Not lost but found

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I am struggling with a writing task at the moment. Part of the reason is that is has been at the back, rather than the forefront, of my mind as I worked on other tasks, and part of the reason is that it involves self-promotion in a marketing kind of way. It confuses me a little, because haven’t I been self-promoting all the time I have been writing a blog? Surely putting my ideas out there is at least presentation, if not promotion, of said ideas.

With the goal of sharing original early childhood teaching resources and stories for children on a website of my own, I began writing a blog and engaging in social media about two and a half years ago. This was in responses to advice received from attending writing seminars and reading books about website development. Preparation of resources for my website took a back seat for a while as I engaged with other writers in the blogosphere.

Now it is time to turn the focus back onto the website, the launch of which is fast approaching. With an extra effort over the past couple of weeks, I now have sufficient resources to begin. Additional resources will be uploaded at relatively frequent, if irregular, intervals, not unlike adding to my blog.

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I have no issue with ideas for additional resources or blog posts. My stumbling block is the content for my bio and promotional information about the website. It should be easy, I know, but I am struggling to find the answers to these questions:

  • What do people want or need to know about me?
  • How can I promote my resources in an honest way that entices people to sign up to a paid subscription?
  • What is a fair price for subscription?
  • How can I persuade potential subscribers that they will get value for money?
  • How can I ensure that subscribers do not feel let down by the available resources or ripped off by misleading promotion?

These questions arise even before I begin to tackle the really difficult one:

  • How do I connect with my target audience: early childhood teachers?

I know I am not alone with these concerns.

Recently Sarah Brentyn, who blogs at Lemon Shark, questioned the validity of her profile, enflaming my anxiety by stating that “It’s seen by far too many people who judge you by those 10 – 20 words.” The thought to change my blog’s About page, with far more than 10-20 words, hasn’t yet moved beyond that guilt-ridden thought. And while I know it is not suitable as is for my website, perhaps editing or rewriting it is a place to start.

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Throughout the year Anne Goodwin, who blogs at Annecdotal, shared the process of stepping out from under the covers of introversion to promote her debut novel Sugar and Snails.  In her post One huge leap for Anne, one teeny tiny step for womankind, she questioned how to balance celebrating her achievement with the suspicion that many would be unimpressed. In another post on Book pricing: a cautionary tale Anne questioned pricing and value and shared the hope that people wouldn’t feel ripped off. I am fairly confident that Anne’s concern on each of these issues turned out to be unwarranted. Will mine be the same?

Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch Communications also frequently writes about marketing and the importance of finding one’s niche. In September she declared her position saying,

“My intention … (is) to write and publish novels. My intention is to be a successful author. Success to me is publishing books I want to write for readers who want to read them. My secondary goal is to market well enough to eat more than hand-picked dandelions from my yard. Many will say it’s a fool’s dream.”

Charli has expressed it well. Substitute “early childhood teaching resources and stories for children” for novels and it could be me. I hope that neither Charli nor I are dreaming the impossible. Charli at least has a long list of credentials.

I have spent some time looking at other websites which may be considered competitors and looking at bios on others. If there’s one thing I have discovered it is this:

compare - give up

There is a multitude of websites offering early childhood teaching resources. Some websites offer all resources free. Teachers love freebies. There are also many websites with resources available to subscribers. Why would anyone want mine?

However, I’m not going to give up now.

compare - none

I hope there are many early childhood teachers who will see sufficient value in my website to pay the annual subscription. As far as I explored, I have not found anyone offering interactive resources similar to mine. It is possible that they exist and I just haven’t found them. However, I am hoping that teachers see value enough in these alone, and consider the other resources a bonus. Time will tell. If it returns nothing but the pleasure of achievement, then I will consider it my jetski. If it does more than that I will be well pleased.

So, if I am not going to give up, maybe I just need to get on with the task of writing my bio and promotion paragraph. The other day I read a bio that described the website owner as its founder. Hmm. I thought. Maybe that’s a title I could use.

founder of readilearn

I was amused at the thought that I would found something that hadn’t been lost. It just hadn’t been before. I thought about other things, briefly mentioned in other posts, that I had founded:

Create-A-Way, educational sessions for children of before-school-age and their parents.

