25 Apr How a Layoff Inspired an Entrepreneur – A Guide to Starting Over
The Turbocharged Education and Training company, which provides expert design and development of courses, webinars, white papers, user guides and more, was the brainchild born due to “downsizing.” Carol Oliver, the company founder, offered to share her career change experience of how to take lemons….and create a “NASA Control Center”. Carol is now a valuable event planner resource.
What do you do when you are laid off from the job that gave you purpose… the job that you adored… the job that permitted you to positively impact thousands of lives? You move forward with your career, finding a way to continue doing what you love and what you excel at doing. I had never wanted to be an entrepreneur because I thought I was not a risk-taker, but I listened to my heart and started my own company: Turbocharged Education and Training. “Turbocharged” because I believe that education should be powerful, energized, and bring about changes in the Learners’ lives that lead to positive results in their business, career, and personal lives.
At Turbocharged Education, I design and develop courses, record webinars, and write white papers, software user guides, blogs, and blurbs for websites. I was often called the “wordsmith” by my former Team Lead, Wendy Rohrssen, and it’s a name I treasure. I also edit courses other authors have written for content, flow, transitions, complete and concise coverage of the topic, design of slides, and naturally, spelling and grammar. (They don’t call me the “grammar queen” for nothing!)
I love to design courses that use teaching strategies to keep students engaged and facilitate their learning. These strategies have come from years of conducting research into the latest findings in the science of learning, a discipline that combines neuroscience, psychology, and even biology. Combined with 25 years of personal experience as a teacher of adults, this gives me a unique perspective.
My home office is carefully designed for optimal efficiency. My kids saw it last week and said it looks like NASA’s Control Center. I laughed about that, but realized they are correct. I wonder though: Does NASA’s Control Center still have a giant whiteboard? I couldn’t live without mine…
If you are planning to start your own business I have a few words of advice based on personal experience:
Expenses you did not expect will surface and there are several tasks you must do:
- Make sure you have the right equipment to do the job effectively. My iPhone AND Dell laptop went on the fritz within a week and had to be replaced. Very expensive and time-consuming to get the computer up and running with all my software. (Spoiler alert: Windows 10 can be a real stinker.)
- Since I am recording webinars, I had to have a good mic. I chose the Stormtrooper Blue Yeti and I love, love, love it. It was on sale on Amazon and I love that part, too.
- You need to get “legal.” I set up an LLC and got all my business licenses through LegalZoom. I was pleased with the experience, but it was expensive.
- You need a logo and a website if you’re going to be taken seriously. Mine is currently in development. It’s expensive but my web developer (Alluring Media) is designing it so I will have the ability to use WordPress and add or update my content regularly myself. I plan to publish educational blogs on my website so people who visit will find something of value.
You need to think about these things immediately:
- Why are you in business? What are your vision, mission and purpose? What are your company values? For example, my values include
o I will under-promise and over-deliver to every client.
o Integrity is the cornerstone of everything I do.
o I will treat people respectfully and leave everyone better off than I found them.
o I will do everything I do with excellence, or I will not do it at all.
- What services are you going to offer? What tools do you need to offer them cost-effectively but efficiently?
- What services do you NOT want to offer?
- Who is your ideal client? Who is your target market and where do they hang out?
- Take a few moments to map out – and document – what your processes will be. This is not a final version, it is a rough draft. It will evolve over time so be sure to update it regularly.
Other things you need to do but may not think about immediately:
- If you are using your personal phone for business, you will need to change your greeting to reflect that.
- Get a separate business email account.
- Get a separate business bank account and don’t mingle funds with your personal account.
- Be sure to create a Signature block for your email that contains your company name and contact information. I forgot to do that until one of my friends kindly pointed it out to me.
- Get yourself some business cards to give out at conferences and trade shows.
- Logos look good on business cards, signature blocks, and websites so consider having one designed.
- Consider whether you need a website. You may need a very simple one and not a complex website.
- I feel silly saying this to YOU but start up your accounting system immediately. Scan all business receipts and put them in a safe place. Don’t forget to put in your pre-company expenses and put them in Owner’s Equity.
- When you start to make money, be sure to pay your estimated taxes. The IRS is not amused when we forget to do that.
- Update your LinkedIn. Respond to every single person who sends you a message. Bask in their encouragement: it will help you through the tough times. Follow your contacts; read their articles and posts; respond intelligently and thoughtfully; congratulate them on their successes. These people are your colleagues and there will be times you can help them and times they can help you.
I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the supportive response of my former instructors and students. They have come out of the woodwork to wish me well, and several of them have given me valuable introductions and even projects.
In retrospect, losing my job was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t think I would have taken this step without it. I now realize that you are not truly financially secure when you work for someone else: you can only be financially secure when you are making all the financial decisions and using good fiscal judgement. I trust myself to be fiscally conservative because I know the consequences when you are not.
Every day is exciting and brings new opportunities. I feel the thrill of adventure; I feel courageous and daring; and most of all I feel grateful to have this opportunity.
If I can help you in any way, or if you need any of the services I provide, please do not hesitate to call me or email me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Carol L Oliver
Turbocharged Education and Training
Awesome Website coming soon!