As we finish up the class and you’re all thinking about your PLN papers, I had my own PLN consulting moment this morning and just wanted to share.
I’m visiting my mother right now, as I do at the end of every summer, and we were talking about her career plans. She’s close to retirement age, and not ready to retire, but ready to shift the focus of what she does. She runs a restorative justice center and has done various related things along the way. In addition to handling local restorative justice cases / running community circles, she has worked as a mediator and ombudsperson. She leads parenting classes and restorative groups for people who were convicted of domestic violence. She knows a lot, and is looking to parlay that into a consulting business. She also told me that she has 3 related books outlined and she needs to work on them.
Online networks have not exactly been mom’s thing. She doesn’t avoid them. She’s on Facebook and Insta, connecting with friends and family. Professionally, however, she’s not used these tools. She doesn’t really need to. Everything she does is locally based (although she’s given workshops in other countries, so clearly she’s got something going on). As she transitions to consulting she will need to build out the professional network.
This morning at breakfast mom said “I’m going to get you girls to help me. Once my books are done and I’m ready to quit the job, I’ll probably need to set up a web site and LinkedIn, right?”
Ummm. No. No, mom. You need to start building that presence NOW. You need to establish that network so that when the book comes out you have people to help spread the news. You need a web site with a blog, and you need to start posting teasers of sorts on the blog, like short essays on relevant topics from the books. Then you spread the word about the blog on your network – announce new posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Let people follow wherever they engage online. As you go to conferences and visit neighboring centers, collect people’s info and connect to them. Right now you can’t promote the workshops and such that you do as your own business, but you certainly can promote your center. And if you put these things online for your center, then you can share and promote via your networks (e.g., tweet: Excited to give a workshop @thisplace for @mycenter on #topic slides online at URL
To this last bit, mom said that doing this for the center has been on her to do list for a while. And then she asked me to help her get it all set up this weekend and give her some tips.
Should I have just told her to “take the class”? ;-)