Centre of Learning Opportunities, envisioning an alternative way of educating.

Perhaps I can now add another to my list. I just need to get the bio written.

What advice do you have for me? What should I include? What should I leave out? What is the most important thing of which I need to be mindful?

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

40 thoughts on “Not lost but found

  1. macjam47

    Norah, I understand you thought that your market may not be willing or be able to pay much for a subscription. Our teachers here in the U.S. regardless of the income level of the families, tend to spend lots of their own money to supplement what the districts give them. No, you don’t want to price yourself out of the market, but you need to find that sweet spot where it is profitable for you. I think $25 is reasonable for a subscription.
    Your bio. I love your changes. Short and sweet, but it still tells readers what they need to know.
    Will your site be targeting just early childhood education teachers? Consider increasing your marketing to parents of those children. Parents today, whether because many have money to spend, or because they are feeling guilty about raising their children in a two income home, shell out LOTS of money for the benefit of their children.
    Best wishes, dear friend. I have no doubt that you will succeed.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for your comment and warm encouragement, Michelle. We teachers in Australia, especially early childhood teachers, empty our pockets on resources also. I’m pleased you think $25 is okay. I just read an article about a cardboard standing desk for which they are also charging $25 as they thought that price would encourage people to give it a go. I was pleased to read it because, although it is a completely different product, it seems to support my thinking.
      I’m pleased the bio sounds okay too, though the change now doesn’t match some of the comments left on it. I guess that is okay.
      Some resources e.g. Help Your Child Read materials will target parents, but I think most will be of more use to early childhood teachers. Of course that includes homeschooling parents. I don’t think the parents you describe would find it of interest, but it’s certainly worth thinking about. Thank you for the suggestion, which I have added to my growing list.
      I appreciate your support and am certainly going to give it my best shot! Thank you. 🙂

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  2. Pingback: I found it first! | Norah Colvin

  3. Sacha Black

    I don’t have too much more to add, I skimmed some of the comments and I think Anne nailed it – id be doing s plethora of things like she suggests.

    If you’re worried about your bio – why not send it to trusted writer friends to read before posting?

    One final comment – depending on how many resources are already on your site. I think you are potentially massively underselling yourself. I’d be inclined to do a monthly payment of at least £5. But it does depend on the quantity of resources. I also think there’s that age old adage – if somethings priced highly people assume it’s good quality. Like Christian Louboutins shoes – nothing different from a pair of bog standard heels from primark! But people pay because they think it’s good quality. My point is – sometimes people will be more inclined to sign up if the price is higher.

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    1. Annecdotist

      Good point about the risks of pricing too low, Sacha. I wonder if it would work to kick-off low when the site is in this “beta” stage but quote a higher price right from the beginning. I known Norah that you don’t want to be faffing with different price structures for different members, but I wonder if this might be a way round your own anxieties and the fact of high-priced goods are highly valued.

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      1. Norah Post author

        I had thought about offering an introductory subscription of $25 and then seeing what happens. I’m not sure how long I would need to wait to see though! The developer suggested grandfather pricing which I think is good too. I’m not sure how difficult (or costly) managing different ongoing subscription prices might be. I thought I could re-evaluate pricing at the end of each year depending on how many new resources I had been able to add. I really don’t want to price myself out of the market though. Finding it is going to be difficult enough. Thanks for adding your thoughts and support to the suggestions. It’s wonderful to have so many ideas to consider. 🙂

