One Simple Video to Welcome You to New Adventures

New YouTube Channel Visitors Get Welcome Message

I have a new video on my YouTube Channel‘s Home page, this one is for new visitors. As of 2016, I have retired from Instructional Design and e-Learning Development.

However, I’m semi-retired, moving into a new career!

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How to Determine Hourly Rates for Independent Consultants

Note: At the end of this post I refer to “Freelance Switch”. They have changed their company’s name to Envato. You can find their archived content here:

In this economy in the USA, more and more people are starting their own independent consulting businesses. Freelancers and freelancing are growing in numbers each year. So, it’s no surprise that an “old” presentation of mine is still popular. It receives a lot of Views and is “Favorited” often by other SlideShare users.

While I’m working on some upcoming blog posts, I thought I’d take time today to share my presentation on this page with you. The information is still true and current. The economy produces challenges for small businesses. But, hang in there. You can do it. Believe in yourself. Work hard. Good luck!

Hat tip and heart-felt thanks to:



Happy New Year: What I Learned in 2010

Happy New Year!

I welcome 2011 with a smile as I also look back on 2010. From Christmas through New Years, I was on vacation with family in real world, and learned how much I depend on the Internet and on social media, or SoMe. Although I was supposed to be offline, I did use my iPad to check my social networks occasionally and post a few comments. In all honesty, I felt afraid I was going to miss out on important tweets or status updates on LinkedIn or Facebook. However, I was rewarded with wonderful F2F (face-to-face) time with my loved ones, and saw some beautiful scenery in Prescott, Arizona.

I did think about what I learned in 2010, and what the learning might mean for 2011. I bravely and humbly share a partial list with you:

  1. Mobile [ fill-in-the-blank ] is here, and is here to stay and grow. I bought an iPad for my business and use it daily. In addition, non-mobile family members and friends moved to smartphones, and they quickly became “addicted” mobile learners; even the older folks. In the new year, I plan to become more involved in mobile anything.
  2. Social Networking via the Internet is also here to stay and grow in leaps and bounds. On a daily basis I use Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, and (to a lesser degree) Facebook to connect with a wide, virtual network of amazing colleagues. I’ve gained new consulting work through this network as well as exchanged expertise. Social media (SoMe) is a permanent part of my business. I will continue to nurture and grow my network in 2011.
  3. Face-to-face Networking still plays an important part in my consulting practice. I pick up the phone and make a call instead of sending an email, and I schedule business lunches when possible. I’ve also discovered that when I’ve had the opportunity to meet my virtual SoMe colleagues in person, it feels like a joyful “reverse reunion”, where we finally get to add the F2F connection to a carefully nurtured business relationship. I look forward to more F2F connections this new year.
  4. SCORE business mentors (click to learn more) provide amazing resources to anyone who is starting a business … and, their advice is free. SCORE also offers low-cost workshops. In 2011, I plan to leverage the wisdom and experience from these generous, warm, and encouraging mentors.

I’ve learned a great deal in 2010, and it’s hard to pick and choose what to share in this post. What did you learn in 2010 that you’d like to share with me and with others? Please feel free to add a Comment to this post!

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Yes, We Can! Training & Technical Writing

Can You “Do” Both?

Craig of HelpScribe has an April 2008 post that I found fascinating:

Why We Become Technical Writers

Craig’s post is no longer available on his blog, so check out these two:

Although I posted a comment on how I entered the technical communication field, it’s one-dimensional. My favorite topic is to talk about those of us I call “Hybrids”… that is, professionals who demonstrate proven success in both the training/learning and technical writing fields.

Yes, it’s true: Some of us do both, we love both, and we’re successful in both. To help others who feel the “tug” into both professions, I’ve revised my comment posted at Craig’s blog to capture my “Hybrid” journey.

My Journey

Craig, I found your message on Techwr-L, and I enjoy hearing the stories of how people started their technical writing careers.

Me? I have been writing and teaching since I was a child. As a volunteer, I started “teaching” when I was in high school, and I come from an extended family of educators. In college, where I majored in Spanish and French, the Engineering Department offered a course in Technical Writing. I completed it with all As. When I approached my professor for her help in starting my technical communication career, she replied:

“You can’t be a technical writer, you’re a humanities major!”

I believed her. Although I lived in an area surrounded by IT companies and government contractors, I limped into financial services after graduating with my B.A. My new managers noticed my writing and training talents. They helped me transition into writing policies and procedures, then into various Training Departments where they mentored me in both instructional design and ILT facilitation skills.

After some time, the Training gigs transitioned into writing print and online documentation for intranets, extranets, and Web-based applications. I felt a tremendous enjoyment with working “on the Web”, so I added some Web development skills (HTML, Dreamweaver) to my tool box. To make a long story short, through blessings and being in the right place at the right time, I am now a happy e-learning designer and developer, and I still use my technical writing skills to create job aids, quick-start guides, manuals, and more.

I love what I do, and taking “the path less traveled” only added to my knowledge, skills, and abilities or achievements. And my clients benefit from my “Hybrid” skills.

One word of advice to “Hybrid” career seekers: follow your heart. Invite learning specialists and technical communicators out for coffee, lunch, or dinner and interview them. Attend local ASTD (now ATD, Association for Talent Development) and STC chapter meetings and ask the members about their jobs.

Stay away from the “anti-Hybrid” nay-sayers who discourage you, and build a personal community of career cheerleaders and supporters. Some of us are born to be “Hybrids”.

If what you read and hear about our professions gets your heart pumping, do everything you can to get your first instructional design and/or technical writer job.

You’ll be so glad you did, and you’ll never look back.

Good luck!

May 2016: Updated URLs.