Monday, March 21, 2016

Think Tiny. Dream Big. Live Free.

Yesterday a group of us launched Alaska Tiny Homes, asking people to Think. Dream. Live.

Hiding in plain sight within the tiny home movement is the concept of freedom. Freedom toward something or freedom from something. Either way, freedom is at the core.

Freedom to move.

Freedom to explore.

Freedom to be on your own terms.

Freedom from debt.

Freedom from commitments and obligations.

Freedom . . . freedom . . . freedom.

As we move forward we endeavor to bring the stories of our clients (those who want to share) to our followers. Every person has a wonderful story to share -- filled with inspiration, encouragement, redemption, growth, setbacks, perseverance, and awe. We want to share those with you.

Visit us at Alaska Tiny Homes to take your first step toward freedom.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Alaska Tiny Homes (

What does freedom look like for you? How would you define it?

For thousands of people, big freedom can now be found in tiny places -- like tiny homes.

The Tiny Home movement is growing. And, then there is Alaska. Known as The Last Frontier, there is an aura and allure to this state that is growing too. All you have to do is turn on Travel Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery, or any other station and see all things Alaska.

So, what could be better than combining the great State of Alaska and tiny homes -- enter Alaska Tiny Homes.

Alaska Tiny Homes ( is a collaboration between five people who believe in the freedom that comes with tiny, and desire to share the beauty of Alaska with others.

Our team is in the process of designing models to select from with the first three being the Yukon Model, Denali Model, and Kodiak Model -- each having their own style, flavor and feel.

However, we can also custom-build the type of tiny home you want and desire, and add a touch of Alaska for you -- whether you are building in Alaska, or the Lower 48.

One area we are extremely excited about is we are building partnerships with local Alaskans, Native Alaskans, and others who fall under the state's Made In Alaska protocol, and bringing their craftsmanship to our tiny homes. Our desire is to share these artisans and experts, along with their art to other Alaskans and those in the Lower 48.

We are excited to launch this new company, and invite you to explore Alaska Tiny Homes at

And, if you know of someone interested in wanting to build a tiny home, do let us know.

Thank you.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ten things homeschoolers want virtual schools to know

1. Virtual schooling is not homeschooling though both are done primarily in the home, so don't tell us it is.

2. True flexibility is found in homeschooling, so find another word when we talk

3. Individualized learning, real individualized learning, is what homeschooling is all about

4. There are close to 2 million of us homeschoolers and no we don't all think alike

5. The small, yet sometimes loud minority of those homeschoolers who speak up don't speak for all of us

6. Don't talk to us about the free tuition because we know there is a cost

7. Freedom matters a great deal to us, and we won't give it up easily, even for something free

8. There are close to 2 million different reasons why us homeschoolers have chosen to homeschool

9. We are real people at the end of your data point, don't forget that

10. When we say "no" to your virtual school, what we are really saying is we don't trust what you are telling us

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What Bernie Sanders taught us

By all accounts the campaign of Bernie Sanders is effectively over after Tuesday's results. He may stay in the race, and he may even win some additional states. His path toward nomination though, is just not there.

However, Bernie taught us quite a lot though during his campaign. If you look at his results, almost 80% of those under age 30 supported Bernie. This is quite amazing because Bernie is not an eloquent speaker (he evidently has not read How to Talk Like TED), nor does he remind anyone of JFK when he first appeared on television during his run to the Presidency.

And yet, millions of people felt the Bern, as they say. What was it about him?

I would say it had less to do with him than it did with what he had to say. More importantly, it was what his headlines said -- Free college and free healthcare. (I know he meant free public college tuition but it transformed into free college). Sure there was an insurgency factor, and even an anti-Hillary factor. But, Free is enticing. Free resonates. Free catches attention.

We live in a headline and sound-bite society where very few people read past the headlines and fail to research beyond the sound bites for context and clarity.

For Bernie though, his problem became the fact that he wasn't selling a quick purchase, meaning people could not buy his product immediately. So, over time, the narrative moved toward the content of what he had to offer and away from the free. It became more about the cost of his proposals and the inability to sustain them. In short, content started to matter because it was a long purchase cycle.

He still has followers, and those who would still purchase what he has to offer. It is easy to buy something free. However, more people began to understand the consequences of free.

Reminds me of the virtual schools who hang their hats on tuition-free as the hook, the headline, the sound bite. Now that time has passed for each of them, it has become apparent what the actual costs of that tuition-free looks like.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Consulting a la carte

Are you struggling to attract new leads?

Are you wasting money on ineffective advertising?

Is your message not resonating with prospects?

Is your executive team not aligned with the core mission?

Is your marketing plan proving ineffective and inefficient, and your costs are rising?

Need help positioning your company or product effectively?

Do you simply need new ideas?

Want to know how to stand out from the competition?