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for your support, Sacha. There are some great suggestions in the comments and Anne certainly contributed a few.
      I appreciate your thinking that I am underselling myself, and I sometimes think so too! But the reality is that there is a huge amount of free stuff available on the web, and teachers, like anyone, love free stuff! (Especially early childhood teachers who spend oodles of their own money on teaching resources. I used to spend about $5000 a year on resources. When I cleared out my classroom when I left there wasn’t much left but the desks, chairs and blackboard. I don’t think a lot of people realise how much teachers are propping up the poor funding of education out of their own pockets.) There are also a lot of subscription based sites that have much more stuff than I do and that charge as low as $30 per year. I would rather potential customers look at the $25 and think I can afford that, and consider my resources good value, than not even consider it for more. It is better to have five customers @ $25 than one, say, at $50. I do think each of my interactive resources is worth that much on it own (!!!), but no one would pay it, so it’s not really worth it after all. It’s only worth what the market will pay. I’m not sure that, in this instance, people would sign up for a higher price. But thanks for you suggestions. See, I have considered them.
      It’s a good idea about getting people to read my bio first. I have changed the bio on my About page and my Twitter profile, plus pinned a tweet to my Twitter profile. Perhaps I should ask for some feedback to those. Great thinking. Thanks!
      I really appreciate your input and the challenge to think and rethink some more. 🙂

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      1. Steven

        An interesting point about under-valuing, but without knowing what your site will offer, I tend to think you’re spot on about the pricing here Norah. It seems to be the Australasian way; even if it is a very high quality product, too high and very few buy.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks Steven. I wouldn’t be comfortable asking for more. I am writing for a market I know very well. I was part of it for a long time! 🙂

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  4. Kiama Roe

    Hi Norah

    Finally got to read this blog and its accompanying comments. Your network are supportive and encouraging. Bless them. I concur with many of the ideas presented. Thinking I will email or even phone for further ‘discussion’!

    Hang in there and we all await the launch and ongoing success.

    Much love

    Kiama Roe

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    1. Norah Post author

      I am very fortunate to have connected with such a supportive group of wonderful people. In fact, I have many wonderful people in my life, on and offline!
      I should have thought to consult the marketing guru. I’m sure she’ll have much great advice. 🙂

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  5. Christy Birmingham

    Excellent to hear you are returning to your goal for a website dedicated to early childhood teaching resources, Norah! I think you are quite right to NOT compare yourself to others as the best thing is to be unique and giving in spirit. I know that if you keep your tone of voice in your writing genuine and offer tips that you yourself have found useful then you will be a success!! Happy New Year xx

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much, Christy. I very much appreciate your words of encouragement and support. I think ensuring that all I do is genuine and honest is very valuable advice. I will do my best to maintain it at all times.

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  6. Sarah Brentyn

    I’m excited for you. Thanks for the link but seems I’m the only negative one. Don’t let my self-doubt rub off on you. And so it seems you haven’t given up your dream after all. It’s not exactly what you wanted but like Anne says it’s a virtual version of your dream. Different, yes. But still yours. ❤️

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Sarah. I didn’t mean to imply that your post or self-evaluation was negative. I like the honest interrogation shared in your post and the encouragement for me to do the same. It is important to do so. If we stay still too long, we die. I updated my Twitter profile and my blog About page today – finally. Now I have seen that I need to update my writing and publications page, and who knows what else! These are good things that have come from your questions. Neither you nor Anne need to concern yourself with a comment re enflaming my anxiety. It’s always there doing a good enough job on its own and loves every opportunity to come out and play.
      The dream of a school withered away. I don’t consider my website to be in the same category, but it is still in the same educational arena. And it’s mine. That’s true.Thank you. 🙂

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      1. Sarah Brentyn

        Ooh…big steps. Updating your “about” and Twitter bio. I really need to do that!
        Ok, it’s not your dream but, like you said, it’s related. It’s your dream’s cousin. Be nice to it. 😀 (And, yes, it’s yours.)

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        1. Norah Post author

          Yes: big, scary steps!
          And silly me, the About page update is what I wrote in response to your suggestion. I’ve been hopping all over the place I can’t remember what I’ve been up to!
          Actually when I signed up with my web developer, I went to a one-day seminar he runs on SEO. At the time he encouraged us to update our About page with SEO keywords. I tried to but chickened out as it seemed too difficult to do on the spot. I’ve just realised that I didn’t even think about keywords when I rewrote them just now. Duh! Better go back and check or it won’t have been of any use. 🙂
          My dream’s cousin – I like that. I’ll do my best to be nice to it. I hope it has a longer life! 🙂

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  7. Steven

    Your two word bio is, “teacher, writer”.

