Let’s begin my story way back when I was looking for career advice at the end of my schooling. I’m sure you pored over books, researched the web, took aptitude tests and so on, didn’t you? My maths teacher said – “There are these new things – computers – that look interesting. Why don’t you find out about them?”
Now, I’m sure computers weren’t “new” but I guess news of them had only just percolated into the backwoods of North Wales where my school was (see the pic!). So I did a course in Computer Science – and the rest, as they say, is history. I loved it – I found it was a perfect combination of my love of maths (yes, really) and languages (after all, you have to learn the computer’s language to be able to talk to it!).
After “uni” (which was actually a “polytechnic”) I worked on various projects – developing some of the prototypes of what we take for granted these days. For example, one project was for a library – do you remember the old card wallet library tickets into which the librarian put the card ticket from the book, and then stored them in wooden “drawers”? My project was to enable this logging system to be done on a computer by introducing barcodes to the books and borrowers tickets, and a barcode reader. Sound familiar? But all very new technology back then! Do you remember Teletext – when you could get text information, such as the weather forecast, via your TV? Well, another project I worked on was video-text – interactive teletext with pictures! This was used for visual training courses, scrolling advertising screens in reception offices, etc. That all got overtaken when the internet was “invented”! I won’t bore you with any of my other fascinating projects!
When the children came along I was lucky enough not to “have” to work, but I so enjoyed the interaction and mental stimulation of “work” that I joined Tupperware. This is a great job for meeting people, perfecting your presentation skills – learning to stand up in front of people and talk while keeping your audience engaged – and to learn business skills such as basic accounting. In addition, I kept up my computing skills by creating a database of my clients and their purchases and by doing all my accounting and ordering on my computer – none of that filling out long company-supplied tick sheets for me!
Around this time my husband was made redundant and he really “didn’t do” interviews so the only way he was going to get “a job” was if we made one so we started a nappy (diaper) service. This involved sourcing the nappies and wraps – the plastic outers – contracting with a laundry to wash the nappies, and, of course, finding clients. Again, a wonderful job for me – meeting people, talking to antenatal groups and individuals, demonstrating our product, negotiating with the laundry, etc. And again, I programmed the customer database, the delivery rounds, the laundry and general accounts! And it was a great job for my husband – driving around to our customers – he loves driving and one-to-one chats! After a couple of years my husband was offered his original job back. I kept the nappy service going for a couple more years before selling it on as a going concern.
My next adventure came about as an “exchange of skills”. I was working part-time in my church office as a “general factotum”, producing the weekly newsletters, powerpoint presentations for the Sunday speakers, flyers for the various groups, helping the church workers with computer basics and so on. At Christmas I wanted to decorate the church foyer, and my daughter’s junior school class teacher had done an amazing job with the reception area in her school so I asked her for advice and the loan of the stencils she had used. She agreed and asked that in exchange, I would help with technology when her class was in the IT room. This exchange worked out really well – my Church foyer looked lovely and I received several positive comments; and I helped out in the IT room during her class’s rota-ed time in there – and I loved it. The other teachers soon heard about this and asked that I help them too – and approached the head to make it a “paid” position. I duly applied for the “job” and was soon working “part-time” in the school. Then 2 other junior schools heard about this “job” and decided that they wanted the same arrangements. I stopped working at the Church because these 3 “part-time” jobs were keeping me pretty busy! Not only was I in the IT room during classes, making sure the hardware functioned properly and setting up any extras needed, I was also running “before school” classes for the teachers to take them through the packages they were teaching to the children, and how to use the smart boards just installed in the school,! And I was running “after school” classes for the teachers and parents on computer basics, word processing and spreadsheets. What a joy!
Around this time my husband and I started talking about “retiring to Spain” and I thought “What am I going to do in Spain to keep my brain active?” Teaching English as a second language seemed a good option so I took a TESOL course and taught classes in the local college several evenings a week. I loved this because I was teaching people who wanted to learn and I felt it was my job to make it as easy and successful as I could. At this teaching grew, I reduced the school work until I left that “phase” altogether and moved on to teaching “adults”. This was just as well because the college asked me to teach computer basics to the flood of Nepalese young people who were signing up for the English classes. I found this very challenging because these youngsters were way beyond computer basics and because no course existed where the objective was to teach the terms AND the skills in one and the same course. I developed the course with the objective of getting the students to pass an existing IT qualification. I was so excited when I successfully “graduated” the first group of around 20 students.
Then we moved to Spain – well, part-time! And I taught English for a year in a local after school “academy” as they are called here. However, I found I didn’t enjoy teaching “children” AND I couldn’t find a way to integrate IT into my work – believe me, I tried! – so I was missing part of me. It was at this point I decided I really needed to learn “internet marketing” so that I could use my computer even while in Spain and so that I could “work”… which as you will have gathered, is really “fun, fun, fun” for me if it involves computing in any way but more so if I can help others to get to grips with computer basics, to become comfortable with IT, and to be able to use it for what THEY WANT to use it for.
My journey in online marketing is chronicled in my blog so I won’t repeat it all here. Suffice it to say that if you feel you want advice or help with technology – domains and hosting, setting up blogs, autoresponders, etc – please sign up to my newsletter by completing the form below. If the information you are looking for does not appear in your inbox the PLEASE reply to any email or add me to skype. My id is jenniferctaylor. We can then get together to progress you toward your goal. I will do “commissions”- ie. do the job for you, but I MUCH prefer helping YOU to do the job by taking you step by step… so that next time you meet the situation, you feel confident to tackle it yourself.
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The Golden Entrepreneur