Spotlight on Write101.com
Home Study Tutorials and Professional Writing Services
Meet the team behind Write101 ... er ... better make that ... Meet me
Tapping away at a keyboard is what fills my day. It wasn't always this way. For twenty years I was a High School English teacher -- the change really started one day during my long service leave ...
I was sitting in the dentist's chair having root canal treatment and it occurred to me that at this time I would normally be teaching my year nine class (around 15 years of age). When I realised that I'd rather be sitting where I was than in front of a class, I knew it was time to look for something new!
After leaving teaching I spent six months doing all the things that teachers dream of doing when they're busy preparing lessons and marking assignments:
In desperation, I turned back to my teaching notes -- thinking I'd just go through them and toss out all but the really interesting ones.
It was while I was doing this, that I realised what a resource I'd accumulated over twenty years; so I decided to put them to use again.
My first inclination was to set up a coaching college for after-school and holiday times, but I reasoned that scenario was limited by the physical space available and by the number of students who lived close enough.
My next thought was to conduct seminars for businesses -- but after six months of not having to wear make-up, not having to get dressed up in suits, not having to be conscious of my every move (as is the case when teaching), I couldn't bring myself to get back into that scene.
The solution that finally struck me was one of those "bleeding obvious" cases -- if I didn't want to have people come to me and I didn't want to go to them, what else could I do?
I could send the information to them!
I spent several months writing a series of tutorials that would help people master the intricacies of our language, so they could confidently take on any writing tasks.
Then I registered a business name, had my tutorials printed, got myself an 1800 number, a Postage Paid address and ran a series of two-step ads in the major Saturday papers. I was building up a steady stream of customers (although nothing like the hundreds I'd fantasised about), when I discovered the Internet! Here was a way to sell to millions, not just thousands (I've always been an optimist...) As we all know, it doesn't happen that way -- but it does happen eventually!
My original tutorials have since expanded into a full writing course; I've branched out into writing content for web pages, press releases and award submissions for clients; into editing and proof reading and writing journal articles and newsletters. My articles on writing have appeared in numerous ezines: Internet Day, Internet insider, AddMe, Leading Edge, Virtual Promote Gazette, Website Weekly, Internet Marketing Challenge and many others and are archived on sites throughout the web.
As a result of this recognition, I've written for clients around the world -- I have a wonderfully diverse range of work, writing press releases for business sites; preparing advertising material for autoresponders; ghost-writing articles for an introduction agency; proof-reading submissions for entrance to Ph D programs at universities; proof-reading course papers; editing entire websites; re-wording the content of sites that have been translated into English and editing short stories for writers preparing to submit their work.
I have clients from within Australia and New Zealand, from Asia, the US and Canada, from the UK and from Iran, France, Switzerland and Zimbabwe. The Internet has made it possible for me to work quickly and easily with all these people -- a highly satisfying aspect of the job!
I've had a'presence' on the web since 1998 now and have noticed that my business has steadily improved over time. High listings in the search engines (accomplished, I'm proud to say with no underhanded tricks and all by myself) have all helped bring business to my site.
My initial efforts make me cringe with embarrassment now (read my articleThe Saga of the alt Tags ), but they were all part of learning how to manage this wonderful new medium of communication. You hear it all the time, that the Internet has created unlimited opportunities for business -- and it's true.
I had always seen myself as an employee, I'd been a teacher for all those years, working for someone else, there was no way I'd ever imagined I could work for myself (and make a living) ... until the Internet.
The profits from my first enterprise went into printing, binding and posting my hard-copy tutorials, paying phone bills and were soon devoured by advertising in the major newspapers. Once I discovered the Internet, I realised that I could cut out all those costs -- now all I had in my Expenses column was my Internet connection and phone bill -- that's it!
These days, you don't need expensive premises, flash notepaper or crippling advertising -- all it takes is an idea, plenty of experimentation, a sense of humour and a willingness to persevere.
There have been many times I've thought that I'd never succeed in what I'd set out to do; I'd make up my mind to pull the plug, to get a 'real life' and go back to teaching, then I'd log on and find that another of my articles had been published and I had 98 emails waiting for me, 20 or 30 quotes to send out and (best of all) a couple of orders waiting on my secure order form!
The Internet is full of opportunities -- but it's also full of competitors. It doesn't matter what you come up with, you can bet your boots that someone out there has already thought of it. However, the Internet is also full of millions of potential customers and clients, and it can only get bigger. The 'secret' to success is the same on the Internet as it is in any business -- hard work, long hours, dedication to your dream and quality for your clients.
I've found that the best way to deal with people from such a diverse range of backgrounds is to treat them exactly the same as I treat everyone else I meet. I don't try to be someone I'm not even though the temptation is there to pretend that I have a huge conglomerate behind me and dozens of staff to carry out the work.
And while I'm thousands of kilometres away from most of my clients, I maintain a personal tone in all my correspondence with them. I try to include a sentence or two about my family/ home / pets or whatever I think will interest them and let them know that I'm a real person.
Setting up a business online is still new enough in Australia to arouse a certain amount of scepticism among friends -- you have to be confident enough of your abilities to survive the comments about playing on the computer and being addicted to it. (We know that that's just not true, don't we?)
It just takes time to get known, to build up your own little networks and to find your niche -- but it's worth it when you succeed in creating something out of nothing!
If the spelling of words like "realise" and "humour" in this article worries you, please read this.
Write101.com is an educational provider that was set up to help you to improve your basic language skills. If you're missing out on opportunities because of poor writing, now is the time to act!
The writing course is offered as a home study course so that you can learn at home, in your own time.
This course of Tutorials has been specifically written with these needs in mind -- to improve your writing skills so that you can write well -- whatever the occasion.
Who Needs More Stress?
If you've been away from study for some time, the last thing you need is added stress. With home study courses, you don't have to feel self-conscious, since there's no-one to notice if you have to go over a piece of work a couple of extra times before you understand it. You're not competing for 'top place' in a class. It's entirely up to you, when, how often and for how long you study!
Because you're working from your own home, you don't have to be in a set place at a set time every week, regardless of the other demands on your time.
You don't have to worry about missing a lesson because an emergency has cropped up at home or at work - you decide if it's convenient for you to continue with your tutorials.
Study in Security and Comfort
There's no need to go out in the rain or to risk the streets at night to get to lessons, you work in the safety and security of your own home - think of the time and money you'll save!
As well as offering these Tutorials to help you to improve your own writing, you can also have any of your writing projects professionally written or edited here.
Jennifer Stewart was educated at Sydney University (Australia's first university) and Sydney Teachers' College and taught High School English and History for over twenty years.
Throughout her career, Jennifer has taught senior students and successfully prepared them for university entrance. As Department head in New South Wales and Queensland schools, she was responsible for devising and implementing teaching programs and supervising staff and students in her department.
These tutorials are based on sound, practical methods, which have worked with students from all backgrounds, not on vague theory which sounds wonderful, but has no practical application.
Since leaving teaching, Jennifer has been a freelance writer and has undertaken a variety of assignments - writing articles for ezines and the print media; preparing award submissions for business clients; copy writing and proof reading works of non-fiction; editing web pages; writing press releases and much more.
Read press releases here.
Copyright 2009 Jennifer Stewart Write101.com