    I don’t know whether it would work, but a suggestion may be to write a concise letter to some early education centres to introduce your site to their staff. I’d suggest perhaps randomly writing to 5 local centres in your area, 5 regional centres in your area, 5 in your state and 5 interstate (that is about $20 in postage – a cheap marketing campaign). With any luck, those closer to you may be attracted to the prospect of utilising local resources and hopefully you’ll get a bite or two from more remoter locations. Word may slowly spread to fill in the gaps.

    I think such a letter would need to be well “crafted” and no more than a single page. So much marketing mail is aggressive promotion that it is detracting and is just asking to be tossed before even opening the envelope. A plain personal printed/signed letter from you introducing the site and its aims would be so much more effective I think. Perhaps include one or two samples from your selection of free resources. Unless your materials are intended to be printed colour, I’d stick with black and white (since that is likely what they would print anything out as themselves).

    How does one become a qualified early-educator? University degree? State colleges? Some carefully and limited promotion at such institutions to those students (your potential future users) may also be helpful.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Love your suggestion for a two word bio, Steven. Actually I made it three and updated my Twitter profile with it: I teach. I write. I create. I love the succinctness of it.
      I also like your suggestion of writing a letter to schools. That is certainly do-able. I have added it to a list of all the suggestions made. I will give them more consideration as time goes on. You suggestion of black and white for printable documents is a good one. I have had that firmly in mind as I have been preparing resources. The budget for printing is fairly tight in most schools, and organisations in general. Your suggestion of contacting teacher training organisations is also a good one. You’ve provided me with some worthwhile suggestions and it’s much appreciated. Thank you.

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      1. Steven

        An excellent and elegant revision. Fascinating, how so few words can say so much.

        Another possibility may be to place your idea on social crowdfunding – something like Kickstarter. You are committed to making the project happen so you could set a funding amount that might cover a portion of your initial expenses. Then if enough people see the benefit and pledge an amount, at least you will have some initial clients. You indicated you were thinking of an annual subscription service of about $30, so you could offer a limited number of $15 or $20 early-bird discounts to the early adopters, then $30 onwards for standard clients. Hopefully you get enough response that it becomes self-sufficient. If there isn’t enough interest, then at least nobody has lost anything (well, besides yourself missing out on those few initial clients). You could still let those interested know that the project will proceed regardless. Of course, it could go the other way, becoming so successful that it is an administrative burden or you find yourself struggling to keep up with adding new content. Just another suggestion to think about.

        Now that I typed all that, have you considered if your subscribers are to be individuals only? If a centre wants to have a “site” subscription so all teachers may access it, how are you going to manage that? If individual subscription is $X, would a $10X subscription allow access for up to Y teachers? If you haven’t done so already, then maybe that is something else to put on your list to think about.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you for these additional suggestions, Steven. I’m pleased you approve of the bio tweak since you got it started. 🙂
          I had thought about crowdfunding but not really considered it. I think it would probably work better if I was already engaged with sufficient potential customers. I’m not sure.I think crowdfunding is quite a useful tool in some circumstances but I don’t think I’m prepared to try it this time. I do appreciate the suggestion though. Perhaps if I was more “out there” I would have done that from the start. I have read about some very successful projects started that way.
          I really am considering only individual rather than institutional membership. I know there are sites for which an institutional membership works well, but they tend to be sites that encourage individual student use. My resources are more lessons for individual teachers to use in their classrooms. It is a suggestion that others have made, and I had thought about different levels of subscription too, but it is more difficult and more costly to manage. I guess if the interest or demand is there once I get going I can consider it again.
          I very much appreciate the thought you have given to these suggestions, and your sharing them with me. It is very generous of you. Now I just have to prove that your faith in me is warranted! And I will add all of your suggestions to my list of things to consider. 🙂

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  8. thecontentedcrafter

    I am another with nothing to offer on this subject Norah – except to say I am largely suspicious of web-sites that use high-falutin’ titles to describe themselves – and high prices for their as yet untried products.

