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‘Business’ and ‘inspiration’ are often not words that people would expect to see together. Oh, how wrong they are. It takes a lot to build something from scratch and develop it to the point where you’re not only living, but living comfortably while doing something you love. Below, you’ll find a list of resources which we think could help you to build your business into something truly special.

XOSarah

Sarah’s blog is specifically aimed at people who want to make money out of their blogs. It might seem like the lessons don’t apply to people with a very different business idea. However, blogs are a great thing to have for pretty much any business, so Sarah’s super-informative site is a great place to start. We especially love this post about how best to handle a really busy day.

Two Scots Abroad

While Two Scots abroad is a travel blog, we came across this post and we love it. It gives some great info that works for people who are just starting out, or for those who want to step up their game. Fine, you might not be promoting your own travel blog, but if you’re trying to sell anything online the tips they offer would be a great way to start.

Adore Creative Studio

Chloe is a freelance designer. She runs a beautiful website, as you would expect from a designer. However, we want to talk about her blog. It’s a fantastic example of how a business can use a blog to showcase their work, as well as creating a ton of business-related content which people will want to share. If people share your content, they spread the word about you. This post gives some great ideas for what to post on social media when you get stuck. And you will get stuck eventually. It happens to us all.

Living For Naptime

Living for Naptime is designed for mums who want to start a blog in their free time. But if you’re starting a business while dealing with something else that takes up a lot of time and attention (ie. that full time job you want to get rid of some day) we think there’s a lot to be learned from the brilliant time-saving tips on there. We particularly love this post about growing your Instagram. Give it a try!

Snap Creativity

Tauni Everett has an amazing ‘Blogging + Entrepreneur Tips’ section on her website, which is packed full of information which is really useful whatever your business. For those looking to increase their social media following, we particularly love this post about organically upping your Facebook likes. But, really, the whole blog is a treasure trove.

Nesha Woolery

Once you’ve got yourself set up and your website looking great, you’re on the right track. But it’s not enough to just sit there and wait for your clients to roll in. This post on Nesha’s blog is especially great. It provides a run-down of loads of ways you can go about attracting clients. It’s all about putting yourself out there, and that post will show you how.

Now. Real talk time. Did we miss any amazing sources of business inpiration that you think we should know about? Where do you turn when you need a kick up the backside? If you take away one tip from all of this, what will it be?

 

Valentines day is fast approaching and, yes, it’s a fake holiday invented by corporations to sell extra pink stuff. However, there’s generally still an expectation that if you’re coupled up you’re going to get involved. Luckily, there’s a load of gift ideas floating around on the internet, so we picked some of our favourites because our Valentines gift to you is to save you time shopping for presents. You’re welcome.

Bacon hearts

We could really just stop this whole post here. As everybody no doubt knows, the purest expression of any emotion is through bacon. So if’s only natural that on Valentines day that bacon wold be moulded int hearts, isn’t it?

Candy Heart Bracelet

A little bit like those crappy candy bracelets you used to have as a kid, except this one uses sweets people actually like. On top of that it will have obviously taken time and care to make. And, on top of that, there are sweets out there these days that actually look super cool. You never know, your partner may never remove their Valentines gift. Watch out for the ants, though.

Caramel Heart Brownies

You know how cake is the answer to everything? Oh, you don’t? OK, well, cake is the answer to everything. Therefore, brownies are almost inevitable. There’s a lot of food involved with Valentines day so it’s best to just lean in to it. Plus, at least this way you probably get to help in the eating process.

Sharpie Mug

We mentioned the sharpie mug idea in our Christmas gifts post, but for the time-poor and uninspired it really can’t be beaten, so it’s worth repeating. You can recreate the designs from this Valentines day-specific tutorial, or you could do your own thing. A thousand points if you use it to propose to someone. Also, you have to invite us all to be bridesmaids. We’re a 75% male team, but we’ll make it work.

Valentines Day Jenga

What better way to let someone know that you love them than by letting them win something? Or than by reminding them that you’re still better than them at the childhood games of your youth. Luckily, with this DIY version of jenga you can charm your other half as you play until they completely forget the fact that they just got pwned.