Recently I have spent time on Google Hangout consulting with clients helping each one find a solution for each of the questions posed above. They didn't have the financing in place to hire a consultant full time, or they were in go-to-market mode and simply needed a one-time consultation to better align their plan with their values. So, they reached out to me and asked if we could consult with them on an hourly basis rather than full-time program.

It has proven successful for our clients over these past few months, and we are now rolling it out a little more formally as Consulting a la carte.

We work together over a Google Hangout to minimize any and all expenses, and spend the amount of time you determine you need to achieve your objective. You walk away with ideas, plans, and solutions you can measure to see the impact. You only return if you need us again. No strings attached.

Visit our web site at to see all of our services, and to learn more about our Google Hangout Consulting a la carte.

Or, go ahead and email me at and we can arrange a time for you from the comforts of where you are.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Crafting a Virtual School Marketing Plan Webinar (Updated)

THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL. Email me if you want to attend a future webinar on this topic at

Yesterday I shared details on my upcoming 90-minute webinar Crafting a Virtual School Marketing Plan, and the initial response has been better than I anticipated.

There are still a few spaces remaining though for the webinar. So, if you want to register, simply go to my web site and fill in the information. The event is scheduled for Monday, March 28, at 11:00 a.m. ET. A link will be provided to all registrants prior to the event.

During the webinar we will cover a variety of topics, strategies, and messaging to help virtual schools create a more effective and efficient plan to reach better-fit students, capture more of them, and retain them.

We will cover topics such as:

Positioning -- how do you differentiate yourself from other virtual schools?

Price -- if it is tuition-free why is price so important?

Public relations -- how do you get your message out in a toxic environment toward virtual schools?

Place -- what does it feel like to be with you? When people visit your web site, your event, your office, what does that do to them and for them?

Other topics will carry us down the path toward a cohesive approach to marketing that is applicable in whichever state you operate in.

So, I invite you to join me for this webinar. It is guaranteed to generate a great ROI for you.

Monday, March 14, 2016

3 Takes on Being Successful

Take responsibility

It is a natural instinct to blame others, look for the problem outside of ourselves, and point fingers elsewhere. It is also more natural, more comfortable, for us to allow someone else take responsibility -- what if something goes wrong? what if it doesn't succeed? Then, it is someone else's fault, not mine.

However, we must be willing to raise our hands and take responsibility for our own lives if we want to succeed.

Want success? Take responsibility.

Take ownership

This is slightly different than responsibility. Responsibility is raising your hand and saying, "It's mine." Taking ownership is determining that you are going to not only raise your hand, but also be committed to the process and the outcomes.

Responsibility means it is you. Ownership means it is yours. Taken together and you are on your way to success.

Take thought

You probably thought I would say take action here didn't you? Too many times we place action a little higher on the hierarchy than we should. So, before you take action, take thought. In other words, take time to decide: what do you want, why do you want it, in what ways can you attain it, who's help do you need, how will it benefit others, what is the story you want to share, who wants to hear it, where are they who might want to hear what you have to say.

Thought must precede action in order that the action be the most efficient kind.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

What others may say

There will always be those who find fault with what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and they will tell you how they would do it.

And that's the point. They aren't doing it.

If they aren't doing it, then what they say should not impact what you do.

Follow your dreams, stick with your plan, go after what you desire most, no matter what others may say.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Waste is a terrible thing to mind

We mind waste when we have students taking test after test after test with no regard to what it means for them.

We mind waste when we spend all of our time prepping for these tests instead of fostering a learning passion that goes beyond memorization and test-taking skills.

We mind waste when we bypass what the child wants to learn so we can make sure they understand what we think they should know.

We mind waste when we treat each student the same.

We mind waste when we treat certain students differently than others.

We mind waste when we measure the wrong results.

We mind waste when we continue to tweak instead of re-imagine.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

When they go behind your back, what do you do?

You work diligently on a proposal for a new client in order to introduce them to a new market. Your research demonstrates what they can expect in returns, where they should go, even offering what they should say, and then you submit it.

You wait. Then, after a few weeks the response comes that "they can't afford you."

Fast forward a few weeks, and then you begin to see them put your plan into action.

What do you do?

You give. You give with gratitude.

You understand that you reap what you sow. And, by giving graciously with gratitude, you will reap rewards beyond measure.

This was my recommendation to a client of mine who faced this, and she has seen those rewards come far beyond what she believed possible. They didn't come from the potential client, however, they did come from the two other new clients she obtained by having the time to serve them.

In life we can either seek to take or we can search for ways to give. Choose give.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Keep moving forward

It worked for Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Margaret Knight, Henry Ford, Melitta Bentz, Steve Jobs, Stephanie Kwolek, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, and countless others.

A simple yet profound principle called Keep Moving Forward, or perhaps you may know it as Persistence.

