For the past several months (maybe a year by now), I’ve been diving in deep trying to figure out how this online world of marketing works. I’ve been signing myself up for ALL the email lists and webinars and reading (almost) ALL the websites … pretty much doing everything except actually paying money to someone to show me how it all works.
There’s a lot of people out there who could definitely shortcut the circuit for me and get me straight to the good stuff and help me set up a business in the virtual world. But I’m a little bit stubborn and a lot bit money-less. If everybody who figured this out did so on their own, why can’t I as well? <ha!>
Peter Dunaskin, People running into the sea – panoramio, CC BY 3.0
Have you ever been at the beach and tried running into the water? It’s easy and fun at first but as soon as the water gets past your knees, you suddenly feel like you’re trying to move through a sea of wet cement — you might as well give up trying to run and just dive in and swim. (That would be the part where I give someone thousands of dollars and just start swimming. It would save me sooo much time and effort, and probably money because I know if I learned from a pro I could start earning more money myself — a lot sooner.) But …
I just don’t want to do that yet. I kind of like the process of learning things my own way, following my own questions and piecing things together in a way that makes sense to me. Also, this is more or less my fundamental homeschooling philosophy — I want to help my kids learn about things that are relevant, helpful, or interesting in authentic ways. If I had just paid someone up front to hold my hand and walk me through the whole process, I would have missed out on a ton of other information that I’ve gleaned through filling notebooks (one notebook actually. a big one though.) with information about All The Things. And actually, I wouldn’t have known which coach to choose until I’d seen as many facebook advertisements and free webinars and emails as I have through all this trial and error.
I’m keeping a lifeline ready just in case I decide to give up running through deep water … if and when I’m ready, I will do the following two things. I will sign up for the library of tutorials and resources at http://www.digitalmarketer.com (I’ve already done two trial months with them and learned so much about every aspect of digital marketing) and I will buy as many courses as I can afford from Melyssa Griffin. She is by far the best marketing coach I’ve discovered — and she owns the market, as far as I can tell, on Pinterest strategy and online course creation. (I know … if I just paid some money up front to learn from the best, I really could save myself time, stress, and money … but … full circle back to the top of this post …)
So this brings me to the very overwhelmed state I currently find myself in.
Scroll down now if you want to avoid the mess and get straight to the good part!
In order to gain any traction in the online world, you need to have an email list (which requires you to set up a PO Box so you don’t have to use your home address in every email — breaking news in my world today). But to get that email list you have to have a blog. And the free kind like I’m using now isn’t much impressive, as far as I can tell; also, I can’t install useful plugins that will help with anything small business related. So you buy the real deal and get it set up with the right themes (decide whether to pay more or go with free — then wade through some billion-odd templates) then decide whether to use ads or affiliate marketing to make income from the blog; some people say do as much affiliate marketing as you can while others say don’t do it at all — just create and sell your own content. And as far as blog content, you better write useful stuff or your readers will bounce. And you need that email list subscription service set up to stay in touch with the non-bouncers. But then you need to write newsletters for those signer-uppers … and this should be better content than what you post on your blog. And really you should be segmenting your email lists and setting up auto-responder series of messages with code established that switches people from one list to another for certain actions within your funnel.
Somewhere in there you’ll need to set up your funnel with an opt-in offer (need to have the real website with the plug in option for that!) and a landing page and a call to action and a follow up series of emails depending on said action. And you’ll need to find a online shopping platform for selling things, which probably includes setting up a business bank account and ideally an LLC (which is expensive!) for tax and CYA (cover your assets) purposes.
There’s hundreds of options for each of these pieces, all of which only play well with a few select others, and then a few (maybe only 2?) all-in-one companies that will help you set up the whole package. (so, research. and money.)
And you’ll need your branding to be consistent across all these platforms, so you’ll need to hire a professional graphic designer or learn how to DIY graphics and images and create a logo and choose a color scheme and fonts and create branded templates for images, posts, emails, pages, etc.