Heart-Shaped Bath Bombs

A fun gift that includes a little bit of science, and will probably make you look super-impressive. If you need to subtly hint to your loved one that they need to be a bit more vigilant with the personal hygiene, this is also an excellent way to go about it. Who said Valentines gifts couldn’t multitask?

Printables

Printables are amazing. There’s an awesome selection to be found on Landeelu in particular, but they’re all over places like Pinterest these days. Forgot to buy a card? Printable. Need to make a crappy gift look a bit more polished? Printable. Forgot to get anything at all and need to fake your way through it? Printable. Honestly, whatever’s going awry, printables can save the day.

A Year of Dates

If, for whatever reason, you need to in on ths year’s Valentines gift, you could try a years-worth of dates. The idea is, you book an activity every month for a year, and hand over a selection of tickets and entry passes for all kinds of fun stuff. Slightly less organised people could also probably get away with vague promises of days out. It has the potential to get expensive, but it’ll make you look like the thoughtful person you always wished you were.

So what will you be doing this Valentines day? Something thoughtful? Something last-minute? We really don’t have a lot going on in our personal lives, so feel free to share all.

I’ve suddenly started thinking a lot about travel recently. It could be the fact that it only got light a few hours ago and it’s already dark again (ie. It’s winter and it’s grim). It might also be the fact that one of my friends is currently planning the trip of a lifetime and I’m hella jealous. But either way, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reading travel blogs and giving myself serious travel envy. Here are a few of the blogs I’ve been reading recently when I should have been doing my job:

Solo Sophie

Sophie Nadeau is a student living in London. She has a lot of love for Paris (and who doesn’t?) as well as writing about destinations all over the world. She started her blog by travelling solo all over the world and therefore is also a great example to hold up to your family when they start worrying about whether terrible things will happen when you go on holiday on your own.

Our Wild Abandon

Jill and Kyla from Our Wild Abandon are basically in the world to make everybody feel jealous of all of their awesome, aesthetically-perfect adventures. They travel around in a caravan full-time, and in the process they give us all something to look at on Instagram every morning when we’re on the train on the way to work. Jealous? Me? Of course not. I’ll work on it.

Travelling Weasels

Fun fact I learned from reading Travelling Weasels: You can find free accommodation in new places by house sitting. It (obviously) saves money, and means that you get to explore parts of cities that you otherwise might not. And yes, this is my way of telling the rest of Team HowNow that I’m leaving to become a house sitter as of right now. Bye guys.

Polka Dot Passport

Polka Dot Passport is a fantastic blog that teams inspiring posts about the destinations you’ve always wanted to visit with practical guidance about how to, y’know, actually do that. You’ll find everything from how to keep your money safe, to the Singaporean wildlife reserves you need to visit.

Just One Way Ticket

Just One Way Ticket combines practical things like reviews of the travel services we all might need one day, with envy-inducing pictures and posts from all around the world. Wherever you might want to go, the chances are Sab has been there first.

Port Lockroy

The inhabitants of Port Lockroy in Antarctica aren’t your typical travel bloggers, but that doesn’t mean their blog is any less fascinating. The site documents the lives of the people who staff the Port Lockroy post office (which is a thing) for a four month period each year. That’s a thing anybody can do and it sounds like an amazing experience and I desperately want it to be my turn one day. Just putting that out into the universe.

Van Dog Traveller

Van Dog Traveller is the tale of a man who gave up his day job, converted a white van into a super-cool living space, and drove around Europe, as well as exploring closer to home. One of the best things about this blog is that Mike makes the whole things seem so easy. I’ve never built a thing in my life, and I’m still convinced I’m about to follow in his footsteps. In a non-creepy way, of course.

Adventurous Kate

Adventurous Kate travelled full time for nearly five years. She visited over sixty countries. In fact, there’s a very impressive map which shows exactly where she’s been. She’s now dialled back on the constant travelling, but she’s still sharing tips, debunking myths, and offering all kinds of advice on her blog.