Whatever it is you are working on today, no matter the outcome, keep moving forward.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Taking the easy road

I am not sure easy should be the determining factor in decision-making.

Instead of taking the easy road, or the easy way out, take the road you desire to take toward the destination you want.

Focus on what you want, and know the path toward it will sometimes be easy, sometimes not. No matter. Enjoy both as you keep moving forward toward your want.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Staying positive when life feels negative

It goes much deeper than simply staying positive actually. Looking for the good, keeping thoughts positive, hoping for the best, will only get you so far.

There is a mental state that guides our thinking. And, either we allow circumstances and environment to determine how we think, or we ourselves decide what we will think.

Thoughts are continual. And, we can never not think. What we can do though is take time to think about what we think about, and determine to think differently.

We can discipline ourselves to focus on the truth of who we are, and what we can accomplish. By doing this, we begin to have a ruling mental state that is focused on what we want rather than what is, and what others say about us.

The only real limitations are the ones we place on ourselves. And, those limitations begin with thoughts.

Think deeper than positive.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

What do you do with an idea?

You can run to it, or run away from it.

You can improve it, or dismiss it.

You can deny it, delay it, or try to deter it.

Or, you can allow it, grow it, and try to increase it.

You can fear it, or enjoy it.

You can hide it, or share it.

You can tear it down, or build it up.

What do you do with an idea?

It's really up to you. Remember though, another one is on its way. What will you do with it?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Are you clear on what you want?

If you are not clear on what you want, how will you attain it?

If you are not clear on what you want, how will you know what to do today?

If you are not clear on what you want, what do you think you will get?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Are you selling or are they buying?

If you concentrate your time and energy on selling features and benefits, you are missing the point. Features and benefits meet the needs of your customers, but what they want to buy are not needs, they want to buy . . . Wants (and the emotions that come with them).

Spend your time on selling and you will miss the buying going on around you. Spend your time on buying, and your sales will increase.

Help people buy what they Want, and you will sell them what they Need.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

#ExpeditionUnknown and education

Archaeologist and television personality Josh Gates hosts a weekly show on Travel Channel called Expedition Unknown.

His quest in each episode is to search for the truth to ancient legends, myths, and stories. Last night's episode is on the mythical dwelling of Shangri-La in Nepal. Other episodes have had Josh searching for Japan's Atlantis, Africa's Gold Hoard, the Viking Sunstone, Amelia Earhart, King Arthur, Blackbeard's Treasure, and other fascinating stories waiting to be discovered.

What struck me last night though was not the episode but rather the title of the series -- Expedition Unknown. The title carries with it the feeling of discovery, enlightenment, and exploration -- in essence, learning.

And then we have our education system where we pursue Expedition Known -- or, probably more accurately, Expedition What We Think Kids Should Know.

I wonder what learning would be like in virtual schools and classrooms across the country if we pursued a course more akin to Josh Gates' pursuit of Expedition Unknown?

What if we focused more on the journey, the discovery, the experience, the exploration? What if we focused less on testing knowledge retention and more on simply discovering.

After all, isn't learning inherent in an Expedition Unknown.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It can't be done.

Can't is a contraction of cannot.

So, at some point in time, and according to it was around 1706 someone decided they could no longer write cannot. Instead, they shortened it to can't. For the sake of saving two letters except you have to add the apostrophe, you can now write can't -- which saves approximately .2 seconds of your time.

Cannot on the other hand can also be spelled can not.

Three different ways to express your inability to do something.

Oh wait, there is a fourth and probably more accurate rendering of these three words: won't.

So many times we say can't, or cannot, or can not, when in reality we mean won't. It's not that we can't do it, we just do want to put in the effort to try it. Or, we are afraid we might falter the first few times. Or, perhaps we just want to find an easier way or have someone do it for us.

When you desire to do something and that desire is strong enough, it's funny how can't evaporates from our thoughts.

Just something to think about, if you want to.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Virtual school recruiting season is upon us

Promises are now being made to thousands of families across the country.

"Move at your own pace" -- Wait, I can take a month to understand this concept? "Well, not exactly your own pace."

"It's flexible" -- Wonderful, I can take the month of December off. "Well, we're not that flexible."

"It's individualized" -- Great, so I can select the courses I want to take. "Not really, you still have to take 4 math, 4 language arts, 2 science, 2 history and obtain 24 credits to graduate."

"95% of our families would recommend us to another family" -- Wonderful, can I speak to one of them? "Yes, however, only 35% of those families are returning this year so we can find you one of those."

"We are tuition-free" -- Great, I like free. Sign me up. "Fantastic, it helps with my commission."

"If you are being bullied, gifted, struggling, homebound, homeschooled, military, college-and-career minded, we can help you" -- So that's all it takes to be successful? "Well, not really, but that's all it takes to enroll."

We can do better than this.