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More about Women’s Economic Venture’s Self Employment Training Course

May 22, 2010

How I Came to Take WEV’s Spring 2010 SET Class and Birth The Write Alley

I’ve always been a writer with interests in lots of areas which led to BA degrees in Environmental Studies. Literature/Creative Writing, a graduate certificate in Education, a Masters in English, and lots of post BA units in several disciplines.

I’ve used this background as a grant writer, as a journalist, and helping artists and friends with various writing tasks, and on other projects.

My primary employment since 1997 has been as a college writing teacher where I’ve worked full and part-time with the Ventura County Community College District teaching writing and education courses as well as developing and marketing an Americorps program at Moorpark College.

In 2007, I started blogging and using social media, and I was offered a job in the wine industry. When the economy tanked, so did that job, leaving me on unemployment and scratching my head. I realized I wanted to move from teaching college students about writing to doing more of my own. I also realized that there was a huge need for people to get help on their writing projects, personal or professional, on-line or print, novel, blog, or business.

So when I didn’t have a teaching assignment for Spring 2010, I signed up for the WEV class. At the time, I was also in conversation with the inventor of bikergo, Steven Ascher. I fell in love with his bikergo at Burning Man and wanted to help him introduce the bikergo to the world using social media. So throughout most of the class, I’ve been exploring how to go about doing bikergo as a business or having bikergo as a client.

During my WEV class, it became clear from the WEV curriculum, my own research, and from talking with several consultants who came to WEV classes, that the bikergo business wasn’t going to work out right now for me the way he wanted to run the business. According to the consultants, my ideas and his about marketing the bike had a lot of potential but until he had bikes to sell, I didn’t have bikes to sell, which meant there was no business, which meant there was no money.

So I went with the opportunity to use my many years of experience in education and writing to help other small business owners. I learned through the WEV classes from Maggie Dennison that the biggest business expense for a small business owner is outsourcing writing, specifically copywriting. I also saw during my WEV classes how I could help my WEV classmates with the various kinds of writing they need to do from content for their new websites to brochures to youtube scripts.

Instead of being ONLY a content provider, it occurred to me that I could coach other small business owners and help them develop the skills and the confidence to do their own writing so they could save money and time.

I’ve had a business, Back Alley Productions, on and off since 1995. Mostly I worked with artists, published poetry and produced my own art, and taught yoga classes. My new business is called “The Write Alley” and offers coaching and writing strategies, services and solutions both print and on-line, and I’m much more serious about making a go of it.

One of the reasons is that as a college teacher, classes have been cut back. There are very few tenure track positions and those tend to go to people recently out of college. I was ready to make a change to a full time job when I was offered a job in the wine industry as a writer, but when the economy tanked August 2008, so did that job. Finding another full time job during the economic downturn didn’t pan out but I could go back to teaching at the college part-time so I did. I have several job possibilities when the economy picks up but having my own business will always be there for me.

Making it to the classes and writing a business plan in order to graduate with honors on Wednesday night was  a lot of work but I see now how important it is. This class was a lot of work but for those students who did all the homework as it was due doing the business plan was relatively simple because they had all the building blocks they needed.

I highly recommend the WEV SET class to locals who have small businesses. The tuition is sliding scale so no matter how broke you feel, you can still afford to take it. Graduates increase their income substantially after completing the course so how could you NOT take it??

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