And even once you have all this set up, you need traffic so people have a chance to see your delightful content, so you’ll need to become Master of the Pins and FB ads, creating and curating pins (with the right pixel size for optimal viewing pleasure pinned at the right time of day as best predicted by Tailwind) and setting up campaigns to ultra-targeted facebook audiences. (But beware — Facebook and Pinterest come with infinite “playbook” strategists waiting to capitalize on newbies who want to learn the BEST way to do EVERYTHING — that would be me (the newb, not the strategist).)
Which is all well and good but then you have to make the time to create the actual content that you’ll be building this whole business around and find people to test it and give you reviews so that you can establish social proof that you’ve made something good since everybody wants to know what everybody else thinks first (or is it just me who reads the comments on articles before deciding if the articles are worth reading myself?).
Where shall I find the time to do that???
Perhaps I should just focus on creating content for months and years before I dig into any of the rest of this. But all the rest of it takes time to establish and build momentum — it won’t just instantly take off once I’m ready to throw open the virtual doors on my masterpiece.
Balance. That’s the magical secret. Do absolutely everything a tiny bit at a time in the spare 5 minute time frames you can find in between raising kids. That’s not working out so well for me actually.
So … I’ve been going waaay back to the beginning of my mental thought process to try to sort out and clarify What in the World I Want To Do.
It’s turned out to be pretty simple actually.
The Good Part 🙂
Whenever I hear people talk about how much they hate math or how they just aren’t good at it or how their kids are crying every night doing math homework and the whole system of Mathematics is tearing kids down and families apart, it makes me terribly sad. I wish I could jump into every one of those homes and show them how math is really not so scary and even quite lovely if you look at it the right way; I want to help students build a solid framework of understanding by working through authentic, relevant, and interesting learning activities so that they truly own the knowledge they gain. I believe students should be given the opportunity to work through concepts to the point of mastery (not to the point of complete and utter boredom because they’re swallowing a one-size-fits-all prescription) and see math not as some painful adolescent ritual but as the language of the universe — the description of all the patterns and phenomena we see at play in nature and in art and architecture and engineering … and computer coding and aviation and seafaring and gambling … to name only a very few aspects of a universe written in the beautifully patterned and predictable* language of math.
(*until we get into chaos theory — but even that’s an area of math … yes?)
So when I hear these conversations about the socially-inflicted yet socially acceptable curse of math anxiety (I may elaborate more on my theory about this later), I want to say “It’ll all be okay,” and offer some wonderful solution or program that could help ease math-induced tension and fear while cultivating a love for learning and confidence in oneself as a learner.
I’ve taught math and tutored math for years (decades, centuries maybe by now), but I’m ready to transition to a new phase where I can offer help through digital resources. I just need to focus my attention on creating these resources instead of getting so distracted by all the shiny things on the internet. 🙂
I’ve begun building a small library of resources for homeschooling families, tutors, and teachers that are focused on specific topics and individually packaged at low price points ($2 – 10 dollars each) to help make the material easily accessible to all. I have a dream (among many) that I will someday turn this content into video tutorials so that the material can be more hands-free for parents and easy for students to follow.
I plan to create content that is universal, not tied to any specific state standards, and presented in a way that will lead students into a solid understanding (and appreciation!) of math that they can continue to build on throughout their life.
I’ll be drawing from my experience in the classroom (teaching 6-12 grade math — mostly Algebra and Geometry), tutoring students of all ages, and homeschooling my own sons, as well as pedagogy I’ve learned through my math major and Masters in Teaching. (Not intended as a #humblebrag — just laying out some street cred here.)
If any of this sounds interesting to you, please follow along as I post ideas, stories, resources, and learning-related tips here on the blog. And I would LOVE to hear your input about what subjects you (or your students, children, tutees, etc.) would like help with. (Help! How do i not end that sentence with a preposition?!)
As far as a facebook page, pinterest wonderland, instagram bandwagon, or any other social media outlet … stay tuned. ;). I may get there eventually … ?
Thank you for your interest and support as I prepare amazing math materials for you!
To see my current (and growing) library of learning resources for elementary math – high school Geometry, please visit my online store at: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Sandra-Balisky.