Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Turning home ed into your business

I cause a big fuss in the local home ed groups.

Surely not, Grit! That doesn't sound like you!

Yup. A big fuss was caused. I caused it. Mostly by not reading a bunch of emails I shove in a folder called NotReading.

But I have learned things! Every unhappy trouble has wisdoms to impart, does it not? Even if it is It is a bad idea to sleep with someone who dresses up as a Dalek, or Two buckets and spades divided between three toddlers is not a good way to save two pounds in cash.

So this particular bruising experience has taught me about the future. I can see, it's a business outlook for Educational Support Services in the land of home education!

Duh. I have been sharing my skills, offering my home ed experiences, giving stuff away for years, entering into the great collaborative enterprise that I knew as the community of home ed. But I need to become mean, keen and, hopefully, ruthless in all matters of business.

I am considering these ways of conducting myself when, as if by magic, I discover this miserable place in another email account I don't read every day either.

Clearly the stars have aligned. It's time for me to market home ed! If I'm going to make a good business out of home ed, I must adopt Grit's Top Ten Tips to CoinMyCommunity!

1. Bring business to the home ed world.
Adopt good business practice! Don't buy in a workshop at 50 quid, then tell everyone and divvy up the cost! Blimey, that is the old hippy way of doing things.

The new way is to buy in a workshop at 50 quid then re-sell it for 150 quid. Remember, there is nothing wrong with making a profit in business! (Unless the accountant finds out. Then they will advise you to report a loss so you don't pay tax.)

2. Position everyone else as a rival.
Essential if you are to cohere your market. Other home educators are obstacles if they blab how you can cadge this and that, get discounts here or there, share skills, find the free events, co-operate, divide up a tutor's costs, and take to Tinkertop's back room to avoid the hall charge.

What I need to do is claim these hippies are competition; that they run rival groups. This strategy forces everyone to take sides. Divided and ruled. Hopefully, they'll all come to me at CoinMyCommunity!

3. Restrict information.
Don't hint at other ways of doing things. Don't suggest the teacher doesn't have to be CRB checked. Never suggest parents do stuff themselves, buy their own tutor for cheaper, or admit that Tinkertop doesn't have to complete a sodding 100% National Curriculum guaranteed trackered worksheet in triplicate to get a decent education.

Never, never, ever, let parents find out they can just take their kids to the park. If it slips out, make them believe the best way to take the kids to the park is in a timetable when I'll be selling duck food for 50p a bag.

4. Obfuscate.
Use the words home education and home schooling as if they are interchangeable. Never suggest home education comes with a set of cultural values, a philosophy and community-based action, and home schooling comes with a great deal of school.

5. Position yourself as the only show in town.
Yes, tell all service providers of workshops, events, formal teaching, walk-and-talks, all stuff, that CoinMyCommunity is the organisation where home educators freely come. Tell them to reach home educators here; the only safe and trusted company to do business with. (Only don't use the word business, obviously, that breaks rule number 6.)

6. Forget to say, CoinMyCommunity? Actually, it's a private company.
Avoid being open and upfront. Claim CoinMyCommunity is just a big cuddly-huggy-wug home ed group. Never discuss the company footing on which it stands. Avoid putting the company registration number on all sites, correspondence and, if you can get away with it, invoices.

Claim CoinMyCommunity is nothing more than a vehicle for processing Paypal payments, which are understandably complex, considering I'll be charging a flat rate for the kiddy Christmas party.

7. Provide a one-stop solution.
Yes, to every newcomer to the home ed world (there are thousands of you! Thousands!) tell them this is the easy way to do it! My way! I have everything stitched up! I have timetables! And worksheets! With CRB-checked tutors and, when I set it up, online monitoring!

8. Swot up on Vance Packard.
Covertly use Packard's compelling needs to sell education services. We home educators? We need to be loved. We crave security. We want approval. We are fearful, and only want the best for our children. We don't want our home ed mess to mean Tinkertop misses out.

Make sure all services provided are hitting those buttons. Newcomers need comforting and supporting, because they are stupid enough to take a decision that will upset someone. Obviously they fear the opprobrium about to pour on their heads. This is where my offer to meet their needs is so important. My business can prey on their insecurity, doubt and fear by promising instant answers, step-by-step solutions, organised events, more CRB teachers, offering a big happy tick from the Local Authority, and providing extra worksheets! School, in fact!

(Shh! Never let on how there's an alternative Mad Badger home ed community operating right under your noses!)

9. Use the language of school.
Do not yack on about ways of living and learning. Do not even try and create a language to describe how education can be a seamless part of life. PAH. That is crap. Shut up with the segueing.

Use the language of school. Break home ed life into English, Maths, Science, French, like what parents understand and you can sell. Then keep clear divisions between subjects, bringing in stuff like Key Stages GCSE levels targets topics framework assessment learning objective certification award. This will make everyone think This is education!

10. Aim big.
Of course with Grit's Top Ten Tips I'll do pretty well. But it's no use going to the local authority looking to stitch up a deal. They're broke! We have Academy land! Anyway, Our Great Leader Gove wants us engaged in the great business of profitable educational enterprise. With my future, I can be looking for premises, running online facilities, buying in accreditation, outsourcing timetabling, monitoring attendance and, soon enough, running a free school!

Phew. Thank you for reading. But you happy school-choosing people can safely depart, feeling protected from the politics of home ed land!

But consider Grit here, having caused misery through the land, upset the local educational business enterprise - and thank goodness I've finally asked to be removed from the damn list I never read - and facing only the Mad Badgers as consolation; here I am, scrabbling around for community crumbs on the home ed floor, desperate to give the kids a daily functional education, while simultaneously pointing you towards those bright, bright light$ $hining in your educational future$.

But surely, we've been here before? All happening in our back-yard.

1 comment:

RoweToes said...

Well said. It is wrong if one group dominates the local home-ed community in a monopolistic manner, especially of it means that no other local home-educators can organise/obtain educational trips/workshops/discounts etc...