    One thing that occurs to me is to start with a foot in the real world [I have no idea if you have done or are intending to do this, so please excuse me if I am teaching you to ‘suck eggs’ where DID that expression come from?] My thought would be to engage with local early childhood teachers, give a presentation, have a [free] hand out pack and a feed back form and permission slip and then put that feedback onto your website. This does two or three things in one go – it gives you a test audience, it gives you real time interaction and feedback and potential clients and it gives your virtual audience a platform from which to enter, based in success rather than doubt.

    My own experience with selling is that those who knew me, or were friends of my blog, were my first customers. They bought for themselves and then as gifts and then they told their friends and very very slowly others are having a look. There is so much available online that ‘slowly’ is the only adjective and adverb I know to use 🙂

    ‘Onward and upward Norah’ Women find self marketing quite hard don’t we! Just pretend you are a man 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      That’s funny, Pauline. You say you have nothing to offer and then come out with these words of wisdom. Thank you. I am grateful for your support and suggestions. I have compiled a list of all the suggestions that have been made and there are some good ones. I like your idea of doing presentations at local schools and getting their feedback. I will think more about that one and see what I can wangle with some schools with which I still have contact. I hope that my former colleagues may subscribe, but I feel a bit ‘strange’ promoting it to them. ‘prophets in their own country’ syndrome (not that I consider myself a prophet!)
      I agree with you about the slowly, slowly and am prepared for that.
      Love your suggestion to think like a man!
      Your input is much appreciated. Thank you. 🙂

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  9. TanGental

    Wow Norah. I’ve nothing useful to add to the wisdom of women other than a merely male hurrah! And good luck. Bec is right of course. Don’t underplay yourself. Let the kite go and see it fly!

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  10. Annecdotist

    Thanks for consulting your readership, Norah, in such a lovely SMAGy post in which I am honoured to be mentioned. I’m really excited about your new venture, and if I were a teacher I’d be signing up straight away.
    I think “Norah Colvin, founder of …” is actually a great way to go – I see this as a virtual version of the school you dreamt of creating all those years ago. It has the potential to become something big.
    Also, regarding your bio, is there any way of presenting it as an (brief) story about “how you saw the light” – without being too overly evangelical, but this is so firmly embedded in your experiences as a classroom teacher there must be some version of “I wish I’d had these resources back then” or “I realised what I learned in college wasn’t right” that would work for you. As I think you are naturally inclined to hold back, I think you’ve no need to worry about putting people off by being too forceful.
    I also remember how you spoke in a video interview you shared on your blog some time ago which was really impressive – how about, in addition to the written bio, introducing yourself that way?
    Charli would be in a better position to advise on this matter, but I wonder about various no-risk sign-up options you could use. For example, the first three months (or whatever time period seems suitable) for free (but get their bank details first so that it’s easier to stay in than opt out). If it’s not too complicated, how about different rates for different types of member: reduced costs for student teachers, perhaps. Could you also offer individual versus institutional (school) membership? Is it possible for membership to be tax-deductible?
    You could also get people to sign up to a free newsletter (perhaps with a free gift for signing up) so that those who are not sure initially are kept in the loop.
    It might be worth thinking about this in terms of the stages of change model:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transtheoretical_model
    you want to elicit interest amongst those who haven’t ever thought they might need this, as well as those who are almost ready to take it up. So can you contact schools, write articles for professional magazines etc to flag up the need?
    I’ve no idea whether any of my suggestions will be of use to you but I’ve enjoyed giving it a little thought and look forward to hearing about your success, as well as the struggles along the way.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you very much for your comment, Anne, which reminded me that I had forgotten to include a track-back to your blog in the post. Fortunately you found it anyway. Thank you.
      I also appreciate all of your suggestions. Some I can see the benefit of immediately. Some I may need to ponder for a while. I guess, since you have suggested I check the transtheoretical model, that you can understand that! 🙂 The model reminds me of what we were taught when I was working in a sales and marketing position for an educational publisher. It was referred to as the “washing machine theory”. The ads for washing machines are always there but you don’t notice them until you need one. However you may need to have your attention drawn to them to even realise that one is required!
      Your comment actually scares me. It is really a very small-scale project (large to me) in the scheme of things, just a few teaching resources and nothing like a virtual school. But I am also encouraged by your comment and appreciate your “virtual” subscription. Although the website itself will hold no interest for you (except that the blog may be moved across to it, I think) I know you will continue to be supportive and encouraging as I work on this project, and I appreciate that.
      I’ll consider your thoughts about seeing the light. I guess the open-endedness of some of the resources makes them different from worksheets to be completed with a one correct answer.
      The web developer also suggested a video, especially one showcasing how some of the resources can be used. I thinks it’s a great suggestion so thanks for adding your vote. I guess it comes after writing the bio and site info, and then combines both. I’m looking forward to working on it soon, but I still have a bit of learning to do. 🙂 Always learning!
      I am thinking of just one level of membership for ease (and cost) of maintenance. Some resources will be free to anybody, but most will be available only to subscribers. Visitors to the site will be able to see a description and thumbnail of each of the resources, as well as view the video mentioned earlier. The printable resources will be available to download (obviously, in order to print) but the interactive resources and stories will only be accessible when logged in online. This is to maintain the integrity of my product and to give a reason for repeat subscriptions. For these reasons I don’t think an offer of 3 months free is suitable, but I am willing to think about how it might work. I do like your suggestion of reduced costs for student teachers but different levels of membership become difficult to maintain and monitor. I was thinking of a one-price for all set at, say $25 AU a year, which is approx 16 Euro and $18 US. It’s not really a lot at less than 25 c per existing resource (with the cost decreasing as more are added) or less than 50 c a week.
      The newsletter that requires a signup and a receives a gift is a good idea, worth considering. I’m wondering what writing this might involve in addition to the blog and resources (I am already struggling to keep up with blog reading and commenting). Maybe a new free resource and information about other new resources could suffice? Thanks for stimulating this thinking. 🙂
      I also like the idea of writing for professional magazines, and hope, once launched, to create some affiliate links with others.
      I very much appreciate all of your suggestions and the thought you put into making them. I will definitely share with you the story of my struggles, and hopefully, successes. Whatever the outcome, there will be much learned I expect, and that is something in and of itself to look forward to.
      Thank you for always being there to encourage me along the way. 🙂

