Met with clients for a course I’m doing for startups on WordPress-websites and wasn’t sure how to feel about this gig.
On the one hand it’s kind of a victory. I was asked by the coordinator of the start-up program at the insurance company that pays out insurance for the unemployed to do this for, well, unemployed people who wish to do a start up business. So that was me a year ago, and now I am the teacher. And get paid a little.
On the other hand, I sensed that despite the start up (or entrepreneur, if you will) program’s development since I was there, it still contained a lot of fluff. Fluff: Meaning superfluous courses by sharks (correction: other stakeholders or partners).
Like, people who are invited in because they know someone to teach their particular accounting-software (and promote it), plus additional services if you pay up front.
Or just fluffy talk about how I ‘made a million dollars on my 30th company’ and the ‘real mindset of a serial entrepreneur’, when you really need some hardcore sales skills.
They are improving, or so the coordinator told me, with regard to servicing the members of the program with courses that are directly useful and not a front for some useless offer for a service or piece of software. But then I looked at their list of courses and saw that this is a truth with modifications. There is still a lot of fluff.
In my opinion.
And now, what will it take for me not to be part of the fluff?
How about teaching people a concrete skill, such as quick webdesign, and to use an open source software system which is free for them to use forever on?
I think I can say I’m on secure ground here, but on the other hand I am now also part of the program – and its fluff. I have to live with that contradiction if I want to make some money.
Perhaps some of the other sharks – I mean, partners and teachers – also had the same thoughts and then made a choice. Perhaps they see themselves as really delivering something of value even if it is a 30 minute pep-talk on all sorts of fluffy mindset-things or anecdotal experiences or slides filled with buzzword jargon about marketing.
I mean, you have to think of yourself as valuable, right?
No matter what.
So much for trying not to overthink this gig …
All I can really do is trying to deliver the best possible service with the least strings attached, and make my case why this is so.
I don’t love my business but one reason I went into it was to find clients who had been run over and help them get back up. That demanded and still demands a higher ethics set than most who operate in the business.
But I should not rest on laurels or fluffy musings. I should promise myself and the students at this course clear and present benefits.
And so I will:
I will teach them how to do a website in one of the world’s best and most useful and free systems.
I will steer them through the jungle of bad purchasing choices when it comes to hosting and themes and coding, and not towards my own consultancy but towards a select group of hosts, premium themes and perhaps a programmer or two, I’ve got good experiences with and don’t get any commission from.
I will give the 10 first students on the course free webspace for a month and teach them for free how to move their websites to a server they choose and pay for, to someone else.
The rest they will have to pay for, if they want more. And that includes the program’s coordinator who good a really good discounted offer for this one.
Principles are all well and good, but one can’t use them to pay the rent. Trick is to remember when the rent can and should wait a bit.