It never fails that each time I present at conference or workshop, there are a few people that walk up to me and ask how can they do what I do. These wonderful educators come to me because they are not sure how to get started. These beautiful souls see themselves coaching and teaching other teachers, providing professional development, and supporting other teachers and administrators. Well, the most important fact that I share is that they must learn how to take rejection first. It has taken me over 7 years, 250 job filled notices, 35 rejected proposals, 5 years of doctoral studies, social media certification, coaching endorsement certification, and many many hours of professional/personal development. But on a lighter note one of the greatest things about becoming an educational consultant is that you can begin while teaching. (Just do not do anything personal during work hours)
Here are a few steps to get the transition started.
Only pursue an area in which you are a passionate expert and that you will do for free.
Do you love helping teachers create lessons and integrate technology into their instruction?
Are you passionate about sharing best practices in a particular subject area?
Does the idea of coaching other people how to reach students with diverse disabilities make your heart smile?
Understand “education” is a really vague area, so pinpoint your area(s) of expertise.
What do people come to ask you about the most? My focus is brain based teaching and technology integration.
You can’t be “anti-social” you have to be active on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, Pinterest, etc. Join at least one of these social media channels. You don’t have to contribute right away. Start out by following other experts and thought leaders in your field of interest.
Make sure you read blogs and sign up for newsletters too.
Find relevant educational hashtags to follow so you can see posts from a broad network.
Start where you are and then seek local, state, and national opportunities
Check out Meetup and Eventbrite to find opportunities that are relevant to your interests. You can even participate and apply to district and state requests. You will be able to learn new things and also add to your professional/personal learning network of names and your knowledge of leadership. It is important to become actively involved in improving education at a broader level.
Don’t stop there. Consider joining your school improvement committees, district task forces, curriculum revision groups, review, and adoption committees, assessment forums and discussions, and standardized testing panels. You will never know who you may meet. Opportunities are all around you and you never know who may offer you money in exchange for your expertise.
Be active in local and professional associations
Get online and search for local professional associations and join the one that fits your personality and interests best. Many national associations have state and local chapters such as Association of Training and Development.
Attend EdCamps and Playdates Volunteer at new events and be ahead of the crowd.
You can even become a board member after investing enough time.
Keep in the loop of professional development
Find quality professional development that you can immediately implement in your classroom. Many school districts offer opportunities for teachers to come and learn.
Attend( and eventually submit proposals to present) conferences
(If you are going to present at conferences make sure you take personal days)
Let me tell you about EdCamps. Edcamps are free and becoming one of the fastest growing “unconference” learning opportunities available. You can even do a quick Google search for keywords like “Science Tech Conferences” and set up an email alert for those terms too. (Watch this video on how to set up alerts). After getting your feet wet as a participant, make sure you submit proposals too. Go ahead and follow social media handles and websites of the event organizers so you will know when they have a call for proposals. Don’t get bummed if you don’t get selected. Sooner than later will be your time.
Meet no strangers
Make sure you understand that your networth is determined by your network. Always make a goal to meet 3 to 4 new people at the conferences you attend. Add them to your social media network plus find the official hashtag for conferences and respond with ah-ha moments. Plus when you network, think upward. Include educational company specialists, post secondary faculty, and administrators. This can really put you into motion. For example, I spoke at a National Youth At-Risk Conference and two years later I received an email from someone ( a school district director) that attended my session. She requested that I conduct 2 one hour sessions for teachers. I accepted and developed more relationships. Oh yeah, make sure you find a consulting mentor and ask them the tough questions like the ones listed in number 7 below.
Being a consultant is not about how many times you speak or how much money you make. The key love what you do and live out your passion.
Yes, I have spoken to a crowd as small as 2 people and my heart still sang because I have a love for the field and a sincere desire to help others become greater.
Now that I have given you 6 steps to becoming an educational consultant…Prepare yourself for the 7th step. Please give yourself 2 hours to answer these questions that I found on Brilliant-Insane.
1. How might your deepest beliefs enrich and compromise your ability to serve others well? How will you curb your confirmation bias?
2. Are you willing to ask teachers and administrators really hard questions, even when they cause significant discomfort? How does likability influence the way you lead?
3. How will you amplify the voices of those who aren’t being heard often our loudly enough within a system? What are you willing to risk in order to validate these people?
4. Have you considered how building a huge online network might influence the location and size of the territory you are invited to serve? Are you eager to travel often, or do you want to be at home to watch your children grow up? Your answers to those questions should influence the way you leverage social media as a business person.
5. Are you prepared to be the scapegoat for more significant issues within a system at times? How will you respond when this happens?
6. How will you invite dissenting voices into the conversations that you facilitate? When will this be most important? Hint: see question 1.
7. When will you know that your ego is ruining your work? How will you cope with the ego of others and its influence on your work?
8. Who will define your role and your place within a system? How?
9. What will you do to align your professional values and vision with those inside the schools you serve? What will you do when this seems impossible?
10. Discomfort isn’t always an indication of failure. How will you know when it is, though?
Now that I have shared 7 steps to becoming an educational consultant, I hope you really give it some thought and prepare yourself.
How can I get started?
Listen up, if you are looking for a step-by-step guide for starting your own educational consulting business, you will not find a cookie cutter blueprint. There is not one correct way to do it, as with anything in life it depends on your situation.
However, I am working on a brand new resource that might be beneficial and helpful in getting you started.
It is an online webinar/course called How to Transition From the Classroom Into Educational Consulting but I will call it C-School for short.
The course comes with a written transcript, a printable note-taking guide, an audio version (mp3), plus other resourceful books so you can listen and re-listen while exercising, driving, or getting things done around the house.
In these resources, I will share:
-How to be of service and not of sales
-How to transition into part- or full-time educational consulting
-How instructional coaching and consulting are interrelated
-How to identify your purpose for consulting
-How to create a consulting action plan (business plan)
-How to build your social media presence
-How to create passive income
-How to secure you first consulting gigs
-How to find freelance work for an existing educational consulting or coaching firm
-How and when to start your own educational consulting or coaching company
-How much to charge for coaching and educational consulting services*
-How to determine if your niche is valuable and needed
-How to find a daily schedule that works with your natural cycles of productivity/creativity
Sign up today to be the first to receive alerts for when enrollment opens. Enrollment will only happen once a year!
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