Welcome to the first iHabilitation Canada blog post for 2017! This year is already different! Why? Simply because this was actually written, mostly, on Day One of the new year. In every other year, this was something that only might or should have gotten done, but never did. But this time, here it is!
The coolest thing of all is how unwinding into “retirement” over the last couple of years has provided us with the opportunity to identify and begin eliminating personal barriers to actualizing our potential in regard to our life experience and what we have to offer. Enough years functioning as a “slave” to the 9-to-5 can leave one in quite a rut and all burned out!
The emerging outcome is that we’re freeing ourselves to focus on cultivating an “entrepreneurial mind set” to replace the old way of thinking.
Our first “entrepreneurial lesson” consisted of all that we learned via the Feel’n’See book project. Sure, in the wrong frame of mind, it was a failure, but, in the right frame of mind, it magically transforms into learning experience.
First and foremost, the processes involved in creating it in-house turned out to be far too labour-intensive. Had we created significant demand, we would not have been able to meet it. And, as it turned out, marketing was definitely not our strong point. But hey, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great idea. Students and teaching professionals who have seen/felt it, love it! Furthermore, with the right technology in harness, all kinds of Feel’n’See materials could be part of any course as a downloadable/printable item. Ideas always welcome.
Trying to build a whole company with what is essentially a single little booklet of diagrams as its core product? Whoops! But how to engineer a more viable “core”? We could create content by exploring learning management systems. See below for more.
So, on the road to entrepreneurial exploration, we have connected with Michael Babcock of www.yourownpay.com. We thank him for his constant effort in regard to determining the accessibility of online social media and entrepreneurial tools. And thanks to time management consultant Mike Vardy, I discovered the wonderfully iPhone-accessible OmniFocus time and project management app. We’ve also worked with a similar and mostly accessible app called Trello.
As for the entrepreneurial mindset, well, one of my favourite entrepreneurs to follow is Scott Oldford, creator of the SSF Method. Scott has a sidewalk, a slow lane and a fast lane. We want to encourage discussion around the “door handles” “ramps” and “automatic doors” that most people need at one time or another just to get to the “sidewalk”! Of course, this is our metaphor to represent inclusively designed User Experience, and the fact that people are leaving around 20% of their potential revenue on the table by not designing inclusively from scratch. We like the idea of raising awareness within the entrepreneurial community, given that many related resources that should be accessible, are not.
So yeah, this “entrepreneurial mindset” thing is all about “What’s your passion?” Yes, of course many people can come up with something to offer to add value to other people’s lives. Now, since you’re reading this, what’s yours? Just give it some thought and see where that takes you.
So, in that vein, what has really become apparent is that I really miss teaching and sharing knowledge around Independent Living Skills. I just didn’t want to do it by traveling from student to student and practically living on public transit. So, how can I find a way to do it, or something like it, via the Internet?
Enter the concept of Learning Management Systems (thanks again to Michael Babcock) in the form of www.thinkific.com for which he was developing “Thinkific From the Keyboard” (with Voiceover of course). We have since signed up for his lifetime course access because he’s so responsive to our feedback.
We are now lifetime members of Success Road Academy, having joined the Ultimate Course Formula that covers course development and marketing essentials. Special thanks to Iman Biock Aghay, who spoke with me by phone for a good 15 minutes right after the webinar. We talked about accessibility, inclusive design, user experience… and no accessibility issues so far, which is great.
To produce multi-media content, we are exploring Screenflow Recorder 6. This will enable us to do everything in one take – voice, iDevice hands action, screen action and Voiceover output. Again, Michael Babcock has considerable “from the keyboard” ScreenFlow experience and we will be learning from him.
And so, I thought, why not pull out the old Independent Living Skills, Sensory Development and other lesson plans, do some storyboarding and rehearsing and finally, get the content together, get the camera rollin’ and see what happens. iHabilitation’s other partner, Ken Sudhues, had a lot to do with webinar production while working for the government, so putting some of this together will become creative fun. I’ll go through the iHabilitation lessons and he’ll record. You can read more about the iHabilitation philosophy on the site.
In fact, the online thing has already started. It’s only fifteen minutes once or twice per week, but hey, it‘s national! Yes, it happens when “The iHabilitation Man” makes his appearance on Kelly and Company #KellyCo – Accessible Media Inc’s afternoon show. We do a quick app walkthrough and talk about ways in which iDevices and independence come together. You can find recordings on my Soundcloud page.
But during this past year, it was a hobby that really pushed me into some consistent and ongoing project work. We were impressed with Mushroom FM, the internet radio station run by Jonathan Mosen of Mosen Consulting in Wellington, NZ. Since I had already done a show for ACB Radio about 15 years ago, we decided to do another world music radio show, for an hour each week. And so, Woofman’s World Music was born, complete with extensive show notes, prepared by Ken. Sharing cool music from around the world is the second passion. Hmm. Is there such thing as a monetized world music show podcast? Just a thought…
So, off we go into the new year, with many things to read, write and watch. Things to learn, work to do. We want to turn this journey into organized content so that many more people will be able to take advantage of iHabilitation courses. We also want to explore processes whereby we could pay contributors whose content we include.
There’s no question that entrepreneurialism is quickly becoming the way of the future. It was once the way of the past, so we’re actually swinging back. Wow, days of future past, eh? But, considering the high unemployment rate in the “special needs” community, not to mention a decline in the number of “traditional jobs”, entrepreneurialism has to be worth exploring, doesn’t it?
As far as iHabilitation Canada goes, we’re still too young to be “retired”, but are sure not inclined to go looking for a job. On the other hand, we are, let’s face it, squeaking by financially. We’re pretty darn happy with a simple, laidback lifestyle, but we would just like to eliminate the “squeak” enough to go somewhere warm in the winter, an Ontario visit spring and fall, that sort of thing. So, we’ll hopefully accomplish that by creating something of value that people really want and making sure they find out about it. Oh, there’s another lesson from this year: “Mailing Lists Are Important”. Final thanks to Michael Babcock for discovering that ConvertKit Customer Relations Manager is pretty accessible, as you can see in Michael’s “ConvertKit from the keyboard” videos. This system will soon be implemented here. We’ll start by clearing all the outdated information from the contacts list.
So we’re on a journey to figure this stuff out and you’re welcome to follow along for whatever reason. We will post “Blog-ress Reports”. This will not only make us accountable to our readers, but just as importantly, if not more so, to ourselves.
In closing, we hope that this outreach will encourage people to explore alternative approaches and possibilities in the new year. It’s how we’ll win out in the new world that’s upon us. Thanks for reading!
Tom and Ken
PS: Of course, we could produce a certain number of “Feel’n’See” books for those whose curiosity has been aroused as a result of this post. And if you want to see if we’re any good at producing teaching videos, check the Old Videos page here on the website.
Happy New Year!
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