Jane Bluestein is a teacher, education consultant, author and speaker, but to advance her work she’s creating new careers for herself — web designer, podcaster, video producer and e-publisher.
Jane, 60, has written books and lectured around the world about adult-child relationships and their effect on motivation, discipline, learning and teaching. By almost any measure, she’s been successful.
But the market for education consultants has slowed as school systems struggle to find money for pencils, papers and to heat their buildings, let alone for professional development. So the Albuquerque, N.M., resident is putting her impressive reservoir of energy into learning some new skills and building her online marketing efforts.
“This is the first time in about 25 years that I don’t have any speaking engagements. I have no paid work right now. So the podcasting and website, email marketing, all these other projects I have going on — all started earlier — now have taken on a slightly different sense of urgency.”
She’s optimistic that that the demand for her consulting and speaking engagements will increase eventually, but in the meantime, “I’ve needed to look for other ways to get my message out there. And that has created, in essence, a new career for me.”
Jane’s not a neophyte when it comes to online marketing. She’s run her website for more than a decade, and has learned the Internet’s power to spread her message and attract clients from around the world. Now, she’s taking her 800 pages of web content and pushing into new directions.
She started a podcast in the summer of 2011 after deciding to record conversations with a number of colleagues and friends with whom she simply wanted to talk. The recordings finally went online this year as “The Energize Students Podcast” on iTunes and are also available at www.janebluestein.com.
Learning new skills
Her next project is a series of “talking-head” videos that she plans to post on YouTube.com and other video sites. So, now she’s learning video production techniques. Oh, and she plans to rebuild her website, begin sending an e-mail newsletter and re-publish some of her work as e-books. All of it requires learning new software, new skills and new ways to do things.
The process isn’t always easy. “I’m starting this career as a podcaster. I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m not getting paid, but I’m having a really good time,” said, adding, “At this stage of my life, that is as important to me as anything else.”
She said she hoped she would be able to monetize her new projects, perhaps by syndicating her podcast as a radio show, getting sponsorships, writing a regular column or by selling e-books.
For now, she has time to invest in the new projects, and she’s content to sow some seeds to see what takes root. “I’m really excited about this, but at one level, there’s a part of me that’s kind of scared to death.”
She’s learning a lot, and she’s also learned that she doesn’t have to do everything herself. “I get these little gifts from the universe in terms of the people with this incredible generosity of spirit in terms of sharing knowledge and ideas. For me, that feels like the universe supporting the direction I’m going.”
Like everyone, Jane has her moments of self-doubt, but when she hears those inner voices she shifts gears or pauses for reflection. That’s something she recommends to anyone going through a career shift. “Be quiet and listen to what’s going on inside. Look for inner guidance. Look for outer guidance. Look for help. Ask for help. Be open to new information and willing to change things that you’ve done the way you’ve always done them. Be willing to learn.”
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