So how does a confirmed Luddite with absolutely no computer skills at all wind up training people on LinkedIn?
In 2008 I became the Facilitator/Coach/Mentor on the Self Employment Program of the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW). The program helped those over the age of 50 to transition out of the workforce (or the out of work force) into their own small businesses or self employment. I inherited a program that was based around The Program for Acquiring Competencies in Entrepreneurship (PACE) from the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. PACE is a great program and became the core of our 6 month programs but it is very American (No offence). Sections on how to deal with State and US Federal Government wasn’t very helpful in Canada.
We set out to value add Canadian Content to the program so we started recruiting business experts as guest speakers and looking for Canadian based tools and specific British Columbian content. We evolved the program over 3 + years with about 15 new entrepreneurs per 6 month program. We did 7 intakes.
The first resource we added was Frances McGuckin’s book “Business for Beginners”. ($15.00) Her book can be found here. No, this is not an affiliate link yet. Click Here.
We also went to Small Business BC and purchased a copy of The Small Business Start Up Kit for each participant ($99.00 each). These can be found at this non affiliate link (I will make them affiliate links eventually but for now they are a free service)
The first of our Guest Speakers was Richard Shatto from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. http://ca.linkedin.com/in/rickshatto and he was the man who got me into LinkedIn. I had just been dragged, screaming and kicking, onto Facebook so that I could get pictures and updates from my Daughter and Granddaughter. I had never heard of LinkedIn but upon hearing Richard describe it I figured that I should join it if for no other reason than to be able to offer it to my program participants.
Since that day I have found all of my guest speakers through LinkedIn. I have found endless content that we value added to the TIOW program. I connected almost immediately to friend and TV Radio Personality Brenda Blackburn (now Brenda Race) and she taught me soooooo much. http://ca.linkedin.com/in/brendablackburn
Next I connected up with Melonie Dodaro, Canada’s number 1 LinkedIn Trainer at Top Dog Social Media and she showed me the ropes and helped me to become more involved. http://topdogsocialmedia.com/
Another key contributor, guest speaker and twitter gadfly was Owen Greaves who guest spoke on several occasions on The Open and Free Business Model – The Future of Business”. Owen is a Futurist and Blogger. http://owengreaves.com/
Networking through the Chamber of Commerce in Mission and Abbotsford got me connected to some great small business advisors.
From Mission, Accountant Ann Harper was a guest speaker for both “Basic Record Keeping” and “Sage Simply Accounting”. http://ca.linkedin.com/in/annharper
In Victoria, my former boss on the TIOW, Ken Smith of Street Smart Marketing. http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/ken-smith/24/79/1aa
The people listed above were key contributors who helped me to learn LinkedIn as well as create a great self employment program in the Fraser Valley. Now they continue to be resources that Fraser Valley Training Group taps into. My eternal gratitude to all of them and my apologies to those I have not included. You will all be in my virtual mall when I put it up.