I’d like to request that those of you who fancy words, spelling and grammar go here and fill out a survey that belongs to a research project I’m doing on how people currently use language. This particularly survey focuses mostly on which spelling of words you prefer. Don’t worry; it’s not a test. I won’t judge you (much).
I spent much of my long weekend redoing Coursetree’s website. Although I loved the design Ian did for the first version, the graphics just didn’t seem the most effective for the content of the page. I felt that a more serious design (and readable) was warranted for my potential customers. As a result, I went for a newspaper or blog-style approach. Please take a look at version two here.
Additionally, I’ve wanted to participate in the ESL blogging world like so many others I follow on Twitter. Plus, there is a lot of detailed information, like the About Us section of the website, that I felt was too much text for the homesite. So, Coursetree Blog came to be. Please check it out for ESL-related materials. 🙂
I’m happy to announce that the idea has now turned into a venture! A couple weeks ago, I mentioned Coursetree in a few posts in order to show the process of starting up a business. Sure, it’s a side business at the moment, but who knows where it will lead. A few developments have occurred since last I talked about this:
A) The website is now live!
Thank to my amazing graphic designer partner, Coursetree has a beautiful and functional website. I took the great designs and worked them into HTML magic. Believe me, that process brings to mind only two words: tedious and fulfilling. Take a quick look at some screenshots!
Click the screenshots to go to those specific pages or here to take a look at the entire website!
B) There have been meetings!
So far, I’ve met with EF International Toronto, Seneca College, Language Studies Canada, International House Toronto and Cornerstone Academic College. Each presented valuable experience and insight into their specific contexts. They led me to understand better which services are most desired (workshops, lesson plans and handouts, teacher observation and evaluation) and which often are usually undertaken by their existing staff (curriculum development). Next up, time to do some shameless self-promotion.
C) Workshops interest is very good.
One of the services I enjoy the most is facilitating workshops for teachers and thankfully, there has been interest! I had a great time developing and delivery workshops at TESL conferences (North York/York Region, Toronto and Ontario), English Central and individual schools (Cornerstone, International House). Next up, Quest Language Studies on April 5! Thank you to a colleague, Ken Lackman, for that one.
Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d determined the best direction to take professionally was to start my own business. With a few steps taken towards this goal, I’m in it up to my eyeballs now. I’m not sure how quickly it’ll take off or if it’ll bring me any immediate business, but I’m excited about its potential and how managing it will fill my time while other opportunities may be brewing in the background.
Keeping to the ideas I determined were services I’m enthusiastic about providing and qualified to do so, I tried to come up with a business name that would not only reflect these services to at least a vague degree, but also be fresh and unexpected. Thanks to not only this business, but another I’m involved in with some colleagues (and good friends!), naming has proven to be one of the hardest challenges right off the bat. But after playing around with thesaurus.com, pondering what word combinations sounded interesting together, yet was meaningful, the name I feel most accomplished everything, as you may have surmised, is Coursetree! Simply put, English language teaching is my passion and trees not only represent knowledge, but are also organic and not contrived.
|A Mission Statement
|Coursetree will offer project services to schools and organizations in the ESL/EFL industry. Its mission: to work with its clients to create meaningful and effective English language courses for their students and facilitate their teachers’ professional growth. These projects optionally will include not only the creation, but also the administration and implementation of courses and workshops so a smooth beginning and optimal end is reached.
March 1, 2010
Step 7, which is to set up and meet with contacts I already know, has already begun! I’ve met with Cornerstone Academic College and EF International Toronto, so far. I figure I should probably get the email addresses, website and administration completed before I meet with too many more. All in due “course”. Hehehe.
With the recent changes in my career, I thought hard about how to accomplish what it is I want to do:
- Continue work in the ESL/EFL industry
- Not work solely for one school
- Create new programs
- Administer PD for teachers
- Make enough money to live comfortably
What seemed the most sense and accomplishes most of these, at least in the longer term, was to start my own consulting business. Doing so, I can spread myself around where projects are available, offer schools the services I want and feel could benefit their programs, stay within my area of expertise, but also give me enough freedom to do a variety of work that could fall under the umbrella of “program development”. Hence, the ability to generate income can come from many sources and many roles, instead of putting all my eggs in one basket–something I think I’ve done enough of.
So, how to make all this happen? I’m going to go through what I’ve done, step by step, and maybe someone reading this can be inspired to do the same (or alternatively, run away in fear, crying).
|Come up with an abbreviated business plan that indicates what services I can offer.
||Think of a company name that not only is relevant to the services I’ll provide, but is cool and that I’m happy with.
||Make sure said name isn’t already taken, both on the web and through Canada’s business registration. Buy the domain name and register the business name.
Next steps to follow…