Monthly Archives: March 2010

Earning More than Money

“All things being equal, business owners do not make more money than those who hold a corporate job.”

All things are not equal. I get up every day and go to work, in my livingroom, and I earn more than just mere money.

  • I earn time with my husband. A precious commodity, even though working together in a business has been one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.
  • I earn time with my kids. Yes, that is hard too. But worth it.
  • I earn the ability to set my own schedule. Mostly.
  • I gain the opportunity to work with people I like, and can choose to let go of those I don’t like working with.
  • I get the chance to chart my own destiny – to choose the work and business that I engage in.

It isn’t all sunshine and roses, not by a long shot. But it is better than working a job for a boss. The last job I had drove me nuts. I could see so many things that would help, but could not do any of them. I was required to do things that didn’t matter, at the expense of things that did, on someone else’s schedule. It made me truly appreciate what I have in being a business owner.

And now, the money ain’t bad either. Though we put in long years of work to get it to the point where we feel like we have more of the financial choices that we wanted.

But I would not trade it for a job that paid twice this much.

Creating Online Lessons

It is just so much more complicated than I thought it would be! Learning to use an LMS is just another learning curve for me. I managed to figure that out. But figuring out how to do a brain dump, in a combination of text, images, videos, audios, site links, and software downloads, is downright hard. How to organize it all so that people can move through the courses in a logical manner, get their questions answered, and look up reference material?

Online courses can happen in a variety of ways. They can be anything from simple “pay to access” online content, to content plus quizzes, to emails loaded into an auto-responder, to a full fledged Learning Management System with prerequisites, forums, quizzes and certifications. We went with the last option, because we want certifications to be part of the picture. But it is important to realize that you may not NEED a full scale LMS to do online lessons or protected content. Often a much simpler structure will be enough.

I’m finally well into the process of creating short courses. I have several long multi-segment courses to upload eventually, but decided to start with the short ones that have only 8-10 lessons. I am not sure how capable I’ll be of tackling the big ones, but figure the experience from the small ones will be a help.

An LMS allows you to group things together in a fairly granular way. I have the following options:

  • Categories. I can group Courses together into categories.
  • Courses. A course can contain multiple lessons. A course contains lessons on a single topic, or single group of related topics, usually.
  • Lessons. A lesson should be a fairly well defined learning concept. It can be further broken down if needed, but is often the lowest element in the tree.
  • Units. A lesson can have multiple units, if you need to assign additional study on a concept.
  • Examples. I can put in examples for any given lesson.
  • Assignments. I can create assignments to complete for any lesson.
  • Videos or Documents. These can be attached to a lesson.
  • Quizzes. Each lesson can have a completion quiz.
  • Tests. Courses can have final tests.

A course can have a forum attached as well. So the learning options are fairly flexible. But it also means that setting it up is a VERY involved process.

Oh, anyone can go in and create a lesson and paste some instructions into the page. But to create a real online course, that someone can actually learn from, and then demonstrate that they have learned, is much more difficult! All the pieces have to be found, created, and set to work the way you want them to.

I think it will be worth it though, because it doesn’t just teach people. It does so in a way that frees the teacher to reach more people at one time.

Hard. But worth the learning curve and time.

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.