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      1. Annecdotist

        Oh, sorry, Norah, I didn’t mean to scare you, but there’s no harm thinking big!
        Yeah, a newsletter would be extra work, but it wouldn’t have to be very frequent, and of course just linking to stuff you’d already posted.
        I think it’s a good idea for people to be able to get some free stuff from your site, so that they’ll see the quality and perhaps sign up for more. But it seems you are setting quite a low membership fee, so perhaps people will be willing to give it a go.
        We used the stages of change model a bit when I worked in psychiatric rehabilitation services, because it helped staff to recognise that there is a lot of thought and adaptation required before people are ready to change. It might be quite similar to what’s used in advertising, although in your washing machine example it would be less about waiting for their existing machine to break down but deciding to upgrade – not that I’d ever advocate such a thing!!!

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks Anne. I shouldn’t have accused you of scaring me. I was already scared. You just ruffled the scares that I try to smooth over. 🙂
          Thanks for elaborating on the change model. I can see how it differs from the washing machine model. It was probably rather simplistic to think of it in that way.
          I am hoping that the low membership fee encourages people to give it a try rather than hesitate. I hope when they do they feel they are getting value for money. Thanks for your added input. 🙂

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  11. Bec

    Stop second guessing yourself! You have lots of achievements and strengths and skills for which you should be proud. Don’t do what comes so naturally to so many people, and undermine your own value.

    Why don’t you play a game where you pretend to be a different person who sees “Norah Colvin” from the outside. How would they describe the founder of Readilearn? Or, think about what your target market would look for in a founder of a website which provides interactive educational resources, look for how you reflect those things, and start from there.

