For some time now, I’ve been hinting around that I’ve been working on a new business. My goal was to have that business up and running by the end of February. Well, it’s now March and while I’ve made significant progress, it’s still not ready. But SOON…very soon… I hope you will join me in the celebration of…
The BATES ADVISING CENTER!!!
Yes!!! Get excited everyone! My creative wheels have been turning for some time and I have finally put together what I hope will be a wonderful new (and lucrative) endeavor. Many of you know that I’ve been toiling away on different business ventures. Many of them were great ideas, but frankly, I just couldn’t make them work out due to space constraints (hi, apartment living) or money. But I kept thinking, what can I REALLY do given the space we’re in and the money we have. If any of you watch Shark Tank, then you know there are tons of people out there creating new businesses or products with little to no money/space. I kept thinking, if they can, I can too. I just needed the right idea.
My last venture was supposed to be web design. I really wanted to do this and one day, I will make it happen. But for now, I can’t do it the way I want to. I had intended to use templates (via WordPress or other sites), but it’s not how I wanted to design sites. I want to build sites from scratch like I used to do. I can only do so much with a template given my paltry coding skills. In my own dealings with WordPress for my blog and my other (defunct) entertainment site, Tray B Says, I realized working with clients would be a nightmare. I’d have to spend an awful lot of time trying to find the right templates for their needs. Then, I’d have to spend more time trying to manipulate the code to make changes to the templates (if needed). It just didn’t seem feasible for me to do, so I had to scrap that idea (for now).
Which brings me to online advising.
I’ve been (seriously) thinking about this for almost two years. I came up with the idea after my last job advising students at the for-profit school I worked for in NY. When I arrived, I quickly discovered that students were getting terrible, terrible advising services. I didn’t know what to do. All I could do was regurgitate the info that I had learned from my colleagues (I received NO training) and pass it on. Most of the time, the info we gave them was horribly inconsistent. I’ve written tons of blogs about my experience when I was still working there, so some of my long-time readers may remember my frustrations. The administration had no idea what it was doing. I could’ve run that school. Honestly, if I had the patience and money, I’d sue the school to be shut down. It was that bad. To work at a school like that was torturous, but it gave me the thought that maybe I could help students in some way. That’s where my idea for online advising comes in!
Right now, I have the website in place and maybe in the next week, I’ll blog again with the link for you all to check out! Students will pay a monthly membership fee of $20 for my services (the fee is non-recurring, so they don’t have to worry about it renewing automatically). My goal is to serve college students who either feel underwhelmed by their current advising center, or feel like they need additional support. Personally, I want to be a supplement to their experience. I don’t want to replace their advisors. If I somehow become a student’s main advisor, awesome! I welcome that, but that’s not what I’m trying to achieve. Actually, I really can’t fully achieve that anyway, as I won’t have a real grasp of a student’s school curriculum (although, with time, I hope to expand in a way that will allow me to do that).
I’m aiming to work with adult learners/students returning to school. Specifically, I want to work with students attending non-traditional schools (i.e. University of Phoenix, Kaplan, Corinthian Colleges, etc). Yes, for-profits. I vowed I’d never work for another one, but I’m happy to work with the students. I’ve done quite a bit of research on the students that attend these schools and the main issue for many of them is the lack of assistance from student services personnel. Advising was a huge area where many students gave negative feedback in reviews of the schools. I’m not surprised. So I’m currently working on ways to market my services specifically to these students. Later down the road, I would also like to work with students attending non-profit schools (everything from community colleges to 4-year universities), but that’s going to take a different approach to market to those students as they (typically) have better student services.
There’s SO much more I can talk about with this project and I’m working on so much right now. But I wanted to finally share some real details about it since it’s finally at a good point of development. Again, I hope to share more with you soon! Stay tuned!