Don’t forget, there are tons of language classes on HowNow which could help you wherever you end up travelling. And if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and want to make money on the road, how about teaching classes on the go? Where are you heading next?

 

You may not have noticed, because it’s hardly been mentioned at all, but it is now a new year. As such, everybody’s making resolutions and planning on becoming better people. We’re not that into making tough resolutions that make January a more unpleasant month than it already is. However, we definitely agree with making little changes that make life way more awesome. So, whatever positive change you’re making this month, we’ve probably got a class that can help you.

Change No. 1: Have a go at Veganuary

Veganuary is a thing now. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and involves eating vegan in January. It’s healthy, and it’s also good for the environment. If you can stand to be away from the bacon for a full weeks, you might find you can do it forever. There are HowNow teachers who can guide you through the process of cooking a whole host of delicious, vegan recipes, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.

Change No. 2: Get Fit

It’s not the most original, but after several weeks eating nothing but sausages in bacon and quality street, and washing it all down with wine (just me?) lots of people use the momentum of a new year to improve their fitness. It can be really hard to drag yourself to the gym, so imagine if you could exercise with a trainer in the comfort of your own home. As it so happens, we can totally help you to do that.

Change No. 3: More ‘me’ time

Modern life, guys, am I right? We’re forever running around, commuting for hours, getting work emails at all times of the day and night… It’s a juggling act, and it shouldn’t be. One of the easiest ways to start the new year feeling less stressed is to set aside some time every day that’s just for you. For example, you could try meditation. Close the door for a while, switch off your phone, and focus on yourself. Bliss.

Change No. 4: Learn a new language

Maybe you can’t wait to do some travelling in 2017. You might want to try living in a new country. Maybe you just want a new challenge, or to earn some bragging rights. These are all perfectly valid reasons to start learning a new language. The easiest way to start is to talk to people in the language you’re learning, and we know a whole load of awesome folks who can help with that.

Change No. 5: Be my own boss

Picture the scene: You have to go to work. You get out of bed, get dressed, and walk ten paces to your sofa. Because that is your office. Because you work for yourself. It’s the dream but, when you’re running around at the beck and call of your boss, it can feel totally unattainable. Maybe 2017 will be the year that changes. Start learning how to put your plans into action today, and thank us later. Maybe you want to turn your passion into profit and teach your own classes – we could even help you with that.

Change No. 6: Take more pictures

Maybe you’re about to start a new phase in your life and you want to remember everything. Maybe you got a flashy new camera for Christmas and you need to know how to use it. The best way to make sure you’re creating memories in 2017 is to start now. And a great place to start is by making sure you know what you’re doing.

Change No. 7: Learn to cook

Are you sick of microwave meals and cereal dinners? Do you feel like you might be getting judged by the people who run your local takeaway? It’s time to learn how to cook. Whether you’ve got delicate baking or hearty meals in mind, there are professionals out there who can talk you through the whole process in your own kitchen. Just remember to send us some when you’re done.

Change No. 8: Manage my money better

Oh, money. Some people think it makes the world go round and, whether or not you agree with that sentiment, most people would probably agree that there’s never enough of it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bills, it might be time to get somebody else to help you. You could chat about budgets and how to manage your cash better. Just remember to send us some when you’re done. (LOL, JK. Unless you’re feeling generous.)

So, what changes, if any, are you planning on making in 2017? Whatever they are, remember to keep it positive rather than punishing. The new year is a great opportunity to do new things, but no man (or anyone else, for that matter) is an island – if you need help, let someone else step in and lend a hand. It just so happens we know a few.

The festive season is here again and everywhere you turn, people are buying stuff to get them into the Christmas spirit. We’re talking decorations, gifts, and all of the things you never knew you needed. But what if you want your Christmas to be more individual? That’s where craft projects come in. Luckily for you, we’ve scoured the internet and come up with some of the best simple festive crafts to make your Christmas stand out from the crowd.

