cause you taught them how), they will turn to you and your services because they know you can do it better!
Teaching is great, but it's not for everyone. You have to know what you are talking about. You have to be prepared, and you have to teach something that other people want to learn. Here are some tips for those of you who want to explore teaching too!
The very first thing you should consider is your own knowledge base, and be prepared to learn more. What do you know, that I wan't to know? I don't think that you need to know everything about your topic, but you should know a lot, and you should be willing to dig deeper in the preparation stage.
For example, I know how to restore and preserve photographs, but I haven't done much with negatives outside of a dark room. I went and did loads of research and I feel pretty confident in my technical knowledge of what to do with negatives. Now, I am going to practice BEFORE I teach it. I want to be sure I know how to do it before I get up in front of a class!
When you consider teaching something, you need to think about your audience. As a small business owner, you probably already have an audience. In order to be successful in business, you need to be familiar with that audience. Whether you connect with them through the internet, in person or both, ask them what they want to learn.
I am one of those writers/photographers who likes to take every class I can about nearly any topic, but even I am drawn to things that I know will help me out in my life. I'm not going to take a class on underwater basket weaving, unless I have a very good reason for it.
I've been asked a few times by a handful of people how to preserve/restore photos, so I decided to teach a class. I am so excited about it. Excited and nervous! Since I've made that decision, I've had nothing but positive responses. I believe I've hit the nail on the head on picking a topic.
Next you'll need to figure out how you are going to present your information. You can have a physical class where people come to a designated classroom, you can have a virtual class, using videos and or chat rooms, or you can write a book. Really, you can do all three, but I recommend picking one and exploring each option one at a time.
I chose to go with holding a physical class for a number of reasons, and I found that if I set up the class through the local community college, I could be helping them out, and I could get a better response from the public.
If you choose to do a virtual class, you'll have some other things to consider, like quality of equipment, how to get the word out about your class, and more. Just remember, folks typically don't know where you are, or what you are doing, unless you tell them.
The last thing that I will mention, is that you NEED to be prepared! Nothing will rob you of authority and respect faster than standing in front of an audience (whether digitally or physically) and stumbling through your lesson, or stammering that you don't know the answer to a question.
I am preparing to teach that class on how to preserve and restore old negatives and photographs. I have never taught a class outside of church, so I looked up how to write a college lesson plan. It was not very complicated to figure out how to put one together, and now I have a format, a plan for my class.
I started last month with my preparations. I looked up all the information I could and found videos. Now I am working to put the information and my demonstrations together, a month before my first lecture. I will practice each lecture and demonstration before hand so I won't be nervous when I actually have to stand in front of people.
And here's my favorite thing, I have a response ready for when someone will ask a question that I don't know the answer for: "I'm not sure, let's look it up!"
There is nothing wrong with not knowing something.There is everything wrong when you let pride get in the way of doing something about it. And besides we have a world's worth of information at our fingertips. At the very least you can help point your students in the right direction.
Now go out there and do it! If you know something that other's want to know, if you can learn more about that topic, and if you are prepared, there is no reason why you can't teach a class, too! So go out there and explore another source of income and connections.
About the Author : Lindsay Hodge
I am a writer and a photographer, a stay-at-home-mom, a wife, a homesteader and I am interested in all things sustainable. My husband and I own our own homestead... If you like that sort of thing, you can check out my OTHER website.
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