    Perhaps you can turn “Norah Colvin” into a new Marnie – a character who you’ve developed so deeply. And work on it that way. You can do it! Don’t devalue your achievements and abilities.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Yes, Mum! I mean, Daughter! Thank you, Bec. I’ll try! You have offered some good suggestions. Marnie is fiction but based on my knowledge of many different children, young people, and adults. Maybe I could try writing a bio (real), thinking of me as a fictional, or other, character. I suggested I might need to do so in my response to Charli. I’ll see how I go. Thanks for your (bullying) encouragement. As we often tell each other, “There’s no such thing as can’t” and you are right, of course, “I can do it!” 🙂

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      1. Sarah Brentyn

        That’s brilliant, Bec.

        Norah. Here’s your task: Write a flash fiction piece (99 words, as usual) and write a character profile about this Norah woman. (We did a character profile a while back for the Ranch.) Something similar and keep “fiction” in your head so you can stay focused and not have negative thoughts pop in. She’s a character you’re going to write about.

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  12. Charli Mills

    Norah, it’s both an exciting and frightening time to launch one’s dream into the realm of business reality. You are actually following the cycle of marketing, which is something ongoing. Marketing is not an event. It begins with your commitment to create a quality product or service based on your audience (early childhood educators) and their needs. A blog is a great way to engage (just like are doing now). Once we identify our target audience, we need to listen for what gaps might exist in the marketplace (it sounds like you’ve uncovered such a gap). Polls or surveys or comments can give you directed feedback. See what the marketplace offers for pricing but don’t give away your goods for free. Focus on what makes your creations valuable. Goals can help you align what you want to achieve with what you are doing. Promotion is a series of tactics ranging from writing press releases, buying advertising, distributing blog posts, etc. The best promotions teach you something — did you hit or miss your goals? It’s not about always “winning” but about adjusting your game to better reach those who are interested in what you have. That’s evaluation. It’s all ongoing as is creating your product and tweaking what you offer.

    As for your bio, think of what makes you approachable to other educators and what gives you credibility. Phrases like, “Norah knows first-hand…” or “based on successful experience in the classroom…” can demonstrate that you can walk your talk. Have a long (250), medium (150) and short (50) bio for different occasions or uses. And while it is good to see what your competition is doing, you are right about not getting caught up in comparison. There is always something about ourselves that we can use to differentiate from others.

    I’m really excited for you! You’ve worked hard to get to this moment, and you’ll continue to work at it. Here’s to eating steak rather than dandelions! May you have a fruitful launch!

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Charli, Thank you very much. I appreciate your advice enormously. Talk about a growth mindset. You have shown me where I am, and outlined steps to take me forward. The wisdom of your experience is invaluable, as is the practical advice with suggestions of phrases and the length of different versions of the bio. I know when I see statements like these written about others, that they are what I need, but writing them about myself … I’ll have to pretend I’m not me when I’m writing it. Perhaps that is why the web developer suggested using their copywriter, but I thought: I’m a writer, I can do it. I was also reluctant to add the extra cost. Maybe in the long term it will be worth it, but at the moment it appears to be a very expensive jetski.
      I also appreciate your cyclical vision of marketing and agree with it wholeheartedly. I haven’t yet tapped into my target audience so will have to get the whip out once the website is launched. The developers start back again next week so maybe after that I will have a better idea of the site and can do some pre-launch promotion.
      I like your way of describing marketing as adjusting to better reach those who are interested in what we have to offer. It will definitely involve ongoing evaluation and adjustment, and I expecting the launch to be the beginning of a long journey. I am not expecting overnight success, or even overnight response. It will take time. Maybe there is a reason there is nothing there quite like mine. Maybe it is just that nobody else has done it. Either way, it may time some time to tap into or convince the market of its value.
      I’m looking forward to joining you in that steak dinner, Charli, with dandelion salad on the side. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. Charli Mills

        You have the marketing in a nutshell, Norah! It’s all about finding those who would like what you provide. This is actually encouraging: “Maybe there is a reason there is nothing there quite like mine. Maybe it is just that nobody else has done it.” I really think you found a gap in the marketplace. And yes, it does take time to find those who would value your filling the gap, but you have demonstrated here that you are good at building community. Dandelion salad on the side! Yes! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks so much, Charli. It’s a learning journey. I’m looking forward to a feast of dandelions – a garden full! 🙂 But a choice, not a “that’s all there is”!

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