I don’t have the book yet. This is going to be a series of mini blog posts to document my journey to release my first self-published book with another amazing coauthor and collaborator, Chetachi Egwu.
Where Am I Coming From?
I have been teaching in the classroom for a decade. I received my MA and Ph.D. in Communication/Public Relations from Syracuse University and University of Maryland. Like most educators, I have had a pretty traditional career path.
However, my career path started to shift as I embraced social media and digital media devices as a teaching and a career development tool. On top of being a college professor, I have expanded my services from teaching to speaking, consulting, blogging, and live streaming. Very soon, I am going to add another title, “author,” to my repertoire of professional services. Excited!
My encounter with digital media has not only made me a better teacher inside the classroom, but has opened my eyes and mind to the myriad of opportunities that are available to educators outside of academia.
There are so many skills that we have as educators that can be translated to the professional world and to bring us additional income opportunities. Unfortunately, many educators don’t see them or are simply not aware of the possibilities.
That’s why I was so excited to collaborate with Chetachi to write and self-publish a book together.
Our goal for the book is to tell educators about the possibilities outside of academia, to encourage educators to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and digital media devices, and to demonstrate strategies and tactics that educators can apply to amplify their impact and income, which don’t have to be exclusive.
Chetachi and I have just conducted our first round of interviews with two amazing education entrepreneurs who are trailblazers in their own unique ways.
Read the highlights of each interview below.
Interview with Dr. Will Deyamport
Dr. Will and I connected on Twitter. Of course, where else did you find and connect with people nowadays? Dr. Will is an Instructional Technologist, Writer, Speaker, Consultant, and Business owner. He also has an amazing podcast, The Dr. Will Show, that he has been running for quite a few years.
What amazes me about Dr. Will is that besides his full-time job as an Instructional Technologist, he has a series of side hustles that help him create additional income and impact.
Here are some highlights I learned from our hour-long conversation.
✅ Money is NOT evil.
✅ There is nothing wrong with educators having side hustles.
✅ You need to monetize your knowledge and content.
✅ Everyone needs to be a content creator. There is no shortage of platforms to share your stories and wisdom. You can even self publish a book that can probably have a similar impact as traditionally published books through publishers.
✅ Don’t get too comfortable with your day job. Job security is not as secure as you imagine, even in the educator sector.
✅ Personal life and social media life are not dichotomous. You are a holistic human. Show the human side of you on social media sites. Be real and present yourself as a holistic person.
✅ Understand your “why” and your message before you jump onto any social site. Once you discover your gem, stay focused until you crush it.
✅ Create your network before you need it.
✅ Educators are brands. It is time to wake up and to embrace that.
Interview with Dr. Vernon Lindsay
Dr. Lindsay has an incredible story. In October 2016, he made a huge decision to move from Chicago to Mexico with his wife and three kids to start his how business. He is now a successful Writer, Consultant, and Personal Development Coach. His articles have been featured on Entrepreneur, The Good Men Project, Addicted2Success, Thrive Global, and many more. And he has just published his book, Critical Race and Education for Black Males, as well as an online course on Self Development.
However, before this point, Vernon had a promising and successful career in higher education. He was a postdoctoral fellow in Teaching and Mentoring at the University of Illinois at Chicago for three years and was an adjunct professor at DePaul University for a year. Vernon received numerous awards and accomplishments during his tenure at these two universities.
What inspired Vernon to take such leap of faith and pack up and relocate to a new country?
Here are some highlights of our interview.
✅ Don’t just quit your job without having a solid plan. Take at least several months or even a few years to accumulate your capital and to get prepared for your entrepreneurial adventure before you quit your full-time job. Use your full-time job as an investment.
✅ You can’t be creative and produce meaningful work if you have to worry about paying your bills.
✅ Don’t get lost in the rabbit hole of social media. Being popular on social media can be an addictive feeling. Popularity and profitability are not the same. Unless your “likes” and “shares” are bringing you closer to your business goals, you might have to rethink your social media effort and strategy.
✅ Invest in yourself. Find mentors or coaches who had been where you are to guide you on your journey and to offer support. Just because you are a solopreneur, it doesn’t mean that you have to “hustle” alone.
✅ Flexible hours and being able to control your days are attractive traits of being an entrepreneur. However, you need to build structures into your life to make each day productive. Schedule time to write, work, plan, exercise, etc. Fail to plan; plan to fail.
✅ Build your social proof. Document your journey.
✅ People in academia have developed some strong skills that can be translated into the entrepreneurial world such as discipline, work ethics, writing, ability to work independently, and ability to research, gather, and synthesize information.
So, you already have a sneak peek from our upcoming book! Here are the highlights that I took away from our two initial interviews:
🎯 Academics have plenty of strong skills — both working style & skills — that they can leverage to become entrepreneurs.
🎯 Like everything else in life, social media is a double-edged sword. It has its benefits and challenges. However, used strategically, social media can help educators enhance their teaching career and bring additional income and impact.
🎯 Plan for yourself — even in academia, job security isn’t secure anymore. Plenty of schools have closed in the past several years. Whether you just want to have a side activity, completely go off on your own, or just want to get engagement from students and the academic or professional community; social media is a powerful tool for that. But it takes some planning and strategy to do that effectively.
I cannot wait to conduct more interviews and to eventually publish the book! Stay tuned.