[ My students featured on the TEDx stage and on radio ]
I’ve received a number of testimonials from former students so I felt this post would be necessary, and a good way to reflect on my blogging journey thus far. When I started blogging in October 2010, there were no books about blogging in the local, Singaporean context, and there were no blogging workshops I could sign up for. Thereafter, I wrote my book ‘Blogging For A Living’ in 2013, and I’ve been sharing the joy of Blogging with students since. And when I say “students”, most of the time I’m referring to working adults, usually older than me. In this particular blogpost, you’ll read the testimonials from my students who come from different occupations: housewife, art teacher, engineer, business owner, etc!
This particular one is an unsolicited email from my student, Alvin:
Sometimes, apart from going into the technical bits of blogging, I do also offer suggestions like a life coach would. If I think a particular book is really awesome for helping someone through a particular phase of life, I give him/her that book. Alvin, like many of my other students, are worried about issues like job security, retrenchments, and what other careers they can pursue. I gave him a book I thought would be most useful. 🙂
I do believe that as much as 90% of the things we want to learn can be found in books already. This is why reading is such an important hobby to cultivate in young children! Besides recommending great books, I do also share tips with my students, such as how I blog while on holiday (and without mobile data). If you’re keen to know, I simply use my phone to snap pictures, and I use the WordPress app on my phone to craft a post and add notes each time I purchase something, savor something yummy or have a traveler tip to share. And throughout the day, I usually won’t have any Internet access. When I’m back in the hotel or hostel, and get connected to wifi, then I hit on ‘Publish’ and the post is uploaded to my blog. 🙂 Doing this is crucial because we tend to forget what’s located where, and how much something cost, when we get back to Singapore. And then when you want to upload a post about your awesome holiday in Korea or Taiwan, you feel upset that you cannot remember how to get to that amazing food outlet, or how much the airport bus cost. And that blogpost may not materialize because of that drop in motivation thereafter.
Also, you won’t want to give yourself ‘homework’ after your holiday, would you? Instead of posting about that holiday MONTHS after you got back, why not just hit ‘publish’ while you’re still overseas. After all, you and I both know that a deluge of emails (and work) awaits you when you return, ya? 😉
This next testimonial is from Christine:
Sometimes, people have been blogging for years and yet very few people read their blogs. It could be due to something as simple as the titles. If you are savvy enough to use the right titles for your blogposts, you can get way more traffic than you are getting now. And this is especially crucial if you’re writing a post about your travels. And I do love encouraging people like Christine, who have a heart for sharing, to press on and reach a wider audience. Just a few, simple tweaks will do. Nothing major. And you don’t have to sit through an entire course.
This one’s from Mae-lee:
If you’re starting a website or a blog for the very first time, it can get extremely confusing, and in some cases, frustrating too. What’s a widget? Do I need a Jetpack? What’s the difference between a ‘widget’ and a ‘plug-in’? Why do I have to pay so much money for a theme?
*Fauzi’s one of my ex-students too. And I had him teach Mae-lee together with me. And yes, he got paid. What he actually told me via email was this: “Wah that would be the first time somebody pays me for my knowledge.. other than my job. Thanks for the opportunity”. Indeed, I love helping my students see a world of opportunity. Not too long after this session, Fauzi got himself featured on radio – 938LIVE – just like I have in the past. I think it is so cool that an employee can have a hobby outside of work and get himself featured on radio because of that hobby. I may have done it before, but I feel even more pride and satisfaction when my students get to experience this themselves. And I didn’t even have to arrange the session for him. He secured it on his own. This is in line with my teaching goals: to inspire leaders, and not to gain followers. And if my students end up “outshining” me and doing even better than I could have imagined, AWESOME! It makes me so happy!
Once in a while, I have people emailing me about workshop pricing and saying it’s out of their budget (it’s all less than 400 bucks, by the way), so I’ll tell them they can simply get a copy of my book at S$22 or better still, borrow a copy from the library for free. The book offers you a “snapshot” (so to speak) of a particular period of time in my blogging journey, back in 2013. But if you were to meet me in person now, you get to learn about all 6 years of my journey and the lessons I’ve distilled from these years. I do not actually think my classes are expensive. I’d say the fees are too low. Because that’s what most bloggers earn for doing just one advertorial (of course, there are bloggers who earn 5-figure sums for their advertorials #justsaying). There are other students like Victoria, who consider their “money very well spent”…
Victoria had wanted to attempt blogging (and make it work) on her own. After reading many books, even mine, she finally decided that it’s best to just meet up with me. I’m very proud of the book I wrote, and so far all the feedback has been 100% awesome. But where the book falls short is that it cannot evaluate YOUR blog and tell you what YOU are doing incorrectly. You need an actual human to tell you. In this case, Victoria picked me. And she’s also a student I am very proud of. Not too long after our coaching session, she got featured on radio, and she also became a TEDx speaker, sharing the stage with her teenage daughter who helps out in her planting and blogging adventures.
I don’t spoonfeed, I don’t handhold but I definitely help provide that fertile ground for my students to become more confident about themselves and what they are doing so they can go on to have adventures that they never dreamed was possible beforehand. 🙂 And I haven’t even spoken on a TEDx stage before! 😀 😀 😀
I do have a heart for young people, and their struggles, so when J (*name withheld to protect my young student’s privacy) emailed me, I offered her a special discount. Her (unedited) testimonial after the session:
I contacted Grace after finding her blog online and realised she was providing coaching lessons. I was at the time quite lost with my blog and the direction it was headed. I couldn’t quite seem to figure out SEO and how to get my blog noticed. As I’m still a student and couldn’t afford the normal workshop fee, she kindly offered a personal 1-1 1hr coaching session at a student discount.
When I met her she was really warm and friendly. She helped me to conceptualise my blog scheme and how I should progress from here on. On the technical end, she also gave me great tips to help my SEO and organise my blog better. Really looking forward to the growth of my blog from here on and am thankful I have someone I can look for for help in this area 🙂
I think that to be able to teach is truly a privilege. Of course, it doesn’t mean I would teach for free (unless it’s for charity, which I’ve done before). But I love being able to see people grow, blossom and take flight. I guess it’s like parenting without actually having to give birth to a baby! 😀
Find out more about my blogging workshops here. Feel free to drop me an email and tell me more about your blog and/or blogging objectives before you sign up too. 🙂
*Main Image for this post is courtesy of SGStrawberries and Fauzi