Paperback Christmas Trees

Book purists, look away now. This festive craft project involves a fair amount of destruction. However, if the book is boring (because, let’s be honest, some of them are) and you’re never going to read it again, why not turn it into something pretty that’ll brighten up the room during the most wonderful time of the year? It’s also an excellent replacement if your flat is too small for a Christmas tree. And let’s face it, whose isn’t? Find the full tutorial here.

Wooden Sled Ornament

This is a great festive project to try with the kids. It’s also a great festive project to try if you spent the entire summer eating Twisters like there was no tomorrow and you need a way of hiding the evidence. It requires very little in the way of materials and will ensure that your tree looks unique rather than having the same old baubles as everyone else. Find the full tutorial here.

DIY Mason Jar Snowglobe

If you need a unique gift for that annoying person in your life who always gets you something really thoughtful and/or handmade, this might be it. Of course, we love that person. They’re a great person. But they’re difficult to buy for. So how about making one of these instead? They can display it proudly, and you could even make a personalised scene that’s relevant to their interests. Find the full tutorial here.

DIY Peppermint Candy Bowl

DO you love giving people sweets for Christmas but constantly find yourself wondering how you can make the process more unique, and also slightly more sticky? This is the festive project for you. It’ll take a little bit of effort, but so does anything good. And you know it will totally be worth it when your friends see your handiwork and think you’re a genius. Find the full tutorial here.

Wine Cork Reindeer

We all drink wine. There’s no hiding it, so we might as well embrace it. If you’re the fancy sort who buys wine with corks (or live in America where corks are still a thing) it’s worth hanging on to them so that you can have a go at making these super-cute critters. It’s also a good cover for when your kids ask you why you’ve been drinking so much. “I’ve been collecting art supplies for you, Timmy, god.” Find the full tutorial here.

christmas-crafts-2

Which Christmas craft projects can’t you wait to try this year?

 

We’re all familiar with the concept of bloggers. They’re often called ‘influencers’ these days, and they lead spotless, minimalist, neatly-curated lives. Or, at least, that’s what it looks like on the surface. There’s nothing better than sitting down and reading through all of the new stuff in your Bloglovin’ feed, but sometimes it can leave you feeling cold as you read about one aesthetically-perfect life after another. Luckily, there are other bloggers out there. They keep it real. They give a glimpse into their actual lives the way they actually are. And, most importantly, they write about what they want to write about, rather than just covering the next trending topic. Our very own Nicola shares her favourite ‘keeping it real’ bloggers. Are you ready? It’s girl crush time.

1.The Daily Tay

Taylor Wolfe lives in Chicago with the best dog ever. Her blog is funny and gives an insight into the lives of people just makin’ it work in one of the best cities in the world. She writes about animals and life as a freelancer, as well as whatever happens to be on her mind on any given day. Her Snapchat is also one of the only ones I properly follow. Oh, and there’s also the t-shirts. She’s just great in pretty much any medium.

2. The Bloggess

Not only does Jenny Lawson run a hilarious blog, but she’s also written two books, which have spent an absurdly long time in the Hew York Times best seller list (this is not absurd at all. They are both great.). She writes about dealing with mental illness, so-bad-it’s-great taxidermy, and her small menagerie of brilliantly-named animals, among other things. Whether she’s making me laugh or cry, she’s always on my ‘to read’ list.

3. Superlatively Rude

You might recognise Laura Jane Williams’ name from her recent book, ‘Becoming: Sex, Second Chances, and Figuring Out Who the Hell I Am‘. Or her Grazia column. She first gained my admiration with Superlatively Rude’s tagline, which is “Because none of us is fucking up like we think they we are, is what I’m trying to say”. That basically sums everything up really, doesn’t it? She’s getting shit done and she’s taking us along for the ride.

4. Girl Stole London

Around four weeks ago, Lauren Mahon was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her Instagram was always great anyway, but now she’s giving us all a glimpse as she navigates her treatment. She gives an insight into the bad days just as much as the good, which isn’t something you always see, and she’s absolutely kicking butt while she does it.

