Thrust Into Entrepreneurship, Part 3.

I was learning one of the facts of entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurs are resourceful.

Terry let me use a computer in an empty classroom, if he had an empty one. As a newly-launching business, he had a high priority on having both classrooms occupied by paying students.

So I used a privilege I acquired during my engineering job.

As a new employee with a Bachelor’s degree, I was tasked with earning a Master’s degree. Most of the people I worked with had one, or even a Doctorate. I had been taking engineering classes in the evenings at the University of Southern California, which included use of the personal computer labs. You betcha I kept my student ID card in a safe place.

Gradually I made the transition from employee mindset to running the business of Lynn As A Computer Trainer.

After a year, I was getting offers from other computer training firms to teach as an independent contractor. In my heyday I was juggling at least 4 contracts, scheduling as many days as I could.

Each contracting firm had its own set of training manuals, so I rehearsed each book’s exercises, both keystrokes and what to say, figuring out the best way to train the material as well as noting any flaws in the material or places the students might get stuck.

I taught beginning and intermediate levels of Windows, Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. My engineering background came in handy while teaching the mathematics and functions inherent in the Excel spreadsheet software.

Why didn’t I just have one “generic” way to teach each class?

Because if you don’t teach using the book’s layout, the students don’t have a resource to use after class. And you can imagine how lost they would feel if they had to rely on their memories after a 6 hour immersion in a new software program.

Of course, if they showed up for the intermediate level without reasonable comfort with the prior level skills, I would have been blamed for not teaching well and would lose priority in the training bookings– and eventually lose the contract altogether.

So I took the long-term view and thoroughly prepared for each class.

It’s the way I roll.


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