5. Roots and Refuge

If you’ve ever fantasised about jacking it all in, moving to the countryside, and growing your own, then Jessica Sowards is living the dream. And, as with anything, its a little bit rougher around the edges than Tom and Barbara from The Good Life always implied it would be. With Roots and Refuge, you get a warts-and-all insight into the modern homesteading lifestyle and everything that come with it. Plus, there’s loads of animal posts, and those are always fun.

6. Deliciously Stella

Bella Younger’s Instagram account is the antidote to all of the clean eating, fitspiration bloggers out there. Not that photos of avocado on toast aren’t great but, y’know, there’s more to life. Deliciously Stella raises a laugh through a heavy use of both sweets and puns, which are two of my favourite things. She also did an awesome show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, so you should keep an eye out for that in case it comes to town.

7. Humans of New York

It doesn’t get much realer than actual stories from the lives of everyday people. At Humans of New York, it’s members of the general public, rather than bloggers, that take centre stage. They post a picture of a random person every day, who then shares something about their life. Sometimes it’s uplifting, sometimes it’s tragic, sometimes it just makes you realise that you’re a garbage human being in comparison. But it’s always interesting.

…But HOW.

So. Real talk. Who is your favourite blogger? I’m always looking for great people to follow. And yes, I really am using this company blog post for my own personal gain. Because I am a professional like that.

 

We’ve all been there. You’re working on a creative project and suddenly inspiration runs dry. Or maybe you have every intention of starting a creative project but all that’s happening is that you keep flicking through Instagram to see what everyone else is up to. Once you’ve ground to a halt it can be difficult to get going again. Fortunately for you, we’ve come up with a list of ways you can get out of the rut and get the wheels turning again:

Try something different

Sometimes you just have to mix things up. If you get stuck while writing a novel, life drawing might be just the break you need. If you’re an arty type already you might be able to find a new lease of creative energy by trying cross stitching or knitting. Basically, you might benefit by doing something outside of your comfort zone for a bit.

Blow away the cobwebs

You might need to put whatever you’re doing down and get away for a while. An increase in endorphins and some time spent outside could be just what the doctor ordered. Whether you hit the gym, or try an at-home workout, a good workout could be enough to blow away the cobwebs and give you your creative groove back.

Widen your perspective

Yes. Your problems with your creative work are difficult. But there’s nothing like hearing about other peoples’ issues to put your problems into perspective. Getting involved with charity work or even just reading the news can help. Once you’ve had time to reflect your next sentence might not seem like the giant hurdle it once did.

Chill out

We’ve got so much going on these days. The chances are you’re jumping from work to commuting to trying to finish your own creative stuff, and it’s no wonder that sometimes you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. A quick session of meditation that teaches you how to be tension-free could be just what the creativity doctor ordered.

Have a drink

Ernest Hemingway famously said ‘write drunk, edit sober’, and we think it’s perfectly reasonable to extrapolate this to all kinds of creative people. We’re not actively encouraging hardcore alcoholism, but a glass of wine might help to lower your inhibitions and stop you getting caught up in worrying about the quality of what you’re doing, which is one of the biggest things that can put a person off. 

creativity

Ultimately, getting over a creative block is really just a case of giving yourself a break. If you stop work altogether and try not to think about it you might find yourself unable to concentrate on anything else. Therefore it’s a good idea to think about something totally different for a while. You might even find something else to focus on at HowNow.

It’s always difficult to decide whether we should take the leap and turn our passion into profit. Work takes up a lot of our time, but more often than not it’s the things we do in the spare hours before, after, and at weekends that really make us happy. You might be an accountant with a penchant for painting, a barista who hula hoops on the side, or maybe you work in sales and have colleagues queuing up for your cupcakes. But what if you don’t want to do it on the side any more?

The option that a lot of people choose when they decide to start turning their passion into profit is to teach. Teaching your hobby can be really rewarding. It’s a great way to meet new people who might be into the same kind of thing that you are, or to pass on what you know to total beginners who end up loving the thing you love too. It can be a daunting prospect, but we’ve put together a few tips to help you get started.

Think about how it could fit in

I’m not suggesting that you jack in your high-flying career in neurosurgery straight away. In fact, as a high-flying neurosurgeon, you’re probably smart enough to realise that. I’m sorry for insulting your intelligence. It might be that you don’t want to teach full time. You might just want a little Saturday gig to make a bit of pocket money. Or you might have a total career overhaul and world domination in your sights. Anything goes. Plus, if you decide to teach online you’ll have way less to organise before you can begin.

Do your research

Maybe you have a friend or acquaintance who’s already teaching something. Awesome. Take them for a coffee and have a chat. It’s amazing how good meeting an actual person who’s done the actual thing you actually want to do can make you feel. You might just realise that it’s a totally do-able thing for a person to manage. If you don’t have a useful friend, reach out to other people who run classes. It’s amazing how many people are willing to meet up if there’s a free coffee in it for them. If you can’t meet up with someone in person, we have this super-cool thing called ‘the internet’ now, and you’re bound to find people who are willing to share tips if you look hard enough.

Try holding a test workshop

Before you take to the internet, gather a group of your nicest, least sarcastic friends, and try out your ideas on them. If you want to teach a specific craft, for example, you can make sure you’re able to explain the stages as easily as possible. You can also use your willing volunteers to try out yoga routines, dance steps, or anything else. You’ll get feedback on what you could do better, as well as a chance to practice being in front of real people who view you as an authority figure.

Don’t be freaked out by practical considerations

Yes. You will need a plan. You’ll need a webcam. You’ll need to be able to stand in front of a camera and tell up to ten people what to do. The likelihood is that the people who already do this are no cleverer than you, and they all managed, so you know it’s possible. Make a list of everything you’ve found out in your research that you need to organise, and then work through it point by point. Try not to skip ahead or let yourself get overwhelmed. Point by point. That’s all you need to remember.

Take the plunge

Sometimes this is the hardest part. You’ve done all the legwork and you’re totally ready. You’ve got everything you need. You’re awesome, basically. You’re an organisational wizard. It would be so easy to stop at this point. If you stop now you’ll have a 100% success rate and never have to face failure. But this is the time to take a deep breath and dive in to actually teaching strangers how to do the thing that you love to do. After all, you’ve come this far. Every class you teach might not be perfect. You might have no-shows or uncooperative students. Those things happen, and they happen to everyone. We guarantee the good will outweigh the bad, though. You’ll feel the joy that only comes from sharing something you love with other people, and watching them fall in love with it too. You’ll meet new people. And most of all, you’ll be able to go to sleep at night knowing that, for once in your life, you put yourself out there and made it work.

passion

So. Real talk. Do you fancy sharing your passion whilst making money? check out HowNow and starting earning from the thing you love doing. All you need to do is bring your passion. Team HowNow can bring the organisation, and we’ll meet you on the internet.

Why should anybody learn new skills? After all, we’re all adults here, and there’s that whole adage about teaching old dogs new tricks. That didn’t just come from nowhere, so what’s the point? Right? Well, first off, that’s quite a negative outlook. Learning new skills can be hugely beneficial for a whole host of reasons. Here are just some of our favourites.

Increased self esteem

You’re awesome. We already know that. But sometimes it can be difficult to keep in mind. One way to remind yourself exactly how great you are is to learn new skills. After all, who would have though that you’d be speaking five languages in your thirties when you spoke none as a kid? Amazing. There’s nothing like taking on challenges and smashing them to make you feel like a badass.

The chance to get in the zone

Learning new skills gives you the opportunity to get in the zone. The zone is a great place to be. For the uninitiated, it’s that moment where you’re concentrating so hard on the task at hand that everything around you ceases to exist. That means all of your stress, distractions, other people, everything. It’s almost like magic, but a magic you can recreate any time.

Increased satisfaction

Can’t get no satisfaction? Maybe you need to make a positive change in your life. If you feel stuck in a rut it can be difficult to see a way to improve things, but learning a new skill is a small step in the right direction. Maybe you usually go home and log straight on to Netflix. It’s not so different to go home and then join an online class. The only difference is that you’ve suddenly become super-productive with no extra movement involved, and that’s an achievement.

Increased creativity

You might become an amazing creative genius as you continue to develop in one particular discipline. However, you might also find that adding to your roster of skills can give you a chance to work out problems in another area of your creative life. For example, suffering from writer’s block? Pick up a ukulele or learn to cross stitch, and stop worrying about it for a while. You might be surprised how much it helps.

Improve your memory

Learning something new is a great way to keep your mind active. This is especially important as we get older. Sure, you could just do a bunch of Sudoku puzzles, but wouldn’t it just be that little bit cooler to become a badass guitar-playing rockstar instead? Thought so.

You could literally change your life

Always fantasised about moving to Italy? You could start learning the language. If you do that, you’ve just taken your first step to actually living the actual dream. Similarly, if you’ve always wanted to be a chef, you could start with a few basic cookery classes. The world is so well-connected these days that you can find somebody who can teach you all of the new skills you’ve ever wanted to learn to change your life.

Higher income

Maybe you want to make more money. Firstly, we do not blame you. And secondly, it’s all about adding value, and new skills can do that. Learning a second language, picking up some writing skills, or improving your public speaking could all help you on the road to earning more. And if your current employer isn’t bothered that you’ve gone the extra mile, you might find somewhere else that appreciates your increasingly-abundant talents.

learning

So what new skills are you raring to learn? At HowNow we’re making it possible to learn awesome stuff from experts all over the world. We can’t wait to see what you choose.

It’s brilliant that you’ve decided you want to turn your passion into profit. You’ve even gone ahead and listed your class. But how do you go about it if you’ve never taught an official class before? Writing a lesson plan is a really good place to begin. You might be totally new to the whole process, or just in need of a refresher now that you’ve decided to teach on the regular. Either way, we’ve got your back.

1. Know what people will need in good time

If you’re planning to teach a class, start your lesson plan with a list of everything a student might need. That could just be a pen and paper. If you’re leading a cookery session you’ll need to know the ingredients. If you’re teaching an instrument and your student needs to provide their own, make that clear too. There’s a section in your HowNow class listing to let students know what they’ll need, so make sure you use it.

2. Have an overall objective

Before you go into too much detail in your lesson plan, decide what a student should come away having learned. This will give you a goal to keep in mind while you’re planning. Once you know what you’re aiming for you can break it down into steps. For one-to-one sessions, this might be dictated by the needs to your student. For group sessions where ability levels may be mixed, you’ll need to decide in advance what you want students to learn.

3. Set realistic durations for activities

Your class might be an hour long, but how you use that hour is completely up to you. If you have multiple activities for students to complete during a class, you need to make sure you allocate time to each so that you don’t overrun. These need to be realistic, as well. If you’re teaching craft and people have to glue something together, how long does that take? Don’t be tempted to underestimate, because that’ll mean you feel rushed. Make sure everybody has enough time to complete what they need to. If you complete a plan and realise you need more than an hour, feel free to create a lesson plan that spans multiple classes.

4. Don’t be thrown off if people don’t act how you expect them to

For all that we talk about having a lesson plan, don’t be surprised if things don’t go quite as expected. You might encounter a group of quiet students. Don’t be thrown by that. Maybe you’ll have one super-keen student who shouts down everybody else. Make sure you know what you’ll do in situations where people are unpredictable. It might never happen, but at least this way you can feel confident in the knowledge that you’re prepared.

5. Plan a curriculum while you’re at it

If you really want to maximise the profits you make through HowNow, consider expanding that lesson plan. Set an overall goal for what people should learn across a series of lessons with you. There’s nowhere on the site to publish that, so it doesn’t have to be amazing, but it’s good to have it for yourself. Then, break that “super goal” down into a series of classes. We say ‘curriculum’, but we’re just trying to be fancy. All we really mean is ‘series of more than one class’.

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We hope this proves that anybody can write a lesson plan. All you really need to do is be a bit organised, and break everything down as much as possible. We can wait to see what your awesomely-planned classes look like!